#97 | March Income Report πŸ“‰

If there’s one thing I’m determined to do with this newsletter, it’s to share the downs as well as the ups.

So, let’s start with a graph, shall we?

Here’s a down for you…

My main website has gone from getting 30k visitors per day from Google on a good day, to getting about 5k now.

We’re looking at a drop of about 70%.

(That’s comparing the last 7 days to the week before the update hit.)

Also, it’s now been 2 months since I got the manual penalty for ‘unnatural links’ because I did a few guest posts in 2020.

Google is still ignoring my reconsideration request for that one.

But really, it doesn’t actually matter if they lift that or not.

What matters now is that there seem to be very few blogs ranking for much at all in this space.

How my business is looking now…

I’m privileged to be able to say that my business is just fine.

I wish that were the case for everyone.

I’ve been pivoting away from Google for several months already and have been working hard to build up other traffic sources.

I’ve also been operating at 90-95% profit and squirreling that away for a rainy season.

March income

My travel site made $64,587.

The expenses on that were $8,115.

That leaves a profit of $57,997 for the month.

Not too bad at all.

March traffic sources

46% of my traffic came from Google organic.

That’s still a big chunk, but it’s on a decline.

That’s the thing with these updates – it’s not usually just a cut, it’s a downwards slope ongoing after that.

I’m fully prepared for it to drop to zero.

(Most of my other sites have dropped to zero, more on that later)

27% of the traffic came from Facebook organic.

That’s 187,695 sessions.

The page has about 50k fans my Facebook manager spent 7 hours on scheduling content for the month.

14% of the traffic came from email.

That’s 95,131 sessions.

The list has 80k subs and my email manager spent 14 hours on building emails for the month.

We upped the sends from 3x per week to 7x per week.

8% of the traffic was direct.

That’s 53,270 sessions.

This is my favourite traffic source – it’s essentially word of mouth and it’s a good sign that I have a memorable brand.

7% of the traffic came from other search engines.

That’s 46,677 sessions.

Yay for Bing, Yahoo and DuckDuckGo!

<1% of the traffic came from Pinterest

That’s 1,136 sessions.

My Pinterest manager spent 5 hours making and scheduling 900 pins with Pin Generator.

The strategy for the first few months has been quantity, it’s time to switch that to quality now that I have some data on which pins worked well.

How I made money in March

As well as diversifying away from Google, I’ve also been working on diversifying away from display ads as the majority income source.

In March, I earned $48k with Raptive, which is just under 75% of the total income.

Here’s how that’s broken down…

The ‘other’ category is mostly email.

As well as the display ads…

17% of the income came from direct sponsorship deals with brands.

This is something which I definitely want to do more of.

8% came from affiliate sales.

And there also were some very small amounts from YouTube ads and digital products.

How my other sites are doing

My other sites are gone, basically.

Google deindexed most of them and took almost all of the traffic from the others.

I tested 60 AI articles on one site, mentioned it on Twitter and that was enough for them to go into my GSC and deindex pretty much everything that was on the same account as nichesitelady.com

I haven’t tried to get the deindexed ones back, because what’s the point, when the ones that are still indexed look like this..?

Together, the sites made $1,344 in March.

It’s better than zero, but I probably won’t bother recording the income from those in my spreadsheet any more.

What I did in March…

Focus = Email

I migrated my travel email list from Mailerlite to ConvertKit.

It was quite a big task but the team there did it for me so I dond’t have to be too involved.

They were very helpful and I’m super happy with the move!

I was put off switching for a while, but I’m SO glad I did.

I thought ConvertKit was too expensive, but it actually works out cheaper than Mailerlite once I started emailing more than 3 times per week.

Now that’s all set up with processes in place for my team to make daily emailing stress-free, my next task is to grow a huge list.

I’ll be setting up Facebook ads to speed this up.

Another thing I’m working on is making quizzes with QuizWizard to grow the list for free.

This cool tool uses AI to make fun quizzes. People enter their email address to get their score, then they’re on the list. I love it!

New channel = Pinterest

My Pinterest has been doing okay with the minimal efforts so far and has just started to break even.

It’s time to up my game, starting with this Pinterest course.

I’ve almost done the course and it seems very good.

I learned a lot.

But, I’ll be honest with you –

As I’m a beginner and I haven’t taken any other Pinterest courses, I can’t say for sure that it’s the best one in the world.

It saved me a LOT of hours of watching YouTube to learn Pinterest and that’s good enough for me!

I can see from their stats that a lot of travel bloggers are making at least $10k per month from Pinterest.

So there’s no reason why I can’t.

I just need to make a solid strategy and teach it to my new Pinterest manager.

When it comes to new channels, I like to learn everything myself, then hire someone who is passionate about the niche but has no existing experience at all.

I find that works so much better than hiring someone who ‘knows what they’re doing’ but has no interest in the topic.

  • I learn the skills myself
  • I transfer those skills to someone else
  • They get a fun side hustle in a niche they love
  • It saves me money overall

The bottom line

Yes, my Google traffic is disappearing fast…

But I honestly feel that’s a blessing in disguise.

It’s given me a real push to learn new skills and create a new kind of content that’s so much more fun!

I’m not going anywhere!

And I hope you’re not either.

We got this! πŸ’ͺ


P.S. Some useful links for you…