Niche Site Income Report for June 2013

Niche Site Income Report for June 2013

The time has finally arrived for another income report for my site: BestSurvivalKnifeGuide.com!

This site was started as the example site for my public Niche Site Project.  I’ve documented every step including; brainstorming for keywords, analyzing the competition, creating content, ranking the site in Google, and more.

The purpose of this project has been to show you how an individual can take an idea from scratch and start ranking a niche site in Google and make money from those efforts.

So, lets jump right into the income report for June!

What Happened in June?

As far as work put into BestSurvivalKnifeGuide.com, very little happened to the site.  In fact, I was on vacation from June 15th to July 3rd and didn’t do much work while I was gone.  I spent a week in Utah visiting family and running a Ragnar Relay, and then spent another week in California going to Disneyland, the beach, seeing the Redwoods, and more.

I confess, it was a pretty sweet vacation!  And because my business is 100% online and mostly automated, my overall income did not suffer because I was on vacation.  I checked email for about 30 minutes a day, and that’s about all I did.

So, my niche site only got one new article added during the month of June.  The only other update (which I did before my vacation) to the site was a change in the comparison chart on the homepage.  I basically moved the column with the names of the knives into the same column as the pictures of the knives.  This was they can click either the knife name or knife picture in the same cell, and both are affiliate links to Amazon.  (Previously I had not linked from the images for fear of having too many affiliate links).

comparisonchartchange

June Rankings and Earnings

My site has been rankings 4th or 5th in Google for the keyword, “best survival knife” for the most part of June.  As you will find below, this is why my earnings decreased slightly in June.  Even though being #1 in Google is always the goal for your primary keyword, you will obviously see that its not critical to have a successful niche site.

My niche site is still earning very well thanks to lots of related long tail rankings for other phrases.  This is the advantage of adding more content to a niche site…you will start getting hits from other queries.

Here is a screenshot of the June 2013 earnings for BestSurvivalKnifeGuide.com:

juneincomereport

So, overall I shipped 219 items and made $407.30!  Yes, its a bit lower than last month, but to earn over $400 on a site that I did almost nothing to during the month of June is not bad at all.

Last month the site earned: $474.76.  So, I saw a drop in earnings of $67.46 this month.  Here’s a screenshot of the earnings from May:

mayearnings

What I find interesting about the comparison of these screenshots is that you will see that I actually shipped 25 MORE items during June than I did in May!  However, the items were worth less, so I didn’t make as much income.

Does this mean I got more traffic to the site and sold more items?  Or did I get less traffic, but the layout changes just converted better (sold more items)?  Lets take a look at some of the traffic to see what happened.

Overall Traffic

During May (2 months ago), BestSurvivalKnifeGuide.com, had a total of 23,704 visits.  For June, the site had 18,149…a significant decrease :( .  However, a lot of this can be explained by the fact that I wasn’t mentioning BestSurvivalKnifeGuide.com on my blog here, and so less people were checking up on it (I was on vacation and didn’t write much about it here).

junetraffic

So, while the drop in overall visits hurts…what we should really be interested in is the change in search engine traffic.  Did ranking 4th or 5th for my primary keyword have a major impact on the amount of natural search engine traffic?  As it turns out, yes, it did.

So, during May, the site received 15,015 visits from Search Engines; during June that number was only 10,498.  This tells me that more than just my ranking for “best survival knife” has slipped a little.  So, it would appear that perhaps Google actually lowered my rankings by a few spots across several keywords rather than just my primary keyword.

During May, the site received traffic from 1,267 different keywords.  During June, the site received traffic from 1,043.  That still a significant amount of Long Tail traffic, but its always tough to see a number go down.

Here are just a few of the long tail keywords that drove traffic to my site in June:

keywordsjune

So, overall despite a decrease in traffic, I was able to INCREASE the amount of products sold.  I have to attribute this to the small change that I made in my survival knife chart of moving the knife names and images into the same column.  At least that is a silver lining for this month.

Ranking #1 in Yahoo and Bing

I also found it significant that I am starting to get more and more traffic from Yahoo and Bing.  In fact, I am now ranked #1 in both Yahoo and Bing for my primary keyword, “best survival knife”!  Unfortunately, Yahoo and Bing only account for about 4% of my traffic.  So, I do expect that this new #1 ranking in Yahoo and Bing will increase my traffic by a few hundred visitors per month, it likely will not have much of an overall impact on my site.

bingranking

And just so you know, I did nothing special to rank in Yahoo and Bing.  Most search engines use similar methods for ranking sites; so by ranking my site in Google, I will also tend to rank in other search engines as well.  However, Google controls so much of the search market, that these search engines really won’t make much of an impact on my site.

Now if only Yahoo and Bing could increase their search market share….

Plans Going Forward

I obviously would love to get back my #1 ranking in Google for my primary keyword.  However, I also want to regain traffic from many of the long tail keywords that I appear to have missed out on this month.  (I get way more traffic from long tail keywords than from my primary keyword).

So, here are a few steps that I plan to take during the month of July:

  • Add my site to my Google+ page.  This will let Google know that I am the author of the site, and my image will begin appearing in search engine results. Will having a Google+ author tied to the site impact the rankings?  We’ll find out.
  • Add more content.  I actually have several articles in the queue to be published.  I expect to get close to 10 articles published during the month of July.  (These articles are written by someone I hired on Elance.com).
  • Test different ad placements.  I may move around or add more contextual Amazon ads.  I plan on leaving my comparison chart as it is, but I could add more banners in the sidebars, after content, and other locations.  Different types of widgets or ads may perform better.  I’ll be testing this out.
  • Add more links?  I may try to secure some higher quality links from other survival blogs or perhaps find some expired domains to link from.  I’ll keep everyone posted on these plans.

Overall, the site is still performing very well – and almost all of the $407.30 earnings was pure net income.  So, I’m VERY happy with this project!  The site has essentially entered its “passive” stage, and most of the earnings go directly to my bottom line.  I still have to pay for the content, but this is much less than the site is bringing in.

Your Reactions

As always, I would love to hear your thoughts, comments, or questions.   So far, I’m very happy with the way this project has turned out, and I really hope that many of you have gained significant value from what I’ve shared here.

If you have something that you would like clarification on or have something to add, please post a comment below.


How Long Tail Pro Can Help You Capture Way More Search Engine Traffic

If your business could benefit in any way from getting more search engine traffic, I have some good news.

Search engines are in love with long tail keywords! If you are able to provide relevant content targeting these long tail keywords, then you can see a dramatic increase to the amount of traffic Google and other search engines send you.

Long Tail Pro is a powerful keyword research tool that makes finding these valuable long tail keywords a breeze.

What are “long tail keywords”? Essentially, these are words or phrases that people type into the search engines to find very specific things. Rather than searching for “dog training” a user might search for “how to potty train a pitbull”.

This is an example of a Long Tail Keyword. To visualize how Long Tail Keywords work...

Click to Continue Reading


151 Comments for this entry

  1. Jeremy says:

    Wow! Spencer.. by doing nothing and just vacation .. still you able to make income from niche websites. That’s the beauty of online business. Perhaps adding more links could help to regain the ranking especially high PR links but overdo is bad as well.

    What is the average bounce rate for your niche site Spencer?

  2. Xingfan says:

    Again, very impressive result as always even tho the number has dropped a little. You almost hit your goal of 500$ this month hopefully we can see that in July!

    Just a question, is there a reason why you switch from textbroker to elance? or you have always been using both?

    I have just submitted my request for article service to textbroker today using a 3 star service, it is my first time using them can’t wait to see the result!

    • Spencer Haws says:

      I didn’t switch. I still use Textbroker alot. However, I found a good author on Elance that is an expert in camping and survival gear; so I hired him to do all the articles for this site.

  3. ray says:

    Awesome! It’s amazing to me how much work you have to put in the front end, but once it’s done, these things seem to run fairly smoothly with little effort on the back end. Looking forward to seeing this report six months down the road.

  4. Ryan Kaufman says:

    hey Spencer

    Congrats for your achievement so far… and lessons learned along the way!

    It’s awesome to spend 2 weeks OFF, in vacation or whatever, and see your sites roll-in the money on auto-pilot, isn’t it?

    Keep these reports coming, and particularly the success stories (from your readers) — I enjoy reading them as much as consuming your own case studies… :)

    Best wishes, and chat soon.

  5. Navjot Singh says:

    Hi Spencer …. I think that the drop in your revenue is temporary, therefore do not worry about this. I am pretty sure that you will witness very good surge in your Amazon Affiliate Commission by next month. Just keep adding Good & Useful Content… Bye & Take Care :-)

  6. Chris R Jensen says:

    Awesome Spencer! Congrats. Sure it’s a drop but hey that happens. Remember too that vacation time is upon us an many people take time of to go places – this too could have an impact. Now what I can’t wait to see is your January report containing Holiday Sales. My guess is you’ll make over 1000 that month alone – and this will help your average for the year to be close to 500 a month

  7. Valerie says:

    Great report! Glad to see work payoff when you’re off enjoying life. Can’t wait to see if the Google + authorship does anything for you.
    Also, question – are you still building backlinks, or just adding content?

  8. Dan says:

    Spencer,

    How often do you manually update the Amazon rating of your featured knives in the table?
    Also, do you calculate the decimals yourself since Amazon only shows full stars or do you have another source for getting this number?

    Thanks a lot
    Dan

    • Xingfan says:

      Hi hope you don’t mind I answer this question. If you point your mouse pointer over the star rating icon in Amazon, it will actually show you the exact rating including the decimal.

      • Dan says:

        Awesome. Thanks Xingfan.
        I think I always looked at products with a clean full star average, so I never picked up on it.
        Thanks again :)

    • Josh says:

      @Dan
      If you hover over the stars in Anazon in gives you the rating score to tenths.

    • Spencer Haws says:

      I haven’t updated it since created. Perhaps its about time to do that. I would expect once every six months is plenty. Amazon shows this number.

    • Dan says:

      Thanks Josh and Spencer

  9. Build 8 of these sites

    Sit back and enjoy a passive monthly income greater than many retirees.

    Spencer, you really should charge us to read your blog. This stuff is always inspiring.

    • Dan says:

      I think if you want to show your gratitude to Spencer, it’s always good to go through his affiliate links to buy stuff. Doesn’t have to be a survival knife, but just anything on Amazon. Just go through one of his Survival Knife links and he’ll get the commission on whatever you purchase.

      Or buy LongTail Pro…

    • Spencer Haws says:

      Already built many more than 8 niche sites :). I hear what you are saying though.

  10. Nina says:

    Nice to go on holiday and still continue earning! Do you think that this website’s visitors would naturally decrease during the summer weeks too? Maybe they’re out camping. Or fishing. Or whatever people that buy survival knives do…

    • Spencer Haws says:

      I would think the traffic would be strong in the summer…but that’s just a guess based on when people often go camping, etc.

      • Fran says:

        Hi Spencer / Ning,

        You can use google trends to try and see if the searches for your keywords are seasonal. Go to:

        http://www.google.co.uk/trends

        and type in your main keywords separated by a comma eg:

        survival knife, best survival knife,

        and add in other main keywords that are getting visitors to your site.

        I only really found this tactic today when checking the trends. Unfortunately I did find my keywords are very seasonal :-(
        It only shows the years, not months or seasons so you’ll have to take a a best guesstimate at which months or season the peaks and troughs fall in (if your keyword is seasonal).

  11. Spencer that is awesome. Pure profit for doing no work. I will take that. I have a few niche sites that I am developing now using exclusively VA and content that I curated from odesk writers. I hope to get there soon like yourself.

  12. Very inspiring income report Spencer ! One thing I wonder about the competitor site (copycat), he’s still ranking above you even though he has very low quality content on the site. Yes you are getting lots of long tail traffic because of content diversity and volume of contents. But , what would be your explanation in terms of ranking? Do you think that great content is still necessary to rank higher in SERP?

    Cheers

    • Spencer Haws says:

      Quality content is a better long term strategy…google will keep getting smarter. But obviously, it currently isn’t required to rank well.

    • Gary says:

      Anisul – FYI – your website (NicheSitesSecrets.com) is flagged by Bitdefender as hosting malware.

  13. Bas says:

    So about 1,22% conversion rate for this project, is this normal for niche websites targetting a buyerskeyword?

    I just started a niche website and wondering what I can expect.

    • Spencer Haws says:

      This is my first Amazon affiliate site, so I’m a newbie when it comes to Amazon…so not sure if that’s a good conversion rate. I would expect its not because I get lots of traffic from you (my blog readers) that are not buyers.

  14. Aaron says:

    Spencer: I had some questions about the product images you use on your site and others you’ve created. Do companies generally allow these types of niche sites to copy their product images for use? Are there any legal requirements when using these images? If someone has an Amazon affiliate site can they use any of the product images found on Amazon?

    • Spencer Haws says:

      From my research, which I did alot, its okay to use Amazon product images – because you are driving sales to the company/amazon. However, I recommend everyone doing their own research or contacting a lawyer if they are more concerned about it.

      • Aaron says:

        This seems to confirm what you said: http://www.squidoo.com/amazon-product-images.

        Any idea about Google AdSense sites and using product images?

      • Dan says:

        What about other product images that you get from the manufacturers websites?
        Can you use these pics on your niche site?
        In the end all you do is help sell their products, but I have not done any research on the legal part yet.

        • Zach says:

          Hey, I contacted Amazon a couple years back regarding this issue, and they told me that as long as the person selling the item has their picture Uploaded on the Amazon site, its FREE to use when Promoting “That” product…

          So if your promoting the product via the amazon affiliate program than your FREE to use the picture on the site, but if your just USING the picture without linking to amazon as being apart of the affiliate program I would assume that would not be ok

          - Cheers

  15. Lior says:

    Hi Spencer,

    Great post. I checked up on your site the other day to see if you added your Google+ profile, as you said you would after you noticed your competitor did so. It definitely WILL help your rankings!

    I’m seeing a common theme around everyone who makes niche sites, and that is that majority of traffic comes from random searches and not the main keyword. What would you say is a decent number of visitors per month to expect a $500 a month site like you have?

    • Spencer Haws says:

      It totally depends on the niche. If its a high paying niche, you may only need 100 visitors a day; if its low paying, you might need more than 2,000 visitors per day.

  16. Kevin says:

    I’ll be interested to hear your results from adding your site to Google+.

    I started two niche Amazon sites at the same time. One I added to Google+ right away. One I waited a couple months. The one I added first has done much better in traffic, and in sales. The second one has started to ramp up traffic since I added it to Google+.

    Does it mean it helped? I have no idea, as there could be other factors such as different competition levels, different content, etc.

  17. Ken says:

    Spencer,

    Great report as usual, thanks for always being so transparent with your income and analysis!

    Quick question… I’ve been thinking of setting up an Amazon Affiliate site as well, but I live in Colorado. I’ve heard/read that Amazon does not allow affiliates in CO. Do you if this is still the case and if so, are there any “white hat” ways around this?

    Thanks and keep up the great work!!

    Ken

    • Gabe says:

      Ken, Amazon does not allow affiliates in colorado.

      Here are some ideas, you can use http://skimlinks.com.

      You can use a friends address in another state…Amazon will ship tax info to this address.

      You could setup an llc in another state also, or might be able to rent a tiny office in another state and have a mail forwarding service forward the mail to you.

      • Dan says:

        I believe Skimlinks just got a note from Amazon, just like Viglink.com, asking to stop paying out Amazon commissions to people that reside in the “banned” states like Colorado.
        I’m with Viglink and I was informed about that a couple weeks ago.

      • Aaron says:

        Why does a state like Colorado ban Amazon affiliates in the first place?

        • Dan says:

          It’s not the state that bans affiliates, it’s Amazon that decided to stop paying affiliates in these states, because they are getting sued for tax money. An affiliate is being seen as a physical presence of Amazon in this state, so they would have to pay taxes to the state.

    • Spencer Haws says:

      I don’t know if its the case, but you could do a quick search I’m sure. You could set up a business entity in a different state and use that entity to register to Amazon.

  18. Fran says:

    I’ll be interested to see what adding your google plus profile does. after seeing the results of your competitor taking your page 1 position previously I made sure I created and linked the three big social accounts – google plus, facebook and twitter. I’ve spent quite a bit of time building an audience on all three platforms too and post links to all my posts there as well as some other related posts from other sites and a bit of interaction.

    However I did create pen name accounts. The site is aimed towards women and well, I’m not one. I have used a female writer from elance for the review content.

    I’m sure adding more content this month will give the whole site a boost too. when going on holiday it might be a good idea the have some posts ready to publish and schedule them to be posted at regular intervals so big G can see the site is still being worked on, maintained and is delivering fresh content to users.

    Congrats on the further profit in your pocket though.

    My own site hit position 11 for its main keyword this morning. It has creeped up from position 26 over the last 4 weeks. A closely related keyword I found after starting the site with almost double the monthly searches has gone from position 74 to 24 gradually too. A few other related terms I’ve watched are also doing okay.

    Although I’m happy with the serp increases I’m watching, I’m still not seeing much traffic yet. Less than 30 hits per day. Plus my bounce rate is high.

    I know I have a few issues with load time which I plan to try and address this week so hopefully that may help in both reducing the bounce rate and increasing serps and visitors soon?

    • Dan says:

      Fran, how often do you post on FB, Twitter and Google+?
      I’m on FB and I post once a day. I couldn’t commit to any other social media channels yet due to time contraints.
      I’d like to know your posting frequency.

      Thanks

      • Fran says:

        I try to go on facebook and google+ at least every day or every other day. When I go on I click through related communities / groups / pages for half an hour. Like or share a few pics and posts. So far I only post to my articles once or twice. I do less on twitter but should probably do more. It’s just a matter of time limitations though as I’m sure you appreciate.

        As I get a lot more content posted I was thinking of finding a plugin, script or service to auto post links to my old reviews and articles. Pluggio (a bit like hootsuite) is one such service but you have to keep updating it (there is a free version you can try). Whilst you can queue the posts up, you cant have posts on a cycle to keep reposting. It also only works for facebook and twitter. Apparently big G don’t like giving access to apps to make posts.

  19. Dave D says:

    Good stuff Spencer! I know you said you wouldn’t be monetizing with Adsense, to protect your ID, but as part of the path to increase revenue, are there other options you might consider? Also, are there any ways of protecting your Adsense ID? It’s just unfortunate to have to cut off a potentially viable revenue stream.

    • Spencer Haws says:

      Dave:
      I don’t know of anyway to mask an Adsense id…and still stay within Google’s guidelines. I could try some other in-content ads like infolinks, skimlinks, or other. Its a good reminder for me…thanks! Oh and for the record, I most certainly would have Adsense on this site if I wasn’t publicly sharing everything here on my blog.

  20. Jon Haver says:

    Hope you enjoyed the vacation… There is something incredibly satisfying about making money while on vacation!

    What do you think is different about what you did for this site compared to your earlier niche sites that made it a bigger winner? Or do you chalk up this being a winner to statistical variance?

    Best of luck in your plans to get the traffic back… I would think at this stage in the maturity of the site some high volume link bait would help it out…example -(actually test the top ten knifes for sharpest, toughest etc and then promote the findings by getting links back from the manufacturer – they would probably send you a sample to test too)

    • Spencer Haws says:

      I actually have had several niche sites that are bigger successes than this one. So, while this one IS bigger than lots of site, its not my biggest. The reason it earns more than some is due to picking a larger keyword – my smaller sites I never intented to earn more than $1/day, etc. And obviously not all niche sites go as planned (don’t rank well).

  21. Mohit Anand says:

    I might be wrong but I think adding Google + may not have any effects on the ranking. As that can raise legal issues for Google search for being biased towards its another product.

    However, some experts say that Google + profile image does increase the clicks as it helps to attract the visitor’s attention even if your URL is ranking lower on the Google search results page.

    Hence, well worth the shot!

  22. Just got from vacation, myself. It’s great to see that you were still able to earn while being away. My new site is alsodoing well.. Dropped a few spots, but my overall traffic is all from about 900 or so long tail phrases. I need to add some more content, though.

    Anyways, still a killer month!

  23. Jerry says:

    Hey Spencer,
    Nice results, congratulations!
    I have a question regarding your link-building strategy.
    I see you have about 8000 backlinks now. You got this number at the end of March, less than 2 months after launch. At the end of April you had over 9000 backlinks. That’s really dangerously high velocity. This may cause you Google penalty with high probability. Also I see that over 80% of your backlinks anchors are exact match keywords “best survival knife”. This is extremely high risk factors for Penguin/Panda sanctions.

    On my opinion this is short term strategy, you quickly jumped out to the first page of Google but I bet if you won’t change something you will be penalized in a few months max.

    What do you think about this? Thanks!

    • Spencer Haws says:

      You must not have read this post yet: http://www.nichepursuits.com/is-my-niche-site-a-victim-of-negative-seo/
      I didn’t build those links and didn’t want them.

      • Jerry says:

        Oh, sorry, I really missed that post. Any success removing them? I have similar situation with two of my sites. Google disallow tool seems not to be working. The only way I see now is to constantly build more and more links with domain name as an anchor as well as general words. The goal is to make exact match keyword anchors to have less than 30% and domain name anchors to be more than 40%. This is time (and money) consuming strategy but it is the most effective.
        I wish you (and everyone else… and me :) ) good luck in this battle.

        • Spencer Haws says:

          Yes, you can dilute your links as you suggested – I’ve done some of this. I’ve asked to have some of the links removed, but no success.

  24. This is so awesome! Two of my niche sites are ranking #5 on Google for their primary keyword. They are being monetized via AdSense and I am not seeing that much revenue. Less than $10/mo. They are about 5 months old.

    Can you point me in a direction of Adsense optimization and other information on ideal bounce rates, CTR, etc?

    That would be very helpful!

    Thanks, Spencer! Glad you had fun on vacation!

    • CJ says:

      I feel your pain Kyle. I have a site that has been on the first page for about 3 weeks, and just this month started ranking #2 for primary keyword (wish secondaries would rank a little higher but hopefully that comes with time). I’m not seeing much return at this point.

      I’m monetizing through Amazon, another affiliate site in the niche, and Adsense.

      I want to add more content to get more traffic (getting about 100/day atm), but not sure it’s worth the time right now.

      I have a 65% bounce rate and a dwell time of over 2 minutes so obviously the content is decent and people find it useful.

      • Thanks, CJ. So is 65% bounce rate good? I don’t even know what I should be aiming for. I just repositioned some ads and will let that sit for a few days.

        What is a “good” CTR or is that an unanswerable question because there are too many factors?

  25. Benji says:

    Hey Spencer,

    Nice month!

    I recently added a comparison chart to my homepage…and boy oh boy, has it made a huge difference in my earnings.

    I’m getting far more clicks and still converting at a very high rate.

    I actually use a premium plugin (about $17) that you can create responsive comparison charts with. Since my site is completely responsive, I wanted a comparison chart that played ball with my theme.

    If anyone is interested it can be found here: http://codecanyon.net/item/go-responsive-pricing-compare-tables-for-wp/3725820

    • Tung Tran says:

      This plugin is awesome. Thank u :D Just bought it

      • Benji says:

        Glad you like it :)

        I was stoked when I found it because the old comparison charts I were using made my site not adjust to the screen sizes correctly (given the fixed width of the tables).

        I also highly recommend making the images in your chart clickable affiliate links. Crazyegg shows me that most of my clicks are on images.

        I believe Spencer has already mentioned this…but I know many others have too. Definitely helps.

  26. Afiffuddin says:

    Maybe you can improve your ranking using more article base on the recent visitor keyword, and I know you can do it better.

  27. Tung Tran says:

    Great report Spencer!

    Despite being hit in June, my site still made over $580 but the income is decreasing. I still haven’t figured out how to recover the site though.

  28. Eralp Bay says:

    Hello, what is your current commission rate? Because for example going from 5% to 6% will make a ‘huge’ difference, it is not 1%, it is 20%.

  29. Sylvie says:

    Congrats!
    Interesting data for the charts, i’ve been wondering if it was better dividing it or not, considering i added a call to action under the name of the products on my website, but now that you mention it, it’s true that it prevents the pictures being clickable… I’ll definitely try that! Still working on growing my traffic before having any income target, but well, optimizations are never lost! Thanks for all your advices!

    • Sylvie says:

      Forgot to mention that i also started Elance, after creating most of the content on my own, looks much more difficult for french content :) But, interesting considering the time saved!!

  30. Chris says:

    Glad to see this site is still doing so well, Spencer, in spite of the negative seo and the copycats.

    I’m wondering about how to maintain ranking…

    Are you planning on purchasing link packages for this site in the future or just relying on organic links and then networking for bigger links?

    I bought some links for one of my niche sites, and I’m wondering how to go forward on it. Like, once I buy links, will I need to keep buying links to maintain link velocity and avoid a penalty?

    On your $1 a day niche sites mentioned in another comment, do you buy links for those too? Or do you just build your own links and then rely on organic links after that?

    Thanks, man. Aloha!

    • Spencer Haws says:

      Chris:
      I am hoping I can just rely on natural links, and perhaps a few other quality links that I acquire. So, I don’t plan on buying more link packages for this site; however, I will if I notice the site continue to drop and other things I try don’t work.

  31. Dr Tom Lembo says:

    Thanks for the update Spencer. Just finished long tail classroom, it really was great. Just wanted to say “Thanks!”

  32. Great report! Congrats. I am very impressive with your income from niche site

  33. Jason says:

    I noticed the sites currently beating yours for “best survival knife” are older and high PR.

    I’m targeting a niche that also has older/high PR sites in the top 2-3 spots, so I’d love to see if you can overcome them with tactics like expired domains.

    Although, I get the feeling that spending money on new articles/content will provide a better ROI. More long tail traffic will probably yield more visits than ranking up a single, primary keyword to #1.

  34. msw says:

    Hi,

    As usual, your posts are great!

    I’m curious if anyone here has a recommendation for me on the following:

    I have built an authority site in the political / news commentary area. I have google adsense running on this but the revenue is very poor but I have decent unique viewers (each ad click is only receiving pennies).

    Since my site more commentary / general interest and not product related, I think that maybe adsense is not a good way to monetize it. Does anyone have any other suggestions? Affiliates etc?

    Thanks for any suggestions!

  35. Hi, First of all, I think that it is really awesome that you are able to have an online business and simply work at home. I have learned a lot from your site and I am planning to build my own online business too.
    I know that you outsource your articles, I have never outsourced articles and I was wondering if you are allowed to claim you are the author of the outsourced article? Does this depend on the author?

    Thanks.

  36. Lindsay says:

    Such a great project to be following – I wait each month for your update Spencer!
    Just out of interest, with so many affiliate links on each page, do you think making some of them ‘nofollow’ would make any difference? I have the same problem and trying to work around it. Anyone have any ideas?

    Thanks

  37. Doss says:

    Hi, after watching Spencer’s success I’m building my own niche site. The site is going to be a specific amazon product review site.(found the keyword using LTP :-)) Can any body give me any advice on the things to do before applying as an amazon affiliate?

    • Spencer Haws says:

      Just get a few articles up on your site. You shouldn’t have any issues getting approved.

      • Doss says:

        Thanks, Spencer :-) . Just writing a giant 4000+ word article, 2 more posts and after adding the legal pages I’ll be applying for the Amazon affiliate. Should I mention Amazon in the privacy policy page before approval? or should I wait?

        • Spencer Haws says:

          Yes, definitely mention Amazon in your privacy policy – there is certain language you need to use. You can google search for it; or take a look at what I did on my niche site.

          • Doss says:

            Thanks again Spencer :-), I’m following your niche site closely and trying to lay out my site as close to yours as possible. Once it gets 500 unique visitors, I’m gonna submit it for the affiliate programme.
            Finally just want to add that after my miserable failure with my 1st site, your public niche project has given me a lot of confidence. If you post updated backlink strategies every month that would be highly helpful to beginner like me.
            Cheers,

  38. Mike says:

    Hey Spencer, love your site! I have a few quick questions.

    With over 70 articles on your site do you see the majority of your traffic landing on your homepage or is it spread out over all the pages?

    Also as you were having the subpages written did you do any keyword research for them or just try to cover as many survival knives as you could?

    Thanks!

    • Spencer Haws says:

      I actually only have about 30 articles on the site. But the homepage is still by far the most visited page – about 50% of all pageviews are the homepage. I did some keyword research to find easier keywords on some of the subpages; for others I am just reviewing the existing survival knives. Both bring in long tail traffic.

  39. Winston says:

    Has anyone started a niche site lately?

    I seem to be having some issues with a couple of sites I started within the last 10 days.

    They aren’t behaving like they did in previous sites I did. And are stuck at 500+ in Long Tail Pro (usually at this time they’re ranking under 100 or under 50). They also seem to take a while before getting indexed (before I usually see them indexed within 3 days or so now its taking around 3 to 6 days).

    I know the keywords aren’t difficult, and the content is pretty much done by the same guys I outsourced to before and quality looks ok since I always re-read and edit before posting.

    Would like to heard how and what I should be doing.

    • alistairgd says:

      Hey Winston, I was just going to post the same thing!

      I have several hobby related websites that I’ve ran for many years, so I was already familiar with SEO.

      On the back on Spencer’s niche case study, I launched an Amazon niche site 9 days ago, and logged it in Google Webmaster Tools. I would have expected to see it into the top 50 by now, however it is still 500+.

      I was going to post here and ask if anyone knew of a good Amazon Affiliate forum where I could ask about this.

      • alistairgd says:

        *UPDATE* I should have taken 2 minutes to check today’s stats before posting. My niche site has finally entered Google at 132 position for the primary keyword.

        That’s kind of a relief, now to start working on that rank….

        • Winston says:

          Hey alistairgd,

          Do you do any backlinking? I’m new to this and I don’t do any and they seemed to be ok last time.

          If you do when do you begin making links and what kind of links do you make? Hope you can shed some light on this.

          • alistairgd says:

            I tend to launch my sites with no backlinking, depending on the global search numbers and the niche, some sites don’t need any backlinks to rank on page one.

            I launched my first amazon niche site 9 days ago with no backlinks. My intention is to do some relevant forum posting and hope that about 70% of them stick. It’s a tricky art forum posting though, so it might turn out to be a lost cause. I aim to do only 3-4 links per week for this particular niche.

            After about 2 months I will review the situation. If things are not moving along fast enough, then I will look at paying a link specialist.

    • Abhijit says:

      Hey Winston,
      Even I faced similar issue with my site which was launched in first week of June. For around 3 weeks I could only find my Disclaimer page page in the 500 results. Just kept adding content and building links, brought the site to bottom of page 2 in 4th week. During the 3 weeks Webmasters kept showing it is indexing the pages but there were no impressions.

      • Winston says:

        Abhijit,

        Same question, how do go about building links? I’m new to this. And which types of links do you find most fruitful?

        Thanks.

        • Abhijit says:

          Winston,
          From 3rd week on I did Blog Comments, Web Directories and RSS Directories. And in the 4th week Web 2.0 properties. That’s about it. However, Webmasters tools still does not show any links coming in. I guess Google has found those but haven’t yet recorded in the webmasters tool. Now, I am working on getting Press Releases, Wiki links, Doc links etc.

  40. Sonia says:

    Proof of the power of the longtail. Awesome that even though you slipped slightly in rankings for your primary keyword, your site’s income still is maintained by traffic from other keyword phrases. Interesting to see how adding your page to Google+ and perhaps links from more quality sites in the niche changes things in the future.

    So how was the Ragnar Relay? We live not far from Park City and my neighbor ran it – was a tough one for his first time.

    • Spencer Haws says:

      The Ragnar was a lot of fun! This is my second Ragnar, did the Northwest Passage in WA last year. We have a fun group that I run with, so its more like hanging out for a weekend…but also very physically demanding. Park City is great place to live by the way!

  41. Matt says:

    Nice work Spencer.
    I thought about adding Google+ authorship too but doesn’t that compromise your anonymity?

    Second, I’m considering adding a table to the homepage like some of your other commenters suggested but I’m fearing Google will penalize for too many Amazon links. I think having more than about 5 affiliate links on the homepage can cause damage. Interested to hear others thoughts on this.

    • Spencer Haws says:

      This site hasn’t been anonymous…ever. I started it by publicly sharing on my blog, so I’m not concerned with that. I have about 20 affiliate links on my homepage and I’m fine. But I also have about a 2000 word article on the homepage.

      • Matt says:

        Sorry I didn’t mean “your” anonymity literally on this site but rather it was a general comment about Google+ authorship and anonymity.

        Other sources have said 20 affiliate links is way too much but I guess it doesn’t seem to be hurting you so that’s a good piece of evidence.

  42. It’s always inspiring to see your income report, especially when you are honest enough to show the drop in income and traffic.

    I’m wondering when will you start your 2nd niche site project. Eager to hear from you soon!

    Thanks

  43. Well done Spencer! Congrats, $400+ again for the month of June. I’ve greatly inspired by your efforts and trying to create something like this for myself. I’ve just started a website and hope to make some money from it in a few months.

  44. Winston says:

    Spencer,

    I hope you’re experience can shed some light on the issues I’ve been having with newer sites (ie. created 10 or so days ago).

    I’ve been following you and the first sites I’ve built more or less followed the results you’ve been seeing (ie. early ranking, ok visits, some sales), but lately my last couple of sites made within the last 10 days or so something’s up.

    1. is there any relation between how long a site gets indexed and if google likes it or not (like google will not index a site that it deems lower content early.)? I’ve noticed the newer sites are taking longer to index, but content has been done by same set of writers and I’ve read them, they seem ok.

    2. I’ve been having things happen so I’m experimenting a bit. I had a new site I tried w/ just the home page. Good content (at least I think so) 2000+ words and after 8 days not indexed yet. So I experiment by unpublishing it after day 8, today (day 10), it gets indexed, and ranks at 26 in Long Tail Pro with no content at all but the ‘excerpt’ sentences google search shows are the first lines of the content. Weird right. What’s happening here?

    Hope you can help.

    PS. I don’t backlink any of my sites, simply because I still don’t know how at the moment.

    • Spencer Haws says:

      Sounds like Google just took a while to index your site. When they did, it was for your old content; now that your content is gone, you will likely drop in rank again unless you add some content back.

      • Winston says:

        Thanks for the reply Spencer.

        So I did what you mentioned and added the content back (it only had the home page), which made sense.

        Today in Long Tail Pro the rankings showed 500+. I really don’t get what’s happening. This is the 3rd I’ve seen this happen lately. At least for me sites started 10 days ago are doing this (which is why I doing lots of experimenting with this one).

        The sites before this went similar to how your knife site went. Am I missing something? Hope you can chime in I’m getting really frustrated.

  45. Fred says:

    Your public Niche Site Project series is the most outstanding I have ever read on niches, anywhere on the Internet. It inspired me to try my own a month ago, and I’m now around 15 SERP on Google.
    The problem I’m having is I’m getting no income from Amazon and almost nothing from Adsense. And the search volume is way below what I first saw when I registered the domain (1900/month with CPC of $0.48).
    What I was wondering is are you available on a quick consulting basis to give advice on suggestions for increasing SERP and views and what I may be doing wrong?

    • Mike says:

      Hi Fred the reason why you’re not making any money is because they’re aren’t actually 1900 searches a month theres only 46 meaning your keyword choice was wrong. You’re looking at the keyword on broad and not exact. Your keyword should be around 1000+ on exact match searches. You can switch from broad to exact on the sidebar on the google keyword tool.

    • Spencer Haws says:

      I don’t do any consulting. Just answer questions here :)

  46. Ruan says:

    Hi Spencer,

    Kudos on another successful month of earnings on your (one) niche site! Despite not putting any work into it, you still earned a decent income – true reflection of passive income indeed.

    Spencer, I am relatively new to the niche site idea but the concept has been in my mind for quite a while. I guess I just didn’t know where to start. So I recently took the dive and found a primary keyword getting around 14,800 exact local monthly searches. I went ahead and registered the EMD domain and then I joined Jon Cooper’s backlinking course.

    I am just about ready to start creating content for the site. The thing is, I am between either writing an eBook OR monetizing the site with Adsense, OR both. The thing is, Adsense is a completely new term to me and I wouldn’t know when, where and how to monetize a niche site with Adsense.

    Do you perhaps have or can you recommend a resource that will walk me through the steps of setting up a niche site and monetize it with Adsense?

    Anyway, looking forward to next month’s income report, especially after the Google + integration – it promises to be interesting indeed!

    Keep it up!

  47. Brian says:

    Congrats on the great month. Regarding google + are you going to be using your own profile or setting up a pseudonym? I would like to connect my google + page but I am not sure if I want my niche site to mix with my non niche site business i.e. my day job. Thanks again for all you do. B

    • Spencer Haws says:

      I’ll be using my regular Google+

      • Fran says:

        Hi Spencer,
        I know you said you were always going to use your real google+ and you have used your real name on this site, perhaps due to it being public. However do you ever use pen names on your other niche sites and if so might you use pen name google+ accounts etc?

        Just asking out of interest really as you seem to be against it from a couple of previous comments I read. However how can you protect the privacy of your niche sites (and therefore your affiliate accounts, google adsense accounts being targeted by jealous rivals or even more copycats) if you assign your real name and profiles to your sites.

        I chose pen names on this occasion as the subject is aimed at women and I feel they’d take the information given better form a woman. I do have a female writer doing a lot of the content though.

        Fran

  48. Max says:

    Now this is how to be productive during our vacations!

    Good job man and thanks for sharing! It really help us. :-)

  49. John P says:

    I know this sounds like a doubting question, but it isn’t. I just want to put my mind at rest, so that I can devote a good amount of my time and effort into without thinking I’m wasting my time!
    I discovered semrush a month or so back and have been looking at the traffic report it provides, for different websites.
    I’m thinking it’s got to be very inaccurate, in terms of measuring niche site visitors, because of the low search volumes for the long tails.
    The reason I say is that looking at bestsurvivalknifeguide.com it’s only reporting 3,355 unique visitors in May and 642 in June.
    Is that because it’s only guesstimating and looking at the more heavily searched KW’s?
    The dataset required to monitor keywords that get searched for less than say 50 times a month would be out of reach for it to be useable.
    Is my reasoning correct on this? And again, I’m not trying to flame, just put my mind at ease, as I always thought it was fairly accurate tool.

  50. Andy says:

    I noticed you shorten your amazon link with just the domain name + ASIN + Associate ID without the ref= tag

    is this allowed?

    How about also making the link nofollow for google to ignore it? What do you think?

  51. Karen says:

    Hey Spenser….would you mind telling me how you created that comparison table for your BestSurvivalKnifeGuide site? Did you use a plug in or hand code the table?

    Thanks in advance.

    Karen

  52. Karman says:

    Spencer!

    Way to go! Thank you for openly sharing the details of your niche site. This is very encouraging – and helps keep me (and I’m sure many others) motivated.

    Great work!
    - Karman

  53. Juan says:

    Hello Spencer. Today I check “best survival knife” and your “friend” Paul Knife went down to the 10th position, while you still kept the first one.

    Both sites has a lot of content but more links are pointing to your site.

    What have you done different since the moment he outranked you to today?

    Thanks

  54. Alex says:

    Awesome, Spencer! Thanks for the inspiring post.

    Let’s help a retired teacher to get a better house:
    http://gogetfunding.com/project/a-retired-teacher-with-a-ruined-house

  55. Pat says:

    Hey Spencer,

    I just found a guy in the Warrior Forum who is using screenshots of your earnings to sell his stuff!! It’s an exact copy of your June earnings report from Amazon. He says that one of his “students” got the results. I’m going to post on his forum and ask how this happened. We’ll see if he deletes my post.

    Here is the link (look at the first “case study” in the sales page):

    warriorforum [dot] com/warrior-special-offers-forum/813284-newbie-makes-400-using-instant-traffic-rankings-software-system.html

    • Pat says:

      After posting my question about this on the WF thread, the WSO creators immediately deleted your stolen screenshot, Spencer.

  56. Robin says:

    Hey Spencer –

    Thanks for all the great updates and info. Question for you: I notice you are using numbers (4.5 , 5, etc.) in lieu of star ratings on your knife comparison chart. Is this okay with Amazon? I know we can’t use the actual stars.

  57. Lucas Vu says:

    Hi Spencer,

    Thanks for your sharing. My niche site which is based on your template for success (obviously not related to survival) is up for almost 2 months now. My primary keyword reach 22nd position for about 2 weeks. But since I added about 7 more links from free directories, it now bounces back to 26-27th position. It has been there for 5 days now. What should I do? I appreciate your help.

  58. Brandon says:

    Hi Spencer,

    How do you shorten your Amazon affiliate links. If I try to add a product using the stripe, it comes out with this crazy long url from Amazon. I noticed that your links are much shorter. Can you share how to go about making your product affiliate links shorter. Thanks

  59. Mike says:

    Hey Spencer,

    Can you mention again why you went the Amazon route instead of Adsense? You mentioned something about your Adsense ID, but I don’t quite get it–are you afraid people would make illegal clicks on your ads and get you banned?

    • Spencer Haws says:

      Yes, that’s it – clicks, banning…also its easier to find all my other sites as well. Not worth the risk.

      • Mike says:

        Thanks Spencer. One more thing–what would you suggest other people do? Is there a limit to how many sites you have on Adsense before you should start adding? Obviously a hundred I imagine would be excessive, but what if you had 10, 20, 30, 40 niche sites–when would you know if it gets to be too much, or is it directly tied to how good of quality you’re actually putting on the site?

  60. Subbun says:

    Just need some very important information from Spencer Haws.. What I am looking that how you are doing the backlinking..

    1) Are you using any Backlinking tools?

    2) Are you using what type of backlinks like (Article Directory, web2.0, Pressrelease, Comments, Forum profile links, etc.,

    3) Are you using only High PR Root Domain Backlinks or actual page backlinks?

    4) How you made backlinks in a bulk or daily basis?

    5) Are you doing this using Outsource then where?

    Please provide more info related to backlinking to rank the site…

    Thanks in advance and waiting for your reply.

  61. Spencer,

    I noticed you are no longer on the 1st page of Google for your keyword “best survival knife” (still in good shape on Bing). Is this because you are focusing on other keywords instead? I would love to see how this will end up effecting your July earnings. Thanks so much for sharing this valuable information, its key to helping other’s in the crazy Internet Marketing world.

    • Spencer Haws says:

      Actually its been ranked #2 in Google for the past several days and doing better than ever. You must be looking at the wrong website or something. My site is BestSurvivalKnifeGuide.com :)

  62. Bryan says:

    Glad to hear that the site is doing so well. I have created one but I am still struggling to get it on the first page of Google.

    Spencer, Are you will to give some more in depth details about your niche site. Ex. Load time, bounce rate, average stay duration, and so forth.

    I think that it would be really nice to get some back and details.

  63. Mac says:

    Hi Spencer,

    This is really inspiring and motivating what you’ve put on here.

    I’m at the preparation stage to run few niche sites and I wanted to ask you one question, if it’s ok here.

    How do you manage your personalities on your many websites? I mean, do you have such a personal approach to every niche site you run or are they run ‘under cover’ or maybe under your personality, but not connected to your other resources?

    I just still struggle on how to create content – personal approach requires (I think) to expose yourself to the public, but – on the other hand – exposing yourself to the public on 10 different subjects (or hundreds, as in your case) may seem to be a bit dodgy…

    The only thing that speaks for full identity exposure is the fact that 99% of visitors are no interested in your other activity, as long as it’s not within their circle of interest (I do hope so)…

    If you could put some light on that matter I’d be really grateful.

    Best wishes
    Mac

  64. Nick says:

    Its great and depressing at the same time. I cant imagine being able to get 20K+ visitors per month. Then after achieving that having it only equal $400 a month is the depressing part. Its great just getting that money every month but if Im looking to make 10-15K per month it seems like its not possible.

  65. miguel says:

    Hi Spencer,

    have you had the chance to look at your table to adapt the link to the closest amazon site?

    I am based out of portugal and still am being sent to amazon.com

    I would always go to amazon.co.uk , for instance, to check if the product is there as they ship all over europe for free. In this case you would lose your affiliate comission.

    Let me know if you are able to sort this out, and how.

    cheers

  66. Though I saw the Newsletter late but I was glad to come over to your website. Nice achievements, Spencer. More grease. You can do more. From your online friend, Babs

  67. Craig says:

    Hi Spencer,

    Firstly, thanks for all the detailed info! I run a dropshipping site rather than a niche site, although I’m looking at experimenting with this. The principals are largely the same.

    However I was just wondering about the true profit for niche sites. Say you make $200 revenue per month, a cut to hosting and most importantly I assume that you’re spending a fair percentage of your profits paying for a freelance author to write your content? Do you consider the time that you spend on admin and maintenance as “chargeable time”?

    • Spencer Haws says:

      Craig, most of my sites get no new content each month, and because you can host 30+ sites on one hosting account – the monthly hosting cost per site is literally pennies. So, most of my sites are pure profit each month. Some sites, like my survival knife site, I am spending about some on new content each month; lets say $100. But other than that, again the hosting is less than $1/mth. And my time is usually less than an hour per month. So, for my survival knife site, each month I’m making $500 per month profit ($650 revenue last month).

      My bank account tells me its very profitable :)

  68. Amit says:

    Hi Spencer,

    Seems I got my path towards success.

    I will surely follow your tips to create a niche website.

Comments are now closed.

                    



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