Goal Progress Report for March 2013

By Spencer Haws |

Today I wanted to give a quick report on how I am doing on my Annual goals that I set in January of this year.  Its now been 3 months, and I’m at least still tracking my goals…so that’s a good sign!

As you may know, I recently just shared an in-depth monthly income report for my public niche site project; so I won’t be covering more of that here; however, I will be covering the rest of the annual goals that I’ve set for myself.  So, lets jump right into it.

1. Build 2 Public Niche Sites:

I’m making excellent progress on the first one!  Read all the posts for the project here.  The second public niche site will come in the second half of the year.

2. Accomplish at least 1 “Niche Pursuit”:

Still no progress on this yet.

3. Double the Average Monthly Unique Visitors to

The total unique visitors in 2012 was approximately 200k for 2012. So, to hit 400k unique visitors in 2013, I should be getting about 33k unique visitors per month.  In March, I was still a bit short of that goal.  I had 27,523 unique visitors during the month of March.  Here’s a screenshot:


Even though I haven’t hit this goal yet, when I think about how many people 27,500 really is…I’m amazed!  I have the population of a decent sized town visiting my site each and every month.  Even though I’m looking at and trying to grow the numbers, I’m aware that each of these visitors are individual people…and it truly is a large group!

4. Double the Affiliate Sales on

I am very close on this one; at least on an average basis.  Next month, I will break down actual sales volume; however, here is a list of where my top affiliate sales are coming from:

5. Double my Income from Niche Sites:

My niche site income is still essentially the same since last year.  Obviously, I’ve earned a little bit with my new public niche site project; but overall, the average monthly income essentially remains unchanged.

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6. Read 1 Business Book Per Month:

I finished the book Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert Cialdini.  I was very excited to read this book because of the many positive reviews its received and the subject matter is intriguing.  I was not disappointed!

This book was originally written in 1984, so its not new by any means.  The book has been updated and revised, but not much I’m sure…because it doesn’t need to be.  The book teaches principles that will always apply as long as humans are interacting and trying to convince each other to do things.

I did find it a bit “funny” that the author kept referring to people as “compliance professionals”.  At first I was a bit confused; in my mind a compliance professional is someone working for a large corporation in the compliance department.  (And these people are usually about the furthest from sales people that you can get from my experience).  However, I guess in the 80s, a “compliance professional” is a salesperson (especially door to door salespeople) or anyone that gets you to COMPLY with their wishes – often in a sales position.

In addition, I also find the book interesting because of the perspectives it written from.  Cialdini writes it with the tone that salespeople are out to make you do things against your wishes (i.e. slick salespeople uses tricks to get you to buy); and this book is written as a defense for you against their tricks!

However, my guess is that the true audience of the book is NOT people trying to prevent salespeople from tricking them, but actually salespeople and marketers are reading this book to learn how to implement these psychological triggers in their business efforts.  So, rather than preventing use of the psychological “tricks” as the tone of the book implies, Cialdini is actually arming marketing professionals with the know-how to make offers that are enticing as possible on a psychological level to individuals.

Overall, I really enjoyed reading the examples and case studies showing how these influences work in our lives.  And its much more than just marketing and sales.

These 6 principles explain how we interact as humans all the time to influence one another.

I could go into detail about each principle, but I simply wanted to provide an overview of my thoughts on the book. I recommend at least researching these six principles and how they can help boost your own business; however, ideally you’ll have a chance to read the book yourself some time.

With any review, I also want to include any cons of the book.  I did find that Cialdini was a bit repetitive or at least long winded in explaining some of the principles.  At least 2 or 3 times throughout the book, I felt like the dialogue was a bit overkill.  However, the author was simply driving his points home and does not detract from the valuable information.  Although I shouldn’t have been surprised, what else should I expect but long detailed explanations from a psychology PH.D. and Professor?


My month was a good one, and I’m happy with the progress that I’ve made on my goals.  I appreciate you taking the time to read this, and keeping me accountable for my goals.  If nothing else, going through the mental exercise and thinking about these keeps me on track.

How are your goals coming along? I’d love to hear and comments or questions that you might have below.

Stories & Projects | 42 comments

By Spencer Haws

Spencer Haws is the founder of After getting a degree in Business Finance from BYU (2002) and an MBA from ASU (2007) he worked for 8 years in Business Banking and Finance at both Merril Lynch and Wells Fargo Bank.

While consulting with other small business owners as a business banker, Spencer finally had the desire to start his own business. He successfully built a portfolio of niche sites using SEO and online marketing that allowed him to quit his job in 2011. Since then he's been involved in dozens of online business ventures including: creating and exiting Long Tail Pro, running an Amazon FBA business for over 3 years and selling that business, founding, and co-founding You can learn more about Spencer here.

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Hi Spencer,

Congrats, it seems like your well on your way to meeting your targets.

I like the way your analytics graph looks like the waves rolling in. I’m guessing the peaks is when you publish a new post. Perhaps you could try posting new articles twice a week to up your visitor numbers.

Spencer Haws

Yes, the peaks are from new posts. However, the peaks are exaggerated because I often send an email to my list when a new post is published; so the peak is much bigger because I email my list too. But you are right, more posts would equate to more readers.

And PS – are you the Jason I met last night in San Diego??


Hey, no that wasn’t me.

Spencer Haws

Ok, no problem. I met another Jason with a travel site as well.

Bradley Chapple

Nice job, Spencer. That’s awesome. It sounds like you definitely heading in the right direction with your goals. Love your book choice, by the way. Awesome book.

As for increasing visitors to your site (your #3 goal), I couldn’t help but notice the spikes. I assume those spikes are from you posting new content. So, it seems to me that posting more content is going to make the biggest difference in that goal… along with the other well-known methods of traffic generation (guest posting, videos, etc).

By the way, thanks for always keeping the fire lit under my a$$. You’re one of the good ones.

Spencer Haws

Thanks Bradley! Yes, the traffic would increase with more posts…I agree.

Glad to keep you motivated…keep it up!


27k visitors this month? That’s a tad bit below your goal, but still incredible (as you said).

I also loved Influence.

It’s crazy how he was a professor at the University of Arizona and was signing up for door-to-door salesman classes and working as a busboy. That’s hustle right there.

Maybe if he was born in our generation he’s be doing SEO like us. : )

Spencer Haws

Yep, the guy had hustle for sure, willing to work lots of crazy odd jobs for research!

Alain Schlesser

Hi Spencer,

Congratulations on your great first quarter! Although you’re still short on a few goals, this is to be expected for the beginning of a year. You’ll make more than up for this by the fourth quarter, I’m pretty sure of that!

I’m very interested in seeing what you come up with for your “Niche Pursuit”, so don’t let us wait for too long!

All the best,

Spencer Haws

Thanks for prodding me on the “Niche Pursuit”, I need to make some progress on that for sure.

Alain Schlesser

Do you have a specific idea yet, or are you still unclear about it?

Spencer Haws

I have some ideas. But what I’m going to do is list my ideas, but then poll everyone on what ideas THEY have. Then I’ll narrow down the list and let everyone vote. The winning idea is what I try out.

Chris Desatoff

Great progress, Spencer! I wouldn’t feel down about lagging on one or two goals (like the new niche pursuit). Most of us aren’t keeping up with ANY of our goals we set back in December lol.

Shoot, I don’t even remember what my goals were. I’d have to go back and look at my old blog post. All I know is that my goals TODAY are different than they were a few months back.

Inspired by your PNS project, I bought 5 new domains a couple weeks ago, and am in the process of building out 3 of them. One is mostly done, content-wise, and I’m now working on getting links out there via directories and blog comments. Next I’ll be going after web 2.0 links and some guest posts on related sites.

Then I’ll repeat that for the 2nd and 3rd sites (and 4th and 5th).

I’m excited!

Regarding your goal to double blog traffic, I know others are suggesting more frequent posts, and I’m sure that would help, but I would actually consider boosting your ranking rather than boosting your publishing frequency.

Landing some guest posts on high-ranking, relevant sites might do more than posting more content. It seems to me like doubling your content output is just going to overload you, since you already have a lot going on.

But writing up a handful of premium guest articles and pitching them to some big players in your niche might get you faster results.

Just my 2 cents.

Keep up the good work! Looking forward to your next PNS update.

Aloha, Chris

Spencer Haws

Thanks Chris! Congrats on buying the new domains and getting start…its a fun process for sure.

You are also correct about more guest posts/promotion in other places. While I think my post frequency could be a bit higher than it is, you are spot on about overwhelming myself. I’m moving in the right direction already…

Darnell Jackson

This is excellent Spencer,

Y U NO count launching two niche sites as a niche pursuit?

That’s far from easy to do man you should write an amazon affiliate guide if you haven’t already. Very impressive stuff.

David Wong

Don’t you scare if you make your site public that someone could destroy it?

Spencer Haws

Yep, and in fact I’ve covered this in great detail throughout the project. I suggest reading up on the project here:


Spencer, I just want to let you know that YOU ROCK!

My newest niche site, which is patterned after yours (different niche of course 🙂 isn’t even ranking page 1 yet but I’ve already got my first Amazon commission. I was blown away when I saw it, and my wife was equally stoked. Totally unexpected!

Although I have another site that is earning nicely with AdSense, I decided to follow your lead this time around. Needless to say it’s working and I can’t thank you enough!

My biggest challenge is managing my time. I’m a busy dad with a busy wife and busy kids… Any time management tips that you’ve found helpful?


Hey Spencer,

This shows why you are successful online.

You have clarity of thoughts and consistency of doing things, which are most important things I believe for success online.

People can research and sort out the things they don’t understand but doing that with drive and force is the key.

Great results and congrats.

And heartily thanks for being constant motivation to lazy pigs like us.

Priyank, Your Indian Fan.

Nathan Hartnett

Congrats mate, keep up the good work, and I like the fact that you focus on quality content rather than quantity. I follow your progress religiously and wish you all the best!


Hi Spencer! Congrats. Your goals are not there yet but I believe it will really keep everyone motivated for a long time. My plan is to complete 2 Amazon and 2 Google adsense niche sites by the end of this year!

I had recently bought 2 domains and follow your method in PNS to create my first amazon niche site. However, majority of my secondary keywords are keywords like ‘best leather shoes’ or ‘best brand x leather shoes’, while there are not many keywords like ‘brand x model y shoe review’.

The fact is that many people are typing multiple item keywords, not single item keywords into Google.

– So, should I focus on creating multiple item articles base on the long tail keywords found in Google Adwords tool and LTP.
– Or should I focus on creating single item review article, irregardless whether there is people searching for it.

I know that the number of searches is important so does creating value for the reader. Which method do you think is best?

Also how do you plan out your content schedule for niche sites? In the beginning and afterwards.


Tung Tran

Nice report Spencer.

My first niche site was a failure but my second site are showing good result 😀

I made $71 in the first 5 days of April and the traffic is increasing . The good thing is I haven’t built a single backlink.. keyword research rocks!

Spencer Haws



Hey Tung Tran,
Is this niche one that you have been building along with Spencer’s training?


Tung Tran

No, I built this site myself following my own experience and Spencer’s advice

Ian Wilcox

Tung… congrats! i really need to get moving on my niche site after reading this.

Spencer you have inspired us all and got us off our asses!


You are making a good progress, Spencer.
Keep it up.


Hi Spencer, I am your subscriber…
I saw that you use Google Analytics to your niche sites.
I heard that if we doing SEO / linkbuilding to our sites, we must avoid using Google Analytics to our sites.
Because google will barely know exactly from where our traffic come, from where our link came from and google will get huge backdoor advantages to punish our website.
How about your opinion? Thx

Spencer Haws

I’m ranking near the top of Google with my niche site and I’m using Google Analytics – does that answer your question :).


Great stuff Spencer!

Can I recommend you only send a teaser of what is in your new post in your newsletter. As it is I can read the whole post in my email client, and I have done this many times. If you only send a teaser with a link I’m more likely to click through to your site and increase your unique visit numbers… I’ve no doubt this goes for many other people too.

Just thought you’d like to try it 🙂



Great job Spencer! Sometimes things just take time. But your strong work ethic will pay off in the end.


Those concepts that you mentioned is something that Derek Halpern works with.

He is a conversion specialist who does some cool stuff.

It’s curious to see that Point Blank SEO is only number 5 out of your affiliate sales.

What strategy have you been using to promote it?

Also, you really need a check box for follow up comments lol

Spencer Haws

The only thing I’ve done with point blank SEO is mention it on a couple of blog posts.


Got ya.

I was just curious. The course has been something that I have been interested in. I just haven’t pulled the trigger.


Spencer & anyone else:

When I first started this journey I was highly skeptical. I have never clicked an adsense ad in my life to my knowledge. So, I have always found it odd that people were making a lot of money doing this stuff.

Anyhow, I have been building a site and much to my utter surprise and amazement, I have actually been getting clicks. Now I have a perverse paranoia that someone may be click bombing me today because my click count is at an all time high.

Another reason for this possible paranoia is that there are a couple of other sites that are playing the niche and I know this because they are using Spencer’s theme….lol

I don’t want to break any rules as far as getting into numbers and mind you this is a fairly new site that is getting traffic. But my earnings today are triple what they were yesterday while my traffic today is on pace to be lower than the day before.

It is an incredibly small sample set and with a relatively few clicks it is easy to have significant deviation/variance, but it is odd to see my emotional pendulum swing from a sense of disbelief to paranoia.

If you have experience with this or some advice on how to handle this, please let me know. One more thing, only one other person that I know is aware of this site. I haven’t marketed it among my friends/associates.

Spencer Haws

First of all, congrats on creating a site and making some money!

Secondly, the higher clicks may not be anything to worry about. There are some genuine people that are out there that will click one ad, read the landing page, then come back to your site and click another ad. So, in other words a person may be using your site ads as research and click lots of ads. Most people will just click once, but its not completely unusual for one person to come through and click on multiple advertisements.

If it only happens today or every once in a while, you likely shouldn’t worry.

Hope that helps,



Thank you, Spencer.

It is a pretty exhilarating experience to move from doubter/skeptic to actually seeing the money trickle in. As I am sure you know and may have already blogged about it somewhere, actually seeing the cash register ring with your own eyes on your own site is a paradigm shifting experience.

I appreciate your part in helping me experience this paradigm shift.

Aleshia Green

I like that you are stretching your goals each month and year. Glad to hear you are reading a great book. Another one that is slightly older but seems to have a great impact on leaders is called Pscho-Cybernetics. It touches on people’s emotions and certain use of words…I highly recommend it for anyone doing online marketing or who runs any kind of business. Im currently reading Rich Dad Poor Dad…great stuff there too.


Thanks for the transparency here Spencer. It is particularly helpful for me to see you traffic numbers; I often have a hard time establishing a baseline for my own growth and getting a sense of traffic from an established and successful site helps a lot.

Theodore Nwangene

Congrats Spencer,
You’re not doing bad at all. Now, its all about rinsing and repeating what you’re doing to achieve even more higher.

I followed this niche site project of yours to create one recebtly which is my first niche site ever.

But the issue right now is that what happened to you and some other guys has also happened to me. Google sent me an email last week that my adsense account has been disabled because of invalid activities. I still don’t understand it at all because I’m sure i didn’t click on my ad.

I wrote about that on my blog recently here and i also liked your own post.

Some people advised me via the comment that i should register another adsense account using a different email and PC, whats your own take on that?

Thanks for sharing.


Hi Spencer, What do you class as a niche pursuit? I always thought your niche sites were your niche pursuits?


I found a very potential niche to go after, and when I did some research on Amazon, IL is no longer allowed to be in the associates program!!?? Shall I pursue Google Adsense?

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