I’m back with the 6 month update on how the $6,000 website investment has gone so far. You will see that things are going very well and it has provided an awesome ROI for both me and my parents. Before I give you all the fresh update, make sure to catch up on the previous two updates below:
I would suggest reading those two updates if you haven’t already so that you can fully understand everything that I will be talking about in this update.
What I’ve Done Since the Last Update
It has been 3 months since the last update and to be honest, I have not done a whole lot to the site since then. I have probably put in about 4-5 hours total per month and most of that time has been emailing advertisers and optimizing adsense.
The site itself doesn’t take any work as it will continue to earn at a constant rate due to the content being evergreen, meaning that it will always be relevant and will not age.
I did do a couple things in the past 3 months and you can read more about them below:
Stopped Producing New Content
The service that I was previously using to produce content ended up going out of business which left me with a decision to make.
- I could either find a new content producer via Upwork and keep the fresh content coming 3 times a week like I have been doing since I took over ownership of the site.
- I could find a new content producer but, slow down the amount of content from 3 new pieces of content per week to 1 new article per week.
- Stop paying for new content
I opted to stop paying for new content so that I could take some time to determine if adding new content had a positive ROI for me. I have let this content sit on the site for 3 months and it is now time to determine if I should keep adding new content or if it is best to stop.
I will be diving deeper into the results from this and my decision in a second but, I just wanted to let you know that I stopped adding new content these past 3 months.
Continued to Optimize Adsense
The bulk of this sites earnings comes from Adsense so it is smart for me to keep testing and optimizing to find the ads that perform the best. Up until recently, I have been manually testing different ad placements and it has been a real pain in the butt to make changes and to determine what changes led to the most earnings.
I was using 3 different plugins to get the ads where I wanted them to be on the site and I was unable to fully optimize the ads for mobile users. This was leaving a lot of money on the table because a good chunk of the sites visitors come via mobile.
Luckily, I came across a sweet plugin that allows me to test different ad layouts and keeps the stats for each layout so that I am able to determine which one makes the most money. This plugin is called AmpedSense. The owner of the plugin actually helped me setup the plugin on my site and has been super helpful, great guy as well!
Take a look at the screenshot below that shows the stats for a couple different ad layouts that I have been testing on the site:
It gives you all of the stats that are important and in an easy to read fashion. I have only been using this plugin for around 3 weeks and I am excited to see how much I am able to increase the earnings over a longer period of time.
One area that this plugin has helped tremendously is for showing ads for mobile users. Take a look at the stats for the ads that are shown to mobile users. The “Baseline” layout was what my site was originally showing before using the plugin:
Ignore the earnings because most of them are from February, but, I want you to see the improvements across the board with the new ad layouts. The CTR nearly tripled and the RPM more than doubled. This is HUGE. I’m excited to see how big of an impact this has on the earnings over a month long period.
If you are monetizing your site with Adsense and you AREN’T using AmpedSense, you are leaving money on the table. I would highly suggest at least giving it a shot, it’s free!
Traffic and Earnings Report
Let’s see how the site has performed in the last 3 months in terms of traffic and earnings. First, let’s look at the November:
November’s Traffic Stats
A very solid month in terms of the amount of unique users and it was one of the best months since I have owned the site.
The majority of the traffic is still from social media, mainly Pinterest, with direct and organic following it up.
Overall, solid month on the traffic side of things and let’s see how this translated into earnings!
I have to hide all of the data from my Adsense account except I am allowed to show you the amount of earnings it made as well as the date. So in November the site was able to pull in $549.19 from Adsense! Through November, this was my second best month from Adsense.
Not a ton of money but, Etsy’s affiliate program made me $64.80 in November!
Another revenue source is selling banner advertising on the site. I currently have 3 advertisers which add an extra $136 per month to the bottom line.
Google Adsense: $545.19
Etsy Affiliate Program: $64.80
A very good month in terms of earnings and through November, this was my highest earning month yet! Also, since I have stopped paying for content there was no expenses during the month which allowed every cent of the $746.67 earned this month to be all profit.
November was my best overall month since I have owned the site. The traffic has increased month over month and it was also my highest earning month. This is awesome to see! However, you will find out that in the next two months the site begins to see even more success.
December’s Traffic Stats
There was close to 40k unique visitors in the month of December, which is slightly down from the previous month. With that being said, still a solid month traffic wise.
The traffic channels stayed relatively the same since last month but, the organic traffic actually saw some nice growth. Around a 600+ more organic visitors and a 3% increase in the percentage of the total traffic from 16.8% to 19.5% from Organic traffic. This good to see because it means a bigger portion of the website’s traffic is coming from organic searches and is becoming less reliant on social media.
December saw a decrease in Adsense earnings, although $487.41 is not a bad month by any means!
$55.95 from Etsy! I am super pumped even though it is only 50 bucks because these affiliate links are only on a select few posts where the products make sense to promote.
Not much, but an extra $8.65 was earned through the Amazon affiliate program. It all adds up over time.
Same as last month, an extra $136.67 from the 3 advertisers that pay to have a banner ad on the site. Nothing much else to talk about here.
I had one person contact me to do a paid post on my site for $50 and I accepted. The content they wrote was good and I made $50, pretty good deal!
Google Adsense: $487.41
Etsy Affiliate Program: $55.95
Amazon Affiliate: $8.65
Paid Post: $50.00
Another very good month! Back to back months with over $700 in profits and you will see that the next month was able to continue the trend, more on that below.
January’s Traffic Stats
January saw a HUGE increase in traffic compared to all of the previous months. With over 54,000 unique visitors in January it made it by far the highest amount of traffic in a month. Let’s look at the traffic channels to see where all of this traffic came from
You might have been able to guess it.
Social media, Pinterest, was what provided the site with a nice increase in traffic this month. It would have been nice to see this increase in traffic from organic search because that would mean the content that I was producing 3 months ago is starting to see some rankings and bring in traffic.
Nonetheless, still a nice surge in traffic so let’s check out if this was able to lead to an increase in earnings as well.
That’s what I like to see! $641.85 was made this month via Adsense, which is $100+ higher than any other month.
A solid $54.50 made from Etsy in January as well, not bad!
Same thing as the previous months here, $136.67 was made from 3 different advertisers.
Google Adsense: $641.85
Etsy Affiliate Program: $54.50
My best month yet!
Thanks to the increase in traffic, there was a nice boost in the Adsense earnings which led to the really good month overall. If I am able to keep up this amount of traffic and combine that with my newly optimized Adsense layout thanks to AmpedSense, I should see some higher earning months coming up.
The First 3 Months vs. The Last 3 Months
Now that I have owned the site for 6 months I can now split that time in half and see what kind of growth the site has seen when comparing the first 3 months to the last 3 months. 3 months is a long enough period to get a good idea of whats working and what isn’t. I will also be able to see the areas of most growth and where I could improve.
This whole next section of this article will be comparing various stats from the first 3 months to the last 3 months, should be fun 🙂
This is one of the most important metrics to any website and seeing growth month to month is vital to constantly improving the site. Let’s see how the first 3 months of traffic compared to the last 3:
The image above shows the traffic stats from the first 3 months compared to the last 3 months. You can see that there has been some nice growth. There was a 23.85% increase in unique visitors in the last 3 months, which is a substantial increase! The # of sessions and pageviews also saw a nice boost.
This is the sites main traffic driver and it accounts for over 50% of the sites traffic since I have gained ownership. I would like to see the site be less dependent on Pinterest for traffic but, nonetheless, it is still driving a ton of traffic each day. Let’s check out the growth it has seen from the first 3 months to the last.
The first 3 months Pinterest drove 67,000 visitors and in the last 3 months it drove over 80,000, which comes out to a 19% increase! One of the major reasons for the increase is due to a handful of the new articles I published that went viral within Pinterest and they continually drive 100+ visitors a day back to the site.
Pinterest is different from the rest of the social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook because the content on Pinterest does not get lost in the past. Old posts will continue to drive traffic on Pinterest because people use it as a search engine and popular posts will rank well. This makes Pinterest a very solid traffic source because it isn’t just one-off traffic, it is consistent and will continue to grow if you keep posting on Pinterest.
Organic Search Traffic
Increasing the organic search traffic was a major focus during the first 3 months that I owned the site. I added a total of 42 new articles to the site during that time period and it will be interesting to see how well the organic traffic increased since then.
First 3 Months vs. Last 3 Months
There was a solid 33% growth in organic search traffic from the first 3 months to the last 3 months, which is pretty darn good! Organic traffic increased from 18,000 to 24,000, which is about an extra 2,000 visitors per month in the last 3 months.
I think the site will continue to see growth over the next 6+ months as well because all of the articles will have enough time to settle into Google and start to rank for longtail keywords. So I would expect the organic traffic to keep rising over the next few months.
One of my favorite tools, Semrush, does an awesome job of showing the growth that your site has seen in keyword rankings and how well that translates to traffic. Let’s check out how my site looks in Semrush:
As you can see, a good surge in traffic growth according to Semrush. Semrush tracks keywords your site ranks for within the top 100 of Google and translates that to search traffic by looking at the monthly search amount.
According to Semrush, my traffic grew by 100% but, as we saw earlier it actually grew by only 33%. So Semrush isn’t 100% accurate but I still feel like it does a good job of showing growth.
Like I said, Semrush tracks the amount of keywords that your site ranks for within the top 100 and you can see how many keywords you ranked for 6 months ago vs. now. That is what we will look at now:
Keyword Rankings 6 Months Ago
6 months ago I had just over 4,000 keywords ranking within the top 100 of Google. I feel like the keywords ranking within the top 10 of Google are the most important, so we will mainly look at that number. There were 18 keywords in the top 3 and 192 ranking in the 4-10 positions, which comes out to a total of 210 keywords ranking in the top 10 of Google.
Now let’s compare that to my most recent month, which was 6 months later:
Keyword Rankings in January (6 months later)
6 months later I am ranking for close to 6,000 keywords within Google, which is close to 2,000 MORE than it was 6 months ago. Now let’s look at the top 10 rankings.
There are 29 keywords in the top 3 of Google and 212 ranking in the 4-10 position range, which is a total of 241 keywords ranking within the top 10. The site is ranking for 31 more keywords in the top 10 compared to 6 months ago, which is a solid improvement.
As you can probably tell, the majority of the keywords are ranking in the ranges of 21-50 position and 51-100 position. These keywords in these ranges don’t bring in a lot of traffic but, they do have the potential to increase in ranking over time. I think the 42 new articles I published on the site have accounted for a lot of the keywords ranking in this range, so I am hoping that after a couple more months they will be able to move up higher.
The Adsense earnings account for the bulk of my site’s earnings and I have also put a huge emphasis on trying to optimize these ads. Let’s take a look at how they have been performing.
The First 3 Month Earnings
In the first 3 months the site earned $1,333.65 from Adsense, which comes out to $444.55 per month. This isn’t terrible by any means and is still a solid chunk of money each month.
Last 3 Month Earnings
In the last 3 months the site has earned a total of $1,678.45 from Adsense, this averages out to $559.48 per month! This is a $100+ increase per month which I am really happy about. This growth I think is mainly due to the increase in traffic the site has seen because with Adsense, more traffic = more earnings.
However, I am super pumped to see how the earnings grow now that I have been using AmpedSense which has allowed me to fully test different ad layouts. I am thinking that I will be seeing some nice growth over the next few months in terms of Adsense earnings.
Total Site Earnings
One of the most important metrics to track are the earnings and to compare the first 3 months to the last 3 months. This is looking at the earnings from all of the different sources as well.
First 3 Months Earnings
Feel free to ignore the traffic stats section as it is in the same spreadsheet that I keep my earnings in so it was caught in the screesnhot. However, in the orange box you can see the earnings by each month. There was a total of $1543.61 earned during this period which averages out to $514.54 per month in earnings. Not bad!
Last 3 Months Earnings
Once again, feel free to ignore the traffic stats and the large black blob.
The total earnings for the last 3 months was $2318.92 and that comes out to $772.97 per month! This a large upgrade over the previous 3 months. In the last 3 months, the site was able to generate $775.31 more money and $258.44 more per month!
This is some awesome growth and it was from a combination of things, one major reason was that I was able to land some advertisers that added a quick increase in earnings. That combined with the Adsense improvements helped increase the monthly earnings.
Total Site Profits
Profit, by far the most important metric for any business and it’s funny because a lot of people seem to ignore this stat in their business and only look at the revenue. You can have all of the revenue that you want but, if that doesn’t translate to making ACTUAL money what does it matter?
So the last thing that we are going to compare is the profit that the site made:
Profits in the First 3 Months
There was a good chunk of expenses within the first 3 months since I was paying for content to be written at a pretty rapid pace, which caused there to be a large expense per month for new content.
You may or may not noticed but, the profits are a bit higher than I reported in the last update due to my content writer giving me a partial refund for the content that they didn’t write for me. So if you noticed the discrepancy between these numbers and the the 3 month update that is why.
The first 3 months accounted for $983.61 in profit, which is $327.87 in profit per month. This would value the site at right around $6,500 based on the 20x multiple if I were to sell it at this point. Let’s see how that value changed over the next 3 months.
Profits in the Last 3 Months
You can see right away that these months were WAY better, mainly due to their being no expenses combined with a solid increase in earnings. A total of $2318.92 was earned in profit during this time and that comes out to be $772.97 per month. With the new 3 month average being $772.97 per month in profit, the site is now valued at around $15,500 if I were to sell it now! Remember, I bought the site for $6,000.
I will touch on the subject of selling the site and the current value in a minute.
Current Return on Investment
Remember that this website is acting as an investment vehicle and it needs to be giving a solid ROI for the investors, which are my parents. So let’s see the type of ROI they have seen so far from this website. Just as a refresher, my parents and I split the monthly profits 50/50.
The site has made a total of $3302.53 in profit since I took over ownership. This means that my parents have made a total of $1,651.26 on their $6,000 investment over a 6 month period.
What kind of ROI is this?
My parents have seen a 27.5% ROI on their initial investment! Over a year long period, this would come out be a 55% yearly ROI, which is 5x better than the average stock market investment, especially during the current market conditions.
Not only are my parents getting an awesome ROI on their investment each month but, I am also building up a sellable asset along the way that I can cash out whenever I want. It is hard to find an investment that provides this type of upside.
I now want to walk through the idea of possibly selling the site and what kind of ROI we would see if we decided to go this route.
Should we Sell?
Now that I have owned the site for 6 months and have a solid track record of earnings and of the traffic, we could now sell the site if we wanted to. Also, by not paying for new content and increasing the monthly earnings the last couple of months I have been able to maximize the site’s value. So right now would be a good time to sell the site if we wanted to.
I’m not sure I have mentioned this before but, my parents buy houses and repair them and then flip them or rent them out. They basically do what I do with websites but with real estate. It runs in the family I guess 🙂
However, my point of bringing this up is that they are looking to purchase another house and they would like cash from this website out so they can use the money with the new house they buy. So that means my parents are looking to sell the site pretty soon.
ROI If We Sold the Site Now
If we decided to sell the site right now, based on the earnings through January, the site would be valued at around $15,500. I would probably sell the site through Empire Flippers which they they would take 15% of the sale price as a selling fee so we need to take that into account.
This would mean that we would get around $13,200 for the site after the 15% fee is taken out.
The agreement that I had with my parents for when we sold the site is that they would get their initial investment back of $6,000 and then we would split the rest 50/50. So after they got their $6k back there would be $7,200 to split between us from the $13,200 we made from the sale of the site. This would come out $3,600 for my parents and $3,600 for myself.
Now, we add this $3,600 made from the sale of the site with the $1,651.26 of monthly profits from the past 6 months and that comes out to a total of $5,251.16 in PROFIT for my parents and the same amount of profit for myself.
In this 6 month period, my parents made $5,251.26 in profit on a $6,000 investment, that comes out a 87.5% ROI through 6 months. That is an insane ROI in a very short period of time.
I’m going to quickly break these numbers down so it is easier to digest:
Breakdown of My Parents ROI
Total Monthly Profits: $1,651.26
Profit from Site Sale: $3,600
Total Profits: $5,251.26
Initial Investment: $6,000
Return on Investment (through 6 months): 87.5%
My parents will be very happy with this kind of return and I am truly excited to be able to help my parents out as well. They were nice enough and believed in me enough to invest $6,000 into my idea and it looks like it is going to work out well. I’m extremely grateful, thanks mom and dad 🙂
Is Money Being Left on the Table?
If we sell the site within the next month do I think there is some money being left on the table?
Yes, I do.
I think that the content that I published on the site 3 months ago is just starting to gain some traction within Google and I think continuing to add content will help grow the site. I also think that the Pinterest traffic will continue to grow if I keep adding new content as well. Combine this traffic growth with the fact that I am now truly able to optimize adsense ads with AmpedSense and I think the site could get to $1,000 per month in profit within 3-6 months from now.
Are we losing out on a TON of money? No, not really. I just feel like the site hasn’t reached it’s potential yet.
However, I am 100% fine with selling the site.
Please don’t think that I am complaining about my parents wanting to sell the site, because that is not what I am doing at all. I am just being completely honest with you all and saying that I think the site still has more potential.
Wrapping Things Up
My parents and I have made the decision to let it earn for one more month and then see what kind of valuation it will get from Empire Flippers. Depending on how they value the site we will either list our site for sale or keep it longer.
We will be making this decision at the end of February and I will make sure to keep you all up to date on what we do.
Thank you all for reading and I hope you enjoyed the 6 month update on the website investment. I hope that I have opened your eyes on the crazy ROI websites can provide you with. I mean where else will you see a 87.5% ROI in 6 months?! 🙂
Feel free to leave any questions or comments below, I will be around answering all questions!