Over the past few months, I've been sharing how I built BestSurvivalKnifeGuide.com from the ground up, and been sharing the monthly earnings from that site. I am happy to say that I am going to continue that trend today with another monthly income report!
I like to share these income reports for a couple of reasons. First, it keeps me accountable to you to share what's working in my business. Secondly, it will hopefully provide some motivation to you and show you what is possible with niche sites.
This is my first public Niche Site Project, and I have been very pleased with the results. In fact, the earnings from the site this month is another record month!
So, I want to jump right into the income results, then I'll discuss what I've done with the site this month.
August 2013 Earnings for BestSurvivalKnifeGuide.com
So, the Total Earnings are:
- Amazon Assoicates – $743.58
- SkimLinks – $7.87
- Total Earnings – $751.45 (New Record!)
I am absolutely thrilled with the $751.45 in earnings from BestSurvivalKnifeGuide.com last month! To think that just about 6 months ago, this project was just an idea, and now I'm pulling in over $750 a month in relatively passive income…not too shabby!
This is well over my goal of earning $500 per month from the site (which I also exceeded last month). However, I'm going to continue to build the site and hopefully continue to increase the earnings even more!
A Quick Note About SkimLinks
Skimlinks is a service that I started using actually at the very end of July. I neglected to report that I earned $1.98 in July from Skimlinks (whoops!); so in my cumulative earnings charts below, I've adjusted the earnings up by $1.98 from what I reported last month.
Skimlinks is very easy to install. You basically just activate their plugin (if using WordPress) and that's it! Skimlinks reads your site and creates a few links out of your existing content (similar to how Kontera and Infolinks work). So, they might underline the word, “survival knife” and refer people to Amazon – if they buy something, I get a kickback.
I think I made so little with Skimlinks because I've already got my site heavily monetized with Amazon – so this is all supplemental income.
I highly recommend that you at least test out SkimLinks to see if you can increase your sites income.
Earnings Since Inception
You can see that the earnings have increased over time quite nicely. I have now been over my $500/month goal for the past 2 months. When will the earnings plateau? Who knows!
Since inception, the site has earned $2,715.96. This chart gives you a nice progression of how the earnings have accumulated. Considering that my initial investment in the site was about $700, I'm at about $2,000 in net profit. I'll share my monthly ongoing expenses below, but its simply based on how much new content I put on the site now.
The site actually shipped less items in August than in July – which is a little bit surprising. As you will see below, I had quite a bit more traffic coming to the site, so this means less people were clicking on Amazon links. So, how could I ship less items and still have an increase in earnings? Well, very simply: the items purchased this month were more valuable.
Here's a screenshot showing most of the items shipped last month. (I just included the screenshot from the Sports & Outdoors and Tools & Hardware Categories). I thought this would be interesting for all of you to see the various knives and related tools that are being purchased through my site. As you will see, the overwhelming majority of these items are indeed survival knives.
Amazon Conversion Rate
This data has me a little concerned, but I'm not sure there is much I can do about it. The Amazon conversion rate is calculated by dividing the number of visitors sent to Amazon (Amazon affiliate link clicks) by the number of items shipped for that month. So, basically this is telling me how well Amazon is converting the visitors I sent into buyers.
I would suspect that visitors that are better pre-sold would convert into buyers at a higher rate. However, I haven't done anything drastically different when it comes to ad placement or affiliate links, so I'm not quite sure why I'm seeing a downward trend in the Amazon conversion rate. I discuss below some of the affiliate link changes I've made, and I'll let you be the judge if that has led to a decreased conversion rate.
The site continues to grow in traffic; and in particular, traffic from Google. For the most part of the month, my site was ranked #1 or #2 in Google for my primary keyword phrase; “Best Survival Knife”. And I'm happy to say that the past few days, it has been solidly at the top spot in Google!
However, the traffic coming from the term, “Best Survival Knife” only accounts for approximately 10.76% of the traffic coming to the site. Don't get me wrong, this one keyword is very important! But when nearly 90% of the traffic is coming from other places, its important to pay attention to that other large chunk!
So, where is that other 89.24% of traffic coming from? Well, mostly from long tail keywords! I've always addressed this in previous income reports, but today is the first time I'm presenting a chart showing how many keywords are contributing to the search engine traffic from the site.
So, in August, people found my site by typing 1,829 different long tail keywords into Google or other search engines. That's pretty amazing! You can see over the past several months how the number of long tail keywords that people are using to find my site has changed over time.
So, yes, this means the site, BestSurvivalKnifeGuide.com ranks in Google for over 1,800 different keywords. Below is a list of just a few keyword phrases used to find my site during August.
The total number of unique visitors during the month of August was 16,467 (with 42,940 page views). Here is how the overall visitors to the site has progressed since inception:
Obviously the month of May was a bit of an anomaly. I attribute that extra, mostly non-buying traffic, to my blog and Pat Flynn's blog, because of the my interview on Pat's Podcast that month. Other than that, the traffic has seen a nice steady incline due to natural search engine traffic.
How did I get all this traffic? Well, I laid out every single step of the process in the Niche Site Project posts right here!
And finally, here are all the raw stats for the site since inception. This is where all the above charts come from, but if you want to see the numbers by themselves, here they are! Enjoy getting your geek time in with these…
What Happened During August?
During the month of August, I spent very little time on the site. However, I did 2 things:
- Added new content
- Tried different ad layouts
I have a dedicated author that I work with, that I found on Elance.com. He actually had some major issues going on during the month of August, and as a result, he was only able to provide me with 4 articles during the month. So, I only posted 4 new articles for the entire month of August.
At a cost of $20 per article, I spent a total of $80 on the site last month. So, my net profit for just last month was $671.45. Yes, its a lot to spend per article, but I'm happy with the quality and made the decision early on to hire for quality.
Other than that, I didn't do anything else to my site during August. No link building or anything else.
However, just because I haven't been building any links, doesn't mean other people aren't linking to my site. According to my webmaster tools, Google is finding new links to my site all the time.
Obviously, I've talked many times about the fact that there are many links pointing to my site that I do not want as a result of someone trying to perform Negative SEO. You can read all about how Google has devalued those spammy links here. Unfortunately, I am still seeing new spammy links being added recently…wish it would stop!
In the future, I will continue to just add new content to the site each month and enjoy the organic growth.
Additional Plans and Your Thoughts
I really have no major plans for the site going forward. I will just focus on new content and continue testing what ad placements will earn me the most. I may start focusing on some other big keywords related to knives that I feel that I can rank for. But I will address this in more detail when I actually tackle this challenge.
Overall, I think I've provided enough data and charts to keep your mind busy for days! I hope you've enjoyed this in depth look at how BestSurvivalKnifeGuide.com has performed during the month of August; getting all of this data together has taken me quite a bit of time. 🙂
I'm also excited to have started my 2nd Public Niche Site Project! I've posted the first coaching call with Perring (my new student) to guide him through the process of building a niche site. You can read all the posts for the 2nd Niche Site Project right here. So, even though the majority of the work is done for my BestSurvialKnifeGuide.com site is done, a new project is just beginning.
As always, I really look forward to the discussion that is sure to follow in the comments below. If you have any additional questions about my earnings or the site, please feel free to ask away.