This is the July edition of the earnings report for Niche Site Project. If you haven’t visited before, thanks for stopping by to check out the site.
July was another low month of sales – not much different than June. However, we do see a very positive trend that we will talk about in a bit…
Jolly Pumpkin Brewery – Traverse City, MI
These reports are for you. By publishing these income reports that focus on my Amazon Associate niche sites, you can see what’s working and what’s not working.
I hope you can learn from my mistakes and successes.
This July report is an important one – not every month yields thousands of dollars of profit. In fact, if you’re building niche sites on the side and have a full time job like me, then there might be a lot of months that aren’t profiting over $1000+.
Develop success from failures. Discouragement and failure are two of the surest stepping stones to success.
— Dale Carnegie
Amazon Earnings and Traffic
I think you can tell from the introduction that the earnings from Amazon are fairly low. This month we will just look at two websites: the first is what we call the “Main Money Site” that has earned over $12,500 and the second is the “Niche Site #3” (NS3).
(You might be wondering “What happened to Niche Site #2?” I sold it back in May – Read more…)
Main Money Site – Cumulative Lifetime Earnings
The overall figure still blows my mind. The majority of the earnings were during the retail holiday season last year. You can see the details here.
Yep. One day.
Main Money Site – July Only Earnings.
And, back to reality. In July, we see the meager earnings. It is on par for June. Perhaps we have seen this site bottom out and the earnings will be going up from here.
Main Money Site – July Traffic
Let’s get to the more interesting stuff. The traffic is growing – Thank goodness! In June, only 421 users visited the site versus over 900 in July. The bounce rate went up to over 80%, which isn’t good, but the average number of pages visited increased.
Let’s look at how June compares with July as far as traffic goes. This is just the default Google Analytics “compare” option.
I still think that the average session duration is a little bit low but when we look closer maybe it’s not so bad. The screenshot below shows the top 10 pages on the site. Those pages seemed to be more relevant for the visitors since they are spending over 3 minutes on those top pages.
We can see that more visitors are coming to the site which is great. Now that it takes longer to rank a site (4 to 6 months versus 2 to 3 months), it would be nice to get an idea if you’re on the right track even before the high ranking shows up.
It’s not an exact science but if we look at the Webmaster Tools Search Queries section over the last 90 days we can get an idea. In this case, the number of impressions is trending up. That’s certainly positive.
Niche Site #3 (NS3) – Cumulative Lifetime Earnings
This site is still not doing much in the rankings. It’s doing okay but not great – ranking in the top 30 for several terms. A few visitors make it to the site each day, not many though.
Niche Site #3 (NS3) – July Earnings
Last month in June, there were not any sales. In July, there were a couple sales which is a great sign. That tells me that people do find the answers to their questions on the site.
Niche Site #3 (NS3) – July Traffic
The traffic is still really, really low. Normally, it’s less than 10 visitors per day. Luckily, it’s a good sign that some people are making purchases indicating that visitors find the content useful.
Again, let’s compare the June traffic to July traffic. This illustrates that we are trending in a positive direction.
Just like the Main Money Site, the top 10 pages seem to be adding some value even though the overall website has a low average session time.
The Webmaster Tools Search Queries are not as positive as the Main Money Site. However, we can still detect a positive trend.
Overall Amazon Earnings (All websites)
The total earnings from Amazon since August 2013 are still impressive. I have to say it’s far more than I could ever earn as a bonus from my day job in a single year. Like way, way more…
Next Steps to Improve Earnings
One of the main things that project management emphasizes is the concept of continuous improvement. We’re thinking about incremental improvements here, not groundbreaking, amazing changes. A 1% improvement every week adds up.
So, let’s review what we talked about last month…
Review the Plan
Last month, we talked about how to get more traffic on the sites to improve earnings. Not surprising, right?
The plan was to target some long tail keywords that had a very low search volume. The idea is rooted in the fact that sites take longer to rank…due to the Google sand box. (Read more about it here from NoHatSEO or FormYourFuture.)
The hope is that the lower volume and correspondingly lower competition would allow us to rank the long tail keywords faster…basically avoiding the sandbox period. So, is it working?
I think so. We are only trying this for the Main Money Site right now.
My wife analyzed data. It’s a multistep analysis but here are the main ideas:
- In Google Webmaster Tools export the data to find keywords that are ranking in the top 25 positions.
- Check search volume for those keywords and filter out the search volume over about 200 exact match searches per month. She used Long Tail Pro.
- Next, check out the Keyword Competitiveness for the list.
- We target anything under a KC of 25, and sometimes terms under a KC of 30.
The chart below from SerpBook.com shows the some of the keywords that we are tracking. The trend is great and you can see that the main keyword is getting some traction over the last month – up 6 positions. That’s big time. I know that if we can crack the top 5 consistently then the traffic will probably triple.
In our specific case, we looked at the titles for the pages that are already ranking along with the meta descriptions. The titles and descriptions are updated to better target the search phrase, if needed. I may have mentioned before that my wife really enjoys blog commenting…So, she has been commenting each day targeting a couple specific pages.
What’s next to improve earnings?
We will keep on targeting the lower competition keywords in hopes of obtaining traffic from the long tail keywords. It looks like our main keyword is gaining momentum from the improved rankings for the long tail keywords. We should ramp up that effort and try to target more keywords.
The reality is that we were only really going after about 2 – 3 keywords/pages rather than the 5 – 10 that I was hoping for. We just ran out of time. So, maybe this month we can add a few more to the effort.
Would a Silo Site Structure Help?
I have been talking with several people about silo websites. Some people swear by it, citing that a site that is properly architected with a silo can rank in Google with fewer links. It’s quite a claim but I have heard it from some very reliable sources.
The overall idea of a silo does make sense. The usability benefits for a visitor are undeniable even if the SEO benefits are very low. I will stop short of re-architecting the whole website but I will set up some silo portions to see if it will help.
(I’m working on a series of posts about Silos right now so stay tuned.)
Here are a few other things that I am working on that we didn’t cover in the Amazon Sites above.
We continue work on the case study regarding New versus Expired Domains for starting a niche site. I am a little disappointed about not having much news to share so far. Since the Google Sandbox is delaying the rankings and traffic, there just isn’t much progress to note at this time. The rankings are slowly trending up and we have several terms ranking in the top 30 and a few in the top 20. The sites were started in mid April so I feel good about how they are ranking so far.
Once the case study web sites start earning, I will publish the earnings in these reports each month. I hope that comes soon!
The Ultimate Private Blog Network Course
Lewis Ogden (from CloudIncome.com) and I have been continuing to tweak and improve the Private Blog Network Course. Some of the tweaks have been superficial in nature since we are not trained designers (far from it!). The other tweaks offer up a huge amount of value.
We have a great list of expired domain brokers within the course and we’ve been able to negotiate discounted rates for the members of the PBN Course. The discounts alone are enough to pay for the course if you are going to buy 5 or more domains in most cases.
The course price has been re-adjusted based on feedback from list members. Building a PBN can be expensive and cost is one of the main reasons that people are not building a PBN. We took that information and improved the value of the course.
There are over 3 hours of video to guide you through the process. So, if you want to see a step by step guide on building a PBN, the course is for you.
And, we now have packages that come with domains. It’s a huge bargin! If you’re going to build a PBN, you’re going to need domains…there’s no doubt about that. You’re basically getting the course for free. Be sure to check out the new pricing.
It turns out that I really enjoy coaching. I didn’t realize it at first. For my day job, I end up having quite a few meetings that are essentially one on one coaching sessions. In fact, over the last two years I have logged over 200 hours of one on one meetings, over 400 individual sessions with various members of my team.
It’s crazy to think about 200+ hours but 30 minutes at a time over two years. Wow. It adds up.
If you’re interested in coaching, you can check out the packages on the work with me page. Keep in mind that this coaching isn’t for everyone.
I won’t be offering assistance with basics for setting up hosting, working with WordPress, setting up WordPress themes, or technical issues – you can find more qualified people than me for that.
However, I can definitely help you if you need to prioritize your tasks, organize projects, help implement a project management system, need help planning a PBN, improve effectiveness of your efforts, optimize your workflow, or optimize your niche site for maximum earning potential.
The output of the coaching is to provide you with an Action Plan with Deadlines, including short term and long term goals. The session will kickstart your efforts if you are just starting or it will turbocharge your current efforts.
July was another low earning month but we persevere. The earnings seem to be moving up slightly and if we are a little lucky we may be able to keep that trend going.
Aside: One aspect that I didn’t mention before is that I was able to take a little bit of time off and spend it with family. That was a good move. I definitely have the kind of personality where I can intensely work at the computer for 12+ hours per day…and enjoy it. Sitting at the computer is not really the overall goal and sometimes I forget that.
Yep, I know if we want to get ahead we have to work hard. I know spending time working is absolutely required. Just be sure you’re working smart. Don’t work just for the sake of working.
Next month, I hope to share that we see a little more traffic on the niche sites. And, in turn, I hope we see a little more in the way of earnings.