Multi Profit Site will open for enrollment Jan 10th – 14th. It’s a proven framework that Christy used to create her site. The site made about $75,000 in 2021. Make sure you’re on the email list and keep an eye out for the announcement.
Goal Met: 107% Year-Over-Year Growth
As I cross off my third year in the affiliate marketing world, I took time to reflect on just how far my site has come. During my first full year, I earned just over $13,000. Come 2021, and the site generated nearly $75,000.
That’s some pretty staggering growth, especially considering that I knew *nothing* about SEO or affiliate marketing going into this. I hope it gives you confidence that it’s possible to learn completely new skills, follow best practices, and get results.
Though December earnings were (comparatively) modest, this month was enough to tip the scales and meet my big goal!
Back in the Spring of 2021, Doug and I looked at the numbers and forecast a banner December between $10-12K. At the time, that sounded insane, but the numbers did back up the possibility.
After a big November ($9,000+), I dared to hope I might reach $10,000 in a single month. Between stagnating traffic, two holidays (when traffic tanks), and a couple Google updates going into effect, it wasn’t to be. But, there’s still reason to celebrate!
I more than doubled my niche site income in 2021 (107%).
This year was full of ups and downs, and there were many times I lost hope of reaching my 2x revenue goal at all. (Summer traffic and technical issues were the darkest days.) I learned a lot in 2021, and it’s going to help me set my path for 2022.
Before we dig into this month’s activity in detail, check out my lifetime earnings chart.
This Month in a Nutshell
To put things in perspective, last December earnings were just shy of $5,000. This month, the site generated just shy of $7,000. Compared to a year ago, that’s a solid amount of growth. Compared to where Doug and I thought it would be, it was rather disappointing. In fact, this was the only time December earnings didn’t surpass November.
On the other hand, Christmas and New Year’s Eve holidays both land in December—and my traffic (and earnings) tank during holidays. It also seems like recent Google updates may have impacted the number of visitors I had this month. As usual, though, who really knows?
Not selling a single digital guide or course in December was a real bummer. But I’m not letting that dampen my holiday spirit.
This Month: $6,908.61
This month saw respectable earnings of nearly $7,000, but it was nowhere near what I’d hoped to see for December. Yet again, I find myself caught between being happy and disappointed!
December saw a 38% increase year-over-year, but earnings were down 24% from November.
If we zoom in on December revenue, Mediavine ads and Amazon Affiliate earnings were decent—but there was a notable decrease in ad earnings. My Etsy affiliate income, and a second program, were decent thanks to gift-related articles from our holiday content sprint that highlighted buyer’s intent topics.
In December, I averaged $222/day— DOWN from $304/day in October.
(Fun Fact: This month, the site’s entire earnings will be routed to my SEP IRA retirement account—an extra boost of savings!)
This Month: 106,214
December traffic was “just ok.” I didn’t see any of the spikes, like I had in November, that could have counterbalanced low holiday traffic later in the month. So I had a pretty good idea that I wasn’t going to see huge earnings early on in December.
I’m not sure how to tell which articles lost traffic and if there’s any actions I need to take. (I’ll be asking Doug about that!)
Doug’s Note: Some rankings went down, but not much. Overall, the average ranking went from 15.3 to 15.7 in Dec compared to Nov. Organic traffic was down 13% in Dec compared to Nov. If we look back at Nov and Dec 2020, traffic was up 20% — but Christy published a lot of content in 2020 so it’s not a straight-up comparison.
I think the algorithm and seasonality with the niche played a role in lower traffic and revenue in Dec. There are a lot of variables so it’s hard to pinpoint the reason.
As you can see from the chart below, I had more days under 4,000 visitors than in the past couple months. Not great, but not the end of the world.
When I look back on the site’s lifetime traffic, I like the trajectory overall—though I am a bit concerned about the downtrend recently.
Remember: May and June traffic was underreported due to a Google Analytics error.
This Month: $239
I invested the most in content for my “holiday sprint” admin support like inputting new WordPress blogs. Monthly systems expenses feel fairly high these days due to my upgraded Flywheel hosting and Teachable subscription.
Currently, I’ve put $21,216.40 into the site during 2021. That’s more than $6K over my original expense budget for the year.
Here’s where my funds went in December:
- $120 | Flywheel monthly hosting
- $119 | Teachable Pro subscription
Activities & Accomplishments
I always like to begin this section with a recap of my plans for 2021. Though I wasn’t able to get to everything on my list, I’m not beating myself up about it. Things happen (like technical issues), and you have to be flexible.
I had to refocus on the “must have” items for the Fall/Winter. That meant the Holiday Content Sprint and launching one course.
So, what did I end up focusing on most in December?
Focus Area: Holiday Content Sprint
I wrapped up the 25-article holiday sprint this month, and all of the posts focus on SEO-driven keywords that should have been relatively quick to rank for on Google.
The only content regret I have this year is not creating more articles during 2021.
Focus Area: Niche Brand Retainer Signed
Over the past few months, I mentioned that I’ve been developing a partnership with a major retailer in my niche. Though not direct site earnings, I do have my site to thank for ‘making the introduction.’
This brand has since put me on copywriting retainer for $3,200 per month throughout 2022, in addition to writing a couple catalogs.
That means an extra $42K+ anticipated revenue for 2022, thanks to the existence of my site. Pretty cool!
Note: Teachable charges me $119/month just to keep the course live. So that’s 1 additional sale per month needed to cover that expense. This month, I didn’t sell any. Sigh.
- SEO Content: I’m ending the year with 480 pieces of content on my site, which is an average of 160 articles per month. With 86% of total traffic being organic, I clearly have my SEO strategy and writing to thank for the vast majority of my income.
- Affiliate Income Model: As I mentioned, I signed a retainer with a major retailer in my niche. That meant prepping a ton of writing for their January emails and social media in December. I haven’t worked this much in a long time! It also meant that I just let me site coast—I simply didn’t have time to touch it this month. Despite that, I earned nearly $7K without actively working on it.
- National Brand Partnership: Not only have I gotten free products to review, and a copywriting retainer about a topic I love, they also gave me a backlink from their blog. Yahoo!
What’s Not Working
- Knowledge Directory: I know, guys. Old news. Though I made a couple small sales this month, it was still under $20 total.
- Paid Guides: For the first time since May, I didn’t sell a single digital guide. Whomp.
- Ongoing Course Sales: After last month’s launch, when I sold 12 courses and netted $1,200 in revenue, sales totally dropped off in December. Once we stopped sending emails about the launch price (at the end of November), I didn’t sell any more courses.
On the Horizon
In January, I’ll be unveiling my next big goal and strategy to reach it. If you have specific tasks you’d like me to include, comment on this post!
Here’s what else I plan to focus on next month:
- Prepare our second course for a January or February launch.
- Create video clips for our second course.
- Put a course promotional plan in place.
- Put a digital guide promotional plan in place.
- Put a Knowledge Directory promotional plan in place.
- Create a new lead magnet and email strategy.
- Kick off the first 2022 content sprint.
Thanks for coming along on my journey this year. I hope you’ve learned a lot, gotten some new ideas, and felt like you aren’t alone in the ups and downs of affiliate marketing life. I’m excited to see where 2022 takes us!