It’s been several months since I last updated this case study (the exact opposite of what you want when you’re trying to grow a YouTube channel) but that’s the nature of the beast with an SEO case study sometimes.
Things are slow, but there’s some definite good news here.
- The site has some revenue!
- The site is still growing!
- The site is almost entirely outsourced at this point.
- We have a lot of new content slowly working its way through sandbox.
You can see the start of the case study here and all of the updates here. In this case study, we’re taking an expired domain that sat doing nothing for a while up against a low DR competitor who had a lot of traffic.
I hadn’t actually planned on getting monetization going until I’d finished on the huge content push but I’m not big on forward planning.
No forward planning.Absolutely no SEO ever.
To set some expectations right away – this project is still very much in the hole. We spend roughly $11,000 on the site and the content production is a running cost each month. This is not the way I would suggest anyone starts a site if they’re just getting started. It was always intended as a mostly hands-free experiment in aged domains and that came with a price tag.
We added some Ezoic display ads a few weeks ago. I’ve said this before – I’m honestly not huge on display ads usually. If I have traffic for a site about cars I want to sell them some car parts, not just pick up some crumbs from someone else selling car parts.
But display ads have their place. For this site, I don’t want to worry too much about monetization so we can just produce content and let the rest take care of itself.
The RPM is pretty low to start with and tends to take a while to pick up. I have a meeting scheduled with them to get some advice but if things continue like this then the growth of traffic will probably be the biggest growth in revenue.
I also have a few applications with related affiliate networks. It’s not normally a niche I would get involved with for low price point retail margins but a few tweaks to the code of the site and I think it would at least match the ad revenue.
For cash flow, the site has still cost me a lot more than it generated but I’m not concerned. Short of an act of God (see also: Google update) we should be fine. If we sold the site today based on that revenue we’d be at a profit and there’s still a lot of potential growth ahead.
The traffic growth has kept up. Accelerated for a while even and there’s still a lot more room to grow.
One thing I started doing for a lot of projects to measure return on investment and time is comparing our content posts vs pageviews. There’s a lag time while Google indexes content but this was up until the end of last month:
The traffic almost doubled in May but I did let the publishing rate dip a little. The traffic for this month is still about double again but that won’t be shown in the chart yet.
Outsourcing and Scaling
We had some headaches getting this project outsourced early on. I spent some time building an automated back end and some training SOP guidelines. Finding someone who can meet deadlines and doesn’t let their content slip is always a challenge but at the moment, most of this site has been out of my hands.
At the moment it costs me roughly $25 to get a piece of content published. I’ve had other projects that cost me almond double that but the niche doesn’t require specialist knowledge and the system we put together early on hugely cut down on the time required (and therefore the cost).
If we make a couple of assumptions on metrics here.
Assuming RPM of $15 (should be fairly safe).
Assuming we average about 300 visitors a month per post (some will hit far above, some far below).
Each post will make about $54 in revenue each year. At a 40x multiple, each post is worth about $180 which is a lot more than it costs us to produce.
Given how the stats are currently going, I’m happy to keep putting resources into the project. By the end of the year, I can see it covering its own growth and maybe even starting to turn a profit.