Income Report: Update #5

By Last updated on May 3, 2015

Wow, time goes by fast. Ever since I started writing these monthly income reports, I’m realizing even harder how fast time is going. It feels like just a few days ago when I wrote the last one, and here we are again.

I love writing these reports because it give me time to sit down and reflect on what happened during the month, something I probably wouldn’t be doing if it weren’t for this blog.

It’s pretty hard to believe this is the 5th income report update already, but it’s really interesting to look back and see how everything progressed.

This has been great so far. One of my blogs is turning itself into a serious business, a bunch of smaller sites were sold off, and the rest of my stronger blogs are performing well. I had planned to spend a lot of time on each of them this year, but I just haven’t been able to focus on them too much after my main blog took off and started getting some serious traffic.

I’ll need to devote some time to growing them out since they were my main blogs not too long ago. Anyways, here’s what happened in April.

What happened in April?

In April, most of my attention was focused on my main blog. I’m realizing more and more the benefits of growing an authority blog with SEO. Growing traffic becomes so much easier, newly published articles on your domain are given so much extra weight than everything else, and you start ranking for all sorts of long-tail traffic without having to backlink for each new page.

Here’s what I mean

In April, my main site brought in 836,740 visitors. In March, it brought in 804,370 visitors. That’s an increase of over 30,000 visitors with really no effort at all except producing more articles. In February, traffic was 779,193 visitors. Again an increase of over 20,000 visitors.

It’s pretty crazy to see growth like that from search traffic… especially long-tail search traffic. But it’s the reward of growing an authority blog with SEO.

I still see a lot of debates of whether to build one blog or multiple blogs. I think this gives a pretty clear picture of which is better. To take a brand new blog and grow it by 30,000 visitors over a month would be a much tougher task than if you already built authority with a single blog and focused on growth.

Being found for more branded keywords

I’ve also started to notice a lot more people searching for the blog by name. That’s always a great sign. It’s even cooler to see people looking up keywords and then putting my blog name in the search as well to find pages on the blog about it.

Creating great content

One of the things I’m really proud of is my content on my blog. I know great content isn’t everything, and the biggest factor in ranking is backlinks. But when we’re targeting really big competitive terms, believe me… it matters a lot.

If your content doesn’t deserve to be there, it won’t be in the future, especially when you don’t have any authority built like some of the other sites you’re competing with. Things like bounce rate, click through rate are factors that can heavily influence your rankings long-term.

I mentioned before that even though I hire writers for my smaller articles, I write my own content for pages targeting big keywords.

There’s a reason I do this. I could easily pay a writer $50-$100 for 2000 words and they would probably do a really good job. However, it’s so difficult (for me anyways) to find someone that will do the amount of research I do, use multiple sources, and figure out which sub-topics to target and which ones to dive deeply into.

The main pages of content take me days to write, and end up being 2000-3000 words long. You might think that’s kind of overkill to spend so much time on them. Obviously, I’m not sitting at the desk for 8 hours a day for several days straight. I just mean it doesn’t take me 1 hour to put together. It probably takes about 5-6 hours total.

Writing, editing, re-writing, and optimizing for all the different keywords takes a lot of time!

Hiring a writer

On another note, I finally hired a full-time writer for my main blog. I’ll still be writing all the bigger articles, but up to this point, I’ve been using iWriter to produce my smaller articles.

Content production was all over the place and unscheduled, but it worked out to be about 4-5 times a week. Now, I want to create a little more consistency.

The thing about iWriter is that you don’t really have the personal communication and connection with your writers. The way it works is you submit a project and anyone who wants it can accept it and write your article.

It can be described as a crap shoot since you don’t have an option to screen the writers before you hire them for the job, even if you have the option to send the project to selected writers.

They rank their writers based on skill, and you can choose to pay extra to submit your project to that group.

However, I go for the cheapest option and consistently get great articles written. I’ll write more about how I do that in a separate blog post, most likely the next one after this report.

Hiring writers and ramping up content production

One thing that will surely take the site to the next level is to increase my publishing schedule significantly.

The first writer I hired will only write content on the site 5 times a week, which is pretty much the same number of articles I’m already producing on the site.

Depending on how that goes, I’ll slowly be adding on more writers. I would like to eventually get it to 3 posts a day, everyday.

That’s a LOT of content, and I’m fortunate that the niche I’ve chosen is really broad and there are a lot of things to talk about.

I don’t know the effects that this will have on the site, but I have high hopes that this will take it to the next level.

April’s Income Report

Okay, so now on to the income report.

Here’s the total income numbers for the month of April.

Blogging Income: $14,269.56

Last Month: $14,774.09
Difference: -$507.53

Despite the increase in traffic for my main blog and for my other sites, April was a down month.

Nothing to really get concerned about here though as traffic is rising, which is what matters most.

What will I do in May?

May will mainly be spent systemizing and organizing the processes of my main blog. Evaluating the writer I hired, and setting up some structure to the publishing schedule.

This is my first time hiring a full-time writer for my blog so it will definitely be a learning process.

A big project in the works

Other than that, I have an idea for a really big media blog that I want to start building but it’s going to take up a lot of time.

It’s in a pretty large niche, but the best part is that it has a lot of crazily devoted fans. I bought the domain already, so I’ll likely be setting up the site, maybe putting up a few pages of content and letting it sit until I can get back to it.

My vision for the site is something similar to Dead Spin, Kotaku, or Life Hacker.

It’s a pretty huge project and I’m still figuring out how to structuring everything out, so it will most likely be left alone until I can figure everything out with the writers.


  • Reply
    May 3, 2015 at 1:22 pm

    Always love your income reports Chris!

    It’s amazing to see that although you had the 30,000 increase in visitors that your income was slightly lower than last month – just goes to show how much CPC can fluctuate when using Adsense.

    Either way – great progress with your authority site, which I hope continues getting better with the new full time writer. Just out of interest, did you find the writer on elance? Or a similar website?


    • Reply
      Chris Lee
      May 3, 2015 at 1:28 pm

      Thanks, Alice. Yeah, it was Elance. Contemplated problogger’s job board after hearing some really good things, but the writers there command really high prices so will have to try out Elance first and see how it goes.

  • Reply
    May 3, 2015 at 2:20 pm


    congrats on the ernings!

    I wish I could get more details on your project to make a similar process myself.

    I’m kind of stuck at $700 per month, which isn’t bad, but I can not move from here.

    Is there a secret how you position the adsense ads and what ctr do you get?

    Also, what kind of WP theme are you using?

    Do you do any advertising at FB or social media?



    • Reply
      Chris Lee
      May 3, 2015 at 3:56 pm

      Thanks, Mike. I discussed optimal ad positions and techniques in the past here and here. I use custom themes I develop myself. I do some Facebook, but not a lot. I tend not to spend too much time on social for my niche sites unless I’m going to run ads.

      • Reply
        May 4, 2015 at 2:55 am

        Thanks for your reply!

        Its interesting to hear that you develop themes yourself. I also don’t like themes being loaded with lots of unnecessary stuff.

        Could you perhaps suggest a starting theme that is really basic and that could be used in a similar way as yours?

        • Reply
          Chris Lee
          May 4, 2015 at 2:15 pm

          A lot of themes on ThemeForest are good. I haven’t purchased a theme in quite a while so I can’t give any personal recommendations of specific themes.

          If you’re searching on ThemeForest, my personal preference was always to purchase the cheaper themes around the $35 (I believe they raised it to $38 now…). The more expensive ones are priced highly because of all the extra functions they come with. But the cheaper ones around the $38 price range are simple and clean.

          Below that price range and it seems that they’re mostly landing pages and one-page templates so $38 ones seem to be the best fit.

  • Reply
    Tung Tran
    May 4, 2015 at 2:15 am

    Congrats Chris!

    Been following you for a few weeks now and loved your content.

    • Reply
      Chris Lee
      May 4, 2015 at 2:11 pm

      Thanks, Tung 🙂

  • Reply
    May 4, 2015 at 10:00 am

    That’s crazy increase every month! Just don’t get caught up in tweaking the website and lose sight, of what really matters that, the content 🙂

    I am very excited to see your lifehacker type site! ~ You will have to have several writers for that type of project??

    • Reply
      Chris Lee
      May 4, 2015 at 2:18 pm

      Thanks Brad!

      So true. A site can go from high quality with lots of dedicated fans to mass production of fluffy articles with no fans quickly when publishing is scaled up rapidly. I’ll keep it in mind 🙂

      Yeah, this one will require a bigger team of writers to really get going. I’ll have to get everything sorted out with working with writers on the main niche site first before I can tackle this one.

  • Reply
    May 4, 2015 at 2:51 pm

    thanks for posting the link to posts with adsense ad positions.

    Now, I have read that you have implemented an ad that follows you down the page as you scrolled down.

    I Googled this and found it’s not allowed, while you state this is ok and acceptable within google policy.

    Can you assure that? Know of any sources that also state this is safe?

    I’d like to try this too, but wouldn’t like to take any risks…

    • Reply
      Chris Lee
      May 4, 2015 at 4:00 pm

      It’s only not allowed if you use it to block out parts of your content and manipulate clicks. I think I stated that in the original post.

      For instance, if you have an ad block right above your first paragraph, and you make it scroll down your page as the reader reads that would block out your content and is manipulating them to click. But if you leave it as the last block in your sidebar, it shouldn’t cover anything and you should be fine.

      Hope that clears up any confusion.

  • Reply
    May 7, 2015 at 11:53 pm

    Wow! Lots of traffic!

    Weird that the traffic goes up, but earnings go down! I guess it’s probably like that with all types of monetization. You said you just keep adding content, and since the site has authority, the traffic just keeps increasing. I just recently noticed something with a few sites I have.

    Google is doing this thing where it puts your site as #1 position for queries like “what do squirrels eat”. I had a site that had this happen for multiple queries, and impressions, clicks and traffic skyrocketed for a large set of queries. Unfortunately, it was for informational keywords on a site monetized with Amazon Associates, so the additional traffic was sort of useless.

    Maybe figuring out how to target queries like that and get your pages to show up as #1 would greatly increase your site’s earnings. It’s nuts thinking your site makes that much per month with that traffic. I personally know the owner of universetoday and his site is making about the same revenue. Anyways, hope things keep looking up for you, Chris. It will also be interesting to see how this ‘make money follow along’ blog will turn out and what promotion strategies you will use for it!


    • Reply
      Chris Lee
      May 8, 2015 at 2:04 pm

      Thanks, Julian.

      Really cool you know the owner of UniverseToday personally. I remember a few years ago he was on Warrior Forum a lot and he had a few great debate threads about his strategy building out the site. That helped me a lot actually. If anyone wants to dig that up, it’s a great read.

      • Reply
        January 17, 2017 at 3:04 am

        Hi Chris, great post, thank you!

        Tried to lookup that thread on WF, but need a hint what to search for … universe or universetoday is not the owners UN .. several Users with …universe…
        Do you remember?

        Thanks a lot


        • Reply
          Chris Lee
          March 17, 2017 at 6:20 pm

          Ah, I forget his name. That wasn’t his user name. It was his real name.

  • Reply
    May 20, 2015 at 3:34 pm

    Nice report!

    I earned about $ 8,000 last month, but I work hard to reach $ 30.000 per month…

    • Reply
      Chris Lee
      May 21, 2015 at 1:44 am

      That’s awesome, Alex! $30k/month is an ambitious goal, but certainly achievable. Best of luck!

  • Reply
    Thu thuat may tinh
    May 23, 2015 at 2:58 am

    wow. great. my dream

  • Reply
    Matthew Allen
    May 27, 2015 at 3:01 pm

    Chris! Why have I never heard of you before? Thanks for emailing me. Digging through a few posts on your blog and loving it.

    I can hardly imagine having an income report as simple as yours. Adsense only?! Or is that all you reveal?

    I read the previous comment on this post about Adsense blocks as a sticky widget. I also looked it up and it appeared to violate the TOS. Have you actually been using this technique and getting away with it? With your income numbers, surely Google has manually reviewed your site. I imagine CTR’s are amazing with a sticky widget block in the sidebar. I’ve always been afraid to do it though for fear of getting banned.

    • Reply
      Chris Lee
      May 27, 2015 at 3:24 pm

      Hey Matthew! Thanks for checking out the blog and getting back to me.

      Yeah, all the income on RankXL is from Adsense. I do have some other sources such as private advertising, but I’ve excluded them from my reports since I did start this as an Adsense journey kind of blog.

      Also, the sticky widget. I’ve been using this ad block for a long time now and my site has surely been reviewed manually before. So far, everything is fine and I haven’t received any notices or warnings.

      I was under the impression that it was fine to use as long as you didn’t cover up the content as you scroll. But more people recently have been telling me that this is not the case. CTR is really great with that ad, so I’m looking deeper into it now before moving away from it.

  • Reply
    September 2, 2016 at 5:14 am

    Hey Chris, I read about your Niche Site Course. I already have an existing website and it’s a sort of a professional site for lawyers and law students here in the Philippines. My question is, do you think your course will still be a good fix for an existing website, or do I have to build it again using your system if I did indeed buy the course? I would hate to abandon the site I worked for 2 years already. And its got tons of posts too.

    • Reply
      Chris Lee
      September 4, 2016 at 6:51 pm

      Hey Robert! It should work, and most likely to implement the strategies, you’ll need to do a content audit and re-organize your larger pages.

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