October 2022: Niche Site Case Study Update

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This month has been a good month for me!

Well, at least it has been for Site 2…

This Month in a Nutshell

Despite being hit by an update in July 2022, in September, the site began recovering as a result of the Core Algorithm Update. Since then, it has just been going from strength to strength and the earnings are now reaching all-time highs each month.

Prior to the site being hit, the traffic was increasing but the EPMV was dropping each month. Now, my EPMVs have remained quite high while the traffic has risen. Could all just be Q4-related, but I will take it!

Site 7, on the other hand, while it was not hit by any updates (at least not as hard) and did not experience any drastic drop, it has been slowly declining each month.

We will take a look at what has happened and why in a moment, but I know I haven’t maintained that site as I should have- that low and declining EPMV demotivated me!

Results Snapshot (Site 2)

Site 2 Ezoic Earnings Snapshot

Chart of Ezoic earnings from January 2022 to October 2022

 

Ezoic Earnings Table site 2

Site 2 Ezoic Earnings and EPMV Table 2022 (Monthly)

Earnings

This month: $1,843.14

Revenue Breakdown:

  • Affiliates – $1042.57
  • Ezoic Display Ads – $724.11
  • Amazon – $4.36
  • Digital products – $72.10

Expenses

This month:

Not much content was ordered this month, so overhead on this site has been pretty low. The site is still hosted on Ezoic’s free WordPress hosting. and all other costs are split between the site portfolio.

Other costs include things like Canva, SEMRush, Mailchimp, my Virtual Assistants, and Ezoic premium ($110 split between 8 sites). In the middle of the month, I upgraded so the cost is going to be $220 per month between 8 sites.

Site 2 Traffic 365 day lookback

Site 2 Pageviews: 365-day lookback – still not quite where it was before the update.

Traffic

Pageviews This Month: 23,436

The Last 365 Days: 185,700

Visits This Month: 18,825

The Last 365 Days: 152,555

Results Snapshot (Site 7)

Ezoic Earnings Graph - Site 7 October 2022

Site 7: Chart of Ezoic earnings from January 2022 to October 2022

Ezoic Earnings Table - Site 7 October 2022

Site 7 Ezoic Earnings and EPMV Table 2022 (Monthly)

Site 7 Amazon October 2022

Site 7 October 2022 Amazon Earnings

Earnings

This month: $358.84

Revenue Breakdown:

  • Ezoic Display Ads – $92.51
  • Amazon – $218 .68
  • Digital products – $8.95
  • Affiliate Program – $38.70

Expenses

This month: $40

Hosting – $40

Similar to Site 2, nothing has been spent on content for this site this month. Other expenses are a percentage of the overall portfolio cost of subscriptions and VA wages.

Site 7 traffic 365 day lookback

Site 7 365-day lookback: Dying a slow death? Can this be saved?

Traffic

Pageviews This Month: 17,891

Lifetime: 164,348

Sessions This Month: 14,912

Lifetime: 138,232

What’s Working

Site 2:

Improving Articles & Driving More Traffic

I am still making improvements on articles wherever possible. Using Google Search Console to find high-impression keywords with RegEx and then adding them naturally in context, as a heading, or using them as anchor text. 

regex example

If you have a site that is already getting some decent traffic, give this a try. You will find some informational queries that your site is showing up in the SERPs for but you probably aren’t directly targeting them.

  1. Go to Google Search Console
  2. Click “Search Results” (you may also want to expand your view to 12 months+)
  3. Click “+ New”
  4. Click the “Queries Containing” drop-down and scroll to “Custom Regex”
  5. Copy and paste this: ^(who|what|where|when|why|how|was|did|do|is|are|aren’t|won’t|does|if|can|could|should|would|)[” “]
  6. Export the sheet and look out for high-impression, low-click opportunities.

While I have nothing in place to track the effectiveness of this particular method, the pageviews per visit have been steadily increasing each month, and anything that contributes to improving or maintaining the EPMV is a good thing!

New Keywords & Topics To Work On

I found some great topics using Ezoic’s new tool, Niche IQ. I had to sieve through, but I found some ready-to-action that should yield some great traffic when they rank. If you are using Ezoic already, you can check out my video about how I used the tool to find topics here.

Digital Products

Digital products are easy to produce but very useful to the visitor. The single one I have does well and it is a one-time upfront effort. I have several ideas for more that will take me a maximum of 2 hours to create each (or they could be outsourced).

I plan to produce some more of these and promote them in the sidebar and to the email list at the end of any newsletter that goes out.

Site 7: 

Nothing to report.

What’s Not Working

Site 2:

I am finding it hard to find worthwhile topics that I actually want to write myself, so the site is currently growing at the pace of one of my writers who has been ill. It may be time to find another expert in the field who can work alongside her.

Either way, this is not working as I had planned. I had hoped to scale up the content and bring the traffic to 2,000 daily visits as soon as possible. I am not sure this will ever be a huge site but I know it still has a lot of growth opportunities.

Site 7:

Nothing to report.

On the Horizon 

Next Month

  • Topics & Outsourcing

For Site 2, I have been filling up my article hitlist with topics and content outlines, but I am apprehensive about throwing content at it with just any writers. In all truth, the articles doing best on this site, are the ones written by Jasper and me, and then the outsourced ones from one writer (which I still go in and spruce up).

I don’t like the research part, so when I outsource articles, I am usually outsourcing the ones that require research and collating information. The creative ones that require a little reading, maybe a Youtube video and then my creative input, I can hammer out in no time, so I may take a chance on outsourcing to more writers (for the research), with a view of going over them all after.

This way I have the bones and can flesh them out with my voice.

  • Doubling Down On Brand-Building:

I am doubling down on brand-building, which means more video content, more digital products, free downloads, etc.

  • Connecting With The Site 2 Community:

I may dedicate some time to going into the Site 2 Facebook communities once a week or so to engage and offer solutions (in the same way that people do on Reddit and Quora).

  • Keeping The EPMV And Time On Page:

Trying to maintain the high EPMVs I’ve been getting while publishing more content. I am a bit more aware of on-page SEO, formatting, and keeping things reader-optimized.

  • Using Unique Images:

For the images, I am not a fan of the stock images in this niche. They get boring pretty quickly and can and have been used by so many different niches that they aren’t relevant.

I am going to be taking more of my own shots and using Jasper Art. This way I get to create unique images under each heading (not the most time-efficient thing as I’m back and forth in Canva and Procreate in artist mode, but it’s fun and keeps that element of fun, rewarding work)

Parting Thoughts

Shorter-term goals vs longer-term goals (1-year vs 5-year plan)

My current approach is mostly based on traffic = $ but that’s slowly starting to change. I have always been grateful that I love what I do and all the quirks of it; doing and learning new things. And, have always been glad I have been able to do so much and not experience burnout. It is called “hyperfocus”, and it isn’t as cool as it sounds…

However, there comes a time when you are doing so much that you are unproductive. Something Doug obviously told me from the start.

I LOVE having multiple sites and being able to explore my creativity and new ideas, that is just my personality type. But recently, I have been flip-flopping over the idea of selling a few smaller sites and keeping the projects I really care about that I know I can build into brands and never get bored of.

Granted, that is still two or three sites (some would argue, still two sites too many). But when we are thinking about the long-term, the potential is endless. There will never come a day when I just stop doing the things I love, but there will come a day when it isn’t about the money, and some of these sites I have built have long-term potential beyond Google search algorithms.

So, I could sell-up and focus on those three, or…

Keep ’em all, and do content sprints in one direction 3-6 months at a time. Both suit my personality type, and when I speak to people like Anne Moss (Yeys) and Shawna Newman (Skipblast), I start to lean more toward the “keep-em-all” narrative.

It is all going to come down to my resources (time and money) –  as much as I love this all, I don’t want to be sitting at the computer all day, every day.

About the Author: Arielle Phoenix is an author, blogger, and business enthusiast documenting her SEO/niche site journey on her blog and hoping to help and inspire as many people as she can along the way.

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