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How To Start A Money Making Blog: Case Study NOW [2024]


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Thinking about starting a new site? Working on your old site and feel like it’s going nowhere? Is your blog going well but you are always interested in what’s working for others?

Then you will love my latest case study!

This is my fourth case study and I have a strong feeling it’s going to be best yet.

Not just because it’s focused on what’s working RIGHT NOW in blogging, SEO, Facebook and monetisation, but because I am 100% committed to making this site into my biggest project yet. I have so many different plans past my usual formula of SEO + affiliate marketing and I can’t wait to share it all with you to help you grow your own blogs.

As always, I’m going to share behind the scenes information of everything I do, how much traffic my blog is getting and how much money it is making, all while teaching you how to do it too!

Sound good?

Let’s start!

You will learn...

  1. Why I am doing this
  2. How you can get case study updates and what to expect
  3. Information about my new site
  4. Update #1: How to decide when to start a new blog versus working on your existing and the strategy behind my site
  5. Update #2: Exactly what I did during the first three months of  building my site
  6. Update #3: All the fundamental tasks to do in first 6 months
  7. Update #4: Growing your site for more readers and income in months 6 – 9
  8. Update #5: Affiliate testing, getting more content and income in months 9-12 of my new site
  9. Update #6: Big plans and big moves for 2020 for my case study site
  10. Update #7: Coronavirus Pandemic Update July 2020
  11. Update #8: Coronavirus Pandemic Update November 2020
  12. Update #9: Dealing With Prolonged Border Closures In February 2022
  13. And more…

1. Why I am doing this

There are many reasons why I am doing this.

The main ones are:

  1. To show people who keep making excuses about how building a successful blog isn’t possible that it is. That it’s not too competitive. That you don’t need to work so hard. You just have to work smart.
  2. To show that the strategies I talk about on this site and channels are repeatable. Having blogging success isn’t about luck; it’s being strategic.
  3. To keep my hands dirty. I never want to be someone who just talks about how to have blogging and SEO success. The only way to be good at these strategies is to keep working on them.
  4. Because I have realised I want to build a site that truly mirrors my passions that I will enjoy building that also has a huge scope for monetisation but is also one that I can manage from a distance – that basically meets all the reasons why I built an online business in the first place. More about this in the first update below.
  5. So you’ll be able to see all the steps I take to build up a site and mirror them if you want to learn how to have a successful blog.
  6. Because I want to do things I have not done before and I have found that publishing what I am doing on this site keeps me accountable and pushing forward 🙂

I talk more about this in the first update below.

I really hope this case study leads to fewer excuses and more success for everyone.

2. How you can get case study updates and what to expect

I am doing this case study different from my previous ones. Instead of all updates being on this blog, they will be on Facebook instead. You can watch them live on either the Digital Nomad Wannabe Facebook page or via the DNW Facebook group. Make sure you join both to catch the lives by clicking on the links.

I am doing this because:

  1. I love how interactive Facebook lives are. I hope to have a real conversation with you about how I am doing this by answering your questions in real time
  2. I’m time poor and I find it easier to make it happen if I am committed to a Facebook live rather than writing a post

If you can’t catch them live, they are always left in Facebook for you to view later. I also upload them to YouTube (you can subscribe to my channel here) and will publish them to this page.

Updates occur approximately monthly. At the moment, I am talking about the site in the past as I started it in October 2018 and only started publishing updates in June 2019. I see these updates being in real time soon.

3. Information about my new site

My new site is a destination site on Malaysia. It’s called Dive Into Malaysia, and it focuses on travel in Malaysia.

The strategies and techniques I discuss in this update are generally applicable across any niche – don’t think they only apply to destination sites and travel blogs. I have applied the same strategies on my lifestyle blog, my personal finance blog and my parenting niche sites.

Being a travel site, this case study did take an unexpected turn with the pandemic. For just over two years, Malaysia shut its national border and for much of this time, the country was under strict movement orders. This obviously had a huge impact on this site which you’ll see in the updates below.

4. Update #1: How to decide when to start a new blog versus working on your existing and the strategy behind my site

In my first update, you will learn:

  • The questions to ask yourself when working out whether to start a new blog or to keep working on your existing one
  • Why I started a new blog
  • Why you should align your goals for your blog with your life goals and how I have done this
  • My overall strategy for my new site

I highly recommend you watch the above update before anything else as it will give you a context for everything else I talk about.

If you are interested in  more details on what I do to start a new site, including picking a niche, listen to my podcast episode on this topic here.

5. Update #2: Exactly what I did during the first three months of  building my site

In my second update, you will learn:

  • How to come up with a domain name
  • What posts to put up first
  • How much effort to put into the look of the site and theme
  • What to put in a menu
  • What to do about social media accounts
  • What link building to do
  • How much content to put up and what it should be
  • How to start monetising

Click here to download my checklist for SEO success on a new site that follows the steps discussed here.

6. Update #3: All the fundamental tasks to do in first 6 months

In my third update, you will learn:

  • What content tasks to do in months 3 – 6
  • What link building to do
  • What to do on social media
  • When traffic started taking off and how much traffic I got
  • How much money I made each month
  • Basically, what to do to ensure you have the best site possible to build on at the 6 month mark

You can take a look at my traffic growth in the following image. The site started mid October.


7. Update #4: Growing your site for more readers and income in months 6 – 9

In my fourth update, you will learn:

  • What content and link building tasks to do in months 6-9
  • Traffic my site got after leaving the Google sandbox
  • How the June Google update affected my site
  • Exactly how much money I made each month from what
  • What I did to maximise my affiliate and ad earnings going forward

8. Update #5: Affiliate testing, getting more content and income in months 9-12 of my new site

In my fifth update, you will learn:

  • What content tasks to do in months 9-12
  • Traffic I got during this time
  • What I did to test which affiliates to use on this site and what the results were
  • How much money I made each month
  • How I planned a work trip to maximise content and knowledge gaps

9. Update #6: Big plans and big moves for 2020 for my case study site Feb 2020

In my sixth update, you will learn:

  • What planning I did for growth in 2020
  • My new processes for getting more content on the site
  • My new hires
  • How much money I made each month
  • My traffic growth over this time

10. Update #7: Coronavirus Pandemic Update July 2020

In my seventh update, you will learn:

  • What I have done since February to grow this site
  • My current traffic and income for this site and the effects of the coronavirus pandemic
  • How I am using my team to get new content up
  • My goals for the future

This update is a bit different as it’s on my podcast, Make Money Blogging With Digital Nomad Wannabe, instead of a Facebook live video.

11. Update #8: Coronavirus Pandemic Update November 2020

In my eighth update, you will learn:

  • What I have done since June to grow this site
  • My current traffic and income for this site and the effects of the coronavirus pandemic as Malaysia experiences a third wave
  • Details about my digital product that I launched in October
  • My goals and plans for the future

You can listen to this update on my podcast, Make Money Blogging With Digital Nomad Wannabe, instead of a Facebook live video.

12. Update #9: Dealing With Prolonged Border Closures In February 2022

In my ninth update, you will learn:

  • What I have done since November 2020 on this site
  • How prolonged border closures are affecting this site
  • My latest traffic and income (thankfully Malaysians can still travel and use my site).
  • My goals and plans for the future

You can listen to it in my podcast episode below. As a summary, here are my traffic and earning details from January 2022:

Traffic: 46,600 page views, 33,600 users

Income: $395

This is made up of:

  • Agoda direct program (hotel bookings): $178 (this is an estimate)
  • Ezoic (advertising): $152
  • Klook direct program: $58
  • Easybook and BusonlineTicket (transport ticket sellers): $7

RPM (how much I earn per 1,000 users on the site): $11.75 or 1.18 cents per users on my site

Since travel is only really open to Malaysians (and they make up the vast majority of my traffic), my RPM is honestly terrible at the moment. I aim for at least 10 cents per user on my sites. I can’t see this improving until national borders open.

With this sort of RPM, I cannot justify the time to write more content or to outsource it.

13. Update #10: February 2022 Figures And Border Re-Opening

This is not a full update but shares my figures from February 2022 for those following along. Of course, February was a shorter month than January which has an impact but if you look at how much traffic I got per day, it’s slightly higher in February than January

Traffic: 46,397 page views, 32,991

Income: $332 (down $63)

This is made up of:

  • Agoda direct program (hotel bookings): $122 (this is an estimate)
  • Ezoic (advertising): $147
  • Klook direct program: $22
  • Easybook and BusonlineTicket (transport ticket sellers): $16
  • Digital Product: $25

RPM (how much I earn per 1,000 users on the site): $10.06 or 1 cents per users on my site

Unfortunately, this is less than in January but I feel unable to do much until borders open.

The good news is that BORDERS ARE OPENING APRIL 1!!! 🎉🥳 So hopefully, some good things to come in this case study soon.

Also my best performing content is about destinations which are seasonal and open up around this time, so lots of reasons to think these numbers will go up soon.

14. Update #11: March 2022 Figures And Border Opening

In my eleventh update, you will learn:

  • My latest traffic and income now that the border is opening soon
  • My goals and plans for the future

You can listen to it in my podcast episode below. As a summary, here are my traffic and earning details from March 2022. It’s been great to see it increase!

Traffic: 69,000 page views, 48,500 users (up 23,000 page views)

Income: $683  (up $332)

This is made up of:

  • Agoda via Travelpayouts (hotel bookings): $285 (this is an estimate – up $163)
  • Ezoic (advertising): $276 (up $129)
  • Klook via Travelpayouts: $19 (down $3)
  • Easybook and BusonlineTicket (transport ticket sellers): $53 (up $37)
  • Digital Product: $50 (up $25)

RPM (how much I earn per 1,000 users on the site): $14.08 or 1.4 cents per users on my site (up from $10.06)

It’s good to see my RPM go up, but it’s still bad.

15. Update #12: April 2022 Figures And Border Opening

In my twelth update, you will learn:

  • My latest traffic and income for the first month after the border reopened
  • My goals and plans for the future

You can listen to it in my podcast episode below. As a summary, here are my traffic and earning details from April 2022. By far, the best month ever.

Traffic: 114,000 page views, 77,000 users (up from 69,000 page views)

Income: $2,186  (up from $683)

This is made up of:

  • Agoda via Travelpayouts (hotel bookings): $747 (this is an estimate – up from $285)
  • Ezoic (advertising): $932 (up from $276)
  • Klook via Travelpayouts: $180 (up from $19)
  • Viator via Travelpayouts: $5 (up from 0)
  • Rentalcars via Travelpayouts: $35 (up from 0)
  • Easybook and BusonlineTicket (transport ticket sellers): $262 (up from $53)
  • Digital Product: $25 (down from $50)

RPM (how much I earn per 1,000 users on the site): $28.39 or 2.8 cents per users on my site (up from $ 14.08 )

I’m especially happy to see the RPM go up, but I’m hoping it will keep going up as it’s still not great.

16. Update #13: May 2022 Figures

In my thirteenth update, you will learn:

  • My latest traffic and income for May (second month after borders reopened)
  • My goals and plans for the future

You can listen to it in my podcast episode below. As a summary, here are my traffic and earning details from May 2022. My new best month!

Traffic: 132,000 page views, 88,000 users (up from 114,000 page views)

Income: $2,954 (up from $2,186)

This is made up of:

  • Agoda via Travelpayouts (hotel bookings): $1141 (this is an estimate – up from $747)
  • Ezoic (advertising) and AdSense: $1035 (up from $932)
  • Klook via Travelpayouts: $477* (up from $180)
  • Viator via Travelpayouts: $0 (down from $5)
  • Rentalcars via Travelpayouts: $0 (down from $35)
  • Easybook and BusonlineTicket (transport ticket sellers): $262 (exactly the same)
  • Digital Product: $39 (up from $25)

RPM (how much I earn per 1,000 users on the site): $33.60 or 3.36 cents per users on my site (up from $28.39)

*Note that the Klook earnings include some money that was earned in previous months that didn’t show up in my tracking until May.

17. Update #14: June 2022 Figures

In my fourteenth update, I keep it super short as I’m enjoying a well earned break in Italy at the time of publishing these figures.

For this reason, you’ll just find a summary this month of my traffic and earning details from June 2022.

Unfortunately, things dropped. While a few posts dropped a little in rankings, mostly I think this must be seasonal/less people searching for the information this site provides. It’s so hard to judge when there are no good previous years to compare to and the aviation industry is getting so much bad press at the moment.

Traffic: 113,000 page views, 76,000 users (down from 132,000 page views)

Income: $2,457 (down from $ 2,954 )

This is made up of:

  • Agoda via Travelpayouts (hotel bookings): $596 (this is an estimate – down from $1141)
  • Ezoic (advertising) and AdSense: $986 (down from $1035)
  • Klook via Travelpayouts: $321 (down from $477 – but this included some amounts from previous months)
  • Viator via Travelpayouts: $122 (up from $0)
  • Rentalcars via Travelpayouts: $22 (up from $0)
  • Easybook and BusonlineTicket (transport ticket sellers): $371 (up from $262)
  • Digital Product: $39 (same)

RPM (how much I earn per 1,000 users on the site): $32.11 or 3.21 cents per users on my site (down from $33.60)

18. Update #15: July 2022 Figures

In my fifteenth update, I’m still enjoying Europe, currently in Budapest.

For this reason, you’ll just find a summary this month of my traffic and earning details from July 2022.

It’s not a great update and part of me wanted to skip this month as I want to enjoy my trip and not worry about it right now. The numbers dropped again.

I did take a quick look during July and I couldn’t see any evidence of my drop in traffic being seasonal (I used Google trends to check main keywords for some of the articles that had drops), so it does seem to be my rankings dropping a little 🙁

It’s frustrating not having previous years to compare to so I can have clarity on this though thanks to the pandemic.

Just one more month until I concentrate on this site again, ready for ITB Singapore!

Traffic: 101,000 page views, 67,000 users (down from 113,000 page views)

Income: $1,939 (down from $2,457 )

This is made up of:

  • Agoda via Travelpayouts (hotel bookings): $405 (this is an estimate – down from $596)
  • Ezoic (advertising) and AdSense: $826 (down from $986)
  • Klook via Travelpayouts: $198 (down from $321)
  • Viator via Travelpayouts: $0 (down from $122)
  • Rentalcars via Travelpayouts: $27 (up from $22)
  • Easybook and BusonlineTicket (transport ticket sellers): $483 (up from $371)
  • Digital Product: $0 (down from $39)

RPM (how much I earn per 1,000 users on the site): $28.96 or 2.90 cents per users on my site (down from $32.11)

18. Update #16: August 2022 Figures

In my sixteenth update, I’ve just returned home from Europe. You will learn:

  • My latest traffic and income for August
  • My goals and plans for the future that I’m starting work on today!

You can listen to it in my podcast episode below. As a summary, here are my traffic and earning details from August 2022.

This site is finally going to become my focus again and I look forward to seeing how it grows over the next six months.

Traffic: 105,000 page views, 74,000 users (up from 101,000 page views and 67,000 users)

Income: $1,843 (down from $1,939)

This is made up of:

  • Agoda via Travelpayouts (hotel bookings) and direct: $315 (this is an estimate – down from $405)
  • Ezoic (advertising) and AdSense: $676 (down from $826)
  • Klook via Travelpayouts: $289 (up from $198)
  • Rentalcars via Travelpayouts: $0 (down from $27)
  • Easybook and BusonlineTicket (transport ticket sellers): $450 (down from $483)
  • Digital Product: $113 (up from $0)

RPM (how much I earn per 1,000 users on the site): $24.90 or 2.49 cents per users on my site (down from $28.96)

18. Update #17: September 2022 Figures

In my seventeeth update, I’m back at work and focusing hard on building partnerships for this site with Malaysian travel brands. I have so many big ideas. I hope it will work out. I spend about two days a week on this site. I wish it could be more, but I have many projects.

I also started playing with video ads which pushed my EPMV (amount I make per thousand users through Ezoic) above US$10 at the end of month which is fantastic when my traffic is 70+% Asian.

If you are an Ezoic user (or thinking about it), make sure you set up Humix, their new video tool, as soon as you get access to it this month. It’s so awesome! I also discuss this a little in podcast episode 38 which is about to come out.

I decided not to do a full podcast update this month as I’m really just doing exactly what I said in the last podcast update. I do find doing something in a completely new area for me – like I am at the moment – quite anxiety-producing so I’d rather just keep working on it than talk about it. For now, anyway 🙂

However, you can still see my traffic and earning details from September 2022 below.

Traffic: 87,000 page views, 62,000 users (up from 105,000 page views and 74,000 users)

Income: $2,158 (up from $1,843)

This is made up of:

  • Agoda via Travelpayouts (hotel bookings) and direct: $685 (this is an estimate – up from $315)
  • Ezoic (advertising) and AdSense: $806 (up from $676)
  • Klook via Travelpayouts: $294 (up from $289)
  • Rentalcars via Travelpayouts: $0 (same)
  • Easybook, 12go and BusonlineTicket (transport ticket sellers): $309 (down from $450)
  • Digital Product: $64 (down from $113)

RPM (how much I earn per 1,000 users on the site): $34.81 or 3.48 cents per users on my site (up from $24.90)

It was disappointing to see the traffic drop. I’m trying not to stress about it because I know traditionally September has been a slow month across my business. The frustrating part is that I don’t have data to compare it to as this site was still new pre-covid September and the last two years, Malaysia had shut borders.

I do get a lot of pages view to content on places that shut down now until March because of monsoon weather so it makes sense that page views would go backwards. I just wish it wasn’t as much!

There is some new content to come though as I finally head back to Malaysia in two weeks. It’s been three years and I can’t wait.

19. Update #18: October 2022 Figures

In my eighteenth update, I have just spent a month focusing more on this site including finally getting back to the country after long border closures in both Malaysia and Australia. It felt so good and such a relief especially as it seemed like it did pre-covid, just with noticeably less foreign tourists.

I took this as a positive for my business – many foreign tourists have not returned… yet. But they will and it shows how much further this site will go even if I did nothing. I need demand to go back where it was (according to talks I went to at ITB, this won’t be until 2025 though).

I also went to ITB Asia and talked to Malaysian travel-related businesses with mixed success, and it was definitely a learning experience. Most companies there were all about Borneo and that content is currently lacking on my site but I do have some great contacts for when I fix that next year.

I launched a taxi booking service.

I did not do a full podcast update again this month but I’ll have a lot to say when I do one next month.

You can see my traffic and earning details from October 2022 below.

Traffic: 67,000 page views, 47,000 users (down from 87,000 page views and 62,000 users)

Income: $1,907 (down from $2,158)

This is made up of:

  • Agoda via Travelpayouts (hotel bookings) and direct: $443 (this is an estimate – down from $685)
  • Ezoic (advertising) and AdSense: $862 (up from $806)
  • Klook via Travelpayouts: $323 (up from $294)
  • Rentalcars via Travelpayouts: $11 (up from $0)
  • Easybook, 12go and BusonlineTicket (transport ticket sellers): $197 (down from $309)
  • TripAdvisor: $15 (up from $0)
  • Taxi booking service: $30 (up from $0)
  • Digital Product: $26 (down from $64)

RPM (how much I earn per 1,000 users on the site): $40.08 or 4.01 cents per users on my site (up from $34.81)

It was disappointing to see the traffic drop again. I’m trying not to stress about it because I know a lot of the content that does best on this site is about destinations on the east coast of Malaysia which are shut down now for the monsoon. Hopefully, it will go up again now as we head into holiday season for Malaysians, Singaporeans and Australians who are my three largest audiences.

Thanks to my trip, there’s also a block of new content added for the first time in awhile, so I hope this helps too.

The very positive thing in these numbers is that I have been primarily focusing on upping the RPM for this site and that has happened. It’s great to be in the 40s.

20. Update #19: November 2022 Figures

In my nineteenth update, I’ve recently visited Malaysia (twice), attended ITB Asia in Singapore and Tbex blogging conference in Phuket, and I have so much motivation and so many plans. You will learn:

  • My latest traffic and income for November
  • How I hit new RPM highs
  • What’s happening with the traffic decreases (and what I’m doing about it)
  • My goals and plans for the future

You can listen to it in my podcast episode below. As a summary, here are my traffic and earning details from November 2022.

Traffic: 61,000 page views, 41,700 users (down from 67,000 page views and 47,000 users)

Income: $2,097 (up from $1,907)

This is made up of:

  • Agoda via Travelpayouts (hotel bookings) and direct: $698 (this is an estimate – up from $443)
  • Ezoic (advertising) and AdSense: $852 (down from $862)
  • Booking.com: $15 (up from $0)
  • Klook: $219 (down from $323)
  • Rentalcars via Travelpayouts: $0 (down from $11)
  • Easybook, 12go and BusonlineTicket (transport ticket sellers): $126 (down from $197)
  • Taxi booking service: $92 (up from $30)
  • Digital Product: $95 (up from $26)

RPM (how much I earn per 1,000 users on the site): $50.22 or 5.02 cents per users on my site (up from $40.08)

21. Update #20: December 2022 Figures

In my twentieth update, I don’t have anything exciting to share like trips to Malaysia 🙂 I finished off my content from my trips and prepared for our summer holidays. With the kids off school from December 21 until end of January, I won’t be able to work much at all.

I’m a little disappointed as I have so much I still want to do on the partnership side and just no time. I hope selling some of my sites over the summer will help with this when I return to work (two already sold in December).

I did have a great conversation with the fabulous Sarah Chant at NZ Travel Tips about using Rezdy and some other partnership/affiliate tools which I look forward to working on in 2023.

My podcast is on leave this month thanks to the school holidays.

You can see my traffic and earning details from December 2022 below.

Traffic: 90,468 page views, 57,184 users (up from 61,000 page views and 41,700 users)

Income: $1,839 (down from $2,097)

This is made up of:

  • Agoda via Travelpayouts (hotel bookings) and direct: $228 (this is an estimate – down from $698)
  • Ezoic (advertising) and AdSense: $993 (up from $852)
  • Klook: $322 (up from $219)
  • Rentalcars via Travelpayouts: $0 (same)
  • Easybook, 12go and BusonlineTicket (transport ticket sellers): $203 (up from $126)
  • Taxi booking service: $93 (up from $92)
  • Digital Product: $0 (down from $95)

RPM (how much I earn per 1,000 users on the site): $32.16 or 3.21 cents per users on my site (down from $50.22)

Good and bad news this month in the figures. The good news is that my traffic is on its way back up and so far that is continuing into 2023. Yay!

This is what I expected to see. Right across my blogging business, I am seeing that traffic drops on sites if I stop posting/updating/building links. I ignored this site for years so I’m thankful it wasn’t worse. I am happy now that I am adding content again, it’s heading back up.

It’s a little frustrating for me as I used to be able to leave sites for months/years even and see no ill effect. It makes it very hard for me to keep managing so many sites which is a big part of the reason why I am working on selling many.

There’s also a very clear indication when I look at my keyword tracking for this site that posts that I update have the main keyword shoot back up and posts that I haven’t trend down.

While this has always been the case, I am a little surprised just how clear this is on this site when I would bet that most Malaysian content out there hasn’t been updated in years either thanks to shut borders and covid.

So now I somehow need to find time to update all my posts… There’s 235 of them!

It’s hard to work out how to prioritise all these needs – content updates, new content (we are going to Malaysia end of March and I plan to make the most of this), partnerships and building up monetisation.

Of course, the bads news is that despite more traffic, my income went down 🙁 The biggest problem is Agoda which fell a fair bit. I need to look into this further and analyse the content that is going better vs not improving.

February is definitely going to be a very busy month for me!

21. Update #21: January 2023 Figures

Not much that exciting happened in January as the kids were home from school and I didn’t get much time to work.

In the little time I did get, I finally started recording episodes for the Dive Into Malaysia Travel podcast that I am launching in February.

Otherwise, I priortisied selling sites I have no interest in keeping to free up my time so I can go crazy working on this site this year.

You can see my traffic and earning details from January 2023 below.

Traffic: 76,633 page views, 46,481 users (down from 90,468 page views and 57,184 users)

Income: $1,568 (down from $1,839)

This is made up of:

  • Agoda via Travelpayouts (hotel bookings) and direct: $228 (this is an estimate – same as December)
  • Ezoic (advertising) and AdSense: $577 (down from $993)
  • Klook: $188 (up from $322)
  • Rentalcars via Travelpayouts: $0 (same)
  • Easybook, 12go and BusonlineTicket (transport ticket sellers): $168 (down from $203)
  • Taxi booking service: $287 (up from $93)
  • Digital Product: $120 (up from $0)

RPM (how much I earn per 1,000 users on the site): $33.75 or 3.37 cents per users on my site (up from $32.16)

I’m not happy with the figures this month. It was disappointing to see traffic trend down and affiliates like Agoda and Klook are not getting the number of bookings they were. Klook is so much less that I don’t trust what I’m seeing in the reporting.

Ezoic is also down thanks to ads just not paying as much in January as a general rule. Come on companies, start spending more on ads again!!

The upside is that my taxi bookings are up and so are my digital product sales – both trends I’m still seeing in February as well.

I have been working hard so far in February and am hopeful there will be big changes to everything by the end of 2023.

22. Update #22: February 2023 Figures

I worked hard on this site in February, although I was interrupted a lot by my site selling.

I made some more direct partnerships including with another taxi operator so now I can book taxis all over Singapore and peninsular Malaysia. This is going well, but it is not hands off at this point so it is soaking some of my time too. I started working on the planning on a transfers booking site with my IT husband. He is so short of time that this may take forever though.

I also started updating my 240 live articles. What a task! Honestly, they are worse and more out of date than I expected, and I’m finding it quite stressful to update. It takes longer than I expected per article, and I feel ick thinking about all the sub-standard ones on the site. I should have paid better attention to the quality my writers were producing. I may scream my head off like a lunatic the next time I see it written that the biggest selling point of a hotel is that it’s near the airport when it is nowhere near 🙁

You can see my traffic and earning details from February 2023 below.

Traffic: 62,146 page views, 40,427 users (down from 76,633 page views and 46,481 users)

Income: $1,702 (up from $1,568)

This is made up of:

  • Agoda via Travelpayouts (hotel bookings) and direct: $186 (down from $228)
  • Ezoic (advertising) and AdSense: $582 (up from $577)
  • Klook: $185 (down from $188)
  • Rentalcars via Travelpayouts: $0 (same)
  • Easybook, 12go and BusonlineTicket (transport ticket sellers): $183 (up from $168)
  • Taxi booking service: $430 (up from $287)
  • Digital Product: $136 (up from $120)

RPM (how much I earn per 1,000 users on the site): $42.12 or 4.21 cents per users on my site (up from $33.75)

I’m again not happy with the figures this month, besides the taxis and my own product.

Klook and Agoda just have a lot less bookings. I need to do some investigating as it doesn’t make much sense to me.

The upside is that my taxi bookings are up and so are my digital product sales. Our sales page edits have paid off. The taxis are looking like an even bigger March as I write this, although I think I may have to turn it off in April… I’m spending most of the month travelling in Malaysia and it’s fiddly and time consuming. I’d rather concentrate on creating content then and getting the most out of my time there.

I have had far more success talking to companies about partnerships, but it’s difficult and time consuming working out how to implement all the possibilities and my ideas. I hope to go back to this in May as I know it’s what I need to get to my first goal of $10,000 per month.

23. Update #23: March 2023 Figures

I worked hard on this site in March as I prepared TONS of new content and updated TONS of content ready for my big Malaysia trip in April.

All up, it’s nearly 100 articles that I’m creating/updated from the travel I’ll do in April 😮 It will be a good test. If this doesn’t pay off, I seriously have to question why I’m working on this site. It will definitely be the most comprehensive and up-to-date resource on Malaysia travel.

I realised that Agoda links were just not working in an ideal way. Some of the hotels were saying fully booked when clicking on them, even though I could see Agoda did have availability if I accessed the hotel in a different way on Agoda. So I started switching some hotel links to Booking.

I am reluctant to do this as when I split tested my hotel links in the past, basically no one booked on Booking.com vs Agoda.

Maybe this is why my hotel revenue is so much lower than it used to be.

You can see my traffic and earning details from March 2023 below.

Traffic: 76,176 page views, 48,965 users (up from 62,146 page views and 40,427 users)

Income: $2,658 (up from $1,702)

This is made up of:

  • Agoda via Travelpayouts (hotel bookings) and direct: $371 (up from $186)
  • Booking via Travelpayouts (hotel bookings): $69 (up from $0)
  • Ezoic (advertising) and AdSense: $647 (up from $582)
  • Klook: $385 (up from $185)
  • Rentalcars via Travelpayouts: $0 (same)
  • Easybook, 12go and BusonlineTicket (transport ticket sellers): $186 (up from $183)
  • Taxi booking service: $906 (up from $430)
  • Digital Product: $54 (down from $136)
  • Tour direct affiliate: $40 (up from $0)

RPM (how much I earn per 1,000 users on the site): $54.42 or 5.44 cents per users on my site (up from $42.12)

It was a huge relief to see just about all my numbers go up. This is the highest RPM I have achieved and the income is the second highest.

Klook and Agoda bookings are heading up. I’m disappointed my transport links aren’t making more money although this will be in part because I tried changing a lot of busonlinetickets to easybook which did not work out. The east coast islands open up in March, and this should make me more money across the board.

I am super excited by the bookings I got for taxis in March. I nearly made over $1000 – if I could have included 1 April figures, it would have been.

I was too busy working on content for my trip to do much more about direct partnerships, although I did form two in February. One of which is for food tours, and I had my first booking. I am planning more content directed at this after I do their tours in April.

24. Update #24: April 2023 Figures

I spent just about all of April travelling in Malaysia. I created a ton of articles and updated many more. I updated my own knowledge, seeing parts of Malaysia I haven’t seen before and experiencing what places are like post-pandemic.

It was full on. Awesome! But FULL ON.

The first eight nights I was by myself. I did full day tours and different hotels every night in Borneo. I was then with my family so we slowed things down a little. The last week and a half, it was just me and my 6 and 11 year olds so that was quite full on between working, sightseeing and 24/7 parenting.

I was happy to find tourists are well and truly back in Malaysia with many people telling me numbers were back at 2019 levels or even higher. So that is awesome!

While I was my travelling, my VA checked all my Agoda links and we switched some that were showing the hotel as full when it wasn’t.

You can see my traffic and earning details from April 2023 below.

Traffic: 86,885 page views, 56,773 users (up from 76,176 page views and 48,965 users)

Income: $2,713 (up from $2,658)

This is made up of:

  • Agoda via Travelpayouts (hotel bookings) and direct: $611 (up from $371)
  • Booking via Travelpayouts (hotel bookings): $67 (down from $69)
  • Ezoic (advertising) and AdSense: $724 (up from $647)
  • Klook: $297 (down from $385)
  • Rentalcars via Travelpayouts: $0 (same)
  • Easybook, 12go and BusonlineTicket (transport ticket sellers): $370 (up from $186)
  • Taxi booking service: $584 (down from $906)
  • Digital Product: $20 (down from $54)
  • Tour direct affiliate: $20 (down from $40)
  • Skyscanner: $20 (I haven’t been recording this separately for this site previously)

RPM (how much I earn per 1,000 users on the site): $47.80 or 4.78 cents per users on my site (down from $54.42)

It is fabulous to see many things rise this month, particularly traffic. I’m still a little frustrated by Klook as the numbers going backwards doesn’t make sense to me, but there isn’t a solid alternative.

It is great to see transport increase.

It’s not surprising taxi bookings are down because I had to change the lead time for a booking while I travelled. For example, usually, you can book some routes two days ahead and everything else needs five days notice. I had to pull it all back to seven days as I didn’t want the stress of organising last minute taxis when I was away. I just didn’t have the time for that.

Hopefully, things continue to rise as all my recent updates and new content help gain more traffic.

25. Update #25: May 2023 Figures

May was spent finishing off any content from my April trip, making podcasts, updating posts (I now only have about 45 posts that haven’t been updated or created in the last eight months so yay for that) and working on monetisation.

I also had to start planning content and lock in the rest of my August trip to Sarawak.

My main focus on monetisation has been to build multi-day tours/packages that I can sell to my audience with the assistance of local travel agents. I spent far too much time trying to find a booking platform that could assist me with this without costing me more than I could afford.

The only solutions that handled payments how I need seemed 6% of booking price plus a monthly fee plus you still have payment processing fees on top of that! I would lose 10% before even getting started. As I will have a currency exchange loss too, I would have to price very high to have any chance of making money.

I came out with nothing and am sticking with wpforms (what I already use for taxi bookings) plus my husband is making an add-on for it so it can take payments in the way I want. This is so much cheaper and actually works exactly how I need once I have the add-on. So that was a frustrating waste of time.

You can see my traffic and earning details from May 2023 below.

Traffic: 102,387 page views, 67,227 users (up from 86,885 page views and 56,773 users)

Income: $2,471 (down from $2,713)

This is made up of:

  • Agoda via Travelpayouts (hotel bookings) and direct: $495 (down from $611)
  • Booking via Travelpayouts (hotel bookings): $6 (down from $67)
  • Ezoic (advertising) and AdSense: $800 (up from $724)
  • Klook: $344 (up from $297)
  • Rentalcars via Travelpayouts: $0 (same)
  • Easybook, 12go and BusonlineTicket (transport ticket sellers): $304 (down from $370)
  • Taxi booking service: $282 (down from $584)
  • Digital Product: $96 (up from $20)
  • Tour/Hotel direct affiliate: $134 (up from $20)
  • Skyscanner: $10 (down from $20)

RPM (how much I earn per 1,000 users on the site): $36.77 or 3.68 cents per users on my site (down from $47.80)

I’m trying hard not to be too disappointed or alarmed by May’s results. While it’s great to be back over 100,000 page views, I do consider traffic a vanity measure because I need to live off the earnings of this site.

While it’s great seeing my direct arrangement and my own product make more money, it’s very disappointing to see the drop in taxi bookings (despite the taxi booking form getting more traffic than ever) and with so many affiliates.

This is where not having past years to compare to (thanks coronavirus) is problematic for me. As I can guess May is probably a low month for bookings because it’s between peak times. April was mega peak thanks to several things coiniciding – Easter, end of Ramadan and local school holidays. July and August are peak as well so hopefully better things are to come.

When I analyse my taxi bookings, they were only bookings for people booking months ahead rather than bookings for right now. In March and April, when I had more bookings, there were some of these but most were for the next couple of weeks.

So I am hoping I see more of these taxi bookings as we move into peak time again.

Add this month’s figures to my growing anxiety about coming Google changes with AI, and, honestly, my mindset is a mess. It can be hard to feel motivated, so I’m definitely not as productive as I could be as I worry the changes will make everything fail.

The one really good thing this month is that right at the end, my Facebook group suddenly became more active. Finally, there are multiple posts per day! I hope this means Facebook will finally start suggesting people join my group in Facebook and help me grow it.

26. Update #26: June 2023 Figures

June was busy as I continued to work on improving my monetisation by looking for travel agents who I could partner with to sell tour packages to my audience.

Unfortunately, this continues to be frustrating with many showing interest initially and then they disappear. I also don’t want to push too much as there is zero point me partnering with a company who isn’t responsive and doesn’t really want to work with me.

I also tried to grow my taxi partners so I could expand my long distance taxi booking service into Sabah and Sarawak (Borneo), but I didn’t have any luck there.

I also finally made a firm partnership with a popular resort which sells a lot of tours as well. I have made my own tour package there that I could sell to my audience with my taxi service. However, that’s already not really working as they take 3-5 business days to reply to the enquiries I get… In that time, the customer has moved on GRRRRRR!

It’s all very frustrating, and I’m not sure whether to persist with it. However, if I don’t, how do I ever increase my income and turn this site into something more than a content site that can’t be replaced by AI?

Another frustrating problem was discovering an awful problem with Ezoic for anyone that landed on my site in Europe. They kept repeatedly showing a cookie consent pop up that covered my content. If you clicked to get rid of it, a few seconds later it reappeared.

I am so lucky a blogging friend in Europe noticed this and told me. It was like it for at least a few months, possibly much longer. It makes me feel sick to think about it.

Once, I brought it to Ezoic’s attention, they were able to remove it, but I’m not impressed at all that it happened. It’s really hard to realise these problems exist when they are localised.

I also worked on my content for my upcoming trip to Sarawak and kept plugging away on updating existing content. Then I hit school holidays later in June and basically stopped working for two weeks.

I’m hoping the two weeks off helps to improve my mindset as I am really struggling with it at the moment. Everything is feeling hard and pointless.

You can see my traffic and earning details from June 2023 below.

Traffic: 101,382 page views, 65,142 users (down from 102,387 page views and 67,227 users)

Income: $3,298 (up from $2,471)

This is made up of:

  • Agoda via Travelpayouts (hotel bookings) and direct: $476 (down from $495)
  • Booking via Travelpayouts (hotel bookings): $74 (up from $6)
  • Ezoic (advertising) and AdSense: $780 (down from $800)
  • Klook: $312 (down from $344)
  • Rentalcars via Travelpayouts: $43 (up from $0)
  • Easybook, 12go and BusonlineTicket (transport ticket sellers): $336 (up from $304)
  • Taxi booking service: $856 (up from $282)
  • Digital Product: $64 (down from $96)
  • Tour/Hotel direct affiliate: $313 (up from $134)
  • Skyscanner: $30 (up from $10)
  • Viator via Travelpayouts (tour bookings): $14 (up from $0)

RPM (how much I earn per 1,000 users on the site): $50.63 or 5.06 cents per users on my site (up from $36.77)

On the upside, June’s results were great. It’s my highest earning month and my second highest RPM as well as one of my bigger traffic months. Traffic pretty much stayed the same when you take into account June being a day shorter than May.

We are going into peak time in July and August though, so it should be good right now. I’m hoping July and August will be even bigger as I expect to see a drop after that.

The biggest increases were in my direct affiliate arrangements and my taxi booking service.

My husband finished up his job at the end of June and while we hope he has a new one ASAP, in the meantime, he is able to work on a taxi booking website for me so we can fully automate this. I hope this will lead to more bookings as well.

27. Update #27: July 2023 Figures

The first week of July was school holidays here, so I wasn’t able to work much. The good news is that the break helped with my mindset, so while I wouldn’t say my mindset is currently fantastic, it’s not terrible anymore.

The rest of July, I concentrated on getting content updated and completed as much as possible for my upcoming trip to Sarawak as well as getting podcasts set to go.

As always, I like to get the content written as much as possible before I go. I achieved this.

I am also thinking ahead of what to do to monetise better and help futureproof my site when AI arrives on the scene. It’s an ongoing battle figuring all that out.

You can see my traffic and earning details from July 2023 below.

Traffic: 99,818 page views, 63,580 users (down from 101,382 page views, 65,142 users)

Income: $3,533 (up from $3,298)

This is made up of:

  • Agoda via Travelpayouts (hotel bookings) and direct: $509 (up from $476)
  • Booking via Travelpayouts (hotel bookings): $38 (down from $74)
  • Ezoic (advertising) and AdSense: $662 (down from $780)
  • Klook: $430 (up from $312)
  • Rentalcars via Travelpayouts: $27 (down from $43)
  • Easybook, 12go and BusonlineTicket (transport ticket sellers): $504 (up from $336)
  • Taxi booking service: $1178 (up from $856)
  • Digital Product: $51 (down from $64)
  • Tour/Hotel direct affiliate: $93 (down from $313)
  • Skyscanner: $34 (up from $30)
  • Viator via Travelpayouts (tour bookings): $7 (down from $14)

RPM (how much I earn per 1,000 users on the site): $55.58 or 5.56 cents per users on my site (up from $50.63)

On the upside, July’s results were great. It’s my highest earning month and my highest RPM as well as one of my bigger traffic months. So yay!

It is peak time in Malaysia though, so the site should be doing great. The tiny traffic drop is annoying. My keyword rankings are only improving though, so I’m guessing more people are travelling instead of researching. My taxi service is going especially well.

I look forward to August’s numbers, although the taxi service will be impacted by me being away for nearly two weeks. I have a few days where I don’t think I’ll have internet access either when I’m in a remote part of Sarawak (Borneo).

28. Update #28: August 2023 Figures

I returned to Malaysia in August to spend a week and a half in Sarawak on Borneo. It was the last part of the country that I didn’t know well so now I am feeling very much the Malaysia expert. It was a great trip with so many amazing experiences.

I worked on content from this trip and podcasts.

You can see my traffic and earning details below.

Traffic: 96,660 page views, 63,813 users (up/down from 99,818 page views, 63,580 users)

Income: $3,011 (down from $3,533)

This is made up of:

  • Agoda via Travelpayouts (hotel bookings) and direct: $378 (down from $509)
  • Booking via Travelpayouts (hotel bookings): $11 (down from $38)
  • Ezoic (advertising) and AdSense: $601 (down from $662)
  • Klook: $548 (up from $430)
  • Rentalcars via Travelpayouts: $0 (down from $27)
  • Easybook, 12go and BusonlineTicket (transport ticket sellers): $465 (down from $504)
  • Taxi booking service: $872 (down from $1178)
  • Digital Product: $41 (down from $51)
  • Tour/Hotel direct affiliate: $75 (down from $93)
  • Skyscanner: $20 (down from $34)
  • Viator via Travelpayouts (tour bookings): $0 (down from $7)

RPM (how much I earn per 1,000 users on the site): $47.17 or 4.71 cents per users on my site (down from $55.58)

It’s always disappointing to see a loss. This is where I wish I had better data from previous years so I knew what was normal. Thanks again covid!

I have heard many bloggers say with a northern hemisphere audience that August usually sees a drop as more people are travelling instead of researching and booking. Hopefully, that is it!

The part of Malaysia where my content does best shuts down from late October to March so I’m expecting more drops coming up. I don’t like thinking about it. Crossing my fingers this isn’t the case!

29. Update #29: September 2023 Figures

It is hard to write this update as one of the worst things that could happen to my business happened in September. I was badly hit by the Google Helpful Content update. While I was not hit as bad on this Malaysia site as a couple of my other sites, it still suffered a 30-35% loss.

Malaysia is going into absolute low season after absolute peak so it’s hard to know how much of that may be seasonal BUT there was a very obvious drop on 19 September like I saw on my other travel sites that are moving into peak time. So there is no doubt I was hit.

I’m currently on holidays in Cyprus as I update this so I have not been able to analyse it fully yet.

You can see my traffic and earning details below.

Traffic: 82,647 page views, 55,819 users (down from 96,660 page views, 63,813 users)

Income: $1,828 (down from $3,011)

This is made up of:

  • Agoda via Travelpayouts (hotel bookings) and direct: $403 (up from $378)
  • Booking via Travelpayouts (hotel bookings): $8 (down from $11)
  • Ezoic (advertising) and AdSense: $510 (down from $601)
  • Klook: $273 (down from $548)
  • Rentalcars via Travelpayouts: $13 (up from $0)
  • Easybook, 12go and BusonlineTicket (transport ticket sellers): $212 (down from $465)
  • Taxi booking service: $302 (down from $872)
  • Digital Product: $20 (down from $41)
  • Tour/Hotel direct affiliate: $7 (down from $75)
  • Skyscanner: $32 (up from $20)
  • Viator via Travelpayouts (tour bookings): $48 (up from $0)

RPM (how much I earn per 1,000 users on the site): $32.75 or 3.28 cents per users on my site (down from $47.17)

It’s all a little too raw to talk about this update now. Hopefully, I have better news in the October update.

30. Update #30: October 2023 Figures

It is still hard to write about this site after the “Helpful” Content Update. On the upside, this site wasn’t hit by the spam or core updates in October.

However, Google finally stopped the site working with Universal Analytics. I had GA4 already set up, but I realised that it isn’t capturing all traffic for this site and there are some differences in what it says for traffic in months like September and August compared to GA4. My Ezoic stats align with Universal Analytics.

I spent quite awhile trying to work out why, but didn’t get anywhere and ended up giving up. I’m only seeing minor differences on my other sites and they are all set up the same way, so I really don’t understand.

This makes the traffic drop this month look worse than what I believe it is. Given that the income isn’t that much less than September (and wouldn’t have dropped had I had kept ads on), I think this further backs up that GA4 isn’t tracking traffic correctly.

As for work this month, I spent a little while analysing traffic losses and really was just super frustrated.

Some keywords where I had lost out were taken over by ecommerce sites, but many others were taken over by old general sites that had very crap out-of-date content. Even worse is that my old travel blog that I sold six years ago and hasn’t been updated now outranks me.

To extra rub this in, I’m getting questions in my Facebook group that come from the out-of-date content that is ranking now. So not only do I not get the benefit of that traffic to my much better, updated posts, but I also get to waste time answering questions because crap is showing.

I’m not sure I saw a single better piece of content outranking me. It’s severely depressing.

I haven’t done any actual work on the site. Without some type of certainty regarding what works in the current Google world, I don’t see the point. I don’t think it’s a good long term plan to make my content as crap as the stuff outranking it now.

You can see my traffic and earning details below.

Traffic: 53,516 page views, 34,370 users (down from 82,647 page views, 55,819 users)

Income: $1,608 (down from $1,828)

This is made up of:

  • Agoda via Travelpayouts (hotel bookings) and direct: $444 (up from $403)
  • Booking via Travelpayouts (hotel bookings): $6 (down from $8)
  • Ezoic (advertising) and AdSense: $179 (down from $510)
  • Klook: $246 (down from $273)
  • Rentalcars via Travelpayouts: $30 (up from $13)
  • Easybook, 12go and BusonlineTicket (transport ticket sellers): $154 (down from $212)
  • Taxi booking service: $421 (up from $302)
  • Digital Product: $105 (up from $20)
  • Tour/Hotel direct affiliate: $17 (up from $7)
  • Skyscanner: $6 (down from $32)
  • Viator via Travelpayouts (tour bookings): $0 (down from $48)

RPM (how much I earn per 1,000 users on the site): $46.79 or 4.69 cents per users on my site (down from $32.75)

The biggest drop is from advertising because I switched off ads about mid-month to give it a break because I was frustrated when there were a couple of display problems with them on my site. While dealing with the fallout from the update, I wanted to remove that as an issue at least.

Transport also dropped which is not surprising as I saw a lot of ranking/traffic drops in the keywords that lead to this income.

It’s worth remembering that October is very low season in Malaysia (things pick up again December – it is good having a travel niche with multiple higher seasons), so the earnings aren’t that bad considering.

My RPM went up, but this is in part because the traffic isn’t recording the same.

31. Update #31: November 2023 Figures

Again this month, I have not done much work on this site. I don’t see the point.

I improved some trustworthy signs across the site and implemented some schemas that Google are supposed to love as part of something I was doing across my sites.

Otherwise, I did nothing apart from plan my trip back to Malaysia in January with two of my kids. I’m only doing this because it’s already booked and paid for.

You can see my traffic and earning details below.

Traffic: 52,128 page views, 32,848 users (down from 53,516 page views, 34,370 users)

Income: $1,691 (up from $1,608)

This is made up of:

  • Agoda via Travelpayouts (hotel bookings) and direct: $352 (down from $444)
  • Booking via Travelpayouts (hotel bookings): $82 (up from $6)
  • Stay22: $115 (just added)
  • Ezoic (advertising) and AdSense: $8 (down from $179)
  • Klook: $141 (down from $246)
  • Rentalcars via Travelpayouts: $45 (up from $30)
  • Easybook, 12go and BusonlineTicket (transport ticket sellers): $206 (up from $154)
  • Taxi booking service: $502 (up from $421)
  • Digital Product: $91 (down from $105)
  • Tour/Hotel direct affiliate: $17 (same)
  • Skyscanner: $20 (up from $6)
  • Viator via Travelpayouts (tour bookings): $112 (up from $0)

RPM (how much I earn per 1,000 users on the site): $51.50 or 5.15 cents per users on my site (down from $46.79)

I switched back on advertising on the second last day of the month so it is very low as it all works itself out again.

I added Stay 22 around the 21st. I am only using their targetted exit intent pop up they offer. Since they don’t offer Agoda, it’s not worth trying elsewhere on this site. I thought I would try this out and am obviously very happy with the result since I only had to add a little bit of code to the site. It will be interesting to see how it goes over a whole month.

I’ve already had success with it on another site, so I do recommend it as something to try out.

In less good news, my Black Friday week was very disappointing. I did extra promotion and ended up with basically no Agoda or Klook bookings for the week and a half at the end of the month. I’m asking my affiliates some questions as I always get multiple bookings per week and have not had a dead patch like this since covid. I feel something went wrong with the tracking.

I’m not holding my breath, but it is frustrating to lose what should have been a good week of bookings. I could usually shrug something off like this but after the last couple of months of severe disappointments in blogging, it’s upset me more than it should have.

November is low season in Malaysia so hopefully things pick up a lot over the next couple of months as it enters its second peak season (after July/August).

32. Update #32: December 2023 Figures

I published a few posts this month in the lead up to a trip to Malaysia in January. To be honest, I wouldn’t be investing in more trips with how the site has performed except this has been booked for awhile

You can see my traffic and earning details below.

Traffic: 47,566 page views, 30,187 users (down from 52,128 page views, 32,848 users)

Income: $1,608 (down from $1,691)

This is made up of:

  • Agoda via Travelpayouts (hotel bookings) and direct: $303 (down from $352)
  • Booking via Travelpayouts (hotel bookings): $0 (down from $82)
  • Stay22: $124 (up from $115)
  • Ezoic (advertising) and AdSense: $274 (up from $8)
  • Klook: $408 (up from $141)
  • Rentalcars via Travelpayouts: $0 (down from $45)
  • Easybook, 12go and BusonlineTicket (transport ticket sellers): $116 (down from $206)
  • Taxi booking service: $284 (down from $506)
  • Digital Product: $84 (down from $91)
  • Tour/Hotel direct affiliate: $0 (down from $17)
  • Skyscanner: $9 (down from $20)
  • Viator via Travelpayouts (tour bookings): $0 (down from $112)
  • Airalo via Travelpayouts (sim cards): $6 (new)

RPM (how much I earn per 1,000 users on the site): $53.27 or 5.33 cents per users on my site (down from $51.50)

The biggest change was advertising as I only just turned it back on at the end of November. This was easy to get going again with Ezoic and did not cause any problems.

Klook was up nicely. The downside was the little affiliates I have with Travelpayouts all seemed to make nothing which was disappointing and a little weird. Taxis were also very down.

December is when tourist numbers start increasing again in Malaysia so I had hoped it would go better. Let’s hope it improves in January.

33. Update #33: January 2024 Figures

I spent a week and a half in Malaysia this month with two of my kids so I did update and publish some new posts when I was there.

I shouldn’t have. The vast majority of the posts I updated, despite making them far better, crashed in the rankings. It’s absolutely ridiculous.

You can see my traffic and earning details below.

Traffic: 48,267 page views, 29,495 users (up and down from 47,566 page views page views, 30,187 users)

Income: $1,994 (up from $1,608)

This is made up of:

  • Agoda via Travelpayouts and direct (hotel bookings): $574 (up from $303)
  • Booking via Travelpayouts (hotel bookings): $30 (up from $0)
  • Stay22: $94 (down from $124)
  • Ezoic (advertising) and AdSense: $291 (up from $274 )
  • Klook: $252 (down from $408 )
  • Rentalcars via Travelpayouts: $0 (same)
  • Easybook, 12go and BusonlineTicket (transport ticket sellers): $158 (up from $116)
  • Taxi booking service: $460 (up from $284)
  • Digital Product: $31 (down from $84)
  • Tour/Hotel direct affiliate: $0 (up from $0)
  • Skyscanner: $7 (down from $9)
  • Viator via Travelpayouts (tour bookings): $0 (same)
  • Airalo via Travelpayouts (sim cards): $6 (same)

RPM (how much I earn per 1,000 users on the site): $67.87 or 6.78 cents per users on my site (up from $53.27)

The great news this month is that this site has it’s highest RPM. So it’s great my affiliate marketing is working although I am frustrated at two of my affiliate partners. I also loved seeing the revenue increase.

I was worried in the first half of the month when I didn’t get a single taxi booking! Despite traffic to my taxi pages not decreasing.

The last week helped make up for that though as I had many bookings.

I was frustrated when checking stats for Busonlineticket and Klook this month. I realised the big ferry tickets that I had even caught on my January trip to help improve my coverage on them, thinking this would be worth it from a future income point of view, do not seem to pay a commission on busonlineticket. I can see lots of bookings on them but my commission is $0.

I am chasing up with busonlineticket what is happening with this. I also realised no train tickets are paying a commission. So basically, I can currently only earn transport commissions on bus tickets which are super cheap in Malaysia. The trains are ferries are much pricier and where I want to be making commission. They don’t detail this anywhere in the program.

Klook often frustrates me by how little I make despite a gazillion bookings. They seem to have so many excuses not to pay a commissions on things. It was extra annoying this month as I saw multi-day tours I recommend (and paid to take myself last year so I could blog about them and make commission) being booked and then always refunded. ALWAYS?! It’s hard to believe.

These sorts of issues are what I hate about affiliates. There can be such a lack of transparency and you are stuck just having to trust.

34. Update #34: February 2024 Figures

I did nothing on this site this month except try to get paid fairly by Busonlineticket as I wrote about last month. However, when I say nothing (and same when I say it above), I never really mention the ongoing business tasks I do continuously. I mean nothing to grow the site or out of the ordinary.

So what is the ordinary? What do I do ongoing? These tasks include the following…

I go into my Facebook group for this site daily (and have for years), add new people and reply to questions. While it doesn’t take that long, the time I spend on small jobs like this across my business does add up and I am considering not doing anything else in this group.

It seems a shame and it’s hard for me to commit to doing, but I see no finanical return (that I can track anyway). Barely any traffic to the site comes from Facebook and I am definitely not getting a return on this time.

I also bring out a newsletter every 2 weeks and, again, I don’t think this is worth the time either.

I also check emails daily and reply to taxi quotation requests/book taxis. Since this does lead to income, it is worthwhile, at least for the time being. I doubt my hourly rate is that good from this activity but I also need the money right now. So I will keep doing this for sure.

You can see my traffic and earning details below.

Traffic: 44,051 page views, 26,042 users (down from 48,267 page views page views, 29,495 users)

Income: $1,856 (down from $1,994)

This is made up of:

  • Agoda via Travelpayouts and direct (hotel bookings): $449 (down from $574)
  • Booking via Travelpayouts (hotel bookings): $62 (up from $30)
  • Stay22: $136 (up from $94)
  • Ezoic (advertising) and AdSense: $307 (up from $291)
  • Klook: $177 (down from $252)
  • Rentalcars via Travelpayouts: $0 (same)
  • Easybook, 12go and BusonlineTicket (transport ticket sellers): $169 (up from $158)
  • Taxi booking service: $381 (down from $460)
  • Digital Product: $0 (down from $31)
  • Tour/Hotel direct affiliate: $0 (up from $0)
  • Skyscanner: $5 (down from $7)
  • Viator via Travelpayouts (tour bookings): $169 (up from $0)
  • Airalo via Travelpayouts (sim cards): $1 (down from $6)

RPM (how much I earn per 1,000 users on the site): $71.28 or 7.12 cents per users on my site (up from $67.87)

The great news this month is that I have a new RPM record. So it’s great my affiliate marketing is working although I am even more frustrated by busonlineticket than last month.

Like I said last month, I realised they weren’t paying commission on ferry and train journeys.

After lots of back and forth emails, I finally received money for that. However, all their reporting is wrong and I have no way to see what’s really happening. They also wouldn’t confirm what the commission percentages are!

This means the numbers I am posting here are lower than they actually are, but I am unable to calculate what I should be making on the train and ferry bookings that don’t show a commission in my reporting. It’s stupid.

It’s extra frustrating when I compare to my other southeast asian site. It uses 12go.asia for transport and makes so much more money with far less clicks and traffic.

They also promised me they would start paying me automatically again, but my latest commission payment has not been paid yet again.

I’m thinking about switching to easybook, but I switched away from them in the past because it took me months to get paid. I wish 12go.asia had better coverage in Malaysia!

Klook continues to annoy me. It seems like anything that would pay me more than a few bucks is refunded or not eligible for commissions because some type of promo has been used. It’s so ridiculous, and I am frustrated by the many activities I have done in Malaysia specifically because I expected to be able to profit from the affiliate commissions once I wrote about it. Klook is doing very well from me.

35. Update #35: March 2024 Figures

I didn’t do any growth activities on this site this month and still don’t plan to. I have cut back the amount of time I spend in the Facebook group and have also decided to stop sending the newsletter.

I did spend some time moving my email marketing from ActiveCampaign to SendFox to save money.

SendFox is nowhere near as good and it meant removing my sales funnel for the Itinerary Planner. I don’t sell enough of these to be worth the extra cost of ActiveCampaign. However, it is just a one off payment so that part of it is good.

It is permanently discounted on AppSumo. You can find it here.

You can see my traffic and earning details below.

Traffic: 41,359 page views, 24,180 users (down from 44,051 page views page views, 26,042 users)

Income: $1,162 (down from $1,856)

This is made up of:

  • Agoda via Travelpayouts and direct (hotel bookings): $218 (down from $449)
  • Booking via Travelpayouts (hotel bookings): $10 (down from $62)
  • Stay22: $139 (up from $136)
  • Ezoic (advertising) and AdSense: $226 (down from $307)
  • Klook: $77 (down from $177)
  • Rentalcars via Travelpayouts: $0 (same)
  • Easybook, 12go and Busonlineticket (transport ticket sellers): $152 (down from $169)
  • Taxi booking service: $243 (down from $381)
  • Digital Product: $54 (up from $0)
  • Tour/Hotel direct affiliate: $19 (up from $0)
  • Skyscanner: $8 (up from $5)
  • Viator via Travelpayouts (tour bookings): $15 (down from $169)
  • Airalo via Travelpayouts (sim cards): $1 (same)

RPM (how much I earn per 1,000 users on the site): $48.07 or 4.81 cents per users on my site (down from $71.28)

The amount for Busonlineticket is not correct as their reporting still does not show all commissions. I have continued to be so frustrated by them that I have changed all the links I can to easybook… which have converted at far worse a rate sadly 🙁

But since their behaviour has been even worse/sneakier this month, I don’t want to continue working with them where I have a choice.

I also had some problems with Ezoic so part of the drop in that income source is that for nearly a week, they weren’t tracking my earnings. There was some problem with the connection with my Google AdManager account.

It was super frustrating especially as it took awhile to be fixed when my support request was initially ignored thanks to me realising on Friday night US time. It’s lucky I realised as fast as I did or it may have been worse.

The good news is that Ezoic is compensating me for this loss. Since that will be part of my next payment, I’m not sure how much they are giving me and the number above does not include that.

The ongoing Google update seems to have affected me. I have lost even more rankings with my number of main keywords in the top 3 and top 10 about half what they were at the start of March.

I am considering selling this site, but it’s hard as I am quite attached to it and I don’t expect the sale figure would be that good. It would also take a lot of effort to sell as it’s quite complicated compared to other sites I have sold.

36. Update #36: April 2024 Figures

I spent no time on this site this month. I rarely interact on the Facebook group although I do add new sign ups a couple of times a week. I no longer add them to my email marketing.

All I did was respond to taxi booking requests.

I am doing this income report a little early this month – on the morning of 29 April in my timezone – so it’s still the 28th most places that I am getting my reports from. Which means this data is a little less than it would be if it covered the whole month.

For ad money and traffic, I did last 30 days, but everything is just April so far when I did this.

I am flying to Germany tomorrow so just won’t have time to do it later.

You can see my traffic and earning details below.

Traffic: 31,876 page views, 18,558 users (down from 41,359 page views page views, 24,180 users)

Income: $1,512 (up from $1,162)

This is made up of:

  • Agoda via Travelpayouts and direct (hotel bookings): $198 (down from $218)
  • Booking via Travelpayouts (hotel bookings): $28 (up from $10)
  • Stay22: $33 (down from $139)
  • Ezoic (advertising) and AdSense: $191 (down from $226)
  • Klook: $329 (up from $77)
  • Rentalcars via Travelpayouts: $0 (same)
  • Easybook, 12go and Busonlineticket (transport ticket sellers): $51 (down from $152)
  • Taxi booking service: $617 (up from $243)
  • Digital Product: $31 (down from $54)
  • Tour/Hotel direct affiliate: $20 (up from $19)
  • Skyscanner: $4 (down from $8)
  • Viator via Travelpayouts (tour bookings): $10 (down from $15)
  • Airalo via Travelpayouts (sim cards): $0 (down from $1)

RPM (how much I earn per 1,000 users on the site): $81.48 or 8.15 cents per users on my site (up from $48.07)

I didn’t seem to get hit by the March/April updates as such. My traffic keeps trending down though as it has since the “helpful” content update last September. It’s quite sad really. Things should be heading up now that the east coast of Malaysia is open after the monsoon and this content typically performed best for me.

So actually the loss is worse than what it seems when just comparing month-to-month.

The upside is my income is up, primarily because I had more taxi bookings and I had one big booking in Klook.

Unfortunately, the money I made for transport tickets is right down thanks to mostly removing busonlineticket from my site and replacing it with a company that just doesn’t convert as well.

It’s always tough decisions like this.

Stick with the company that you make more money with, but have a lot of hassle dealing with or move on and earn less.

I just can’t make a decision regarding selling it. I feel like I should, but then I can’t quite bring myself to do it.

37. Update #37: May 2024 Figures

I continue to spend little time on this site beyond dealing with taxi booking requests.

I also update my rank tracking spreadsheet every month with how my main keyword for each article is ranking.

These rankings have got so bad, I decide to make a graph to clearly illustrate the impact of the
“helpful” content update.

Dim keyword graph - how many are in top 3 and 10

This shows you how many were in the top 10 and top 3 since the start of September. It’s gone from 199 articles ranking in the top 10 to 5 (and none in the top 3).

So while I didn’t get totally slammed by that update immediately, you can see how it has hurt this site in a huge way since.

My Google traffic is at an all time low. The saving grace is that Bing seems to love this site.

You can see my traffic and earning details below.

Traffic: 29,079 page views, 17,302 users (down from 31,876 page views page views, 18,558 users)

Income: $974 (down from $1,512)

This is made up of:

  • Agoda via Travelpayouts and direct (hotel bookings): $280 (up from $198)
  • Booking via Travelpayouts (hotel bookings): $33 (up from $28)
  • Stay22: $30 (down from $33)
  • Ezoic (advertising) and AdSense: $206 (up from $191)
  • Klook: $132 (down from $329)
  • Rentalcars via Travelpayouts: $0 (same)
  • Easybook, 12go and Busonlineticket (transport ticket sellers): $41 (down from $51)
  • Taxi booking service: $243 (down from $617)
  • Digital Product: $0 (down from $31)
  • Tour/Hotel direct affiliate: $0 (down from $20)
  • Skyscanner: $8 (up from $4)
  • Viator via Travelpayouts (tour bookings): $0 (down from $10)
  • Airalo via Travelpayouts (sim cards): $1 (up from $0)

RPM (how much I earn per 1,000 users on the site): $56.37 or 5.64 cents per users on my site (down from $81.48)

I guess the good part this month is that my traffic didn’t slide much further down. That is thanks to Bing. It should be going up at this time of year though.

My income has dropped a fair bit primarily because of taxi bookings. I haven’t analysed but my guess would be that this is showing up far less in search because I haven’t had as many enquiries either. May is also not a peak time like April.

I have stopped thinking about selling it for now as it was driving me crazy. I have decided to let myself live in hope that I’ll find another use for it (and all my knowledge) at some point.

Final Words

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About the Author

Sharon is passionate about working online and helping others to follow in her footsteps. She started blogging in 2005, but became serious about it when she left Australia with her young family at the end of 2014 determined to grow an online business. She succeeded by becoming a SEO and affiliate marketing expert and now supports her family of 5 to live their dream lifestyle. She has a degree in web development, a graduate diploma of education (secondary teaching) and consumes everything SEO. She loves putting her teaching diploma to good use by teaching other bloggers how to have the same success that she has had.

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