As I spent about half of June on the road traveling for work, I don’t have many computer shots to share – but I did spend time on my computer in a diner in Montana one morning; the work never stops!
I’m back! It’s time for another income report; last month‘s was (naturally) my most-trafficked post here on Site School, and who am I to deny you the chance to nose about in my business?
(Actually, if I’m not willing to let you nose about, I feel a lack of integrity – so re-starting these reports has been quite fulfilling for me!)
As a reminder, these income reports cover my entire portfolio (not just one site) and do not give you my actual income numbers; I use a proxy to help you understand how much I am earning from the different sites, but don’t feel safe sharing my actual income. Ready to dive in? Here’s a breakdown of my site portfolio for June 2023, with a few new sections this month.
My Site Portfolio
Before jumping into the data, I am adding a new section that gives you a quick overview of my sites. This helps show how both age and number of articles relates to the size and income of any given site – keep it in mind as you read the rest of the report.
|Site||Established||Age (mo.)||Total Articles|
|Valerie & Valise||October 2013||117||329|
|Space Tourism Guide||November 2017||68||227|
|London On My Mind||January 2021||30||196|
|Eat Like Bourdain||June 2021||25||152|
|Jordan Traveler||May 2021||26||75|
|Follow the Butterflies||April 2020||39||75|
|Great Plains Travel Guide||March 2021||28||78|
|Discover Sausalito||January 2020||42||58|
Content in May
I’ll begin (as I have in past months) with my content: how much I published in June 2023. Now a couple of important notes first:
- I work a lot. Easily 8-10 hours a day, 5 days a week.
- I run multiple sites. When you look at the total numbers, it makes sense: I can’t just publish 1-2x per week as though I only have one site – I need to publish 1-2x per week on each site.
- I have a team+. Specifically, I have one writer team member (Agustina) and one photo editor (Kindy). Together, we create all of the content ourselves, with the help of ChatGPT sometimes but not much. I also have freelance writers I pay for help with my Bourdain site.
Here’s a pie chart showing the content I produced on each site:
We produced 46 articles in June 2023 of which 23 were new and 23 were updated; this total is down about 25% from May and 50% less than April, which makes sense as I was traveling for almost half of the month.
While my other charts might seem more interesting, this is always the one *I* find interesting: my work is pretty evenly distributed across these sites; some are more focused on updates (STG, FTB, GPTG & DS) while others are more focused on new content (V&V, LOMM, ELB & JT). This is right in line with my plans for the sites in the second half of 2023 and into 2024.
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Traffic in May
Now let’s turn to traffic – this is the bedrock of every website-based business. In June, traffic to my sites was more mixed: six sites were up in traffic (V&V, STG, ELB, FTB, GPTG & DS), and two sites were down (LOMM & JT).
Here’s a pie chart of my traffic on each site:
And here are the raw number for each site:
- V&V: 312,067 pageviews (↑15%)
- STG: 140,007 pageviews (↑12%)
- LOMM: 66,230 pageviews (↓11%)
- ELB: 106,680 pageviews (↑13%)
- JT: 37,238 pageviews (↓15%)
- FTB: 14,242 pageviews (↑13%)
- GPTG: 27,201 pageviews (↑26%)
- DS: 18,679 pageviews (↑12%)
Several of my smaller sites – JT, GPTG, and DS – are highly seasonal, so it doesn’t surprise me that some of them are up or down right now.
In total, my sites had 703,665 pageviews in June – this makes June my highest traffic month of all time! This is my first month breaking 300,000 pageviews on V&V, 100,000 pageviews on ELB, and 700,000 pageviews in total. I was clearly wrong when I thought May was the high point of the month – not that I’m upset about eating my words there!
Income in May
Last but not least, what you came for – the money.
While my content production is pretty balanced and my traffic is sort of balanced (certainly favoring my two biggest sites), my income earnings are completely skewed: V&V is by far my biggest earner, and continues to represent more of my income as it grows.
As I have done in past months, I’ll use $20,000 as the benchmark for the whole portfolio, to explain how much each site “earned.” (This is because I don’t feel comfortable sharing the raw number publicly, though I’m happy to discuss it privately!)
- V&V: $14,060
- STG: $2,480
- LOMM: $1,360
- ELB: $980
- JT: $740
- GPTG & DS: <$200 each
This is a big shift from the past two months since I started doing these income reports; V&V feels disproportionately responsible for my income – right now that’s good as the site is growing, but is a vulnerability if the site ever stops growing (or starts shrinking in a non-seasonal pattern).
Also, as a reminder, this is all unrealized; payouts take 30/60/65/90 days.
In terms of the breakdown of my income by category, here’s how it went down in June:
- Ads: 68.1% of total income (so $13,260 using our example above)
- Affiliates: 30.5% of total income ($6,100)
- Products: 1.4% of total income ($280)
After a few months where I was earning a bit more from affiliates relative to ads, my ad revenue grew proportionally in June; this is probably due to the end of the quarter, when more ad spend is available to earn. Also, if I had to guess, June is less of a “booking” month for my sites due to the seasonality of destinations I cover – people are planning for 2024 less than they’re still booking for 2023, if that makes sense.
3 Takeaways from June 2023
New this month, I thought it might be good to add three quick takeaways if you’re reading this and thinking how can I get there? I hope these help!
- Write more. In total, I have almost 1200 articles working for me across these sites. At the end of the day, the number of articles correlates to the amount of traffic, which in turn correlates to your income. (I don’t say “causes” because it does matter that you choose the right keywords and write good articles!) I get that it’s tempting to focus on learning (like this article) and other strategic tasks – at the end of the day, you need more articles to reach this level I’m at. Finish reading this article, and go start your next one.
- Diversify diversify diversify. This has been my mantra for years and I always keep it in mind. I started new sites to diversify during the pandemic, and I’m always trying to optimize my affiliate efforts to diversify my income away from advertising revenue. While all of my income is dependent on traffic, I at least have some diversity in where my income comes from.
- Install LetMeAllez from Stay22 if you’re in the travel niche. This one is specific if you are a travel blogger (as I know many of you are), but that has been a game-changer for my portfolio this year. That tool alone has earned me over $20,000 this year. You’re welcome!
Any questions? Let me know in the comments below, or tag me in a post over in the Site School Facebook community!