Back again with another quarterly update for the authority site, and boy, is it a big one...
First off, the biggest announcement...
In Q2 of 2017, the site made just $800 shy of what it made in ALL of 2016.
For those who get queasy when they think about math, I'll make it easy for you: that's a ~400% increase in revenue.
In my 2016 year end report, I said the focus for 2017 would be:
- Hit a Natural Cap on Affiliate Earnings
- Escape the Fragility Trap of Affiliate Earnings
- 10x YouTube Channel Growth
- Scale Content Creation 2-3x
Let's see how I've done in the last quarter!
Major Work Done in Q2
Built a Pinterest Traffic Machine
As organic traffic grows, the site becomes more fragile to any losses in that area. Read Antifragile for more on this. The goal is to build a robust business, and part of that means insulating the site from any losses in one type of traffic.
Social seemed like the obvious next play. I'd already mastered Instagram and it's great for branding, but not for traffic. So Pinterest it was.
A friend told me that my Pinterest strategy was completely backwards, so I spent two weeks reverse-engineering Pinterest accounts that were crushing it. After two weeks, my Pinterest traffic was at 2,000-3,000 uniques/day, and it's holding steady.
Is it as high-quality a traffic source as organic traffic? No. But it's another source that monetizes well on display traffic, builds natural links (many Pinterest users have their own sites in my niche), and increases my overall footprint.
Hired a Small Team
If you're one of the few people who actually read these updates, you'll know I'm big on systems. Content creation and promotion, for example, are two areas that I've invested heavily in systemizing.
Well, I finally pulled the trigger on hiring a permanent writer for the site. I used Upwork to find her and she's absolutely wonderful. She's tackling 3 articles per week for the site. Here's how it works with her:
- I prepare an article brief and pass it off to her
- She works her detail-oriented magic and gets me a spectacular article back within 7 days
- I edit, format, and upload to the site
You might be thinking, "Seven days? That's a long lead time." It is. But I value quality over speed, so I have the site one or two weeks ahead on content at all times to allow her to take as much time as she wants to perfect a piece. It pays off in a HUGE way in rankings, traffic, and revenue in the long run...trust me.
As I add more moving pieces to the site, the amount of 'grunt work' grows. Work that, while valuable, is a doer's job and not a thinker's job. In other words, the more time I spend moving files from one place to another, downloading reports, etc., the less capacity I have to think creatively and strategize for the site.
I found a wonderful assistant on Upwork that's crushing these tasks for me. It's gotten to the point where, with content creation 90% off my plate and a lot of grunt work pushed to my assistant, that I'm spending less and less time on the computer, freeing me up to really think about where I want to take both this site and my tangled career path.
Implemented a Serious Content Promotion Process
Promotion was always my weak point, but the truth is that content is an easier problem to solve, so all of the strategic gains from this site will come from promotion. I still think my content is much better than the average competitor out there, but that's no excuse to slack on promotion.
Like everything else, I started to construct the most effective content promotion process I could on both a time and success rate perspective. If you're trying to do the same thing, learning the Pareto Principle inside and out will help you tremendously.
I inherently don't like content promotion, so I did everything in my power to make it more fun. The first step was to reframe it as solving a puzzle, because my brain locks onto puzzles and games. The next thing I did was to ruthlessly cut out anything that I HATED doing, like downloading and working with a ton of spreadsheets. I hired an Excel macro professional on Upwork to delete much of the repetitive work that I had to do, and pushed a lot of the data collection to my assistant.
It worked. I see a 5-10% success rate in landing links, guest posts, and cross-promotions for every piece of content that I promote. And I promote EVERY piece of content I put out on the blog now.
Quarter Two 2017 Revenue Report
As always, Amazon makes up the bulk of the revenue for the site. This quarter saw a few larger purchases in January, which boosted income nicely.
Here are the other sources of revenue this quarter:
- Display Ads - $3,425
- Clickbank - $11
- Amazon - $11,966.87
- Content Writing - $500
Total Revenue: $16,853.09
If revenue remains stable for the rest of 2017, I'm looking at making $63,513 from my site in 2017. That would be around 3.65x what I made in 2017, which is a 0.7x increase on last quarter's growth rate. However, I adjusted my 2017 goals to hit a $86,310 revenue target, meaning I need to earn around $56,000 in the next six months.
That means I need to adjust my strategy yet again — what got me here will NOT get me there. I need to look at other revenue streams, scaling harder, and potentially offering my own products / services instead of relying solely on ads and affiliate commissions.
It's time to make this site even more robust than it already is. On the plus side, if I ever want to sell this site, it's easily worth something like $180,000 right now just based on how well-diversified it is in revenue and traffic, along with how strong the brand is. I always have that in my back pocket.
How has the second quarter of 2017 gone for you? What are you going to do more / less of?