Growth Trifecta Case Study (August 2022)

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Welcome to August’s update! This month’s earnings were right on par with July, but traffic grew 12.6%. This marked the second time I crossed $7,000 in 2022 and the highest traffic to date. My new content is finally starting to generate traffic, and I’m hoping it’s firing on all cylinders by the holidays.

Read on to learn how I’m 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.

site growth

Earnings

  • This Month: $7,062.90 (site) + $3,400 (writing retainer*) = $10,462.90
  • This Year: $47,000.87 (site) + $27,200 (writing retainer*) = $74.200.87
  • Lifetime: $170,281.85 (site) + $27,200 (writing retainer*) = $197,481.85

Traffic

  • This Month: 144,069
  • This Year: 907,673
  • Lifetime: 3,031,135 <<< Crossed 3 million visitors!

Expenses

  • This Month: $2,491.08
  • This Year: $30,763.93
  • Lifetime: $67,517.93

Note: Here were my biggest investments this month.

  • $1,000 went to my Content Manager for 20 hours of work.
  • $500 went to my developer for a block of 5 hours.
  • $240 went to writers for new content. 
  • $265 went to PandaDoc for an annual dedicated user so I can send agreements from an affiliate site user (separate from my other business). 

*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, I’m including a variation of income including it.

August Updates

Where did I spend my time (and money) for August? 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.

Amazon earnings respectable, and ad income was up a bit from July.

Amazon was down ~$630 this month, but up ~$790 from August 2021. Ads earnings increased ~$320 from last month and was up ~$45 from this time last year. 

Note: There was an industry-wide ad reporting issue on August 31, 2022, so my earnings from that day are underreported.

I also became an affiliate for a new high-end brand, published a product review, and added their products to a couple other posts. We’ve already seen 4 sales for $250+ in commissions. Yay!

optimism

Is that optimism I feel?

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 (181 published so far)
  • 25 guest posts published this year (3 published so far)
  • 50 new articles published for Q3 holiday sprint (now incorporating this into the 400 article goal)

I now have a Google Analytics Custom Report tracking the traffic specifically for my new content this year.

To date, my new content has generated 62,758 sessions. It’s great to see a steady upward trajectory!

new content traffic

Focus Area: Existing Content

My site has 663 pieces of content, so there’s plenty of room for improving existing content. That’s why one of my growth tactics for 2022 is improving existing posts.

My goal is to put 100 existing articles through a consistent improvement process this year. 

As a reminder, my approach includes:

  1. Add 2-4 new FAQs to each post (source from “People Also Ask”).
  2. Refresh (or tighten up) the article intro and/or product review content.
  3. Add images to keep people on the page longer and boost ad revenue .

During August, my content manager focused on getting three freelancers into expanded roles—including a writer who will be focused on improving existing content. She should start chipping away at the first 150 posts I’m prioritizing in September.

This list was a combination of the 100 posts we’ve partially updated (added FAQs), those that have left the top 10 rankings, and the top performing new posts from 2022. 

Focus Area: Selling Products

As I shared in July, my second online course launched with zero sales. In August, I tried adding CTA graphics/links to a bunch of related blog posts.

There were still no course conversions in August, so I’m going to go back and strip out those CTAs. The space is better used for Mediavine ads if no one is buying my offerings.

In other news, I sold 4 digital guides in August ($35.96) and earned $8.53 from the Knowledge Directory. I also sold my first brand partnership package from the new Media Kit for $500!

celebrate

Me when a brand bought a partnership package!

Once my new Outreach Manager is up and running in September, I hope to sell a lot more brand-level packages. I created a target list of 80 companies for her to contact, so we’ll see what happens 🙂

If I count the media kit sale as “my products,” which I think makes sense, my product sales totaled $535.96, which is 13% of monthly revenue. That’s the first time I’ve crossed my monthly 10% goal for 2022!

Other Activities

What else was I up to this month?

  • Email Growth: I have two free e-course CTAs embedded in relevant blogs, and 30 people have signed up through those. Overall, my list has 5,580 subscribers, including 346 new folks in August.
  • Team Reorg: August was all about onboarding, getting my new team members access to all the systems they need, and building out our plan of attack for content updates, outreach, and email. Specifically, my Content Manager is working on a big content calendar that spans all touch points (email, social, web, etc.) so our efforts are more cohesive.
  • Acquisition Blog: My developer and I finally got content from the blog I acquired (90 years ago) moved over. Almost. Some of them didn’t come through in the automated pull, so he has to troubleshoot before implementing a domain-level redirect. You guys, I’m over it.
grumpy monkey

When I think about how long this has taken…

Parting Thoughts

The overarching feeling after this month is progress. It’s not that fun to work on things like processes, systems, and planning, but it’s made easier knowing my new content is getting traction with Google in the meantime.

The investments I’m making in the team will hopefully support more growth over time. If nothing else, we should have a more consistent brand presence when we reach out to brands about paid engagements. I’m excited about the possibilities there.

Have thoughts about what I should focus on (or ignore) the rest of this year? Other ideas for things I should be working on? Comment below!

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