Transparency 2021 – Earnings, data, goals.

This is a post to fully be transparent with my goals, earnings, statistics, and intentions. After ~365 days since starting this blog, there are a few things I’d like to publicize and I’d like to make this an annual habit.

I believe people should be able to publicly view this journal of earnings, learnings, and yearnings. So, if you care to read it, here it is!

Earnings/monetization

So, affiliate marketing is definitely effective. Since ~June, 2021, this site has been earning aprox. ~$500 USD per month in affiliate sales. This is in conjunction with my YouTube channel. In fact, the source of almost all revenue comes from affiliate earnings at this point.

It has become clear to me that user-donations are very low. From ~40k pageviews, I got 1 single donation. It was actually pretty notable at $40 (thanks so much, mystery person!) and I was hoping to see more, but, I didn’t even see another penny, let alone a $2 coffee donation!

YouTube-monthly-analytics
Not bad from a small channel which I pay a bit of attention to.

As a result, ads is likely the way to go for improving revenue. Nearly hitting the 10k monthly pageviews mark now with an estimated ~$15 RPM (revenue per thousand), it would mean a nice +$150 to the monthly income. If I double or triple the pageviews in the next year, I’ll be very happy.

Too, I’ve now almost gotten to the point where this blog (and channel) is my entire income – 1 more year and I’m sure I’ll be there!

Annual-traffic-SEMRush-growth
Wow, +1,3 million % impressions growth? Cool!

Data

Starting in November 2020, this site barely saw any traffic at all until ~May, 2021. I’m talking about like 1 click per day for a half year with Google barely showing my pages on the Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs).

In May I just saw exponential growth like I couldn’t have ever dreamed! I broke the 10 pageviews mark, and then 100, and then 1,000! Now we’re sitting at ~7.5k+ pageviews monthly, if Google Site Kit is anything to go off of.

Annual traffic report
Pretty much hardly anything until the end of may.

Goals

By next year I hope to triple incoming traffic & income. At that point I’ll be flying pretty while living here in Portugal! 30k monthly pageviews is certainly possible in 1 year, considering I went from 0>10k in the same timespan.

Annual traffic acquisition
Most is coming from organic search, which is the best!

Eventually, save up to buy a small (~1,000m2) property to renovate into a self-sustaining eco home with permaculture garden. That has been the dream for many years and I can hear it approaching rapidly!

Learnings/lessons

So after learning and reading so much about SEO, SMM, backlinking, site design, optimization, etc – I can confidently say that some of it is just pure BS.

Like, I did not ever expect to rank well for certain keywords based of what I ‘knew’ – I though it’d take many years to get near #1 positions for many terms.

Monthly-traffic-report
6k search result entries in the last month.

However, it turns out that good content is really what algorithms love. Quality writing, easy to follow, full of information, and proper on-site SEO practices.

I did nearly zero keyword research and just used common sense. I tried to provide the best content possible, an that’s what I’ll continue to do. Over 70 posts published in the year, and I plan to just keep that pace up.

Backlink services, SEO tools, etc – all seem pretty useless & moot to me. Yeah, they have specific purposes, but honestly I’ve gone this far without anything at all and I reckon that these fringe methods are not useful.

I used SEMRush free trial for a bit and while it’s a useful tool – nearly all I need is within Google’s Analytics and SEMRush metrics were way off other data points I was going off of. Heck, 90% of links I put on the site are do-follow, so it’s clear that Google differentiates between legit stuff and not.

Backlink analytics
Are backlinks even useful?

I’ve also learnt that it’s quite a hard task to do everything by yourself – filming, editing, publishing, writing, editing, publishing, maintenance, optimization, integration, images, etc, etc, etc.

Heck, it took over 12 hours to get my sidebar working properly, and so long doing the theme. Each article takes ~5 hours to write, edit, do images, SEO, and publish. It’s a chunk of work.

Still, until the time is right, I reckon I’ll be doing this all solo for now.

Other

Just feeling really satisfied and glad about the progress. A reputable person gave my site a valuation of ~$15-20k USD, which blew me out of the water – I had no idea how much this site could actually be worth and, well, it’s extremely motivating.

I plan to build a couple other domains too. Albeit slowly, I’d like to either sell or create a business from each of them. First priorities is this site of course, however if I can get a few stones rolling down the hill, I’m sure at least one will polish like granite after a while.

Here’s to the upcoming 2022 and I will continue the momentum 🙂

If you have questions, thoughts, or actually feeling like donating (might as well try), got ahead and do that! Check out the other stuff on my site of course and link back to my page(s) if you can!

Bikepacking-with-backpack-in-basket
Bike James is happy James

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