December 15, 2011

We’ve had another killer month in November and now we’re (way) overdue for another income report! I’m really excited about what we were able to accomplish in November regarding our short-term projects, but some of our long-term projects became delayed, hit roadblocks, etc. I’ll get into what’s been going on, what we’re working on, and then right into the numbers. If you just can’t wait to hear how we did, our total for November, 2011 was $20,819.15. Not too bad, eh?

I’ve mentioned that our plan is to maintain a successful model and build around the brand, but haven’t really gone into specifics about what it is we’re planning to do. Part of that stems from the fact that I don’t want to be creating a ton of competition for ourselves, but it’s also because I wasn’t exactly sure which projects we’d be focusing on and devoting the most time to. Over the last few weeks we’ve been able to come up with an approach to our projects that, I think, will allow us to mention some of the things we’re working on as they’ve become more realistic and prioritized.

I’ll also mention that Joe and I took a trip to Singapore and Bali at the end of November and beginning of December. As you may know, I’m a huge fan of Derek Sivers and we were lucky enough to meet him and hang out for a few hours while in Singapore. We found him extremely intellegent, soft-spoken, and amazingly open about what he’s doing, where he’s going, etc. In Bali we were able to hang out and network with Ian and Dan from the LifestyleBusinessPodcast and TropicalMBA and and a host of others they network with including Cody McKibben from Thrilling Heroics for some great fun in the sun. These meetings prompted some pretty interesting thoughts and discussions which we’ll be discussing in our next podcast episode.

Projects:

Buy Our Sites Page:

We’ve spent 4K to get the BuyOurSites page where we want it to be and it’s slowly starting to take shape. Our developer’s currently working on the AdSense API and we’re really hoping to have that in place shortly, but some of the other things we’ll have for this include:

  1. Widget on the homepage
  2. Lightbox when you click the site giving you additional, detailed information and an option to send a deposit or buy it directly.
  3. Graphed history on the earnings/pageviews

We desperately need to get some decent sales copy up for this as well, including a FAQ to help head off any of the simple questions we currently get emails about.

WP Plugin:

We had a great idea for an AdSense plugin that would help save us a tremendous amount of time. As it stands, you’re not able to share bits of information in your AdSense account with others without sharing everything you have. Our plan is to build a plugin that allows the data from AdSense to be reported back into the plugin so that you can review, site by site, the available information. This would be incredibly helpful when it comes to having someone looking at the numbers and working on improving the sites individually, as well as allowing our agents to have access to that information. We also thought it would be useful to us and others to “dumb down” the creation of Ad Units and channels in the theme and automatically push that information to your AdSense account.

We looked around and couldn’t find anything exactly like it so we thought we’d build our own. Unfortunately, all of the features/functionality can’t be implemented due to AdSense API restrictions so it’s going to be extremely limited. At this point, we’re planning to get it developed and release it for free with WordPress.org. The idea will be to use it ourselves as it helps us and our particular needs and, hopefully, it will earn us some good will from others that can take the idea and build on it.

WP Theme:

We had (what I think were) some amazing ideas regarding a WP theme we were planning to build. Unfortunately, all of the features/functionality we’re looking to build simply can’t be done and so we’ve had to scale back the project a bit. Still, we’ve been less than happy with the some of the features in the current options out there like CTRTheme and ProSense and think we have some intimate knowledge and experience with these types of sites that would greatly improve on what’s been done previously. I’m a bit vague with this one regarding the details, but I can tell you that if we can get even part of what we’d like to do done with this project we’ll be REALLY excited about what it can do for our business.

Charity Project:

We’re partnering with our new friend Spencer from Niche Pursuits on a charity project that we’re hoping can do a lot of good. While this is a project that’s near and dear to my heart, I’ve kept putting it off as I know it’s going to be quite a bit of work. We’ve finally started to move on this and we’re hoping to get launched and get it off the ground early in the New Year and I’m excited because I know it has a chance to make a real difference.

AdSense Flippers Intern:

Speaking of making a difference, I’m extremely excited about the AdSense Flippers Intern Position as it has the chance to change someone’s life dramatically. We’re taking someone out of their country, having them fly out to the Philippines and setting them up with a live/work situation that will (hopefully) allow them to step into the live/work anywhere lifestyle and work with us directly on our projects and build their own business. This is a risky move by us, but after meeting some of the previous TropicalMBA alumni, we just knew we had to jump on it. We believe this model is game changing and we’re excited to expand the idea and concept outside of the TropicalMBA.

Alright…now on to the income details!

AdSense

With such few sales last month (October) we did see an increase to $3,813.02 in AdSense revenue this month, but if you look at the chart the income held pretty steady overall.

Our best day last month was at $155.60 and our worst day was $80.34…the only day under $100. With all of the site sales we had going on this month it was nice to see the income remain relatively consistent, although I can say we saw a slight drop-off in early December.

Flippa Sales

We did open up another Flippa auction for AdSense Flippers this month that ended up selling at the BuyItNow for $2,770.00. They’ve been making some changes over at Flippa recently. We used to send out a “welcome message” to any bidder on our auctions that just went over who we are, gave more detailed information about us and what they’re getting, etc. We thought it was a great way to build trust and to encourage more bids from the bidder, but Flippa has removed the option to message bidders now…ugh. While I agree there area a ton of people sending spam via their messaging system, it’s still a useful tool and it feels a bit like they’re throwing the baby out with the bathwater here.

Private Sales

We were able to do extremely well here this month with $12,701.56 in private sales revenue. The below screenshot doesn’t include all sales, but I’m including to give you an idea as to the frequency and volume we were selling at this month.

Because the AdSense API wasn’t set up, we ended up selling a few sites for LESS than they would have gone because their income had continued to increase. Rather than applying that additional expense to the buyer, we thought it best to let the buyers realize the additional value. This should be fixed in December and ready to go by January. We’ve held off on adding more sites to the page as we continue to build our stock and allowing our developer to get the API implemented.  As soon as this is done we’ll send out an email letting you know we’ve added the new sites so you can check them out.

Affiliate Sales

We really killed it with LongTailPro this month, bringing in $1,134.86 on its own. We’ve been using the tool without any problems and we’re pretty happy with how it’s working out, overall. We’ve had some recent questions as to how it compares to SECockpit. There’s a heavier monthly fee associated with the latter, but I’m assuming/hoping it makes up for it in richness? Do any of you have experience with both tools you’d like to share?

Summary

This was a GREAT month for us heading in to what we expect to be a pretty slow month for site sales. We’re taking December to really focus on building out some of the projects mentioned above. We’re planning to have a 1-2 day “retreat” sometime in December where we can go away for a short while, getting away from the noise so that we can review what we’ve done for the year and lay out our goals for 2012. We’ll be sure to share everything we come up with during that time and let you in on our gameplan for the new year.

Sites Created: 136 (85 last month)

AdSense Earnings: $3,813.02 ($2,862.50 last month)

Flippa Sales: $2,770.00 ($0.00 last month)

Private Sales: $12,701.56 ($6,195.68 last month)

Total Affiliate Sales: $1,534.57 ($552.58 last month)

Total: $20,819.15 ($9,610.76 last month)



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Discussion

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  1. Dan says:

    Absolutely fantastic and inspiring stuff guys! I love reading the monthly round ups.

  2. Adam says:

    Awesome job, dude. Really interested in the charity project you’re planning on with Spencer. I think there’s an underserved niche of “giving” with most internet marketers. And I think that’s a shame. Making money online is great, but it’s not the end-all-be-all. Can’t wait to see what this project is and how it plays out!

  3. Great job stacking the cash this month fellas. It’s exciting to see the amount of dough ya’ll are bringing in and gives me something to strive towards. Keep being an inspiration!

  4. Greg says:

    That is awesome. Congrats on a great month.

  5. Jerry says:

    Nice job fellas, I like your plugin idea but I look forward to seeing your theme even more. One thing I thought I’d mention to improve the post readability is to bold things you want to emphasize and have links underlined like they usually are. If others are like me they tried clicking regular text and might have passed right over your linked resources heh =P

  6. steve says:

    Hi Guys

    The website sales business is going really well.

    I dont think you mention this above if so i blame it on old age..

    Do you have firm plans for 2012 in terms of same size sites, or moving to build only medum/large sites?

    And related, what do think about haveing more pages and keeping the word count to say 350-400 with just one large page at the front of the site?

    Steve

    • JustinWCooke says:

      Hey Steve!

      We do plan on exploring more authoritative niche sites that more substantial content, but only in addition to and no in place of our current process. I’ve found it hard to simply “tweak” our current model and have it work, though…going to have to set it up from the ground up, I think. There’s a different mindset required for those sites….

      I’ve heard of others adding articles and keeping those articles on the front page, but we’ve never tried that approach (and don’t intend to, I think) Nothing wrong with it, I just don’t like the idea of all that dynamic content on the home page….just my preference.

  7. That’s an amazing month and great to see the breakdown of where your profits came from. The plans for the future sound great and I’m lookind forward to seeing them in action.

  8. Congratulations on a high income earning month. I enjoy your blog and test a lot of the things that you and Spencer discuss. I’ve built about 60 Adsense sites in the past month and I’m going to keep going.

    I’m curious about your WP plugin. I actually had that question right now, as I have one of my sites of Flippa. I don’t use analytics so my only stats are from Adsense. I’m kind of nervous about what type of screenshots I’m providing on Flippa – Don’t want to violate their TOS.

    Either way, congrats on your sucess and I enjoy the content you guys deliver.

    • You really should use Google Analytics as your Flippa auctions will look more reliable with that info.

      As for AdSense TOS and screen shots the only thing you are allowed to publicly reveal is revenue and page views. Cover or blur everything else.

  9. Nice job buddy, good to see your work on the private sales side of things paying off ;)

    • JustinWCooke says:

      Thanks, man…appreciate it! We’re excited with how it’s coming along. I really think we can do better regarding answering questions there before they ask…that will come once API is up and running I think, heh.

  10. Great results boys. It is not easy to handle so many projects but it seems that you are really killing it. I wish you a very successful December and will be happy to read more of your great stuff. I have learned a lot from your blog.

    • JustinWCooke says:

      Awesome, John, thanks for the love! Please do let us know if there’s anything specific you’d like to see us write about, talk about, etc.

  11. Ben says:

    Well done guys, impressive numbers and well earned and deserved. Just a quick question. Looking at your ‘Buy Our Sites’ page it appears as though there may be an aversion from buyers towards purchasing ‘branded’ sites. (or perhaps I’m just seeing things)

    Do you think branded sites are more risky to potential buyers? If so, would you ever consider lower the purchase price multiplier from 20 times earnings? Or offer some kind of guarantee?

    (Asking as a potential buyer)

    • JustinWCooke says:

      Thanks, Ben!

      Some buyers do tend to stay away from branded sites/domains, but we’ve sold quite a few of them as well overall. (We’ve had buyers email us looking for a particular category and have sold sites to them on the side, not including those sold on the BuyOurSites page)

      Branded sites are only slightly more risky to us. With all of the sites we’ve created, we’ve been contacted less than 10 times. 2 of those instances resulted in us actually SELLING the site to them. A few more required us to take the site down…others contacted us once and never followed up again. I would also say that the majority of those contacts came in the first 30 days of creating the site…so any of the sites we have for sale have passed that period of time, making them less risky.

      While we think the risk is quite low (or else we wouldn’t create them) they are slightly more risky than a non-branded site, of course. Having a slightly lower multiple to pass on the savings to the buyer for more risks makes alot of sense. I think we might look to implement something like that…especially if the site doesn’t seem to be selling. Otherwise, we’ll just hang onto the site ourselves though, heh.

  12. While I’m excited to see what you guys come up with in the Plugin/Theme department, it’s pretty awesome that you have a charity project in the works.

    Also, I prefer LTP over SECockpit. LTP definitely doesn’t have all the features of SECockpit, but I didn’t find all those additional features to be worth the cost.

    Congrats on another big month!

  13. dano says:

    BOOM indeed, very nice month guys, thats really quiet an ammount of sales you got there, somehow I thought most of your profit would come from Adsense itself.

    Let’s do some math, I beleive I read/heard somewhere that you guys own around 800 sites at the moment (I think it was the interview with Vic where it was mentioned), the Adsense income is around $4k,- so that makes $5/site/month.

    Now how much would you’ve made on Adsense/month if you didn’t sell any sites? Very curious for that number

    • Actually we’re up to about 1000 sites right now, but about 200 of those are still in various stages of the construction process and therefore are not earning at top level. Also, about 200 of those sites simply do not earn anything. So the AdSense income we talk about probably comes from 500-600 sites, with 30% of those sites really making the majority of the money.

      I agree – it would be interesting to see the AdSense numbers without site sales. However, it tough as many of the sites we sold off were good earning sites. How do we include those numbers?

      • dano says:

        A little math would do the job, you sell sites for 20months profits, but in the beginning a bit less perhpas, so take an average of 15 times profit. Take the complete ammount you sold for and divide it by 15 and add that to the adsense earnings and then you know how much you would have made if you didnt sell the sites, yeah its a rough estimate but I’m just curious as I would like to build my own network but then without selling sites (instead maintaining them/building them out).

        Say you sold 100 sites for $300 each, thats $30k / 15 = $2k/month adsense earnings.

  14. Neale says:

    Great to see you guys continuing in an upward direction, its a pretty amazing story.

    • JustinWCooke says:

      Thanks, Neale! There’s quite a bit more we’re looking to accomplish in the new year and hoping we can get to all of it…stay tuned!

  15. Julian says:

    Looks like you guys are really killing it with Adsense sites. Keep up the hard work, and you guys will eventually have your own castle on the hill!

    Anyway, It will be interesting to see what you guys have in store for 2012, I’m looking forward to seeing your guys become as successful as you possibly can be!

  16. Delash says:

    Guys it’s seams like you doing really well, although it’s sound’s like your are far from your potential, with that many of sites and your making just 5$ per site on average is very low when you take into account that you have enough experience, you must look inside, see what works, try to figure why it works, and duplicate it, repetition of the fundamentals will as you do will bring you to the next level, but 5$ per month is for beginners not for you!

  17. Dave says:

    Hi Guys, you should check out the Heatmap Theme as I think it is much better than the 2 themes you mentioned in many ways and especially when it comes to adding ads to your site.

  18. dano says:

    I have another question, since your working with BMR, these posts get on the homepage but relative quickly they move to an inner page and by time deeper and deeper away, So I was wondering how long do these sites keep ranking till you need to give it some extra blast, 3 months, 6 months? I noticed at one of my own sites that it started to drop relative quick after 3 months no linkbuilding and it costed me a lot of effort to get it back to page1 (was at top of page2, from position 4 on page1 before) now it’s back at position4 / page1.

    • JustinWCooke says:

      Hey Dano,

      Good point about the BMR posts moving off the site’s homepage. We have noticed that some of our sites in the 30-60 range have some fall-off, but it seems to be fairly random. As it’s just a part of our backlinking strategy, I think the strength of the other links as compared to the BMR links has something to do with it and whether there’s an up-down situation with the site. I wouldn’t go as far to say that this is the norm…but I have seen this with a couple of sites and was wondering the same thing.

      In general, we recommend building out the sites a bit more after purchase. Aside from the fact that it will help them rank better in the SERP’s, it will also help you to recoup the investment faster and improve ROI. If you can double the monthly income on the site with a bit more content and backlinks, you make back your investment inside the first year and it’s all profit from there, of course.

      • dano says:

        Now that I think of I think the biggest strenght comes from your relevant manual blog comments. I’ve seen quiet some increasement in the serps with a site that was hard to move using web2.0′s/articles etc, but once I added a couple of high relevant blogcomments where I really took the time to make an ontopic comment my site moved pretty darn fast. The downside is that it takes some time and is not always easy to outsource.

  19. Tung Tran says:

    Your amazing reports always inspire me! Thank Justing and Joseph. I’m building dozens of sites to create my own system then I will outsource everything to my VAs. Hmm, I’m still a newbie but I think you shouldn’t use only 2 themes for all your sites :D. I use Genesis Framework and all of its child theme and got a good resultsl.

    • I hear what you are saying about themes and we will be testing through that next year. For right now CTR Theme provides enough variation to keep me happy.

    • JustinWCooke says:

      No problem!

      I don’t disagree with using multiple sites…having different frameworks for your sites is definitely a good thing. I think that long term, that will work out better for you…

  20. Bori says:

    Hi, great month!

    I have my websites hosted at godaddy, with analytics I see that the loading time is around 5 seconds, sometimes even 6 or 7. Do you think this will effect both the serps and the CTR from visitors? Or is this a normal loading time, it looks like way to high to me.

    Did you guys ever considered moving to faster servers, I think this can effect the CTR in a positive way. Although I am not sure what a normal/good loading time would be.

    • Hi Bori, thanks for stopping in.

      I have been looking into load times of late and find that 5 is about average while anything under 8 is acceptable. Over that is when you start to lose visitors and therefore clicks. I got these numbers by looking at other mjor sites using a tool like Gtmetrix and comparing to my Google Analytics.

      As for a private server, you would need so many that it would get cost prohibitive eventually. Better to look at speedy shared hosting services like HostGator is you are really concerned with it.

      If you have problems with your GoDaddy shared hosting, call support and ask them to look into your servers resources. Sometime there are just a handful of users or sites using up most of the resources and they can be kicked to a new server.

    • Dboland1 says:

      Bori, I Was using Godaddy, (I’m in Australia), the load times were shocking. They have a problem in with there asian servers. I ended up moving to Hostgator, they have a fractionof the load times.

      • I would agree the GoDaddy Asian servers are not great. However EU and US servers do well especially with visitors from those respective areas.

        We will be trying HostGator this month, so stay tuned for details.

  21. Christopher Rice says:

    Nice work guys!

  22. Justin says:

    Hi Justin,
    I love reading income reports for successful blogs. It sure does motivate me to do better with my blog.

  23. Kent Chow says:

    SECockpit is running free 7-day trial that I may give a shot next week. I have been using LTP and love it.

    Your 4K Adsense income is very impressive. I have been following along and hope I could hit 1K a month in the near future. Definitely, flipping is way to go. Make some profit and reinvest.

    I prefer building authority sites as I could focus on a few only, but will try to build mini-sites with outsourcing and see how things would go.

    Again, thanks for all the great info. I love you guys Podcast as 2-man talk show is very dynamic and full of energy.

    • JustinWCooke says:

      Definitely let us know how it works out! Yes, we think the 2-man podcast is a pretty strong format…thanks for the love!

  24. pauls_pad2002 says:

    hey guys great work for November and i have a question.

    i have 6 sites none are domain matched, im not ranking too well so buying long tail pro is a big option i have although im on about page 10 and 4 with a few keywords.

    basically my question is about host-gator actually with my plan. im paying about 13 usd a month for the business plan and im wondering if im paying to much. i plan to have about another 20 odd sites so how would that affect me if i was to downsize to the 7.95 plan which is one down. im not tech savvy so wondering if this will be a big move i have all my sites with wordpress. is there much of a change to swapping plans

    • The key thing will be the features. With such small sites I wouldn’t worry too much about space or bandwidth, but if you lose the ability to do add-on domains that would be an issue. Otherwise I say go for it, as saving costs on the already slim margins in this business is super important.

  25. pauls_pad2002 says:

    i see cheers for the comment but can you tell me what kind of expenses you guys have in setting up hosting and new sites is it just the domain name and the hosting. do you get a certain account to do so many domains on it.

  26. StudentsIdea says:

    great stats of earning…
    i have a blog on blogger which gets 100k pageviews each month, can i sale that ?? by using admin revoke option…

    • That’s a lot of traffic, but usually it’s all about revenue. Do you have any way of monetizing that traffic at the moment?

      • StudentsIdea says:

        Am using Adsense alone for it,and making avg of 80-90$ a month,maximum was 220$ and minimium is 75$…
        But it is blogger blog,so if i want to sell it ,how much can i get for ?

        • It doesn’t matter that it is a blog. If it makes that much and you can prove it you will make 10-12 times monthly revenue on Flippa.

          • StudentsIdea says:

            Thanks for the reply..If you dont mind ,can you guide me or suggest me,how can i sell blog that runs on Google’s Blogger platform.

            as flippa prefers only TLD ,where can i find people for buying Blogger blogs..

          • JustinWCooke says:

            It DOES matter that it’s a blogger.com domain. Sorry, can’t help you there…Google search?

          • StudentsIdea says:

            hmm..let me search for it…but can i sale a domain on flippa,i’ve tried this already but dont know how to verify the domain ownership on my cpanel…since i’m a newbie….

          • JustinWCooke says:

            Yes, you can sell domains…but you have to verify ownership first.

          • You can just register a domain and 301 redirect to the blogger site. Then you could still verify ownership through a file upload.

  27. Ed says:

    Hi Joseph and Justin,
    You guys have truly mastered micro niche adsense sites and selling them for more profit at flippa. Congrats on your longcomings and all the best. Do you mind what backlinking strategy are you using to get these sites ranked?

  28. Marcos Reina says:

    Hi guys, thanks for sharing this info. It is very interesting to know how your business runs from an economic point of view. Not every body is willing to share this info. I’ve been reading your blog for about two months and I found it awesome.
    I am into the adsense model but spanish based. Hope you the best and contact me if you need anything.
    By the way, I’ve been using Hostgator for a long time and have no complain at all. Sure you can find a cheaper option but they have the best reliance, performance and customer service I know.

    • JustinWCooke says:

      Awesome, Marcos, thanks for stopping by!

      I’ve always wondered how niche site publishing would work in other languages. I’m guessing you’re able to target much more aggressive search terms? You’d probably have to as there wouldn’t be as many advertisers going after the REALLY long tail phrases, right?

      Still…I know that the advertising community has been hitting Spanish speakers pretty hard the last couple of years as they’re starting to get that it’s a great demographic to target. Will be interesting to see how that plays out in the next few years as the economy continues to recover.

      • Marcos Reina says:

        Hi Justin,

        I wonder the same thing about Chinese market! it just keeps growing and growing. I´d love to know their language!
        I think the Spanish market has been emerging very fast and still has a long way to go. (note: Amazon has opened to the Spain community and soon opening in some south america countries, -that’s a giant there and a big opportunity for all of us too-). Yes I can still find very good niches with high competition and fair amount of searches. The Spanish market isn´t as saturated as the English (although is true English traffic is huge). If I had not taken advantage of it already is because its been so recently that I figured how important is to be able to create your own system and scale it.
        I have plans for this 2012 and is going to be huge! For all of us I am sure!
        My question is… how do you make time to answer all comments? I would found it extremely difficult if I were in your shoes. You already share so much about your business when publishing in your blog.
        Wish the best for you

        • JustinWCooke says:

          Yeah…wish I knew Mandarin as well!

          Not always easy to reply to comments, but we do our best to be as helpful as possible. If we can’t or don’t have the time we simply wouldn’t do it…but it is important to us so we do try to make the time to get it done, heh.

          Definitely looking forward to 2012! Just had our first meeting with the year with the team to talk about some of the goals and projects tonight…fun stuff.

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