I'll start off by spoiling this post a bit: September was the biggest month for the authority site yet.
But...there's a caveat, which I'll explain in the numbers section below.
Overall, September was a month of really honing in on what is currently moving the needle when it comes to growing the site. The moving the needle concept is a phrase I stole from Traction Book, written by my friend Justin Mares (see my notes here).
It's a crucial concept when growing any business, but especially important when it comes to growing websites, because there are so many different things you can be doing at any given time. Having a framework in place to separate the essential actions from the inessential — or as I like to call it, "Pareto-ing" — is what separates sites that grow quickly and sites that slowly stagger along.
Overall, September was a fantastic month that opened my eyes even further to elements of my processes and thinking that were flawed or suboptimal.
Alright...let's get into it!
September 2016 Overview
1. Invested heavily in content
After creating all of the "scaffolding" for my content marketing system, I had to fill in one of the pieces that I'm no longer capable of doing on a full time basis: writing.
Now there are tons of tips out there for finding good writers, but I don't see people talk about personality and demographics much. Here is my #1 tip for finding a good writer:
Find someone who lives and breathes that niche and happens to write on the side.
It took me 5-6 writers before I found someone that had the perfect combination of love for the niche and the requisite writing skills to need almost no editing whatsoever. I found this person on Textbroker, but tried Upwork and Craigslist as well. It's really a crapshoot when it comes to the platform you'll find them on.
With this writer in my arsenal, I began outsourcing at least 2 pieces per week of mostly informational content that I had already researched and knew that I'd rank on the first page within 72 hours of posting, simply due to the trust that my site has with Google. Following ALL of their rules has some benefits after all, guys 🙂
2. Began replacing category archives with category-specific landing pages
As my authority site started to grow, I realized that my categories were too narrow-minded. I am already dominating a specific sub-niche of my main niche. And the branding of my site covers the entire vertical, so I went ahead and recategorized my entire site with a larger focus in mind.
The simple act of recategorizing opened my eyes a bit: I now had a perfect structure to start creating silos for my content. But instead of creating one large post with many sub-posts underneath, I instead began to replace the category archive pages that are standard on WordPress with "category landing pages."
These landing pages aren't selling anything at all - in fact, I turn off the sidebar, almost all ads, and have almost no affiliate links in them at all.
So, what are they there for? They're there to target head terms and attract huge links.
They act as the top page of the silo, and link out to all of the more in-depth articles on each major topic in the category. The simplest way to think of these is to treat them like a Wikipedia page about the topic, but with even better user experience and content organization.
I began with the categories that I have the most content for and that make the most sense from a monetization standpoint.
The only thing left to do once one of these pages is created is to promote it. Which leads me to...
3. Started to systemize content promotion
If you've been reading this site recently, you know I've been stressing the importance of systemizing content creation. After putting in a lot of work to both systemize the processes behind creating content AND finding writers that I absolutely love, I took a break from content creation and turned to content promotion.
Historically, content promotion is an activity that I have avoided. I just don't like doing it. I don't find it fun or enjoyable in the same way that I do content creation.
But, after creating such fantastic content, I realized that the only way I'm going to move the needle faster than simply waiting for rankings is to start building content promotion systems.
For this, I turned to my old friend BuzzStream. It's a fantastic piece of software that is still the industry-standard when it comes to promoting your website. The applications are limitless.
I didn't get a lot done here in September as I only started to work on it during the last week of the month, but this will be a huge October goal for me.
September 2016 Profit Report
Like I said at the beginning of this post: September was the site's biggest month revenue-wise. There are two caveats:
- I invested a lot of the revenue back into the site
- A large chunk of the revenue came from a writing gig that I got as a result of being the owner of this site
The first caveat is great — investing back into the site will pay off big time as those pieces begin to rank and pull in more traffic and readers.
The second caveat isn't bad, but it's not passive revenue. I have to write those pieces myself. I took them because they paid so well relative to the time they took to write that I couldn't justify saying no.
With that said, let's get into the numbers.
Because Amazon is by far my biggest income earner on the site, I'll include a screenshot in this and future reports so you can see some extra data.
- AdSense - $10.65
- Clickbank - $41.57
- YouTube - $90.39
- Amazon - $956.87
- Ezoic - $194.00
- Content Writing - $1000
Total Revenue: $2,308.03
Total Expenses: $931.73
* A lot of these expenses are split between multiple sites, but I'm including them all in full here to be extra harsh with the numbers.
Net Profit: $1,376.3
Not too bad. I would have liked to invest even more in content this month, but was still finding good writers. Now that I have a solid team, I will be pouring much more into content and ideally netting as little as possible while I continue to invest in the site.
The Month Ahead
October will see me focusing almost exclusively on content promotion and replacing more category archive pages with category landers. I'll continue ordering more content to fill out the keywords that I can rank for quickly and will pull in either a good traffic boost or a good income boost.