I'm excited to bring you the first official income report for the authority site project that Perrin and I started a few months ago!
I fully expect that we will be writing a lot more in-depth blog posts about the specific tactics that we've used to get links, grow our site, and make money. However, today I want to focus on some of the big picture progress that we've made, and then of course share a detailed income report below.
You can expect these income reports on a monthly basis now for the foreseeable future.
Progress Made So Far
As we've shared in previous posts about the authority site project, we've made quite a bit of progress on our “authority site” so far. Some of the highlights from the project so far:
- Site started around August 2014
- Focused purely on content and outreach from August until November (and have continued since).
- Received lots of natural “white hat” links including several from universities and other well known online properties.
- Site now has an Ahrefs domain rank of 50+ and linking root domains of 100+
- Did not try to monetize the site at all until we launched our Kindle ebook in November (see initial kindle ebook results here).
- Added Google Adsense to the site in November
- Site was accepted (second try) to Google News in December
Here's a quick look at the recent traffic:
The bigger traffic spikes are caused by Google News. Some days you have news items that gain traction and other days you don't.
However, the trend that I like is that our natural search engine traffic is steadily increasing. So, even when we don't have a big Google News days, we can still get some decent search engine traffic from Google. Overall we still usually get an average of 200 to 300 sessions per day.
Here's a look at natural search engine traffic from Google only (does not include Google news traffic or other sources):
This chart shows the traffic on a monthly basis. I'm excited to see that our Google traffic continues to grow each month, but I'm even more excited about the possibilities of sales and email opt-ins from Kindle books.
Let's take a look at the overall earnings of the site and discuss where we go from here.
As mentioned briefly above, we did not add any monetization to the site itself until December. We did publish our first Kindle ebook in November, but even that didn't really start making money until the first of December.
If you have been reading along, you will know that our kindle book launch exceeding our expectations! Perrin and I launched the book expecting to make maybe a couple hundred dollars. We mostly launched the book because we wanted to start building an email list from the book.
However, the success of our first book on Kindle has made us completely rethink where we should be putting our time an energy. We are definitely going to be focusing more on Kindle books now.
So, how do our kindle books and our authority site interact with one another?
In a nutshell, both the Kindle books and the website are building us an email list that we can use to launch future Kindle books or other products.
However, we are also monetizing the best we can along the way. On our website we monetize with Google Adsense and the Kindle books are sold on Amazon.
So, with that quick explanation, let's jump into the actual numbers for December!
Authority Site Adsense Earnings: $74.51
The earnings from the web property itself is pretty small at this point. However, it's the first month we even tried to monetize and you have to start somewhere! I expect the Adsense earnings to be over double for January.
Kindle Book Earnings
This number is kinda tricky to calculate. Even though Amazon gives reports, they are broken down by actual units sold and KU/KOLL Units (borrows and lending library). Then they are further broken down by country. The book can be sold and borrowed in up to 13 different countries (Amazon stores). In addition, the currencies are different in each Amazon store, so they have to be converted to the currency you want to see.
However, I really wanted to see how much our Kindle book generated in US dollars (and I know you guys want to see it as well); so I went through the extra work to convert everything to one dollar figure.
Total Earnings for Authority Site Kindle Book: $2,638.05
Above is the screenshot for units purchased or borrowed during December. Please note that Dec. 1st was the last day of our $0.99 sale; which is why the units sold was so high. All units sold after December 1st were at a price of $2.99.
I could not be any more pleased with the results of our very first Kindle ebook! We blew away all our expectations.
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If you are interested in the step by step details of how we launched our book, I've written a massive post right here all about it.
The sales are trending down, so I expect that January will be a smaller month than December; however, that could change as we are in the process of launching our second book!
That's right, our second book has been written and will be live on Amazon this week. While I don't know exactly what to expect, I do think it will add at least a few hundred dollars a month to our revenue.
In addition, we have a 3rd book in the works already as well. Our 3rd book will be done in 2 to 3 weeks. And of course, we are brainstorming book titles for several other books as well in our niche.
Overall Earnings for Authority Site in December (Adsense + Kindle): $2,712.56
In addition to just the awesome income, we also started building our email list. To be honest, I was hoping we could have built a larger list than we did, but every little bit helps.
End of December Email List Size: 240
I know…I know. 240 emails is not a huge accomplishment. However, we really just started trying to collect emails at the end of November, and it's a little bit of momentum towards building a larger business. I'm happy with the progress made so far.
We've made quite a bit of progress on the site, and we have lots of plans moving forward.
One of the most exciting developments that I need to draw attention to is the fact that we got approved to Google News in December. This is a pretty big deal.
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Google has strict guidelines here for how to get listed in Google News. We followed those steps and failed…the first time. After making the necessary corrections (and waiting 60 days), we were able to submit our site again…and got approved!
It's kind-of a cool feeling to know that a Google employee has visited our site and deemed it worthy of being including in their elite news section. We are definitely building a quality site; even Google thinks so.
We are now actively writing a couple of news stories per day on our site and seeing a nice uptick in traffic on some days. We are also getting more natural links since we joined Google News. We are hoping that as our site continues to age and our link profile continues to grow, that the natural SEO traffic to our site will also grow.
In addition to “news” posts, we continue to add more keyword focused content. We are in a VERY competitive market and so it's slow going to rank for keywords. As the chart shows at the beginning of this post, we ARE seeing a slow and steady increase in our Google traffic…it's just going to take some time.
So, our immediate plans are to continue to post regular content to the site as a long term strategy. However, the more short term (and hopefully long term) revenue is going to come from the Kindle books that we produce.
We will have books 2 and 3 out in the next month or so. If those go even half as well as our first book, we will be thrilled! In addition, if the Kindle model continues to produce, we will start scaling it even larger. I'll hold off on sharing my exact “scaling” plans for now until I see a bit more success from the model.
A Few Final Thoughts…
First of all, I want to say “thank you” for continuing to read my blog. Even though I've shared a few posts here and there about this authority site project, I still feel like there is SO much more that I could be sharing. I wish I could do a blog post every day to keep all of you up to date.
However, the reality of the situation is that I have a lot going on in my business outside of NichePursuits.com. I'm involved in several different business ventures (some that I've mentioned and some that I haven't)…as a result, I always feel like I run out of time at the end of the day before I have a chance to blog about things.
If NichePursuits.com was my only business, I would certainly be putting more time in my blog posts here…or even my marketing efforts to grow my readership. However, I also feel like my blog posts are MORE valuable for the exact same reason. I actively run businesses outside of this blog, and so hopefully the advice and “real world” case studies I share can have a greater impact in your business.
I simply want to say thank you and I'm doing my best to keep everyone updated with what's going on in my business.
If you have any questions or comments on this blog post, please leave your thoughts below. Thanks!