Niche Site Project 4 Monthly Report for December 2019…Record Earnings!
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The time has finally come for another update on Niche Site Project 4.
In my last monthly report, I made it clear that I was going to no longer provide regular updates. However, I also made it clear that I would be providing updates whenever I felt like a milestone was achieved.
In December, I cracked the $2k per month revenue benchmark and overall had a stellar holiday season for the site!
So, I wanted to provide an in-depth update of what I've been up to for the past few months and explain where I'm going with the site in the future.
No, I won't be doing monthly updates going forward. But I do still reserve the right to provide an update when I feel like I've hit some other significant benchmark. I expect in 3 to 6 months, I'll provide another major update.
And remember, my project site is publicly known now – so you can always check out OwnTheYard.com if you are interested in seeing what I'm up to.
As you can see from the chart above, the earnings of Own The Yard jumped significantly in December!
In total, the site earned $2,360.98 in December 2019. This is the highest month by far.
The primary reason for the big jump in earnings was due to Christmas season – more people were definitely buying products on Amazon. However, my keywords also continue to climb the ranks in Google and so more SEO traffic also is leading to higher earnings.
In total, Amazon US brought in a whopping $1,991.96!
I also earned a few bucks from Amazon UK and Amazon Germany (less than $10).
As you can see from the Amazon chart, I was referring lots of buyers for the few weeks leading up to Christmas. Even though my site is about “yards”, which is not really in season during the winter, I do also talk alot about yard games, tools, and other gear that happen to make great Christmas gifts.
As a result, I saw a significant bump in earnings in a normally low traffic time of year (due to seasonality of my niche).
Ezoic was actually down by almost $100 in December, when compared to November. In addition, the EPMV (earnings per 1000 views) was also down from $21.21 to $17.54.
Usually, December is the highest earnings per visitor month of the year for display ads, so I'm not sure why the Ezoic earnings dropped. One possibility is the season for my niche as I mentioned before. Advertisers related to “yards” perhaps just aren't paying as much during December.
Overall, the earnings from all sources was up significantly, and I'm very happy about that!
When you look at the total traffic over the past year, it's not exactly what you would hope to see. However, you have to remember that Spring and Summer really are the peak months for this niche, and so the fact that traffic has basically held steady from Oct. to Dec. is not all bad.
And so yes, Own The Yard made significantly more in December than ever before, despite the lower traffic (compared to July for example).
However, let's break down the traffic into it's 2 main sources – Pinterest and Google organic.
This screenshot does include all social traffic sources, but you can see that Pinterest is nearly 97% of the social traffic.
Pinterest has not been working that great over the past few months. Again, I believe that this is mostly due to seasonality. People are not searching for and sharing “pins” in Fall and Winter as much as they would in Spring and Summer.
In fact, my Pinterest VA has reduced the number of pins that he's adding each week because they simply are not getting shared right now. We will ramp up the Pinterest effort more as Spring approaches.
However, I do have to acknowledge the downward trend, which is definitely the main reason why the overall traffic has been down a bit.
Google Organic Traffic
The chart for Google organic traffic is a bit better looking! It's hard to tell, but organic traffic has actually been trending up for October, November, and December. Again, this is pretty good considering it's now the middle of winter.
Here's a look at Google trends for the term “backyards”, which is a core topic of my website. This gives you an idea of the seasonality that I'm talking about.
So, the fact that my Google Analytics isn't tanking in lock step with the seasonal dip like Google Trends does, is a great sign.
In other words, I expect traffic to increase significantly in just a couple of short months (maybe sooner?).
So, how is traffic increasing even though less people are searching for my particular keywords this time of year? Well, I've been adding lots of new content.
So, even though the search volume of any individual keyword might be lower this time of year, my organic traffic is trending up because I have more keywords that I'm targeting with new content.
As you can see from the keyword rank tracker from Long Tail Pro, my top keywords are generally improving in rank or holding steady. I've kept the individual keywords private, but since you know my site, I'm sure you could figure out most of them if you really tried.
The good news is that my keywords are ranking higher and higher, so when the search volume of these keywords picks up during Spring and Summer, my traffic should increase in lock step with the higher seasonality.
From my discussions with other bloggers in a similar space, this should definitely be the case.
You may have noticed the one keyword that jumped from ranking #66 to #1 in the last month. This is actually an older article and nothing was updated on the article itself.
However, I did add just 5 internal links to that article using Link Whisper, and a few days later that article jumped to number 1 in Google! As a result, the traffic has tripled to that one article from November to December. And based on what I'm seeing in January, that article should get quite a bit more traffic in January than December.
So, I've now added more internal linking using Link Whisper to my to-do list. Fortunately, Link Whisper makes it MUCH faster and easier to build internal links, so it's not as overwhelming of a task as it would be if I had to do it all manually.
If you haven't had a chance to check out Link Whisper yet, go ahead and check it out here.
One of the first questions that people ask when I tell them how much my site is making is, “Well, how many articles does the site have?”
Well, I'm willing to share! I've really ramped up content in the last few months, with 50 to 60 articles per months being published. Take a look at the history of articles published:
Overall, the site now has 377 articles live! I really feel like this site just has so much more potential, so I see no reason to stop the growth. I'm betting big that traffic is going to start ramping up very soon.
The additional articles and the bigger traffic in the next couple of months (hopefully) should really increase earnings.
Most of the new articles added in the last couple of months have been shorter information articles (1000 to 1500 words long). Many of them have been question type keywords related to backyards.
For example, if you do a Google search for “Can you eat squirrel from your backyard?”, you just might find a certain someone ranking #1 for that keyword!
If you try eating squirrel, let me know.
Over the next couple of months, I'll be adding more buying guides targeting more product related keywords.
After that, I'll reassess how often I want to be adding new content. How the site performs in Spring will be a big determining factor for how much new content I'll be adding after that.
I outsource all the content, so yes, more content does equate to higher costs. These were mostly shorter articles, so the cost was not as high as my previous longer articles, but there is definitely a cost.
I no longer am doing a detailed P&L breakdown, but you can see my last report to get an idea of the expenses involved.
Another common question I get is always related to Link Building. People always want to know the exact strategy and how they can replicate it.
Unfortunately, I have not done any link building in the last few months. I simply included this section because I know people will ask about it.
I'm not saying that the site wouldn't be better if I had done some link building, it probably would be. I just haven't made it a focus or a priority.
So, I have no link building efforts to report on.
If you are interested in a link building strategy that you can follow, Mark and Gael over at Authority Hacker have put together a complete course on how they build authority sites, and this does include their link building strategies. You can check out their Authority Site System right here.
TOOLS I’M USING FOR MY SITE
In case you are wondering what I’ve used to build my site, what plugins I have, or other tools or services I’ve been using to grow, I’ve created this list for you below.
- Generate Press Premium (WordPress Theme). Super easy to use and fast loading.
- Long Tail Pro – for all my keyword research and rank tracking.
- Big Scoots Hosting – I moved to Big Scoots for all my sites and love it. Managed WP hosting at a fraction of the cost of competitors (and my sites got faster when I moved from the more expensive options).
- Table Labs – To create beautiful product comparison tables for Amazon Associates products.
- AAWP – To create product boxes for Amazon Associates products.
- AmaLinks Pro – To create great looking buttons for Amazon Associates.
- Link Whisper – To significantly speed up the process of building internal links. (This is my product I created).
- Short Pixel Image Optimizer – Reduces file size for images and increases site speed.
- Optin Monster – To capture leads with opt in forms.
- Convert Kit – For email automation and email list management.
- Tailwind App – For Pinterest scheduling and image management.
- Content Pit – Content writers that know how to do product reviews and more.
- Ezoic Ads – Display ad management platform that uses artificial intelligence.
Overall, I'm happy with the earnings for the month of December! Cracking the $2k mark for the month is great, but I hope for much more in the future.
As far as the plan, here's what I expect to do over the next few months:
- Add another 100 articles or so in the next 2-3 months.
- Re-asses how many new articles I want to add after that.
- Do a full internal link audit. I'll be using Link Whisper to make sure that all of my content has at least 1 internal link pointing to it (if possible). Some articles will get significantly more internal links and I expect this will improve the rankings across the site.
- Monitor and improve both Ezoic and Amazon Associates. I know there are tweaks that I can make to improve the earnings per visitor, so I'll plan to dive into that over the next few months.
That's the plan for now! Overall, I've got a great system in place with an editor and all my authors where I really don't do any work on the site at all. Everything is written and published without my involvement. The team just follows the SOPs that I created for them and it appears to be working well.
The only work that I do is find new keywords…and check my stats. 🙂
I don't know when the next update will be, but give me at least a few months. Thanks again for following along!
Feel free to comment with any thoughts or questions. How has your niche site gone over the past few months?
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Thanks for the update Spencer! I started my niche site in July 2019 after being inspired by you sharing so much about OwnTheYard – thank you! I am doing all the work myself so my progress is a bit slower than OTY but, overall, I am happy that it IS making progress. Impressions are up, traffic is ever-so-slowly starting to trickle in, and I’ve even made a few dollars on Amazon. It’s almost at the 6 month mark so I am hopeful to be out of the sandbox soon and starting to see real growth.
I have a question about the keywords you target. Can you share what search volume a KW you target might typically get? I am at about 25% KGR content but, obviously, the search volume for these is very low. How can traffic increase if these low volume KW’s are being targeted?
Thanks again – these updates really help keep me on track!!
That’s great! I hope your site continue to grow!
Most of my keywords are in the 200 to 2,000 search volume range. I do have some above, call it 10%. I definitely have some below 200 searches per month, call it 20% of my articles.
How many articles that target keyword with 200 search volume did you post. And if it is one article per keyword, how long it is?
Lots of articles were targeting keywords of 200 searches per month or less. The length varies between 1500 and 4000.
Thanks for the awesome write up as usual. I am having a bit of trouble breaking into a niche, but think I have one narrowed down which is inspired from your backyard concept.
I was thinking of building a site dedicated to “ultimate video game room” ideas. Do you have any thoughts about that niche?
We discussed via email :). I think something broader like Man Caves or something similar would be better. Good luck!
Hey, spancer, thanks for the updates. Wondering, owntheyard performing really well without too many backlinks. I think this could be the power of niche relevency and authority. What do you think ? Another important thing is that, this site has already become an authority because of its ‘Brand name’ search. Since many people know about this site, they like to keep them updated with different strategies that you apply on this site. However, keep posting new updates..and thanks again.
What do you think about pinterest traffic? As can I see the bounce rate is very high for your website (mine website has almost the same values). Do you have any evidence that pinterest traffic is valuable?
Pinterest traffic is typically really high bounce rate. I have display ads on most pages that gets traffic from pinterest, so I get that revenue.
Thanks for the update. We eat and hunt for squirrels here in Nigeria. Lol
Haha…excellent! If you have any squirrel recipes to share, let me know 🙂
Thank you for the update. My site’s also saw an increase in traffic and earnings in Dec. Went from $42 in November to a couple of hundreds in December. I’m still providing monthly updates on my blog.
I want to start with affiliate marketing. Did you start outsourcing articles from the beginning?
I think you can hire a writer on upwork
1. What’s so wrong with Amazon UK for your site? I have a site similar in terms of size and earnings in general but it usually makes about £100 in December.
2. The same question goes for Amazon Canada – you don’t mention it at all. It was even more profitable for my site mentioned above in December (about $180).
This looks like some room for improvement.
Definitely room for improvement! I’ll have to look into it.
Congrats on the increase in traffic and earnings, Spencer!
I’m curious about expenses. It looks like you added around 200 more articles since the last August update. That is a lot of content and likely quite a large cost since it was outsourced. Can you give us a rough estimate of how much more money you have invested since the last update was at $20,805? From what I can tell it seems like the website is still very much in the red?
Yes, I’m still investing in the site. I don’t have the exact costs tallied, but the recent articles were much shorter in nature, so less expensive. The site is definitely in the red overall. But I could stop posting content and the site will continue to earn and grow. However, I’m interested in a much larger site, so I’ll continue to invest. In time, my expenses will essentially be $0/mth on the site and hopefully it will be earnings $10k+/mth :).
Thanks for the update. I’ve been following the project from the start.
Wondering if you’d shed more light in terms of your content team structure? Specifically, their roles, how many hours per week the work on the site and where you hired them from?
Look forward to your next update.
Yes, I agree that this would be interesting to know 🙂
I have several writers that just write however many article they can handle in a month. When those articles are finished in draft format, my editor goes through and polishes them up to my procedures and hits publish. That’s the team.
Thanks for the reply.
Further to comment, does your editor work directly with your writers or do they liaise through you? Are you able to provide information on where you found them?
The editor will work with the writers to fix any corrections. The writers really do most of the work, they write directly in wordpress and have all my formatting instructions (including adding affiliate boxes/buttons, etc). The editor simply double checks all their work, then emails them if they did something wrong. Found my editor on upwork.
Glad to see another update , and congrats to you for breaking the 2K mark.
I truly enjoyed your post. I have several niche sites and it is such a great feeling when you see your “cow” producing some good milk!!
I am starting a new website right now and I am considering too test the Silo structure this time (to be honest, I’ve never paid attention to that before!)
What is your opinion on Silo? Do you use it? Is it really as effective as many SEO experts claims?
Looking forward to your feedback.
Thanks! That’s depends on your definition of “silo”. Here’s what I like to do: https://www.nichepursuits.com/topical-authority-seo/
Congrat Spencer for that result. I have a question: the revenue from AMZ is so high. But I put your site in Ahrefs and see that there’re about 30 article (with buyer intent) rank on top 10. So how can those articles make so good money for your site?(~2k) Can you go detail for that.
I think 30 articles driving traffic with buyer intent to Amazon is more than enough to make $2k/mth. Right?
Cool, I really like these updates 🙂
This site will make a KILLING upcoming summer!!
Might hit $10k there 🙂 Good luck!
That would be SWEET! :). Thanks!
Well done !! Keep it up
great content Might hit $20k there
Firstly, Happy New Year Spencer!
I’m still loving LinkWhisper and appreciate the number of updates that are being released for it.
Secondly I have a few questions.
1) I know you aren’t sharing P&L but I’m curious of a) what the total profit was for December and b) How much was invested to get the 50-60 new articles.
2) One thing that I’m curious about due to not using Amazon Associates much and having more affiliate experience with networks such as ShareaSale and Webgains… I see you have 3 Amazon plugins, they do different things but I’d love to see a video sometime where you demonstrate how they work together to manage your Amazon links and anything to be careful of.
I’m considering an Amazon Associates experiment and have been helping a few clients (with my limited experience).
Cheers, good luck for Jan! I’d love to see you release these updates quarterly (if it makes sense for you to do so).
1. I don’t know. I didn’t do a P&L because its time consuming, hence why I’m not sharing it (it doesn’t exist).
2. Okay, I’ll consider that.
What a great achievement. Truly inspire.
It has been a while I didn’t visit your site.
I sense your articles are strong and solid. You make me envy and I’m feeling courageous to do so. Thank you for your inspiration.
Alex – Indonesia
this kind of earning report always motivate me. Thank you so much for awesome value and support
You’re such a wimp. We all know the reason you didn’t post an update for months is because your earnings went down. Now magically we get an update in December. Wimp.
Thanks for the laugh 🙂