How I Made $204,598.67 From My Website in 2016

First of all, I won’t reveal my website.

Second, I’m not selling anything via this post. I don’t have a $159 $97 course. I’m not trying to get anyone to click any affiliate links. I just want to help provide some insights into what I’ve done.

Alright. Let’s go.

I just finished filing my taxes. I’ve officially made $204,598.67 in 2016. Of that, I had roughly $4,000 in expenses (hosting, some web development, a bit of writing, and a few hundred bucks on FB advertising to boost posts).

Traffic Stats for 2016 (via Google Analytics): 3.4M Sessions 2.6M Users 6.5M Pageviews

About My Site: I started my site around 6-7 years ago based on something I was passionate about (which is key). It also helps that my audience is also passionate about the subject, and it’s an area that people spend a decent amount of money.

I’d consider my site to be a mix between a blog and a “how to” site that gives people helpful information. I do some product reviews and buyer’s guides — but that’s a very small portion of the site. Most everything is simply helpful content that answers people’s questions on the subject.

However, I was thinking about doing more in-depth buyer’s guides like the Wirecutter but my niche only had a few actual products that people spend a lot of time researching. And now that Amazon has cut its commissions I don’t know how much my ROI would be.

I try to provide actual value with everything I post and I try to put myself in my audience’s shoes when I write. I also try to stay relatable so I keep everything casual.

I’d consider my site to be an “authority” on my subject but there are a handful of multimillion-dollar mega-authority sites/companies in my niche that I can never compete with. That’s why I try to focus on giving advice from a “real” person. That’s why my face and my “story” is always prominently displayed on the site.

I don’t post a very often. I average around 2 posts a month. Sometimes I do more… it depends on how busy I am. Luckily, most of my content is evergreen so something I wrote two years ago is still 90% accurate — this is super helpful because I’ve been able to build this site little by little over time without needing to post daily. I am currently going back through everything to update outdated information… hopefully this will help boost my rankings/traffic.

I don’t do much with SEO; just the basics. I don’t do any real keyword research but I title my pages with phrases that I think my readers would search to find my article. I think a lot of people get so focused on SEO but I’ve always though “what would I type into Google if I was looking for this article” and then used that as my targeted keyword. Seems to work well enough so far.

I had a lot of success with Pinterest in the past but I let that get away so my traffic is down a lot there. I should spend a lot more time in this area. FB gets me some traffic but my articles aren’t really “viral” material and I don’t want to spend much promoting my articles. Twitter is pretty much dead.

Income: Most of my income came from Amazon Associates. I made about $140k in 2016.

As many of you know, Amazon slashed their affiliate rates this March so I’m going to take a huge hit here. I’m guessing that I’m going to take a hit of $70k-$90k this year because of the commission change. Ohh well. Not much I can do about that.

Even with this rate change, I don’t think I have a better option than Amazon (based on my niche). That’s why I’m going to suck it up and stick with Amazon for the foreseeable future.

Other smaller affiliate programs added up to a total of $50k.

I made around $10K from Google Adsense. I haven’t tried any other ad networks or tried selling directly to sellers.