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This was pretty accidental, but to motivate myself to complete the arduous application process for my professional engineering license, I creates a WordPress blog documenting the process. Also because I thought I would learn something new (setting up WP blog) and this seemed very "shippable". I completed the application process over the course of a year and haven't written a blog post in over a year.

Thanks to a complete lack of material in this niche, the site (http://pengapplicant.ca) gets a decent amount of organic search traffic given the niche size (2k page views per month) and I make about $15/month in Adsense. Recently I was also contacted by someone who sells materials for the application and exam and have become an affiliate for them. It's only been one month, but i've already made one referral which netted me $100. So passive income on this after hosting costs is probably $220-ish and will be more in 2017 hopefully with more affiliate sales. Obviously very small potatoes, but I never set out to make any money for this and it looks like now it will at least cover my yearly professional dues ;)

To be honest, the best part is the messages I get from people saying how I helped them get their license. That's a much nicer feeling than the $.

Hey, just to give you a trailhead into a service that I've used before for automatic ad-placement optimization, try Ezoic (ezoic.com). They did very well for me (150% increase in Adsense revenue) and their site says on average they double Adsense earnings. It's totally legit, they're a publishing partner with Google, which is eventually what made me sign up with them after some initial skepticism. But they delivered for sure.

Thanks for the recommendation. It looks very promising and I tried signing up, but unfortunately they require a minimum of 10k monthly uniques and I'm not anywhere close to that.

Go ahead and sign up anyway. I didn't have that when I signed up, either.

FYI, I tried it and I think they've closed this loophole. Before any ad testing can begin, your account needs to be manually approved by someone who can verify your Google Analytics numbers. I was told I needed 15k uniques minimum.

By changing ad placements, and adding a more ad units, you can increase your Adsense earnings significantly.

And add banners pleading to disable Adblock, right?

I would think a few relevant amazon affiliate links (text books, calculators, etc) could out-earn the current $15/month ads as well.

You should offer paid content through Gumroad or something.

That said, the PE exam was a breeze for me (took computer engineering exam). I'm slightly horrified that the failure rate is 50%.

Thanks. The affiliate that I work with offers paid content that is miles better than something could come up with over short period of time, so I'm happy referring business his way. Pouring more hours into this project isn't really worth the opportunity-cost for me at this point (consulting + bootstrapping a startup).

In my jurisdiction (Ontario, Canada), if you graduate from an accredited engineering school and gather the requisite work experience, there is no technical exam, it is the same ethics and law exam for all disciplines (PPE or Professional Practice Exam). Documenting your work experience is probably the most work-intensive task as they want you to lay out what you did and how it qualifies as engineering in great detail. Probably the biggest reason for my traffic is that I published my (anonymous) experience record, since real life examples of this document are nearly impossible to find on the web. For the exam, I basically studied for the better part of a week. It's a 3 hour exam where your answers are typically paragraphs or pages long. I get the sense that some engineers struggle with it due to language issues more than anything else.

Ask for permission to publish, or do interviews of those that sent you messages about their own process. Ask them for their criticism of what on the site helped and didn't help and publish that, too. That might help others.

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