I kid you not people, this is me: sitting by the pool, tropical drink within reach, epic sunset going down… and I’m tapping away on my computer. Say hello to my May!
Actually, to be honest, I was writing a letter to the vet about our senior kitty who is sick right now – but yes, I did have my computer with me in the Maldives, and had been doing work earlier before moving out to the poolside and trying to relax and enjoy a drink. Many thanks to my husband for providing me the photographic proof that I really do work too much.
I’m back for my monthly income report series – 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.
(Honestly, I’d love to because I get so mad at people who brag these numbers and don’t back them up with data, but in addition to creating photo blackmail of my workaholic status, my husband reminded me that the internet is a big place that never forgets anything, and asked me to not share actual amounts anymore.)
Okay, enough preamble. Here’s a breakdown of my site portfolio for May 2023.
Content in May
I’ll begin (as I did last month) with my content: how much I published in May 2023. Now a couple of important notes first:
- I work a lot. Easily 8-10 hours a day, 5 days a week, and usually a couple of hours each day on the weekends when I’m home.
- 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.
Given all that, we produced 61 articles in May 2023. Here’s a pie chart showing the content I produced on each site:
And here are the numbers for each site, broken down by new/updated so you can understand what that volume of content looks like:
- Valerie & Valise: 4 new articles & 5 updated articles (321 total articles)
- Space Tourism Guide: 7 new articles & 2 updated articles (222 total articles)
- London On My Mind: 6 new articles & 3 updated articles (194 total articles)
- Eat Like Bourdain: 19 new articles & 1 updated article (150 total articles)
- Jordan Traveler: 4 new articles & 1 updated article (70 total articles)
- Follow the Butterflies: 1 new article & 4 updated articles (87 total articles)
- Great Plains Travel Guide: 0 new articles & 2 updated articles (77 total articles)
- Discover Sausalito: 2 new articles & 0 updated articles (57 total articles)
As you can see, this month looks a bit different than April: it’s about 25% less content, and a much greater skew toward new content (70% new content).
This is primarily driven by ELB, which comprises almost 50% of the new content published in May. As you might recall from the most recent case study update for ELB (and which will be re-iterated in the one forthcoming next week), that site has a limited number of articles to write, and we’re trying to get through the topics as fast as possible. Frankly, it’s exhausting trying to publish five days a week, even when I’m only doing half of that myself.
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Traffic in May
Now let’s turn to traffic – this is the bedrock of every website-based business. In May, traffic to my sites was more mixed: five sites were up in traffic (V&V, LOMM, ELB, GPTG, and DS), and three sites were down (STG, JT, and GPTG).
Here’s a pie chart of my traffic on each site:
And here are the raw number for each site:
- V&V: 271,843 pageviews (↑19%)
- STG: 124,810 pageviews (↓15%)
- LOMM: 74,096 pageviews (↑6%)
- ELB: 94,002 pageviews (↑8%)
- JT: 44,004 pageviews (↓5%)
- FTB: 12,589 pageviews (↑10%)
- GPTG: 21,548 pageviews (↑50%)
- DS: 16,632 pageviews (↑5%)
Remember when I said GPTG was a seasonal site?! 😂
In total, my sites had 642,892 pageviews in May – this makes May my highest traffic month of all time, surpassing April. This is the third month in a row over 600k, though as I mentioned in April, I think May will be the pinnacle and drop from here until… well, January. 🥲
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.
As I did last month, I’ll use $20,000 as the benchmark for the whole portfolio, to explain how much each site “earned.” (This is, as mentioned, to protect my financial situation from the prying eyes of the ever-watchful and never-forgetful internet.)
- V&V: $12,200
- STG: $3,000
- LOMM: $2,060
- ELB: $1,000
- JT: $1,280
- GPTG & DS: <$250 each
What’s wild here is that these numbers are almost identical to April. Even as my portfolio grew and I earned more, the earnings remained directly proportional. 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 May:
- Ads: 63.5% of total income (so $12,700 using our example above)
- Affiliates: 34.7% of total income ($6,940)
- Products: 1.8% of total income ($360)
While these proportions are pretty common, I actually made proportionally less money from ads and products in May (compared to April) and proportionally more from affiliates – which is certainly good for diversification, but not because of any strategy on my part!
I feel like this covers all the basics, though it doesn’t really dig deep into anything; if you have any questions about my May 2023 income report, let me know in the comments below, or tag me in a post over in the Site School Facebook community!