November was a better month for the site, both in terms of earnings and my overall execution. I focused on activities that would move the needle, which sounds like a simple concept but is difficult in practice.
Let's get into it.
In October's report, I said the focus for November would be:
November will see me creating many more buyer's guides for my industry with the help of a writer who is in the industry as well. I will be stepping back from the direct writing and operate more as the content strategist.
This means I'll be providing the briefs, sending to my writer to fill them out with expert-level information, and then editing, formatting, and uploading them to the site. It's not a perfect solution, but removing myself from some of the content creation process is necessary if I'm ever going to get cracking on promotion.
Speaking of promotion, I'll be doing quite a bit of linkbuilding in November using a variety of methods that I'll talk about in next month's income report.
Unlike October, I actually focused on what I said I was going to focus on. I prepared briefs for buyer's guides, hired and worked with a new writer who is an expert in my niche, and focused on promotion for the first time in a long while.
1. Hiring a New Writer
If I am going to scale this website past it's current level, I need to remove the largest bottleneck: my own time. While I am quite knowledgeable in my niche, there are people who live and breathe it every single day. I sought one of these people out and hired them to write for the site.
I can't tell you how much of a relief it is to be able to outsource the writing and absolutely trust the person I send my content briefs to. I know when I send a brief to him, he will not only complete it to my specifications, but add to and clarify the content so it's stronger than I would have made it on my own.
While it still takes me a lot of time to research, upload, and format the content, hiring an expert writer was a good first step in removing myself from some activities.
2. Content Promotion
After speaking with a friend of mine who runs authority sites that are 7-8x as successful as mine, I realized that I wasn't focusing on content promotion anywhere near as much as I should be. His direct quote jolted me back to reality:
Me: I'm good at the strategy and content creation part, but I despise the promotion process
Him: But I always say, "That's the actual marketing bit. the bit that takes you above all of the "also rans." If it was just strategy and creation, we'd all be minted!
I try to only take advice from people who have done exactly what I want to do, whether it's business, fitness, or elsewhere. That's the only way you know the advice is truly accurate, if it's given by someone who has the exact results you want to achieve.
After our short conversation, it was obvious that I needed to learn to love the content promotion process. I did this in three ways:
- Standard resource page link building
- Ego-baiting by promoting other bloggers in my niche
- Plugging into the community via online forums.
I won't touch on standard resource page link building or ego-baiting. That's all standard stuff that's been covered time and time again. If you're interested, Google around and you'll find 200 bloggers who are happy to write about it. These tactics have paid off somewhat well for me, so I plan to continue doing them in coming months.
What I found most interesting was plugging in to online communities. Because promotion is less interesting to me than creation, I needed to find a way to keep the work fun. Forums were the answer. Not only are they engaging, because you're talking to a bunch of other people interested in the same things as you, they're a treasure trove of information. You get content ideas, promotion angles, nitty-gritty details and insider tips you can add to your content, and so much more.
I now use 5-6 forums every day for about 15 minutes total, replying to threads and answering questions where I can. Every now and then I also drop a link to relevant content (not always my own). My presence in these forums is well-received and not a single person has complained about any links I've dropped.
November 2016 Profit Report
As always, Amazon makes up the bulk of the revenue for the site. October saw a few larger purchases, which boosted income nicely. I suspect some of these came as a result of adding targeted exit intent popups on some of the higher-ticket review pages.
Here are the other sources of revenue this month:
- AdSense - $31.22
- Clickbank - $0
- YouTube - $78.81
- Amazon - $1,356.82
- Ezoic - $372
- Content Writing - $250
Total Revenue: $2,090.81
Although most of these expenses are shared by many sites, I've decided to include them all here so you can see how much running a site like this would cost if it was your only project.
I spent a good chunk of money on content this October at about 2/3 of my total expenses. I view content expenditure more as a long-term investment (provided I can promote it well).
Total Expenses: $483.54
Net Profit: $1,607.27
The Month Ahead
In December, I am putting out at least 5 more buyer's guides, including a Christmas gift guide for my niche.
On the promotion side, I am going to heavily invest in process-building so all of the tedious bits are slowly automated or outsourced. The first step is to deeply understand the processes, because outsourcing / automating something you don't understand is a quick way to have really efficient processes that don't actually provide results.