Well, the last income report I made for OwnTheYard.com was in January of this year so I thought it was time for another update!
I say every time I do an income report that this might be my last … but apparently it never is. Maybe this is the last one?
At some point I’d like to expand my sites without putting them in the spotlight, but the whole point of creating this site was a “public” niche site project so unfortunately I continue to share it.
As a reminder, this page was created in September 2018 and I’ve expanded it since then.
You can read all of my previous income reports and other details about this case study here.
Let’s jump into the numbers.
MERIT FOR YOUR OWN YARD
Last month, Own The Yard made a total of $ 5,210.27.
This is an increase of about $ 600 from March earnings – March totaled $ 4,593.
The website has two sources of revenue: display ads and revenue from Amazon employees.
For display ads, I use Ezoic ads, which raised a total of $ 2,911.77.
The breakdown of Ezoic Ad Partners and Premium Ad Partners can be found in the screenshot below.
So the remaining revenue came from the Amazon Associates program – a total of $ 2,298.50 per month.
I am satisfied with a profit of over $ 5,000!
In total, the site has now made $ 73,270 since I started it in 2018.
I am often asked about expenses. In my last report I gave a detailed breakdown of income and expenses.
In total, I’ve spent approximately $ 49,000 on the website since it was founded. This can be a little deceiving, however, as most of the expense was when we started creating the 600+ articles that are now on the site.
So I already put $ 73,270 – $ 49,000 = $ 24,270 in my pocket. But that will increase significantly in the next year.
I now spend less than $ 1,000 a month on the website.
My takeaway profit after content creation, Pinterest management, and everything in April was roughly $ 4,200 ($ 5,200 minus $ 1,000).
I’m assuming the website should put close to $ 50,000 in net income into my pocket every year going forward (if it doesn’t grow significantly).
Or I could decide to sell the site and bag, probably somewhere in the $ 150,000 to $ 160,000 range.
That would be on top of the roughly $ 24,000 I’ve already “benefited” from the website.
OwnTheYard.com received a total of 145,898 sessions in April 2021.
Most of the traffic continues to come from Google’s organic traffic.
The other main driver of traffic on the website is Pinterest.
The screenshot above actually shows the entire lifespan of social traffic on the site (as of 2018).
I thought you might find this interesting just to understand the seasonal nature of the niche. In the spring and summer months, a lot of people are looking for backyard ideas. As a result, traffic dwindles with the seasons.
Of course, I’m always on the lookout for additional content that will perform well in “non-high-season” seasons. I would prefer to have a website that performs well in both the winter months and the summer months.
GOOGLE UPDATES AND UNNATURAL LINKS
Well, I wish I could say my website has always gone smoothly, but it hasn’t.
Last May, the site appeared to be affected by a core algorithm update. However, it appears that the site has bounced back after the core update in December 2020.
Manual action and re-verification
Then my site was given an unnatural link penalty.
On December 2nd, 2020, my website OwnTheYard.com received a manual action from Google for links in the Google Search Console.
I shared this news with my email list and Facebook group when it happened (in case you missed this story).
However, I am now pleased to announce that this manual action has been removed by Google after a re-review request and 4 long months of waiting!
This is what happened:
I don’t do a lot of link building on my websites, but I ordered a shotgun skyscraper link building package from Niche Website Builders. Shortly after they started building links (a couple of weeks?), I got the penalty for manual actions.
The timing seemed suspicious. So I asked NWB to stop building links.
Now, however, I am confident that the sentence had been met NOTHING to do with niche website builders.
I brought in Rick Lomas to clean up my link profile and send a re-verification request to Google.
When Rick checked my link profile, he found tons of automated and otherwise really spammy links that had nothing to do with the links created by Niche Website Builders.
Maybe someone created some spam links to my website, or I’m just caught up in the weird automated world of spam robots on the interwebs …
Rick and I submitted a disavow file for all of these links that appeared to be spam and sent our re-verification request to Google.
I think Google has more important things to do than worry about my backyard gear website. Because it took 4 MONTHS!
But I just got the good news via email a week ago that Google manually checked my website and link profile and officially removed the penalty.
In a way, there is a stamp of approval on the links my website has which is kind of cool.
The funniest thing about this experience is that I think the manual link penalty that was placed and removed didn’t affect Google’s organic traffic to my website.
This penalty was likely only applied to one side, and maybe it was a side that never had much traffic anyway (they don’t tell you which side the penalty is on).
As you can see from the attached Google Search Console screenshot, there was no decrease when the penalty occurred, and there was not a large increase in traffic when the penalty was removed.
Either way, it’s good to know that the manual action has been removed and that a manual check of the links on Own The Yard by Google has been passed!
The moral of the story?
Sometimes Google’s actions are not justified. Do not give up.
In my case a link cleanup was required by sending a disavow file.
In other cases it may take patience and wait for the next algorithm update.
In any case, I just wanted to share my experience in case this could be helpful to you and your websites.
Tools and services for building the site
In case you’re wondering what I used to build my website, what plugins I have, or what other tools or services I used to grow, I’ve made this list for you below.
- Generate Press Premium (WordPress Theme). Super easy to use and quick to load.
- Link Whisper – Significantly speeds up the process of building internal links. (This is my product that I created)
- Long Tail Pro – for some of my keyword research and rank tracking.
- Ahrefs – for additional keyword research and backlink analysis.
- SEMrush – for additional keyword research and competitor analysis.
- Big Scoots Hosting – I switched to Big Scoots for all of my websites and I love it. Managed WP hosting at a fraction of the cost of the competition (and my sites got faster as I moved away from the more expensive options).
- Table Labs – For creating beautiful product comparison tables for Amazon Associates products.
- AAWP – Used to create product boxes for Amazon Associates products.
- AmaLinks Pro – For creating great-looking buttons, product boxes, and comparison tables for Amazon Associates.
- Genius Link – Used to manage all of my Amazon Associates links. (Helps monitor link health, geo-target links, deliver reports, and more).
- Content Pit – Content writers who know how to do product reviews and more.
- Niche Website Builders – Did a shotgun skyscraper campaign (which I discussed above).
- Ezoic Ads – ad management platform using artificial intelligence. You are also seeing good results with the premium option and are now testing the “jump” to speed up the site.
- Yoast SEO Plugin – I use the Yoast Premium Plugin.
- Upwork.com – Where I found my lead author / editor and Pinterest manager for the site.
plans for the future
In the future, I don’t have any drastic changes to my strategies.
I plan to continue producing content on a regular basis. Some months I do maybe 20 articles a month, other months I might only do 1 article a week. However, I plan to continue investing in the website’s growth.
There are thousands of additional backyard-related terms that I could produce content on. The only question is how much do I want to invest in growing the website and how long do I want to own the website.
I have to weigh the pros and cons of a withdrawal rather than the risk that the site will keep growing in the long run. Add to this the apparent volatility of Google and Amazon. Google is constantly changing its core algorithm, but so far I’ve generally been able to keep up.
And, of course, Amazon is known to change its commission structure.
So, I keep rolling and building this side – what has a TON more potential? Or do I take the money and go away?
At the moment I’m going to keep expanding the website, adding more content and expanding the website. But the question of when to sell the site is always in the back of my mind.
I will keep you informed when and if this happens.
In the meantime, you can visit OwnTheYard.com and keep track of the changes I’ve made over the coming months. You can see the content I post, how I monetize my website, and a lot more.
I really hope this in-depth case study now spanning over 2 years is of benefit to you!
When I started out I always wished I had a website where I could see exactly how much money they were making. So I hope my sharing of traffic stats, income reports and EVERYTHING will help you with your online business trip.
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