4 min read
This past month I earned $6,482 in online income from the following sources:
1. A collection of websites I own – $5,397
I currently own five websites that earn money through ads, affiliate links, and digital products:
2. Dividends from stocks and REITs I own – $285
I own several stock and REIT index funds that pay monthly and quarterly dividends.
3. Consulting – $800
I offer 1-on-1 SEO consulting for websites.
This is the most I’ve earned in a single month by far since I started tracking my online income back in 2017:
In this post I’ll share a quick look at how I earn income from these different sources along with some important lessons I’ve learned about earning income online.
Income from Websites
Four Pillar Freedom
My decision to start this site back in October of 2016 is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made because it taught me that it was possible to earn income online in a completely permissionless manner.
I didn’t need any degrees, certifications, or credentials. I didn’t need to know the right people or develop the right connections. I just needed to sit at my laptop and write things that people wanted to read on a regular basis.
It reminds me of this idea from Naval:
Code and media are permissionless leverage. They’re the leverage behind the newly rich. You can create software and media that works for you while you sleep.
— Naval (@naval) May 31, 2018
The words that I write on this site (and other sites) can attract readers and income while I’m sleeping. As Naval says, it’s a form of “permissionless leverage.” I can leverage the power of the internet without anyone’s permission.
This realization lit a fire under me and I became determined to figure out how to make enough income online so that I could eventually quit my day job and be my own boss.
My research lead me to an important field: SEO. Search engine optimization. It’s the field that is concerned with how to write articles that appear on the front page of search engines for certain keywords.
A keyword is a phrase that someone might type into Google. For example, “how to invest in stocks” is a keyword. The goal of someone with a finance blog would be to write an article about how to invest in stocks such that their article appears on the front page of Google.
Once you have an article on the front page, you can earn both traffic and income over and over again in a completely passive manner since thousands of people around the world search for that particular keyword each day.
This realization changed everything for me.
In 2018 I began to put more effort into writing SEO-optimized articles and it paid off. From mid-2018 to now, I’ve increased my weekly organic search traffic from 1,000 sessions to 10,000 sessions.
In terms of income, I’ve monetized this site in three ways:
- Ads – I earn income from the ads you see within the articles, along the sidebar, and along the footer of the site.
- Affiliate Links – These are links to products and services I personally use and I earn commissions when a reader uses my link to sign up for the produce or service.
- Digital Products – These are digital products I’ve made myself and sell. These include The Excel Genius Toolkit, The Data Science Resume Pack, The Elements of Freedom Ebook, and The Simple SEO for Bloggers course.
As my traffic has increased over time, my income from these sources has increased as well.
Collecting Wisdom is another personal finance I site I started over a year ago. Initially it was a site where I shared three curated links each day to finance articles I enjoyed from around the web, but this recently became too time-consuming for me so I decided to turn it into a curated RSS feed instead. The site currently earns income from ads.
Statology is an educational site that I started in late 2018 that has experienced massive growth in the last 6 months mostly because organic search traffic has gone through the roof.
Each article on this site is SEO-optimized and targets a specific keyword related to statistics. The site is currently on pace to experience its first 100,000+ visits/month ever but I can easily envision it hitting 300,000/month or more by the end of the year.
The site is currently monetized with ads, but I plan on adding paid courses eventually.
A Food Blog
In December of 2019 I bought my first ever website for $7,000. The site is in the food niche and currently makes $600 – $800 per month from ads and affiliate links.
Typically websites sell for 25x their monthly profit, but I was able to snag this one for just ~10x monthly profit which made me incredibly excited. It also helped me diversify my portfolio of sites into a new niche.
My youngest site is Wander Cincinnati – a Cincinnati-based travel blog that I started in late 2019. The site hasn’t earned any money yet, but I’m hoping to reach the minimum traffic requirement in the next few weeks to apply for Mediavine. I plan on monetizing the site with ads and sponsored posts.
Income from Dividends
I also earn passive income in the form of dividends from Stock and REIT index funds I own. I typically receive a couple hundred bucks each month in dividends but this number will continue to grow over time as I invest extra cash into these funds.
Despite the numbers being small, I love this form of income because it’s completely passive. I click a button on my laptop to buy shares in a fund, then I sit back and watch dividends get deposited in my account each month.
Income from Consulting
I also earn income from 1-on-1 SEO consulting and private SEO zoom calls that I host from time to time to share the exact SEO tactics that have worked best for me.
I’ve already made most of the mistakes one can make when it comes to earning income online, but fortunately I’ve figured out what does work through trial and error. My goal with these calls is to save you months or even years of time that you would otherwise spend learning these lessons yourself through trial and error.
It reminds me of another quote from Naval:
— Visualize Value (@visualizevalue) February 19, 2020
Rather than spending your time figuring out what works through iteration, I can show you what actually works so you can start earning income through repetition.
It has taken several years, but I’ve finally turned a corner with online income because I’ve figured out an SEO-based strategy that works for me. I earn more passive income than ever before thanks to owning so many articles across different niches that attract organic google search traffic.
I’m excited to continue to share my online income journey and I believe that my first $10k/month isn’t far away.
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Full Disclosure: Nothing on this site should ever be considered to be advice, research or an invitation to buy or sell any securities, please see my Terms & Conditions page for a full disclaimer.