#89 | Jan Income Report 🤑 & Google Penalty 💀

I got the email everyone dreads…

A manual penalty from Google on my main site.

Is it meant to be written as “for fucksake” or “for fuck’s sake”?

I can never remember.

Google said that there’s a patterns of ‘unnatural’ links pointing to my site.

Which is super weird, because the only link building I’ve ever done is:

  • Digital PR (putting out press releases for journalists to pick up)
  • HARO (responding to journalist requests directly)
  • A handful of guest posts and blogger collabs (3+ years ago)

This is all stuff I assumed was ‘safe’.

When people on Twitter are talking about buying all kinds of dodgy links and seeing great success with them, I did NOT expect to be the canary in the coal mine.

But, here we are.

Perhaps those old links slowly became more toxic over time as the sites started doing shady things themselves?

I’ve looked at the link profile and there’s a LOT of dodgy-looking shit in there. But everyone has that, right?

It’s too early to see if traffic is affected yet. I haven’t seen anything noticeable.

I have a couple of experts helping me to make a plan to get the penalty reserved.

The good thing to come out of this is that I’m learning new things to share with you.

Every cloud.

Now, onto my income report for January…

Travel blog

Here are the stats (compared to December):

  • Age: 4 years
  • Posts: 932 (up 45)
  • Pageviews: 1,495,876 (up 52%)
  • RPM: $50 (down 25%)
  • Revenue: $74,878 (up 14%)

January is always the high season for this niche, which means that the extra search demand outweighs the drop in RPMs that we typically see in January.

Sessions By Channel:

  • Organic Search: 883k (up 62%)
  • Organic Social: 201k (up 39%)
  • Direct: 80k (up 37%)
  • Email: 47k (up 3%)

Organic search has been the biggest driver, but I’m working hard on Facebook (posting 5x per day) and email (sending 3x per week) to grow those.

Revenue streams:

  • Display ads (83%)
  • Sponsorships (9%)
  • Affiliates (8%)
  • YouTube (<1%)
  • Products (<1%)

Other sites

I haven’t done ANY work on my other sites in January.

So I won’t bore you with the details of an income report, but here’s a rough overview…

The three sites that I’ve had for 2-3 years are all still on a decline.

They were each 15-30% down in traffic this month and 50-70% down in revenue. Yikes.

So, I’ll be continuing with my plan of ignoring these and focusing my efforts on what IS working.

They made around $2,000 this month.

My 9-month-old AI test site, however, is flying.

It’s had no work done for the past 3 months, still has 60 articles, yet the traffic is now at 24,793 page views in January.

This site made $472 last month, not bad.

So while I have a backlog of travel content to publish, I’ll assign a writer to work on this using the techniques I learned.

My new Done-For-You site is also growing nicely.

January is the second full month and it had 1,487 pageviews, which I’m very happy with.

It also made $5 from affiliates, woohoo!

My total income for January was $77,517.

My expended were $6,827.

That leaves a profit of $70,764.

My Plans for February

This month I’m going to knuckle down and get shit done.

I spent a lot of time travelling in Jan, which always stresses me out a bit as the work piles up, AND I have content to create from the trip.

But I’ll continue to share details of what’s working and what’s going awfully wrong with my sites.

If showing what’s possible as a normal mum working part-time from home helps someone make a better life for their family, then writing these emails is worth it.

Peace, love and karma to all ✌️


P.S. Here’s how I can help you: