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Niche Site Project Income Report for April 2013

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Want to learn step-by-step how I built my Niche Site Empire up to a full-time income?

Niche Site Project Income Report for April 2013

What started out as an idea to share the niche site building process publicly, has turned into a very interesting case study.  As I recently shared, my niche site (bestsurvivalknifeguide.com) was created in mid-February and quickly rose to the number 1 spot in Google just a week or so ago.

The site currently is bouncing between positions 1 and 3 on Google for its primary keyword “best survival knife”, and is enjoying significant traffic from lots of other keywords as well.  In my full report today, I'm going to share exactly how much traffic the site is getting and where its coming from.

In addition, I will be sharing the total amount of money made, expenses, and much more.

Traffic Stats

Before I jump right into the earnings of the site, I want to share the amount of traffic coming to the site.  First, here's a screenshot of how the traffic has grown since it was created (in mid February):

trafficjan-april
Click to Enlarge

The site has gone from ZERO visits in January to 16,709 visits in April!  That really is some amazing growth.  Now here is a screenshot of the Google Analytics for the month of April.

apriltraffic
Click to Enlarge

You will notice around April 21st when my site started bouncing up to position 1 and 2 on Google – and the traffic has consistently been higher since then.  Also, you will notice some additional that the traffic is pretty high and there are some additional peaks.

This is basically explained because of people that read NichePursuits.com checking in on my site frequently and in particular when I publish a new blog post here.  As a result, a little over 34% of the traffic coming to the site is Returning visitors.

So, really around 66% of the visitors to the site are NEW visitors, which is really still quite good.  (And even normal niche sites will have a certain amount of “returning visitors”, so the entire 34% is not all readers of my blog here).

Where is the Traffic Coming From?

Most of the traffic to the niche site is coming from Google.  However, a few other search engines are doing their best to send me a little bit of free traffic.  Here's the breakdown (I think I'll keep focusing on Google 🙂 ):

searchsourceapril

I didn't do anything to get search traffic from these other search engines.  I only did what I've already laid out extensively in this case study.

Approximately 61% of the traffic is coming from search engines, and about 33% is coming from direct traffic (a large portion of this direct traffic is probably my blog readers here).  Here's the pie chart:

trafficsourceapril

Keywords Used to Find My Site

Now we come to my second favorite part of this report (my favorite is the income), seeing all the keywords used to find my site!  I am actually surprised at the HUGE variety of keywords being used to find my site.  Sure, I expected a lot of different long tail keywords based on the various articles produced for the site; however, I'm impressed with the amount of keyword queries that are being used to find my site.

I did all my research for the primary and secondary keywords using my keyword research tool, Long Tail Pro.

Here's a couple of screenshots to show the most popular keywords and some of the longer tailed keywords:

keywordsapril1

keywordsapril2

In total, I received search engine traffic from 1,083 search queries in the month of April.  The term, “best survival knife” was by far my biggest search query, but you can see in aggregate, that MOST of my traffic is coming from other keywords.  This is normal and should be expected.

However, you will also notice that many of the keywords include either “best” or “survival knife”.  This is one reason why its important to focus on one primary keyword to start because you get both the searches for that exact keywords and lots of related searches.  Then I am clearly getting lots of searches to my additional content on the site (not just my primary article).

Income For April 2013

For the month of April, I continued to exclusively use the Amazon Associates program to monetize my site.  The income for April was $356.42!  Sweet!!

amazonapril

To remind you, the earnings in March was $83.86 (see report here).  The primary reason for the month to month increase in revenue is due to the increased traffic.

So, overall, the site has made me $440.28.

Also, out of the 149 items purchased, most of them were knives or very similar camping/survival items.  I thought some of you would find it interesting to see some of the items purchased, so here's a couple of screenshots of where my commissions came from:

aprilsales1

aprilsales2

I am using the EasyAzon plugin to insert and manage the Amazon affiliate links on my site.  The plugin makes it much quicker to find and insert links as well as change certain settings (like cloaking, ad previews, and more).

Overall Expenses

Seeing the income is nice, but its also important to take a look at the expense side of things.  I've detailed previously here what my expenses had been up to that point; however, I am going to cover everything here.

  • Domain name with Privacy: $10
  • Hosting with Bluehost: $17.85 (3 months at $5.95/mth).  However, I also can share this hosting account with other sites, so the true expense is spread out with lots of sites.
  • Articles: $392.  There are currently 22 articles on the site. (So, that's an average of $17.82/article…yes this is more than I usually pay).
  • Link Building: $244. About $25 for a VA to submit my site to web directories; then $219 for link building service through LayeredLinks.com.  A big part of the influence for my overall link building strategy came from the Link Building course called Point Blank SEO.  I highly recommend it if you want to do your own link building or learn more about how a good link building strategy should work.
  • Graphics: $50
  • I am using the Niche Website Theme (which I created) on my niche site.  Since I already own the product, I'm not putting it as an expense.  However, its currently being sold at a discount right here.

So, in total, I've spent $713.85.  Subtracting my overall income leaves me with a net loss of $273.57.  If this site does as well as it did in April, I will turn a profit in May.  And I actually expect that the site will earn more in May than April because it should have a full month near the top of Google.

My expenses will also be significantly less as many listed above were one-time costs.  I may spend another $100 or so on articles in May, but that should be about it for the expense side.  So, if I hit my goal of earnings $500/mth starting in May; I will have a passive income stream of $500 each month on a total investment of less than $900!   That's a really high Return on Investment obviously.

Plans Going Forward

Overall, I am SUPER happy with the way this niche site has turned out.  The site is doing very well, and I hope the success continues for a long time to come.  My plans going forward are fairly simple at this point.  I will continue to add between 5 and 10 articles to the site in May, and possibly in June as well.  Depending on how the site is doing, I will re-evaluate in a month or so if I should ramp up the content even more or if I should just leave the site as is.

I have been building a small email list, but haven't quite figured out what to do with it yet.  I have a 4 part auto-responder series that is likely bringing people back to the site, but I'd like to explore some affiliate opportunities.  Hopefully in May, I can find a good fit.  I currently have 67 subscribers on the survival knife email list.  I could likely add a ton more by adding a splash page or pop up.

Your Thoughts

As always, I want to be as open about this case study as possible.  I think that I've provided some valuable stats, screenshots, and more on this income report that can help you evaluate what's going on with my niche site. However, I also know that you may have additional questions that you would like clarification on…I'm here for you!

So, please leave any thoughts or questions that you might have below.

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235 Comments for this Post

  1. JP

    JP

    Astounding!

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      🙂 Thanks JP!

      • kiem tien

        kiem tien

        It seems the affiliate model niche site is bringing profit faster than monetizing with adsence.

    • Iain

      Iain

      I’m with you on that on JP.

      I am completely astounded as well. I suppose I shouldn’t be Spencer is a pretty skilled person.

      I couldn’t have imagined him not being successful.

      I mean based on all the of the knowledge he has laid out, he knows his stuff. I can’t ague with that at all.

      Now, if only I could do it as well as he can. 😛

  2. Oluwaseun Babajide

    Oluwaseun Babajide

    Well done.

  3. Bradley (Domain Spoon)

    Bradley (Domain Spoon)

    Wow. That is some amazing growth, Spencer. Absolutely crazy. Since some of the traffic can be attributed to you revealing your site on your blog, I’m very glad you posted screenshots of your Amazon sales. Hard sales numbers don’t lie. I bet they will be even better next month, and then this project will be in the green already.

    Speaking of which, thanks for holding nothing back in this case study. Honestly, I don’t know if I would have had the stones to publicly reveal my niche and site like you have (due the problems that you’ve already encountered), but it seems to have turned out very well.

    • CLAYM

      CLAYM

      Inspiring. Thanks for the case study.

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Thanks Brad. Yes, I wanted to provide as many screenshots of everything for not only proof, but just to show people the inside workings of the site. And yes, I didn’t reveal any of my niche sites since I’ve created my blog for the reasons you mentioned, but finally pulled the trigger on this one 🙂

  4. Kyle Kittleson

    Kyle Kittleson

    You are incredible! Good job! Still trying to get one of my freaken sites to just RANK! ugh. Keeping the faith. Thanks for all you do!

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Best of luck Kyle…hopefully some information I provide here will help out.

  5. Mike From Maine

    Mike From Maine

    All the long tail traffic is amazing.

    I’m wondering if building a list for this type of a site is the best way to go. I’m thinking you might be better off just monetizing straight off with Amazon affiliate links, unless you have another super-targeted product to sell them.

    Keep it up!

    • David Michael

      David Michael

      Can’t hurt, though!

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      I agree Mike…its hard to say if building an email list will be effective until I find the right offer. Its certainly a big niche with lots of products, so it potentially could be great to have a large list…

      • David McHale

        David McHale

        One way to monetize it could be to set up some code to monitor the RSS feed of Amazon Deals of The Day for anything with the keyword knife and then send an email to your subscriber list with an affiliate link for the deal.

  6. David Michael

    David Michael

    So exciting to watch. 🙂

  7. The Frugal Exerciser

    The Frugal Exerciser

    How much did you know about the subject before you set up your site?

  8. Quinton Hamp

    Quinton Hamp

    Dude! Thanks for going back-to-basics with this case study. Incredible value in these posts, and I have really appreciated watching you stretch yourself publicly and excel in a new field.

    A lot of us (myself included) have been hesitant to re-enter the “niche/affiliate” site business again after Penguin. You have successfully re-buoyed a lot of small IM dreamers and given them new focus.

    Many Congrats.

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Thanks Quinton…I appreciate it!

  9. Justin

    Justin

    Great report, Spencer!

    I’m wondering about an email list for the site as well.

    You know what would be interesting…to see you continue to take the site up the value chain. Add other, related product lines and maybe (eventually) turn it into a dropshipping site if the traffic continues to grow. (Or even source the products directly). That would be a pretty amazing journey to follow, I think.

    On a side note – How long have you been with Infusionsoft? Do you like it? Was it difficult to learn? We’ve been looking at Office Autopilot Vs. Infusionsoft and think we’re going with OAP, but would be interested to hear your thoughts…

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      I agree Justin, I probably should have discussed the potential of this site a bit more on this post. If it continues to do well, it WOULD be interesting to see if I could turn it into a dropshipping business or get involved in related products. I likely will grow and expand the site…because of all you watching 🙂

      I’ve been with Infusionsoft for about 7 or 8 months. Very difficult to learn, also very powerful. I actually like a lot of things about Aweber better, but I think long term infusionsoft is a great choice (they are investing alot in their product). Hit me up privately if you want to discuss more…

      • Justin

        Justin

        Will do, man. Supposedly OAP and Infusionsoft are somewhat similar, with IS being a bit more powerful and OAP being (supposedly) more user-friendly. (Good for a non-tech like me, heh)

  10. Steve Eason

    Steve Eason

    As usual Spencer, you rock! Great experiment and amazing results. I love what you’ve done here and I think you need to do it again. In June, you need to do the same thing again and see if you can’t beat this site. What do you think?

    Maybe you should join in the Niche Site Challenge 2 with Pat Flynn. He’s starting it up again if you didn’t see that already. I know you were involved a little in that after it got started if I remember correctly.

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      I DO plan on doing another niche site project (as I mentioned at the beginning of this year). However, I’m actually thinking maybe I will reveal WHAT I am doing on this second site and NOT reveal it until its ranked at the top of Google. This might be more interesting to see because the case study won’t be affected by my readers here at all.

      I actually just recorded a podcast with Pat and we discussed his niche site duel #2…should be interesting! And perhaps I will participate in some way…we’ll see.

      • Chris Desatoff

        Chris Desatoff

        Yeah, I was thinking about this too, Spencer.

        For your next niche study, maybe keep your blog readers updated with what you’re doing, but DON’T reveal your domain, keywords, or niche for the first several months (if at all). That way, you can keep everything “uncontaminated” — by both followers and haters.

        • Spencer Haws

          Spencer Haws

          Yep, this may be the way I go on the next one.

      • Jon

        Jon

        I think that is a great idea Spencer. . . it will prove to people that KEYWORD in fact is the most important not blog readership, links, or anything else.

  11. daniel

    daniel

    I’m folowing your results closely. Can u give a bit more details about LayeredLinks.com, for how many keywords or anchor text have u used it? How long it took to see the results. Already doing some link building but results are slow.

  12. costin

    costin

    what service have u used for – VA to submit my site to web directories ?

  13. Chris

    Chris

    Really impressive, Spencer!!!

    Does the easy azon plugin work seamlessly with TablePress?

    I thought I had read in one of your previous posts that you were creating .csv and then uploading via Tablepress.

    How are you using the two together (easy azon + tablepress)??

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      I am using the two together, but I wouldn’t call it “seamlessly”. Essentially I created all the links with EasyAzon, but then I had to manually copy and paste the links into my CSV file, which I then uploaded. Although, once the table is uploaded, you can manually edit the links or whatever directly in wordpress (from the plugin page). So, it works with just a little extra effort.

      • Miguel M

        Miguel M

        HEY Spencer, first of all i want to congratulate you on this great project and for you sharing so many details with all of us. I got so inspired that i definitely decided to do my own!

        One question – why didn’t you use the feature of easyazon that finds the amazon store closest to where your customer is? For instance, i am based in Portugal and it still takes me to the amazon.com while i would have a huge advantage to buy it from amazon.co.uk (who delivers for free all around Europe for any purchase above 35 pounds).

        Is it because it would mess-up with Tablepress?

  14. Kyle Kittleson

    Kyle Kittleson

    Spencer I think you have done a great job detailing the entire process of creating this niche site. And again, thank you!

    My only suggestion is that I wish you would focus more on the back-end of WordPress SEO. Not necessarily a WordPress tutorial, but how us newbies can make sure we have all the right “bells and whistles” turned on and functioning properly.

    For example, I figured out today that my “slug” on my static page was “sample-page.” I changed it immediately to my keyword. I don’t know if this even matters – but if it does, this is something I would have benefited from knowing earlier.

    Not sure if this all makes sense. Hopefully it does.

    My only other question is that when using LTP Platinum, can you get dinged by Google by checking your sites ranking too much?

  15. cubicle free Quinn

    cubicle free Quinn

    Hey Spencer, Great result!
    What about selling your own knife on the site or one from another supplier with a higher margin? You could even sell your knife through Amazons own store and use your site to get reviews etc…Also like the idea of building a list so that you could turn vistors into much higher margins. Thanks for sharing. Quinn

  16. Adam

    Adam

    Nice work Spencer.
    I have never used layeredlinks.com, but it looks like it may have been useful. Have you used them before for your sites and do you recommend?
    Thanks for sharing.
    Adam

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Yes, I’ve used them before – recommended (sure wish they had an affiliate program 🙂 ).

  17. Nate

    Nate

    How did you like the layered links service? Worth the $? Or have you covered that question somewhere already?

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Yes, was worth it because its so hands off – and it works.

  18. Dori Sam

    Dori Sam

    Hi Spencer , these results are awesome . If you were to flip this site as it is , you will certainly bring in $3k +

    Cheers

    ————

    • Chris Desatoff

      Chris Desatoff

      Hey Spencer, I sent you an email regarding Dori’s idea (selling the site). I think you’ll find the link in there very interesting.

      Laters

    • Bas

      Bas

      3k seems to be very low for this site

  19. John Gibb

    John Gibb

    Hey Spencer

    Congrats, once again, for your effort to take your niche site next level, from month to month, and create probably the most spectacular (Amazon) affiliate case study…

    I have a few quick questions for you…

    1. What’s the difference between Amazon and third-part products? Are the later not shipped from Amazon or maybe cheaper?

    2. Since you’re using the EasyAzon plugin… does it mean you don’t log into your Amazon account and find individual knifes/other products to promote/grab the link from? Does it have a built-in product finder already?

    3. Can we get credit for Amazon sales that come from referrals clicking on our site that already have their own Amazon client account?

    4. You once said that you had to join the UK Amazon affiliate program… and other countries… is there a reason why? And how does that work for you?

    5. What’s your take on automated link-building software like magic submitters and social media posters vs. manual link building/commenting/back-link networks?

    6. What’s your favorite back-links indexing service? Why?

    Hope it’s enough for you… going to take off for now, my eyes hurt a bit.

    Cheers!

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Hey John:
      Here’s some quick answers:
      1. third-party products are sold by other companies (not shipped by Amazon) on Amazon.com.
      2. I don’t have to log in to amazon to create affiliate links. Built-in product finder. Quick search.
      3. Yes.
      4. I did join the other country affiliate programs because EasyAzon will detect what country the user is from and send them to the correct Amazon page. (I wouldn’t get credit for sales made in the UK/Canada otherwise). I didn’t make any sales outside of just Amazon.com this month.
      5. I don’t typically like auto-mated software for link building.
      6. Don’t use them; but I hired LayeredLinks.com and maybe they did.

      • Brett

        Brett

        Haven’t heard of LayeredLinks.com but looks like a decent amount/quality of links for a good price. Do you point ALL of their links to your niche site or some also to your tier 2 articles/sites?

  20. Miki Vicioso

    Miki Vicioso

    Definitely looking good. Keep it up! Thats a really good investment right there.

  21. Cool Math Games

    Cool Math Games

    Another big WOW again and again for your Huge achievements Bro. Spencer, I totally agreed with @Bradley that its hard to put your site on public due to security and to avoid unexpected jealousy from competitor. But with your super revealing Thesis it makes me feel more motivated. I Thank you for that.. a lot.

  22. Chris Desatoff

    Chris Desatoff

    That’s awesome, Spencer! I’m so jealous, but in a good way. I would love to see you scale this up. I mean, why not, right?

    My new niche sites are now just over a month old and barely getting a trickle of traffic. So, I guess I’m going to have to get right back into following through with all the steps you’ve taken here in this study.

    Backlinking is boring, but it’s gotta be done =)

    Aloha, Chris

    • Adam

      Adam

      backlinking is niche site gold… most people dont want to invest in it or do it.

      • Doug

        Doug

        Fully agree Adam. It’s a good thing though as it makes it easier to beat them 🙂

  23. Greg

    Greg

    That’s fantastic Spencer. I really hope you hit the $500 mark in May. I think it’s really important to set an earning goal when starting a new site. Much better than just building a site and hoping for the best. It makes it so much more rewarding when you make it and it provides confidence when selecting new niches down the road. Thanks for sharing your progress.

  24. Nick LeRoy

    Nick LeRoy

    Congrats Spencer. I published my income report for a public niche site last night. My site, unfortunately, took a bit of a dip in the keywords it was targeting but made up with long tail traffic. Of course, this site was found using LTP so thanks.

    Curious, have you found any copycat websites pop up yet? It seems like ever since Pat Flynn shared his security guard website you see a ton of copycats or atleast every other domain ending in HQ now.

    • Chris Desatoff

      Chris Desatoff

      I’ve seen at least 2 copycats (can’t remember the domains, though). But both of them were only half-baked efforts compared to what Spencer’s doing with his site.

      My guess is that they tried to copy, but weren’t willing to shell out the money for a good theme, header, backlinks, etc.

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      I have noticed a couple of copycats (others have pointed them out to me), but none of them are doing very well from what I can see.

      • Gil

        Gil

        Great job Spencer- so inspirational!

        I find it very interesting that the copy cat sites aren’t doing so well. Care to speculate on what are doing or not doing?

        Also two quick questions, please – I’ve never used Amazon:
        1. Are the customer ratings being pulled dynamically.
        2. I see you can sort by headings. Is that the plugin doing that function?

        Thanks so much for sharing your process.

  25. Toni Rizzuto

    Toni Rizzuto

    Hey Spencer

    Really great case study, your helping out BIG TIME. Not many can do what you have done on here.

    What are your thoughts on Alex Becker from Source Wave. Really don’t know what to make of him?

    Toni

  26. darren

    darren

    What would you speculate your earnings would be if you used Adsense?

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      That’s a tough one. Since I haven’t tested, I don’t really know what the CTR or earnings per click would be. I actually think this might be one niche where Amazon is more than Adsense. But I actually have sites that get less traffic than this that earn more with Google Adsense (but its a totally different niche that wouldn’t work with Amazon).

      • Jason

        Jason

        Interesting point. Could your share a couple of keyword examples or ideas which are effective for Adsense? I have 2 product based sites but have no clue for where to start for Adsense sites.

        • Spencer Haws

          Spencer Haws

          There are millions. Pat flynns: Security Guard Training is a perfect example though.

  27. Josh

    Josh

    Hey Spencer,
    Congrats on another awesome money maker! I just got Long Tail Platinum, and I’m ready to get cracking. I was wondering who you would recommend for article writing, and how much they charge? Anyway, I really appreciate the great content. The info you provide both here and in the Long Tail Classroom makes me think that I might actually be able to succeed online! Thanks a lot, and keep it up!

    Josh

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      I’ve used either Textbroker.com or hired someone on Elance.com.

      • Anton

        Anton

        First, congratulations on the really great success with the project Spencer!

        I have more detailed question on how exactly do you give orders to the writer(s) either on TextBroker or Elance?

        I checked the content of the project site and the quality of reviews is really good, with a personal touch (like one person wrote the whole site).

        Did you give them specific resources to research before writing, some sample reviews with format that you liked, or just gave them the keyword, explained in more general words and let them do the rest of work themselfves?

        I’m asking because since I initially was writing all the content myself, I still have this crazy perfectionist habit to dig the resources, compile a list, and give detailed explanations on approximate format and storyline of writing. That’s kind of doing half of the writer’s work myself!

        That takes me a lot of time to do actually.

        Could you please explain in more detail how you approach content ordering?

        • Spencer Haws

          Spencer Haws

          The articles are very good and mostly written by one person hired on Elance. He is a camping and survival expect with lots of experience with knives. So I gave him very little instructions – I essentially told him I wanted reviews done on specific knives. I didn’t give him any keywords to use – just the titles of the articles. So its all very natural and he could write the review how he felt – either positive or negative about the knife.

          Honestly, I pretty much found a good writer and then let him write how he wanted, in his own voice.

        • Mark

          Mark

          How can someone write a good review without having the actual knife? I guess they “make it up” from reading other reviews online.

        • Spencer Haws

          Spencer Haws

          There’s an incredible amount of detail available online about knives and all other products. Close up pictures, materials used, sizes, and much more. When you’ve used a ton of knives – like my author has – you know what makes a good knife. You don’t have to own something to know its made of poor quality or good quality material, etc.

        • Brett

          Brett

          This is so cool Spencer, well done brother. Been following your site for a while and really appreciate all of the great content/tips, especially this recent case study.

          Would you be willing to email me the contact info for your elance writer? He did a great job. I’ve found a great keyword in the camping/survival niche and could use a good writer. It’s tough finding a good/quality copywriter. Would really appreciate it, and don’t worry it’s not the same niche.

          KEEP CRUSHING IT!

        • Spencer Haws

          Spencer Haws

          Brett, I would, but I actually know this author is swamped…and I’m likely to keep giving him more work. So, I’m going to be selfish with him for a bit since I have more work for him to do…sorry! (However, you would be surprised on what you can find on elance…I’m sure there are others that could do a great job).

        • Anton

          Anton

          Thanks for the great explanation Spencer!

          For niche sites, I guess it’s indeed a great strategy to hire a person that has good experience in the field.

          I too mostly work with 1 writer because she just grasps all my requirements and always produces great output.

  28. Casey

    Casey

    This is awesome Spencer! Now that you have all those long-tail searches in your analytics, you can create posts around them.

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Yes indeed, great thinking. I have alot of excellent data to help me going forward.

  29. kemal

    kemal

    excellent job spencer,

    i have a question for you;

    i used to make $500-$600 from adsense every single month in the past. but then something happened and I become a big failure on more than 20 sites. I dont understand what is going on. For example my one year old site is ranking 200 for its primary keyword. After a year when I create just only one single backlink with phrase-match anchor text, then my site losts ranking and never come back again. I tried this with more than 20 sites.

    Please help me, whats wrong?

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      I don’t know obviously without seeing the sites. Could be one of a hundred things. I just recommend trying to follow what I’ve done here.

      • kemal

        kemal

        thanks for your fast reply,sure you can’t say without seeing. both you,pat and some other marketers has done successfull niche projects. It’s 90% clean but some little blind points.

        For example web2.0’s linking to our money site. How to create them? Before the main site go live or after. One post on 2.0’s to get indexed and 2nd with backlink to money site or just one single post with the backlink to money site.

        Please go deeper about these,

        And also thanks for your awesome posts.

  30. Johan

    Johan

    Hi Spencer,

    I really appreciate what you are doing here. Sharing all of this information so we can learn from your experiences.

    One thing I did notice was the amount of traffic you are getting from the different search engines, especially from the major players (Google, Bing and Yahoo). With a quick calculation, it seems like you are getting 97% of your search traffic from Google. However if you check the market share of searches, it is said that Google has only a market share of +- 67%. With my sites I also receive most of my search traffic from Google (Always more that 90%). Does this mean that Google is actually getting more traffic and searches than what is being shown by the “Gurus”, or am I missing something here. I would love to hear your thoughts on this.

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      I’ve also always experienced the same thing – 95%+ always coming from Google. Not sure why other search engines don’t get more as you can publicly see what the market share is, and Google is not at 95%. (Do a google search on that 🙂 )

  31. Jon

    Jon

    Very nice Spencer. I appreciate you laying out ALL of your expenses. This provides a nice understanding of how, where, etc money need to go in order to get a site where it needs to be. When tied in with the other tips taught in this project I think you have laid out a great path to build a growing authority site.

  32. Tigue Burgess

    Tigue Burgess

    Thanks again for all your openness with this project, I admire your courage to reveal as much as you do and your skill at your craft.
    This is so just-in-time for me because I am building a amazon site too (in an unrelated niche) I have been following very closely to pick up any tips I can.
    My site is about a month old and has been sitting in the mid 20’s on Google, but bounced up to #20 today (page 2 baby) I have not been doing any link building at all yet, although the domain came with about a dozen links from 2 domains so I am sure this is helping as they look to be legit. (one is a business directory and one is a forum, both related to the niche) I am building out articles and product pages to flesh out the site so I am not planning on promoting it until it has a bit more content.
    Sorry for the rambling but this brings me to my question, I notice on your site you are putting up reviews of the products you promote, where I have several longer articles with links to product pages, but mostly just product info, like a product description, on the actual product pages. What is your feeling on this?

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      I think that should be fine as well. Best of luck with your site!

  33. Ron Malibu

    Ron Malibu

    This is great Spencer – really inspirational to see how you’ve taken an idea, used your resources and tools, and turned it into a stream of passive income. Thanks so much for sharing your toolkit too!

    One thing I would like to ask is how much of your own time you put it?

    I’m just getting started on all this and trying to figure out how someone accounts for their time.

    Thanks!

  34. Melody

    Melody

    Quite impressive. You’ve renewed my wanting to make money via niche sites 🙂

  35. Vladimir Bestic

    Vladimir Bestic

    Why don’t you filter traffic in Google analytics?

    You can create javascript code on niche pursuits that will create a cookie when someone come to niche pursuits

    Then you can filter out all traffic with that cookie from analytics.

    That will filter traffic even if someone search for that keyword on google (if they visited niche pursuits in the past)

    if you want i can email you full instrucions to do this 🙂

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Interesting. Didn’t realize I could do this. This obviously wouldn’t change the earnings of the site, but it will help see where the traffic is coming from.

  36. Kerry

    Kerry

    We are all in awe, amazing!

    My question: You have talked about using Amazon or Adsense. What is your thoughts on using both on a niche site?

    Thanks for sharing!

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      I would probably use both if the site wasn’t public. (I’m hesitant about putting my adsense code for everyone to see).

  37. Bill D-G

    Bill D-G

    Thank you for sharing Spencer. This IM world is full of “special offers” that lead to nothing but dead ends. It’s wonderful that you’ve taken the time to give so much good, accurate information.

  38. Donald W

    Donald W

    By Copycats do you mean people making exact replicas on survival knives or other sites that followed your model in a different niche? Also how long typically without a successful blog does a, starting from scratch, niche website take to rank in google without backlinks ? I know you have probably mentioned this somewhere but I’ve lost it. Also congratulations this has been a great learning experience and I appreciate all that you do!

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Yes, there are some copycats targeting the exact same keywords. Feel free to copy the STRATEGIES in another niche though, I encourage that.

      All my niche sites need some kind of backlinks to rank (usually). 90 days is usually a good rule of thumb or when a niche site should be ranking.

  39. Bryant Dodd

    Bryant Dodd

    Spencer was the 50.00 you paid for graphics the knife images or does amazon provide images? Nice site by the way.

    Bryant

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      The $50 was for my graphic designer to design the header. I’m using images from Amazon.

  40. Mark

    Mark

    Hi Spencer,

    Thanks for everything. I’ve been following this project for a week now and I’ve started my first niche site because of you – I’m taking the exact steps you did, only a different niche obviously.

    I have a question, regarding the LayerdLinks service. I assume that they provided you with some kind of report detailing all the lists they built. I would really, REALLY like to see it, or at least part of it, if that’s something you’d be willing to share? I would check it myself but due to all those cheesy worthless links someone built to your site to make things harder for you it’s tough to find 🙂

    I would particularly like to see the following ones:

    Squidoo lens
    Press Release
    Web 2.0 properties
    Wiki Properties

    I feel this would be fantastic and would help everyone get a better understanding of the actual backlinking process, which I do believe for many is the biggest hurdle.

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Yes they did give a report. I’ll have to consider whether to share this exact report though.

      • Mark

        Mark

        Hi Spencer,

        It really doesn’t have to be the full report, that’s probably asking too much. Just a small part of it would do. We all know how Bookmarking sites and blog comments work, for example, so there’s nothing new there to learn for anyone.

        The Web 2.0 properties would be the absolutely most interesting I think, and if you could share just that, I’d bow to you.

  41. Enda McLarnon

    Enda McLarnon

    Isn’t success a great thing to motivate us all? Not many would have shared what you have done to achieve this so a very big thank you for that.

    I have used your Long Tail Pro for keywords and one site is ranking No 3 in Google built the same as yours (different niche of course and in the UK) and made it there in about 4 weeks.

    The second site is only up 2 weeks and on Page 3 already and slowly climbing up. (a few pages and 3 articles only so far)

    I have paid for many courses in the past and yet your information freely given has done more for me in 6 weeks than all the courses put together.

    If I can ever repay the favour just ask – not sure how I can but know that I would.

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Wow, THANK YOU Enda for the kind words! It is SO great to hear that you are having success with the strategies I’m teaching. Thank you!!

  42. Jon

    Jon

    Looks like you’ve got 90%+ anchor text with the phrase “best survival knife” — that is pretty aggressive.

    Will be interesting to watch if the site can avoid getting hit by Penguin (or whatever algo update Google uses)

  43. Jon Haver

    Jon Haver

    Very impressive traffic stats! Of course there will be some people coming from this site to your site but your Amazon sales can’t lie and even with the likely poor converting traffic from this site your value per visitor is still $0.02.

    With this being one of your first Amazon focused sites how does your value/visitor compare to your AdSense sites? and are you considering switching any of your AdSense sites to be more focused on Amazon products?

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Its pretty good. I do have several adsense sites that earn more per visitor, but as a whole this is pretty decent. I won’t be switching any of my existing sites over to Amazon, but I may be build more Amazon sites in the future based on the success of this one.

  44. Itachi

    Itachi

    Excellent results! and thanks for sharing your data with us.

  45. Nicolai

    Nicolai

    Hi Spencer Haws !
    I can see you are so pro in “Long term keywords”
    So may I know how many keywords I should focus on for each niche site ?
    Thank you very much and hope you will get big income in May.

  46. Chris @ Stumble Forward

    Chris @ Stumble Forward

    Awesome to see the great success Spencer. It’s great to see all the numbers on how things are working for you. I’ve learned a lot about building niche sites from your survival knife site.

    I’m planning to start my second niche site shortly. However, one of my biggest issues is finding the correct topic. My first niche site failed to hit a few key points, but most of the problem stems around not picking the right keyword, and not researching my topic correctly.

    However, it wasn’t all bad because it was an incredible learning experience for me. Thanks for all the great tips.

  47. Tung Tran

    Tung Tran

    Awesome. I was blown away Spencer.

    16k+ visitors in one month. It was incredible!

    I have to work out a way that will improve the traffic and earning of my niche site as well.

    You are such an amazing inspiration!

    Thank you 🙂

  48. Ben

    Ben

    Even if you don’t reach your goal of $500 monthly that’s still an incredible total. I am trying to adopt your strategy but I’ve only reached page 4 on google. Boohoo.

  49. Mark

    Mark

    Does anyone know if there is a timelag between backlinks showing up in “backlink checker” services and them providing juice to Google SERP?

    I ask because I have built a bunch of links and I believe my site has benefitted but when I run backlink checker tools I don’t see these links.

    Thanks

  50. boy

    boy

    From the stat what I’ve seen is the major incoming links comes from your primary keyword, which you may easily get from free google tools.

    Please explain what you mean by “in aggregate, that MOST of my traffic is coming from other keywords”.

    Thanks and congrats for the inspiration

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      I posted an image of my Google analytics above showing what keywords were bringing in all the traffic. Most of the traffic came from keywords other than “best survival knife”.

      • boy

        boy

        understood but those are only ones..

  51. Eric

    Eric

    Hey Spencer, thanks for the absolutely fabulous content on this site. It’s so refreshing to have an internet marketing blogger share their actual numbers & methods for success. I’m wondering if you could comment on the strategy of renting high PR links versus buying back links. Have you experimented with high PR link networks before?

  52. Rob

    Rob

    Congrats. A couple questions…

    Why does the main number 1 keyword from the list show as (not provided)?

    What factor(s) will ultimately determine when, what, and how much content you will add or whether or not you do nothing? Example: Would it be current rank in SERPS, current amount of monthly visitors, current earnings, or other? Also if you could explain the reasons behind any of those choices such as why would you stand pat, why add content, etc.

    This was an excellent case study and it reinforces the spend money to make money philosophy as well as shows how skilled you are in finding, identifying, and hitting a profitable niche. Others may build 5-10 without having looked at it from enough angles to get it right, well done!

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      A “not provided” query means that Google doesn’t reveal it when someone is LOGGED IN to their Google account when they do a search query. This is part of their privacy policy implemented a couple of years ago. Its unfortunate that you can know longer see where all the traffic is coming from. (Likely alot of that “not provided” are people searching for “best survival knife” and other related keywords).

      I would add content based on earnings.

  53. Mike

    Mike

    This is amazing Spencer. You are just flat out brilliant. What blows my mind is that just this niche site on it’s own would be completely impressive to my finances. I can’t imagine that you know exactly how much of an inspiration, teacher and coach you are to me and likely to many others. Thank you so much for keeping up with this project. Because of it and you, I’ve created my first site and it’s already on the 4th page of google for my PKW with no links at all!

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Thank you Mike for the kind words!…Best of luck with you site.

  54. Marty

    Marty

    Nice one Spencer, congrats on your success!

    Just wondering how this site compares to your previous sites in terms of time taken to reach no. 1 and the amount of long tails.

    I know you mentioned you don’t normally spend as much on articles so just wondering if higher quality articles means lower bounce rate, more time on site etc. and if that has had an impact?

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Its reached #1 a little faster than normal. Although around 90 days is not unusual (so this was about a month faster than usual…at least). Some sites takes six months though (or never 🙁 ). The long tails are actually a bit better than usual on this site as well.

      I do think the higher quality articles are producing more time on site and lower bounce rates. I’m likely to keep hiring more quality authors for future sites.

      • Marty

        Marty

        Cool thanks Spencer, good info to know.

        It’s been a bit of a juggling act with Adsense and time on site e.g. when I improve the position of my ads I get better CTR but my avg. time on site goes way down!

  55. I'm IM

    I'm IM

    AWESOME! Spencer, your niche site project inspire me to make my niche site

    Thank,

  56. JONY

    JONY

    HI SPENCER, WHAT HAPPEN IF SOMEONE BUILD ANOTHER NICHE SITE TARGETING KEYWORDS BEST SURVIVAL KNIFE? I WISH I CAN SINCE YOU ALREADY PROVE THE NICHE HAVE VERY GOOD POTENTIAL 🙂

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      I’d say find your own niche, because this one is just going to keep getting more competitive with a bunch of copy cats (you aren’t the only one). You’ll make more money if you find a less competitive niche. Seriously.

  57. Hasan

    Hasan

    Awesome! You are getting so much traffic and making money so rapidly. Tell us how you get that traffic.

  58. Terry

    Terry

    Congratulations! You have done a great job! Thank you for sharing this project with us!

  59. Stuart

    Stuart

    Another awesome post Spencer, this is really inspiring stuff.

    I will be using some of this to help me with my niche site building soon….

    Keep up the good work!

    Stuart

  60. neale

    neale

    Spencer thanks for sharing this case study. I have followed it very closely. It has helped me to see a lot of the mistakes I was making and what I can do going forward.

    For the record I started a site just after you with an equally competitive KW #2 after a month with only two mega pages on the site. Two directory links and a couple of FB shares is all it has taken. The keyword research is huge and LTPP is the most useful tool I have today. I find it hard to find viable KW’s with the Volume you found though.

    As to the copycat sites I have found 90% of them by searching for unique strings on your site. Most have just ripped the text and changed a few words, they are not doing well. Many have targeted competitive KW’s they are not doing well. A few have pretty much re written everything just maintaining the Idea of a table etc they are doing well.

    The Data aspect of this case study is very interesting to me, by simply following your lead I compiled data on 128 products a lot of hours yep. What I got though was lots of ideas for new pages that don’t exist on the web and an education on the product, that allows me to create a site that has value. Compiling that data is tedious at best but I believe it to be a key ingredient in creating websites that will stand the test of time.

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Thank you Neale…interesting comment!

  61. Damon

    Damon

    Thanks for your report,I learn a lot from your blog.

  62. Joe Can Write

    Joe Can Write

    That is amazing! Once you break even and start making $500 a moth from this site is will be a great achievement!

    Then you should start another one to prove it wasn’t a one off 😉

    You could sell the site for 10x$500 = $5000 and build 10 more. Or just keep it and watch the money come in each month.

    Did you cover the link building you did in another post? I didn’t realise you spend $200 on links already.

    Great work!

    • neale

      neale

      It’s probably worth more like 20 X monthly income. Creating others that performs equally well is a hard nut to crack 🙂

      • Spencer Haws

        Spencer Haws

        Yes, I could sell my site for 20x monthly earnings. I could easily list it on http://empireflippers.com/marketplace/ – all their listing are 20x monthly earnings…and they always sell. So if I hit $500/mth in earnings, I could turn around and sell it for $10,000.

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Yes, I covered the link building I did in detail here: http://www.nichepursuits.com/how-my-niche-site-ranked-1-in-google-in-62-days/. And I’ve also already started a few new sites since starting this one :). (And I already have a couple hundred sites that I started long before this one…I’ve been doing this a long time) 🙂

  63. doddy

    doddy

    amazing!!

    hi spencer, is your best survival knife guide website is same as your adsense site?

    i mean the look, the way you build , etc…

    sorry for my bad english 🙂

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Yep, pretty much exactly the same. Only difference is that I add Adsense ads.

  64. Jamie

    Jamie

    Hi Spencer

    I have a suggestion for you to make a lot more money.

    1) Source the same products direct from supplier.

    2) Use Fulfillment by Amazon (send all the stock to Amazon and add your own listings on Amazon. Amazon deal with sending products to customers and customer service issues)

    3) Still use the referral links and earn associates commision on top!

    Hope this helps. Thanks for your inspiring work!
    Keep it up!

    Jamie

    • neale

      neale

      If you only knew just how hard it is on Amazon 🙂 Firstly you need a crawler to update prices hourly, so your winning the buy box, otherwise you will not sell a lot. Margins are around 10% for knives on a good day. 7% for just promoting the product is a gift and not to be viewed lightly.

      • neale

        neale

        I forgot 15% commission to Amazon.. I’m pretty sure you can not get commission back on your own products as an affiliate.

        • Jamie

          Jamie

          Source knives that are not already on Amazon as well.

          I am sure if you search around and go direct to suppliers you can get much better margins than 10%

        • neale

          neale

          Coming from a company that was a large outdoor retailer I can tell you it is very hard. If it is not on amazon it probably has no market. In the rare instance you find a unique product that sells well, be sure Amazon will go source it themselves and under cut you. Their whole business model is getting third party sellers to list products and supply data, then picking the winners and selling them, themselves and using your data. It’s a brilliant business model 🙂

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Thanks Jamie – I have to weigh whether the extra time is worth the money to do something like this. I could spend my time building new sites or try getting into the knife business…

      • Justin

        Justin

        LOL @ getting into the knife business, Spencer! 🙂

  65. PF

    PF

    Really have to give you props and big thanks for putting this together for your readers and all for free!

    Might just be the most honest case study I’ve seen of its kind.

    Thanks for the awesome share!

    PF

  66. Anne

    Anne

    This is great! All the best in meeting your sites’ future plans!

  67. Melody

    Melody

    Frankly it seems a bit unfair. You made Amazon thousands of dollars and didn’t get too much in return comparatively.

    • neale

      neale

      Exactly 15% of sales 🙂

      • neale

        neale

        Minus the 7% paid to Spencer.

  68. Braulio

    Braulio

    Hi Spencer,

    The table with sorting on the top is a plugin or add-on for wordpress? Where can I get that?

    Thanks.

  69. Rinus @ Goji Bessen

    Rinus @ Goji Bessen

    Hi Spence, again congratulations on a great result! I’m a big fan since I bought your Longtail Pro Platinum and the Classroom. Seeing you get such great result, always gives me more motivation to build more projects. It’s going to do better now in the next months so good look. Keep us up dated.

    Greetz Rinus

  70. Doug

    Doug

    Hi Spencer and all team members,
    Thanks for this great post and excellent replies.
    Success to all!
    Doug.

  71. Sigal

    Sigal

    Just wanted to let you know, I’ve subscribed to your mailing list to see what / how you are doing. I guess some of your other 66 readers, are also from this blog. I’m looking forward to hear more about your progress, as it’s an exceptional education opportunity for beginners like me.

  72. John

    John

    Can you tell me what you would do with the content on your site if your site got penalized by google and you could not recover your rankings?

    Would you delete the content on that website and try to post the content on a new domain and build links to the new site? Is that a good idea or do you have to write entirely new content for your new site?

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Possibly. But I worry more about best case scenarios, not getting penalized 🙂

  73. Winston

    Winston

    Spencer,

    When using a number of domains in one host (in your case BlueHost), how many domains in a hosting account do you often do?

    Is there a reason why you do limit it to that (assuming you do)?

    Great stuff so far. Your idea on keeping the 2nd niche site under wraps is a good idea and nice comparison to this one. I guess we’ll see how much of a difference the visits from here make. Also, it’ll probably rid you of the headaches of negative SEO (or at least lessen it).

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Maybe 50? More than that could slow down your server depending on the site/traffic of your sites.

  74. Mark

    Mark

    I have a question regarding domain extensions if you don’t mind. Say you were targetting a keyphrase, for the sake of our example let’s just call it “Best Survival Knife” 🙂 and you had an option to choose one of these two domains:

    bestsurvivalknifeguide.COM

    or

    bestsurvivalknife.net

    Which one would you go for today?

  75. Cooper

    Cooper

    Amazing work Spencer and thank you for showing your progress and stats. It provides great motivation for those of us who are still trying to rank and form our own niche sites.

  76. Brian Dean

    Brian Dean

    I love the insane level of detail in this case study, Spencer! One question: have you considered building brand signals by creating social media profiles on sites like Twitter, G+ and Facebook?

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Yes. I actually am starting a twitter account for this one…we’ll see if I do anything else.

  77. Arwin Adriano

    Arwin Adriano

    Congratulations to your project outcome. The blog post is very inspiring especially to newbies like me.

  78. Branko

    Branko

    Question. How many hours did u put into this?

  79. Markus Neumann

    Markus Neumann

    Hi Spencer,

    You mentioned that the writer you engaged from Elance is a camping expert with knowledge in knives. I presume that is what you would request in your job description in Elance?

    Just wondering if being so specific ends up jacking up the price of the articles written?

    I am thinking of a niche that I would definitely need help from outsourced writers with good knowledge in that area.

    Would you recommend that I be very specific?

    Thanks,
    Markus

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      In the job description, I did indeed say that it would be BEST of they had experience in the area. Yes, I would recommend it.

  80. The LostCycling Dude » Blog Archive » April 2013

    The LostCycling Dude » Blog Archive » April 2013

    […] of the Niche site: Short and sweet.  Spencer’s Niche site launch has been inspiring.  Becker has a crapload of helpful information on ranking niche sites. And, […]

  81. Josh Garrod

    Josh Garrod

    Hi Spencer,

    I am loving your public niche site project. I recently started a few of my own Amazon niche sites. I encountered a Google penalty on one of my sites (for too many affiliate links VS content I think) , so I beefed the content up and the penalty was removed but I never properly regained my rankings. The site was achieving 600 unique visits a day but now I am lucky to get more than 100. I am going to try some of your backlinking strategies now.

    PS. I am looking forward to seeing what you decide to do with your newsletter as I too have collected addresses but don’t really know what to do with them.

    Stay fresh!

    Josh

  82. Toni

    Toni

    Hi Spencer

    Oh the irony of it all.

    You know that person that thought he was hurting you by attacking your site with links….I think he actually did you a favour and helped your site rank. Unfortunately it doesn’t help the case study and for how long who knows.

    But …. Something is wrong with google because I’m seeing new sites ranking very quickly and they have massive amounts of backlinks. One site in a very competitive niche has built 40k links in a month and is ranked 1?!?

    I think potentially what google say works and what ACTUALLY works may be two different things at the moment?

    • Mark

      Mark

      The links to Spencer’s site which someone built were of such poor quality (I’ve checked many of them manually), that I really don’t think they are worth a damn. They are basically the kind of links you can build by running an automated piece of spam software for 30 minutes.

      I really doubt it had any (positive) influence on his rankings. And if they did have, that’s even better news – means we can rank good money keywords with absolute garbage backlinks.

  83. JoeSoCal

    JoeSoCal

    Hey Spencer:

    I am sure you commented on this before somewhere, but I have a question about Layered Links and Do Follow blog comments.

    If you could provide some feedback or point me in the direction of a previous post, I would appreciate it.

    I totally get the do follow blog posting comments where you insert your website url and keyword in the poster name fields when you comment.

    I have two questions:

    1. Is there any difference between the url link that shows up in the commenter’s name vs. actually putting a url link with the keyword in the actual body of the comment on these blogs?

    2. Additionally, if you have a large site and you are trying to rank inner pages of your site…what happens if you comment on other posts on these blogs and link to the inner pages?

    Will it hurt you if you have multiple backlinks from the same blog site if they are spread out over several posts and different url links? Will it help you at all?

    Thanks!

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      1. If you put the link in the comment box, its spammy. Don’t do it (unless its actually useful).
      2. Sure, you can do this.
      3. Its fine, if they are real comments (like all your comments here 🙂 ). But probably doesn’t help a ton as its all the same root domain.

  84. Mark

    Mark

    Spencer, do you think using a tool such as the GSA Search Engine ranker or similar is a good idea for Tier 2 links?

  85. The Rookie

    The Rookie

    So I originally found your podcast on stitcher, nice. Then saw you posted on John Sheas blog. I had to see the site and the niche site.

    Love the site for a niche site. It truly is about content more than anything. I wonder about the link building. I typically have done it several ways and had success only a couple sites Ive had took big hits but then I don’t really make a killing on each one anyways they are minimal effort minimal money as I do other ventures offline. Had a couple really good niches a while back that I let go of, long story.

    I am curious though about one thing. I wonder if visitors from this blog had an effect on your ranking. No bouncing and a pretty good amount of traffic. Regardless Im sure the site would have made it anyways as you definitely picked a good niche to target. But I almost bet google places more weight on bounce rate than people think. I know I would if I ran a search company that wanted to give the best search results it seems that would be a huge metric in an algorithm that judges quality.

    • Mark

      Mark

      I don’t really understand why bounce rate would matter that much (to some extent yes, but not a lot). Tons of people visit just one page and never go to a different page on the domain – you could stay on one page only and read it for 30 minutes, and if you exit the domain without clicking another internal link on that website then it will count as a “bounce.” Think of wikipedia – I bet you it has a pretty huge bounce rate, as people often just find one page on the subject they are looking for and then leave. It doesn’t seem to be affecting their results in the SERPs though.

      What I think would make more sense for google to do is determine the average time spent on site in relation to how long the content on your page is (so the more content on a page, the higher the expected “average time on site” would need to be). That again is a problem though since if the visitor “bounces” then google cannot know how long he stayed on the website as far as I understand it, but I could be wrong here.

      Either way – I highly doubt bounce rate has much to do with anything.

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Yep, I agree, and I’ve mentioned this. Visitors from my blog here aren’t hurting my rankings…probably helping with dwell time, etc. But since its public, can’t control that. I think I would have been #1 anyway…

  86. The Rookie

    The Rookie

    Funny I say that, I just went back to look at your other posts and saw you have a post on time on site. I guess Ill read that.

    While Im at it, did you give the site address early or not on your podcast. I seem to think you kept it secret but that might have been someone else.

  87. Chris

    Chris

    Well done Spencer, really pleased to see the positive results that this project is achieving, and gives us all a path forward with our own niche sites.

    I was wondering what your thoughts are on the recent Squidoo update of nofollow’ing all external links? Would you continue to have content created for a Squidoo lens or do you think it would be better to create more authoritative Web 2.0’s on WordPress, Blogger etc..?

    • Mark

      Mark

      If I can give my own opinion on this (though I’d love to hear Spencer’s reply too): I would personally keep using squidoo. It’s just such a high quality site overall that I see no reason not to. Plus, search engines seem to really like them (far more it would seem than a wordpress or blogspot property). Can’t see a reason to ditch it even though it’s nofollow now.

      • Chris

        Chris

        Hi Mark,

        Yes I see where you’re coming from and hopefully you’re right as it being an indicator of authority – the fact that you’ve still got a link (albeit nofollow) from a human-edited authoritative website must count for something.

        As an additional link idea I’ve just been checking out Hubpages and it looks like if you can get yourself a high enough score then they remove the nofollow restriction.

  88. The Most Important Factors for Ranking in Google | Niche Pursuits

    The Most Important Factors for Ranking in Google | Niche Pursuits

    […] have recently been sharing the success of my public niche site project.  I’ve been able to start from idea inception to ranking #1 in Google in just a couple of […]

  89. Pooja

    Pooja

    Perfect guide
    thanks for showing path for a newbie like me
    glad to see this report

  90. Sibo

    Sibo

    great achievement, Spencer. I just listened to the interview you had with Pat Flynn and I am really interested in the strategies you introduced in the interview. I will read more from your site and set up my niche sites soon. Thank you for sharing the great information with most valuable details.

    Sibo

  91. CJ @ StrategicMarketingGuy

    CJ @ StrategicMarketingGuy

    Hey Spencer—great content here! Have a quick question for you (apologies if you’ve already answered in the TONS of comments above!).

    Is there a point in the process that you can tell the site is going to “make it” and you can more safely start investing the larger sums of money like the Layer Links? In other words, what’s the litmus test to minimize financial risk? Assuming there’s never a sign for guaranteed success.

    Thanks!

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Well, you can usually see your site ranking on the 2nd or 3rd page of Google with some very minor links if your keyword research is good. (Comments, web directories, etc). My site actually was ranking on page 1 of Google before I invested in Layered Links. But every site is different…but if your site is doing decent (2nd or 3rd page of Google) – that’s usually a good sign.

  92. Bishop

    Bishop

    This is surely a good read. Details like this always motivates me. I’m glad to be following you on this project Spencer. Keep Up..

  93. Ehsan

    Ehsan

    Hey Spencer, this is my first comment here at Niche Pursuits. Just wanted to tell you that I’ve got an idea with this income report of yours.

    Thanks.

  94. James

    James

    Hey Spencer, looking to get a package from layeredlinks, could you do a referral? You could get a % sale and I could get a discount. Send me an email. Thanks!

  95. Jeremy

    Jeremy

    Hi Spencer,

    CONGRATULATIONS! Since your website is ranked number 1. What is your backlink plan to maintain the site?

    Thanks!
    Jeremy Looi

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      I likely won’t need additional manual backlinks. Being at #1 will likely get me natural backlinks.

  96. Dreaming Big and Calculating Profits for Your Online Business | Niche Pursuits

    Dreaming Big and Calculating Profits for Your Online Business | Niche Pursuits

    […] I’ve shown, I have quickly gotten my public niche site (bestsurvivalknifeguide.com) to over $350/mth already after about 3 months.  This site is going to […]

  97. Kriss

    Kriss

    Spencer, how many sites do you host on one server? I ask because I heard somewhere when you have a lot of sites with the same IP google might think its a farm and not position you well?

    Thanks for the tips!!!
    Kriss

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      I have lots of hosting accounts, some have 10 sites, some have 50 sites+.

  98. Benji

    Benji

    Yo Spencer,

    Congrats on the excellent earnings! Looks like the #1 spot really pays off.

    Just curious: what kind of Amazon conversion rates are you seeing?

    Reason I ask is because I’m getting around 12-13% conversion…and after browsing around the internet with this question, it seems that this is high. Or maybe it’s pretty average?

    Any insight would be appreciated. Thanks!

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      I am closer to 2%…I think 12 to 13% is very high. I think mine is a bit low because of all the “non buyers” visiting from my blog here.

      • Benji

        Benji

        Yeah, that seems to be closer to what many others reported.

        Maybe I need to be focused on getting more clicks. It seems like Easyazon might be good for this…but I’m trying to decide if I really need it or not.

        I already have pretty link pro…would using easyazon in addition to pretty link be overkill you think?

        • Spencer Haws

          Spencer Haws

          You can always try…but would be a bit more work.

  99. cliff wright

    cliff wright

    great. can you do a screenshot of all the plugins you are using? security. jetpack…..or whatever is in there?

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      I believe I already listed these in a previous post.

  100. cliff wright

    cliff wright

    and can you recommend that $25 va or someone specific to send links to the directories? not just fiverr or odesk?. i see that your directories you submited to are relevant like camping etc…so does he source the directories for you too or you do it and how? is there an easy software to submit to those directories and autopilot it for many sites? scrapebox? zenooposter?

  101. Charles

    Charles

    Hey Spencer, I’ve been following this case study from the start, it’s very inspiring, especially in these days of Panda and Penguin updates! LayeredLinks does look promising – I’ve signed up to a couple of packages for different sites.

  102. John J. Ziemba

    John J. Ziemba

    Spencer:

    Great job on developing your site. If find your transparency you offer to be very helpful in building my own sites. It’s really gratifying to see someone who practices what he preahces, instead of big-winded claims. I have no doubt that $500 a month is in the bag and just the start.

    Your success demonstrates that a solid applied plan, great content and plenty of smarts adds up to a terrifiec formula for success. Don’t forget that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, so I wouldn’t sweat the 3rd rate competition too much. Those folks are deomonstrating that they lack talent and orginality. Congrats & thx.

  103. Sam

    Sam

    Spencer…you are an angel. I have just read your blog till NSP Update 2 so far and downloading your webinar as I type. I will watch it tomorrow and then follow everything you have done (except maybe spending on paid products for starters since I’m very low on cash right now). I will definitely keep a record of what I’m doing and then share the results with you.

    I think you have been blessed Spencer. You have shown me (and most visitors of your site I think) what I haven’t seen so far in 3 books I’ve read on SEO and Affiliate Marketing (namely SEO for Dummies 1st and 4th editions by Peter Kent and How I Made My First Million on The Internet by Ewen Chia).

    You have inspired me and given me hope! God Bless You! and may you make millions!

  104. Michael

    Michael

    Do you think you can show us what were the SEO competition values and commerciality numbers that you originally had when you did the research for this specific niche using Long Tail Pro or Market Samurai?

    This is going to be interesting to see how well those numbers convert to Amazon Associates sales.

  105. Jamie

    Jamie

    Hi Spencer,
    Thanks for putting all this out there, hugely useful, but also well written and interesting.
    I’ve just downloaded long tail pro platinum, and have a question, ho hard is it to go up against ecommerce sites?
    I’ve found what looks to me (with all my 2 days experience…) to be a killer, KC score of 25 etc, but all the sites are ecommerce, how much harder is it to rank against them?

    Cheers, keep up the great work.

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Jamie:
      I usually avoid ecommerce sites. These play by different rules; so even though they have low links, etc – it appears that Google wants to rank ecommerce sites for these keywords. I’m going to write a post on this because I get this question ALOT.

      • Jamie

        Jamie

        Cheers spencer,
        Having spent a few more hours looking at a million different keywords, it definitely seems that way, so interested to read your post on the subject.
        By the way, I freaking love this software, I’m Super excited about all the value I’m going to get out of it!!!

  106. George

    George

    Hi Spencer,

    Where is report for may? 🙂

    Regards,

    George

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      When May is over, then it will be posted 🙂

  107. alistairgd

    alistairgd

    Excited to see your May results in a few days hopefully!!!

  108. Hamza

    Hamza

    Amazing results Spencer. Thank you for sharing all this stuff. BTW, I have a niche site ranked on 111th spot and I want you to review it and tell me what should I do to rank it on the first page of google please. Could you do that please ?

  109. Miguel M

    Miguel M

    HEY Spencer, first of all i want to congratulate you on this great project and for you sharing so many details with all of us. I got so inspired that i definitely decided to do my own!

    One question – why didn’t you use the feature of easyazon that finds the amazon store closest to where your customer is? For instance, i am based in Portugal and it still takes me to the amazon.com while i would have a huge advantage to buy it from amazon.co.uk (who delivers for free all around Europe for any purchase above 35 pounds).

    Is it because it would mess-up with Tablepress?

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      I did use that feature; but you are right that I think the tablepress links don’t work dynamically…I may have to look into that.

  110. Nick

    Nick

    Hi Spencer,

    Today I saw on google that a copy-cat site had overtaken your site. And it has shamelessly used the table from your site too.

    Looks like you now have a competitor, like to know your thoughts on this.

  111. Nick Clark

    Nick Clark

    Hey loving the information it’s great. Just a quick question, why do I keep getting Godaddy popups with similar keywords popping up in LongTail? I’m using the trial, is this supposed to happen, seems a bit buggy and a little discouraging.

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Others are not experiencing this. Please submit a support ticket to longtailpro.com/support – that’s the place for software support. Thanks!

  112. Chris Desatoff

    Chris Desatoff

    Hey Spencer,

    I don’t know if you remember me mentioning, but like so many others here, I was inspired by your project and started 3 of my own niche sites in April.

    One of them is getting a little traffic and just got its first Amazon sale this week =)

    So I just wanted to thank you for doing this. I’ve learned a lot from you, and I’m continuing to learn.

    Am looking forward to the next update or next niche project.

    Aloha, Chris

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      That’s great! Thanks for sharing Chris.

  113. DrDicty

    DrDicty

    Very impressive – Congratulations

  114. Nick Clark

    Nick Clark

    You’re Number 1 in the UK!

    Paul (The ‘Copycat’) is 2nd however, I have seen him pop in a few of the comments on your posts so he knows you know lol!

    I don’t think he regards himself as a copycat though. The way he speaks in his comments makes me think he’s trying to gain awareness/ traffic by challenging your SEO. (As fuss is made here, he gains more traffic, awareness, followers etc).

    I don’t really think it’s an attack necessarily at your niche or project, it’s more like a nasty way of advertising. I call it ‘nasty advertising’ because this is for a project and we are learning from it. However, in essence, he’s just doing what we’re trying to learn how to do.

    Sure his content is by no means great and the table is blatantly your idea but he is still ranking and in some cases above you and more than likely is making money still.

    I still think it’s great what you are doing! As a student from the UK, I first was involved with online income about 4 years ago with YouTube and Adsense.

    Then I made a blog which gathered a few thousands visits in a short period of time and earned me over £100 in a week! I felt like a millionaire at the time haha. That was short lived as I was banned on blogger by an automated bot claiming, wait for it, I was automated! It’s hilarious now, but at the time I’m sure you can imagine my frustration.

    Since then I’ve taught myself web development and I have been researching and reading about niches and IM for the past two years!

    I even managed to make a site that’s currently earning £4-5 a day with only a few pages. The problem is I know exactly why I’m earning this money, it wasn’t intentional but I let’s just say some people don’t deserve the credit of intelligence Google give them…

    These past few weeks you have really ignited my drive again. Now I intend to actually do rather than plan to do.

    The problem I have is when I have planned and ‘figured it out’ I feel like I’ve already won, but without doing it nothing can be won!

  115. Keith

    Keith

    Love this help Spencer, I am wondering what your thoughts are on a super targetted adsense micro niche site that only has 60 local searches per month with no competition BUT with a ppc over $50-00 ?

    I have found several of these keywords using LTP that could be replicated lots of times very easily, but would it be worth the effort ?

    Again, thanks for all your help, I have learnt more from your site in 6 weeks than all other places combined in 2 years

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      It wouldn’t be worth it. You would actually get paid $50 to $100 per click. You have to remember that CPC numbers are for the SEARCH network (ads on Google.com); ads on your site will get much less. I would never expect to get much more than $1 or $2 per click. Anything extra would be a pleasant surprise.

  116. JJ

    JJ

    Great break down. love the work you are doing!

  117. Steve Ruyle

    Steve Ruyle

    So in the end how many Amazon affiliate links did you go with on the frontpage and how many do you have total on the site?

  118. Charles

    Charles

    Hello Spencer,
    I follow you from France ans I’ve a little question for you.
    If, in addition to the niche on survival knives, you spotted others niches opportunities on close subjects like survival blankets or compasses, have you created a full site dedicated to the survival equipment? Or would you have created a website for each niche? Or both?
    Thanks

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      I could probably just add the pages about survival blankets on my survival knife site; I see no problem with that. But if I think its a big enough niche on its own, I could create a new site.

  119. How to Make Money Online: The Ultimate Guide to Blog Monetization

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    […] Niche Site Project Income Report for April 2013 from NichePursuits.com by Spencer Haws ($440.28) […]

  120. Lindsay Collins

    Lindsay Collins

    Spencer, has you opinion stayed the same on layered links? If you were to do this over again would you use them? Anything you’d do differently when it comes to link building?

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      I’d still use them. For niche sites, I’m not afraid to hire link builders. For a real authority site, I would never “build” links though. Its a big difference.

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