Niche Site Case Study Update | April 2023 (Denise)

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I’ve worked with Denise for a few months now. We’ve both been distracted over the summer so we haven’t done an update for the podcast in a while. But we have an update for the summer so far.
We have a few interviews on YouTube, so you can really dive deep on the progress.

My course Multi Profit Site is open for enrollment, July 17 – 21, 2023. Enrollment closes at 11:55 PM.

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This is a new case study for 2023. I occasionally select students from my Multi Profit Site course to work with me closely for one-on-one coaching. We meet often, at least monthly, to talk about what to work on, how to do it, and more. We’ll follow along monthly with Denise.

I met her at the FinCon (a creators conference) in the fall of 2022. Then, I interviewed her on my podcast. We decided she’d be a great fit for the case study series in 2023 since she recently quit her job.

This is the second installment. Here is part 1, if you have checked it out.

This Month in a Nutshell

Last month I made some progress, but I underestimated the time to execute some tasks, so I neglected Site 2 almost completely. Much of my focus work on Site 1 took a lot longer than I expected—updating old posts, for example. I also got a bit sidetracked by a freelance project, although that did bring in some extra cash which was nice.

On the bright side, whatever work I did manage to accomplish on the website paid off: I got an $800 bump in my affiliate revenue as a direct result of the old content I updated.

There is a seasonality related to travel affiliate revenue, so it was the right timing for me to pick those posts. And the result gives me the motivation to do more of that (even though it is brutal and tedious work).

Results Snapshot

Earnings: Site 1 — Blog

This Month: $2,832.32

Lifetime: $37,657.71 (since August 2021)

While Mediavine still accounted for the bulk of this month’s revenue, I added two new affiliates that brought in an extra $807.79 this month—this is affiliate revenue that I would not have received had I not gotten otherwise.

I updated a big topic cluster with old blog posts to add affiliate links (most had none), improve keyword rankings, and create a better internal linking strategy.

Some of the posts I updated got a lot of traffic, some not so much, but I saw some conversions even on the low-traffic ones, which tells me that I’ve been missing out on a lot of affiliate income!

Site – Mediavine ad revenue


Traffic: Site 1 — Blog

This Month: 44,574 users

Lifetime: 702,292 users (since August 2021)

Site 1 traffic fluctuates during seasons, but overall, it has been on a clear growth trajectory. Traffic is slightly down from the previous month, but I expect it to go up as we approach the summer.


Site 1 – lifetime traffic


Earnings: Site 2 — Guide

This Month: $1,296.53

Lifetime: $5,258.53 (since November 2022)

Most of the income from Site 2 still comes from Mediavine, which has been pretty steady, but there was an unexpected jump in affiliate revenue: it went from about $200 to nearly $500. Since I have not worked on Site 2, I believe this could be a pre-summer spike.

Site 2 – Mediavinde ad revenue

Traffic: Site 2 — Guide

This Month: 38,869 users

Lifetime: 196,801 users

I am still learning the peak seasons for Site 2, but it looks like traffic is going up, presumably because of the summer. But I’m secretly hoping it has to do with the theme change and speed improvements I did…. but we’ll see.


Site 2 – lifetime traffic


There have been no changes to my expenses.

Monthly expenses for both sites are between $150-$200, depending on whether I am using keyword research tools. 

Here’s a summary of the bigger recurring expenses:

  • Hosting: $98/mo — all my sites are under the same account
  • Email Marketing: $39/mo (blog)
  • Plugins & Tools: $250/yr
  • KW research tools: $50-$100/mo (only when I need it)

I am not currently outsourcing writing or using VAs, but I’ve been considering it. Just need to get organized to have a clear process for outsourcing work that I have been doing.

Activities & Accomplishments

Focus Area: Affiliate Revenue

At first, I was a bit discouraged by my decision to update old posts because it was taking a lot of time and effort, and I didn’t see any immediate benefits. But all of a sudden, I started getting bookings from the same posts I had updated. I’ve been leaving a lot of money on the table by not optimizing old posts for affiliates.

I will continue to go through old posts and hopefully see similar (or better) returns and create new posts with the same affiliate strategy.

Focus Area: Add New Content

Along with updating old content, I also created some new posts that I felt were needed to strengthen those topic clusters. I added a pillar post and a couple of supporting articles.

I also published three new articles unrelated to the categories I was updating, and they’re starting to rank, so hopefully, I’ll begin to see some traffic coming in through those.

Focus Area: Email Marketing

Email is a new thing for me and Doug has been great at providing guidance and ideas on that.

This month, I struggled a bit with keeping up with my goal of two emails per week on Site 1 and sent a few emails here and there—some did better than others, but I feel accomplished just to be engaging with that list now.

Site 2 has a bigger list, but it’s not as niche as Site 1. I have not spent any time trying to figure out how to make email marketing work and have not created an onboarding sequence yet.

I developed a new lead magnet for Site 1 and plan to make it available in the next few weeks.

Focus Area: Pinterest

Site 1 does really well on Pinterest, and one of my main goals last month was to create an account for Site 2 and schedule 3 months of pins. I am happy to report that I have not only created an account, but I’ve programmed my own automated, multi-board bulk pinning system using Airtable and Zapier. As a result, I scheduled pins until the end of the year in one afternoon!

Since I am taking a more hands-off approach to Site 2’s Pinterest, I don’t expect it to grow as quickly as Site 1. The new Pinterest account is already getting impressions, but I suspect the artwork that I paid someone on Fiverr to create last year is not performing well in terms of engagement.

Pinterest takes time and consistent pinning, so I’ll give it a couple more months, and if I still think the artwork is an issue, I’ll create my own (I have a process for bulk designing them, too) —scheduling new ones will not take long with my automated digital contraption.

Focus Area: Optimize Existing Content

As I already mentioned, optimizing old content was key to increasing the affiliate revenue this month. Now, I will continue to monitor those posts to see if the work I did to improve the content based on new keyword research is also working.

I can’t really tell right now since my keyword rankings were all out of whack during the last Google update—not in a bad way (thank goodness for that!), just in a way that makes it impossible for me to reach any solid conclusions at the moment.

What’s Working

Affiliates: An extra $800 is certainly a sign that decision to lean in on affiliate (missed) opportunities from existing content was the right one. 

What’s Not Working

Process: I still need a system. I’ve gotten better at focusing on what I need to do, but there’s still a lot of room for improvement. I need to get through content faster and more efficiently and create a process that I can hire someone to help me. Now that I have a better idea of what’s working, I need to test it on other content before I can turn it into an SOP.

On the Horizon

Next month, I’ll continue to update and optimize old posts on Site 1 by tackling them by categories or topic clusters. That seemed to be a good approach for not only making it faster for me to add affiliate links but also to find new content and pillar post opportunities. 

Until I am done updating and optimizing at least 50% of the old content in Site 1, I think I’ll continue to neglect Site 2. I’ll keep watching the progress on Pinterest and eventually do some content updates and affiliate improvements.

Parting Thoughts

Overall, this month was a bit of a mixed bag for me. I made some progress on Site 1, but not nearly as much as I would’ve liked. And, apart from setting up Pinterest, I completely neglected Site 2.

However, the work I did on Site 1 paid off, as I saw a significant increase in affiliate revenue, made some progress in email marketing and added some new content.

Looking ahead, I need to understand exactly what is working to develop a process for outsourcing work and expediting my progress so I can reach my goal of a solid $10k per month by the end of the year.

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