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Niche Site Project 4 Monthly Report for August 2019

It’s official!

Niche Site Project 4 is a year old!  What started as just another idea for a case study, has evolved into a full blow website making money each and every month.

Obviously, I’m very happy with the fact that OwnTheYard.com has earned over $1,000 a month for the past few months.  

Today, I’m going to do another regular monthly update with earnings, traffic, and more.  And then I’ll discuss the future plans for this project, how often you can expect updates from me, and more.

So, let’s dive into the August 2019 monthly report.

Earnings

Well, after 6 consecutive months of growth, the earnings for Own The Yard finally took a small dip.  However, I’m happy to report that the site still earned $1,109.37!

Having a site that is just a year old, built from scratch, making over $1,000 a month is pretty good in my opinion.  And I definitely see lots of room for growth.

So, yes, it’s lower than last month…but I do believe the overall trend of growth will continue over the next 12 months.

Amazon Earnings

During August, my niche site earned $686.76 from the Amazon Associates – US program.  It made another $8.65 from Amazon UK.  (I’ll take it).

Total Amazon earnings – $695.41

Amazon earnings for the previous month (July)?  You won’t believe this, but it was about $3 less in July at $692.16.

So, technically my site increased in revenue (by $3) from Amazon Associates earnings.  I didn’t realize it was that close until I did this report!

If Amazon increased, but my overall earnings decreased…what happened?  Well, let’s take a look at Ezoic.

Ezoic Earnings

Ezoic earnings was down a fair amount to $413.96 in August (compared to $700 in July).  Overall, there were 3 reasons the site earned less with display ads.

First, I revealed my Niche Site in July.  So, as soon as I revealed the site – thousands of Niche Pursuits readers went over to OwnTheYard.com and I started making more money from display ads.

As a result, my Ezoic earnings were a bit artificially inflated during the month of July due to all these Niche Pursuits readers checking out my site.  So, in August not as many Niche Pursuits readers were checking out OwnTheYard.com.  As a result, the display ad earnings have come back down to reality.

Second, I removed Ezoic ads from all of my Amazon affiliate pages part way through the month.  

During August, I finally got around to removing the Ezoic ads from my pages monetized primarily by Amazon Associates.  I did this so that for articles where I’m clearly trying to get people to buy something on Amazon, I’m not distracting them with display ads.

As a result, my Ezoic earnings are down because not as many pages had display ads on them.

Finally, the EPMV (earnings per 1000 visitors) was down during August compared to July.  As you can see from the below screenshot, my EPMV went from $17.05 in June to $14.81 in July, then $13.41 in August.

So, I’m getting paid out slightly less per 1000 visitors.  However, the good news is that the EPMV during September is over $17 again and appears to be climbing!

Overall, that’s the main reason that Ezoic earnings were down so much when compared to July earnings.

Revenue Concerns – Update

Last month I shared a few concerns about revenue that I had.  In order to provide some consistency and transparency, I wanted to remind you what those 3 concerns were and what I’ve done about them.

Thankfully that did the trick and now my tables are showing up without any concern.  (So, this was not an Ezoic or CDN caching issue…but rather a WP-rocket caching issue).

Now as the summer is ending and fall begins, it will be interesting to see what happens with traffic and earnings.  I’ve been working on new content that is more “year round”, but I certainly expect that less people will be searching for backyard games and other related topics that I’ve published on the site.

Costs

Phew! Twelve months of detailed revenue and expenses for Niche Site Project 4.  This wasn’t easy to keep track of…so I hope you enjoy this P&L statement!

As a heads up, this is the last month that I plan to do a detailed P&L like this.  I will continue to share details about the project, but I don’t expect to publish the P&L each and every month.  I think the first 12 months has been good enough.

As you can see, the cost of writers is the primary driver of expenses for the site.  I spent $1,200 getting new articles published on the site.

Obviously, your cost would be zero if you chose to write all the content yourself.

Overall, enjoy analyzing the numbers and let me know if you have any questions.  Everything is there for you to see.

Traffic

Uh-oh…traffic was down in August!  Is it time to panic yet?

Not quite.

The main reason for the drop from July to August was that there was a HUGE spike from direct visits thanks to the fact that I revealed OwnTheYard.com to Niche Pursuits readers.  In August, I guess you guys were less excited to visit the site again :).

Also, there was a drop in Pinterest traffic.  The ever fickle Pinterest.

So, yes, traffic was down.  But if you compare August to June…the traffic is still up nicely.

But what about Google organic traffic? That’s really the most important metric.  If I saw a big drop in traffic from Google, that could potentially be a concern.

Fortunately, there was an increase, rather than a decrease from Google organic traffic.

Google Organic Traffic

As you can see, Organic Traffic from Google continued to increase.  As I’ve stated all along, I built this site to perform well in Google, so it’s great to see that traffic continues to climb from this source.

I do expect that seasonality could start playing a role during September and beyond, so it will be interesting to see what the search volume and organic traffic numbers look like moving forward.

It’s a small concern, but not unexpected.

Pinterest Traffic

Boo!  Pinterest traffic was way down for August.

All I can say is that this is not completely unexpected from Pinterest – to have wild swings like this.  Sometimes a pin will take off (like a couple of mine did in July).  Other times, none of your pins take off and go semi-“viral”.

I just have my Pinterest person continue to plug away at pinning images, joining tribes, and trying to get some traction with what gets added to Pinterest.

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By the way, feel free to follow along with the Own The Yard Pinterest board if you want.

Content

During the month of August, I was able to add 15 articles to the site.

After a slow month for new content during July, I’m glad that I was able to get the number of articles published back to where I like to see it.

I hired 3 authors on Upwork and I believe that at least one of them will work out.  Finding authors that stick around is hard.

I’ve given all 3 new authors the freedom to write 2 to 3 articles a week, and so far, only one of them has done that.  The other 2 have just been really slow.

So, hopefully 1 or 2 of them will work out long term.

In addition, I did get a few more articles done that will be published in August from Content Pit.  I will likely keep going back to Content Pit to help fill the gaps that the other authors are missing.

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.

What’s Next?

Overall, I’m really happy with the progress of Own The Yard in it’s first year of existence.  Especially given the fact that I put very little of my own time into it, I think the site has done well.

Going forward here’s my general plan for the site:

As you can see, I don’t plan on drastically changing my plans for the site.  My strategy is working and I see no reason to change it.  More content and rankings should continue to grow the site.

Ideally as the site ages and gains more natural links over time, the site will just rank better and better for the keywords it’s targeting.

The second year of the site could see some big growth for sure!

Publicity of the Project

I do also want to address the fact that I don’t feel like I should publish monthly reports forever.  I feel like the first 12 months of publishing these detailed income reports were critical to helping you understand the typical trajectory of a niche site.

However, now that’s it’s been a year and I don’t plan on changing my strategy at all, I plan to post less frequently.  

At this point, I’m thinking that I will publish an update quarterly.  However, I reserve the right to publish on a different schedule should I hit certain milestones that I’d like to celebrate (like hitting $2k, $3k, or $5k in earnings in month).

Don’t worry, Niche Site Project 4 isn’t over…I’ll just be publishing income reports less frequently.  This will allow me to work a little harder on Own The Yard and also feel like I have a little more freedom as I don’t have to report my ever little move :). 

I appreciate your support!

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Niche Site Project 4 Participants – Final Report

As usual, I wanted to share the reports from the participants in Niche Site Project 4.

Did you know that over 1,000 people signed up and indicated that they wanted to build a niche site at the same time as me.  Out of 1,000 people, only 22 people reported this month (1 year later).

I’m not sure exactly what that all means, but it’s an observation.

However, out of the 22 people that did stick with it for 12 months, it appears that a few are making more money than me!  That’s great!

Jae June was on the podcast here, and appears to have broken $5k in revenue.

There are a few others that reported some relatively high income numbers.  I’ve reached out to them privately to try and verify these numbers, since they are self reported.  Right now, I can’t guarantee that these numbers are all accurate.

The Final Report

This will be the final report that I collect from Niche Site Project 4 participants.  Since it’s now been officially 1 year, now is as good a time as any to end the reporting.  I think it’s been fantastic to see the progress of all the participants; however, all good things must come to an end.

I hope that all the participants continue to build and grow their sites!  

Real Name or Nickname (What you want to be publicly listed as in this monthly report).Number of articles TOTAL published on your site since inception?Number of Total “Sessions” your site received in August 2019?Earnings for August 2019?
What was accomplished in August 2019 for your site? Feel free to link to your niche site (if you want to reveal publicly) or link to your blog where you are giving more detailed reports about your niche site.
Owais Shah91300098
Putting more content and building links!
Ryan K817876.6
I started creating some blog comment links, which seemed to help a little bit.
Christina64204815.43
Created several pins for pinterest and increased article output.
Jesse694714105.87
Income for this site actually went down some. Maybe due to it being seasonal and the summer coming to an end or a couple of other factors. I haven’t been focusing on this site much in the last several months. It is still gaining natural backlinks and the DA is increasing slowly. I think if given some time it will continue to gain traffic but right now my focus is on other sites.
JAC49300.27
Created 2 new articles. Grow social media.
Jules23411113.91
I admit it: I got sidetracked and sort of lost interest in this project over the summer. But it’s funny because I noticed a couple of weeks that the site’s traffic stays steady and/or grows, even though I haven’t posted a new article since May. And it’s kind of the same thing with the Instagram account — I haven’t done much, but my followers continue to grow (I’m up to almost 4200).

The problem is, I’m having a hard time monetizing (as you can see from the dismal earnings report.) But I’ve been thinking that, if I can just about double the traffic, I can start using Ezoic and at least make some money with ads. So I’m not giving up on this niche site! I just have to come at it with a different strategy, I believe.

Overall, I’m grateful to have participated in this project! I learned so much, and have been inspired to see everyone’s progress. If you care to see my niche site, it’s at www.joyfulartjournaling.com

Arun752806
Successfully sold my website on Flippa. I didn’t have much time to work on this project. Though I sold it only for few hundred dollars, it gives me the satisfaction that I have achieved something. This one year has been a fantastic journey and thank you Spencer for helping me make the first sale online
JAE JUN2922445640
Hit the goal of breaking $5K in net sales in the last month!

For people looking at my numbers, this is not an affiliate site. It’s a niche SaaS site. Not an affiliate site as the others. But a niche site none the less which is the point of this project.

The total investment greatly exceeds the income to date. But the revenue is catching up and long term prospect looks very good.

In August:
– focused on guest posting for quality sites instead of posting on my blog
– did a video interview which brought in sales
– more affiliate promoters signed up
– built up SEO profile
– worked on Facebook ads to drive traffic

Overall, I’m glad that Spencer announced NSP4. Last time around in NSP2, I got hit with Panda update and the site died. This time, went the opposite way and created a product and website that is not dependent on Google SERP’s.

The goal when starting to share progress was to hit $5k revenue and got it at the last month. Have a goal, aim for it, hit it and then move the goal higher.

If you run an Amazon business, you can read my income reports at https://www.gorillaroi.com/blog/

Md.Saifuddin Ahmed700Try to next time
Chris121050
Nothing accomplished this month. Planning more Youtube videos as they seem to be the best bet when it comes to getting click throughs.
Alex536968122.31
https://www.comprar-mejor-smartwatch.com/ was not improving as much as I thought in August. I kept publishing and trying to improve link structure and so on… but I was not able to maintain the positive evolution the site had.
bill1621601016081
I can’t believe it but now I’m reaching over 5,000 a month within a years. And it still growth. I still keep added more post and hiring writers to help build this website more passive. Thank you for Niche Site Project. Your guide are very helpful and monthly update help keep motivating.
Rupe223173.07
Website turning 2 months’ old, added 12 articles, and made the first sale on Amazon.
Looking to add more articles in September, then apply for AdSense.
https://geekoos.com
Justin521080More content
Samd143170071550
I didn’t do much to the site in August due to family commitments, however the income from the site still increased. I am going to create more content and keep building links, I have a target of $2k per month by Christmas.
smshs572700170na
Kutluay510542211.6
See the public example test steps on my site: http://PinterestMakesRich.com
Andrew Courtney1481573382556
Revenue growing nicely. Continuing to publish 10 articles per month and now starting to work on info products.
Ryan Faucher145331488.1
Another increase in earnings that was overshadowed by a massive malware infection on my server. Post will be up soon: http://bit.ly/pdmal
Chelle19253761.32
I didn’t do a whole lot in August, other than decide between selling it as a premium perfectly aged starter site vs. keeping it. {It’s a keeper!} – Already added more content for September and I expect it to grow exponentially from here, especially now that I plan on adding it to the “priority rotation” with my other more established sites.
Steve K9888823.7
Added a couple more articles. I was Very Surprised to see a few keywords ranking well on Page 1 and bringing in steady traffic. This has motivated us to keep producing more quality content. The issue now is monetizing that content. People are staying on the page from 45 seconds to 2 minutes but our conversions are not what they should be at this point, at least that is what I am thinking.
Don Modekali11054917.89
Wrote lots of content but haven’t managed to post them. Read an update of other things I did here: https://www.nichesitevault.com/100k-project-episode-5

 




Niche Websites

By Spencer Haws
September 11, 2019 | 33 Comments

Want to learn step-by-step how I built my Niche Site Empire up to a full-time income?

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33 Comments

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Katie Ren

Hi Spencer, I love these reports.

I was wondering… Could you share your P&L template with us? It seems really clean.

No worries if you can’t, but maybe it can also act as a nice keyword as well for your blog 😉

Thanks.

Spencer Haws

Thanks Katie!

I added an Asana task for myself to look into sharing the template. No guarantees, but it’s on the potential list :).

Katie Ren

YAY! 😀

Thanks Spencer. Fully understand if it doesn’t end up being shared, but still thrilled!

Brad

I find it interesting that even though you removed ads on your affiliate posts to avoid distracting your visitors, Amazon earnings went down for the month.

Is this a test you’re doing, or did you do it because you’ve found it to increase Amazon revenue on your other sites?

Spencer Haws

I’ve found it to typically increase Amazon revenue. Amazon earnings actually went up for the month (by $3). Everything is an experiment though.

Roger

Hey Spenser,

Adding to what you said, the niche you are in is a niche that would thrive during the summer and even spring. As we are closing in on Fall, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the traffic go down. Lots of areas have chilly Falls and Winters and people just don’t maintain or spend time in their “yard” during these times. Just an observation that I think should be considered. One Idea is to start writing about fire pits or outside heaters if you haven’t already. Staying relevant and foreseeing what will be in demand is crucial. Timing is everything. Just my 2 cents…

Spencer Haws

I agree. I shared very similar thoughts to your comments in my report last month: https://www.nichepursuits.com/niche-site-project-4-july-2019/. I have been beefing up “fall/winter” type keywords and will continue to do so.

Jake

Ezoic is ok, but man they have WORST support available ever, waiting for their reply for weeks, as soon as I be able to move, I’ll go to Mediavine. Ezoic really needs to start working on having more people in support.

Spencer Haws

Sorry to hear you are having support issues, for some reason I’ve never had the same issue, they’ve always responded quickly. Perhaps try contacting them again.

Jake

Most likely they put focus on bigger ones and especially sites who are bloggers. Of course they will answer you fast. Not reply you may have little impact on their business as they don’t want to have that bad negative reach to be heard 🙂

As soon as possible i move to mediavine. Heard good things about them, better payouts etc.

Simon

As a weekly visitor of Spencers Blog I normally do not comment. But I have to give my 5 cents about Ezoic and especially their support:

I completely disagree with Jake. The support I get from Ezoic is just wonderful! I’m looked after by the German Support Team (Big shout out to Ms. Wiebke Lepa, she’s amazing) and always get an answer in 1-3 hours.

At the moment I only moved 2 sites from my portfolio over to Ezoic (but the plan is to move the others there as well) and would argue, that I am a small fry for them (Ezoic Ad earnings of around 400-500 Euros per month).

Kind regards
Simon

Ravi Bhati

Thanks for the report Spencer. It really important update and very motivational. I am following this project and will try to take process and apply on my website. So much excited to see new tools you use in the websites. Keep updating and do the Awesome work. Thanks

Spencer Haws

Thanks Ravi!

John Moore

Hi Spencer, big fan of your site and this case study, great work, just show what’s possible. I actually run a big site similar to yours, about 3 years in now and doing really well but work on it full-time every day with a couple of writers full time to help. I have you to thank for starting so I cant thank you enough.

A couple of points to add and two questions.

I used ezoic for a while and the revenue was good and the tracking by URL for revenue is absolutely brilliant but I had issues with the site speed with the ads, I have since moved to Mediavine which is better ad revenue and my site seems faster but the reports are not as good. How do you find site speed?

I know you use the Amazon API for some plugins, I actually use the plugin which you had made, Amzimages for inserting images. Amazon have released their new Amazon’s Product Advertising API (PA API 5.0) and the older API will stop working from October so I need to update by then. Do you know if the old images will still load when the API is updated?

Finally would love to see an article of how you set about getting articles written and what templates you use, especially list type ones such a 21 BACKYARD LANDSCAPING IDEAS ON A BUDGET TO REFASHION YOUR YARD.

For example, do you just give them them the title and layout and then they find the images and come up with the paragraphs for each?

Keep up the good work, John
All the way from the UK

Spencer Haws

Hey John:
Thanks for the feedback…glad you are able to work on your site full-time!

It’s hard to know if site speed is worse or different between Ezoic and Mediavine. I haven’t used both services on this one site, so I can’t compare.

I think updates will need to be made once the new API is released – sounds like the old API will stop working.

I wrote my own templates. I made those available in Organic traffic formula (which is now closed unfortunately).

Dan

Hi Spencer,

It’s been a really useful experience following this project and finally seeing the finished article (as such), as it clarified what I needed to be doing. I’d be interested to know whether you have been impacted by the recent algo update in September?

Next step for me is to really commit to this project and put some money in, I have been dipping my toe in the water and recently hit the £250 mark. Think I need to have some faith and go for it.

Either way, appreciate this and hopefully you will keep fairly regular posting of progress as it is super useful to see what others are doing for a relative newbie at the affiliate marketing game.

Cheers fella.

Spencer Haws

I haven’t noticed any impact from recent algo update.

Good luck committing!

Chelle

My site might not have high income but so far profitable at least lol…My total costs were $25 for the domain and hosting for the year…I’d rather have the $350 profit I made this year than have to play catch up for $15k. I think total time spent on the site during 1 year was maybe a total of 20 hours tops…so if we do $350/20 = $17.50 – nice, I even earned more than minimum wage.

Anyways, thank you for hosting the challenge, and I definitely am planning to keep the site going…this is when it just starts to get good! 🙂

Spencer Haws

Haha, congrats! 🙂

Marcus Ollison

Spencer, it was a pleasure following your niche duel 4 for the past year. I just bought a domain about a month ago. I will be attempting to implement the actions and practices that you performed on niche duel 4. Thanks for the journey my man. Mark

Michael

I see in niche huuge trend and competition is getting really out of hands, crazy! It’s time to move on better thing where most of people didn’t start yet and youtubers don’t talk about it.

Max

I agree all this “gurus” talking about affiliate marketing, it’s not the best way to make money, monetizing only amazon etc. is quite bad. There are so many better ways, but people naively thing that some “guru” say oh I made 10k a week that it’s possible in 1 week 🙂

Nada

Yeah i was thinking i can make money withing 2 or 3 months. but thank you for publishing this amazing case study. i will focus on my blog for some more months.

Spencer Haws

Sounds good!

Luis

Hello Spencer,

I joined the niche site project 4, almost a year after it started, so my site is still yet to grow, thanks for sharing your site project as it shows that niche sites still work, i believe now it takes more focus in order to get the right niche but it definitely works.

Thanks!! Luis.

Spencer Haws

Thanks Luis!

Anne

Great report. This is exactly what I’m seeing with my niche sites too. With my oldest site, a year into production, with 200 posts, we were getting a similar amount of traffic (and revenue). Then it really began to take off. A few months later, traffic and revenue have almost quadrupled.

Spencer Haws

Great to hear! I hope my site takes a similar trajectory :). I think winter will be slower for my site, but things should really start to take off early next year.

Jack

Hi Spencer, you indicated that your hosting costs is $10/month and listed BigScoots at the end of the article. I’ve looked at Big Scoots and didn’t find any managed WP hosting plan in that price range. Can you clarify what hosting you are using?

Bhuboy

Thanks for the update, looking forward on future updates on the schedule you select for yourself

Ryan Kangail

Thanks for doing the case study. It’s always fun to follow along and there are always a few little nuggets to be learned as well!

Spencer Haws

Thanks Ryan!

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