White Hat Blogging is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, in addition, I am an independent Jasper Affiliate, not an employee. I receive referral payments from Jasper and possibly other affiliates.
December marks the end of a weird, wild, and basically nutso 2021. The pandemic still isn’t over though people appear to be getting over it overall and starting to demand freedom back it was very much an insane rollercoaster ride from start to finish including multiple large Google algorithm changes.
As expected ads paid pretty well and through the first two weeks affiliate was pretty solid but then it began to bleed off as people completed shopping early and fears of the new variant possibly encircling the world hit many in the US.
The one consistent thing you can do in a content creation business like building niche websites is to continue to build content and that content will eventually convert into returns, many new affiliates lose track of this watching stats like Google Analytics, earnings, and losing sight of the one important thing that will drive their business forward.
Google spoke this year about not really understanding a site with low post counts, so starting a baby site with 30 posts just won’t give them a clear representation in many ways. This led me to the decision that new sites will move to 100 posts and then they will get their chance to grow while I turn my focus back into the rest of my sites.
This approach led me to focus on building a P24 case study site which now enters month 8 and possibly the most exciting part of the site’s life as it will hit 12 months going right into the prime season. This will be a nice opportunity to see where you can take a site on a subject you don’t know within a year and is incredibly interesting!
December was busy, it offered very little free time due to the holiday and commitments within the regular world, I was able to get some content out but definitely having more set up to outsource in November and December will be a good opportunity for next year.
With that being said, Welcome to my December 2021 Income Report!
December 2021 At a Glance
Coming full circle on the first real year of building effective niche websites I have increased my average monthly income from just $245 in January of 2021 to $1764 in December 2021.
This is a whopping increase of approximately 700%!
Imagine another business that you could grow by 700% in less than one year, if I could replicate this through next year I would look to be making nearly $12,000 per month! What is more amazing, as you make more and build content out you tend to accelerate even faster, so I am looking forward to next year with a lot of pure adrenaline and excitement!
My focus will be to continue building the pillars of my sites, while also moving the other baby sites to 100 posts to have them continue to grow, and once they reach a point the decision will be to keep versus a sell-off to diversify some income into other opportunities like crypto, stocks, and real estate.
I am just going to keep pushing to see my traffic grow month over month, I have moved to nearly 50k in pageviews this month, and moving from the fitness and outdoor site to my other projects has provided much more value for the time put in.
The outdoor site is still a passion site and I will continue to build it out and grow it to be my 10-year project overall, the others are very good passive income delivery vehicles as most are in evergreen topics where the information won’t change much over time.
The longer I do this the more I realize I don’t want to be a sheer number only content generator, I want to be able to upkeep and update my content, and seeing people with 1000+ posts on a site shows the issues coming with managing upkeep in general without it becoming a chore.
I’ve always been into this for the freedom aspect, the choice to do what I want without a 9-5 along with the opportunities it can provide but I also want to be the best resource out there and not just another Jon Dykstra winning by the sheer volume and hope of a home run.
Why Create Income Reports?
I can say that I don’t necessarily “enjoy” making these as they take a solid chunk of the day to gather and align but they are very nice when I go look back historically and can see where I was along with my thoughts back at that point.
I started doing these income reports to show month-on-month growth and to provide some motivation to show that websites can be a solid income over time but that it isn’t a get-rich-quick scheme by any means.
Should you choose that you want to make websites for a living to earn the income you need to be realistic that the work you do now will have a CHANCE to pay off in a year or more.
That being said there is no other way to build an income that allows you the freedom with the time that a blogger can achieve, this is my why and it is the reason I work continually to improve my skills and my niche sites.
If you are an absolute beginner I would suggest joining the Income School Project 24, it can help you when you have no clue to get solid footing for a really good cost.
If you aren’t sold on them then you can look at another well-detailed affiliate marketing class and many others which are available from MoneyLab.co which I am a member of as there is high value in the users within.
Overall Content Generation Breakdown
Building content against a vast array of sites can be intimidating, I write what I can, I work with Jasper when it makes sense, and then I outsource whatever I can afford to help keep the gas pedal pressed down hard.
- Fitness – 0 posts
- Garden 1 – 0 posts
- Garden 2 – 0 posts
- Outdoor 1 – 0 post
- Outdoor 3 – 11 posts (New P24 Method Case Study and YouTube Series)
- Electronics 1 – 2 posts
- Backyard – 0 posts
- White Hat Blogging (This Site) – 1 post
- Hobby – 0 posts (On Ice as just a 30 post incubator)
- Travel – 0 posts
- Business – 0 posts
- Popcorn Site – 0 posts
- Elite Content Publishers – 0 posts
- Outdoor 4 – 8 posts
- Finance – 5 posts
- WHB YouTube – 3 Videos
Total Posts for the month: 27
Monthly Income Breakdown
|Other Niche Affiliate Programs
|Blogging Affiliate Programs - BigScoots
|Blogging Affiliate Programs - Jasper.ai
|Blogging Affiliate Programs - Cloudways
|Blogging Affiliate Programs - Project 24
|Blogging Affiliate Programs - SurferSEO
|Blogging Affiliate Programs - Ezoic
|Blogging Affiliate Programs - Fiverr
|Blogging Affiliate Programs - Passion Posts
|Blogging Affiliate Programs - Amalinks Pro
Monthly Expense Breakdown
|Hosting - Cloudways
|Outsourced Content - Fiverr
|Canva - Images
|Project 24 Subscription
|Jasper.ai (Formerly Conversion.ai)
My Niche Site Updates
Let’s dig into each site and see progress, or lack thereof happens when you are working to manage a wide array of sites. Overall this does lead to a slower growth curve than a focus on a single site, but with this diversification comes a much better chance of safety from a Core Algo Update.
Site – Fitness
The end of a year is almost always rough on a fitness site, the end of the year is when everyone frequently gives up on any game plan and is more focused on enjoying the time and company. As expected this can lead to dramatically less overall search volume on many keywords and without posting more content I wasn’t and am not expecting something out of nothing.
Well this is very similar to the drops I experienced in this site last year for me and this site November and December have always been drops and I am hoping to see a resurrection to a certain amount in the new year.
Even without posting the posts, I did update with Frase do look to be moving up the ranks from nowheresville to the top 100 now, if I could get those into the top 10 they would bring significant traffic with them and it looks like the Frase fix is the best way to move forward in just cleanup and optimization.
Basically, the same graph for both months, nothing fancy to say here but here’s to a much improved 2022!
Plan For Next Month
Continue to edit failed content and make sure that it is the best content on the web on the topic, this will allow me to edit a post every few days without causing me to slow in my own writing or progress on the other sites which are successful.
Site – Garden 1
This site felt like it had a viable future but it has never really caught on, I am starting to feel like this just needs to get to 100 quality posts and not the poor caliber posts I outsourced 2 years ago from iWriter. After I get known good sites up to 100 posts then I may move back to this and start to build content with the benefit of some aging time.
Before WPX died and took this site with it when they failed a few months back, it looks to maybe be starting to recover a bit but it is still at 50% of the traffic it was before the crash came and I hope it will continue to grow.
The 15 posts that aren’t in the top 10 are all from iWriter as a source of content I could not have gotten a worse return on my investment. I think they need full rewrites and maybe they can catch on a bit again.
Growth in Google is a nice surprise, with nearly 60 more clicks that’s a solid performance gain for the month along with far more impressions versus November’s data.
Plan For Next Month
Will continue to topic hunt and find keywords to be ready to target in case the free time comes or additional funds allow more outsourcing of content.
Site – Garden 2
This site shows a lot of promise and is finally starting to get some solid affiliate sales outside of Amazon bringing in a tremendously higher RPM while providing the buyers with the BEST place to purchase the garden supplies.
This site is showing strong performance indications to me and is on the path to 100 posts in the first 3 months of 2022 which I hope will power it towards that pretty 30-50k visits mark and beyond!
The site grew by over 25% this month and this is why the push to 100 posts is very important, to help show Google what the blog is about and how detailed. In addition, this blog is getting over 5:30 average time on page so people are staying and reading the content consistently!
I have nearly every post in the top 100 now and following that into the top 10 is 2/3rds which I feel is a strong base for these next 34 posts which are going to target some middle and shorter-tailed keywords looking to use strong interlinking to help gain some volume to the site and not just to target low tier content.
A jump in 500 clicks and 20k impressions is a nice bump in growth versus the previous month and the CTR is growing and position improving as expected with the keyword SERP rankings we saw above.
Plan For Next Month
Outsource 10 more posts to move this site into position to push into the 100 posts realm fast. These will still take time to rank but the sooner they can get out the better position they will have by Q4 next year and the faster to build to 50k sessions.
Site – Outdoor 1
I continue to work on this site adding more value-based pages and calculators not only posts, this site is continuing to grow and I may look to sell it after next year as it’s not exactly where my heart lies but could fetch a nice payday if the traffic continues to grow.
I am averaging 7 minutes of time on the page so people are engrossed in the content and are staying longer leading to better ad and affiliate income. This is also the first month breaking 10k pageviews which hopefully means we are on the edge of serious growth in the search pages.
The site continues to do better and better as time goes by and the content ranks for more and more of the targeted keywords. There are nearly 60% in the top 10 and all this site needs is some more publishing to help kick it into overdrive.
The clicks continue to rise along with impressions which are nice as this site has serious competition that first made me worry about my decision to start in on it but I am happy with the results and the lessons it has taught me have served me very well on other sites since.
Plan For Next Month
This site is the one I have that is on a push to 200 posts and I hope to outsource 10 more posts this upcoming month, I just need to find those sneaky keywords that pay off well, and once at 200 posts, I can re-evaluate what the stance will be on target for selling or to continue growing.
Site – Outdoor 3 (P24 Case Study Site)
I have been worried about this one, not so much in the fact that it will fail but that I targeted a heavy summer niche which means there is a narrow opportunity for content to maximize its payday before it goes into off-season yet again.
The fun part is this is all from the side of a newbie, I know nothing on the subject having to read and find keywords that make sense is easier knowing nothing as I can choose the beginner keywords that have value for a blog to cover much easier.
The site is finally beginning to catch on a little and grow, a 50% growth month feels nice as it has been a long wait for anything to catch with the Google Indexing not liking the site itself which put me behind the timeline as to expected pageviews to this point.
This part is the exciting part, the rankings are finally beginning to build and move which will get the visitors eyeballs on the content and show Google the good signs and good content leading to hopefully more growth in rankings for the lagging content!
Three times the clicks is a superb change and make me very much more excited going into the new year that this next season for the niche could yield some good returns.
Plan For Next Month
I am currently researching content ideas for the off-season to ensure this impact is limited next year along with building some monetization-specific content once I see all the posts get ranked.
I will not be writing monetizable content like buyers guides until I can get the traffic up to a level where those will convert more often, for now, the work is to make solid informational content to get traffic building.
Site – Electronics 1
Who doesn’t love electronics, they are easy to write about and there is always informational content that could help someone and in many cases, it is skipped in favor of buyers guides to get those sweet 2-4% commissions. HA!!
My focus is solidly on informational content with contextual links to make a purchase may be and this is showing in topics I am winning that are providing nearly 2k pageviews a month as they are aging in!
Focusing on informational content makes this a simpler nut to crack and is providing me solid traffic figures that are gaining 30+% month over month which is how you build that 100k-500k visit site where ads become a strong performer for consistent income.
I only added two posts this month but the traffic grew on the site overall by around 4000 PVs so the real work will be to continue to write content as the views are there if the content is thin in the SERP or is outright missing.
Nearly 70% of my content is in the top 10, which is outstanding and nearly all posts have cracked the top 100. These are signs that the informational content is sorely lacking in the space and that I have free traffic just chilling out waiting for the right content to fee it!
There was a gigantic spike after Christmas which may have been due to people looking up information on their new gifts to troubleshoot or learn how to use them correctly.
This has corrected back to more the line trend it was prior to Christmas which made me sad but shows me some potential topics to cover more about configuring and setting up the electronics.
Plan For Next Month
Continue the push of content towards 200 pieces that are focused on newer owners and the questions they frequently require answers to that others cover very vaguely or not in-depth.
This niche has shown me that purely informational content is poorly done online in general, if you produce high-quality content that provides the full information to the user there is traffic in ALL niches, no niche is limited to rich bloggers.
Site – Backyard
This site always has a down offseason, the first year of it was last year and I thought that I had just built a bum site but then once the Spring came and people started to enjoy their backyards again it skyrocketed.
This site is heavily influenced by the time of year which means it will come back around here this next year once the backyard time comes again so I am not stressed as to the stagnancy and flat looks.
As has been the experience for me over time, this site is always low through the Wintertime and then around March will begin to accelerate back up and grow solidly through the Summer then around mid-fall start to decline again.
I did lose some places in the top 100 and one moved from the top 3 to the top 10 but overall I have basically sat solidly through the down season and am ready for a new seasonal injection of traffic and this year the goal will be to target more off-season terms.
Search console shows that I lost clicks and impressions but never really lost rankings so it is still just the seasonality at play and just shows me that focusing on building some content this year to better survive the cold periods would be the better plan on this site.
Plan For Next Month
Research more cold weather-related post concepts and find some low competition search phrases to target.
Site – White Hat Blogging
I post income reports and useful details here, ranking this content is basically nigh impossible without spending a majority of your life tied to it and having a course or similar monetization options to make it viable for many keywords, in the same time any affiliate can be up and be gaining income with a 10th of the same work effort.
I am slowly growing with 50% looking like a huge spike, realistically this was just from 400 visits to 600 visits so while nice to see a huge percent increase it is not huge as a lot comes in one spike towards the end of the month.
I am happy with maintaining 2 posts in the top 10, growing in the top 100 is nice as I don’t track any income report keywords and more just keep track of the value added post content keywords so any forward movement is nice and some of it may just come down to domain aging.
The .4% increase in CTR is where that spike in additional clicks came from that you see towards the end of the month, I plan to continue writing posts as I find things I think are viably rankable without massive links and hope to build this site over time as it is a record of my progress as well.
Plan For Next Month
Make another income report, write a post if I find something viably rankable as most of the work I have added hasn’t provided a solid traffic nor income opportunity this site is currently going to mostly consist of income reporting.
Site – Hobby
This site is something I find fun and if I had more time or money it would get more content done, I have given it some time to age and it has been growing so it shows me that it may be worth more time and money to outsource content to 100 posts and then re-evaluate.
Nearly 300% growth from just under 200 pageviews to over 700 is a nice little mini ramp and I am hoping to see some more growth come from the posts I have on the site, may be time to work on this bad boy once again!
Everything is nicely growing and moving up the chain with gains in the top 3, top 10, top 30 and top 100. Not very often you see all of them feature solid growth! This makes me feel like the sandbox may have ended and new content could move the needle faster!
I love when the current month bar is very distinct from the last month bar, as you see here the December month won out over any day in the entirety of November, there is some solid movement and interested to see how far it keeps moving!
Plan For Next Month
Currently letting this domain and content age but the good signs show that it may be time to outsource 10 more posts to see if they can keep the site growing while my focus is on other sites. Will have to evaluate other writers to help get content written!
Site – Travel
With the long amount of travel restrictions I have been letting this site site and grow with aging but it may be soon the point to start writing more content as restrictions look to be relaxing a little more regardless of varients, only time will tell!
Basically traffic is flat, with no content being added I wish there was still some growth but can’t be unhappy with stability as passive income sites you like to see relative stability and no large fluctuations to provide income over time consistently without non-stop work just to maintain.
Growing into top 3 is a nice sign, this means once more of these restrictions end there may be some solid growth when people begin looking to travel overseas more often.
Growth came but at the cost of CTR drop, I am happy though as the average position is still growing moving to 22.5 and maybe soon busting out, hoping soon to see these drop hard when the site ranks for more keywords meaning I get far more impressions and more chances for clicks to happen!
Plan For Next Month
Start writing four posts per month to get one per week going back onto the site and start growing the blog more preparing for the eventual freedom to come back to travel without papers.
Site – Businesss
This site is interesting and is continuing to grow which shows me that while I found no competition that there is a solid chance to get traffic and if I can get traffic there will be plenty of methods to monetize that traffic so I am gonna go in on getting this site to 100 posts ASAP.
Growth of traffic was 175% moving from under 500 total pageviews to nearly 1200! Thats clear signs there is some solid traffic available here which was the initial worry.
Everything I write in here gets into the top 10 eventually, everything I am competing against is a forum which means there is only a limit based on my willingness to write shorter 1000 word content and just consume all these low hanging keywords.
Growth in GSC is solid, the clicks, CTR, and position have all grown over November and in December there has been no notable increase based on holiday versus non-holiday it is more just content ranking higher and higher.
Plan For Next Month
I need to start writing about 4-8 posts per month and get this moving towards 100 posts, I may start outsourcing some additional posts to start getting this number increased faster and see if this is really an untapped niche.
Site – Popcorn Theme Site
This site is more a side project to test out the Popcorn theme and to build out a site based on a fun and old hobby I used to play frequently. I am looking to begin playing once again but the site is just a fun way to research whats changed and gain knowledge to fit in.
I got some growth from very limited content moving up 20%, though this I relatively little traffic as it was from 56 to 67 pageviews. This site is more impacted by my total lack of free time than anything else.
As expected with literally starter content the site is slow to find and grow at all, as Google has stated with 30 posts they still can’t always understand what you are about there just needs to be more content overall to launch successfully.
Huge growth in clicks, lol from 1 to 3 is an explosion by 300%! But in reality CTR improved due to content moving up the rankings but there needs to be much more before this will spark any serious growth.
Plan For Next Month
Let it sit for now, there is just not enough time to keep pushing this site forward fo I will just let this content sit and age and then maybe once there is more discretionary income the growth through outsourcing can start to get this site a spark.
Site – Elite Content Publishers
This site is really geared towards helping people write better content on their own and how to evaluate content better that they outsource, I don’t expect it to explode in traffic but to be a solid resource for people who are wanting to learn and become better writers for their businesses.
Traffic declined by 33% but is was never a huge traffic maker as it is only a few months old, the content is going to speak for it over time but for now patience and I write as I find time outside of the niche sites to build this resource up.
Average position is moving up but without any growth in the top 3 nor top 10 there is little chance for gaining meaningful pageviews right now until content moves into those top 10 spaces and people get to read and show proof to Google of the contents value.
Basically flat, this makes sense again as there is nothing in the top 10, there is nothing to get this party started so I continue to hold my position and grow content over time.
Plan For Next Month
Preferably write at least one post or two, time is more the issue as I don’t outsource these posts so my time is where the crunch occurs with this many sites.
Site – Outdoor 4
This was much more a full on passion build but I found a domain with some backlinks already in existence helping to power this domain and the content faster to get ranked and to achieve some velocity over other sites in the outdoor space.
As I love this hobby I have no issue writing long content that is much more detailed than others write which allows me to move up the SERPs fast, in addition I decided to leave this on Google AdSense with adding the Trellis theme on December 29th.
The goal of this site is to focus on content and traffic and that the sites end goal will be to be on Mediavine for the best performance and speed.
Once I switched to the Trellis theme the site really exploded, all of a sudden I began getting consistent Google Discover traffic which then accelerated my organic traffic and this led to a nearly 650% growth which is crazy when the number is from just less than 600 to nearly 4500 views!!!
Content is growing and ranking, much of these 85 are “best” content that is only partially written and ranking based on the other internal links and content create. I love the fact that it is climbing organically in the SERP and hope it is a portend of things to come.
The clicks from the SERP doubled along with impressions and the position grew, I’m very happy with the search growth as this is technically month 6 for this project!
Plan For Next Month
I am trying to write at least 4 posts of 2000 words or more each month, I am aiming to completely blanket the topics and build some authority with the longer content since I have some solid DR behind the post via the existing links.
Site – Finance
This is more of a fun thing that I’m learning about so I wanted to write about what I learn about and see if I can get a foothold in the space, finance can pay well so worth the little starter nudge.
I have 5 posts, won’t expect much traffic.
I have something in the top 30, nice win.
New site, some showing isn’t bad, better than many new sites.
Plan For Next Month
Try to write 1-2 posts to keep the site slowly growing, this is a long term project and not expected to become a powerhouse fast.
Overall Lessons from December
Definitely that the month of December is better served being outsourced to maintain velocity if you can, I would love to be one of those sites that show huge Christmas day sales but it just isn’t me still to this point as I focus heavily on information instead.
I completed three videos on the YouTube channel which was better than any month in the last year hands down and I have had solid responses to the last one which shows if I create the right video, title, and image I can be successful there while holding to my tenants of making helpful content.
Did I Meet my December Goals?
I feel that I hit my December goals, it is a hard month to get work done with all the family get together and holidays really from November through December time because a premium and the family doesn’t want that premium online.
I made many videos, shot even more that need editing work and grew my sites over the holidays which fits with my personal expectations.
What Are my Goals for the New Year Itself?
I want to scale back up to 30+ posts per month and start getting at least a few onto each site each month to keep them all moving forward, my real big goal for the new year is to ramp a site up to 100k pageviews and the stretch goal will be to have 3 sites all reach 100k pageviews!
Otherwise, I want to start publishing more consistently to YouTube and to get over 2000 subscribers and reach that hard to get the mark of 4000 watch hours to get the income source coming in from YouTube.
My Recommended Tools For Results
From there, here’s a quick recap on some of the most valuable resources and things I recommend you check out. They’ve helped me in my journey and I think they’ll be valuable in yours.
- Jasper.AI – This is your personal writing assistant, offering you more information and helping prompt you in writing make magical and informative content.
- Frase.io – I use this to build out my outlines for posts and then once done writing to check how my content aligns to the Top10 and Top20 SERP results to make sure I cover all the key terms other sites do.
- Project 24 – A welcome change from the competition, focused for all with a purely content first approach, hands-down an awesome course for building a niche site or an online business that focuses on content.
- Ezoic – Once you’ve got your website and some content, think about these guys. They’re doing some amazing things – and have helped me earn several thousand dollars (in ad revenue) that I’d not have earned otherwise.
- LinkWhisper – Honestly without this plugin managing links within my content would be incredibly difficult, honestly one of the easiest things to re-up each year and highly suggest it.
- Cloudways – As hosting goes choosing Cloudways with a VULTR HF server is the fastest you will ever see a backend run, no more waiting for the new post to load it is as close to desktop speeds as you can probably find.