I know I am not the only one that is glad 2020 is over. Overall, it wasn’t the best year but, regardless of the events of 2020, January always brings renewed energy for me. A renewed effort for setting goals in both life and business. To get started, I evaluate what worked and what didn’t.
The truth of the matter is I can’t be too upset at 2020. Things actually went really well for me. This business has grown faster than I would have ever imagined back in January.
In fact, let’s recap the income reports I’ve listed on this blog, which started in February:
As you can see, all of those numbers head in the right direction. I had growth every month in 2020 which is just Amazing.
I know that January is going to bring lower numbers, it’s just the nature of the industry that ad revenues skyrocket in November and December and then drop drastically in February. Since most of my income at this point is ad revenue, my income should follow that trend.
🗠 December 2020 BASIC STATS 🗠
15 “Active Sites” – More or less this means a site that I am actively doing keyword research for and having writers write content for. Not every “active” site gets new content every month.
- 96 Posts Published
- 124,747 Words Published
- $231.30 in Product Sales
Total Blog Income = $7,768.71
2020 Overall Growth
Over the past two years the importance of pageviews has become extremely clear to me. The more pageviews you have the more options you have for monetization.
My main traffic source is currently ads and for those, the more page views I have the more ad revenue I make. Additionally, I need to make sure that I am making progress towards being able to move smaller sites towards being able to make money with AdThrive or Mediavine.
The answer to that is generally more content.
Here is the breakdown of pageviews by site over 2020. I only added the legend for the sites that had the biggest impact, the others are barely big enough to see at this point (comparatively).
I’ve been fortunate that the algorithm updates this year haven’t impacted me too bad for any site. I might have had a more upward trend if I focused more on existing sites instead of adding content to a bunch of new sites.
The idea, though, is that I’ll be able to reap the rewards for the investment in those sites during 2021.
Income (what you are probably here for) has absolutely skyrocketed! Of course, this income will probably decrease in January but, as you will see, NSP2 is seasonal for December/January so hopefully, the decrease won’t be extreme.
If you asked me in January I probably would have said $3,000 was a great goal, maybe $5,000 as a stretch goal. Now, seeing WHAT is possible I’m actually setting huge goals for 2021!
More about that in another post, another day.
2020 Blog Income Analysis
Instead of doing the normal monthly blog report, this month I’m doing a review of the preceding 12 months for each site.
December was just more of the same just like the other months, I published content and I mostly made money with ads. So, for this report let’s look at 2020 as a whole for each project.
This is the site that started it all, my journey into blogging. Last year I added a ton of content to this site, this year it wasn’t as big of a focus.
During 2020 I added 97 new posts. There are now a total of 357 posts on this site.
Total Gross Income for 2020 = $27,447.40
Total Gross Income for 2019 = $3,824.61
That is a 618% Increase!
NSP 2 💲
This site is in the personal finance niche so every year I see my highs in December and January due to people making new year resolutions to get their finances in order.
I started posting content on this site back in March of 2019 and then, when I joined Project24 in June, just let it sit as I worked on my other site.
Starting around August of 2020 I began adding more of the backlog of content I had. It isn’t P24 style content but, it’s content.
Because the site wasn’t getting much content, I didn’t expect much growth, and you can see that pageviews are pretty steady during normal, off season months.
This year I plan to put a lot more effort into this site to actually grow it. That will include launching some products and taking advantage of the mailing list I’ve grown but haven’t really “pitched” to.
During 2020 I added 44 new posts. There are now a total of 101 posts on this site.
NSP 3 🏡
This site is my Project24 project site. I started it in June of 2019 when I joined Project 24. I didn’t really follow the timeline as far as adding content but, in retrospect, I wish I had.
In April and May, most of that traffic is for a single post that went viral. Then, things kind of leveled off and started going back up.
I’m continuing to add a lot of content to this site. It could easily hold a thousand posts total.
During 2020 I added 185 new posts. There are now a total of 209 posts on this site.
NSP 4 🐾
The income for this site has grown nicely in spite of it being a pretty seasonal niche with the season starting in March and continuing through till about August.
Because the site was so new during this time (It started September 2019), most of the content was less than six months old when the season started. I am hoping that is a good sign that in 2021 I’ll see even greater growth.
During 2020 I added 40 new posts. There are now a total of 72 posts on this site.
My goal is to work on getting this site to 100 total posts during 2021. The site could easily accommodate 500 or more posts so I am not worried about running out of things to talk about.
NSP 5 🐘
This project was kind of started and then sat on the back burner. It is a fun topic for me to research but I’m not sure where I want to focus so instead of making a decision I’ve kind of put it on the back burner.
In spite of that, it’s doing pretty good for under 50 posts.
During 2020 I added 28 new posts. There are now a total of 37 posts on this site.
The goal with this site is to get it to at least 100 posts in 2021. The site itself could be a mega site accommodating multiple thousands of posts.
NSP 6 🦔
This site is in the pets niche. Earlier in the year I ordered 50 posts from Text Goods but didn’t finish adding that content until late in the year.
I know I’ll need to add more content to keep this site growing but, I love seeing the upward trend, I just need to work to keep that going.
During 2020 I added 63 new posts. There are now a total of 66 posts on this site.
NSP 7 👶
This site is in the parenting niche and has really been on the back burner. Though, it has definitely seen some traffic bumps so I should probably take some time to add content.
This niche is so oversaturated it is hard to get a foothold for organic traffic. Since I have so many projects its hard to justify putting time into this one but, I do think the reward, in terms of RPM, will be good so I just need to hunker down and do the search analysis.
During 2020 I added 0 new posts. There are now a total of 16 posts on this site.
NSP 8 🧰
This site is in the DIY niche but I’ve been able to find what I thought were great keywords.
The majority of the traffic comes from a handful of posts for this site but it is definitely growing each month.
The plan here is to continue to add content and grow the site.
During 2020 I added 43 new posts. There are now a total of 43 posts on this site.
🪑 NSP 9
This site is in the home and garden niche with the majority of the content being on the gardening side right now.
I added a bunch of content and am very happy with how pageviews turned out considering the content is brand new and the site is now offseason.
I’m excited to see how the site does come spring and then will need to make some decisions to expand the content to some area other than gardening as well.
During 2020 I added 73 new posts. There are now a total of 73 posts on this site.
🥬 Health & Fitness
This is a pretty new site with only 10 posts. Again, it is a very difficult niche to get into but I am having some fun with the search analysis.
During 2020 I added 10 new posts. There are now a total of 10 posts on this site.
The goal in 2021 is to grow this site to at least 50 posts and probably offer it for sale towards the end of the year, or next year.
Another new site and, not too shabby for only 2 posts. This is another one I had a great idea for but never really did proper search analysis to be able to turn it over to my team.
During 2020 I added 2 new posts. There are now a total of 2 posts on this site.
My goal is to get 30 or so posts on the site and see what happens traffic wise and go from there.
This site is growing nicely and is also seasonal/off season right now. Only 11 posts but those posts are starting to gain traction.
During 2020 I added 11 new posts. There are now a total of 11 posts on this site.
I’m thinking of getting this site to 50 posts or so and then making a decision from there.
When I was little, I loved spending time with my grandmother learning to sew. Now that I am older, I have a couple of machines but honestly don’t take the time to actually do much anymore.
I thought this site would be fun to give me inspiration to actually craft/sew more. Turns out, that hasn’t happened yet but at least I enjoy doing the keyword research!
During 2020 I added 26 new posts. There are now a total of 26 posts on this site.
🌙 Lifestyle / Fitness
I’m not sure what I want to do topic wise for this site. The domain name is what leads to the majority of the search traffic. People organically search for the domain so, just by having the site I started off with pretty decent organic traffic, as you can see in June when I launched.
This means the site has some pretty big potential, but I need to choose a niche that resonates with the people that are searching this term to begin with. That isn’t always as easy as it might seem!
During 2020 I added 7 new posts. There are now a total of 7 posts on this site.
I started two other sites in 2020 not on this list. One has 4 posts and one has 2. Additionally, I have several new sites planned for 2021.
Building out this many sites is crazy fun and, hopefully, I’ll have a few ready to sell by the end of the year. For now, though, I’ll keep adding content pushing them towards the traffic levels required to get them on AdThrive or Mediavine.
Having so many sites works well for my brain because I don’t like to focus. I get bored doing one thing for too long and I love to keep busy. These sites certainly do keep me busy.
Teamwork Makes the Dream Work
I could not have gotten this far without help and my team has certainly grown to help. As of right now I have:
- 1 Full-time VA
- 2 Part-time VAs focusing on Pinterest
- 1 Part-time Admin assistant
- 1 Part-time Office Manager/High-Level Admin
- 3 Part-time Editors
- 12 writers
Year End Blog Income and Expenses
In 2020 I made $34,566.37. Of that, $30,361.39 was ad revenue and the rest a mix of affiliate income and product sales.
Of that, I took home exactly $0. All funds were reinvested back into the business. Here are some of my bigger expenses:
- ~$20k on contractors (writers, editors, VA’s, etc)
- ~$1,300 on Education
- ~$8,000 on office supplies and software (including many lifetime software purchases as well as normal monthly software).
- ~$1,800 on taxes and licenses
- ~$2,700 on domains and hosting (I have over 100 domains)
I do cash based accounting and, based on that model I didn’t make much at all.
That may not seem to jive with my income reports, but, I always disclose that I am reporting on cash earned not received during the month. That is called accrual accounting, and while it makes for nice income reports, it’s not how my accounting software operates, nor is it the numbers my tax guy wants.
Accrual accounting, does, however, make for better numbers. If I pull a profit and loss report for 2020 based on accrual accounting, I made $13,725. Not too bad!
Looking Forward Into 2021
In 2020 I have not prioritized paying myself or setting aside funds for taxes. This year, following the profit first method, I’ve opened up a new checking and savings account to “hold” those funds.
I’m starting small, at 5% for Taxes, 2% for Profit, and 3% for owners pay. This is off of the gross income and the goal is for those number to increase as the year goes on.
The end goal is, of course, for me to be paying myself a decent wage from the business.
I have some pretty lofty goals so we’ll see how things pencil out. Keep an eye out for my post on how I set my 2021 goals that I’ll write later this month! Sign up for the newsletter if you want to be notified when that goes live.
If you enjoyed this content, consider buying me a coffee 😀
My Niche Site Projects
Interested in reading about my niche site projects? Check out the threads below for information and to view their current progress!
Resources I Use
I keep an up to date list of all of the tools and resources I use to manage my blogs, including how I create the awesome dashboards in my income reports, on my Tools and Resources page.
These are my top tools:
- ClickUp – It has easily helped me 10x my productivity.
- BigScoots Hosting – (or, alternately, SiteGround)
- Tailwind for Pinterest
- ConvertKit for Email List
- Airtable for tracking (and all the cool screenshots on my site progress reports)
- Project 24 to help figure it all out
If you want to be updated when I write a new blog post, use this form below. It isn’t pretty but it wors :D. I promise to try to remember to email you!