Welcome to July’s update! This month’s earnings and traffic grew compared to last month, which was a big relief. I was worried the site would follow last year’s “July Slump” — but I crossed $7,000 for the first time in 2022. I’m most encouraged by the steady, albeit modest, traffic growth this month. Hopefully that’s a sign my new content is gaining traction and seasonal articles are ticking back up simultaneously.
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.
- This Month: $7,032.34 (site) + $3,400 (writing retainer*) = $10,432.34
- This Year: $39,937.97 (site) + $23,800 (writing retainer*) = $63,737.97
- Lifetime: $163,218.95 (site) + $23,800 (writing retainer*) = $187,018.95
- This Month: 127,859
- This Year: 763,604
- Lifetime: 2,887,066
- This Month: $2,613.88
- This Year: $28,600.05
- Lifetime: $65,026.85
Note: Here were my biggest investments this month.
- $1,000 went to my Content Manager for 20 hours of work.
- $1,450 went to Upwork writers.
*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.
Where did I spend my time (and money) for July? 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.
I’m happy to report Amazon earnings were noticeably up, even though ad income dropped from June.
Amazon was up ~$1,070 this month (!), and up ~$1,200 from June 2021. Ads earnings decreased ~$350 from last month and was down ~$170 from this time last year.
Note: I’m not sure why ads were lagging with the increased traffic this month, except that historically the the first month of each quarter has lower ad investment from brands.
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 (156 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)
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 35,156 sessions. It’s great to see an upward trajectory!
Focus Area: Existing Content
My site has 636 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:
- 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.
During July, I didn’t make any progress on this task 🙁 I need to get my new team in place so I can assign this activity to a consistent person. This should get nailed down in early August, so I hope to have more to share on this front soon!
Focus Area: Selling Products
As I shared in June, my second online course *finally* got done. My team followed the same process as our first launch, meaning we sent a series of promo emails over a 10-day period July 6.
Drum roll… there were zero sales. Nope, not even one.
Obviously not the result I was expecting or hoping for, but it is what it is. I don’t plan to invest anything in courses for the rest of the year (except paying my Teachable plan to keep them available). It’s not a priority to figure out how (or if) they can become profitable at this point. Maybe I’ll revisit the topic again next year.
In other news, I sold 1 digital guide in July and earned $18.34 from the Knowledge Directory. Sales from my own products totaled $27.33, which is 0.39% of monthly revenue.
What else was I up to this month?
- Email Growth: I didn’t made any changes to the two free e-course CTAs previously embedded in relevant blogs, but 16 people have signed up so far. One blip is that 116 people unsubscribed this month, and our usual average is 32. That makes me think our readers didn’t appreciate the focus on course sales. Overall, though, my list has 5,193 subscribers. Yay!
- Media Kit: I created a 3-page Media Kit for brands who might be interested in paid engagements. It’s now posted on the Contact Page and Product Review pages of the site.
- Team Reorg: My Content Manager and I created a survey to gauge interest and skills in a variety of topics. From outreach to email marketing, updating existing blogs to running social media, I plan to activate our new team structure in early August.
The overarching feeling after this month is relief! I’m so glad income didn’t dip in July, like it did in 2021. It makes me hopeful that new content is starting to gain more traction and lifted traffic might be sustained.
Amazon earnings were particularly high this month, comparatively, which supports the assumption that my site performance may be slightly seasonal.
I have ~20 new blogs ready to review and publish (busy month in my life/other job), so I’ll be digging back into those in the coming weeks.
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!