I’ve worked with Christy since the fall of 2018 when she enrolled in my course. It took a few months to hit $100 in a month. Since then, Christy has grown the site to about $9k per month on average over the last 6 months. The site has kept growing and is one of the top blogs in the small, obscure niche. (The site is confidential.)
Christy is giving quarterly updates in 2023. But you can go back to the beginning when she was thrilled to hit $100 in Jan of 2019. We have over a dozen interviews (youtube playlist), so you can really dive deep on the progress.
My course Multi Profit Site is open for enrollment, July 17 – 21, 2023. Enrollment closes at 11:55 PM.
Welcome to the first update of 2023! I’m switching from monthly to quarterly case studies this year—but, fear not, they’ll have the same level of detail you’ve become used to.
This quarter was a real rollercoaster, including a big traffic scare and then above-average earnings just one month later. Technical issues aside, the gradual increase in traffic over the past year (thanks to new content!) is now paying off.
Read on to learn how I’m continuing to work through my 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 Quarter: $22,217.02 (site) + $12,000 (writing retainer*) = $34,217.02
- This Year: $22,217.02 (site) + $12,000 (writing retainer*) = $34,217.02
- Lifetime: $235,121.33 (site) + $54,800 (writing retainer*) = $289,921.33
- This Quarter: 521,974
- This Year: 521,974
- Lifetime: 4,198,829
- This Quarter: $9,570.00
- This Year: $9,570.00
- Lifetime: $86,102.17
Note: Here were my biggest investments this month.
- $2,175.00 of each month went to my Content Manager and team of writers and email/social managers.
- $610 of each month went to systems expenses, the largest of which is $400 to Flywheel for hosting.
*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 monthly copywriting retainer. Since this income is directly the result of my site, I’m including it with income.
Q1 2023 Updates
Where did I spend my time (and money) for the first quarter of 2023? 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 were on par with 2022 for January and February, but they ticked up significantly in March.
Amazon was up more than $1,000 from February to March, and up 68% YoY. Ads earnings were the big surprise—they doubled from March on year ago. Ads topped $5,400 in a single month!
I also caught up on smaller affiliate programs that I only check occasionally. I made nearly $500 from those programs this quarter.
Focus Area: New Content
The main growth strategy for this year is new content generation (i.e. publishing new articles). My 2023 goal is to tackle 5 new articles per month, though I approved doubling this amount in April and May. So far this year, we have:
- 21 new articles published this quarter
- 1 guest post published this quarter
If you’ve been following along, you know I also have a Google Analytics Custom Report tracking the traffic specifically for my new content. I’m adding new 2023 posts to the 2022 analytics to keep track of the broader content sprint.
My 2022/2023 new content generated 194,581 sessions this year and 428,465 sessions since the sprint started!
Focus Area: Existing Content
My site has 734 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 in 2023.
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 .
My content manager has now onboarded three freelancers into expanded roles—including a writer who will be focused on improving existing content.
The upgrade process has been fairly rocky, and even though we’ve been at it for months (with different people). Honestly, the only person who has picked up the task seamlessly is my Content Manager. Sadly, she can’t do it all!
Focus Area: Selling Products
I sold 4 digital guides in December ($44.95) and one online course ($149).
What else was I up to this quarter?
Well, if you were paying attention to the new content report screenshot, you noticed a giant dip in February. (That’s when my hair turned grey. I mean, white.)
- Troubleshooting Traffic Decline: Traffic started declining rapidly, falling to around 50% of what I’d been seeing previously. At first, I thought it was a Google algorithm casualty, but we’ve never gotten hit before. SerpRobot was sending me hundreds of alerts every day about keywords dropping hundreds of rankings. Neither my developer nor Doug could figure out a clear cause. After a lot of research, I asked my developer force Google to reindex the entire site. After a very tense couple weeks, traffic began to recover—and so did rankings. We still have no idea what happened or why, which is pretty unnerving. I’m just relieved the damage wasn’t permanent!
- Social/Email Content: We now have one freelancer focused on social media and another doing email campaigns. My Content Manager supervises them, and I’ve entirely removed myself from the process. We sent 12 emails in Q1, which certainly correlates to the uptick in subscribers.
- Email Growth: My list grew to 7,500 subscribers, with more than 1,200 new folks joining this quarter.
Overall, it’s been a really good quarter in terms of traffic and earnings—particularly in March. February’s traffic issue is disconcerting, but I’m trying to just move forward and trust the best practices we’ve always followed will pay off.
Did anyone else see a sudden traffic in February? Comment below. I’d love to know if I was the only one!