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Niche Site Project Income Report for July 2013!

Yes! I Love to Learn

Want to learn step-by-step how I built my Niche Site Empire up to $10,000 per month?

Niche Site Project Income Report for July 2013!

Another month has flown by, and its time for another monthly income report for my Niche Site Project site – BestSurvivalKnifeGuide.com.

For the past few months, I have been building this site from scratch and have shared the entire process along the way.  In addition, I have been sharing an in-depth income report on the site for each month.

The primary reason for sharing these income reports is to demonstrate that you can still make money with niche sites.  I am very happy with the way this project has turned out (to say the least), despite some ups and downs along the way.  So, let’s jump right into the meat of this income report and see how the site did in July!

Earnings for July – Record Month!

I know if I listed the earnings at the end of this post, you would just scroll down to look at them…so I’ll just reveal the earnings first!

julyearnings

In the month of July, BestSurvivalKnifeGuide.com made $649.87!  

Goal Accomplished!

This is an increase of $242.48 over the June earnings…(the site made $407.30 last month); and by far the site’s best month.   This also means, that I easily exceeded my goal of making over $500 in one month from the site within the first six months!

And the best part, is that I’ve publicly shared before, during, and after all my plans, procedures, and methods for building, ranking, and earning from this niche site.

Now that the site has been up and earnings for a few months, I thought it would be interesting to take a look at the month to month earnings since the inception of the site.  So, I went back and input all the data into excel and created this nice chart for you.

Earnings Since Inception

earningschart

I am loving the nice upward trend that I see overall!  Yes, there was a small decrease in June, but things are moving along just fine now.

Items Shipped

shipped-july

I actually found it pretty interesting that the number of items I’ve shipped has increased each month!  So, even though I shipped more items in June than I did in May, my earnings actually decreased.  This is obviously due to shipping less expensive items.

My theory, is basically that I received less traffic from Google in May; and so less survival knives were purchased.  However, I continue to have lots of direct visitors from my blog or other places and these visitors are not buying knives; but do randomly buy small items from Amazon.

So, in other words I’m getting random purchases from my readers here on NichePursuits.com; but these purchases are not very valuable.  The real visitors searching and buying survival knives are the kind of purchases I want; as they are more valuable.

I could try to not discuss the fact that some of the money made is from readers of my blog; but we all know it happens…even though I wish it didn’t.  However, I can say that I am by FAR making more money from natural Google traffic.  Most of my money is being made from survival knives or relating camping/survival purchases.

Here is a look at all the stats I’ve collected since the site started:

stats-july

Traffic Stats

julytraffic

Around July 6th or 7th, my traffic started to really pick up.  This was due to me regaining some rankings in Google for various long tail keywords.  I also went from ranking about 5th for my primary keyword (best survival knife) to the 1st or 2nd spot in Google.

serps2

However, honestly most of my traffic is coming from long tail phrases now; so whatever happened to make me gain some of these rankings is really what contributed to the traffic increase. (I discuss some of what I did in July below that may have helped these rankings).

My site received traffic from 1,648 different keywords in July…here’s just a few of them:

julykeywords

In addition, here are the Google Analytics for the site’s traffic since it was created.

trafficsinceinception
Click to Enlarge

As you can see, the past couple of months have been up and down…but I’m really happy with the overall growth of the site.  In fact, even if the traffic simply levels out at this point; I’d be completely satisfied.  The site is pretty passive for me right now, so I’m happy with the extra $600+ per month!

What Happened in July?

In my income report from June, I mentioned that I wanted to try a few things to both regain my Google rankings (I was ranked about 4th of 5th for “Best Survival Knife”) and increase traffic to the site.  Those things that I planned to do were:

1. Add My Site to Google+.  I did indeed add my site to Google Plus; but I am unsure as to what affect it has had.  When you type in “Best Survival Knife” into Google, I still don’t see my profile picture showing in the SERPS.  However, when I type in other keywords, I often DO see my Google Plus profile showing.  Here’s an example:

googleplus

So, I’m not sure why its showing up for some queries and not others.

2. Add More Content. During the month of June, I only added about 2 new articles to the site.  However, in July I was able to get 15 new posts up on BestSurvivalKnifeGuide.com.  Again, these are articles written by an author that I’ve hired on Elance.com .  I believe this new content is bringing in new search engine traffic; which is why I am getting visits from so many different long tail keywords.

This new content is really my main focus for the site now.

3. Test Different Ad Placements . I moved some of the ad units around to try and find the optimal earnings for the site.  This will be an ongoing process.  However, I’m happy with the updates I’ve made to my chart – in particular making the images click-able.  This seems to be a nice improvement.

4. Add More Links. I actually did not do anything links wise during the month of July. The site is holding its own right now, and I’ve actually noticed a few “natural” links coming my way.  These are real links that I did not ask for and are not spammy :).  So, I actually have no intention of doing any more “link building”.  I think I will continue to let the site grow naturally, unless I see some large decrease in rankings.

Speed Improvements

I also made some speed improvements to the site in July.  Its actually possible that these small speed improvements helped my site more than anything else…but of course that’s really hard to measure. I installed these 2 plugins to help improve load time and overall speed of the site:

Google is very concerned with the overall speed of sites; so I think these plugins and others are useful in keeping your site’s performance where it should be.

Future Plans

I have no drastic plans for the site at this point.  I will continue to add 10+ articles to the site each month – focused on different survival knives or related survival items.  Because I am not writing these articles myself, my time spent on the site is only a few minutes for each article that gets posted.

The fresh content should keep my rankings where they are and continue to get me traffic from additional long tail keywords.  As simple as it sounds, this is basically my long term strategy for the site.

As mentioned, I have no major plans to go out and acquire new links; I’ll continue to enjoy the natural links that come my way…and this could actually increase as I continue to add fresh content.

My only other real plans besides adding new content will be to continue testing different Amazon widgets or finding optimal affiliate link placements.  You may see some changes to the survival knife comparison chart over the coming month or 2; but again it won’t be anything major.

Overall, I’m excited to get started on Niche Site Project 2; which is just around the corner!

Your Thoughts

As always, I’ve done my best to reveal just about everything related to this site.  However, I’m here to help with any questions or thoughts that you might have.  So, if there is something I missed, that you would like to know about…please ask away in the comments below.  I look forward to the discussion.

Yes! I Love to Learn

Want to learn step-by-step how I built my Niche Site Empire up to $10,000 per month?

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212 Comments for this Post

  1. Kayla

    Kayla

    Congrats on reaching or should I say exceeding your goal of $500/month!!

    You have inspired me to continue building quality niche sites. Thanks again for all the great free information!

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Thanks Kayla…its great to hit my goal! Best of luck on your sites!

      • Armaan

        Armaan

        Congrats Spencer! As usual, another inspiring traffic and income report..

        I hope to be doing similar numbers ($500/month) in another 2-3 months on my niche site case study as well :)

  2. Fredy

    Fredy

    WOW Spencer, Congrats for achieving your goal, Can’t wait to achieve mine, I’m pretty close though :) . Waiting for your second public niche project.

    Fred!

  3. Benji

    Benji

    Congrats Spencer; awesome month! Interesting results regarding Google+…I wonder why it doesn’t show for the primary keywords?

    I too had my best month in July. Best part was that people were still primarily ordering coffee makers (despite uptick in traffic from nichepursuits).

    The other great thing is that my rankings continue to drop farther down for primary keywords, but long tail traffic has made up for this loss. Still, high rankings for primaries definitely doesn’t hurt…but the long tail sure is powerful, eh?

    • Rick

      Rick

      We needed a new coffee maker in July so I told my wife about your site, Benji. After researching the models on your site, she ended up buying a $29 Mr. Coffee at the local Costco. Oh, well. I tried.

      BTW, she liked your site well enough but became frustrated while watching an “unbox” video because it wasn’t delivering info quickly enough.

      • Benji

        Benji

        lol Rick…thanks for putting in a good word.

        Truth is, most coffee drinkers in the U.S. don’t have the patience when it comes to making their coffee to begin with…so I’m not surprised by her reaction to the unboxing haha.

        Appreciate the feedback though…hopefully I get better at the videos in the future ;)

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Yes, long tail keywords are great…love the traffic for sure :)

    • Garrick Dee

      Garrick Dee

      Benji,

      Give it some time, it’ll eventually get crawled :)

  4. Ervin

    Ervin

    Hey Spencer, congrats!!! just curious as to what are your monthly expenses?

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Ervin, my only expenses now are for articles. I added 15 articles in July, so that’s about $250. However, in June I only added 2 articles, so my expenses were closer to $30 or $40. Yes, I’m paying a lot for articles :). I would suspect that expenses of $100 to $200 will be typical for a month if I continue to add content (which I plan to).

      • Ervin

        Ervin

        Thanks for the response. Really like how honest and upfront you are about the project,, This is great info. I have purchased long tail it’s a great tool. Your results are inspiring…

        • jim

          jim

          >>Really like how honest and upfront you are about the project,<<

          And somehow his entire business wasn't destroyed in the process, lol, which is the typical excuse you get from many posers as to why they don't share examples. No, you don't share examples because you don't have any. A favorite tactic at the WF these days is to show blurred out search results as evidence. That's about as much evidence as me posted a picture of a bank as evidence that I make a lot of money, lol. And that tactic is being used by people who are trying to sell you something. And people fall for it! You don't have to buy anything to see Spencer's results.

  5. ray

    ray

    Fantastic man! Great amounts of traffic hitting your site, and here I am getting stoked that I’m finally approaching my first 100 visitor day! How many posts is your site up to now?

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      There are currently 43 posts published on bestsurvivalknifeguide.com.

  6. Steve

    Steve

    Great Going! Your software shows its Value with the results it yields. My sites are not product specific but that is changing due to what you have shown during the past few mths.

    Thx,

    Steve at The LifeIncome Group.

  7. Valerie

    Valerie

    Stoked to see the jump! It’s really inspiring to see this growth in a short period. Ill keep my fingers crossed that I “win” the mentorship for the niche site project. Until then, I will keep on keeping on!

  8. Bryan

    Bryan

    That is awesome Spencer. I have been working on a niche site as well. Can you do a blog post of two about how you subcontract your SEO and what you have found works and doesn’t. This is my biggest problem, is the SEO.

    Thanks

  9. Jon Haver

    Jon Haver

    Awesome month! It’s great when all the trends are going in the right direction. For speeding up your site I just did the switch from host gator/blue host to wpengine and have seen page load speed cut in half. Best if luck with the continued success of this site!

    • Tung

      Tung

      I switched my blog to Wpengine as well, but It’s a little bit costly so I’m considering whether or not to move my niche site too.

      But it’s well worth the price :D

    • Iain

      Iain

      That’s awesome.

      It’s crazy to see how much a simple switch can change your page load speed.

      I have one niche site on Dreamhost and it’s not doing too bad. I guess hosting will become more expensive as Google emphasises speed more because then we will have to have niche sites on better hosts.

      • Spencer Haws

        Spencer Haws

        Actually, I disagree…I only see the price for hosting going down. Data storage is getting cheaper and cheaper, and will likely continue that way.

        • Iain

          Iain

          In the sense that data storage is getting cheaper, yes, hosting will get cheaper..

          I meant we might end up having to pay more for faster hosting packages to ensure our site speed is still good.

          However, it is just speculation at this point.

      • Hendrik

        Hendrik

        Take a look at Google’s Page Speed Service, It will improve your speed regardless of your hoster! You will have to apply for it but it took me less than 3hrs to get approved.

  10. Greg

    Greg

    Great month Spencer and nice to see you hit your goal. I’ve been playing around with G+ also and although it’s really difficult to gauge the direct impact on rankings with a small sample size of a handful of sites, at the very least it must surely attract the attention of the searcher when they are scanning the SERPS. Even if it gets and extra 2% click through, that still adds up.

  11. Sean O'Connor

    Sean O'Connor

    Congratulations on those figures! Really great seeing the upward trend in earnings.

    My site has been up and running for 10 days now, 650 visits so far, but no sales.

    Continuing to look in to why this might be, although the PR will be on the low side still.

    Trying to backlink to the site at the moment and add more content. Videos in particular.

    Well done for you! Very inspiring.

    Sean.

  12. Lior

    Lior

    Hi Spencer,

    Congrats on your success. As for your authorship showing up, I wasn’t able to find your Google + link on your homepage. Your domain has to be on your Google+ profile, and your profile has to be on every page on your website.

    I use a plugin called Google Authorship Link.

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Lior, I have it setup just how I have my NichePursuits.com site for Google+; which works. However, perhaps I will try the plugin you mentioned. Thanks!

  13. Doug @ DigitalOceanReview

    Doug @ DigitalOceanReview

    Congrats, Spencer! That’s awesome! :) A couple of quick questions, if you please: (1)You said your site got a few more natural links in July. Are they dofollow links or nofollow ones? (2) You mentioned that website speed is important. Is your site still on shared hosting? Any plans to move it to a more powerful VPS/dedicated server? Thanks!

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      1. I haven’t looked at this in depth, but I assume both. 2. Still shared hosting on bluehost. No plans to move the site.

  14. Dan Franks

    Dan Franks

    Crazy good progress Spencer, your trajectory is pointed clearly up. Keep the motivation rolling!

  15. Alex

    Alex

    Thats awesome Great Job!! I was wondering what the word count on your articles?? and what word count should i aim for on secondary articles? Also how many links did you build for your site?

  16. duyhen

    duyhen

    yes, you are great!

  17. Rodolfo

    Rodolfo

    Hey there Spencer! Great to see that you have reached your objectives so quick! Really inspiring and hope-giver! There is something that is really bugging me with my niche project right now: how do you come up with so many long tail keywords? I have long tail platinum but I can’t find so many long tail keywords… any tips as how I am supposed to search for more of these? Thanks for your example man, really gives hope to someone who is really struggling!

  18. SS

    SS

    Congrats on the increased earnings, Spencer.

    What is the breakdown in knives shipped vs other items?

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      I just took a quick look – its not easy to breakdown. Many of the items are knife related; like knife sharpeners, or other survival materials. Knives are by far the most purchased item, and all the survival gear/camping gear just adds to that. I would estimate that about 50 items were not knife or outdoor related. And most of those 50 were either books or mp3/movie downloads or games…so not real valuable for the most part.

  19. Jay

    Jay

    Your website is awesome! Thank you very much for sharing your knowledge to us!

  20. martin

    martin

    I see your site is still getting targeted by spammers by placing your anchor on splogs. funny thing is this does not seem to have any negative effect on your traffic.

    Good luck Spencer.

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Yes, I hate that spammers are still targeting my site.

  21. Chris

    Chris

    Congrats, man! So you hit your $500 goal in 6 months! Excellent.

    My new niche site barely hit $50 in its 4th month (July), so hopefully it will clear $100 next month and finally break even and start bringing me some profits.

    Fifty bucks is nothing to a lot of people, but it’s the most I’ve ever earned from one of my own sites, so I can’t thank you enough for doing this public niche site project. I’ve been learning a lot from you and I appreciate you putting up with all the crap from the haters and copycats.

    I also finally did my first monthly income update! I’ve been at this for 16 months and still am hardly making anything, but I’m glad I put it out there on my blog for the world to see. It’s embarrassing for me to share such low numbers, but it’s really motivating at the same time.

    In the few days since I’ve posted my income and stats, I’ve been more productive than I had been in MONTHS! Talk about lighting a fire under my butt =)

    Anyways, I’m so glad your site hit goal, and I hope mine is able to climb the ranks and bring my family some much needed dollars too.

    Aloha, Chris

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Congrats Chris! Its a small win that you can build on. So, glad that some of what I’ve shared here has helped out!

  22. Nick LeRoy

    Nick LeRoy

    Great job Spencer. $600 is fantastic!

    I have to give you credit. I have an amazon affiliate site which the earnings have definitely increased with the use of a product chart very similar to what you have on your knife site. Great fine and thanks for sharing the tip.

  23. Miki Vicioso

    Miki Vicioso

    Stunning work! Time to get to work!

  24. Rameshwor

    Rameshwor

    Interesting! Very well done. At the same time I want to mention few observations I have made regarding google+ pictures on searches.
    1. If you are logged in into your google account on the same browser it normally doesn’t show your pictures.
    2. If two or more of your posts ranks for same keyword, one will show pictures and others will not .

  25. Christopher Quinn

    Christopher Quinn

    Hi Spencer

    Your site has been a true success… congratulations! It seems you are on your way to possibly having a very financially successful holiday season with this Amazon site.

    Thanks for sharing all your details!

    Chris

  26. Tung

    Tung

    Great work Spencer!

    You’re always my inspiration when it comes to building a killing niche website :D

    Have you considered hiring a full time content writer from the Philippines and train him/her?

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      I really like my content writer, and the site is quite profitable…so no, I have no intention of trying to save money on the content…I’m happy with the quality and profit margin.

  27. Michael @ The Book Realm

    Michael @ The Book Realm

    Hey Spencer,

    Great job on meeting your goal and then some! It’s really encouraging to see the success you’ve had despite being targeted by negative SEO and copycats. Thanks for documenting your progress!

  28. Kashif

    Kashif

    Do you have any plans to build on the long tail keywords that bring traffic to your site? If yes, how would you do that? For example, post articles that catch the exact long tail phrase?

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Yes, that’s exactly how. In fact, I’ve done that on a couple already…but mostly I’m still picking individual knives and reviewing them…there is alot out there, so still plenty of long tail traffic with knife review type keywords.

  29. Keith James

    Keith James

    Wow, really great results. A 2% conversion rate per unique is incredible. Making a nickel per unique is even better. I’m curious what is your commission rate from Amazon?

    I think the thing that stands out the most is that you only averaged 2 page views and still got sales. Good stuff!

  30. Amir

    Amir

    Hi Spencer,
    I wanted your opinion on something.
    I’ve been trying to get a good main keyword to target from Amazon but in every word i check i see amazon, or target.com, bestbuy.com.
    I don’t know if i can outrank them and it happens in every keyword like:
    retractable baby gate
    best food dehydrator

    How can i find a profitable keyword without those competitors like you did in your niche project?
    Thanks,
    Amir.

  31. Alessio

    Alessio

    Hi Spencer!

    congratulations for your results. Your conversion rate is incredible!

  32. AndyB

    AndyB

    Congratulations!

    I so wish I tried harder at the beginning (back in March) to get a site up. I am still stuck at the first step – finding the magic keywords.

    I use LTPro, and have been searching for hours and hours and hours (and hours and hours), but I still have not found the keywords that I feel 90% confident in investing on. Anyone else still having problems finding the perfect long tails? Anyone found a service that uses something like LTPro to produce possible keywords?

  33. Charley

    Charley

    Your survival knife case study is affecting me negatively. I discovered a niche site whose domain was registered about a month after your case study began and the site’s domain follows this format – KEYWORDGUIDE.COM, which is akin to bestsurvivalknifeguide.com. This site has a homepage article that is the exact replica of mine. The owner (probably Jody Hanes or whatever) spun my homepage article undeniably and posted it on his site.

    Since I discovered his site on the first page, my ranking gradually dropped until my site was relegated to the second page. The site has only recently started being profitable. It made $100 in it’s first month and $265 from day 1 to day 18 of it’s second month before it’s Google rankings tanked. That site could have easily become a $400 per month site, and that would have meant a lot to me. It was my first really successful niche site. Now that same copy cat niche site is ranking between positions 3 to 7 on the first page.

    If it wasn’t for your case study, this wouldn’t have happened! The only thing I see you doing now is encouraging idiots, most of them newbies, to scrape legit sites and violate their copyrights unremorsefully. I’m so pissed right now and I can’t help but hate you.

    • Alain Schlesser

      Alain Schlesser

      Hi Charley,

      I feel for you, it sucks when your content gets stolen. It more-than-sucks when you get outranked by your own content.

      It’s really unfair to blame Spencer for this, though. Where in his articles does he tell people to scrape and spin content? Where does he tell them to copy someone else’s site to make a quick buck? People that do these kinds of things don’t need no case study to behave like that, they manage that pretty fine already…

      Maybe you could read some of Spencer’s guides on backlinking strategies and try to regain your rankings! Accept it as a challenge, and show them copycats that they better choose another target!

      Good luck,
      Al

      • Charley

        Charley

        Thanks Alain. That’s exactly what I will do. To Spencer, I’m sorry for my initial comment about hating you. I realised, after reading Alain’s comment above, that it’s not your fault and I shouldn’t have blamed you. I picked up a few gems from your case study as I’m sure many others did as well, so keep ‘em case studies coming. However, it’s so unbearably annoying. Apart from Alain’s suggestions above, do you have any idea as to what I should do?

        • Spencer Haws

          Spencer Haws

          Charley, I’m not sure why you are blaming me. I NEVER teach to copy content…in fact I very clearly have always taught that you must use original and useful content on your niche sites. So, whoever is building sites in your niche is most certainly not doing as I teach.

          I understand your frustration, but that should be directed at those building sites in your niche; not me. Or better yet, follow what I teach here and see if you can get your rankings back: http://www.nichepursuits.com/niche-site-project-1-overview/

        • Charley

          Charley

          Thanks Spencer, for taking the time to reply. Once again I’m sorry – I was just overwhelmed by frustration and a feeling of injustice having tried everything I can to regain my rankings without any luck. However, I’m determined to get back what I lost, so I’m re-strategizing. Thanks for your help

        • Amir

          Amir

          Hi Charley,
          I suggest to publish your article on your Google plus profile.
          Something like “hey, check out my new article”+a link.
          That way google will see it first and the copycat will have no chance to steel the content from you.

        • Charley

          Charley

          Thanks Amir. Well, Google saw the content first in this case, but it didn’t stop this outrage from happening.

        • Spencer Haws

          Spencer Haws

          Best of luck Charley :)

        • Charley

          Charley

          I needed that. Much appreciated :-).

        • Brandon

          Brandon

          Charley, see this article it directly relates to your situation. Hopefully it helps you out http://www.quicksprout.com/2012/08/22/how-to-keep-scrapers-from-ruining-your-content-strategy/

        • Charley

          Charley

          That was very helpful. Thanks Brandon.

  34. Jerry Kidd

    Jerry Kidd

    Congratulations, Spencer!

    I love to see when people who inspire me (like you or Pat Flynn) reach their goals. It proves that I do follow great people :)

    I want to suggest you something regarding your profile pic near the snippet. I see you haven’t the <link rel="author" inside the of you pages.
    Put it every page’s head section code like this:

    And after Google’s spider will make next re-index of your pages you pretty face will appear in search results.
    But even then if you want to see your pic when typing “best survival knife” you should wait some time. Here is my experience with my site http://www.kidsatvsale.com (yes, I took your idea with comparison charts, and I unlimitedly grateful for that): After I made this trick with “link rel=author” all my new posts become to show with my profile pic in snippet. But when I typed my target keyword it didn’t show my face, the situation is just like yours. It was because the page optimized for my main keyword was my home page and it took about 3 weeks before Google re-indexed it.
    You have similar situation. When you’ll check your site this way site:www.bestsurvivalknifeguide.com you’ll see your face there only near contact page. Use the technique I described above and you will be everywhere.
    I hope my comment will be useful for you and your readers.

  35. Jerry Kidd

    Jerry Kidd

    Oh. It didn’t show the code in the sentence “Put it every page’s head section code like this:”.
    Here it is, but remove underscores

  36. Jerry Kidd

    Jerry Kidd

    Oh. It didn’t show the code in the sentence “Put it every page’s head section code like this:”.
    Here it is, but remove underscores
    __

  37. Alain Schlesser

    Alain Schlesser

    Hi Spencer,

    Congrats on achieving your goal! This case study has been a complete success for you, and I am sure there are lots of people that have learned a thing or two from your posts.

    I’d really like to know more about how you manage your author. Do you have an ongoing contract for these 10+ articles per month? Have you decided on a minimum number of articles? Is he paid per hour or per article? What do you plan to do to keep him interested for the long term?

    Thanks for all the great information!
    Al

  38. Paul Giorkas

    Paul Giorkas

    Hey Spencer

    I really love your income reports.

    I would like to ask you, how do you make your charts?

    • Armaan

      Armaan

      He uses a plugin called TablePress for his niche site charts…For income reports, he’s used Excel :)

  39. Vic Dorfman

    Vic Dorfman

    Ok first of all Spencer, you da freakin’ man! Way to turn a mere collision of marbles in your noggin into a $500+/month cash cow. So inspiring dude…

    ***I have a VALUABLE comment to contribute so I suggest you guys read it all the way through***

    I actually built a bunch of niche sites in the past but the Google updates spanked me so I focused on other things for a while.

    But this public case study inspired to me try again and so far I’ve put in about 13 hours into a new niche site for a really nice keyword with tons of long tails.

    So, I had 3 “light bulb moments” I’d like to share with you and your readers. I was hesitant about sharing this because I didn’t want to give away my top secret strategies!

    But you’ve given so much value to SO many people FOR FREE (myself included), that I would have to be a real shower bag to keep this to myself! :P

    So…here goes!

    1. Make your site responsive.

    The niche website theme is pretty neat. It’s clean, simple, lightweight. Only, it isn’t responsive. Luckily there’s a really nice looking, FREE WordPress theme called…”responsive”! and it looks great on desktop and mobile.

    I don’t know how much of the traffic to survival knife guide is mobile but I can bet your time on site on mobile is a fraction of time on site for desktop visitors, and it’s least partially due to a non-responsive layout.

    I reckon that this simple change will up your earnings. You can even hire a dude off oDesk to make your current theme responsive for like $100 (maybe less?)

    Here’s the link to the theme: cyberchimps.com/responsive-theme/

    Or you can search “responsive” right in your WP dashboard and it’ll pop up.

    Also, TablePress (the plugin Spencer is using to make his ultimate comparison chart) is not natively responsive. However, some guy developed an extension that makes all your tablepress tables responsive…and it’s free!

    http://tablepress.org/extensions/responsive-tables/

    Bam! Takes just a second to install…same procedure as a regular plugin and all you do is add a parameter to the tablepress shortcode that says “responsive” and you’re good to go on mobile!

    2. Use monetized video.

    The cool thing about physical products is that there are LOADS of video reviews on Youtube. Some are really professional, too.

    So what if you could somehow use these video reviews on your niche site to increase engagement, without leaking your traffic out to youtube OR sabotaging clickthroughs to Amazon…?

    Well, you can! There are two snazzy tools available to help you use and monetize video on your site:

    – LeadPlayer (leadplayer.com)

    – Simple Video Pro (simplevideopro.com/)

    Basically, these players are worpdress plugins that allow you to embed affiliate links and opt in forms and image overlays right INTO a youtube video!

    They also hide the youtube logo (sort of…it just shows up in the beginning) and hides all the “related” video stuff so you’re not losing visitors from your site. You can even brand your video with your logo.

    Think about it, you could post OTHER peoples video reviews of survival knives (or whatever item your site is about), put an image overlay with your amazon affiliate link, and use that to add value to your posts.

    You could then add a video sitemap to your site in about 2 minutes, thus increasing your SEO muscle with little to no extra work!

    I took some time to compare leadplayer and simple video pro. I like SVP better (no affiliation!) It has more options and is cheaper. Leadplayer just has a lot of marketing muscle behind it but it’s not really that impressive compared to SVP.

    3. Put up a forum …And monetize it!

    For hobby niches, people really geek out. Looking at reviews on Amazon for hobby items, there are often 300+ reviews!

    You can tell these people really take a long time to try different items and write REALLY detailed reviews.

    So I think if you put up a forum on the site where people can come in and candidly discuss survival knives, maybe even buy/trade/sell survival knives, and discuss survival-ism, etc., you can:

    – get a bunch of SEO value by using an SEO forum plugin
    – provide a ton of engagement and value to your visitors
    – create a real community
    – turn a “niche” site into an “authority” site
    – monetize

    For forums, I like myBB. It’s free, incredibly powerful and it’s open source. Very customizable and beautiful. I’ve also used simplepress but it’s a bit slowly and ugly IMO. And it also piggy-backs on WordPress, whereas myBB sits at the root of your server and thus can utilize Cron jobs, etc.

    To monetize, there are 2 popular services that automatically detect item names whenever somebody posts them in a forum, and turns them into amazon affiliate links.

    – viglinks.com
    – skimlinks.com

    I have zero experience with these services but I’ll be implementing them on my “niche” site soon and update. :-)

    I hope this helps you guys and maybe Spencer will implement one or some of these ideas and profit off them! Thanks so much for creating this community and sharing all your experience and wisdom so candidly Spence. You may not realize it, but you’re helping people change their lives!

    Peace!
    Vic Dorfman

    • D.T.

      D.T.

      This is good stuff. Thanks, keep it up!

  40. Vic Dorfman

    Vic Dorfman

    Oh yea! One last thing.

    I noticed you’re using “Digg-Digg” for your share bar on Survival Knife Guide (as well as on Niche Pursuits). Supposedly, “Digg Digg” is pretty slow.

    There’s an alternative called “AA’s Digg Digg Alternative” which is faster:

    http://wordpress.org/plugins/aas-digg-digg-alternative/

    Only bummer about the alternative plugin is that it doesn’t have the green comments icon in the sharebar. Just likes, Google +, Twitter, etc.

    But, thought I’d throw it out there anyway! :-)

    Vic

    • Armaan

      Armaan

      I like the tip on creating a forum.

      @Spencer – any plans of doing this in the future?

      • Spencer Haws

        Spencer Haws

        No, I have no plans to add a forum. A forum is a lot of work with very little return. But who knows…we’ll see how it goes.

  41. Johnny @ Acai Cleanse Diet

    Johnny @ Acai Cleanse Diet

    Great stuff Spencer, really motivational!

    Btw, do you got some “break even” point on the price of Amazon stuff you want to sell? Because eventually the commission is pretty low there…

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      The commission rate increases the more items you sell. I was at the 7% commission rate last month.

  42. John Gibb

    John Gibb

    hey Spencer

    Congrats. I’m happy for your success!

    Maybe you could write an upcoming post on how you edit the settings for these two plugins?

    W3 Total Cache
    WP Smush.it

    Lots of people would love to install and use these WP options, but they fret when they see so many features and fields available to fill out/edit

    Let me know…

    Also, did you try SkimLinks yet? They offer 8%+ Amazon commissions, and you don’t need an affiliate account with Amazon Associate Programs…

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      I never knew that people had so many questions about W3 Total cache settings. I’m pretty sure I just left it as the default.

      Also, yes, I installed skimlinks…but very few links showed up on my site. I actually think I did make another $0.18 or something… Perhaps because I already have lots of amazon affiliate links on my site, skimlinks is not populating any more links on my site? It is a good option that people can check out here though: http://www.nichepursuits.com/skimlinks (affiliate link).

  43. Bas

    Bas

    Looking great, but yeah that 2%+ conversion rate is really insane. Maybe it’s also because Amazon is so good at converting visitors?

    I have a dutch site I just started 2-3 months ago and got 4 sales over little over 900 unique visitors. Which is less than <0,5% made only 13 euro last month but it's a start :)

    But I use almost the same kind of website as you. Copycat ;) well I use the same tablepress plugin which I love.

  44. Jenda

    Jenda

    Hi Spencer!

    Great to see your website is doing well!

    You said BSKG.com has 43 posts but I see you have indexed 217 pages. So I suppose you have indexed categories, tags and archives.

    Don’t you think you can be penalized by Google for duplicate content? I generaly have indexed only categories because I have read lot of articles how tags and archives could be penalized. What’s your opinion on this topic?

    Thanks for reply!

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      No, I won’t be penalized for that. Google understands how categories, tag pages, etc work. I have the same settings on NichePursuits.com and there is no penalty. I am not actually publishing multiple pages with the same content, and Google knows that. Its not a concern.

      • Naveen Kulkarni

        Naveen Kulkarni

        Yes, Spencer is right. Google won’t penalize for duplicate content on same domain. If duplicate content is across different domains (word to word), then Google omits the latest domain in search results and again it’s not penalty (results is same though !!).

  45. Darren Boland

    Darren Boland

    Great job as always. Your certainly knocking it out of the park.

    I have a LTP question, with the changes to the Google Adwords Keyword tool, in the coming weeks, is that likely to affect LTP at all.

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Darren:
      We have a new version of Long Tail Pro that will be released in the next day or 2 that incorporate the change to the keyword planner. Long Tail pro will work as it always has…along with a few improvements even :)

  46. Smart Children

    Smart Children

    This is the post that I should say … priceless! It’s so motivating to know your earnings keep going up. Way to go!

    Pls show us more ways to make money pls …

  47. Gordon

    Gordon

    Hi Spencer, Great post with quality content on niche sites – as always :)

    I’ve got a niche site a few months old and I must have tread on the toes of someone in my niche, because someone has started a negative linking building campaign against it. It appears they’re building really low quality links with the same keyword in each time. Lots of them.

    I’m guessing this might have happened to you in the past?

    It’s really killing my rankings now. Any advice on how to fix this? The disavow tool doesn’t seem to do anything as been going on for months. Should I stay at it or move to a different domain?

    Best,

    Gordon

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Yes, this happened to me on this site actually. Read here: http://www.nichepursuits.com/is-my-niche-site-a-victim-of-negative-seo/ . I have done what I can to get links removed, but its really worthless to try. So, I’ve basically just moved ahead and ignored these links and just focused on producing my site. I have received no penalty from these negative links; and it appears that Google has ignored these (as Matt Cutts explained in the video in my post).

  48. Kayla

    Kayla

    Hi Spencer,

    Is it important to use a robot.txt file for your niche site? Do we actually need to modify it? I understand that you can use it to block certain pages from being crawled (and I guess indexed), but I would like to know if there would be any kind of penalty from google for using one or not?

    I guess the robot.txt file could also be used as a form of security?

    If anyone could help explain the robot.txt file to a newbie then it would be much appreciated.

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      WordPress using a robots.txt file by default, so if you are using wordpress, you don’t need to do anything. If you are not using wordpress, then yes, you should still create one and make sure your site is getting indexed properly.

      • Kayla

        Kayla

        Thanks for the reply and explanation.

  49. Matthew Allen

    Matthew Allen

    I have a question unrelated to the content of this post. Awesome progress with the niche site, btw.

    How did you produce the bar graphs in this post? Screenshots from some other program? Plugin? Those are really slick, and I’ve been searching for a way to easily create bar graphs like that to use for some of my stuff.

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Hey Matthew, its just a simple Microsoft Excel graph. Takes 30 seconds to create. Then I just took a screenshot of the excel graph. That’s it :)

  50. Kate

    Kate

    Hi Spencer
    Congratulations on your success. You have really motivated me to get moving on my new site. I’ve had to failed sites in the past, but I know why now. I focused on highly competitive keywords.

    This time around, I really want to get it right. I have passion, experience and knowledge about the subject. But I have mixed emotions which are making me procrastinate.

    I am so excited about the niche, but at the same time very nervous about creating engaging content in the right voice and where I should research professional information to back up my personal experience and knowledge.

    I don’t want to get it wrong. I can’t afford to outsource and to be honest, I wouldn’t know how to find a good writer, or how to instruction them etc. I’ve looked at a few sites, but many writers charge 15-20 dollars per hour!

    If I may, I would like to ask a few questions.

    1. Targeting Keywords for articles – you mentioned using keywords with 500 or less. What would be the lowest number you would target?

    2. When do you add monetization? I use an all in one tool for building my site that includes hosting, keyword research ( I really like Long tail pro, I downloaded the free trail, can’t afford to buy this either at present), they recommend not adding any monetization until I have 30 pages and at least 2 quality links to my site.

    I know your a very busy guy, but I would really appreciate your help.

    Best regards
    Kate

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      1. For a primary keyword – I like to have at least 3k searches per month. For secondary keywords (other articles besides homepage), you can target any volume…could be less than 100 even.
      2. I usually wait until I have about 10 to 15 pages of content.

      • Aaron

        Aaron

        Spencer – Why do you wait until you have 10 to 15 pages of content?

        • Spencer Haws

          Spencer Haws

          I just like to make sure Google has fully indexed and doesn’t view my site poorly – like having too many ads from the start.

  51. philippe

    philippe

    Hi Spencer,

    Can you tell me if you use the 24 hours cookie or a longer cookie (90 days)?

    Have a good day.

    Best Regards,
    Philippe

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Just the standard 24 hour cookie. I’ve heard its possible to have a 90 day cookie if you force people to add items to their cart; but I don’t like the flow…so I’m sticking with the standard Amazon Associate’s 24 hour cookie.

      • philippe

        philippe

        Hi,

        Thank you very much for your answer.

        Regards,
        Philippe

  52. Lenny

    Lenny

    Hi Spencer

    Congrats on your continued success with bestsurvivalknifeguide.com.

    I’m now following your methods exclusively, you have proven they work !!! – thank you.

    Just a quick question I meant to ask earlier with regards to Google Adsense sites and it may be relevant for Niche Site Project 2.

    You were saying you wouldn’t do a public Google Adsense site because it may expose you Adsense account or code, can you explain this further for me ?

    The reason I ask is that the initial sites I’m building will be more information based rather than product based so will be more suited to Adsense.

    At some point I may follow yours and Jon Havers lead by starting a blog, and I’d like to document how my sites perform.

    How would my Adsense site be exposed and is there anything I could do to prevent this ?

    Any info or sites you can point me to for more help would be great.

    Thanks Spencer

    Lenny

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Lenny:
      If you use Google Adsense, its very easy to find all your sites. A quick search can reveal everywhere that Adsense code is installed. So, if you want to keep sites private from blog readers, showing a site with Adsense will expose them. Secondly, not all readers are nice. They purposely click your adsense ads and potentially get your adsense account closed. There are plugins out there that try to combat this, but nothing is perfect.

      • Lenny

        Lenny

        Thanks Spencer I’l look in to this a little more, cheers.

  53. Mike McCarthy

    Mike McCarthy

    Hi Spencer,

    It’s great to see your success. I find it really inspiring to follow your example. I’ve followed your case-studies but so far haven’t quite got there (turns out my chosen niche was in an ecommerce area!) I’m sure perseverance and hard work will see me right :)

    Cheers, Mike

  54. Internet Marketing Products

    Internet Marketing Products

    I saw your niche develop quickly for each month. Thanks for sharing Spencer.

  55. Alice

    Alice

    Congratulations on reaching your $500 per month goal, that really is fantastic.

    Whilst looking at a few of the charts you posted, it’s interesting that your visitors in June were lower than April, but you still made more money – must mean that you are converting better with the tweaks you are adding along the way!

    You say that you aren’t going to build anymore links at the moment and just let them happen naturally – it will be really interesting to see how your links grow and their affect on your sales. You could truly have a site that ‘grows’ itself.

    Perfect timing to reach your goal before NSP2 starts …greatly looking forward to it! :)

  56. martin

    martin

    “I know if I listed the earnings at the end of this post, you would just scroll down to look at them…so I’ll just reveal the earnings first!”

    Laughed my ass off, ahahaha. Thanks for sharing”

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      I know you all too well :) …I would do the same thing!

  57. Jake

    Jake

    Amazing job Spencer and very motivating. Now I gotta get back to work :-)

  58. Michele

    Michele

    Spencer,

    Nice job. I want to tell you that reading and watching all you have done helped me with my own site. I am moving steadily through the search pages and getting sales.

    Thank you so much for what you give here so freely.

    I am so happy for your success, returned to you for your
    giving so much to others.

  59. Barry

    Barry

    Hi Spencer

    It’s great to see that you’ve bettered your income target.
    It inspires everyone to follow your example.
    BTW – your site is #1 for Best Survival Knife here in the UK

    How long do you intend putting up posts for this site – or are you planning to flip it some time?

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      I have a contract through the end of the year with my current author…so at least that long. Not sure if I will sell the site or not.

  60. Sigal

    Sigal

    I’m curious to know if you are getting the great majority of your traffic from the US, or from other countries. This will also significantly affect your Amazon earnings.

  61. Paul Tipping

    Paul Tipping

    Great results Spencer!
    It is so refreshing to see that plain old ‘putting in the work’ still is the best route to success.
    This is a real lesson for everyone that gets seduced by the latest shiny object, scheme, plugin etc.
    Keep up the great work please!
    Regards,
    Paul

  62. CJ

    CJ

    Grats on reaching your goal. A lot of your success is that you have a huge number of articles on your site. We’re not talking 10 or 15 articles, there’s over 200 pages indexed for your site on Google. That’s going to generate a huge amount of traffic especially if they target low competition keywords.

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      The site has 43 published sites; the 200 indexed pages you are seeing is category, tag pages, etc. So, it just has 43 real pages of content.

  63. MMD

    MMD

    This is incredible progress. It really inspire me to make my next niche site an Adsense one.

    I’m curious to know how your small site is indexed for over 1600 search long tail keywords. Do you write your articles strategically where the keyword is buried into a long tail keyword so it “double-ranks” if you will?

    • CJ

      CJ

      When you write an article, one of the best things to do is to use synonyms for keywords that you’re using in the article as well as to do things like “EIEE Uber Awesome Survival Knife” -> “The Uber Awesome Survival Knife from EIEE”. So I would say it is strategic writing, but you can’t do it to the point where it disrupts the flow of the article and inhibits the user experience.

      Also other times, it’s just that you’re article has all of the words in a phrase that a user is searching for and you may not have strategically done anything to the article.

      • Spencer Haws

        Spencer Haws

        I just have my author write the articles naturally; there is no secret strategy to use synonyms or anything like that, it all happens naturally.

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      I just knew this would occur naturally. I just target one keyword for each article, but even though it might target “best survival machete”, I also know that naturally it will rank for related keywords like “top survival machete”, worlds best survival machete, etc. So, you don’t need to do anything extra to target these super long tail phrases…just pick 1 low competition keyword per article.

  64. Jay

    Jay

    Please please please share your settings for W3 Total Cache! I always mess up my site when I try to use this… :(

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      I just have the default settings: save to disk, and the default boxes checked. If there is a specific question, let me know.

  65. Donald W

    Donald W

    Hello Spencer,
    First off congratulations on the success of this website. Great information and it is truly appreciated.

    My question is regarding the amazon associates program. I know in a previous post you had mentioned signing up for other Amazon associates programs other than the US. When you did this did you have to create a duplicate set of links for each country? In doing that are you able to sell and earn from these other countries? I only have a US account right now but over time I have found 30% or so of my traffic is from other countries and I feel I am missing out on these potential customers. How have you gotten around this ?

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Donald:
      Actually, my links are not working for other countries! So, I am actually probably missing out on another 20 to 30% of my income as well! I’m using the easy azon plugin – http://www.nichepursuits.com/easyazon to localize my links for different countries; so the plugin handles it automatically (no need to create separate links). However, I just spoke to Chris, the owner of the plugin, and he says that its not working properly right now, and they are going to update it. So, I actually have alot of income that I’m leaving on the table right now…

      • Mark N.

        Mark N.

        It’s worth keeping in mind that Amazon does not convert nearly as well in European countries as it does in the US (it’s not as huge popular as it is in the States); plus many of the items that are available at Amazon.com are not available on the other local Amazon sites. So I’d guess that if 20-30% of your traffic is from outside the US, then it definitely doesn’t have to mean that you are missing out on 20-30% income (probably much less than that).

        • Donald W

          Donald W

          Thank you Spencer and Mark. It definitely makes me feel better knowing I’m not the only one thinking of these things. I’ll have to try out the easyazon plugin hopefully he gets that worked out. Also good to know that I may not be missing out on all that much. It makes sense that whats popular here may not be in other countries. Here’s to our success!

        • Norm

          Norm

          From my experience the 3 best converting Amazon Affiliate programs are US, CA and UK.

          Good work again Spencer. Good to see it do well.

  66. jerry

    jerry

    Great income report spencer, i have been following what you are teaching here alongside with becker at source-wave i’m now ranking my websites within 12 days with little or no backlinks

  67. Rushin

    Rushin

    Hey loved to hear that your website earned you $600 just by doing nothing and thats what is called the niche pursuit, and I would like to suggest you to switch you monetization with CPA offers and I guess it will earn you even more with the present traffic. Hope you will think about it.

  68. Jay Samson

    Jay Samson

    You know, I have never hired a freelancer before to write articles, but I’m seeing now that you’re actually make a profit over your expenses. I might actually try that sometime!

    I also like how you aren’t doing link building anymore. Natural links are amazing and I wish my website could get some someday, haha xD

  69. Zach

    Zach

    Hey Spencer Loving the Case study, but after being dropped from the Amazon program back in July due to state laws, I have been ramping up my adsense site creation, I have one site with adsense that is earning around 5$ per week…. I made most of my money from the Amazon affiliate program, but now I’m excited with how easy adsense is, and was curious if you were going to do an updated Case study for building “Adsense sites” since I’m sure alot has changed from the basic 5 – 10 page webpages that were kicking ass a few years back… or does this still work ? I’m on the verge of building up 20+ sites per month … but don’t want to waste the captail on the older outdated model,

    I’ve noticed the guys at Empire Flippers seem to be building sites the same way (5 Pages, EMD , Quality content etc)

    Thanks again for you time and Keep Kicking Ass!

    – Cheers

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Zach:
      I love Google adsense and find it easier in most ways than Amazon. I’ve built hundreds of adsense sites. The model is essentially what I’ve shown with my survival knife site. I still recommend about 15 pages of content to start. But yes, you can still do very well with adsense.

      • Lenny

        Lenny

        Hi Spencer

        When I build my first Adsense site would you recommend waiting until I’ve been accepted into the Adsense program before starting to link build for the site ?

        Or maybe its not an issue ?

        Thanks Spencer

        • Spencer Haws

          Spencer Haws

          You need to make sure your site is indexed, so its okay to build links first.

        • Lenny

          Lenny

          Thanks Spencer
          Cheers
          Leeny

  70. Bob

    Bob

    Hey Spencer – congrats on earnings this month!

    Last time I look on your project site I noticed an Amazon “bestsellers) widget at the top of the page. It’s now gone – did this not work for you?

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      I am finding that the chart itself converts better. I am still playing around with widgets, so you may notice another one back up.

  71. Stef

    Stef

    Hey Spencer,

    I love your blog.
    I have a couple of niche sites in Dutch but im learning allot from you.

    A question: how can you do good reviews on products you only know from the internet and never saw/touched?

    Keep up the good job.

    Greatings from the Netherlands

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      I hire authors that have used the product. Or if not, you still gather information from many sources online and combine in one spot, which is still a huge service to users.

  72. Chris R Jensen

    Chris R Jensen

    Congratz on surpassing your goal! It is very inspiring to read about this – and I am always looking forward to recieving your email. Fortunately I have joined your FB page – so I get a heads up in there :)

    Keep it up!

  73. Naveen Kulkarni

    Naveen Kulkarni

    Great figures buddy. Especially 14k visits is really big. CONGRATS !!!

    I have few questions for you though,

    1. What is your conversion rate in Amazon associates?
    2. Will building email list for niche sites a useful thing to do or not? If yes, how the list can help us to grow income?

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      1. The conversion rate was 2.93% for July…just checked.
      2. I tried initially to build a list with this site, but the conversion rate was much lower. I may need to go back and test again.

  74. Naveen Kulkarni

    Naveen Kulkarni

    Forgot to mention, your site speed has been improved. I did few tests on the same. However it seems due to lots of images in your site’s home page, more data downloads to client every time, I think it’s not a big deal anyways :-)

  75. Pramod

    Pramod

    Wow ! This is simply amazing mate ! Your blogs are money generating monsters mate ..thanks for sharing these details …Such details are inspiration for other bloggers like me .

    -pramod

  76. Sigal

    Sigal

    A thought about Google plus – is it possible that your picture does not show up in the search results because another author posted specific articles on your site?

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Well, that would perhaps be the case…but the homepage was clearly written by me, so not sure why that page doesn’t show up.

  77. James

    James

    Brilliant to see that you have broken your $500 mark!

    Personally i am just about to start my first niche site, i have had sites before but not in the niche mould.

    How do you know you have found the right one to go with?

    As personally i have just found one with four keywords very similar all have 1500 hits a month, the sites in the top 10 i feel i could easily out rank.

    The only issue i have is will people definately buy through amazon? Its a product that i suspect would be bought more from specialist shops. After looking at them none of them offer affiliate schemes. Yet amazon clearly does and they have all the same products.

    Worth a go? I really want to try it as the niche is one i have great experience in.

  78. Mike

    Mike

    Spencer.

    You said you got about 14,300 visitors last month. Out of that number, can you reveal what percentage are American visitors versus those located elsewhere in the world?

    I ask that specifically because I’m wondering–if a person from Thailand or Spain visits your site, likes your article, and clicks on a Survival Knife Amazon link, I’d imagine that they wouldn’t necessarily purchase the knife from a United States-based Amazon site. And if they don’t, you get no commission, so I’d love to know what your visitor breakdown for the month looks like for those in America and those clicking on your site from outside the country.

    Thanks.

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      My analytics show that 53% were from the US.

  79. Kyle @ Whales and Business

    Kyle @ Whales and Business

    Wow! Congrats! I am not surprised!

    How much are you spending on outsourcing ten articles per month? That seems like a lot!

    Do you produce that much new content per month for your other niche sites?

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      About $15-$20/article. No, most of my other niche sites I am not adding new content to.

  80. billy

    billy

    Hey Spencer- great job as always; very inspiring. I had a quick question.

    I was wondering what your thoughts were on EMD and PMD? While I don’t think they are a “golden ticket” anymore, I do think there is value in them, if you have a useful and informative site. I think most sites that got hit by these updates just weren’t quality sites. I’m not sure when the update was, and if you had this site, but I’m sure you have some insight.

    Thanks!

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      I still like EMD if its available. And will take PMD as well, if its not. There is no penalty really, its just that EMDs don’t provide as much of a bonus as they used to. It still has value though.

  81. Heidi

    Heidi

    Hey Spencer please tell us how you manage your over 200 sites…link building, content creation, keyword management…and how much you are making from those sites in relation to your monthly income…adsense vs amazon vs CPA? Thank You for inspiring us all with these free case studies!
    Heidi

    • Heidi

      Heidi

      Sorry one more thing…how many different adsense accounts do you have? I am assumng you have several adsense business accounts since having one would be risky incase it’s shutdown after your previous experience.

      Thank you again!

      • Spencer Haws

        Spencer Haws

        Yes, I have more than 1 business entity, that’s all I’ll say :)

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Almost all 200 are completely passive; I do nothing with them except check my earnings. I only have one site monetized with Amazon (bestsurvivalknifeguide.com); so most of my earnings comes from Google Adsense.

  82. Jye @ Our SEO News

    Jye @ Our SEO News

    It’s all looking good Spencer, and those long tail numbers are just awesome.

  83. mathukuty

    mathukuty

    Congrats for this months earnings Spencer

    I am new to niche site and I have ever created a website and started to build site now

    I have 3 articles But I have no idea what is the best time to publish my articles.What I mean Should I create 10-15 articles to go live.

    I have 1700 unique words in primary articles (Home page) and secondary articles to 400-600.( as of now 2 articles).My question is can I publish these articles to my site now ?
    or Should I wait to have 10-15 then publish one by one in each day ? What strategy you recommend ?

    By the way I have some amazon links in primary.I understand do not include affiliate links in the article when we publish.Is it right for both home page and inner page articles or inner page alone.

    Looking for a reply.Once again your site inspired me to start my first niche site.

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Nah, just start publishing them one at a time; its fine.

  84. Ian

    Ian

    Hey Spencer,

    Niche Pursuits has become my favorite “make money online” blog for multiple reasons, but the most important is that you stick to your craft and do it well.

    The one thing I am having a tough time figuring out is this. When you get your target keyword do you actively find long tail keywords to inject into articles or just this just happen organically? Just curious. Thanks.

    Always inspired.

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      They happen organically. I have 1 primary keyword, then each new article I publish I am targeting one different keyword (secondary keywords). So, each article only really targets 1 keyword, but I know the long tails will come naturally because of the way people search for things online.

  85. Amr

    Amr

    Nice post :) , for your niche do you write its content ? or you pay for it ? if you pay for it could you tell me from where ? or who write it to you !

    Thanks,
    Amr

  86. A.K

    A.K

    First of all i want to tell you this post was awesome you give me the hope , cause i have a lot of niches but i always stuck in the second or third pages on my keywords which should bring some traffic and when i saw that your niche of knifes is on the first spot i tell my self he can help me and tell me how he get on top of Google and what is the service or the company that he pay for to get ranked , i hope you really tell me i will appreciate it Thanks , Great post :)

  87. Winston

    Winston

    Spencer,

    I’ve got a couple of questions.

    1. what differences do you do between an Adsense monetized site and one that’s for Amazon?

    2. I was doing a some keyword research just now and noticed that majority of the top 10s (lots of keywords) are usually exact match (with words added to the front or back). Is my observation correct? And thus, it makes more sense to build specific keyword sites as opposed to something like toptenreviews and the keywords aren’t on the domain itself?

    Great work on achieving the 6 month goal!

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      1. Almost nothing. Its a bit more work with Amazon because you have to create more amazon links; but the strategies are pretty much the same: pick low competition keywords, rank in Google, make money from ads on your site.
      2. I’ve always done well with keywords in domain.

  88. Kevin Mata

    Kevin Mata

    Hi Spencer, I’m very grateful with you for all the stuff you shared with us.

    I’m not trying to be rude here, I’m just writing this comment because I’m genuinely curious about your backlink strategy because I checked your backlink history on your niche site (best survival knife dot com) and I’ve noticed that you have a few backlinks from what it seems to be a blog network or at least you bought backlinks from other blogs and I’m wondering why you didn’t mention this in your case study.

    Thank you very much for taking your time to read this, have a good day.

    Greets from Venezuela!

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Kevin:
      I’ve mentioned these links MANY times throughout my case study. Not sure how you missed it. The original post about it is from a couple of months ago: http://www.nichepursuits.com/is-my-niche-site-a-victim-of-negative-seo/

      And what’s ironic about your comment is that I have a new blog post (posted before your comment here); where I dig into even more details about it. Read the brand new post here to get all your questions answered: http://www.nichepursuits.com/i-got-an-unnatural-links-warning-new-manual-spam-actions-viewer/

      • Kevin Mata

        Kevin Mata

        Thank you very much for taking your time to answer my question Spencer. You have a new ‘fan’ here. I didn’t see that new blog post before but I’m going to read it now! By the way, I’m a graphic designer and I make logos/headers, etc… if you ever need my services I’ll be glad to help you cost-free since all the information you have given here is worth gold and I feel like I need to pay you back for all this stuff!

        Have a good day Spencer!

        PS: I had a good laugh when I saw the wood car you and your son built hahaha very clever!

  89. Winston

    Winston

    Thanks for the response. As a follow up question on the differences on Adsense and Amazon sites you build, do you always use a link building service?

    It seems expensive and considering you’ve made hundreds of adsense sites, or do you have more cost effective ways of building links?

    Really appreciate all the info your site has provided. Keep it up!

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Not always, but usually. But I have tried LOTS of different link building services. Some only cost $30 others cost $200+…while others are monthly. Doing it yourself is free and often more effective; but very time consuming.

  90. LeonMakka

    LeonMakka

    G’day Spencer: Thanks for the inspiration and all the tips & tricks you offer through your blog.

    My first attempt at an Amazon review site has tanked in the rankings after a recent Google slap. Ironically, I received a $178 cheque from Amazon yesterday (my first-ever affiliate payment).

    I had managed to get my primary keyword ranking at number 3 and 4 in the SERPS and was averaging 100+ visitors per day. Then came the slap and my “money” keyword is on page 4, rather than number 4 on the first page.

    I don’t know what I did wrong. Just before getting slugged by Mr. G., I had added some more clickable links in the text, and also made my images clickable.

    In your opinion, could this have been my problem?

    I have since removed these extra hot links, but I noted that in one of your comments regarding the SEO on the knife site, you had made your images clickable.

    Anyway, you have encouraged me to keep on trying.

  91. Nick

    Nick

    Job well done Spencer!!! Very inspiring case study!

    I have a question; open to all;

    I remember you mentioning that you get less than 10% or so traffic from the primary keyword “best survival knifes”. You get most other traffic from many other keywords and parses, as you mentioned in this post you get traffic from 1648 different keywords.

    So what’s the point targeting a primary keyword, getting an exact match domain and all that, if it’s not getting most of the traffic?

    As I understand you could get your website raked well and get traffic even if you didn’t select this primary keyword and exact match domain.

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Because that primary keyword brings in 10%+ of the traffic; but variations of that keywords brings in MUCH more. So, i get traffic from broad or phrase match keywords like: top survival knife, what is the best survival knife, best survival knife in the world, best survival knives, etc, etc.

      So, if I didn’t target that great primary keyword, I probably would get all that great long tail traffic from very similar keywords.

      You can certainly build a website without targeting a primary keyword, but you would be giving up on a ton of traffic.

      • Nick

        Nick

        Thanks for your quick answer.

        Spencer, What you think about building niche sites on sub-domains. We can always use exact match sub-domains.

        Something like bestsurvivalknifeguide.nichepursuits.com

        Same as pages on about.com

        Will it be harder to rank a sub-domain when you are starting-up?

        • Spencer Haws

          Spencer Haws

          I think its a bit harder to rank a subdomain; but it can definitely be done.

  92. Mario

    Mario

    Congratulations Spencer, goal accomplished!

    In addition to Nick’s question i would like to know how important it is to rank high for your primary keyword in relevancy to all your other articles/keywords getting those longtails. Aside from the fact that you would gain domain authority….

    I asume you’re not building backlinks to all the inner-articles?

    One other not releated question,

    I recently got approved for Google adsense ( following the guidelines in your post about it, worked excellent btw, thank you) and now im hestating to put a link unit under my navigation bar, isn’t it a bit against Google TOS? misleading,… making it look like part of the navigation a bit?

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Ranking high for a primary keyword (or secondary keyword) also means you rank highly for very closely related search terms. So, its very important.

      I’m not building links to inner-articles…other than internal links (links from other articles on my site). Also, some links come naturally…so there are links.

      If you are not comfortable putting a link unit under navigation, dont do it.

  93. Mario

    Mario

    As a “student” from Long tail classroom i know that you seem to be comfortable with it so i asume you don’t see no harm in it? Or maybe your in a position where you have another adsense account as backup and are willing to take a little risk?

    It seems to be an oustanding position for a link unit so im in doubt here.

    First point understood,btw, sounds logical…. thank you

  94. Bas

    Bas

    Hey Spencer,

    Great numbers and impressive conversion rate.

    I was wondering how many clicks did you send to Amazon? So how high is the conversion rate of Amazon of the people you send over?

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      9934 amazon clicks. Conversion rate of 2.93%

      • Bas

        Bas

        Thanks! That’s really nice conversion rate of Amazon. I made my first affiliate site in dutch, so I have dutch affiliates but they don’t convert that well.

        for one I have 1.19%
        the other 0.68%
        for click –> conversion rate

        Going to start my first Amazon, pretty soon so I hope to get the same results as you :) thanks for the answers.

  95. DailySon

    DailySon

    Awesome result! Now you can set up higher monthly goals!

    Good luck!

  96. Bas

    Bas

    Oh one more thing, do you use an excell file or something to track your progress of your niche websites?

    I have a very basic one and never saw anyone speaking about it on a website. But we need to keep track of what we do, right?

    Maybe an idea for a new blog post :)

  97. Amanda

    Amanda

    Hi Spencer

    Thats very inspiring!

    I started my first niche site a month ago and it started off really well, 10 to 15 visitors a day and 8 sales in the first two weeks. Now all my traffic has completely disappeared and I have no idea why. It dropped from 20 vistors to zero overnight and has stayed at about 1 visit a day where it was increasing every day.

    I thought it might be too many Amazon so I removed as many links as I could but my traffic is still down. I have two more started now so its not a big deal but I want to figure out what happened

    Should I keep adding content or just wait and see what happens?

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      That does sound like some sort of penalty. If you lost rankings in Google, this is likely the cause. Perhaps you were building low quality links?

  98. Rina

    Rina

    You earn over $ 500 only through one blog, I am in need of 5 to 6 blog for it. I think in addition to a good position in google certainly well supported by quality content
    Congratulations and always successful

  99. Steve

    Steve

    Hi Spencer,

    Just to mention to some of your UK/European readers that the Amazon commission structure is different on .com vs the EU sites.

    For example, in the US commission rate is 4% for 10-6 items and 6% for 7-30 whereas in the UK its 5% for 1-20 items and only rises to 6% for 51 items shipped (which is a big difference). The commissions are also capped in the UK/EU for each item, to £7/€10.

    Makes more $/£ sense to target the US market and use Amazon.com although I guess this could be more competitive.

  100. SEOnutshell

    SEOnutshell

    So after this experiment, will you be making more amazon sites or sticking with adsense?

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      I’ve already built several other sites since starting this project. I don’t share most of what I do on this blog. I will continue with both Amazon and Adsense sites.

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  102. Shorya

    Shorya

    Hi Spencer ,

    Thanks for sharing this great post. I was planning to create some micro niche sites.I was reading over internet about the strategies to make for micro niche blogging.

    Can you provide me your links that can help me to start up with niche blogging.

  103. Doug

    Doug

    Hi Spencer, really awesome month mate, great stuff.

    I was just wondering, of the 295 orders how many were related to the survival knifes?

    The reason I ask is should our main product meet a certain criteria e.g. easy to ship, high price. Or do you think a site that generates a high traffic volume is more important than the actual main product being reviewed?

    The product could be low value but if you can generate a tone of traffic then obviously more orders will be placed.

  104. Bas

    Bas

    Why do you think the conversion was so low (compared to the months after that) in feb and march?

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    […] builds niche sites for years and he shares the income from his survival knife site publicly. In July 2013 he made $649.78 with Amazon Associates, so this can definitely work for me as […]

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