2021 October Writing Report

While it’s November already, it’s a good chance to look back at how October went. Because while this month is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), last month wasn’t. But I still got a lot of writing done!

Now, to be fair (with regards to NaNoWriMo), technically the only words that should be counted are words for novels. However, when you’re writing for a blog, it’s iffier. Because the words on a blog are still published. So when I need another writing-intensive month each year, I’ll use NaNoWriMo to my advantage. But you’ll hear more about that next month.

For now, let’s look back at October!

Image of leaves around the word October

October 2021 Statistics

Here’s how October went.

  • Articles published: 15
  • YouTube videos published: 5
  • Published word count: 38,667
  • Total Page Views: 100,748 (up from 89,698)
  • Total cash earned (paid to me this month): $1,044.80 (down from $1,099.57)
  • Total invested in published content: $721.41

And a few more statistics on stories.

  • Stories written this month: 0
  • Stories submitted to publications this month: 0
  • Stories edited: 0
  • New stories outlined or plotted: 0
  • Writing groups missed: all of them (I was bummed)

To be fair, one of the writing group meetings was on the same night as our neighborhood Halloween party, so I chose the party over the writing group.

Profit and Loss

Looking at a quick P&L (profit and loss), it’s another net-positive income for the month if I only look at those numbers.

$1044.80 – $721.41 = $323.39

However, that doesn’t include various other fees and services I’ve used, so it’s not quite that much. In fact, both this and last month have been closer to a $0 total once I’ve gotten things like hosting, paying my virtual assistant, and other necessary things paid for.

To date, I have not taken a paycheck from my business or niche site portfolio.

Month 27 of Project 24+

October was my 27th overall month with Income School’s Project 24. Finding a mastermind group and friends to talk shop with have totally been worth it in my book. I highly recommend that any aspiring writer find a group and mastermind of their own.

Anyway, here’s how I evaluate every course I take. Within 12 months (1 year) of finishing the course, it needs to have had a 10X positive net impact on my business. Here’s how Project 24 stacks up at 5 months after finishing the course.

  • Investment fees to date (new dues were paid, so the yearly membership dues are paid through August 2022): $847
  • Cash earned and on-hand solely attributable to Project 24: $10,570.18
  • (for reference, here’s September’s ROI: ROI: $9525.38/$847 = 11.25)
  • ROI: $10,570.18/$847 = 12.479

Translation: Income School’s Project 24 is officially worth the investment. They’ve multiplied my blogging income more than 12 times over.

Now, it’s been a ton of hard work. And I can’t guarantee our results will match, so take that with a grain of salt. But I’ve found that it’s been worth it to me.

Teamwork and Systems Report

Last month, my team and I found that we had a huge disk space issue. Specifically, we were out of it. And that was weird because we shouldn’t have been having issues.

After some troubleshooting, we realized the issue was our images. Specifically, it was our images on our sites that use the Mediavine theme Trellis. Trellis comes with a cool plugin that’s supposed to convert and show webp format images.

However, they DO NOT replace uploaded images with webp format images. Instead, they make 20+ copies of each image (in JPG or PNG formats to match whatever was uploaded) at various pixel sizes, then make COPIES of those in webp format to serve to visitors whose browser supports webp.

So while I thought the Trellis image plugin was helping me be more efficient, that was only the case for speed – not disk space. This really needs to be explained better on their website, as others in my mastermind are discovering the same space issue. Luckily, I’d figured out a fix and could share what I’d learned with them.

In case you’re wondering, the fix has several steps.

  1. Disable the multiple image upload option in the Trellis settings. This lowers the number of copies made from 20+ to about 15 – which saves some space.
  2. Optimize your existing images for size to compress them OR buy more disk space. I went with the optimizing choice. I used Short Pixel to do a one-time compression as my disk space levels were critical.
  3. Replace any blurry images as needed. Make sure to upload any new images at a compressed size. Officially, Trellis doesn’t recommend using compressed images. However, if you can find a balance between picture quality and file size, then that’s really the best option. I use squosh.app (a Google product) so I can manually adjust images to look good while being as small as possible. That way, my sites will still look good, but it will also be a good user experience without costing a ridiculous amount of money for hosting disk space.

Another quick note – after I diagnosed the issue and found a fix, my amazing virtual assistant handled the bulk of the work. Having a good VA really makes a huge difference!

We had another issue last month with Ezoic, our ad partner. They rolled out a new feature via their WordPress plugin, and unfortunately, it caused a huge hullabaloo on our sites. All of our ad placeholders, on multiple websites, disappeared.

After some back-and-forth with Ezoic’s support, it did finally get fixed. However, it did take some time. So there are almost 10 days in October where our ad earnings are well below normal. And this is on top of the week of below-earning in August, too, after a similar issue related to a theme update.

Hopefully, the WordPress plugin updates will fix these issues going forward. But you can bet I’ll be keeping a close eye on things – and staying in touch with support.

Final team update – we did add another writer and an editor to the team. I’ll be hiring a few more writers here soon, too. But in the meantime, it’s good to have another editor on board. I’m excited to work with her.

Now on to the Niche Site reports!

Niche Site Reports

All of the niche sites (or authority sites, if you prefer that term) continue to grow well. Here’s a peek at how that’s going.

Niche Site #1

Niche Site #2

Niche Site #3

Niche Site #4

This site’s graph is still all zeroes, so let’s skip that.

Niche Site #5

Another no-graph site. Both #4 and #5 are on the to-do list, though.

Niche Site #6

Okay, so Niche Site #6 is this site. It has a downward trend because it used to be a hodgepodge of all sorts of articles – and it was a huge mess. In fact, if you look at the blog archives, you’ll notice there are still a bunch of random posts there.

Those will, at some point, be moved to a more appropriate niche site. But for now? They’re still here.

Niche Site #7

YouTube Report

I’m still on YouTube. Right now, though, my goal is to do a single video on my biggest channel per month. With everything going on, that’s kind of all I can commit to at this point.

I do hope to get back into YouTube more as soon as the writing aspect of the business is more stable – and I’m not both writing and editing articles like a madwoman.

Baby steps.

Diversification Report

I’m trying to keep diversifying when and where possible. This includes having multiple, varied income streams; a goal of using multiple ad partners; and having varied niche sites to minimize risk.

Now, I’m still very much at the beginning stages with many of these sites. Those that are established (and growing well) can’t be on multiple ad partners yet – one site can only be with one company, after all. But they’re growing to that potential. So for now, the diversification report continues to be kind of lame. But one day – it will be awesome.

  • Ads account for 95.5% of income
  • Affiliate revenue generates 4% of income
  • Other affiliates accounts for the last 0.5% this month

Of that, here are how the niche sites contribute to the revenue.

  • Niche site #1 generates 64.7% of revenue.
  • Niche site #2 generates an income, but it’s statistically 0%
  • Niche site #3 generates 9.8% of total revenue.
  • Niche site #4 isn’t on the radar yet
  • Niche site #5 is also off the radar
  • Niche site #6 generates 2.3% of revenue.
  • Niche site #7 generates 23.2% of revenue.

Niche site #1 and ads continue to be the heaviest hitters in terms of revenue.

October 2021 Final Thoughts

October was a good month. And, because I haven’t talked much about YouTube just yet, know that I am working on it. I did, after all, publish 5 new videos last month. Of those, one was a private video for my mastermind group. In it, I showed them a few things that I knew how to do that they’d asked about.

I also created welcome videos for two of my channels. They’re quick, under-30-second videos that double as videos for Ezoic to serve to readers on my site as a way to optimize video ad revenue. It’s an experiment, so I’ll keep you updated.

With only two days of data, they’re earning decent money. I wouldn’t say that it’s anything amazing. It doesn’t look to be massively increasing my revenue or my EPMV (earnings per mili/thousand visitors). But it’s only been two days.

In any case, thanks for reading. If you’d like to get more of this right to your inbox, then make sure you subscribe to the newsletter – and I’ll keep you updated when I publish cool things like this.

Resources I Use and Recommend

These are the resources I’ve found most valuable – so I recommend you go check them out. They’ll help whether you’re writing fiction, writing for niche blogs, or building an online business. I keep an up-to-date list of all of the tools and resources I use to manage my blogs on my Tools and Resources page. I use referral links to advertising partners.

These are the top tools that I use and recommend:

  • Project 24 – hands-down the best course for building a niche site or an online business that focuses on content.
  • Ezoic – once you’ve got a website and some content, think about these guys. They’re doing some amazing things – and have helped me earn several thousand dollars (in ad revenue) that I’d not have earned otherwise.
  • Big Scoots hosting – we just switched to Big Scoots and it’s been as easy as April told me it would be. Seriously. It’s a great hosting option.
  • Link Whisper – I’ve just started using it, and it’s been a great tool to help me build up my linking strategy.
  • Kindle Unlimited – this is a great way to try out new books and classics. Make sure you add the latest editions of Deep Magic magazine to your kindle shelf!
  • Audible Plus – I love listening to podcasts and books while I’m doing the normal, everyday life things (like laundry). This has been a huge way to up my creativity!
  • ClickUp – Hands-down the best software for keeping track of all the things. I use it for stories, websites, and family stuff. Everyone can access what they need, it’s all centralized, and it connects with our calendars.

These resources really have proven invaluable to me – and I think you’ll benefit from them, too. Happy writing, friends.

Cite this article as: “2021 September Writing Report.” Kimberly C. Starr, 2 November 2021, kimberlycstarr.com/2021-october-writing-report/.