Niche Site Case Study Update | June 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.

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Last month had some exciting developments and the results from the changes I’ve been implementing are starting to show. I’ve seen an amazing decline in the bounce rate with a significant increase in page views per user. The average number of pages visited per visitor doubled!

This means the optimization I’ve been applying to Site 1 works well!

On the flip side, I was pulled away by a consulting opportunity, which distracted me and delayed some of my progress with the sites.

This is the third installment. You can check out part 1 and part 2.

This Month in a Nutshell

Despite the consulting distraction, I was still able to publish new content and update some old posts, but not as much as I would have liked. I’ve also continued to struggle with email marketing, and my automated Pinterest strategy was expanded to Site 1, allowing me to drop the Tailwind App, which saved me some monthly expenses.

A new income stream also opened up – I got certified as a travel advisors and began planning and booking travel for friends and family and made $1800 in commissions this past month.

Results Snapshot

Earnings: Site 1 — Blog

This Month: $3,403.28

Lifetime: $42,476.10 (since August 2021)

Despite a 13.47% drop in RPM with Mediavine, the earnings from display ads on Site 1 increased by 26.56% to $2,350.32 due to a 46.23% increase in pageviews!

The affiliate revenue also performed well, bringing in $1052.96 this month.

Site 1 – Ad Revenue


Traffic: Site 1 — Blog

This Month: 50,424 users

Lifetime: 752,716 users (since August 2021)

The distribution of traffic on Site 1 this month was mainly organic (26,000 users), followed by Pinterest (13,800 users) and direct traffic (10,000 users). It was not a huge increase so it’s a result of summer travel as I expected.


Site 1 – Traffic


Earnings: Site 2 — Guide

This Month: $1,524.28

Lifetime: $6,782.81 (since November 2022)

Site 2 earned $1059.28 from Mediavine ads, along with an additional $465 from affiliate revenue.

I thought the last increase in affiliate revenue was due to the pre-summer travel planning but it seem to have been steady at this $400-$500 range. Now I am hoping it’s a direct result of the new affiliate partner I implemented… only time will tell.

Site 2 – Ad revenue

Traffic: Site 2 — Guide

This Month: 53,833 users

Lifetime: 250,634 users

The traffic on Site 2 was mostly organic (33,750 users), with a significant amount of direct traffic (3,000 users), and a little from Pinterest (115 users). This increase is definitely the summer travel effect. On Site 2 this trend is much more clear than Site 1, which has random peaks at different times of the year.


Site 2 – 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 but I decided to make Ahrefs a permanent part of my tool set — luckily I have a legacy plan that only cost me $90/mo for a lot of the more premium features.

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: $90/mo


Activities & Accomplishments

Focus Area: Affiliate Revenue

The distractions this month slowed me down, but I was still able to make some progress. Updating old content and adding two new articles to the site was my main achievement this month.

Focus Area: Add New Content

Continue to work on building topic clusters with pillar post-supporting articles, which seems to be working exceptionally well for me.

Focus Area: Email Marketing

This remains a pain point for me. I managed to send out a few emails but maintaining a regular schedule is proving to be a challenge.

Focus Area: Pinterest

My automated bulk pinning strategy using Zapier and Airtable for Pinterest was implemented on Site 1, allowing me to drop the Tailwind App. Site 2’s Pinterest presence is slowly growing but hasn’t reached the level I expected.

Focus Area: New Revenue Stream

Travel planning and booking services opened up a new income stream for both sites. This brought in $1800+ in commissions from bookings for friends and family, so not I need to figure out how to leverage the site’s traffic to generate more leads for itinerary planning services and higher-priced hotels and tours.

What’s Working

The changes I made to the content on Site 1 are having a positive effect. The increase in pageviews and user engagement led to higher RPMs and ad revenue, even though the number of visitors remained stable.

What’s Not Working

As I have been devoting some time to a consulting opportunity, I haven’t been able to give as much attention to the sites as I’d like. The good news is that the client setup is completed and should now only require one day per week, freeing up more of my time.

On the Horizon

Getting back on track is my main priority for next month.

I’ve gained valuable insights from my updates and identified the blog posts generating the most affiliate revenue. My plan is to lean in this direction and publish similar content on both sites… but realistically, I will only work on Site 1.

Parting Thoughts

The past couple of months were somewhat distracted for me, but they offered a unique opportunity to observe the effects of the changes I’ve made. Even though the consulting opportunity took some of my focus away, it provided valuable additional income.

As long as I can keep it to just one day a week, I am confident I can still reach my goals for the sites this year.

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