Niche Site Project: Fall 2016 Update

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Niche Site #1:
amazon-2016-earningsNiche Site #2:
oct-2016-amazon-revenue-750wI’ve been shying away from publishing the Amazon Earnings screenshots like I did in the past. But people love seeing proof of earnings and moreover people love sharing them. Check out the Online Projects section below.

The days are getting shorter and in Montana the daylight hours are short. The sun sets before 5 PM so that’s how we know Fall is almost over and winter is approaching faster. At my house, we eat dinner when it starts getting dark so it’s a bit awkward when we realize that we eat dinner at 5 PM and we’re ready for bed at 7 PM.

In the middle of the summer I wrote an update that mostly about personal stuff and very light on the internet marketing content. It wasn’t tactical at all–hardly anything actionable. People liked it so here is the Fall edition for 2016. In the spirit of the retail season, I’m sharing some earnings reports.

This update is divided into 2 sections:

  • Personal
  • Online Projects (Don’t care about my personal updates?  🙁 Skip ahead)

Personal Stuff

Most of what I do has nothing to do with the online world. Here is that stuff…

Visiting Family & Road Trip With My Parents

fall-update-niche-site-project-5I flew out to Pennsylvania (PA) to visit my sister and her family. It was a great trip and my first time to their new house. Highlights include:

  1. My niece’s 1st Birthday Party
  2. Going to the Heresy Factory
  3. Drinking beer with my family at the Troeggs Breweryfall-update-niche-site-project-6

My parents drove to PA, a 12 hour trip, for the festivities, too. Then, we set out on a 2,000 mile journey over 4 days. It was a long drive as you can imagine, but I like that sort of thing and my dad and I split the driving time.

We stopped in Indiana to see my dad’s childhood home. That was amazing. He hadn’t been there in over 50 years, but he remember raising hell on his bike around the farm land in the area. It was surrounded by an ocean of corn fields.

The house has seen better days! It was cool to see the place that my dad told me about since I was a kid.

The house has seen better days! It was cool to see the place that my dad told me about since I was a kid.

We also checked out the Badlands National Park and Mount Rushmore. There isn’t much to see for some parts of the drive as far as landmarks, but there’s something cool about being in the middle of fields and fields and all you can see is more fields in the distance.
mt-rushmore

It's the part of the country where you might stay in a hotel with a moose mounted above a wood-burning fireplace.

A marketing case study is an attraction: Wall Drug. It’s a drug store that turned into a destination in the town called Wall in South Dakota (SD). They have billboards for hundreds of miles along I-90.

It’s the part of the country where you might stay in a hotel with a moose mounted above a wood-burning fireplace. We stayed at a place like that as you can see.

In fact, as soon as you cross over to SD from Minnesota, you’ll start seeing the signs. By the time you get to the town of Wall, you can’t help but stop and check it out.

All these places, Mt Rushmore, Badlands N.P., and Wall Drug, are all in the Black Hills area.

All these places, Mt Rushmore, Badlands N.P., and Wall Drug, are all in the Black Hills area.

Teaching a Beer Judging Class

fall-update-niche-site-project-1I’ve mentioned before that I like beer. I homebrew beer and really got into it–so much so that I became a Beer Judge. I even fired up the system last week to brew an American Stout.

I giving a test in January so other people can become judges. It’s a special thing since there aren’t many judges in Montana, only 6. And after January, there will be 18 total.

Beer Class: It's actually a really serious study group. Until we have a few beers, then we loosen up a bit. :)

Beer Class: It’s actually a really serious study group. Until we have a few beers, then we loosen up a bit. 🙂

I’m holding weekly classes to help everyone prepare for the test. We have intense study sessions where we drink, judge, and talk about beer. Yeah, seriously. It’s intense!

fall-update-niche-site-project-2Each week I go out and find beers to taste for the judging class.

They have to fit the style, which is not always an easy thing.

Sometimes I have to go to a few shops to find the right beer style, and sometimes I can’t find the right one so we improvise.

Update on 10,000 Steps Per Day

I walked a lot since the last update. I was able to do 10,000 for the month of August like I declared in the Summer update. Flying out to PA made it easy to get in the steps at the airport. I just walked all over the concourses and crushed 10,000 steps easily. It was really tough on the days of the road trip where most of the day was in the car.

I kept up the practice, too. I adapted it, though, since a blanket rule for 10,000 steps is dumb. Some days I walked, hiked, or ran way more than the allotted steps so the day afterwards my body was tired. That’s a normal thing and resting is a great idea when you need it.

Here are the steps for the whole year. Each bar is the average number of steps each day for the month.

Here are the steps for the whole year. Each bar is the average number of steps each day for the month.

Overtraining is never a good idea so I decided that a weekly average for each day should be 10,000. So if I do 25,000 steps one day, I can take it easy for a day or two.

nov-2016-steps

Here are the steps for the last month. You can see that some days are BIG – 20,000++ steps – while others are rest days. Gotta rest sometimes.

You might be thinking, “25,000! Damn, why and how are you walking that far?” Here is why…

Training for a Half Marathon

I haven’t signed up for any races yet, but I will soon. I have a very gradual plan to increase my mileage, all with the thought of incremental gains. It’s kind of like link building in a way – you need to be adaptable and persistent.

fall-update-niche-site-project-12Another Trip to Yellowstone

Brodie, my wife, and I went down to Yellowstone in September. It was a great trip and we stayed right next to Old Faithful.

We saw plenty of wildlife and had a great time in the Old Faithful Inn, a giant log cabin.

Online Projects

I have 2 big projects going on right on. One is very new, I haven’t heard about anyone doing something like this, and it’s time to share some of the early results. If you’re interested in my method of creating niche sites and scaling them, then read this guide to Amazon Affiliate Websites.

So if you want to lend a hand, I’d love it if you’d share this post in your favorite Facebook group. It’d mean a lot to me and if you do, I’ll be happy to share/tweet something you’re working on. Just leave me a comment below and I’ll connect with you to make it happen.

Project “Go White Hat” and Increasing Earnings by 40.38%

After I started working on the site, the earnings are up by OVER 40%.

After I started working on the site, the earnings are up by OVER 40.38%. That’s $10,450 to $14,670.

 

After I started working on the site, the earnings are up by OVER 40.38%. That’s $10,450 to $14,670.

I’ve partnered up with someone (I can’t mention who it is yet) with a great niche site, but it has almost all Private Blog Network links. The goal is to convert the site to a White Hat site, meaning replace all the PBN and Web 2.0 Blog links (links from the HOTH) with guest posts.

It’s a massive project with:

  • Dozens of PBN links
  • Dozens of Web 2.0s
  • Dozens of Guest Posts that need to be published
  • A team of writers
  • A team of outreach specialists
  • Many points of failure

The results are staggering so far – Earnings and Traffic are up by 45% since I started.

Earnings

Earnings are up because the traffic is up. It’s as simple as that. This site was built using the ideas and strategies in Five Figure Niche Site. I’m personally a White Hat guy nowadays and that’s how I became a partner.

BEFORE:

I started working on the site on September 1. After 30 days the results are staggering!

I started working on the site on September 1. After 30 days the results are staggering!

AFTER:

After I started working on the site, the earnings are up by OVER 40%.

After I started working on the site, the earnings are up by OVER 40%.

Traffic

go-white-hat-visitors

If the content sucks, then make it better.

Traffic is up because we improved in the rankings. How? I audited the content, which was admittedly lousy, then developed a content plan to strategically improve the content based on profitability of each post or page.

It’s as easy as looking at the content and assessing whether or not it’s well written and helpful. If the content sucks, then make it better. You can’t do this on the cheap either. If you’re beating up your writers by squeezing out more words for less pay, then you’re not going to come out ahead.

Are there exceptions? Sure, but at the end of the day you want the writer or editor to give a shit about the work. If you try to pay super low rates, then they will try to finish as fast as they can. It’s all about incentives.

We’re also adding content that meets the Keyword Golden Ratio (opens a YouTube explanation). That bumps up traffic as soon as a post is published. It sounds like a crazy, wide claim, but it seriously works.

Next Steps

These steps sound dumb and overly simple. Simple ideas can go a long way if the execution is well done. We’re focusing on quality and effectiveness.

  1. Keep improving the existing content.
  2. Add content that adheres to the Keyword Golden Ratio.
  3. Publish more Guest Posts.
  4. Remove PBN links.

Niche Site Case Study

For a while I really resisted posting updates on my own niche site. I’d add short updates within other post with vague strategies and what I was working on, but I’d leave out the results. There are a few reasons why I did that, but first here are results:

Earnings

Earnings are up by a staggering amount over last year. I owe this to an awesome increase in traffic. The chart speaks for itself.

amazon-2016-earnings

Traffic

Traffic is up by a huge amount and this has been a long time coming. This site is white hat – that’s to say it’s built on networking, blog commenting, guest posting, and more guest posting.

White Hat SEO inherently takes longer than Gray Hat tactics. The reason is a PBN link on the homepage of a site send positive ranking signals right away. The guest posts take a while, like 30 – 70 days, to work their magic.

niche-site-2016-traffic-growth

The traffic will come as you can see.

Why the Lack of Updates??

There are 3 reasons I haven’t been posting much about this case study:

  1. Part of it was embarrassment! The earnings were fine but nothing to brag about. I’ve talked to dozens of hugely successful niche site owners and we all know it takes a while to get a site earning consistently. Sometimes it’s 6 months and sometimes it’s 12 or 18 months. But I didn’t really want to face the music and post an update that didn’t have much of a point.
  2. Part of it was waiting for results. We see ongoing case studies all the time where it takes a year to find out what happens next. You’ll get many strategies and tactics that work in theory only to find out you are following a model that doesn’t work! Example: Niche Pursuits did a long case study on the “Authority Site Model.” Spencer and Perrin worked super hard on that site and eventually bailed on it because the ROI wasn’t there. I followed that model since those guys were my mentors from afar, and the site never took off. So I’m holding off on publishing much until I have even more results.
  3. Part of it was defensive. This isn’t really all that helpful, but public case studies end up getting screwed up due to interference. Copycat websites pop up and people may dissect what you’re doing. It happens and I’ll leave it at that.

Goal From the Summer Update: Add 10 pieces of content per week

I put the content team on this and met the goal. I was chatting with Dave the other day and mentioned I invested in content in a huge way…

I spent $4,000 in content and made it back in under 60 days.

Here is the breakdown:

  • $3,200 in content
  • $800 in editing & content management

It’s not cheap as you can see, but I made the money back quickly. And it’s a no brainer when you look at the numbers – the content is a money creating asset now.

I didn’t build 1 link to any of the new content and it’s been generating revenue since day 1. This is all thanks to the Keyword Golden Ratio. I published almost 200 posts over the last 5 months and the investment paid off quickly. Look at the earnings for this year again and notice that the investment has been paid back already. Now, it’s time to optimize that content.

New Goal: Improve Existing Content

There are many posts on the site that are ranking in the top 10, like a hundred, but not #1. All those posts are short, less than 1,000 words, and they all can be improved. So, I’m prioritizing the posts and will be making them better.

My content manager will help me improve the content and slowly over time those articles will rank better. I’ll start getting links to those articles over time as well. This will be a long term project but I expect it to pay big dividends in the next 12 months.

Conclusion

I’m looking forward to the big retail season. It seems like things are picking up already when I look at Amazon conversion rates. People have retail-fever.

I gave you a taste of the results from some niche sites. Here’s what I need from you:

  1. Leave a comment below and tell me what you’d like to know about the sites.
  2. If you have a case study that you’re blogging about, let me know in the comments. I want to connect with you.

About the Author: Doug Cunnington is the founder of Niche Site Project. He shows people how to create Affiliate Sites using project management and a proven, repeatable framework. Doug loves creating systems, using templates, and brewing beer (but usually not at the same time).

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Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Hey Doug, firstly, congratulations for your success!
    After read this article, I realized that the site without PBN links is takes long to rank, maybe more 5 or 6 month?

    I am a white hat guy, I dont use PBN. I just do blog commenting, guest post, and use scyvraper technique from Brian (Not success, so far just get 3 links from 100).

    Now my site is growing well, but for main keyword is on the #45 after 4 month, is that good or bad?

    what do you think?

    • Hey Randika, Thanks! Glad to hear from you.

      Yes, it can take a while longer for White Hat vs PBNs. It’s not as big a difference as it used to be a couple years ago.

      Now my site is growing well, but for main keyword is on the #45 after 4 month, is that good or bad?
      what do you think?

      I don

    • Hey Randika, Thanks! Glad to hear from you.

      Yes, it can take a while longer for White Hat vs PBNs. It’s not as big a difference as it used to be a couple years ago.

      Now my site is growing well, but for main keyword is on the #45 after 4 month, is that good or bad?
      what do you think?

      I don’t have enough information to make a educated statement. What’s the competition like? How many backlinks do you have to that page? Do you have enough content? Is it really high quality? And so on…

      If it were me, I’d like to be in the top 15 or 20 after 4 months.

  • Mike

    Hey Doug,

    I found your website through the Niche Pursuits Facebook page. Looks like I’m a bit behind the times, you’ve been going at it for ages!

    I’ve recently started a website and I’ve got a question I was wondering you could help me with.

    I really like the Golden Ratio concept and have found lots of KW with a ratio of less than 0.25.
    I found one word that has 70 searches a month and no allintitle results, which is pretty crazy when you think about it.

    I then put the words into LTP to see what their KC score was, and they’re all pretty high. For example, the 70 searches a month word had a KC of 37.

    Normally, because my site is new I’d ignore it, but the GR just makes more sense to go by.

    Would really appreciate your opinion.

    Cheers mate

    Mike

    • Hey Mike, great to meet you and thanks for stopping by.

      What’s the search volume? It should be less than 250 or the model breaks.

      Also, I think the KC number was a nice suggestion of the competition back in the day. Now, I think it’s shit and really doesn’t give a good representation of the competition. If you come across people telling you that the KC number is really valuable be sure you look at the source – they are affiliates and want to sell Long Tail Pro. The KC number will give you some idea of the competition relative to other KWs.

      Lastly, Mike, test it. You have nothing to lose, right. Publish an article and see if it works. Let me know and I’ll publish your results. It should take a few days to test, a week max.

  • Doug I have an off topic question. What plugin/ system do you use on this blog to get comments. For what ever reason on my main niche site I seem to attract 100 subscribers per day with spammy email addresses and no comments. Thanks in advance

  • hey Doug
    I want to ask: can all types of websites be used for Affiliate Sites?

    • Generally, yes. But you want your audience and visitor to be interested in buying something. If not, then you won’t have good conversions.