I’ve realized just how much I like doing these just to remind myself of what I’ve accomplished over the year. As many say, you underestimate what you can do in a year and overestimate what you can do in a day.
I’m working on seeing my accomplishments and moving toward action instead of perpetual learning.
2021 was a continuation of reducing shiny objects and actually putting in the work on projects that are performing.
The year started pretty busy. Jena was busy with her projects and I was busy with work and growing our first site. The first trip we took was in April at Anna Maria Island. It was our 20th anniversary so we were trying to make the most of it without being able to travel overseas.
Niche Site #1
Last year’s focus on this site really started to pay off. The site has a total of 437 articles published by the end of 2021. Traffic is up to around 100,000 pageviews a month and is averaging over $5,000/month for the last 6 months. We’re really looking forward to see how 2022 treats it.
The YouTube channel was monetized in February and at the height it was making $500/month. I didn’t create as many videos in 2021 as I did in 2020 mainly due to burnout and focusing on content for the site. I think YouTube is pretty important, but it also takes a lot longer to create a video than to write a blog post.
We outsourced most of our content and that really makes a difference. If we relied solely on us creating the content, then the site wouldn’t have made it this far this fast.
I also hired my nephew to do some link checking, create internal links, and post to Pinterest and Facebook.
I started an email list and we have 342 so far on it. I use Active Campaign because I can create emails throughout the year and they can continue to go out automatically. What does that mean? This year I’ve been creating emails that are particular to that time of year. Next year, those same emails will automatically go out again and I just need to review them ever so often to make sure they are working.
Looking to 2022, I’ll hire a video editor and I’ll do the voice over and let them create the videos. We’ll continue to outsource the content. Jena is the editor and adds her expertise to the articles. It takes a little longer, but she’s much better at editing something than creating an article from scratch. This works well for us right now. We’d like to hire in house writers eventually, but for now, outsourcing the content works fine.
Niche Site #2
As I talked about this last year. This was a site that I started with a friend to show her how to create a website. Since she wasn’t interested in building the site, I took over and built up almost 50 articles and just let it sit for several years. Although I wasn’t doing anything with the site, knowing that it was sitting there underperforming still takes up space in my head.
So when Motion Invest asked if I wanted to sell at the end of 2021, I said yes. We listed it on 12/21 and I was a little concerned for the timing and it being the end of the year, but it sold the same day for the amount listed. I’m still working with the transfer team to get it moved over to the new owner. We’ll use the money to buy more content for site #1, but it’s always fun to sell a site.
This site sell was my third one so far. And it was my second highest sell. Not that it means much. It’s less than $10,000 sale, but it’s so mind boggling to me that you can create a website in something that is mildly interesting to you and you create an asset to sell.
With that sell, our portfolio is down to one active site that we’re working on. We have some smaller sites, but nothing is really being done with them.
During the summer I bought two starter sites for the content. One site’s content, we’ve moved over to our main site and the other site is just sitting there. They were mainly best of type articles. I don’t think I’ll do that again. It’s too much work to move the content and with Google’s Product updates and the hassle of creating and maintaining the affiliate articles, I just don’t think I’m interested in worrying about those types of articles. Unless we have personal knowledge in a product, we won’t create more.
I’m still at my day job. For a long time I thought the ultimate goal was to build up my sites to do my own thing. And it is. But the other thing I’ve always wanted to do is to show others how to build their own things. I’ve realized this year that I have that platform right now with my day job.
So I will continue to build that up and work on that. I’m able to contribute in ways that I can’t on my own and that feeds the part of me that wants to give back.
Next year I’ll focus on our main channel and really focus on teaching people how to use WordPress to change their lives. It’s a slight shift, but one that works better for the channel and for my energy levels.
In August, we got to do a mini work retreat where we worked on planning content for the next year and to talk about the brand. It was great to see others and to work on the business.
There were definitely a lot of ups and downs this year personally. If I’m being honest, I’m still dealing with the loss of our dog from last year. She was our baby.
Besides that, we were in Texas for almost 6 weeks. Mom was diagnosed with breast cancer, so we went to help her recover. It’s times like that when I’m the most thankful for my job and my side business that we can do that with little disruption.
Since we knew we’d be away for a bit, we took our adopted chicken to a local sanctuary where she can be a chicken with several others. If you’re ever in Gainesville, check out Peacefield Sanctuary.
Although between that and a few other things, I really struggled with burnout. Apparently I can easily work on two major things in my life (work and our websites), but adding a life crisis and trying to keep the same output was a lot.
Luckily mom is doing ok and didn’t need chemo. We went back home in September and I’ve been working on not being so burned out.
In the fall, we went to Vegas with the family to celebrate my sister and her husband’s 50th. Then we scheduled a last minute trip to New York City in December. That was lovely.
By then Omicron was spreading quickly, but we thought we’d be ok. Last minute decision to go to Texas for Christmas started out ok, but by the second day, Jena was feeling icky. Long week of tests and most of the family tested positive for Covid. Weirdly, I did not. Most of the family is still recovering from it and we’re very lucky that everyone was triple vaxxed to handle it.
Now we’re slowly planning for 2022. I was hoping to have all of the holiday time off to plan, but quarantining in a hotel room without a laptop stopped that from happening. But we at least did a lot of downtime, so that’s good.
This year, we want to focus on building niche site #1 up even more. I think we can grow it to $10,000/month this year. There are several things I want to do with it. I’ll work more on working on the business rather than in the business.
Jena shut down her business in 2021 and will spend her time working on the site.
I’ll spend most of my time with my job this year. I want to switch the content slightly to incorporate helping others to get started. It will also be a way to practice working on the project rather than in the project.
Of course I also bought a couple of domains that I want to build up this year. One is for Gainesville business owners. It was an older domain that I loved reading about local Gainesville people. They let it expire and I want to resurrect it. I love seeing local businesses doing interesting things and I’d love to give them a platform to do that.
And there’s a couple more that are niche specific to certain type of jobs. I’d like to get more into creating a resource type website. We’ll see if I get to it 🙂