Welcome to April’s update! I wasn’t sure how earnings would look without our quarterly course promotion, which ended in March. Sales contributed to ~$600 of last month’s revenue. Given the less-than-stellar traffic I’ve been seeing all year, I worried April figures might fall below $5,000.
Luckily, Amazon affiliate earnings ticked up—for the first notable time all year. This was a real relief, even though it was still $150 less than April Amazon revenue in 2021.
Read on to learn how I’m modifying and working through my 2022 Growth Trifecta Plan. It combines a big content sprint, improving existing articles, and boosting revenue from my own products.
Let’s get into it!
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: $5,695.33 (site) + $3,400 (writing retainer*) = $9,095.33
- This Year: $20,797.53 (site) + $13,600 (writing retainer*) = $34,397.53
- Lifetime: $144,078.51 (site) + $13,600 (writing retainer*) = $157,678.51
- This Month: 105,435
- This Year: 412,382
- Lifetime: 2,535,844
- This Month: $9,193
- This Year: $20,948.06
- Lifetime: $57,702.06
Note: Since expenses were unusually high this month, I’ve added details about the biggest investments.
- $3,000 went to my Content Manager for 60 hours of work.
- $1,350 went to my Email and Social Media Manager for all of Q2 ($450/month).
- $2,050 went to Upwork writers for new content.
- $2,500 went to a teammate as pre-payment for putting 200 articles into WordPress (e.g. add copy, format content, add images).
*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 April? Let’s take a look.
(Ongoing) Affiliate Programs & Ads
In addition to the three-phase growth plan activities, I keep a close eye on affiliate and ad earnings, my primary income drivers.
As I mentioned at the top, Amazon earnings increased from March. Ad income stayed steady.
Amazon grew by $516.47 since last month, which was the first time it’s actually shown signs of recovery this year. That said, it was still down $150 year-over-year.
One of the oddest disparities from April 2021 was actually in one of my other, smaller affiliate programs. This month last year, it earned nearly $400. This month, it only generated $50—and it’s been down all year.
Focus Area: New Content
The main growth strategy for this year is new content generation (i.e. publishing new articles). My original 2022 goal was to tackle the following:
- 400 new articles published by the end of June (82 published so far)
- 25 guest posts published this year (2 published so far)
- 50 new articles published for Q3 holiday sprint (now incorporating this into the 400 article goal)
In March, though, I decided it was simply too stressful, expensive, and unrealistic to continue trying to meet that goal.
In order to complete 400 articles by the end of June, we would have had to publish 117 posts per month going forward. Fretting about finding enough writers to hit that goal didn’t seem likely. Plus, I’d already spent more on content management than I anticipated for the year.
So I pumped the brakes in April. I asked my Content Manager to back down to 5 hours per week vs. 10-20 she had been working. I also threw out my rigid goals and decided to continue with the writers we had already tested, hired, and liked.
For April, I ended up publishing 40 new pieces of content—35% of what I would’ve needed in order to stay on track with my original goal. I have another 15 ready to publish once I review them in WordPress.
Focus Area: Existing Content
My site has 563 pieces of content, which means there’s probably a LOT of untapped potential—for attracting more traffic and more earnings. That’s why one of my growth tactics for 2022 is improving existing content.
My goal is to put 100 existing articles through a consistent improvement process this year.
As a reminder, my approach includes:
- Add 2-4 new FAQs to each post (source from “People Also Ask”).
- Refresh (or tighten up) the article intro and/or product review content.
- Add images to keep people on the page longer and boost ad revenue .
Want more ideas for how to improve ad revenue on existing content? Check out this helpful guide from my ad provider Mediavine.
Now that my new content ‘machine’ is up and running, I was able to finally put together an initial list of 50 FAQs I’d like to add to 25 existing articles. They’ve been assigned to one of my writers, and I’ll put them into WordPress in May/June—along with addressing items #2 and #3 above.
I’ll need to repeat this process four times to hit my goal.
Focus Area: Selling Products
Since launching my first course, I’ve made $1,800 in sales of my first course. In April, I didn’t see any course sales.
Given that I’m paying $120/month just to keep Teachable up and running, I asked one of my team members to explore downgrade options. It looks like we’ll be able to switch to a plan that’s $30/month instead.
Downgrading means we’ll lose the ability to have affiliates selling the course.
But I didn’t feel that mattered, as we haven’t seen a single affiliate sale in the life of the course. I’d rather save on my Teachable subscription so more course sales go to profit—not just paying for the course platform.
I did sell 3 digital guides in April, along with a few affiliate sales from our Knowledge Directory. Those totaled $93.66. That’s 2% of monthly earnings from my own products vs. my goal of 10%. Obviously, still room for improvement!
What else was I up to this month?
- Acquisition Site Content Transition: As you read last month, I had finished cleaning up 65 priority articles and was waiting on my developer to get the rest of the articles moved over to my WordPress. He finished this up in late April, so I just need to go in, review, and publish. Then I’ll need my developer to handle all the redirects.
- Product Review Structure: I asked my team to put some structure around product review inquiries. We agreed to put out a call on social media quarterly so I can begin being more choosy and tackle several reviews at once.
- Second Course: After not having made progress in months, I finally asked a writer to polish the draft content for me. I should have the copy back in a week or so, then I’ll simply send it over to my team to put into Teachable. My remaining task will be editing a couple video clips to supplement written content.
- First Drip Email Course: My team member drafted a 7-email free course designed to support list growth. In addition, we can funnel folks to our first paid course in the last email.
In general, it was encouraging to see Amazon earnings tick up this month. I’m also happy to delegate more of the projects that have been sitting on my desk for a while. At some point (this point, apparently!) it’s worth spending more just to get rid of those hangnails.
Speaking of expenses, I just crossed $20,000 for 2022. Gulp. That means I’ve already spent as much as the site has made this year. It’s hard to spend so much in such a short time, then wait (likely months) to see if it makes a difference.
Have thoughts about what results I may see later this year? Other ideas for things I should be working on? Comment below!