Niche Sites are not a viable way to make money in 2022.
Affiliate Sites will not make you money in 2022.
Creating Content and Affiliate Sites is not worth your time in 2022.
There. I said it. And I’m sad about it.
But here is how I figured out that this is NOT a money-making endeavor in 2022 and will likely be even less of one in 2023, 2024, etc…
|Task||Hours/Week||Hours/Year||Gross Annual Income|
|Self-Employment Taxes & Healthcare||Net Annual Income||Net Hourly Wage||Accrued Hours Spent Year 1|
|Figuring out how to make a content site||40 (x4 weeks)||160||$30,000 ($2500/month x12 months)||SE Taxes: $4500; State Taxes: $1800; Healthcare Ins.: $2800||$20,900||$9.55/hour||2188|
|Writing content inclusive of images, seo, posting and research (4 hours/post)||12 (x52 weeks if shooting for 3 posts/week)||624|
|Technical management of basic site services (ad networks, affiliates, hosting, keyword research, emails, plug ins, email lists)||5 (x52 weeks)||260|
|Creation and management of socials (not including YouTube)||12 (x52 weeks)||624|
|Interaction and networking with site visitors (email replies, post replies, liking other people’s stuff, liking their comments on your stuff etc)||5 (x52 weeks)||260|
|Creation and documentation of standard operating procedures AND financials||5 (x52 weeks)||260|
If you are lucky and extremely disciplined with your time, you might make $9.50/hour during your first year as a Content and Niche Website Creator.
That is simply a showstopper for me since I could make $15/hour plus $7/hour in tips as a food runner, like my 16 year old son does.
Do not be fooled by the $10K/month stories. These stories are always legit, but if you break down the hours the person spent and spends creating and maintaining such a site, MINUS the costs associated with hiring the help required and the taxes and costs of being self-employed, you will see that $10K/month gross is likely $7k/month net at best. If you work as much as most site operators do (an average of 60 hours/week), then this does get you to the respectable salary of $29/hour. I’ve again never heard of someone making this type of NET monthly income in their first year with a site.
I do think there is more value in creating the asset of a site that you can sell as soon as possible.
If sites are being sold for a 40x multiple (40 times the amount they gross per month-this is IDEAL), then you could in theory sell a site that was consistently earning $2500/month for 2 years for $100,000. Again, the $100,000 would be taxed (at around 30%) and you would have a 10% broker fee, so that takes it down to $60,000 net profit. The hours that go into selling a site are significant. I would estimate it is around 120 hours of work to sell your site, in total, so if you are paying yourself the $20/hour wage of a food runner, subtract another $2400 out of the $60,000 net and you’re at $57,600 net profit. The site likely took you at least two years to create so divide that $57,600 by two and add $28,800 per year to your wages for year 1 and year 2. This would bring your net annual salary up to $49,700 for both years 1 and 2.
So if the stars align, you will surpass the $21/hour wage of my food-running 16 year old son, by having earned an average wage of just under $25/hour for the previous two years!
This is a pretty good hourly wage for a young adult. But I’m not a young adult. And the quality of life impact (hours and hours inside glued to a computer NOT moving and mostly sitting, the stress that accompanies having your income be unpredictable every month, no mental “time off”, constantly feeling like you should do more, working alone everyday all day) is not nearly worth $25/hour. I’d rather be a food-runner.
6 thoughts on “Creating Content Creates ZERO Money for Content Creators in 2022”
Nicole! I caught your talk with Doug C. Love the unbiased, ‘newcomer’ perspectives!
Great point in this article/analysis (and nice attention-grabbing headline too). It’s a hot take but I def get your point. People rarely incorporate their own time spend (and associated value) into their P&L calculations.
And omg I love the “hired boss” idea!! Could you do a post that covers your Upwork job posting for that?
Hi J Paul! Thank you for the feedback! I thought there was a post on here about hiring the boss, but maybe not? Tell me your story…how are you in this world?
Hey Nicole! I just wrote you an email with a comment and suggestions. I didn’t want to ramble on here, just wanted to offer you some genuine advice, from another stay-at-home mom whose kids are in the process of flying the nest.
I hope it helps, offer a glimmer of hope.
Thank you for taking the time to email me, Carrie! Now I just have to find it! I appreciate the connection 🙂
Hey Nicole. Listened to your interview last night on Doug’s podcast while in the middle of revamping a site after another Google update. While I have been doing this for longer than I would like to admit, it was refreshing to hear about your challenges and how many of them we all still experience today!
I just wanted to pass along a few tidbits you may find useful in your journey.
1.) It is impossible to find anyone to talk to that understands what you are going through. Just know it’s not you.
2.) SEO and AI tools – You may find them very helpful, but they really slow down your learning curve. The best knowledge is by studying posts and websites, in your niche, that rank higher than you. Print them out, understand what structure they use (header tags, lists, etc), how many custom images they are using, study keyword usage, anchor text, number of links, etc. This really helps!
3.) There is no playbook for guidance. Things will change, often drastically in either direction, and you will have no idea why. No one will share or sell the real intel, so save your cash.
4) Start a change log. I use a simple Google Document. Use it as your blog diary. Post goals, thoughts, screenshots of data, changes you’ve made, plugins you’ve added, … all of it. You will be surprised how this will come in handy the next time you try to make sense of changes you will experience, seemingly out of nowhere.
5.) Focus grasshopper. Yes, almost forgot this one which was why I commented in the first place. Stay away from shiny pennies. Domain names are fun to think of and buy, stay away. Find a niche that you can work with, and it doesn’t have to be your life’s work. But it should be a topic you can write 100 posts about. This is enough to rank for and you will know if it is worth continuing with.
About all the domains you’ve purchased. In a word, stop. Do one at a time. Become great at what you’re doing. One excellent site will get you to the promised land faster than 10+ average ones. Experience talking.
6.) It takes time. In general, don’t expect the real Google love (assuming you have crafted your posts properly, and there is no way to really know than to stare and compare your competitors) to hit for at least 6 – 9 months.
Sorry for all the words. If you ever want to connect, I’m not hard to find. Best of luck!
Absolutely remarkable and crystal clear advice. THANK YOU so much for taking the time to share your wisdom! And thanks for calling me Grasshopper. I need to use that word in that context wasaay more than I do! It conveys so much!