Well, I began my Niche Authority Site Project about a month and a half ago. I wanted to review some of the things that I have done, my results so far, and what my plans are for this project in the future. Unfortunately, I have to provide a bit of a twist for this project, but such is life!
So, here is what has happened, since I wrote my initial plans for my project: read plans here. I chose what I believe is a good keyword (still do), and have added over 60 articles to the site in the past month and a half. Within the first 30 days, the site was ranking well for lots of different long tail keywords. Also, within the first 30 days, I had earned $34.76 via Google Adsense. For a brand new site, this is stellar! Trust me, a new site usually takes a bit longer to start earning over a $1 per day. So, everything was looking like I had picked a real winner (and I still think I have).
However, about 3 weeks ago for lack of a better term, my site was “sand boxed”. My site went from receiving 30 to 40 unique visitors a day (pretty decent for a brand new site) to essentially no traffic from Google. I was originally ranking well for lots of long tail keywords as I had planned; however, once this “penalty” was applied I am no longer around. Essentially the site now gets a few stray image searches or other random phrase searches, but overall, no real traffic from Google.
Presented with a Decision
So, I was left with a decision to make. I know from experience that sometimes new sites bounce around in Google – and this is important to know. Newer sites will bounce up and down the rankings for a week or so before they settle in a position – but never stay down for 3 weeks like this one has. However, I also know from experience that what my “authority” site experienced was a more severe penalty than just bouncing around. I highly doubt that it will ever come back. And this is a phenomenon that I have noticed from time to time. I would say that some domains perform perhaps better than they should and others perform much worse than they should (like this one). I wish I understood why Google does things sometimes, but I can't explain why some sites get penalized and why others don't.
However, I have recognized that this site has essentially been killed. Its still in Google and like I said gets the stray visitor from Google, but nothing like it should. So my decision was:
- Do I keep the site and continue to overcome the penalty?
- Or do I start with a fresh domain and try again?
My experience has taught me to recognize your failures quickly and get back in the saddle just as quickly. So, I am throwing in the towel on this domain and starting a brand new site. I also know from experience that overcoming a penalty like this is nearly impossible – so its just not worth the effort.
The only problem with my decision is that I have already invested a lot of time and money into my authority site! I have paid for about 70 articles to be written and that's a pretty penny to just throw out the window. So, I am going to try something that is perhaps risky but may save me from having to pay for 70 new articles on the same topics all over again. I am going to reuse my articles.
Killing My Old Site
That's right, I am going to start placing my articles from my old authority site onto my new site. But won't I get penalized for duplicate content you ask? Well, first of all, duplicate content gets ranked all the time; but more importantly, I am going to do my best to remove my original site completely from Google. Yep, I am shutting down my original site, removing all the files, and this site will no longer be in existence. So, when Google tries to crawl my site again, the site will be gone, and the site will eventually be completely removed from the Google index. This is what I want at this point.
Once the site has been completely removed from the Google index, I will start placing the articles from my old site onto my new site. I am hoping that this will allow the new site to be seen as the original provider of the content and all will be well. If not, that will be a learning experience that I can share with you as well!
But hold onto your seats, the twist doesn't stop there for my new Niche Authority Site Project! I am going to test out my theory that some domains for no real reason just tend to perform better than others. So, I am going to register 3 different domains all targeting the same keyword and start each with 2 or 3 original articles. After a couple of weeks, my guess is that one will start ranking much better in Google than the other 2. This better performing site will start getting more articles and will eventually be built into my authority site. That's the plan.
I do want to make clear how difficult this post is for me to write. It pains me to have to share a failure with all of you. After all, many of you view me as an expert on building niche sites (and I appreciate that). But even with all the niche sites that I have built, I still have failures – it just so happens that this one is public. The truth of the matter is that if anyone tells you that you should succeed at every site you ever try to build, they are filling you full of fluff. So, while it pains me to share a bad outcome of something I was trying to make an exciting success for all of you to share in, it also provides some valuable lessons that we can all learn from.
First, I honestly value as one of my reasons for success with niche websites is my ability to recognize my failures quickly and keep trying. In fact, the entire theory of smaller niche websites is based on the theory that with enough tries (new websites) you will be able to have enough successes to offset any lower performing sites. I know that for every 10 sites I build that 1 or 2 will make almost no money. But I also know 5 or 6 of those 10 will perform about as expected and 1 or 2 will outperform my expectations and more than make up for any losses on the poor performers. And in fact, I have written an in depth post previously about the Risks Associated with Building Niche Websites. This is one of those risks. So, if you are getting into this business, you need to be aware of the very real risks.
So, overall I like the advice that other people have given to “fail quickly”. This simply means recognize when something is not working as hoped and stop throwing money at it. Try something else. There are lots of places that discuss the importance of “failing quickly”, and here is just one interesting article by Brad Feld: “The Best Entrepreneurs Know How to Fail Fast.”
Here is an article about a company that did not “fail quickly”. They continued to waste 5 years and $330 million before they finally owned up to the fact that the project was a failure. Don't do that.
So, as difficult as this post is to write, I felt like I needed to be honest and up front with all of you. In one sense, I hope it shows that I am not trying to just make up my successes here. Everything I share here is real, and this is indeed my core business. If I were to write my own story, my income would grow every month, and my authority site would be rocking Google. Unfortunately, I'm just a normal guy that is willing to share my failures right along with my successes.
So there you have it. My new plan for my niche authority site project. I want to keep it going since I received so much feedback from all of you on how much you wanted to see this unfold. I am killing the old site, building 3 new domains, then the top performing domain gets the old articles. What do you think about my plans?
Overall, I would love to hear your thoughts on my post here – thanks for sharing!