How Much Money Did OwnTheYard.com Make in 2020? Annual Report and Plans Moving Forward | Marketer Intel

How Much Money Did OwnTheYard.com Make in 2020? Annual Report and Plans Moving Forward

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So, what happened to OwnTheYard.com in 2020?

A lot.

Today, I want to jump into an “annual report” for Own The Yard to catch you up with all the exciting news for the site.  I stopped doing monthly reports earlier this year and don’t plan to start them up again in 2021, but I feel like an annual report is appropriate for now.

In this report I’ll cover:

  • How much the site earned last month
  • How much the site earned last year and over its lifetime
  • Traffic analysis
  • Google updates, unnatural links, and recovery
  • Questions from the community
  • Plans moving forward

Let’s jump into it.

December 2020 Earnings for Own The Yard

  • Last month, OwnTheYard.com earned a total of $3,755.
  • Amazon Associates accounted for $2,543.31 of that earnings.  

  • The remainder of the earnings was from Ezoic display ads ($1,211.84): 

About midway through the month, I got invited to the Ezoic Premium program, so I joined.  As you can see from the above image, Ezoic Premium added an additional $155.90 to my earnings in the second half of December.

When I compare Dec. 2020 earnings to Dec. 2019 earnings, I’m very happy with the results.  Last December the site made $2,366, which is $1,389 less than I made this December.

So, the site has clearly grown over the last year when I compare month to month.

Own The Yard Yearly and Lifetime Earnings

So, how much money did OwnTheYard.com make in 2020? 

  • In total, the site made $48,897.

That’s an average of just over $4,000 a month.  I’ll take it!

Now, there have clearly been some ups and downs along the way. Check out this earnings chart showing the lifetime earnings of the site.

As you can see, the site peaks during Spring and Summer months then has another little spike in December (Christmas buying season).  That appears to be playing out again this year.

I just hope that the spike in 2021 during the Spring and Summer is bigger than 2020.

As a quick recap, I launched the site in September of 2018.  The site made its first $1 in December 2018.

So, I guess last month marks the 2 year anniversary since the site made its first money.

  • Since the site started, it has made a total of $59,505. 

Expenses

I often get asked how much money I’m spending on the site.  I think that’s a fair question.

Since I started the site in September of 2018, I’ve spent a total of roughly $45,000.  I can only say roughly that much because I only kept extremely detailed records for the first year. (I spent $20,805 the first 12 months).

The bulk of the expenses are for content.  But I’ve outsourced the entire site.  The only thing I do for the most part is keyword research.

  • The site now has 621 articles. 

I added almost 300 articles in a period of about 6 months in the last year.  But most of these articles were very short, roughly 1,000 words long.

For those word count ninjas out there, sorry, I don’t know the total word count of the site.  I just have never kept track of a metric like that.

They were simple question based articles that answer questions like, “Can You Roast Marshmallows Over A Propane Fire Pit?”, “Can You Use Glass Marbles In A Fire Pit?”, or “How To Remove A Tree Stump Without A Grinder”.

So, if I do a quick lifetime Profit and Loss statement:

Total Revenue $59,505
Total Expenses $45,000
Total Profit $14,505

If I look at just the total profit, it doesn’t seem that impressive.  But if I start to look at what I am currently spending on the site each month and how much the site is making, the numbers look a little better.

If I were to sell my site, the buyer is likely not interested in how much money I spent over the lifetime of the site on content.  What they are more interested in is seeing how much money I currently spent month to month on the site.

Like any business, there are often bigger start up costs in the early life of the business.  That is the approach I took with Own The Yard, I ramped up content quickly in the first year or two, and now I’m taking a slower “drip” content approach.

I currently am only adding 4 new articles a month. I also pay an author to update and optimize about 4 old pieces of content each month. I also have someone managing Pinterest for me.

So, really my expenses are about $1,000 a month now.  So, if the site makes about $50,000 in 2021 (about what it did in 2020), the profit will be roughly $38,000 for the year.

I fully expect to do much more than $50k in 2021 as I believe the site will have a bigger spike this Spring than it did last year and all the content I’ve added is aging and will start performing better.

If I were to sell the site today, I could easily expect more than $100,000 for the site.  And possibly closer to $150,000 depending on how you slice the numbers.

Traffic Analysis

I’ll be the first one to admit that I love roller coasters.  But I don’t enjoy the kind that might make you sick.

Last year was quite the roller coaster of traffic peaks and valleys for Own The Yard.

Early in the year, I hit a massive wave as springtime search volume increased for topics related to my site.  Combined with great rankings on lots of new content I was producing and my site peak out at just shy of 10,000 sessions a day in early May.

Then the Google May core update came out and dealt a heavy blow to my site.  Then combined with seasonal traffic petering out over summer and fall and the traffic decline has been pretty ugly.

The major dip in May was definitely from the core update.  The fade-in traffic after that has been primarily due to seasonality.  Even if I were to not fully recover from the core update, I expect traffic to increase significantly in Sring and Summer.

I’ll address my recovery efforts below.

But first, I wanted to share the breakdown of the traffic over the entire life of Own The Yard.  Here’s a screenshot of traffic since the site started.

As you can see, my traffic levels for January 2021 are still significantly higher than they were in January 2020.  I’m not happy with the way the traffic looks, but I guess I’ll take being at a higher traffic level than I was a year ago.

And there does appear to be some evidence that my traffic may be increasing in the new year.  Its’ ever so slight right now, but since the Google core update in December, my organic traffic is trending up.

Here’s a look at the lifetime traffic from Search:

Ahrefs makes it appear that Own The Yard is starting to rank for TON more keywords since the December update.  I wish Google Analytics looks like this big of an increase, but I do believe the site is ranking for more keywords and this could manifest itself in a big way over Spring.

The below Ahrefs chart is basically telling me that I’m now gaining rankings for tons of keywords (likely recovery lost keyword rankings from the May core update).  The reason my organic traffic isn’t spiking at the same rate is because people still aren’t searching during winter for these keywords very much.

But my site IS ranking for those keywords.  This means that I should see a huge jump in traffic when people do hit the peak season and search for these keywords that Ahrefs is telling me I’m now ranking for again.

In addition, I’m seeing a little bit more traffic for social sources (mostly Pinterest) over the last week or so.  Here’s a look at the lifetime traffic from social sources.

Overall, being that it’s the dead of winter, I think I’m satisfied with the traffic.  Right now people just aren’t search for how to plant trees, backyard game ideas, or the best lawn mower.  The core of my search traffic will come in Spring and Summer.

So, it will be interesting to see what happens.

Google Updates and Unnatural Links

As mentioned, it’s pretty clear from the graphs above that Own The Yard was hit by the Google core update in May.

There was another Google core update in December.  The impact of the December update is still inconclusive.  It certainly didn’t hurt my site.  My organic traffic appears to be ever so slightly in the right direction since the update.

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