I was sitting at a bar in Fort Collins, Colorado, USA. Actually, it was a cider house – hard cider.
“What the hell are you going to do with the sites now?” asked Jeff.
I stared across the bar while the barkeep pulled another tall glass of hard cider. I pondered the question…
“Yeah, good question,” I replied.
“Good f*%kin’ question…”
More on that in a minute… This is actually a monthly earnings report for September.
September started with strong momentum and peaked too early. There was a flurry of activity before things settled down.
I publish these earnings reports each month for you. I share all the earnings from my Amazon Associates niche sites.
The goal is to show what’s working with niche sites…and more importantly what’s not working. You can learn from my mistakes.
I think we have a lot to learn this month!
When I got started a little over a year ago, I looked at earnings reports from guys like Pat Flynn – of course, these earnings are a laughable fraction of the Smart Passive Income reports. I hope these candid reports help you see that anyone can get started with niche sites.
And, this report is very candid…Every month I am not reporting record earnings. September was a tough month.
I get many questions about the specific details about creating Amazon Sites – If you want to see the full process, check out the Niche Site Project Video Course. (It’s brand new.)
Amazon Earnings and Traffic
September was a roller coaster month. I was feeling pretty good about earning over $100 in August and it was likely that the 2 Amazon sites would hit $150 at least.
Traffic was on the rise and the Main Money Site seemed to be coming out of the Google sandbox. Things were going well…
Main Money Site — Cumulative Lifetime Earnings
I have been tracking the lifetime earnings of this site since the beginning. It may be the last of this specific cumulative earnings table. As always, it’s pretty impressive to see the grand total even though the growth has been slow recently.
Main Money Site — September Only Earnings
Like I said, things were going well until around the 18th of September. A few more sales trickled in but the earnings pretty much dropped off.
You’ll see what I mean when we get to traffic.
Main Money Site — September Traffic
It was pretty dramatic. There isn’t much more to say about that.
Niche Site #3 (NS3) — September Earnings
NS3 had a low month in August but was picking back up. You can see only 4 sold items yielded $13.90.
Niche Site #3 (NS3) — September Traffic
And, yep. It’s the same kind of drop off here.
Overall Amazon Earnings (All websites)
Here is the overall earnings from Amazon over the last 13 months. I never would have imagined that I would make almost $24,000 over the last year.
Next Steps to Improve Earnings
And, now we’re back to Jeff’s question.
“What the hell are you going to do with the sites now?”
I thought about it long and hard. I talked with my mastermind groups and asked other people, too.
A lot of other people that had niche sites are moving over to Authority Sites. Actually, it seems like everyone that I talk to is planning on “doing a big authority site over the next year to make 5 figures a month.” Gael & Mark at Authority Hacker are crushing it so it is a very promising approach.
Before we answer Jeff’s question, let’s digress…
Why was I in Colorado? I was visiting a couple good friends who just had a baby recently. In addition, the Great American Beer Festival happens in Denver, CO in the fall. Jeff lives nearby so we met up at the New Belgium Brewery and met face to face. We talked niche sites & SEO over beers.
After a bit we decided to head over to the Compass Cider…where we continued our conversation.
What’s the status of my sites?
They were all hit with a “thin content” penalty. Two were hit initially and the rest were a result of a manual review of the sites in my Webmaster Tools account.
That includes all 4 of the case study sites, the 2 sites in this report (main money site & NS3), plus one other Adsense niche site that I haven’t ever talked about here. The domains are basically worthless at this time.
Overall, I have about 100 pages of content across all of the sites, maybe more.
The Current Plan
I will set up a brand new domain and move all of the content to the new domain. I can loosely tie all of the topics together to make one larger site.
I don’t really consider this an authority site – it won’t be like the sites that Authority Hacker describes. I won’t be working on a full white hat kind of approach either.
I still have a PBN and plan on using it. PBNs still work and so do the gray hat strategies that I have been using.
Sure, some niche sites have taken a hit in the SERPs. Do you know what replaced them?
Other niche sites with PBN backlinks, Web 2.0 Blogs, and so on…
I will add more content that targets the lower volume keywords, just like I was doing before all the PBN issues occurred. I expect that it will take longer to rank for the higher volume keywords, in the range of 4-6 months.
I am hoping the lower volume keywords will rank faster.
The PBN De-indexing at Rank Hero hit a lot of us…
His site was on track in September to make over $1100… He ended up at $683.84 for the month.
I have a few things going on and it’s keeping me pretty busy. That’s actually one reason that I’m rolling all the content into one site instead of 7 new sites. There is overhead in building out a new site. Multiply that by 7 and it’s pretty darn time consuming!
Here is what is going on…
The Mastery – A Community for Entrepreneurs
The main focus of The Mastery is to help people find mastermind groups. It’s widely held that mastermind groups are one of the main things that helps push and drive entrepreneurs to accomplish great things.
The concept has been around for a very long time…though I only heard about the concept in the last year. The main idea of a mastermind is that you can deal with challenges more effectively and efficiently by harnessing the collective intelligence of others.
I joined a mastermind as soon as could after getting started in the Niche Site Duel (NSD) by Smart Passive Income last year. Meeting with the group made a HUGE difference in my progress.
However after several meetings, the group stopped meeting…We had different goals and priorities.
It fell apart.
I was lucky to even find that group and it was only because I was a member in the community at NSD. It’s very clear that there is a problem in finding a good mastermind group even if you’re already part of a larger community.
The Mastery will be a platform to find the right mastermind for you…You’ll fill out some basic information and will be able to search for other entrepreneurs.
That’s just the beginning. It will be a full community with a forum, webinars, and will continue to grow. You will be able to find a Cofounder for your budding company too.
If you’re interested in learning more about The Mastery, click here.
The Ultimate Private Blog Network Course
The course is still going well and the methods hold up to the recent issues that Public Blog Networks have seen. In fact, Lewis, the co-creator of the course pull through unaffected after the deindexing.
Yes. That’s right. The Rank Source network is still solid and they didn’t experience any major issues in September. It’s really amazing.
In fact, with the recent deindexing, it’s even MORE important to follow best practices when building out your Private Blog Network. The fact is the backlinks from PBNs still work very well and can be seen when you take a look at the backlink profile of niche sites that are ranking on page 1.
Video Course on Niche Site Project Management
I just released this new video course in the last week. It’s a distilled version of the Niche Site Project Management Book. Please check it out if you were interested in the book.
I priced the video course very low. In fact, a Beta tester told me he was shocked at the price based on the information included. That’s a great thing to hear since it means the course delivers a ton of value.
So much value that it totally exceeds expectations.
Case Study – CANCELLED
It’s unfortunate but the case study will be cancelled. It was pretty clear that an expired domain will definitely help your site rank higher and faster.
BUT I can’t recommend that you try it unless you realize that risk that you are taking. I only have a small sample size but, of course, I experienced a “thin content” penalty. And for that reason, I wouldn’t recommend that you try to build out a new site on an expired domain.
A less risky option would be to find an expired domain in the exact niche and topic that your money site will be in. That way the backlinks and topics will match up.
You can see the month of September put me and many others through a range of emotions.
I was feeling really good about my money sites moving up in the SERPs. I produced more valuable content in the form of a video course. I am involved in launching a new community.
Then, there was a huge issue with my money sites. My earnings dropped. Traffic dropped. The case study that I put many hours into was cancelled.
Here are the main takeaways:
- Know your risk tolerance. All my sites received a thin content penalty…I’m sad about it but the income from the sites is not essential for me. The lights are still on at the NSP compound and we keep on truckin’.
- It would have been ideal to have the various money sites on different Webmaster Tools.
- The same goes for building, owning, linking from a private blog network. There is risk involved and the consequence is that the network might be deindexed.
- Backlinks from Private Blog Networks still work just fine…Be sure to stay away from Public Networks.
- Meeting people in person is huge. If you have an opportunity to network in person, do it. It was great meeting Jeff in Ft Collins and it was more impactful than a simple Skype call.
- Reducing the number of things you are working on is usually a very good thing. It allows you to focus on doing something bigger.
- I’m pumped about The Mastery! There is a gap in this area. Lewis, Dave, and I are all very excited to help other entrepreneurs find each other and excel.