How I went from $66/month to $6,000/month with Adsense Niche Sites

This was written in July, 2012. I am NO LONGER creating Adsense Niche sites. Please CLICK HERE to check out my UPDATED ABOUT ME PAGE

I’m not a Guru. I’m just a regular guy making money on the Internet who started off with very little and has earned a bit of success. That being said, I know what it’s like to start off with nothing and build your way up.

I remember back in August, 2010 I decided that I wanted to get back into making money on the Internet again. I had had some success in 2007 and 2008 doing Adwords PPC marketing directly to CPA ads and I made a killing. I made enough money so that I could bank about $100,000 and travel the world. It was great. I was backpacking around India and every day I was making between $50-$100 in profit doing absolutely nothing. All I would do is log into my accounts once in a while to make sure my campaigns were still running and that the commissions were still rolling in. Well, like most easy ways of making money, it came to an end. I had stopped paying much attention to my streams of income and they slowly dried up. Plus Google changed their rules with Adwords and I could no longer send traffic directly to CPA ads. My income streams were gone.

But I moved on. I was able to live comfortably on my saved Internet income for a while. In August 2010 when funds were beginning to get a little low I decided to get back into Internet marketing again. As I started reading through the different forums I quickly realized that things had changed. People were doing something called “Auto blogging” where all they did was set up a site, install some plugins, and money would supposedly start rolling in. Well I tried doing that and $10,000 in info products, plugins, hosting, and themes later I had a monthly Adsense income of $63.43 at the end of December 2010. It was really frustrating.

Then in February, 2011 I joined a forum of real people making money online called WP Goldmine.  I didn’t feel like everyone was trying to sell me something there. The most important thing is that I put my credit card away and stopped buying all those easy-way-to-make-money info products. Anyway, once I had a group of like-minded people helping me along my way I really started to make some progress. In February 2011, I got a check for $133.54 from Adsense. It wasn’t a lot, but it was more than double what I had made in the two previous months.

As the months went on I made some slow progress. I did my own keyword research and article writing. I built my own links with mostly commenting and a few article links from places like EzineArticles and GoArticles. In March 2011 I got a check for $320.92. That was an awesome feeling. It wasn’t the kind of money that would allow me to quit my job or anything, but it paid a big chunk of my rent payment. I was finally getting somewhere after so many months of struggling.

For the next month I wasn’t able to do much work on my sites. I had to move from one city to another, and in the process I couldn’t devote any time to my business. That being said, in April 2011 my Adsense income was $325.90. I was happy with that because it was a truly passive income. I had done nothing and I still got paid. Sweet!

In May I was able to start working again. I created a few more sites (slowly) and was able to keep my income at $316.56. It was a bit frustrating as my income had gone down, but at least it was staying around the same level. In June my Adsense income went down to $270.60, which was really frustrating. If I recall correctly, I think it was because some of my sites that were doing well at the time had lost some rankings in the SERPS.

In July disaster hit. I woke up one morning to find out that hackers had gotten into ALL of my websites and destroyed everything. I had 30 websites at the time and I didn’t have a backup of any of them. Aaaaaaaaaaa!!!!! It was not a fun situation. I had thought that since I wasn’t a big time blogger with sites making thousands of dollars per month that no one would pay attention to me. Wrong. Anyway, I built all the sites back up again by hand, which took about a week to do. Because of that, in July my Adsense income was $227.55.

August was a bit different. I decided that I needed to give myself a break to rethink things. I took a month off to spend at the beach with my friends. I used to work as a bartender in a great place in Turkey called Olympos. The place I stayed and worked at is called Kadir’s Treehouses. It’s settled in a beautiful valley surrounded by mountains and trees and it’s very close to the Meditereanean Sea. It was a great place to try and figure out what direction I wanted to go with building websites. Needless to say I didn’t do much work on my computer, but apparently I didn’t have to. In August my Adsense income was $401.02! That was huge. No work had equaled more money. Actually, there had been work, but I had done in back in May and June. Those sites had started to rank in the search engines.

In September my Adsense income was $398.28. That was fine considering I hadn’t worked in August or September. It was around this time that I decided to start reinvesting my profits back into my business. I told myself that I could spend money on outsourcing things like article writing and link building, but I should only invest back in what my business produced. This seemed to make a lot of sense to me at the time (and still does). And hey, $400 per month is a healthy amount of money to invest in niche sites. I was able to really get the gears churning.

In October my Adsense income was $619. That was great, but I had spent $265, so my profit was $355. I was spending my money very carefully on things that I really need to get my sites made, ranking in the search engines, and earning money. I was paying for subscriptions to SocialAdr, EZArticleLink, and WP Goldmine. I was also paying a guy $3 per site to submit spun articles to Unique Article Wizard and Article Marketing Robot. I was paying about $10/month at Hostgator for hosting. It was around this time that I started outsourcing a lot more of my content. I was getting articles written at oDesk for around $3 per article, but they were quite short at around 400 words.

November was another great month. I spent $333 on expenses, but I brought in a total profit of $847! Now I could pay my rent with my earnings. I was excited. I sat down and made a plan for December. I decided that I would spend about half of my profits on making new sites and improving some of my older ones.

I got my first comment on this blog on my December income report. It might not seem like a big deal, but it’s nice to know that someone is also paying attention to what you’re doing. The comment was simple:

During December I spent $533 on my blog and made a profit of $726. It wasn’t as much as the previous month, but actually my Adsense income was increasing. I was making good steady progress. I made 10 new websites and added some content to the old ones. I had around 40 sites total in my portfolio.

January was a busy month. I published a mid-month expense report  and got a comment from Justin at the Adsense Flippers Empire Flippers. He told me about he and his business partner Joe had argued about where they would get the money to create more sites. They ultimately sold some of their successful sites to have more money to build more sites. I wasn’t at the point yet to start selling sites, but I think I started to realize at this point that I’d have to start putting more money into my business if I wanted to see better returns.

It was also in January that Google released their Above the Fold algorithm change. Essentially if you had too many ads showing on the screen on the top part of your site when a visitor first entered your site then it would lose rankings. Well my top were quite top heavy with ads, so I got hit. It wasn’t the end of the world as all I had to do was change my Adsense postition on my then 51 websites. I did this by getting the CTR Theme which I still am using today. The theme is great because it gets a fantastic CTR and it decreases ad blindness by rotating the ad positioning around. So after installing that on my sites I was good to go.

Long Tail Pro also crossed my path this month. With this software I was finally able to do my own domain research instead of paying someone to do it for me. I had been paying a guy $10 each for niche site domains, but now with this software I could do it myself. It was a big step in my success.

With so many websites I had to find a way to organize them and keep their plugins and themes updated. I found a nice solution in ManageWP. They even had an option to backup my sites in case I got hacked again. But my expenses were adding up. Yes, I needed all these things, but it wasn’t cheap. My expenses in January were $1,267 while my income was $1,372. Therefore my total profit was a measly $105. Blah! That being said I had 40 new websites created bringing my website portfolio up to 69 sites.

February was a bit painful. I spent $2123.83 in expenses and only had an income of $1,307.33. That was a negative profit of -$814.50. Ouch. It was a lot of spending, but instead of having only 69 websites I had 139. I was making an investment into my business and hoping that it would pay off in the future.

In March expenses were high once again. I spent $3,827 and had another negative profit of -$1,443. I began to get a little worried that my expenses were too high and I cut costs by creating less content per site and only adding a header if the site was successful. I received multiple comments on the post telling me I was heading in the right direction, so it was nice to get some support from the community. I was apparently doing something right because my Adsense income was increasing.

In April I had my first day where I made $100 in Adsense. I think that was one of the best feelings along this journey because it truly was a big deal. I felt like I had jumped over a big hurdle. I’d always get so close to it and then be a few dollars short. It was frustrating but it finally happened. And then it continued to happen.

But April was a dangerous month for a lot of people. Around the middle of the month I checked my rankings and a lot of my sites had disappeared. I was devasted. Had Google deindexed everything? I looked at different hosting accounts and sure enough most of my sites were no where to be seen. I felt sick. I went to dinner later that night with my girlfriend and I explained to her what had happened: “Sweetie, I was doing really well online. I was about to really hit something big. But now it’s all gone”. I felt totally helpless and like giving up. I thought, “well, this is it. This is the end of my Internet Marketing career”. Anyway, after dinner I went home and went to bed. In the morning I got up and turned on my computer. I checked to see if perhaps a miracle had occurred. It had! All of my sites were back! I poked around the Warrior Forum and found that other people had experienced the same thing. There had been a glitch! Google had made a mistake! It was amazing. In one instant everything was gone, and in another back. I was soooooo happy.

About a week after that the Google Penguin Update hit. Luckily only a small fraction of my websites got hit. I lost some big earners, but I was ok. The sites that I lost were ones that I had agressively hammered with links when I first started building sites. Luckily the other sites that I had been building for the last few months were not affected.

As far as expenses go, in April I spent $5,014 and made a negative profit of -$2,502. Even though I was losing money I knew that there were profits on the horizon. At the end of the month I lised my first site on Flippa. I was starting to make a name for myself.

May brought on profits! I spent $2,072.42 and made $1,945.64! It was in May that I made money selling on Flippa and also selling Adsense Starter Sites on my blog. I also increased my Adsense earnings by 28%. It was all happening!

And then came June. I made a whopping $6,039.58 in profits. Since I was making money people really started to pay attention to my blog. I was also building a list which helped immensely with getting eyes on my posts and getting reader feedback. I also started to make affiliate commissions from things that I recommend. I felt good about what I was doing because people were coming to me for advice and I was truly helping them.

So now it’s July. Everything is still chugging along fine. I’m selling Adsense Starter Sites every day and I expect them to be sold out in the near future. I even have had a few repeat customers come back and buy some more sites from me. It’s great that I can build some thing that others can use and build on. I also have a niche site buiding course that I’m working on. Those that have followed it have had some real success so far. (April, 25th, 2013)UPDATE: I’m not building niche sites anymore…see the link to PART 2 below

What’s the lesson to be learned from my story? You don’t make money overnight. It takes time. Also, if you want to see faster results you’re going to need to invest some money into your business. Since October 2011 I’ve spent over $19,542 on my business. It was only in June that I stared to recoup my initial investment and I’m around $5,000 in profit now for the last 9 months. That’s quite a long time to wait and a lot of money to invest, but it was worth it.

As always I’ll continue to keep all my information free on this site. A lot of people helped me along the way and I feel like it’s my job to help others along this difficult road. I’m available most times of the day either by chat on my site or by email if you have any questions or need help with anything.

I’ve included a table at the end of this post showing my income from October 2011 to June 2012.


Month Expenses Income Profit Post
October 2011 $265 $619 $355.00
November 2011 $333 $1,180 $847.00
December 2011 $533 $1,259 $726.00
January 2012 $1,267 $1,372 $105.00
February 2012 $2,121 $1,307 -$814
March 2012 $3,827 $2,384 -$1,443
April 2012 $5,014 $2,512 -$2,502
May 2012 $2,072 $4,018 $1,945
June 2012 $4,110 $10,150 $6,040
  1. Hi Mike,
    Loved reading your story. I had a similar track with Adsense. I'm getting between $100-$200 now monthly and that's without doing any work. I'm a bit hesistant to get back to work but after reading your story I'm more certain, so thank you for that.
    About your sites: how many pages of content do you normally have? 5-10? More? My main money maker has 171 pages, but of course only about 20% actually make money.
    Hope to hear from you!
    Michiel (That guy from the Netherlands 😉 )

    1. Michiel,

      That’s really great with your $100-$200 with no work. Just build that up and you’ll be golden.

      I usually have one page of content for each site.

  2. Mike you've posted just what I needed! I only have a few sites at present and i'm trying to put together a plan of attack for how I want to build my business. You've just outlined what I need to do, plus you've added the motivational benefit of helping me not to give up just because I have an off month. Superb I must say, Superb indeed!!!!

    1. Nick,

      I’m really happy that you’re able to build a plan off of what I’ve written. That makes me feel really good about what I’m doing here.

      Let me know if you need any help.

  3. Woow ! another motivational and helpfull post for me (:
    Please keep it up Mike
    Thank you very much

  4. It is nice to hear just how long and how much money you had to spend to get where you are. Most people don't mention all the failures and ups and downs.
    Makes sense that most people give up when they don't realize just how long and how much funding it takes going from making a little bit of money to making a living with niche site.

    1. Tyler,

      You don’t necessarily need to spend as much as I did, but if you don’t, you need to put a lot more work into it. I had the cash so I invested.

  5. I am curious, now that you have a lot of experience with creating adsense sites:
    How long does it take to bring in a profit from a new site you create?

    1. David,

      It takes about 30-90 days before a site gets some rankings in the search engines and starts making money.

    1. Mattias,

      I guess that’s the gist of it. If you don’t try you won’t succeed.

  6. Great story Mike been following you for a few months now and I've had my struggles also but have picked up a lot of useful info from you!
    Thanks keep it up!

  7. Hey Mike,
    great stuff and congrats on your success. I wish one day that I can say that I made it as well. I know it is a long way to go, but once I finish all my clients projects I work on my niche site empire again and this time I wanna make it right, maybe the Mike-Way 😉
    Looking forward to more information on your blog.

    1. Kev,

      Great question. A lot of people say “start building a list”. I would have started a bit earlier, but not in the beginning..what would have been the point? There was no one reading 🙂

      I think I would have started my blog earlier. Even when I was making less money it would be nice to have an account of it. So that’s my answer, I would have started a blog earlier.

  8. Great post Mike. Thanks for the recap and encouragement!

    Jason Ansley
    Building Generous Business through Business Development Coaching

    1. Jason,

      I hope your sites are doing well. As you can see it’s a slow process, but it’s worth it.

  9. Another point of proof that you have to be very persistent in this business to realize a steady profit.

    1. Artur,

      Yes, you must be persistent if you want to see any results. That sometimes means that you’ll have failures, but at least you are doing something. You’ll learn from it and then hopefully not repeat the same mistakes.

  10. Hi Mike
    I was on the brink of quitting! having read your post and some of the tutorials I'm filled with a renewed sense of purpose. Thank you very much!.

    1. Doug,

      Don’t quit! I hope you can use my tutorials to help you get going again. Keep it up!

  11. Wow, great post Mike,
    excellent job,
    Do you offer any consultations, beside posts on the site?

    Hey Mike, if you are visiting India again then don't forget to meet me.
    Really nice story Mike. Even me making decent money affiliate marketing with niche sites, but after google penguin update most of my sites hit very badly. It is because I did used mass link building.
    Anyway, your journey is really inspiring.

    1. P K Arun,

      If I come to India again I’ll let you know. I really loved it there.

      That stupid penguin hit a lot of people really hard. We just need to change our ways of doing things and work around it.

  13. Mike,
    I am very impressed with what you have done. You have come a long way and accomplished a lot. I really like how open you are about your expenses and profits.
    But i have a question. With what is happening with google and article directories are you still able to reach page one in google using ezarticle link? Or are you using other things to reach page one.
    I have limited funds. So i cannot spend on anything but hosting and a few domains. I guess i am asking is what chance do i have with all the google changes to make money from adsense.
    I want to get started but with limited resources and no room for risk i just need some confidence in this at this time.

    1. PC,

      Thanks. I feel like being open about everything keeps me more accountable. 

      Yes, I am still using EZarticlelink to reach page one. I’m also using the other tools I mentioned. You can see my exact process here .

      Those tools aren’t too expensive and they are really effective. I highly recommend them.

  14. Well done Mike, I have learned a lot from you and know there is still much more to learn.  Keep up the great work!

  15. Mike, awesome post. Kudos to  you for sticking with it and working hard and continued success to you. This is a heartening story for others who want to work for themselves!

  16. This is the BEST post I've read in 6 months and I read alot in this space. Real numbers and heart felt. I've given Mike some stick when he was spending and not making much, but I am glad he's made a success this month. Well deserved and a model for our community. Well done Mike.

    1. Wow, Nigel. That’s a big statement…thanks.

      I’m glad that I kept spending, too 🙂

  17. Good stuff mate!

    I might have to look into outsourcing some of the things (again).


    1. Ralph,

      Outsourcing really is the best way to get things done quickly. Just make sure you have a process that is working to outsource before you give it to a virtual assistant. You can’t just tell one to “build links” or “make websites”. You need to explain every little process to them. I use videos to do it clearly.

  18. Great stuff, Mike. Love your story, and will try to step carefully in your footsteps.

  19. Congrats, Mike. First blog post I've read completely in a while. Your story thus far is an inspiration one and one of the take away messages is important. Keeping working. Also, making money takes some time.

    1. Jason,

      I’m glad I could help fix your short attention span 😉 Yes, making money takes time.

    1. Mohit,

      Thanks for the kinds words. You have to have a lot of patience for this.

  20. Great read MIke, it's really interesting and encouraging to read how you've got to where you are for something right at the beginning of the journey :-).

    1. Thanks, Andrew. Everyone has to start somewhere…and it’s usually at the beginning 🙂

      Good luck to you.

  21. Mike, I love this story, great stuff!  I'm glad you hung in thee and turned it around.    It's an honor to be an inspiration, I hope your success continues!

    1. Thanks, Joe. I’m glad I hung around too 🙂

      I owe a lot of my success to you guys. Thanks!

  22. Mike, its amazing that you continued blogging and updating despite the fact that you were not getting any comment on your blog – but you were doing the right thing.
    C'grats on making money and much more with adsense, always rememebr to diversify and build sites that will not depend on adsense aone – my 5naira (I'm a Nigerian and we spend naira)

  23. Mike, really fun read buddy! Thanks for taking the time to post your story, as these kinds of examples are really helpful to those of us still in the beginning stages. 🙂 Take it easy.

    1. Hey John,

      It was fun to write, too. I think it’s important for newbies to understand that we all start somewhere. It’s a long (and sometimes expensive) road to success.

  24. You have a great story Mike!  I love learning where people came from.  You've certainly come a long way and I know you'll continue to keep on growing!

    1. Josh,

      Glad you enjoyed it. You guys seem to be making some good ground over at I’m following you guys closely 🙂

  25. Mike this article touch my heart.I learn one thing from here need to be pationce more for building the internet marketer career.If any one want to make himself successful they need to follow your article.This is the experience,that we need all of us those who want really success.

    1. Nazmul,

      I’m glad you liked it. Yes, you have to be patient and keep working. Success will eventually come if you work hard.

  26. Hi Mike, thanks for sharing. Great income in June and great lessons learned too! But as you know, I don't like to rely on one source of income. I see that Google is more and more unpredictable… Keep earning and diverse your income sources 😉

    1. Chris,

      I agree with you that one source of income is a no no. I’m trying to invest some of the money I’m making with Adsense and niche site sales into new revenue streams. Kindle seems like a possiblity.

  27. Hey Mike, This post was in my email for a week or two but I kept it in my inbox as I knew it would be worth reading when I had a few minutes. Boy was I right! Thanks for the inspiration. I gave up online marketing when I lost about 200 sites having foolheartedly overinvested in autoblogging like you. I have been working too hard with offlne clients and I really want to get back to online marketing and resiual passive income…WHERE DO I START AGAIN? Please –direct me to what you would do if you were in my shoes?  thanks.

    1. Hey Bart,

      Starting again is never easy. I will however direct you to the exact system I use to make my niche sites. You can learn about it HERE.

      I’m around if you have any questions.



  28. Hey, Mike. Awesome post. I just signed up for EzArticleLink but I’m not really getting the hang of how it works. Can you give me a little insight as to what to do with it? Thanks.

    1. Dwayne,

      I’m going to do a post on using ezarticle link in the near future. I think it’s a great way of building links that a lot of people avoid because it’s a little confusing how to setup.

  29. Hey Mike,

    Happy to report that my Adsense income for June was about $135, July was about $220 and this month I’m probably looking at $270! Steadily climbing! Set my goal to have 50 niche sites online by the end of September so I hope to be seeing more increases!

    Thanks for your inspiration and Adsense advice!


    1. Michiel,

      That’s awesome to hear. Just keep doing what you’re doing and you should see a steady increase. It’s at this point that you need to really ramp it up. If you can get out 20-50 sites per month you should start to see a huge difference in your Adsense earnings.

      Great job!

  30. MfromM: I’ve just blogged at length about the practice of publishing one’s “blog income” and I invite you and your readers to stop by and offer a little pushback.

  31. Mike.

    Once I follow your process on average how long does it take to get ranked with Google? One, two or three months? This would be a brand new niche site following your steps. Very curious about the length of time to be found. Setting this up seems straight forward based on your great strategy and simple instructions.

    Many thanks, Welby

  32. I’m really shocked. How come you created so many websites before you really made it with adsense? Next time, I will recommend for you to use upwebhosting instead of hostgator. They offer the cheapest web hosting in the world.

    1. Cudjoe,

      I created a lot of websites in order to learn and really scale up my business.

      I’ll have to check out that hosting. I’m happy with Hostgator right now, but I’m always willing to checkout something new.

  33. Thanks for the information and the inspiration. I started originally down the road of building niche sites and I was also affected by the Google updates. In fact it pretty much destroyed that business. I’ve since redirected myself into a safer route of building a site where I teach others what I’ve learned over the past few years.

    I do still have some of my niche sites but they haven’t recovered as of yet. I am certain that my link building efforts is what killed my sites. I haven’t quite figured out what I was going to do from here with them. They bring in a little money but the potential was so much higher.

    Glad to see someone is still able to make it work and I’ll keep following to see how it goes with you. I might pick those sites back up and see if I can recover them soon.

    1. Steve,

      If I were you I’d forget about the sites that were affected by Google and focus on new sites. There’s no use beating a dead horse.

      Good luck!

  34. Hi Mike,

    I have worked through your course and take the course on Adsenseflippers.
    The only difficulty that I have is keyword research. I can not find appropriate matching Keywords, where the chances for the first Google page to arrive. I use Market Samurai and Adwords Keyword Tool.
    Can you give me a tip on how to find keyphrases?
    Thanks for the info here on the site.


    1. You should check out Long Tail Pro. It’s the only tool I use for finding exact match domains now.

  35. Mike:

    That was a great read. Just goes to show that nothing is easy. Your honesty was very refreshing. Would love to read an article about how your honesty got you clients.

    FYI … I think Adsense is the most difficult business model to pursue. To succeed you need to get a lot of traffic and getting traffic ain’t cheap; even SEO is not cheap. I am more and more convinced that you have to build a business – a website is not a business, especially a website that is static.

    1. Russ,

      I think honesty is the only way with IM nowadays. There are way too many people claiming get-quick-schemes. I’d rather get rich slowly.

  36. Really refreshing to read your internet experiences. Knocks are what make us stronger. I will be subscribing as i like your style and honesty.
    Well done and heres to your success…..
    A few people i would like to see you interview would be…
    Potpiegirl shes awesome and very real
    Kelly Felix from Bring the Fresh Love this guys style
    Mark ling from Affilorama Very talented man also with a honest approach.
    Just food for thought.

    1. Thanks, Shelley. I agree that it’s getting through the hard times that prepare us for the future.

  37. Cool stuff. It’s great to see how you found your stride over time. I’ve always been a fan of site flipping but never did much with Adsense sites. I’ve flipped quite a few Clickbank products. I think a solid business model could be built with site flipping alone and after about 6 months, one could have a pretty solid income stream.

    Again, nice work.


    1. Scotty,

      I’ll have to update this as things have changed a lot since I wrote this. I no longer make Adsense niche sites and I’m more focused on my interview show.

      Thanks for your comment!

      1. The interview portion of your website has been a great help to my IM Education, please continue

        1. Lewis,

          I’m glad it’s helped you out. I’ll be continuing on with 5 interviews a week.

  38. Pingback: Goodbye 2012, How You Doing 2013?
  39. Your interviews with persons that made it online are really inspirational, It’s very helpfull that they share every detail how they did it, what worked and what not.
    Everyone can now copy their success and get the same results as theirs.
    I’ve recently started my online adventure too, starting from nothing. Or in fact starting with 15$ in my wallet.

    1. Raphael,

      I’m glad that you’re getting value out of my interviews. Keep me on my toes 🙂

  40. Hi,

    I was looking at some of the adsense websites you have for sale. I have hosting with Bluehost and normally use WordPress to create my sites, what are the mechanics of transferring a site once someone makes a purchase?

    1. Hi Lewis,

      I sent you a message…I do the whole transfer for you, plus I provide video training.

  41. Pingback: Monthly Income Report February 2013
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  43. What great inspiration, thank you so much for sharing. $100 a day in adsense must take a lot of page views!

    1. Niche Master,

      Thanks, I’m not making $100/day with Adsense anymore. I’m actually in the process of selling all my niche sites.

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