First things first, thanks to everyone who followed along on my 2x Income Accelerator case study last year. You certainly helped hold me accountable for making progress and—ultimately—hitting my goal!
As we head into a new year, I’ve put together a three-part growth strategy designed to continue the site’s upward trend. Doug and I will continue posting monthly recaps to the blog, as well as releasing interviews over on his YouTube channel.
Let’s get started!
2022 Game Plan
This year is all about bolstering the site’s primary revenue generator—content. I’ll be embarking on a BIG content sprint, improving articles that already exist, and supplementing affiliate and ad income with sales of my own products.
1. Add More Content
The majority of content growth will come from paid articles about the topics on my SEO target list. Ideally, I’ll use a team of 10-20 Upwork writers, coordinated by a Content Manager, to create and publish the content.
2. Improve Existing Content
This is all about small improvements to help existing articles move up 1-5 spots in SERP (e.g. Page 2 to page 1, or higher on page 1).
3. Sell More Products
Focus on selling my own two courses, three digital guides, and high-value Knowledge Directory courses more intentionally.
The Site in a Nutshell
Whether you’ve been following along since the beginning, or are new to this case study, here are some key stats for my site.
- This Month: $4,909.39 (site) + ($3,400 writing retainer*) = $8,309.39
- This Year: $4,909.39 (site) + ($3,400 writing retainer*) = $8,309.39
- Lifetime: $128,178.49 (site) + ($3,400 writing retainer*) = $131,578.49
- This Month: 109,442
- This Year: 109,442
- Lifetime: 2,232,904
- This Month: $1,962.09
- This Year: $1,962.09
- Lifetime: $38,716.73
*Amended: A major apparel brand within my niche discovered my site and reached out in late 2021 about collaborating. We ended up developing a relationship that became a 2022 monthly copywriting retainer. Since this income is directly the result of my site,
Where did I spend my time (and money) for January? Let’s take a look.
(Ongoing) Affiliate Programs & Ads
In addition to the three-phase growth plan activities, I always keep my finger on the pulse of affiliate and ad revenue streams.
I knew January earnings would be lower from Q4’s high water mark, but not reaching $5,000 for January was a bummer. In 2021, the site averaged $6,000 per month—so I’d hoped to at least be in that range.
Then again, when I compare this month to January a year ago, I saw a 38% increase.
Since my ad revenue took a much bigger dip than affiliate sales, I was curious to check out the infographic sent out by Mediavine in January. They show what to expect in terms of advertising revenue trends year by year, day by day. Obviously these are based on results across all users, not my specific niche, but it was still really helpful.
When I look at January, it’s pretty clear that I’m not the only one seeing lower ad earnings.
Focus Area: New Content
In order to hit my goal of adding 400 pieces of new content in Q1 and Q2, I *must* expand my team and delegate more of the work. After all, I have another full-time job and a life!
I spent a lot of time this month working through a repeatable process for content creation, QA, and publication. One of the writers I’ve worked for a few years agreed to step into a Content Manager role, including hiring and managing Upwork writers, creating outlines, and QAing new articles.
In addition, I’m recruiting a couple additional team members to get articles into WordPress, add affiliate links, and manage image files.
Guess what? Putting a process (and documentation) together takes a LONG time.
Though I didn’t kick off any content work with freelance writers in January, the work I did behind the scenes should make the entire process easier moving forward.
Focus Area: Existing Content
Improving existing content is second priority, and I didn’t start working on this yet. My goal for February, though, is to outline a repeatable process for how I’ll select “low hanging fruit” articles and make small changes that help them rank higher in Google.
Focus Area: Selling Products
I also set a goal of having 10% of my annual revenue come from my own products—meaning my online courses, my affiliate course library (“Knowledge Directory”), and digital guides.
This month, my email marketing team member began creating new messages for our drip campaign that highlight high-commission affiliate courses. She also started working on a promotional calendar, including materials for our quarterly course sales sprint coming up in March.
What else was I up to this month?
- Troubleshooting tech issues: A few weeks ago I found a “new user registration” email in my SPAM folder—for a user I never created. Then, I found two more. Yikes! After chatting with our hosting company, Flywheel, and my developer, we learned these spam users were being created through a default registration page that was part of a plugin. We quickly removed the unused page, and I haven’t seen any other suspicious activity.
- Offloading red sticky notes: Every quarter or so, I write every item that’s stressing me out—or not working well—on a separate red sticky note. Then, I work to address each one. In January, I delegated “red sticky notes” like checking monthly affiliate income for ~30 smaller programs to a member of my team.
- Blog acquisition: In 2020, I purchased a small blog and rolled the content into my site. In January, I bought another small blog for $1,000 and will be integrating and improving those posts over the next couple months. This was half of my expenses for the month.
- Second Course Content: This month we (finally!) filmed some video content for the second course, and the person doing the written content finished up her work. Though it’s months behind where I wanted it to be, the second course should be a great way to help meet my 2022 goal of having 10% of earnings from my own products.
- Refiling trademark: I realized my site tagline trademark had gone dormant (ugh) and had to be refiled. That was ~$600 through LegalZoom. While it’s unlikely I would ever need legal ‘ownership’ of the tagline, I love it so much that I feel a lot better having it trademarked.
As I mentioned earlier, I have another job—and it’s been insane the past few weeks. I had almost zero time to work on my site, which was pretty frustrating. I’d hoped to have my new Content Manager up and running by now, but I need to be flexible. Things happen, and sometimes life will get in the way of my side hustle goals.
At least the site continues earning whether I have time to work on it or not!