Earnings Down 39.1% – Starting From Scratch, May 2016 Update

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This is the May update for the niche site case study. If you’re just joining the case study, you can read the background – here. (See examples of Amazon Affiliate Niche Sites here & get 15,000 keywords there, too.)

Essentially, I’m coaching Jim to create a brand new site from scratch with the goal if hitting $2,000 per month. He’s been at it since February.

In this update we see:

  • Earnings for the site are down 39.1%.
  • Traffic is up.
  • Domain Authority is up.
  • A new focus on content

Jim reached a holding pattern of sorts. He’s done a bunch of writing and now knows the products really well. He also knows what a well written article looks like.

Jim is also a little tired of writing.

That happens, and it’s normal – writing takes a while. I’m a really slow writer so I know what it’s like.

And in the Five Figure Niche Site Course I encourage everyone to invest a little time and money (about $10) in hiring a writer on Upwork to get practice hiring  people. If you want to scale and grow your niche sites, you’ll have to hire people to help you write.

Jim hasn’t pulled the trigger and built his writing team, but that’s on the horizon.

In my opinion, this is one of the most critical times for a new site and a new niche site owner/creator. 

Here is why:

It looks like nothing is happening so it’s easy to give up. And this is when most people give up because it’s boring, it’s repetitive, and it’s hard work. If you push through, you’ll be rewarded. If you read any of the Success Stories on Niche Site Project, you’ll see that everyone has pushed through this less-exciting period. It’s not easy and the winners keep going.

Take it away, Jim…

May was a good month overall.  I’m really seeing the workload plane out and take on more of a controlled and strategic approach. 


I’ve got a lot more keywords performing well and traffic on the site has been increasing.  My biggest goal I’m waiting for now is just getting out of the sandbox.


When your site is new Google wants to make sure that you’re going to stay around for a while and provide actual value to the internet and as such there’s a weeding out process where no matter how well your write or how good your SEO is you can only rank so high. 


Most people feel that 6 months is the magic number and my site is just about there. So now it’s just a wait and see kind of thing.

Domain Authority Update

My biggest win for the month was a MOZ update came through and the site is sitting at 15 DA.  I know it’s just their interpretation but it’s a good way to view my progress with backlinks. I’ve got a couple more GPs out there and am commenting consistently on blogs that I know to have DoFollow attributes. (See how to blog comment…)

Here is the Majestic Link Summary info:


I make sure that when I check out Ahrefs or others I find where the backlinks are coming from, sign up for their newsletter and comment as soon as they post.  Just best practice SEO over here 🙂

Overview-Ahrefs-starting-amazon-site-from-scratch Overview-Ahrefs-organic-stats-starting-amazon-site-from-scratch

Keywords Are Ranking

With today’s last check I’ve got 55 keywords ranking above 30 in the SERPs and 8 in the Top 10 so I think with a little more work finding backlinks and blog commenting I’ll be able to see a nice increase when the sandbox effect wears off. (The Content Traffic Profit Sprint is the secret to getting traffic early on, along with the Keyword Golden Ratio.)

Hiring Writers

One of the main things I’ve been trying to focus on is finding good writers to assist in generating a good amount of content.  I’m really starting to feel that just more content is the name of the game.

(Doug’s Note: Here is a case study where I hired a few writers and tested them out.)

I’m chasing longer tail keywords that I’m ranking well for but if you’re going after KWs with Local Monthly Searches (LMS) under 100 you’re going to need more articles out there so you generate a good amount of traffic.  The more the better.

Keyword research still plays a big part of what I’m doing.  I’m trying to amass an arsenal of keywords that that when I do find a good writer’s I can just refer to my spreadsheet, send them the article details and go about my business. 

It ends up being that the more you just flat out work on the site, writing articles you’ll see more and more areas that have untapped KW potential.

For now it’s just business as usual.  Blog comments, guest post outreach, rinse, wash and repeat.

 Back to Doug… If you have any comments or tips for Jim, let us know in the comments. See all the posts in the series – here.

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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Niche Website Builders help their customers build and grow more profitable content sites. They offer a fully hands-off approach for all the services that they offer.For example, their content creation service includes their proprietary keyword research process, articles are written by in-house native English speakers, formatted using review templates that are proven to convert and uploaded to WordPress with affiliate links added so that all you need to do is review and click publish.

This makes their service perfect for both beginners wondering where to start, through to experienced portfolio owners looking to scale their operations

They also offer ‘done for you’ site builds and link building services.


Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Ken

    I think adding new content regularly is huuge as well. The problem is that it’s a time suck or money suck so people try to rest on the minimum they want to write and or buy when, I think, the key is to add and push through.

    I don’t like to add and wait. I’ll add and add until a predetermined date in my mind and then say, “this is working” or “this site is like pond water”. I try to tell people to try and rank for lower keywords first and then concentrate on the larger ones. At least they’ll rank for something, show promise, grab some motivation, and keep plugging along.

    Thanks for the update!


    • Jim

      Thanks for the comment Ken. Great point about the content, I totally agree that you just have to push through and keep getting content out there, especially if you’re chasing longer tails.

  • Ali Ebrahimi

    Great article
    I like it totally

  • Hi Doug and Jim,

    Nice to read that the site is progressing. Yeah, as you mentioned above, producing epic content is the biggest challenge and is the point where most of the people give up. I think this is why your content should be various in length and type, and not all of them should be epic pieces (especially if you can not afford it in terms of time or money), yet you need to have some pillar posts to compete with in SEs.


  • Hi,
    Interesting case study but it’s a bit of a hassle finding the next installment. Can you add links at the bottom?

    Not that the other stuff isn’t worth reading, but just because I want read about the niche site from start to finish.

  • Can I ask why you’re only going after keywords with < 100 monthly searches? I've been thinking about making my niche site and a lot of my keywords have 1000+ monthly searches. Is that too ambitious for a completely new site?

    • Jim

      Great question! You’re almost spot on. It is typically easier to rank quickly for the lower searched terms as there is a correlation between lower LMS and competition. This is not always the case though.
      If I found keyword phrases that were seeing 1,000+ LMS I would do the same KW analysis and see if there was room in the market. If you’re finding that there some some great KWs that have a low KC then I would definitely try.
      Best of luck!