As I sit down to write this new monthly report for Niche Site Project 4, it's hard to believe that it's been about 4 months since the first article was published on my new site.
I'll be honest, making it through the first 4 months was really hard. It's difficult to be working on something and publishing content and not seeing any earnings for a few months.
However, the tides appear to be shifting ever so slightly in my favor! As reported a couple of weeks ago, I made my first sale on the site! In addition, as I'll share in this report the sales didn't stop with one. In fact, I made a few sales and finally have some real income to report for the site.
Overall, I'll share what the income looks like, the traffic trends, and more.
Earnings for December 2018
I'm so happy to finally be able to say that my site made money last month! The previous 3 months felt a little bit like pushing a big boulder that wasn't moving at all. Well, last month the big boulder finally moved ever so slightly. I'm hoping the momentum continues to grow over the next few months and more.
In total, I officially earned $23.66 for December 2018! I know it's a small number, but remember, this just represents that things are starting to work and the momentum has begun.
It's the small amount of feedback I need to continue putting in the work. Hopefully, we can start adding a couple of zeros to that earnings number at some point.
I want to point out something interesting from the above Amazon associates screenshot. You will notice that I had 18 ordered items, but only 7 shipped. So, the $23.66 in earnings is from those 7 shipped items.
Several of the ordered items that didn't “ship” were actually products that I ordered. I had clicked one of my affiliate links to test things out, then at some point within 24 hours I had forgotten that I had clicked on my own affiliate link and bought several Christmas gifts on Amazon. Whoops!
However, turns out that Amazon was smart enough to know that it was me and I didn't get any earnings credit for those items ordered. So, the lesson here is don't attempt to earn through your own Amazon associates links. But it also appears that Amazon is smart enough to just not give you credit for those earnings.
Finally, I actually made another sale that I didn't get credit for. I ran some Facebook ads to a landing page and as a result, I got an affiliate sale…but I didn't get credit. I'll explain the little experiment I ran and why I don't think I got credit for the sale below.
The overall traffic was actually down slightly in December when compared to November. One of the main reasons was that in November, I had spent $50 on FB ads driving traffic to the site. When I remove this traffic spike from November from paid ads, December traffic was higher.
Here's a look at the trend in traffic from all sources.
And here is a look at the traffic trend from Organic sources only.
Other than the weird spike in September (which is likely due to me searching my own website so much), the Organic traffic has been trending up as well each month. Baby steps.
One thing that is a sure sign that things are moving in the right direction is the impressions on Google Search Console. When your site is not getting a lot of traffic yet, you can be encouraged that your site is getting more and more impressions on Google.
Over time, people will start clicking on your site more from Google. Here's a quick screenshot showing that my “impressions” are increasing over time.
In December, you can see that my impressions on Google really increased a ton. I'm excited to see that trend continue!
In November, I was able to publish 11 total new articles on the site. The site now has a total of 50 articles live. My plan was to publish several more than that, but the holiday season got in the way for both me and some of my writers.
However, I already have 16 articles sitting in draft format just waiting for me to review and hit publish. So, I should get at least 16 articles published in January!
In December, I hired a content writing service called Content Pit to write 10 articles for me. So, that is the bulk of the articles that are now sitting in draft format for me. From what I've seen, the quality is really good and I will likely go back to Content Pit and order some more.
In full disclosure, I am an affiliate for Content Pit. However, I tried out their service because it was started by someone that has written several articles for me in the past, and he's always done a great job. If you decide to sign up, the owner is offering a special bonus for my audience only. You get 20% bonus words added to your project. For example, if you order 10,000 words of content, you get 12,000 words (while still only paying for the 10,000).
I decided it was time to try my hand at some link building in December. I decided to try out Brian Dean's Skyscraper technique.
Long story short is that it didn't work very well for me. Let me explain exactly what I did.
In my previous monthly report, I mentioned that I had completed a “Pillar” article that was a massive 13,000 words. I do believe it's the most in-depth article on the subject that I was targeting.
I felt like this was the perfect article to do some outreach for. So, I hired a VA to find 200 websites related to my niche. I wrote out an email for the VA to use and had her reach out to these 200 websites.
Out of 200 emails, I probably only got 10 replies. About half of those replies were, “Sure, we'll add a link…just visit this page for our pricing.” I would have to pay for the link, which is not going to happen.
The other half were responses that either said no or maybe. I only had 2 or 3 that were considering adding a link, but no one did. So, 200 emails, no links. Ouch.
My thought is that outreach doesn't work real well in certain niches or if you don't have an established brand. The technique worked great for Brian Dean and I'm sure it would work exceptionally well for NichePursuits.com because I've been around for a long time, know lots of people, and have an established brand.
However, maybe this isn't the best technique for a newer site…at least that's what my results are telling me.
I'm not sure what my next link building attempt will be, but something different.
Running a contest
During December I also conducted another experiment and wanted to share the results.
I tried to run a contest using FB ads. The idea was simple. I would send people to landing page that offered an Amazon product in my niche for free if they won the contest. In exchange for their email, they would be entered into the contest. They could get more signups by tagging friends and sharing on social media, etc.
As an FYI, I used Landing Cube to create the landing page. It's not really meant as a tool for Amazon associates, so I had to tweak it to make it work.
After running ads for a little while, I was getting signups for $1 each. Now, this would actually be pretty good if I was the owner of a product or in a more profitable niche. However, as just an Amazon affiliate I was not going to make any money on the contest, so I shut it down after getting roughly 20 emails.
Now, the way I had the contest set up is that they would essentially get directed to an Amazon page through my affiliate link, so I was getting clicks. And I actually got an affiliate sale! (I actually got 4 sales, but I think 3 were mine by accident).
Here's a screenshot of the affiliate id I created for the contest:
So, one of these ordered items is from the contest…my plan was working! However, I never got credit for the sale. My guess is that somehow Amazon knew I was kind of incentivizing this sale. I mean I was attracting people to click by signing up for the contest in exchange for a chance to win a free product.
That is my best hunch. Amazon is all-knowing and never gave me credit for the referral.
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I experimented, but it didn't work out. Lesson learned.
For now, I am going to continue chugging along with adding more content. This has always been my most effective strategy. Target low competition keywords and produce quality content. As the site ages and hopefully attracts a few natural links, the traffic and earnings will increase.
I may attempt another link building campaign, but I haven't decided what that will be just yet.
Other than that, I plan to just stay the course and continue to grow the site each month. I'm incredibly patient, and I'm in this for the long haul.
Niche Site Project 4 Participant Reports
As usual, I've asked the participants of Niche Site Project 4 to report on their progress. (You are still welcome to join the project here).
As you will see, people are started to make money! So, the trend appears to be that you shouldn't expect your site to make any money for about 3 months, as I explained here. Now people are started to see a little bit here and there.
Also, a couple of people earned more than usual. Jae Jun continues to do well with GorrillaROI.com, as he explained on this podcast episode.
I reached out to Lorenzo that earned $470 in December. Here's what he shared,
i generate automatically content using the amazon advertising api and spinned content (in italian).
i did many good thinks but also i started with a dropped domain and i bought some spammy dofollow comment links that i am planning to replace soon.But the results are great!i cover every niche since is a price comparison general shopping site.
So, even though Lorenzo is seeing some quick results, he admits that he has spammy links and the content is spun (low quality). So, it's working well now, but I suspect at some point down the road, 2 months, 6 months, or at some point the site will get penalized. However, who knows!
Finally, Chris made $3500! I reached out to him for an explanation, I'll update here once I receive it. However, I know Chris and know he has created his own info products in the past. My guess is that he created a new info product and just launched it. (So, this is not a traditional niche affiliate site).
Enjoy reading through the rest of the brief updates provided by participants below.
|Real Name or Nickname||Number of articles TOTAL published on your site since inception?||Number of Total “Sessions” your site received in December 2018?||Earnings for December 2018?||
What was accomplished in December 2018 for your site?
+110% from november. Product comparison review website
The site had a nice spike (3X) in sessions! I added 3 new blog posts (again, far fewer than I hoped) and I promoted/prepared for a daily challenge for my Instagram followers (and blog readers) for all of January. I tested a writer and wasn't super happy, so I'll keep looking for someone, and in the meantime just write the posts myself.
|Chris||0||542||3500||Finished key product|
No additional articles published (still using the initial 5 articles). The automated Pinterest traffic process is ongoing. Basically no work has been done on the site in December. Planning to work on the Pinterest site of the project a little in January.
The details can be found on my site: http://PinterestMakesRich.com/
Two articles published, research done for other four.
Website reveal! I also share some of my strategies for building authority and increasing dwell time. Full Details: https://bit.ly/2QqYa9G
Added 3 articles, didn't work on the site much
Trialed paid ads via Facebook. Ultimately, whilst traffic was good, earnings didn't reflect the amount paid to the amount earned. Continued to add content. Also put wheels in motion for eBook, which will launch in January.
I got a few more articles published, but not as many as I'd hoped with the holidays. I have been monitoring search console and making a bunch of SEO tweaks to existing articles. In the first week of January my site has already made more than it has since inception.
I published only 3 articles just 3000 words.
Wrote 4 articles, that's it. Life kinda got in the way a bit with Christmas etc.
Finally found a niche. I have three articles posted and one scheduled. Youtube videos are next. Literally started it on December 29th so chose colors, made logo, set up site structure, recommended products page, and other legal pages.
Concentrated on writing content. 12 articles written. Opt in for email list setup and list at about 35. No monetization apart from on one article. Once hit 10k+ sessions per month will start to put ads on site and start adding affiliate links. Aim to write at least 15 articles in Jan and recruit 1-2 writers. Surprised how much hard work has been needed so far but really motivated to make site a success.
nothing just post some article and add some backlink , i also start see some keywords in first page , also in webmaster tool i see that my website appear in 800 keywords this month
I only focus on creating white hat links
Our new writer is much better and although less content is produced it is a much higher quality! We produced 2 more articles.
I joined the project in December.
I found a nichesite with lots of products.
I have wrote and published 4 products review articles. Each articles have a length of 4,000 words average.
Also published 4 informational articles.
Nothing really achieved in December.
Mostly adding internal links in 1 or 2 posts, and popup coupon codes for Amazon. (Got a lot of direct traffic for this site, a bit tricky..)
Published five articles, rewritten the first two.
|Justin||3||0||0||Another article published|
I'm abandoning this site and taking my learnings to a better niche. I started a new site at the end of December using thrive architect. I have two articles up on it so far. I will report on my new site going forward.
Definitively decided to build out another niche site. Brainstormed an idea and started research on viability. I've done more since then but I'll save it for January's update!
I found some products to promote on amazon. Have a list or nearly 60 article ideas with their keywords and implented some ads. Also published some articles.
I'm documenting my niche site project on my blog just like Spencer, you can find more details at coffeeshopblogger.com
Gorillaroi.com – Added requested features to the amazon app, created a seasonal forecasting spreadsheet for Amazon sellers, upgraded other Amazon related spreadsheets, upgraded our servers, improved pricing, buttoned up our documentation and help pages, took Spencer's linkbuilding course.
More refunds than usual this month due to missing features.
Emails are still going out consistently. Hopefully can get open rates to 50% one day.
December rush on Amazon really took a toll, but got through it.
Nothing, I was on holiday…will jump back in now
A very slow month. I'm going to take a break from writing articles, and see if the site gains any traction on its own. Not much to report in terms of organic traffic, but I do notice an upward trend in impressions, as per Google Search Console. I'm optimistic, but have a nagging feeling that I picked a niche that's too broad. Still enjoying the process though, and I'm learning a lot.
I've expected some earning from Amazon in December and this month the site earned 14$ also the article publishing is slower than November. Do some basic links like blog comment.
No new articles published. Focused on reviewing and enhancing existing articles to boost keywords and rankings as growth in sessions slower than hoped. Pinterest audience and traffic continues to grow slowly, google taking longer.
Narrowed the topic. Strategized content, links, and angle to take. This project is a really unique one, and i hope to reveal something special to the community in a few months.
Changing website structure and optimize on page from suggestion in SEMRUSH, publish some new article.
I couldn't do much due to Christmas holidays as I went back home. A few more backlinks (DA=20), couple of articles and still working on improving SOP.