Another month in the books, here we are looking back at month 10 of my case site study!
I didn’t have much time again and only wrote 18 posts. 🙁 More on that below. Earnings were healthy though, so no complaints.
Here’s how the month went:
First of all, if you’re landing here and wondering how I built this site to this point; you can find previous updates here:
The purpose of building this site and my goals are very simple:
- Publish as much SEO-focused content around low-comp keywords as possible
- Invest no time or money in link building or outreach
- Monetize preliminary with ads and some affiliate stuff where possible
- Create a nice passive income stream
I’m trying to keep it as simple as possible. Rank low competition content, rinse and repeat. Here’s a couple of posts detailing exactly how I find low comp keywords, and structure my posts:
- You can read how I find low competition keywords here.
- You can read how I write and format my articles so they rank well here.
Traffic and Earnings Stats for Jan-Oct 2020
|Month||# of articles||Pageviews||Ezoic earnings ($)||AdSense earnings ($)||Affiliate earnings ($)||Total ($)|
Ezoic Earnings for October
I had a similar EPMV as September coming in at $22.53 for the month. This is pretty good considering Oct usually starts off slow for ad revenue, as a lot of advertisers hold back budgets for December.
Ezoic also had a glitch in the system on the 7th – I didn’t even look into why or what happened.
I’m still happy with Ezoic. I really like what they’re doing for smaller publishers and websites. I don’t know how I’d earn this much money any other way for this type of site, so I can’t say a bad word about them.
If you’re not yet using Ezoic you should sign up and at least give them a try. I’d appreciate it if you used my affiliate link here – let me know if you do and I’ll be happy to help in any way I can.
Amazon Earnings for October
I didn’t add any more Amazon links or push any of the posts I have links in, so I didn’t expect any increase in affiliate earnings. I’ll take the $65.84, this is literally from links I add into informational posts.
Third-Party Affiliate Earnings for October
This is where I’m noticing the seasonal effect for my niche kicking in. I sent 266 unique clicks to this affiliate, but didn’t make a single sale.
Basically, without giving away my niche, I’m selling something that is a lot more popular in summer. I was expecting a downturn in sales and traffic, but not sudden halt.
Oh well, it is what it is.
Traffic Stats for October
As you can see from the search console and analytics data, I’m starting to see a pretty sharp decline in traffic.
There are a few reasons for this I think:
- The niche is seasonal, as in it’s more popular in summer for sure.
- I’m having some indexing issues. Since Google deactivated manual inspecting and indexing of posts, some of the posts I published this month are not properly indexed.
- It seems like there have been some small changes to the SERPs. I’m seeing less snippets across the board, more YouTube videos, etc. I haven’t looked into it in great detail yet, but I’m sure Google shook my results up a bit.
What Does This Month Tell Me?
I’m pretty sure I’m going to see a drop in traffic, sales, and ad revenue over the winter months. It’s the first year I’ve had this site, so I don’t know how much it will be affected, that’s to be seen.
I have been adding a good amount evergreen content to this point. I’ve even written some posts with “winter” in the title to try and minimize the seasonal effect.
I’m still really happy with the site up to this point. I only put about 25 hours work in this month, and it still made around $1,200. That’s why we build niche sites, right? 🙂
Plans for November
I need to work on my client work/life/niche site balance. I worked way too much on client work this month, probably around 100 hour’s worth. Yet, I earned less doing client work that my 4 sites monetized by ads made me passively!
And working on my own sites is what I enjoy the most. I seriously need to consider where I’m spending my time.
Talking about my niche sites, I’m working on a little project targeting higher ad RPM content for this case study site. I published some posts a few months ago targeting high RPM content, and those posts are earning an EPMV of $30+ which is one of the reasons why my overall EPMV is decent.
I’ve outlined a load of posts that I hope will do the same. I will write something up explaining this if it works. I just need to publish it, give it some time to gather data, and not have any indexing issues.
I’m definitely going to put more effort in this month. Whether than means sleeping less, skipping a meal or a movie, or whatever, I’ll publish more. I have that goal of 500 posts by the end of the year I set some time ago, so I have some work to do.
I caught up with a bunch of you again this month and had a blast. Some of you are doing awesome, I’ve literally seen your sites taking off since I’ve been reporting my own progress here.
Kept grinding out the content, keep improving every month, and don’t doubt yourselves, it’ll work.
I don’t feel like I had a lot to report this month. However, if you have any questions, feel free to drop them below, I always answer them the best I can.
35 thoughts on “AdSense/Content Site Case Study Month 10 Update”
I was wondering, can we 100% control ads on Ezoic? Meaning I want my viewers to only see certain category of ads, and not see ads based on their interest in some categories, such as alcohol or gambling etc.
Because if such ads show, the earning would be impermissible for me to take, according to my religion. And I don’t want to risk my eternal life for a few bucks 😅
That’s an interesting dilemma! 🙂
Yes, you have decent control. You can choose to block certain advertisers and categories, yes.
This is what it says under Ezoic’s Ad Blocker category:
“In certain circumstances, or according to personal preference, website owners may wish to prohibit specific advertisers, and advertising providers, from displaying inventory on their site(s).”
Thankfully, I was able to disable those categories, but, not sure if the ads will still show from those categories or not, as sometimes you don’t have 100% control of the ads.
Thanks for the Update Phil!
Just my two cents worth, but I think it’s time for you to raise your rates for your client work. It’s obvious where your time is most productive and rewarding. Therefore, raising your client rates only makes sense….
Yeah, you’re right Dave. I like doing some work for clients, it’s nice to keep in contact with businesses and have that extra security, but I also have to use my time best.
One other question. In the last part of your post you mentioned “targeting higher ad RPM content”. How can you tell which content gets a higher ad RPM?
I think it’s related to the CPC value, as in how much it costs to use AdWords for those KWs. I tend to just go with KWs that I know people would pay more for. Such as “list of dog breeders”, questions that related to products, such as talking about flea treatments for pets. When you do that, you’ll see ads on the page from the flea treatment companies, and they pay more than other ads.
Great job. What freelance work do you do ?
Hi Ali, I have 4 clients, I write some articles for each month, optimize their content for KWs, same sort of stuff I do for my sites – increasing traffic and revenue – but they are mostly local businesses.
Another great month in the books!
Funny you should mention client work. I used to freelance for 6-8 hours each day. At first, the money was great. Over time, however, the work became incredibly repetitive and unfulfilling. As a previous commenter mentioned above, the only real option for you is to raise your rates or sacrifice the short-term income. I tried increasing my rate, but it still wasn’t enough- I was mentally checked out and wanted more control over the work I did.
I published 62 articles in the month of October (30 in September) and I plan on publishing 58 articles in November- 150 published articles in 150 days. After this, I plan on decreasing my publishing frequency drastically for December- will be interesting to see how quickly things plateau (they haven’t even gotten off the ground yet, mind you).
Any who, looking forward to seeing how the seasonality factor impacts your website. At least you know that things will pick up in the Spring/Summer!
Hi Daniel, thanks. Couldn’t agree more, I enjoy working on my own sites so much it’s become a chore doing anything else – not the worst position to be in, I can’t complain!
That is some epic posting schedule you’ve got there, similar to how I went all out to get this site off the ground. Let me know how it goes when it takes off please, I’m always interested to see other site data.
I’ll be happy to let you know how things go!
Actually, your comment caused a comment to pop into my head- how many articles to you typically publish when launching and maintaining a website? Is the website being tracked in this particular case study abnormal for you?
I went a bit harder on this one to get it going. I slow down once sites are earning passively, I have a site that gets around 50k pageviews a month and I only post 2-3 posts a month to just keep it ticking over, it’s a real passive income asset.
When I start a site I post as much as I can as I always find it easier to get a site from 0-50k than from 50-100k, so it’s time better spent.
Few questions on the technical side of your site. Have heard that Ezoic makes your site clunky and reduces its speed a lot. How do you deal with that is it’s true at all?
And do you use CDN and/or plugins like WP rocket for your sites?
Thanks for your updates. Very informational actionable and inspiring .
Hi Mark, yes, Ezoic slows down sites, the same as Mediavine does. I don’t use any speed boosting tools or anything, it never affects my rankings so I just live with it. It might become a factor in the future, so I will have to do something about it if that happens.
How many articles do you plan on writing until you either stop writing or go back and update some of them?
Hi Ben, I intend to slow down when I hit 500 before year end. I’ve been neglecting my other sites, and a couple of them are more profitable to be honest, I’m just enjoying testing content on this site.
Whenever I went back and edited old articles before it never helped. I’ve used page optimizing tools, too, and nothing really, so I don’t intend to update old articles.
Hi Philip. I’ve been following this case study from day once since I found you on Reddit. You’ve come a long way.
Your case study convinced me that I had to just pause my work on my first blog and start a new one and follow all the advice that I’ve collected from you over the past few months.
The new site is only one month old and it’s already doing better that the 9 months old site that I had. It gets more impressions, and soon more clicks.
All I can say is thank you. I believe my new site is going to sky rocket in the next few months and I can’t wait to come and brag about it here and about how much your content have helped me haha.
I know that I might not be entitled to give you advice, but I just wanna say it. You really need to limit the number of hours you work for your clients. You’re already have multiple successful businesses and you can always scale things up when you have extra time.
Maybe you could look into other types of businesses if you’re worried that blogging won’t survive the future. You could partner up with a developer and build a useful app together for example. You’ll do the advertising part and they’ll do the tech part.
Best of luck in the future.
Thanks Ahmad, and I’m glad you’re seeing better results, even with a site that’s so young. It really is about nailing those KWs and optimizing an article, it just works when you get it right.
You’re right, I’m working on streamlining my projects, it’s all part of this online entrepreneurship journey, it’s kinda tough at times – but I can’t complain.
Keep me posted, I’ll be the happiest when your site passes mine. 🙂
Hi Phil, great blog.
Quick question: Have you tried ranking a news site?
I have yes, a couple of different news types sites before, the need for new daily or viral content was too demanding for me to keep up with. I did drive some big traffic at points though.
1) When you say that we can find keywords (search queries) like “can rabbits eat lettuce”, do you choose other keywords to go under it? Or is that article just about rabbits eating lettuce? basically, do you do keyword clusters or content clustering or is it primarily on that specific keyword/search query that you found?
2) I saw that you commented on Morten’s keyword research video (Channel Name: Passive income Geek). I know that other people like Carl Broadbent and Shaun Marrs use keywords everywhere, to get a rough estimate of volume whereas Morten does not and goes off of google autocomplete.
– My question is that do you think going off of just autocomplete is a viable strategy because you don’t know or have a good idea of the search traffic for that query or keyword? Also have seen any major differences in the mth volume between WMS and KE?
I guess why I am asking is that it takes normally 6-8 months to rank for a specific query but let’s say you target one and you use autocomplete, and keep waiting then you notice it doesn’t rank or doesn’t get enough traffic, wouldn’t that be a year wasted?
Hi Brad, to answer these:
1- I target one specific keyword, but I build out the post with as many associated and relevant questions as possible. But if I’m writing about a pet eating a certain food, I wouldn’t answer questions about other foods, that’s for another post.
2- I see people having success with Google Autocomplete, it works. I prefer to see that there is some search from a KW tool, just so I know there is some potential. I do see slight differences between WMS and KE, yes. This is why I’m happy to target 20/mo volume, and not surprised when a post gets hundreds of clicks a month.
Once my sites are established, so like 4-6 months old, every post I publish ranks within hours, or when Google crawls my site. That’s because I’m targeted low comp keywords. You’re right though, some posts will never make it, which is why you have to put thought into the KW and how you write the post.
If you look at this case study site, it’s an example of how this tactic works. I did it to demonstrate the ROI you can get on easy to rank for stuff.
I’m glad the EPMV has not dropped from the previous month.
I understand that you intend to lower the publishing frequency, once you have 500 articles on the blog. Do you think you’d probably average about 200 page views/blog post by the end of the first year? 100k PV/Mo – That would be pretty cool 🙂
Phil, I’d like to ask you something. Can I email you?
I’m not sure how many views per post it will work out at, that’s such a hard metric to get a grip on. I am really happy with how it’s gone so far, so I hope for the same! 🙂
Sure, you can contact me via the contact form.
thank you so much for proving this much value. I have been contacting you for quite a while to be part of your clients but haven’t gotten a response. Any assistance will be highly appreciated.
Maybe there was an issue with the emails getting through? I emailed you directly.
You’ve brought up a good point about updating and editing old articles.
The Income School guys preach that in their so-called “Battleship Method”, what they don’t tell their viewers is that they need to look in GSC to find that information, but that’s beside the point. I’ve actually tried doing that after Google’s May’s Core Update to no avail.
In fact, even though I added more content, authoritative links, images, formating, improved my SEO optimization, etc. it did nothing, even after several months.
In fact, I had lost more traffic on those “updated” articles. I would have been so much better off, just creating new content from lower volume, low competition keywords than all that time spent trying to beat the dead horses of lost rankings by the “Battleship Method”.
I will say this though, using GSC and mining it for keywords is priceless. Because Google just throws up your content against all kinds of queries, even unrelated ones. So it’s a great source for new articles. After of course, vetting and analysing the competition, KW volume etc.
Actually, I’ve got a newish site right now that I’m just throwing up as many articles as I can, using your method of course ;). After, I’ll let the site sit and marinate in Google’s Algorithm for a month or two, while I work on other sites. Then, I’ll go back and see all the keyword data they’ve produced.
Finally, with all that data, go full on publishing new content for that site.
Anyway, would love your input. Sorry for the long ramble 😉
I couldn’t agree more! That’s exactly what I’ve found after visiting articles a few times.
Seems like time is better moving forward, for me anyway. You’re right, too, GSC is a gold mine for keywords, and you know it’s reliable compared to tools as it’s from Google themselves.
Nice work mate.
I have some question if you don’t mind.
i checked to see which of my post is getting indexed on google with site:mysite.com, I noticed that apart from 2post(15post so far) only my category pages,archive about us pages are showing up, my 3weeks site BTW and I am wondering what could be the problem,is it my site structure? or something else?
Most people are experiencing indexing problems right now, I’ve heard the same from a couple of friends with new sites. All I can suggest is uploading a site at this point and waiting for Google to get on top of it.
I come on your blog after many months and happy to see your growth.
Thanks Hitesh, hope you’re doing well, too.
We’ve put out about 20 articles I think. Please have a look and maybe give some feedback on what can be improved? I know that putting out more content is what we need to do, but the writer’s not that motivated yet, maybe after some results he will be and we’ll speed it up.
You may remember that this site follows your advice on keyword research and writing articles.
I like how your site is coming along. Even objectively, I’m sure you see sites in the SERPs while doing your research that are not as good as yours, I know I do!
Now it’s a matter of sticking at it and building a bigger, better site with more content than your competitors. Keep trying to find better keywords, write better posts, and you’ll see the impressions and clicks continue to trend upwards.