2014 May Monthly Income Report – Welcome to my first income report

Welcome to my very first monthly income report. I have been planning it forever (since Jun 2013), but because of all the good and bad things happened last year, I did not have a chance to actually start it. Now year 2014 is almost half way through. It’s important to take action now.

If you are only interested to the numbers, you can find total income for each month from the table on the summary page.

Now without further delay, lets dive into the details of May 2014:

Section 1: Niche Sites Monthly Status Update

Starting from June 2013, I have been learning a lot about building niche websites. I was first introduced to this idea from Spencer Haw’s Niche Project 1. Being a real estate investor for 5 years, when I first got to know about niche websites, I fell in love with this business model almost immediately.

It’s indeed very similar to real estate investment, I mean, the way how they work. You can consider niche websites as your rental properties in the virtual world.

Capital Gain: You can build, buy and sell real estate properties; you can build, buy and sell niche websites as well.

Regular Income: You can rent a real estate property out to tenant(s) to earn rental income; you can promote products to earn commissions by advertizing on your niche website (such as renting the space of your niche site out)

Even though not 100% passive, (well in my eyes, no income is ever 100% passive, if you happen to know one, please share with me, I would love to know) once set up properly, you do not need to spend many hours every day to maintain the income level.

My favorite part is, this model is replicable. In my point of view, in order to grow a business effectively, there needs to be a model and this model needs to be able to be repeated – same idea as chain stores.

Now you might wonder how many niche sites I have built so far. Within one year of time, I built no less than 15 sites. You are right, 15 of them, but because of the fast changing environment in SEO (search engine optimization) world, some of the link building methods I learned in early days are not applicable anymore. Most of my first 10-12 sites (built in year 2013) were punished by Google and abandoned by me, however I learned so much and become more and more confident to this business model.

In order to keep myself updated, I am reading lots of blogs talking about niche sites building and the most successful ones are the following:

www.nichepursuits.com (By Spencer)

authoritywebsiteincome.com (By Jon)

www.cloudincome.com (by Lewis)

www.cloudliving.com (By Tung Tran)

formyourfuture.com (By Josh)

www.realonlineincomereports.com (By Jason)

nichesiteproject.com (By Doug)

dumbpassiveincome.com (By Metthew)

Now in order not to spread my time too thin and stay focused, in stead of building more niches sites, I am working on 4 websites exclusively. Now let’s look into them one by one.

For security reason, I am not going to disclose any of niche sites’ web address, but I will share as much details as I could. If you want to know more, please leave me a comment below.

1st niche site (BTM) – this is a site in fashion and beauty industry. I started this website in June 2013, so far it has been my most steady site. I have stopped adding new contents to it since November 2013 (now it has about 25 articles with total around 17,000 words on it). Now I am having around 3000 monthly visits.

Traffic for May 2014 (If you can’t see it clearly, please click to enlarge the picture)

site1 trafficThe traffic has been on a decreasing trend as one of my secondary keywords (which brings over 35% of the overall traffic has been jumping between 1st and 3rd place of Google search result while it was steady at the 1st place from Jan 2014 to April 2014.

Now let’s look at the engagement of the site. I realized that around 85% bouncing rate is way above the average. Therefore, I am working on improving the conversion rate of the site on both of AdSense and Amazon earning by revising the current contents.

site 1 user

I spent some time to rewrite some of the popular articles, but it did not help much. I also played around with different themes, so far I have tried 3 different options:

– Niche Website Theme (designed by Spencer from www.nichepursuits.com)

– IntelliTheme (designed by Empire Flippers from empireflippers.com)

– HeatMap Theme (suggested by Jason from www.realonlineincomereports.com, for detailed explanations, please check out Jason’s great writeup here)

After the testing, I concluded that IntelliTheme is the one that converts the best within these three themes for Adsense earnings. Although the layout does look neat and pretty at all, the result does not lie.

As sharing the data screen from AdSense against the terms and conditions with Google, for Adsense, I can only tell you that the page CTR (click through rate) is about 1.65%, which is lower than average. I have a few mini sites with over 6% CTR (with IntelliTheme) – just as a reference, so I think it must have something to do with the keyword itself.

For Amazon, the earning is very minimum, but it indeed has lots of potentials. Let’s look at the daily trend of clicks from Amazon:

Site1 Amazon1site1 amazon2With close to 500 clicks, the conversion rate is only 0.61%, just to give you an idea, 3-4% conversion rate is very common with Amazon sites, so I do see the room for improvement to happen.

Now let’s look at the following table for a little summary for this site from different income resource:

AdSense Earning Amazon Earning
May 2014 – Niche Site 1 $33.69 $0.40

The total earning is $34.09, which is below the earning of the previous few month as I was doing some testing through different themes. I am confident if I switched the them to IntelliTheme again, the earning should be around $50 / month, but before I give up on trying the new themes, I am going to test another new theme in June. This theme has been used by Perrin (who is a student of Spencer in his Niche Project 2). From the great result that Perrin got so far, hopefully I can get something close to 5%.

2nd niche site (BFW) this is also a site in fashion and beauty industry. I found the primary keyword of this site and the primary key word of 1st niche site at the same time through Long Tail Pro (a keyword research tool developed by Spencer from www.nichepursuits.com), but as they are two different products, I decided to develop one site for each keyword.

I used the exact same PBN (Private Blog Network) to rank this site as the 1st site, but because of the competition is slightly different between these two keywords, the 2nd niche site is not getting the same amount of traffic as the 1st niche site. However this site was not build until December 2013, I do expect some further traffic growth with current back links in the near future.

site2 trafficsite2 userWhile I was testing different themes on niche site 1, I leave Niche Website Theme on this site and the earning are the following:

AdSense Earning Amazon Earning
May 2014 – Niche Site 2 $6.62 $0.00

The total is only $6.62. Amazon affiliate links got 109 clicks, but there was no conversion at all. I will switch to IntelliTheme in next couple of month and see how they convert.

3rd niche site (LBG): This site is in the baby niche and it has the potential to become an authority site. It’s not only that I have the most contents on this site within all my niche sites (I have total 40 articles, well over 25,000 words on it and I am still adding a 1000 word article every week), I am spending lots of time on building basic links to this sites besides all the PBN links. I started this site in November 2013 by using a brandable approach, and it did not get too much attention until early April, for the first half of May, the earning has been really good, but the keyword attracting 80% traffic lost its ranking on May 13, 2014 for a reason that I am not aware of.

site3 trafficsite3 usersMy earning went to close to none for the site all at once, but I am working hard on earning my ranking back and hope to see some earning again in June. You might wonder why I did not give up on this site. The site was definitely not punished, because all the other keywords that this site is focusing still stay at the same level as before. The conversion rate of this site is actually very decent. Now let’s look at the click daily trend from Amazon:

site3 amazon1site3 amazon2I believe 6.91% conversion rate is definitely above the average of Amazon.

AdSense Earning Amazon Earning
May 2014 – Niche Site 3 $0.00 $200.89

The total income is $200.89,proves to me that earning money online is possible.

4th niche site (GWHD): This is my newest website that I started in mid February 2014. It has only been a few months and I did not spend too much time on this site yet. By all means, I am still testing the niche by slowly adding contents to it. It now has about 8 articles with about 10,000 words on it.

site4 trafficsite4 userWith 5-6 visits per day, it has not earned anything yet. For this site I am using the same review theme as Perrin is using for his www.apennyshaved.com.Therefore, there is no plan for AdSense earning at all.


AdSense Earning Amazon Earning
May 2014 – Niche Site 4 $0.00 $0.00

The total is $0 for now and I hope to see some earnings in June.

Section 2: Other Incomes

Even though niche site is the way to go, at current stage, eBay earning is still a significant portion of my total earnings. In addition, I have a plan to add more income stream in next few month. I will summarize everything other than niche site earnings in this section.

I have been selling on eBay since year 2004, first through some great partnership opportunities, now mainly managing everything by myself. Currently I only keep 2 product lines, but by using the same business model, I can add more product lines. My eBay earning had a record month of $1500 profit in December 2012, but since then, I shifted my focus and the profit has been decreasing a lot.

The summary of the earnings for each product line is the following:

May 2014 – eBay Earning
Product Line 1 $178.78
Product Line 2 $26.35

Total is $205.13. As summer is coming, I expect the earning will be further decreased in June.

Section 3: Expenses Summary

To keep expenses under control has always been the key to success no matter what type of business you have. I have not done a great job on controlling my expenses. Therefore, this becomes one of the main reasons that I start my monthly report to keep the expenses on the right track.

Recurring Expenses Amount
Serpbook subscription (ranking history)  $29.97
Done For You Private Blog Network (from Jon)  $49.99
Elance (Article writing for LBG site) $100
Long Tail Pro (from Spencer) $17
Auctiva  $9.95
eBay Store Fee  $49.95
Aweber $19
Network Solutions $12.95
Source-Wave forum $47
LightningRank – 1 Post Per Month Package (by Jon) $75
Sub Total $410.81
One Time Expenses Amount
 RankHero (PBN links from Spencer) $197.00
Name Cheap (register or renew sites) $202.82
HostGator (Hosting Service) $9.95
Elance (Logo and Facebook Banner Design for LBG site) $85
Elance (TeeShirt Design for TeeSpring campaign) $55
TextBroker (Article Writing) $100
Fiverr.com (outsource articles) $15
Tee Cash Kit (TeeSpring training for campaign) $37
HeatMap Theme $67
Sub Total $734.77

Total is $1145.58, which shocked me! I immediately looked into the ones that I do not need and cancelled two recurring payments. I also noticed that most of the one time expenses are caused by the testing that I have done this month. I will work hard to keep them under control next month. Hopefully I will see some improvement soon.

Section 4: Goals and Plans

Overall, my earning is way less than my expenses for the month of May, so next month my first priority will be reducing my expense as it’s more straight forward and easier to be done. At the same time, I will slowly implement new strategies to improve my traffic as well as the earnings. I will set up some goals to keep myself on the right track.

Niche Site 1 (BTM): try the review theme that is currently used by Perrin and hopefully to see higher conversion rate on Amazon.

Niche Site 2 (BFW): if I see great result from BTM site, I will try similar theme to improve conversion rate for this site as well.

Niche Site 3 (LBG): continue to work on getting my ranking back by adding more links from my PBN

Niche Site 4 (GWHD): I will add more back links to bump up the traffic and wait for my first little earnings.

If you have gone this far, I really appreciate your patience to read my first monthly income report. If you have any questions or comments, please leave me a message below.

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