December was another great month for this project in terms of revenue. The holiday season brought on steady affiliate commissions and higher advertising rates for the entire month leading up to Christmas.
The site did, however, take a pretty significant step back in terms of traffic. A little bit of that had to do with the site being down for a few days after Christmas (more on that in a moment), and some of it had to do with the site sliding in ranking position for some important keywords.
Heading into 2021 I’m overall very happy with where the site is at. With that being said though, there are definitely some concerns I have and room for improvement if the site is going to get to the point where it can be valued at $1 million.
What Got Done This Month
- I didn’t write any articles myself this month
- 9 articles totaling 16,780 words written by writers I hired were posted to the site
- I spent $2,295 on link building campaigns between The Hoth and nichewebsite.builders
- I upgraded my hosting account to host my site on a higher performance server
As far as content and link building goes, I continued to stick with what has been working for me all year. The new shotgun skyscraper campaign with Niche Website Builders is off to a nice start and has already secured a handful of new links to my site.
Over the last few months, my site has been getting 100,000+ users each month, which is obviously a great thing! It happened a little sooner than I expected though, and the hosting plan I was on was not designed to support those traffic levels.
As a result, my site started slowing down quite a bit at the beginning of December, and by the end of the month many of my top pages were sliding in ranking position. That could have just been a short term coincidence, but in the long run a slow website will almost definitely lose ranking position in Google search results over time.
So either way it was time to upgrade my hosting plan, and I figured the days following Christmas were probably the best days to have my site be down because the site already had a great December and everything would be up and running for the new year.
So I upgraded my hosting plan from Bluehost Choice Plus to Bluehost Pro – and my site had to migrate to a new Bluehost server in the process. There were some complications that came about due to the way my site integrates with Ezoic too, but I’m not going to bore anybody with those details 🙂 When it was all said and done, my site was down for 3 days and Ezoic was not serving ads for 4 additional days after the site got back up.
3 days felt like an eternity at the time but now that the site is back up and running faster, I’m glad I went ahead and knocked this out.
2020 In Review
December brought $11,735 in revenue. I have been planning from the beginning for the site to get to this point (and past it!) but I am a little surprised that I hit this milestone after only 14 months.
The crazy thing is, I’m really not doing anything special or crazy on this site. It’s following the classic affiliate website business model using more or less the same strategies that many other niche website entrepreneurs use.
If I had to chalk up the rapid success to anything, I think there are two big reasons why the site has been able to perform so well so quickly. It’s first because I did an excellent job with keyword research and choosing a niche. The niche I’m in has plenty of products to review, limitless informational content, and has been rising in popularity over the last decade or so. I have easily 2-3 years worth of content ideas on my spreadsheet too, so I haven’t pigeon-holed myself into too narrow of a niche.
Second, and probably more importantly, I think the site is successful because I am simply creating better content and outspending the competition on link building campaigns. I knew at the beginning of this project that the site wouldn’t become worth a million bucks by accident, and I needed to do a full send on both content and link building strategy. To get to the top of Google search results, you have to create better content than your competition and get more backlinks pointing to your site. It’s as simple as that.
You might remember back from the beginning of this project, I personally wrote over 170,000 words for this site before it made a dime. After that, I kept writing a significant amount for about 6 more months before hiring writers. I also invested $1,000 per month in links from the beginning, and that number has only gone up. As the site began to earn more revenue, I reinvested more by hiring more writers and hiring an agency to do manual link outreach for me.
I have no way to know for sure, but I think I am simply have more money going work in this project compared to 95% of the competition – which has led to better content, a better backlink profile, and better rankings in Google search results for the keywords I’m targeting.
Valuation Check In and What’s Next For 2021
The end goal of this project is to sell the site for a million bucks. Where do we stand on that? It’s hard to know for sure, but based on what I am seeing with listings at Empire Flippers and other brokers of online businesses, multiples for a site like mine fall between 36x and 40x of average monthly net profit.
Most of the time the average is based on a minimum of 9 trailing months – and my trailing 9 average is about $6,000, which would put the valuation in the ballpark $240,000.
Of course, the site has performed much better as of late – the trailing 4 month average net profit is closer to $8,700, which would be more like a $350,000 valuation if the site stays on a similar pace over the next 6 months.
The way I see it, the site is somewhere between 1/4 to 1/3 of the way to a million dollar valuation. My goal for 2021 is to have the site reach a $600,000 valuation, so essentially for it to double from where it’s at currently.
As far as how I plan to get there, it’s going to be more of the same bread and butter strategy that has been working for me so far – more content and more links. I will almost definitely hire another writer and pay for more links each month in 2021.
It is a goal of mine to build out the content on Digital Asset Guy this year, so much more of my personal focus is going to be put towards that over the coming year. So with that in mind I’m going to change up a little bit and provide quarterly updates for the Million Dollar Project going forward.
I feel like that will still allow anybody who is following along to check in without missing much – after all, my strategy has been pretty simple from day 1 and I’m not making any crazy changes on a month by month basis since the systems I have in place are working.
I hope that 2020 brought you some wins despite being such a strange year! Thanks for following along with this project and I wish you the best in 2021 for you and your business.