2022 Income Report - The Full Year, Wrapped
Updated: Jan 11
How Much Did My Personal Finance Site Make in 2022?
Here it is! I've been waiting exactly one year to make this post, and I'm so excited to finally write it. It's been a hell of a journey from January 2022 to now, and thanks to all of you that decided to stick around with me. Let's talk about what I did right last year, what I did wrong, and how much I made (and spent!) on this personal finance blog in 2022.
Top Posts of the Year
The Blog's Wins
Guest Writers - Continued
In my last income report from September 2022, I covered the topic of guest writers. Back then, we had the mighty John Dunbar helping us out and cranking out content about small business best practices. Now, however, John has some help. We've now brought on two more guest writers who are spectacular writers in their own niches. Their articles have not gone live quite yet, but I can assure you you're going to like their writing style and expertise in saving and real estate.
Paid Media Continues to Win
Article promotion has been a strange topic for my site in 2022. Keyword research dominated the first half of the year, but I picked up a new job and time was at a premium for me to be able to dive into deep keyword research to be able to perform well via Search. This is where paid advertising comes in.
First, I signed up for my own personal business credit card. To do this, I looked towards my existing relationship with American Express and picked up the Blue Business Plus card, which gives me 2x points on all business spend up to $50,000. It also came with a nice little 15,000 point bonus when you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months, which I hit in the first 30 days.
Then I continued the American Express trend by opening up an American Express Business Checking account. This also came with a 30,000 point sign-up bonus, assuming you hit some saving and spending parameters in the first 60 days. Why do I keep bringing this up? Because I always said that, at it's worst, this blog could serve as a vehicle to break even and rack up American Express points so my wife and I can travel the world. And I'm doing that via paid media.
My Facebook advertising has gone EXTREMELY well. In seeing cost-per-clicks of less than 8 cents, I'm able to flip a decent ROI on this site and return a pretty good profit (more on that later). To do this, some of my articles have really popped off, including the sports-focused articles like LeBron's millions, Brady's millions or the aforementioned Saudi Arabian LIV Golf piece. Then the advertising revenue I'm able to generate from these users pays the CPC back and a little bit more.
The Blog's Lessons
SEO Is Killing Me
SEO, i'm learning, is a fickle bitch. In Google's quest to return as many "helpful" results as possible, the constant algorithm tweaking put most bloggers in a bind last year. Between the Q1, Q3 and Q4 updates that aimed at putting forum-based results higher, eliminating A.I content and wiping out rich snippets, many bloggers were put on the backfoot basically the entire year. This, unfortunately, includes my most successful article.
I had captured a rich snippet in a competitive niche with high search volume. However, in November of last year, I come to find that my snippet had been wiped out and replaced with an irrelevant snippet from a much, much bigger competitor. This tanked my organic search volume by 30% in just moving to position two on the SERP. However, I'm not giving up.
My philosophy from the start has been "write in an interesting way." Maybe it's a mistake to not tailor each individual sentence to the great algorithm in the sky, but I think that this type of writing helps me avoid the "fads" of SEO and stick to the fundamentals. My theory is that, as my site ages and my domain authority continues to climb, my pages will rank higher and higher. We'll see!
No Backlinks in 2022
Hand-up, this one's on me. In 2021, I got incredibly lucky with HARO (Help a Reporter Out) and ended up in Yahoo as an expert on saving money in the grocery store. However, my HARO work has been...nonexistent, and it's likely showing in my results.
I'm picking up backlinks here and there, but they're largely bot traffic links to shitty spam sites. There are, however, many sites that aggregate helpful articles and link back to my site, and I want to say thank you to those people. To those with spammy sites that are stealing my content, eat a dick.
How Much Did My Personal Finance Blog Make in 2022?
Alright, enough stalling. Here's how much money this blog made in all of 2022, including all income sources and expenses:
Adsense - $18,977.11
Medium - $1,077.89
Affiliate - $45
Freelancing - $400
Facebook Advertising - $8,210.74
TikTok Advertising - $70
Site Expenses - $345.00
Business Incorporation Costs - $100
2022 Total: $11,774.26
There it is! I officially broke the $10,000 mark after all spend and fees! My official goal last year was to make my car payment each month ($248), and I've nearly quadrupled that goal.
What's In Store for 2023
My first goal of 2023 is to diversify revenue streams. I discovered the hard way in Q4 of last year that we are officially in a recession. My ad rates on Adsense dropped by over half from September into October, which could mean one of two things:
August and September (my highest earning months BY FAR) is my busy season the way Q4 is retail's busy season, or
Advertisers are pulling out
I think it's actually a combination of both. The ads on my site around investing and small business franchising look to have driven most of my revenue last year, and the busy season for those is really Q3. However, given the big tech layoffs happening pretty much across the board in December and January, advertising-based businesses (Google and Meta in particular) are in peril. That's due to lower ad volume, which means lower competition, which means lower prices for advertisers and lower revenue for me.
I'm lucky enough to have a full-time job outside of this to support me, but if I was a full-time blogger, I'd be panicking right about now. That's why I need to think like a full-time blogger and begin revenue diversification. I'm wading into the pool of affiliate marketing, and I've just been approved for my first big, well-known affiliate deal. Stay tuned.
I'm not actually asking you to pay for anything. I'm finally in a good rhythm with content production (thanks again to my 3 guest writers) to where I can begin writing specific content for my email subscribers. One of the items that will be moving to email-only? These income reports! If you want to know the future of my blog's income, you'll have to sign up for my email list over on my Contact page, using the "Subscribe" form at the bottom.
Thanks for reading, and I'll see you next time in your inbox!