Authority Site Project Income Report for December 2014

By Spencer Haws |

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!

For the past few months we’ve discussed in a few posts some of the strategies we’ve been using to get traffic and earnings to the site including publishing Kindle books and Reddit marketing.

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:

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

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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.

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.

Next Steps

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.

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  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 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!

Stories & Projects | 73 comments

By Spencer Haws

Spencer Haws is the founder of After getting a degree in Business Finance from BYU (2002) and an MBA from ASU (2007) he worked for 8 years in Business Banking and Finance at both Merril Lynch and Wells Fargo Bank.

While consulting with other small business owners as a business banker, Spencer finally had the desire to start his own business. He successfully built a portfolio of niche sites using SEO and online marketing that allowed him to quit his job in 2011. Since then he's been involved in dozens of online business ventures including: creating and exiting Long Tail Pro, running an Amazon FBA business for over 3 years and selling that business, founding, and co-founding You can learn more about Spencer here.

Want to learn step-by-step how I built my Niche Site Empire up to a full-time income?

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Taylor Hendricksen

Awesome progress so far! I don’t think I’ve seen a niche site primarily monetized off of Kindle sales so far, but it’s obviously working well, so I’m guessing we’re going to be seeing a ton more of it around the Interwebz (just like the flood of Survival Knife Site duplicates). Great work Spencer and Perrin!

Spencer Haws

Thanks Taylor! I do have to give props to Steve Scott ( for inspiring us with trying to monetize with Kindle books like he has.

Steve Scott

Thanks for the mention (as always) Spencer. Love the fact that your one book is doing so well. I think with the 2nd one, you’ll see a major uptick when both start promoting one another. 🙂

Spencer Haws

Thanks Steve!

Mark G.

Great update and I’m glad it’s going well. I know the site and the book, and they’re awesome. I was wondering if you had a long term content plan, or are you just taking it as it comes? I’m wondering if you are aware of Copyblogger, and the kinds of strategies they employ when it comes to content marketing? Highly recommended. Good luck with everything.

Spencer Haws

Thanks Mark! Yes, we have a long term content marketing plan. We’ve shared some of it in bits and pieces in previous posts, and we’ll share more in the future. But some of it involves creating in-depth content, then doing a lot of outreach to get social shares and mentions on sites.


That’s an awesome roundup, impressed with the amount of back-links you’ve got – would love to find out more details, such as out-reach methods you have used with greatest success!

Spencer Haws

Thanks Steve…yes, we’ll share more details. However, a lot of the links are coming more naturally to our Google news articles.

Mike K

I really am impressed with the adsense earnings. I honestly thought adsense was dead. Maybe I should rethink that bassumption LOL

Spencer Haws

Adsense is not dead. We aren’t making much on our site from it, but it will do for now.


I would be interested to know if you have any e-mail funnels within your kindle books?
If yes, how do you get them to your site and on to your list? offer them another e-book? or future discounts on new kindle books with a special coupon code?
Target, buying customers on your list, every entrepreneurs dream.
Great update, excited to see it growing!

Spencer Haws

Yes, we do have an email opt in within our ebooks. We offer them a different free ebook. You can see examples of how we do this in this post:

Joseph Ho

Great result. Authority site is the way to go for long term passive income.

Spencer Haws



Do you think it is possible for a site (with amazon affiliates links) to be able to get approved in google news?

Spencer Haws

I would be guessing here. But best advice would be to remove most or all affiliate links to apply. Then add them back over time.


Do you have any advice for people looking to get already established sites ready for submitting in to Google news?

I noticed one of their requirements is to have numbers within the URL, that’s fine for future posts but what about the 100+ previous news posts already published?

Any help with getting in to google news would sure help me and probably many others…

Spencer Haws

The URLs don’t need to have numbers. That’s just one option. Here’s a quote directly from Google news guidelines: “Please note that this rule is waived with News sitemaps”. So, if you are using Google news sitemaps, you don’t need the 3 digits. Here’s more info on news sitemaps:


Thanks, I swear that I read everything – I guess not!

Lee Trends

Great update fellas. Was looking forward to this.

On the google news content, how were you able to separate it from the regular posts you were creating for the site to submit for approval?

Secondly, I’ve heard that the front page of your site needs to look more news format and not include your other site content. Is this true or do you have both types of content standing side by side?

Thanks for all the info Spencer and Perrin!

Spencer Haws

Just use a “News” category in wordpress. Pretty simple to do. We did make our homepage all news content during the process of getting approved. We now have menus for both types of content.

Hamza khan

it tooks a lot of time to start earning good from authority site but you are doing a great job.I am following this case study from beginning and i am very inspired to see such positive results in very less time.It all because of your strategy and efforts.

Mark G

Yoast, who made one of the best SEO plugins available also has a plugin made specifically for those wanting to get into Google News. Amongst other things, it easily allows you to specify which articles you want to put in Google News and which you want to exclude.


Hey Guys,
Great work, It’s interesting to see how you shift over the year from 5 pages site to an authority one with only white hat.Very educational!
Perrin, can you give us a bit of information on whats happening with ?
It’s very interesting to see if ou managed to recover after shifting your site after the penalty you got.

Spencer Haws

Amir, the shift has NOT been in the past 12 months. I stopped building 5 page sites over 3 years ago (at least). Both the Niche site project 1 and niche site project 2 ended up being sites with about 100+ pages of content per site.


Hi Spencer,
You are correct, I’ve been following your site for the past 3 year, I was actually referring to moving from PBN’s to white hat all together. Can you give a little information about apennyshaved? it’s very interesting if the site has managed to recover from the penalty it got.
Perrin did some serious work there arranging the site differently and inserting different type of content.


Great work boys! You’ve inspired me to get my butt in gear and come up with a Kindle eBook.

Good luck with your other ventures – I totally get the time constraints with other businesses and family. Not easy to balance the time 🙂

Spencer Haws

Good luck Matt…Kindle books are a lot of fun 🙂


Spencer and Perrin,

Completely awesome work guys. While I read all the posts, the monthly income reports are some of my favorite as it both helps motivate me as well as gives me visibility to someone who is earning more.

I did have two questions about this months report. The first is about the $74.51 income from authority site. It looks like you have about 1500 sessions which would make this the adsense revenue $49.67 per 1000 sessions which is fantastic. Could you give us some visibility to the # of pageviews and/or tips, on earning this much revenue from that number of sessions.

Second, can you give us an update on the niche projects? Are you done with niche sites at least in terms of writing the month updates?

Thanks in advance and always a pleasure to hear how your doing,


Spencer Haws

Thanks Leo! Here’s some clarification on the traffic stats. You are looking at the seconds google analytics screenshot that shows about 1500 sessions…this screenshot ONLY shows natural SEO traffic from Google. We got MUCH more traffic to the site. The total traffic is shown in the first screenshot is 5,213 sessions. So, that’s the total traffic for the month.

I’ve discussed in several posts that I’m no longer focusing on smaller sites. Here’s one page you can read to get my take on it:

Josh Shogren

Hello Spencer,

Awesome to see those numbers from kindle. I have been reading about doing that and it is inspiring to see how successful you have been with it so far.

My only concern about kindle books is what to write about? I don’t feel like I could write a 25,000 word kindle book on anything. Would you suggest outsourcing it?

Anyways awesome post and great progress on the site so far! Will be following along

Spencer Haws

Yes, you can outsource it. But you still need to brainstorm the topics and probably even write an outline.

scott masse

Nice work guys, I keep plugging away on my stuff and you guys are always a source of inspiration!

Spencer Haws

Thanks Scott…good luck!


Wow! How are you guys churning out these books so fast? Are you and Perrin writing them or are you outsourcing them?

Spencer Haws

Its a combo. Perrin writes lots, but we also have another author helping us. Writing 12,000 to 20,000 words is really not that difficult when you are doing it full-time.


That is awesome man! I’m curious how many pages of content does the authority site have to generate this much earnings? And also can you share what category niche it is in without being too specific ex: (medical, entertainment, sports, etc)?
Keep husting cuz

Spencer Haws

We now have over 300 posts on the site. However, most of these are short news post (250 to 450 words).


Congrats on the success. I have been following along with great interest. Particularly the reddit post, loved that one, but cannot find a group of users to share the initial content with (maybe someone should start a FB private group of reddit users we can share and promote content on).

My main question is on content. 300 posts at 3/4 per day is tons. Did I miss somewhere you mentioned how you are getting this done?

Content creation is my main bugaboo…

Keep it up.

Spencer Haws

We have talked about the content creation at some point. However, Perrin writes some, and then we have a separate writer doing most of it.

Dominic Wells

Great stuff Spencer, I’m not surprised the site is doing so well. You guys are taking a great approach, I got that impression from talking with Perrin about the outreach dossiers.

On another note, I can totally related to what you mean about finding it difficult to blog here recently, too many fingers in too many pies.

People will be cheering for you and awaiting your updates whenever you do manage to squeeze in the time though, so keep it up.

Spencer Haws

Thanks Dominic…I appreciate the encouragement!


This is really a really good start and I am sure you have plans for other ways of monetizing.

I look forward to seeing the January income!

Spencer Haws

Thanks Lucie!

Carl Ashfield

Hey Spenser,

Good to see your site doing well. I’m just starting out and all I ever seen to be doing lately is reading websites like yours and gathering as much information as I can.
As I’m just starting out. I find it really hard to collect links and truthfully, a little fearful about getting links in the wrong way incase I get penalised.
So I have created a site for my trail and errors and writing content then sharing them through social networks in the hopes to collect links and visitors that way.
Is that all I should be doing?
Anyway. Keep up the work and keep updating me through your emails. All the best.


Great post and congrats on the success. It seems that writing eBooks truly outweighs building sites (if done right). Sites need to be updated, i.e. new articles and new links. But when you get a successful Amazon book, it will reap benefits long term because Amazon, more or less, handles the marketing side with their algorithm

Good luck! Looking forward to more posts.

Spencer Haws

Yep, there are definitely some advantages to Amazon. But nothing is guaranteed…

Quinton Hamp

I loved your authority site idea. But combining it with Kindle?

This is truly taking it up a level.

From August to January and you’ve built a business that would have paid me better than my call center job. Who says freedom isn’t just around the corner?

Spencer Haws

Thanks for the kind words Quinton!


Did you find that the information Google provided about how to get into their News section was accurate? Sounds like you followed everything to a T, but still had to fix a few things to be included. I’m just wondering if you can provide any additional pointers that you learned.

Spencer Haws

Yes, the info was pretty solid from Google. We just made a human error on our end of things; small mistake.


Thanks Spencer !
I had to read this article via your email. it’s very nice. I am a Vietnam I had difficulty is very much with my english but I tired to had a niche site and it’s growing
Thanks again your article.


Great work guys!
I would like to know where do you get idea/data for news articles? Any tips for that? Do you outsource it or Perrin writ them?

George Meszaros

Good article. What recommendations do you have to get a website into Google News?

Brent C


Great to hear the authority site is off to good start. Is Adsense and Kindle the long-term monetization strategy for the site, or is this just the start? Do you plan to create additional digital products outside of Ebooks?

I really appreciate all the great content you and Perrin provide!

Spencer Haws

Adsense and Kindle are good for now. In an ideal world, we will create additional products; but we will approach that once our audience grows.

Samir Nabil

Amazing post !!

I like kindle part and soon i will read the kindle publishing post to make my kindle buziness better

also I will try to submit my site to Google news again after they refused my first request.

Again great article thanks a lot !


Its always nice to read the case studies. This one is an inspiration to try out kindle model! Had not thought of going for Google news before but you gave me an idea. Thanks for this post.


Hey Spencer…nicheboy….I’m back…have had a bit of time on my hands the last few weeks obviously…Sundays are now free. Neck and shoulder still hurt…hence I haven’t been able to throw a ball with any velocity for years now. Your mob should beat those deflating cheats methinks…hell I’ve beaten Giselle’s homeboy plenty of times on my own before.
Who’s the new punk with you…looks like inspector Claude or someone, but the boy can write. He should change his name from Perrin to Peyton, much better.
Peace out man…keep up the good work. PM

Spencer Haws

Peyton…my man! It has indeed been a while; in fact, I think since the last time my home state Seahawks were headed to the Super bowl. Rest up your old bones and find some niche keywords; you can build sites in your retirement.

Oh, and don’t be a stranger!


Really very inspiring post thanks for sharing.


Thanks Bholu…nice to hear i am still inspiring some people…lot of haters on me lately due to a few inept results.

Ryan F

Good Morning Spencer! Fantastic post as usual. I know you don’t like to share your actual website with us, for good reason, but could you tell us what (broad) market your authority site is in? You mention that it is a very competitive market. Did you plan to continue creating authority sites that attack a larger market or are you planning on making new authority sites targeting a niche in the future?

Spencer Haws

A broad description would be the education niche.

Akbar Firdiansyah

Hello Spencer,

I’m very interested with your Authority Site Projects. Everytime I read your progress report, it’s gives me more spirit in building succesfull authority site. I’d learn lot of things from your projects. Good job Spencer

Spencer Haws

Thanks Akbar!


My name is Simon and I am a senior at high school.

This website and smartpassiveincome have inspired me to get myself owning web properties. My intent is to build niche websites and/or buy established websites and flip them.

My question is what would you recommend for a absolute beginner who is interested in building a niche website and/or flip websites? What kind of skills should I get good/better at? What do I do to get started?

Thanks for your time.


Spencer Haws

I would recommend reading my niche site project 1 and 2. That will help you get the basics down:

David Briard

Got to work on building that email list 🙂 240 is not bad, but I’m sure that will improve rapidly over the coming months. Really enjoying your website Spencer.

Spencer Haws

Thanks David. Yep, I’m not happy with the email list building at this point…but working on it 🙂

Khang Bui

Can you let me know name of the theme using on this your blog?


I make more than double of this a week… but then again I’m in a totally different niche(s).

Good to see that you can make money selling ebooks, never thought this can generate over $2K per month.

(Who reads books in the century? (information density of books is unbelievably low + environmental concerns + many of them are expensive + torrents/illegal downloads))

/Or maybe it was just a spike in December, because of Christmas?/

Btw. by “Overall Earnings” you mean sales or overall gross affiliate revenue for the month?

Good luck with your site!

Spencer Haws

Sales. There was very little affiliate revenue.

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