Site 1: First Year Review [Month 10 to 12]

If you haven’t done so already, then make sure you check out my introduction to Site 1. This will briefly (and vaguely) explain what Site 1 is about and what my aims are with this site.

It’s been a year! I don’t like writing monthly updates because I find they can become quite monotonous when the majority of the update is to simply say: “I wrote more content”. That’s why it has been 3 months since my last update. But this is a good’un!

Not only is the site officially a year old but a lot changed over the final 3 months of the year so prepare yourself – this is a long one! 

Month 10 [Oct]: Ezoic Premium Invite

Before I get onto the changes I made, October was actually the most productive month for published content. I’ve been trying to ramp up my publishing efforts to try and speed up the rate in which the site generates revenue and I can happily say that I achieved that in October. I tend to find my content ranks on the first page or two within a week or two and then it takes 2 to 3 months before my content makes its way to the top 3 spots in Google so I won’t see the full impact of this effort just yet.

But I wrote just over 50,000 words in October. I know. Madness. I’m hopeful I’ll see the impact of this effort by March/April in 2021.

Ezoic Premium

I’d read a lot about Ezoic premium before receiving my invite and I was always a bit uneasy at the concept. It’s essentially paying to play and I do have to question why Ezoic isn’t just offering up these premium advertisers to all their users. Having said that, I was offered the chance to pay $58 per month to make $85 per month approximately. How could I say no?

So how did it actually work for the first month?

Well, I received 2 weeks for free before being charged $58 for my first month. During the first 2 weeks, I generated $40.48 in revenue which added $2.14 to my EPM. After paying, my EPM from Premium is settling around the $2 mark. I’ll update this at the end of November (below) with how my first full paid month of Ezoic Premium went.

Month 11 [Nov]: Visitors Doing Research for Me…

November was yet another solid month on the site with over 27,000 words added across 27 articles and over $500 in ad revenue from Ezoic. But that’s not the major finding I had in November:

Adding a Search Bar

This site lends itself perfectly to having a search bar so I decided to add a hero search bar to the top of the homepage and category pages. I also added a search area to the bottom of all posts, the sidebar and the bottom of search results. Why? Well, because my theory was that my visitors could end up doing keyword research for me.

My theory was that I wanted to see if visitors were searching for content that currently didn’t exist on the site which I could then write in future. Boy, was I right!

Search Results Analytics

I used an advanced filter on Google Analytics to show search results with no results. As you can see in the first 2 weeks of implementing this, I had over 50 searches with no results. Yes, there are a few typos etc which flagged up as no results but there were plenty of search terms in there that were showing up as zero volume on SEMRush but that someone was clearly searching for.

This was just further proof that targeting zero volume keywords was a must!

Ezoic Premium Update

My first full month of premium ran from 26th October through to 25th November. My plan was charged at $58. During this period, premium ads generated $119.90 in revenue. You can’t argue with that!

I’m still a little unhappy that Ezoic charge for access to their top advertisers. I would much prefer that they took a larger % of my revenue but didn’t charge in the first place. I’m also a little annoyed that they can’t take the subscription fee from my monthly revenue.

But, at the end of the day, I’m happy I joined the premium plan and would recommend anyone else to do so if offered it.

Month 12 [Dec]: First Year Complete!

I cannot believe a full year has passed with the site. In its final month of the first year, the site generated a staggering $908 to bring the total revenue in the first 12 months to $2,103. OK, I’m not going to be living the high life or holidaying on a private yacht with that revenue. Nevertheless, it’s an impressive amount for such a simple site to be generating from near-100% organic traffic.

As with every other month, I continue to plough on publishing content to the site.

Switching to Manual Ad Placements

I know the main goal of any site is revenue and Ezoic was generating a decent stream of revenue. But I had a major hang-up with the layout of ad placements and the number of ads. Yes, I want to generate revenue but I also want to create an aesthetically pleasing site that becomes an authority in my niche so I decided to switch the manual ad placements.

This meant I started to use the Ad Inserter plugin alongside the manual ad code that Ezoic generates if you don’t use the Chrome plugin. By inserting ads this way, I have far more control over where they show up and how they look. Ads on my site now look like this:

Ad Layout

It has had no impact on my EPMv rates unbelievably but I’m now happy with the way ads actually appear on my site. I know some will say that this was time-wasted for vanity but I don’t care. I take a lot of interest in the way my site looks so this was time well spent (even if it was solely for my sanity).


Below you can see a complete breakdown of how things went in terms of traffic, content and revenue over the past 12 months:

Jan 2027925,94326$0.01
Feb 2020700$0.11
Mar 201,34511,86614$0.72
Apr 204,23524,07128$2.29
May 207,1544,2936$1.75
Jun 2010,31416,97521$3.27
Jul 2013,85133,12441$60.24
Aug 2019,68312,11112$111.58
Sep 2024,80732,36532$166.14
Oct 2032,19550,46246$284.60
Nov 2041,87427,43727$565.00
Dec 2067,14829,48630$908.22

In the space of 12 months, I’ve generated over $2,100 in revenue and have a site that’s worth around $30,000. This figure is very approximate as December revenue was always going to peak with ad rates high thanks to Black Friday and Christmas.

What this has proven is that, with hard work, determination and a little investment, you can build a site that makes money. $900 a month isn’t life-changing. I know. But it’s $900 a month from a site that was only launched at the start of 2020 with solely info content.

Year 2: My Plans

So, now that year 1 is out of the way and done, what plans do I have going forward?

Not Changing What Isn’t Broken

First and foremost, I’m going to continue writing the content I have been writing in year 1. I still have over 300 articles listed that need to be written so there’s plenty to be getting on with. My current approach has been working just fine so why would I change what isn’t broken.

The plan in 2021 is to continue with this approach. My aim is to add 300 articles over the course of the year so let’s see how I get on!

Updating Poor Performing Content

Although I have over 280 articles on the site, there is a large handful that generates very little organic traffic. My plan in 2021 is to experiment on these articles a little. I’m going to tweak the layout, add headings, remove headings, change the content, push for featured snippets and add related FAQs.

A lot of the poor performing content actually ranks at the bottom of page 1 or top of page 2 so it will only take a small bump in the SERPs for it generate some serious traffic.

Add Buyer-Intent Keywords

The site now has become established and has authority so adding ‘buyers guides’ for products related to the niche I’m writing about is something I would like to explore. Monetising the site through Amazon (or another affiliate program) was never on the cards but it’s something I was to look into just in case I am leaving money on the table.

Any questions just fire away in the comments section below:

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