January 8, 2013
It’s been an amazing ride for us through 2012 and we wanted to wrap up the year with our December income report. We’re including both our monthly numbers as well as some of our overall metrics for 2012 in the hopes that it will encourage, inspire, and provide you with ideas that can foster growth in your own business. We’ll cover everything in this report, but if you’re just looking for the total, we pulled in $6,756.81 in December 2012 and our total revenue for 2012 came in at $203,825.54…not too shabby!
Even though our income reports have remained quite popular, I’m considering cutting them down to quarterly reports instead. It takes quite a bit of time to pull all of the numbers together and there might be just as much value in reporting them quarterly while saving myself time/effort/energy for more meaningful posts each month. It’s our quarterly reports that we look at internally…maybe that should be reflected on the blog as well?
You may remember that the original plan for the WSO Testers was to go through the Warrior Special Offer section on the Warrior Forum, test out those offers, and report back their findings. To be honest, I wasn’t particularly hot on the idea when they started and much preferred their content on niche sites. Also, I’ve found the noise levels on the Warrior Forum somewhat disturbing…and cutting through that to find the good information takes quite a bit of time/effort/energy.
It occurred to me that it would be VERY helpful if someone took the time to cut through the noise and delivered the VERY best content from the WF. There are SO many threads there (many of them filled with nonsense) and it would be a pain to go through them all to find nuggets of truth…a pain that hasn’t been solved for me. If someone were to go through the interesting/popular threads each week and curate the content to cut out all of the noise from posers, spammers, etc. that would be of interest to me.
You could monetize through a paid community (with even better curated content), affiliate offers from those that actually know what they’re talking about and deliver good products, etc. There’s a TON of information on the WF (and a ton of members) and I think this could end up being pretty popular.
I wanted to give you a sneak peek at what we have planned for 2013 and I’m interested in hearing your thoughts or suggestions in the comments. We’ve had a great 2012 and have plans for much more this year, including:
Brokered Sites For Sale – We’ve had a ton of requests from others to be able to sell their sites here, but we’ve had to wait until our BuyOurSites page was ready and all API’s were working correctly. We’re currently working on the page to allow us to vet and sell brokered AdSense sites from other trustworthy sellers and should have this up and running this year.
Adjusting Our Niche Site Process – Although we’ve cut back on niche site creation in recent months, we’d like to cautiously explore getting back to it in 2013. We’ve made slight adjustments to our process that look promising and I’m looking to do more case studies and updating our content and guide to reflect those changes as we continue forward.
Leveling Up Niche Sites – As discussed in our most recent podcast, we’re really looking forward to building out more meaningful sites. We’ll be testing through larger informational sites, eCommerce sites (Joe’s digging into this now…for a great resource, check out eCommerceFuel here) and exploring alternative monetization options as the sites advance past AdSense. This has the added bonus of providing a blueprint to niche site builders and buyers on how to grow their niche sites forward.
Outsourcing For Startups – We’re disappointed with the lack of quality content on outsourcing…most of it seems to come from those who aren’t actually involved and would rather sell you their ebook or make outsourcing seem like a magic bullet. We see a gap we can fill in talking about exactly how to setup a corporation in the Philippines, building your business into processes that can be outsourced, blending work between onshore and offshore employees, etc. We’ll be launching OutsourcingForStartups this year!
Buying Sites – John and Joe have both been interested in potentially purchasing niche sites, expanding them, and then selling them off for a profit. I’m not as bullish on this idea, but it is something we plan to explore further this year.
All of these have been written into our goals for 2013 and we’re working towards seeing them through. Here are a few of the ideas or projects that are on hold for now:
Squidoo Lenses – We built out a few of these lenses and, frankly, they just didn’t work for us. I didn’t expect them to earn all that much, ($0.00 to date) but I was hoping for a bit of traffic and the fact that a good number of them are below the 400K threshold and invisible to Google has made us much less interested in pursuing this strategy. If you are interested, I would suggest checking out Claire Smith (aka Skeffling) and her December income report. She’s planning to release a book/guide in the near future and I’ll probably take a look at it when it’s released.
Niches For Charity – A well-intentioned project that just never really got off the ground. I really like the idea and purpose, but the execution would simply be too much work and would likely re-hash much of what we post here anyway. I’d like to incorporate some charity and good-will into 2013, though, and will continue to look for positive ways to do that.
We didn’t publish much content in December and it’s reflected in our traffic, dropping from 19,219 visits in November to 16,115 visits in December, 2012. Joe and I spent much of our time working on other projects, planning our our goals for 2013 and spending the end of the year with close friends, but we’re expecting to see this number rebound a bit in January.
Here are our top content pages for December 2012:
We received nearly a quarter of a million visits in 2012, with a pretty even split between search traffic, referrals, and direct traffic. Here’s the most popular content for us in 2012:
And here’s a look at our traffic sources for 2012:
It’s interesting to see that our #1 source of traffic for the year was Twitter. I decided to approach Twitter differently than I have in the past and we didn’t do any gaming, tricks to get followers, etc. Instead, I really tried to reach out to others and connect much more honestly and it’s really paid off for us in terms of traffic to the site.
It’s no surprise that Niche Pursuits, Flippa, TropicalMBA, and Mike From Maine are on the list as we’ve continued to build relationships with all of them. www.selbstaendig-im-netz.de is a very popular IM blog in Germany that tracks bloggers with income reports in the US. I’ve followed his content a bit (as much as I can thanks to Google Translate!) and appreciate his readers here as well.
The last thing I’ll mention here is that our guide, “Building A Niche Site Empire” has been downloaded 18,796 times as of today, January 8th 2013…wow! I know we probably would have done well selling it, but there’s no way we would have had anywhere near that level of distribution and I really think that was a more important goal for us.
We had pretty close to the same amount of downloads this month, pulling in 7,863 total downloads in December, 2012. Many of these were due to our popular podcast with Pat Flynn where we discuss expanding niche sites, business strategy, and cool niche ideas. It was great to have him on the program and we’re looking forward to many more interesting guests in 2013.
We had a total of 133,018 downloads in 2012 and it’s really been a blast putting on the show. We’ll likely be adding a couple of different shows through this next year. If you’re at all interested in starting a podcast, we’d really recommend checking out Pat Flynn’s post on getting started as well as Dan Norris’s The Beginner’s Guide To Podcasting on Inform.ly.
We were able to pull in a total of $2,378.53 via AdSense for the month. Our worst day was Christmas Eve at $47.40 and our best day was Dec 12th at $109.78.
We’re starting to feel the effects of our site creation slow-down that started in October. With less domains purchased and less sites created, we’re not seeing as many winners pop up as they have before and we’re expecting this to continue through the first few months of 2013. We plan to slowly (cautiously) recover our site building through Q1 of 2013 and should start to see some recovery in Q2.
We sold off a few sites earlier in the month bringing in $3,134.40 for December, but we gave it a rest heading into the holidays. We should be able to continue with more site sales in January, although our slow-down in production will limit the sites that are good enough to sell.
We sold a total of $147,061.78 sites through 2012, mostly through our Buy Our Sites page. We continue to have higher demand than we have sites to sell and we’re expecting that to continue to be the case through early 2013. We’ve decided to test through allowing others to sell through the page where we act as brokers for their sites. The sellers will be verified and vetted as well as the income…pulling the data directly from their AdSense accounts. We’ve had a ton of requests for this and know there’s interest…more on this in the next few months!
Our affiliate income from the site went up slightly to $1,243.88 in December. We’ve seen continued improvement in our Kindle sales of “Building A Niche Site Empire” which is great to see. It’s interesting to point out that even though we offer this for free on our site and as an opt-in bonus to our email list, there are some who are willing to pay for it in the format they prefer.
We’re not finishing 2012 nearly as strong as we started, but we’re quite pleased with how far we’ve come overall. I think a renewed focus on other areas and revenue streams in our business will prove to be a bit painful in terms of revenue in the short-term, but will be critical when it comes to the long-term growth of our business.
Here’s a look our relevant metrics for 2012:
We were able to pull in over $200K for the year through the creation of more than 1,500 sites. We had more than 230K visits to the site and more than 130K downloads of the AdSense Flippers Podcast…sweet!
And here are the stats for December:
Sites Created: 3 (5 last month) Note: The domains purchased in October were created through Oct/Nov/Dec.
AdSense Earnings: $2,378.53 ($2,787.69 last month)
Flippa Sales: $0.00 ($0.00 last month)
Private Sales: $3,134.40 ($11,896.76 last month)
Niche Site Gold: $0.00 ($50.00 last month)
Consulting: $0.00 ($300.00 last month)
Total Affiliate Sales: $1,243.88 ($1,090.13 last month)
Total Income: $6,756.81 ($16,124.58 last month)
I definitely hope you got some value from this report and if you did, please give us a shout on Twitter or let us know your thoughts in the comments below!