Niche Site Project Income Report for March 2013

By Spencer Haws |

I’m excited to share with you the first monthly income report for my public niche site project! I began this niche site project just a short time ago and have made some serious progress already.

The initial purpose of this niche site project was to build a site from scratch and to reveal all of my processes along the way.

My goal is to have the site up and earnings $500/mth by the end of May 2013.

A Quick Review of the Project

Of course, this journey has NOT been completely blissful, as I believe I may have caused a dramatic decrease in rank early on with too many affiliate links.  In addition, I also have good reason to believe that my site is being targeted by someone doing Negative SEO…(but thankfully none of the ill effects have materialized yet).

Niche Site Project Earnings

Before I reveal my earnings, I just wanted to give a quick reminder.  This niche site is only ONE of hundreds that I own.  I do not reveal the earnings for my other niche sites or share those domains publicly.  My earnings from my other niche sites is significantly more than this one.

The last full income report showing the income for all my niche sites was right here from August 2011.

So, now that you are all caught up on what the niche site project is all about and what has happened so far…lets discuss earnings!

For the month of March 2013, my niche site ( earned:

Here’s a screenshot showing my full March stats from Amazon Associates:


Now, $83.86 may not seem like a lot, but you have to realize that this site is brand new!  I didn’t even show up on the first page of Google until March 19th and didn’t start ranking at the top of page 1 until the last few days of the month.

In other words, even if I stay at position 2 or 3 for the entire month of April, I would expect my earnings to be 2 or 3 times as high as March.

What’s exciting is how many actual survival knives I am selling!  I sold close to 20 survival knives in March and many of the other items were survival related items such as fire starters, wilderness water filters, knife sharpeners, or similar items.  Of course there were also several totally unrelated items like a pair of Levis, music books, or headphones.

Its nice getting paid for anything someone purchases within 24 hours of clicking on my affiliate link.

In addition, the last couple of days of March was a Saturday and Sunday; therefore not as many items shipped as normally would.  That’s one reason why you see 56 items ordered but only 41 items shipped.  This just means I had a fantastic April 1st!  For the first day of April, I had earnings of $21.31!


Also, I have tried no experimentation with how to improve my Amazon Associates earnings or how to increase earnings with other methods.   I plan to tackle that in April.

So, as the site stands now, I am VERY happy with the earnings for its first full month of existence!

What About Costs?

Looking at earnings is always fun to do, but I think sharing the costs this site has incurred will also be instructional.  Here’s is a quick list of how I’ve spent my money on this site:

So, my loss at this point in the project is at most $453.14.

However, you can see that if I get anywhere close to my $500/mth goal, this loss is peanuts to the long term potential of the site.  In fact, this project may turn a profit in the next 2 months and will likely be all passive income at that point.  Nice!

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Plans to Increase Earnings

To be honest, I’m not satisfied with the Amazon earnings.  I feel like with the amount of traffic the site is getting, I should be earning more.  For that reason, I plan to add some contextual advertising in addition to keeping Amazon in place.  A few options that I could use are:

There are many others, but these are my top 3 picks at this point.   I said from the beginning that I would not use Google Adsense because I don’t want to put my Adsense account at risk ( and for other reasons).  Its unfortunate, because Google Adsense would be the highest earning option for sure.

So, this month I will be testing out options with and Skim Links to see the results I can get.  If I can add a few dollars a day to the Amazon earnings, this may get me close to my earnings goal.

Finally, I also want to get an email list going for the site this month!  With an email subscriber list, I can promote affiliate products in the survival niche and potentially earn a higher commission for each sale.

These are some of my plans of action for the month of April.

Content Strategy Going Forward

I am really happy with the way the content is coming together for my site.  So far I have close to 20 articles on the site and plan to add another 20 or so during the month of April.

The content will be focused on individual knife reviews.  I’m going to review each of the knives on the survival knife chart that I created (about 50 in total).   I’m currently working with an author that I hired on who is a camping, hunting, and survival expect to create the content.

More content is going to allow me to target additional long tail keywords, and therefore, attract more search engine traffic for these queries.  My site is nearly at the top of Google for its primary keyword already, so I can’t get much more traffic from that one keyword, BUT I can certainly grow by targeting additional keywords.

What About Link Building?

For the most part, I want to just focus on creating quality content rather than worry about link building.  My site is ranking well, and would probably not build additional links at this point normally. I would expect the site to garner a few natural links because of the content I would be putting out, which would hopefully put me at #1.

However, as explained, someone is out building a TON of links to my site against my will – probably for negative SEO purposes.  As such, my site has an EXTREMELY high anchor text usage for its primary keyword.

I feel like if I just leave the anchor text diversity the way it is, the site is a good candidate for a Penguin penalty.  So, to dilute the anchor text profile, I may hire someone to build some links for me using anchor text other than my keyword (like “click here”, “read more”, “visit the site here”, “knife reviews”, and more).

Its unfortunate that I need to do this, but such is the case.

However, I will say that at this point I have not actually seen any negative effects from these unnatural links being built to my site.  And I’m really hoping that Google truly can detect these types of negative SEO actions and will not place any penalty on my site.

In fact, Matt Cutts in a video here, had some encouraging words in regards to negative SEO and the fact that they are aware of it and have built ways to detect it in the Google algorithm.

So, perhaps these unwanted links won’t cause me any harm after all.

Wrapping Up

In conclusion, I’m quite pleased with how this project is going!  Earning over $80 for a niche site in its first month is VERY good.  This just lets me know that the niche has a lot of potential.  I really do think that my $500/month goal by the end of May is achievable.

What do you think?  As always, I would love to hear your thoughts, comments, or questions in regards to my post here.  Is there anything else you would like me to cover that I didn’t discuss in this monthly report?  Let me know in the comments below.

Stories & Projects | 158 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.

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

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Wow that’s awesome. What do you think was the number one reason why you ranked so fast is? Glad to see your starting to make money on this site!

Spencer Haws

Thanks Bob! The reason I ranked so quickly in Google is because of the keyword research that I did. I’ve always stressed how vitally important this step is in the the entire process. I found a low competition keyword and went into GREAT detail about how to find these types of keywords on the kick-off webinar and multiple videos after that. If I do lots of other things wrong on this project (which I have), I can still make it a success because I found a low competition keyword that I can rank quickly for. For others reading this, I recommend checking out my first few posts on the public project here to see how I found my keyword:

Tung Tran

I just want to say thank you very much Spencer 🙂

My first niche site was a failure, but the second site which I reserve engineer your site is ranking very good … 2 weeks and it’s on #9 now..

the good thing is I made 1 on April Fool 😀

Thank you again for your help!


Theodore Nwangene

Quite a impressive stat Spencer,
This shows that you will soon get to your $500/month goal. Congratulations man.

I’ve also created my own niche site based on weight loss niche and have published 5 articles so far.

Please my questions are thus….

1. Do you normally create new social profiles for each niche site you create or do you promote them with your existing profiles?

2. Do you allow commenting and do you also let your name to show as the posts author?

3. Are you aware if Google adsense work on weight loss blogs?

Thanks for your assistance so far Spencer.

Spencer Haws

Here’s some quick answers Theodore:
1. No, not normally. (But I might for this niche site)
2. I usually don’t allow commenting, but I am on this niche site.
3. Sure, you can use Google Adsense on a weight loss blog.

Theodore Nwangene

Ok Spencer.
Thanks for your response. You rock

Bradley C.

Spencer, as someone who has made some decent money from the Amazon Associate’s program, I’d say you’ve found yourself a winner. Hopefully, your site will keep ranking high and not suffer the penalty discussed in your last post.

Also, it’s refreshing to see you actually explain that you are still “in the hole” on this project. So many people post their earnings without posting their expenses, which often gives readers unrealistic expectations.


Amazon + Adsense might be a good way to go. I had a MNS promoting a tablet, so I had amazon affiliate links + Adsense on it and the site was earning well from both. Some people say it’s good just to keep one of them because in the end neither will bring good profits, but combining them worked well for me, so try different options and don’t expect to succeed in the first time, just don’t give up. I am using Skimlinks as well, but the bad about them is they take 20 or 25% commission if I am not wrong. But I am using them because I had trouble to get in the Ebay affiliate program and Skimlinks gives me access to it.


This is great Spencer! Great job.

I have a question for you, regarding ranking. My niche site dropped out of Google a while back. I have not added any content to it for a long time, but it is still ranking #1 on bing and yahoo, but not ranked at all on google. It was slowly rising, , then suddenly that and about 10 other sites I own completely dropped from the google index. I even asked Google if it was blacklisted, and they told me it was not.

It has been very frustrating. I had my VA look at it and he added a few keywords, but nothing else. Can you recommend any thing I should do to get it back on Google?

Thanks a bunch!

Spencer Haws

Sounds very much like a Penguin or Panda penalty to me. You likely were hit with one of these algorithm updates which caused the decline in rankings. How in the world did you “ask Google something”? I’ve never been able to get a response to a specific question before. And just because your site is indexed, doesn’t mean its not penalized.

You might need to diversify anchor text (for penguin penalty) or increase the quality of content (for a panda penalty).


Thanks for your reply. Yes, I did get a response ehan I asked Google via the webmaster tools contact forms, and they told responded with: “We reviewed your site and found no manual actions by the webspam team that might affect your site’s ranking in Google.”.

Thanks for the info Spencer. So where would you start? A lot of my content is embedded youtube videos. Will i get slapped if I am embedding too many youtube videos?

Thanks so much for your help…

Spencer Haws

Ok, so yes I agree that there was no “manual” actions on your site; this is pretty rare. However, an automated action due to the Penguin/Panda algorithm is likely what has occurred.

You can start by looking at the achor text variation and quality of links coming to your site. (I’m not an expert at Panda/Penguin recovery, but that is where I would start looking).

Chris Desatoff

Wow, that’s awesome, Spencer! I knew it would be pretty high (as far as 1st months go), but that was more than I expected. Congrats.

Sucks about the hater trying to bring you down. Still, you’re off to a great start on this site, and we’re all learning a lot from this public study.

I know you’re gonna share more on linkbuiilding soon, but if you’re willing to share a little at this point, I did have a couple questions about your links up til now.

1. about how many links have you built at this point?
2. can you give a breakdown of what types of links those are (i.e. blog comments, guest posts, website directories, etc)?

Reason I’m asking is, I just bought 5 new domains and started building out 2 of them this weekend, and I want to gain traction as quickly as possible, but at the same time I don’t want to rush in too quickly and set myself up for a Penguin penalty.

Spencer Haws

Here’s some quick responses Chris:
1 and 2. I’ve built about 50 links is all. Maybe 20 or so web directory links; 25 or so are blog comments. And just a few other links. (However, I’ve also noticed a few natural links)…and then lots of other “unnatural links” that I did not want (as discussed). I recommend reading my link building post for how I like to build links:

Chris Desatoff

Cool, thanks!


Congrats on the fab results!! Just wanted to check, are the blog comments on related blogs? Thanks

Spencer Haws

Yes, comments are on related blogs.


Impressive results Spencer, thanks for sharing and providing motivation.

Just curious if you have considered eCommerce, dropshipping. The products seem like they would be ideal from a size and weight perspective, or are the handles organic e.g. timber, bone and have complications for importing.

Spencer Haws

Marty – the thought has crossed my mind; but I’ve not look into it seriously yet. If my site is still doing well in a few months, maybe I will indeed go that route.


Hi Spencer,

Regarding able to host multiple domains in Bluehost, are they all WordPress base for your case?

Reason why I ask is because I could only group 10-15 domains into a single Bluehost account before hitting the 50000 files limit.

Maybe I am doing something not right… Thanks!

Spencer Haws

Yes, they are all wordpress sites. I’ve never had issues with the number of files; perhaps ask Bluehost if something is going on.


Spencer, it’s great to get these updates from you. My newest site is similar to yours and It seems like every time I have a question about how to handle a particular issue or which direction to take it, your new post comes in with an answer. Thank you so much, and please keep up the great work.

Jason Pachomski

Great update Spencer as always and thanks for all the great info you share with us. Was wondering if you could expound (either here briefly or in a post down the road) why specifically you feel like adding adsense to your site could put your adsense account at risk for a penalty… I have a couple of Azon Aff sites myself right now and if there’s a “don’t do this” regarding adsense I’d love to hear about it. Thanks again!

Spencer Haws

Unkind readers might clickbomb my ads. Using adsense also makes it easy to find and track all my other niche sites. Those are the 2 main reasons.


I was wondering the same. Thanks for clearing that up.

PS. Well done on your progress and earnings. I’m addicted to reading your progress reports and the comments from other readers on this project!


Spencer thanks for laying this all out, that’s an impressive first month. I found a nice KW with LTP the other day with lots of depth and followed your steps. Main KW is ranking after just 5 days with no back links, Thanks.


That’s impressive earnings, Spencer.
Btw, do you use the same Amazon Associates account for all your niche site? If so, how you can track earnings from a specific site?
It will be more convincing if you show products you have sold.
Just my opinion.


Tuan, if you have multiple sites monetized with Amazon then you definitely want to share the same Associates account. The reason is that the more items you move per month, the higher your commision (from 4% up to 8.5%).

To track earnings from specific sites, you may create additional tracking ID’s up to a total of 100. See this link:

Spencer Haws

I use different tracking ids for different sites; so I know exactly where the earnings are coming from. Secondly as I’ve discussed previously, this is my first time to make Amazon the primary monetization method for a niche site. I’ve literally probably made $10 over the past YEAR from Amazon Associates. I can show an image in next months report I suppose for the products sold, but I figured everyone being able to go to Google and see my site near the top of the rankings was pretty solid proof that the site is doing well. (I think most people like that).


Great work Spencer. This just demonstrates that a proven system applied over and over can really add up quickly!

I really need to expand my portfolio of niche sites. My authority site is the money maker, but my solitary niche site makes $50-$80 monthly with very little work. I really need to expand that model to a handful and then more…


Very Nice Spencer. Hope you go much better. Also i saw a keyword ‘survival knife’ , your site is ranking in 12th position. It will be great for rank on top 3 on this keyword too.


Thank you for doing this project. I love seeing how it all comes together and how much success you are finding from your efforts. After working with Amazon Associates on this site will you start to do more product based sites or maybe go back and add amazon ads to past sites you have created?

Also….after doing all the research on survival knives, which one did you buy?

Spencer Haws

Jayson – I may indeed start doing more product sites that can utilize Amazon Associates! And yes, I could probably do better on a few of my past sites primarly monetized with Adsense by adding a few Amazon links.

I actually did buy TWO different survival knives a couple of weeks ago! I keep meaning to mention this in a post and perhaps will highlight it soon. But I bought the Ka-bar Becker BK2 Companion Knife and the Gerber Bear Grylls Survival Knife. Both are awesome! The Becker I think is my favorite though…


Great going Spencer! You’re definitely showing everyone “how it’s supposed to be done”.

My question has to do with finding experts in the niche. How do you go about doing this, and verifying if they really know their stuff?

Spencer Haws

I posted a job on Elance. Its amazing how much diversity of talent there is there. The particular author I hired had lots of past work as a blogger on survival sites and currently writes for a hunting/fishing magazine. With a solid work history, its was easy to see their expertise.

Bill Zimmerman

Nice one Spencer. How much traffic are you getting now to this site?

Spencer Haws

The site is getting close to 400 unique visitors per day now. (This has grown steadily for the last week or 2).


Fantastic and very encouraging. Thanks for sharing.


Yeok Heng

I don’t really recommend you to put Google Adsense in your public niche site because people can easily get your other niche site with ads publisher number and it is very risky to all your niche sites.

Spencer Haws

Yep, exactly.



I think you will surpass the $500/month goal. To get $83 in the first month is really impressive. Do you plan on adding social shares to your reviews so you can capture the social media traffic?

Spencer Haws

I really think I should. I hadn’t thought much about this; but the more I get involved in this niche, the more potential I see. I could really capitalize by turning this into a true authority – including adding more social media marketing.


Great work Spencer. I have greatly enjoyed your detailed explanations of your process. I followed step by step as I built two new niche sites last month . . . just to see if following word for word what you were doing would work . . . each site is already ranked in the top ten and made $50 each their first month. This is without a SINGLE back link being built.

It all comes down to the appropriate keyword and quality content.

Keep up the meaty explanations and posts. Really enjoy reading quality niche site posts.

Spencer Haws

Jon, that is AWESOME! I love seeing others succeed based on my advice just as much as I enjoy seeing my own sites do well. Congrats on the 2 new great sites!


Thanks Spencer and Chris. I now believe that there are great keywords to be found out there still. One thing I realized too is that I was probably not providing reader oriented content before. Now when I write my main article I try to really pt in a great deal of research and provide something people ACTUALLY want rather than a slapped together homepage just trying to rank quick.

Chris Desatoff

Hey Jon, that’s encouraging! Good job =)


hey Jon, congrats…would like to know if you write the content on your 2 new sites, or did you purchase your articles?

Also, are your sites built around product keywords, or information-type keywords?





For the two new sites I wrote the main article just like Spencer did. After that I hired lever 3 writers for an additional 3 – 5 articles from These articles were between 350 – 500 words so they cost me about $7 a piece I would say.

One site is an information based keyword the other is a product, but in a very niche subset for the product. I am certainly not going for the keyword “Coke” but a much more niche word for the product I chose.

Also, like I said and Spencer and many other successful niche site owners have taught recently I spent a much greater amount of time on researching the niche finding excellent resources for readers and answered the obvious questions that the previous top 10 results where not answering. I honestly believe that once the Google gods saw this they rewarded it quickly. The new sites truly are not spammy sites. They are small sites but they are clearly put together to answer questions. I put great content and provided answers. Much like Spencer did with his comparison chart I found the best resources and made it much easier for readers to complete their personal research.

All money is being made with Adsense for these sites. ****I am obviously NO expert . . . I am just thrilled that by following along with each post and putting in a bit more effort I have been able to see such quick results.


Great job, Spencer! I love following you on your public niche site experiment. I am doing it right along with you. I have one site in the top ten for its’ kw and the other one still ranks 500+ on Google. I am starting to outsource some content as well. I’ve done no back linking and am really focusing on getting a quality site first. LTP had a KC for one site of 36 and the other one of 26. The one at 36 is the one ranking. haha.

This is all very new to me so I am using these first two as a learning process, but I plan on making about $200-$300/mo between the two of them.

THANK YOU! Love all your detailed explanations. When is your next podcast coming out?

Spencer Haws

That’s great Kyle! I don’t know when the next podcast is…I’ve been lazy on that front :). There will be more, just nothing scheduled yet.



Great Results.

You know your stuff really well Spencer.

With 400UVs each day, I think eCommerce on your site would really boost up your earnings ($1000+ I think) in this niche. We are talking about Amazon’s 4-8% against 20-40% with Drop-shippers.

BTW, Just bought LTP Premium Yesterday, Already in love.

If you can look at my website and give your honest opinion, I will be really grateful.


Nicolas Daudin

Hi Rachel
I’ve checked your website – was curious about how other people build their niche site – and its pretty good. I’m no expert so don’t take my word for it but you definitely have great and impressive content!
One thing: how do you monetize it?


Hey Nicholas,

Thanks for stopping by and checking my site.

Actually it’s just born, so I haven’t monetized yet.

Waiting for the consistent traffic daily before I can monetize it.

But my Plan is something like this:

1. Google Adsense + Opt-in (to have few leads) to start with once I have at least 100UVs a day.

2. Will analyze Adsense Ads to gather some potential advertisers for my site (will be doctors and beauticians I think).

3. If that doesn’t work out, affiliate and CPA.

But that future we are talking about. My focus is on traffic right now.

Thanks Again,

Spencer Haws

I love the way you think! I agree that there is more potential here than just using Amazon. I may indeed go this route. Glad you love Long Tail Platinum!! Thanks,



Don’t want to check my website?

I will be really glad if the master can add few things to follower.

In any case, thanks for everything on this blog.



I’ve been interested with niche site just lately. I have A website that I made just to showcase my works as a CG artist. Then I thought of putting some adsense to it just to cover the domain and hosting. I didn’t have any seo at all and I was surprise I am making 10-15$ per month.

That situation changed my view in IM especially adsense. What Spencer is showing here is very impressive to me and serve as an inspiration to me.

Keep up the good work Spencer, I have followed you public niche site just last month, actually I have read all your post regarding the public niche but I am very inspired to do one in the future after I finished reading all your posts. I want to understand it word for word and implement just how you do it for this website.

Great work!


I noticed you mentioned that you are getting 400 visitors/day, and if I remember correctly the KW has 4400 exact monthly searches.

From your experience what type of correlation do the 2 numbers usually have?

Spencer Haws

Its hard to draw a direct correlation. I am getting approximately 60 to 70 hits a day from the exact keyword “best survival knife”. However, there are lots of similar phrases that I also get traffic from: top survival knife, survival knife reviews, best survival knives, and more. So, from market to market there are more or less long tail keywords as well. The only correlation is the more search volume your primary keyword has, the higher your overall traffic will be with long tails included, etc.


RE; unwanted links

Google have a section where you can put the URLs of those negative links into …

Spencer Haws

Yes, I covered this in my previous blog post.


Spencer,i do follow your posts. Are you planning to give up google adsense?I’m still newbie. But the account banned really scare me off. I’m not sure whether to continue my pursuit in adsense or should find alternative just like you do?
Any good tips from preventing adsense from getting banned although we have follow all guidelines?

Spencer Haws

No way would I give up on Adsense! I use it actively on most of my sites and is still my #1 earner for niche websites. I’m just using amazon associates on this one website…that’s all.

Mike M

Can you share those web directories in which you submitted your niche site?
Sorry for my English

Spencer Haws

Sure, I just used the web directories suggested by Jon over at Point Blank SEO: (Full list is in his course). Here’s a partial list:

Nicolas @ YouEverySecond


Great job as usually!!! Im also going to start creating one or two niche sites following your method, so I’ll let you know how it goes! You are definitely helping me so much (both with your public niche site series and your software).

One question : you said something about 400 visitors a day for a kw originally targeting 4400 local searches a month. That’s super impressive – knowing that you are “only” on position 2, so you should get around 15% or 20% of these 4400 searches a month for that keyword.

So does it mean you are already ranking high for many other long tail keyword? Could you give us a breakdown of the traffic sources in your next posts?


Spencer Haws

Yes, lots of other Long Tail traffic. I’ll give a breakdown in the next post.


I would like to learn how you maximize your Amazon profits and boost your conversions after you must have implemented your strategy this month as you said you would. Congrats on your decent earnings. I’m sure you’ll be able to grow it. Maybe I didn’t read thoroughly but I reckon this was supposed to be a solely Amazon-monetized website…

Adam Finan

Hey Spencer,
Well done on getting the site making money already. I have purchased LTP since I started following your blog and started with a few niche projects of my own.

After reading your article about negative SEO, about four hours later I received a message from google that someone was trying to log-in to my account from the US. Shame that people be up to this stuff.

If you have time to answer I have one question I would like to ask you…

Having spent a good bit of time building Squidoo lenses, I then watched your LTP videos and you claim it is easy to rank above Squidoo pages. Is it a better strategy to build niche sites based on KW research than spend time building Squidoo lenses? I do make sales from them, but not what you are getting.

Also, do you recommend the likes of Unique Article Wizard to promote niche websites?

Keep up the good work and thank you for the honest details on how to build a niche website.


Spencer Haws

I’ve always considered building your own niche site and fully owning that property (and 100% of the commissions) a much better way to go than creating a Squidoo lens. While you can rank a squidoo lens with very little effort; you don’t get to keep all the commissions and you can never grow the one Lens into a full authority site (like you can for a niche site). That’s my thoughts.

Also, I don’t recommend using UAW to build links directly to your niche site. Read this for an idea of what I do recommend:


Hey Spencer & Everyone Else here.

Firstly, let me join the others in congratulating you on the success of the new site so far!

I am also feeling quite chuffed with my first months results. Not quite up in the Pro League yet but there is hope. I have earned $11 dollars through adsense in my first month. So far I have only written on two blogs and added my niche to the external links section in a couple of Wiki pages. I don´t really consider this “link building” and so next month will focus on generating some decent traffic.

The not so great news is that the CPC of my clicks fluctuates a lot. The Keyword I have targeted said it´s value is around $1 on adwords, but my clicks have been between 11 cents and 98….

However the really great news is that I am ranked 4th on the first page of google for my chosen keyword. This sets me up to add more content, build links and drive more UV to my page.

I am confident!

Best of Luck for April!!

Kasper Toxvig

Very cool article, that just gave me a little more motivation:-)
This is the first article I have read In the niche project, and Im sure I will read the previous;-)


Congrats Spencer. I have never seen a case study that is a success from the get go! You have proved once again to everyone, talk the talk & walk the walk!




Hi spencer, i am one of your fans. I tried to replicate your methods, i build a website and targeting keyword “lower ping”. but i already see a dead end with the targeted keywords. And then, i tried again keyword research based on your advises in this blog. but hardly find any keywords that is suitable with my knowledge and have potential.

if it is not burdening you, i really need some help from you.
is there any keywords that you were once researched and have potential but you did not used as your niche site main keywords? could you email me those keywords so that i can try to make a website with it. just for the sake of trying to rank with my knowledge on website building skills.

i have an article on my blog that rank well with low competition ” weatherford interview”. i made a post about it without link building and about a month later, it was ranked first. i am quite impressed with the results.

hope you are not mind to share the knowledge 🙂

Spencer Haws

Keep researching to find better keywords. Unfortunately I’m not going to go out and find keyword for you. I keep the ones I find for myself.


Congrats Spencer.

Following your initial thought of adding adsense to the site, I just want to ask which actually is more profitable between moneytizing with adsense ads and amazon ads? Thanks.

Spencer Haws

Probably Adsense. That’s what I’ve always done better with. But it depends on the niche and particular audience. I’m trying to make the survival knife site a success with amazon.


Hi Spencer,
Excellent results.
I’m trying to copy exactly what you do, and am getting some results. Good. But… Question:
I’m currently at #30 in Google. I used to be #4 in Bing and #29 in Yahoo.
All of a sudden Bing and Yahoo show me at +500. What could be the reason for that?
The only thing I’ve done so far is add original handwritten (by myself) content (up to 10 posts now).
Any suggestions?

Spencer Haws

I don’t know. Could just be fluctuations in their rankings if your site is new. I would just focus on adding quality content and solid link building.


Hey Spencer,

Could you please elaborate more on this:

Link Building. About $25 for a VA to submit my site to web directories.

I wish to expand my blog’s reach on internet by submitting iti to quality web directories.


Iain Robson

It seems like you have had to deal with all sorts of random issues. But that is the name of the game I guess eh.

I’m happy to hear that the affiliate sales are going well. Perhaps you can have a chat with Chris Guthrie to get some optimization tips.

I can’t say that I have invested as much as you have into your site, but I am not a pro like you.

Perhaps in the future 😀

Great update Spencer


This is great stuff, Spencer!

This case study is black and white PROOF that keyword research is incredibly important for SEO.

Most people don’t take the time you did to pick a low-competition keyword that you can easily monetize. That up-front time investment can save you hours of “extra” back linking you’d have to do for a higher-competition keyword.

It also doesn’t hurt that you dropped some serious cash for content. That’s something I’ve been investing more in and have seen a difference.

Spencer Haws

Exactly. I always say that if you get the keyword right and put in the time finding a true low competition keyword, the rest is just details.

Toni Rizzuto

Hi Spencer

WOW WOW WOW is all I can say. To say you’ve proved your point is an understatement.

Keyword Ranking in at time of post:

best survival knife guide No 1
best survival knife No 1
survival knife guide No 1
best survival knives guide No 1
best survival knives No 1
survival knives guide No 1

survival knife No 2
survival knives No 2

Esee-6 Plain Black Blade No 4

All in less than a month!

I’ve been following you intently for 4 months and have used you as a reference point…..great to know my judgement was bang on because you deliver time and time again.

Keep up the ground breaking work and I wish you all the success in the world.

Thanks for everything you’ve done for all of us on here.


P.S podcast please. Maybe all about this project.


Hey Toni, I was wondering how you checked what position Spencer’s site was in for specific keywords….is there a specific tool that you use?

Spencer Haws

Thanks Toni!
Although I am not ranking for all the keywords you listed. I’m not in the top 10 for “survival knife” or for a couple of those others. (I think you are getting personalized results in your Google…try using a rank checking tool like Long Tail Pro to get accurate results).

But your point is still valid, I AM ranking for lots of keywords and the traffic is coming in. And I’ll try to get another podcast out.

Toni Rizzuto

Hi Spencer

Shows what a novice I am! I have Long Tail Pro and I have switched off personalized results. So in the spirit of accuracy using Long Tail Pro Rank Checker….

best survival knife guide No 1
best survival knife No 3
survival knife guide No 1
best survival knives guide No 1
best survival knives No 2
survival knives guide No 1
survival knife No 25
survival knives No 23
Esee-6 Plain Black Blade No 203

One question though, when I search for best survival knife you come up No 1 yet rank tracker places you no 3? I switched personalized search off and it was as opposed to (because I’m UK based)



Spencer Haws

Looks better Toni 🙂 The rank tracker showing #3 is accurate.


Damn…. that’s impressive indeed.

Darnell Jackson

This is what blogging AND being and entrepreneur is all about.

It’s so easy to make claims it’s hard as a MOFO to actually prove what you’re doing step by step.

Congrats on your success Spencer thanks for proving the value of Amazon.

I would think long term profit instead of using adsense though.
People are annoyed by ads.

I would Instead recommend adding more VALUE with additional free reports guides or videos that promote more higher dollar but complimentary products.

Spencer Haws

Thanks Darnell! And great advice too…that I’ll consider as the site grows with time.


Great job, Spencer. And thanks a lot for all your updates!

I have 2 small questions related to your link building process:
1) you mentioned about blog commenting – are no-follow comments on related blogs good for anything? Or should we only comment on do-follow blogs to actually improve our SEO?
2) about directory links: do they still mean anything to Google nowadays?

Thanks a lot!

Spencer Haws

1. Almost all of my blog comments were NO-follow. Yes they are good for diversifying your link profile with different linking domains, and more.
2. Yes.


Why are you so worried about getting your adsense account banned??

Pat Flynn has his adsense site exposed to the whole entire world and hasn’t been banned yet!

Adam Roseland

I think its more about keeping people from using negative SEO and/or copying his niche site ideas.

Spencer Haws

Pat Flynn also only had one website on that adsense account. I have hundreds of sites and don’t want them all exposed. Perhaps I’d be fine, but I’m being cautious…deal with it 🙂

Convince Your Boss To Fund Your Niche Site

Congrats on a successful month 1!! I love the disclaimer… that you own hundreds, not just 1. Very funny. It’s nice to see the numbers.

My question is, with approx 12k visits (400/day), are you happy with the .25% CTR to Amazon?

Great work.

Spencer Haws

Adam, to clarify, the site just the last week or so started getting 400 uniques per day…but that should continue for the full month of April.

No, I’m NOT happy with the CTR. Part of the low CTR is due to the many blog readers here that view my site (not natural readers); but I could likely do more to increase CTR and more importantly conversion rates (actual buyers). I’ll be figuring that out and sharing along the way.

And yes, I own hundreds of sites, started with niche sites in 2008 and have done this many times before.


Thanks for doing this public niche site build Spencer. It really keeps me motivated. I started building a few adsense sites in December and January. I wanted to test out my first small private blog network I built (40 sites) so I have targeted some high traffic, medium competition niches.kc in the 40-50 range. All sites are one the first page for dozens of keywords now.

So far it is going really well. With only three sites I made $1400 last month. Hoping to hit $2000 this month with two more sites that are just starting to rank. I also started my first Amazon site in late April. It just started ranking on the first page a few days ago and has made $57 dollars so far.

This really works. No I just have to keep on building more site:)



Spencer Haws

Awesome, that’s great to hear Greg! Always love to hear the success of others…keep it up!


Whoops, forgot to proof read that comment. Please excuse the grammar errors.


Great to see this Spencer.

I was all set to give up on Adsense and niche sites until I found your site.

You provided a few pieces of the missing jigsaw puzzle like CPC price to target and the importance of linking.

Its given me the motivation to keep going and put in the effort.

Fingers crossed I can make it work.

Muhammad Balagamwala

Hey Spencer,

Why dont you you just use the google disavow tool to combat negative seo?

Spencer Haws

Yes, I discussed the disavow tool in my last post about negative SEO. Read the post here for details: (i.e. the bad links MUST show up in Google webmaster tools before you can submit them on the disavow tool).


Thanks for the update, that’s pretty decent results! You picked a great product for Amazon but it still seems your conversion rate is quite low. I thought you’d get a higher CR for some reason.

Adsense would kick ass on this site for sure, but then your account would be at risk again. should contribute somewhat good money for you, though not nearly as good as Adsense. One site of mine that made around $600 per month on Adsense, makes around $360 or so on

I would definitely give them a try!


I’m sure the site gets a lot of non-buyer traffic from this blog so that would lower the conversion rate.

Spencer Haws

Yes, lots of non-buyer traffic (from this blog) causing lower conversion rate. However, I’ll be working on ways to increase conversions (hopefully).


I am certain you can do it Spencer. Like anything, it is a learned skill and way of approaching things, and is based on getting your readers the info and product they need or want, quickly and easily.

If you are getting 400 uniques a day (congrats), then you will have lots of data to play with as you perfect the site!

I have sold a lot of Amazon stuff on Squidoo and with the higher traffic levels are what has helped me learn to do a decent layout quickly, as any changes are soon reflected significantly in the stats and you can tweak as needed.



I noticed that you were able to place the full list (table) of survival knives with lots of amazon affiliate links without harming your ranking.

What adjustments did you do to make this work? (ie. does moving it from the home page to just another page make a difference or do you need to do some no follow).

Also how do you make google no follow a whole page?

Thanks, and here’s to more success!


Winston this is a good point thanks for bringing it up, links to the page are dofollow, the page itself has a noindex nofollow attribute which means it does not get indexed and none of the links on the page pass juice. Considering the text on this page is all dupe it is exactly the right thing to do.

If you want to nofollow noindex a whole page just add this tag before the closing head tag.
meta name=”robots” content=”noindex,nofollow”

Spencer Haws

Neale, that’s exactly right. I just shortened the matrix on the homepage to the top 15 knives. Then move the full chart to a separate page that is no-index/no-follow. Therefore Google doesn’t see this page, so it really doesn’t matter how many links I put on this page, because this page is not ranked anywhere.


Looking good Spencer!
Looks like there are already copycats of your site.
One example is BestKnifeSharpeners .net
Almost a carbon copy!


I would guess Spencer expected that, if in fact that’s not his site?. He’s showcasing a step by step “how to” so it’s understandable that people will follow his actions as closely as possible.

Toni Rizzuto

Hi Mark

It really is? Word for word. Spencer is this yours?



Ha…looks like BestPocketKnifeGuide is headed there too!


Some people are so lame. This is why I give Spencer so much respect, he knew this would happen. For someone to copy the design as well, have a little bit of creativity, now it just looks like they are ripping the site off completely! That’s not cool…

Spencer Haws

No, its not mine. A copy cat for sure.

Spencer Haws

That’s funny…guess some people can’t think for themselves :). Oh well, I’m not surprised.


These people are targeting other keywords “Best Knife Sharpener” and “Best Pocket Knife” so I don’t see an issue. Yes, their site looks exactly the same, but wasn’t that one of the purposed of the case study, to show people how to make a good site, obvious some of them copied everything 1:1, but I really don’t see a problem when they are targeting other keywords, they are not harming you in any way.


Best Knife (insert modifier)

“Yes, their site looks exactly the same, but wasn’t that one of the purposed of the case study, to show people how to make a good site”

Make a good site, not copy a good site.

Jay Park

Awesome post, Spencer. This was truly inspiring.

Especially loved your idea of experimenting by monetizing without Adsense. 80+ bucks in the first month is amazing IMO. As you mentioned..definitely tons of potential. Best of luck to you. Would you mind sharing how you created the comparison chart on your niche blog with all of us WP noobs? Any info would be greatly appreciated. Hope your blog reaches its goal by May!

Take care.

Spencer Haws

Yes, I’ve shared this many times on multiple posts and on multiple comments. The plugin is Table Press and its free.


I guess people feel they’re desperate (like me but those aren’t my copies, I swear) and try to be as successful by copying exactly. When they should apply your ideas and formula to their own thing.

But inevitably they cannot be as successful.

Jay Park

Thanks a million! Apologies for not catching it in other posts/comments.

Boris C.

I think those ad clicks will only take away from your potential buying traffic because it’s better to have visitor purchase affiliate product than click on low paying ad. I think finding and asking expert in your niche to write great report to start capturing opt-ins is better than placing ads long-term wise.

Starting Facebook fanpage, offering report there and interlinking with your website should be nice start for building fan following. You can either comment on related fanpages (camping, survival, etc.) and slowly build likes or start with campaign targetted on likes with low budget. You don’t need much likes for getting viral effect started and then it just takes care of itself. The small downside to this strategy would be additional time requiring you to manage your Facebook fanpage.

While Amazon is the trusted place to buying goods, you can also find online reputable store, preferrably focused only on your topic which pays more and has considerable brand awareness so when people visit and click-through your reveiws, the land on known and reputable website focused only on selling in survival stuff niche. However if it is only 4% difference in commissions between Amazon and that store, I think by managing to sell bigger quantities will eventually raise your Amazon commissions percentage to those offered elsewhere. The downside is that this Amazon’s commissions level resets every month and you start again where you were before.

Good idea about diluting your exact match link profile Spencer by the way.

Spencer Haws

Thanks Boris for the tips!


I envy your ability to make this much money online. I’ve tried for a while now. I made this site: which apparently is pretty much impossible to monetize. I mean, I think some of my competitors who actually rank (I’m on like the 100,000th page on Google) make a bit of money but I’ve got like no views and I’ve tried do to Adsense etc. but I can’t get it working and it’s all confusing, frustrating and I’m totally lost. I feel also like everyone I ask for help, people like you, who are doing well and making money online…. I think those people don’t care about us. Like few succeed online and they make money by making people like those that read their blogs that they can too. Then those people spend a bunch of money on word press themes, hosting services, domain names… that give the top dogs money. While making none themselves.

I like this apparent transparency thing but I’ve tried for months I can’t find a damn niche to work on that’s legit and will work out. I’m just burning money here. I mean some sites they dont’ even look nice but they make thousands and my site looks ok but it’s getting like one visitor a month who stays on the page for a second and leaves. Gah. And when I ask for help they just say “buy my ebook” or “buy this software I make money off of”. They don’t care about me succeeding. I mean if we all did, there’d be more competition for those who are doing well. Right?

I like what you’re doing here and you’ve got great content but I’m still failing. I don’t know whats wrong with me.


Is your target keyword “US Constitution”? That’s a very competitive keyword, scoring 62 in Long Tail Pro. The top three sites each have Page Rank 7 and over 10,000 Juice Page Links. Even “US Constitution guide” is somewhat competitive (42) and nobody’s searching for that.

Your on-page SEO is good, with “US Constitution” appearing in all the right places. It looks like you haven’t built any backlinks but I don’t think that will help much unless you can find some long tail keywords. There may actually be some good ones in this niche, like “US Constitution explained” or something. You just have to do the keyword research.

All of the information for building successful niche sites is available on this site for free. You don’t have to buy an ebook. I found the videos where Spencer picked his keyword to be immensely helpful.

Best of luck.


Thanks so much Rick for responding. I don’t have the money for LongTailPro but I do my keyword research, etc.

I guess its hard not to lose hope, it’s a long hard process with nothing to show for it, you know?

Do you think this site has any money making potential or should I just give up and try a new niche?

Toni Rizzuto

Hi Undergroundman

You need inspiration my friend.

My advise is to take a step back from all of it. If things aren’t working out sometimes its because we get too frustrated we want it to work so bad.

The way I get inspired is by listening to Podcast’s or a book on Audible that are relevant to what I am trying to achieve. When things get on top I stop what I’m trying to do or figure out and dive into something that

a. Inspires me.
b. Coaches me.
c. And gives me Knowledge. (Knowledge is King)

You will not find a bigger FREE resource anywhere for a given subject.

What you’ll hopefully find is when your finished you’ll be fired up once again and tackle the issues with a different mindset.

If you have never listened to Podcast’s before I suggest you pick one and listen from the first podcast to the most recent because you end up going on a journey with that person learning as you go but also you kinda get hooked and there’s nothing better than being hooked on expanding your knowledge base.

Podcast suggestions

1. Niche Pursuits Podcast – Spencer Haws
2. The Smart Passive Income Podcast – Pat Flynn
3. Entrepreneur on Fire – Interviews with the most incredible business minds in the world (Online and Offline)

Podcast’s 24 & 25 on Pat Flynn’s SPI talks to people who are killing it but not through teaching ‘how to make money on the internet’
Podcast’s 12 & 14 on Spencer’s does the same.

Don’t loose the spark (faith & drive) that got you started in the first place, we are all in the same boat.

Hope this helps and chin up


Boris C.

You have a lot of duplicate content to start with. Another things is that it is not easy on eyes due to contrast ratio of characters to white background so you need to increase font size and change theme.


Just want to ask. I discoverd adsense ads on my site sometimes show adsense ads of sites that I have previously visited on my pc and as such the ads are not relevant to my site content. Take for example, I previously browsed a site about shoes and when I visited my site thereafter, adsense ads for that shoes site were showing on my site instead of ads relevant to my site content. I have checked this on other pc and the same thing is happening and I am of the opinion that same thing will be happening to other visitors to my site which in turn is affecting the CTR. What could be happening and have you experienced similar issues before? Many thanks Spencer.

Boris C.

I think this behaviour of ads that stalk you is called “retargetting” but since you mentioned same happening with other PC, my only assumption would be that website which ads promote have been surfed on that other PC. Try clearing your cookies that petain to website promoted in ads or clear all of your cookies and visit your website again on both PCs to see if you’re still “retargetted”. I think they shouldn’t appear though until you visit website promoting them again.


Like Boris says it sounds like ad retargetting try checking your adsense “Targeting Types” for interest-based targeting. Basically google will show ads based on your visitors interests. Info gathered from their surfing habits that google stores. You can find more info on how to disable it here –

Hope this helps 🙂


Hi, is there any difference between links from within the guest posts and links that you put on your private network of websites?

Basically, you could say that you are guest posting on your private network, when you need it, right?

The reason I’m asking this is because if you get high PR websites, PR 4 for example, to publish a quality post with a link to your website it’s equally beneficial as putting an article on one of your private domains, right?

Of course there are some differences, but it is the same, right?

And probably even more, because you get to meet some people that may become friends in the community.

Darren Thompson

I’ve been watching your project with interest over the past few months – there are so many gurus out there that it’s hard to sort through the occasional gold nugget among the self promoting crap that fills warrior forums etc ( someone should write a program on editorial integrity for these guys ) All the back slapping worlds greatest product dribble fools no one.

Anyways – skeptisim aside – I tried out your long tail software and although I rarely bother to write reviews – this is a great piece of software. Its real strength is being able to drill down the page competition factors which is so important in identifying not only the target niche – but the keyword where market share can be found. I’m just starting to really examine the true potential of the app – and your case study of your own project has been excellent to this point. ,

Toni Rizzuto

Hi Spencer

Sorry to add this here but can’t find a related post?

I just configured my settings to have the homepage as a static page (rather than a blog). However, I want to remove the “Home” name from the page content (while leaving it in navigation bar) and add my own.

An example is on your niche site

Home – on navigation bar
Content Title – Discover the Best Survival Knife: Ultimate Knife Comparison Guide!

This I am finding very difficult, can you shed some light. I am using your Niche Website Theme.

I have been in contact with support but this hasn’t helped!

Thanks in advance


P.S if anyone else in the NP community can help it would be most appreciated.



If I understand your question, the solution is simple. Edit your home page (by going through the standard WordPress menus). At the top of the page it will say “Edit Page” and below that will be a one line edit box that says “Home”. Change the word “Home” to whatever you want it to say and click the Update button.


Spencer Haws

Yes, you change the navigation bar using wordpress MENUS. So go to “Appearance” and then “Menus”, then create or change your top menu. Just edit the name of the page to whatever you want as Rick explained. Hope that helps Toni.

Toni Rizzuto


Sorry Spencer & Rick but this didn’t work. I did get it to work but like this?

Create Page – Home
Create Post – Desired Title
Settings – Reading
Select Static Page
Front Page drop down set to ‘Select’
Post Page drop down set to ‘Home’

Could you let me know if this is ok to do like this for SEO?



Hi, what plugin did you use for the table/comparison layout of the products in your homepage?

Toni Rizzuto

its called TablePress



Now that you’ve seen how Amazon works and converts (at least to a degree and it’s potential), how would you compare it to adsense (which you have lots of experience with)?

I know its like comparing apples to oranges to a certain degree but it would be nice to see as to which is harder to convert and which is easier to get a better ROI on.

Sorry, I know the question isn’t really phrased all to well, I have it in my head but just can’t seem to put it in words properly.


I Spencer. I’ve recently bought long tail platinum and was wondering if there was a way to add negative keywords? If not, that’d be a great feature to add in future. But if so please let me know how I can do this. Thanks.


Hi Spencer

I really love what you are doing. I’m wondering on how you can make “Multiple listing” on the Google search. I tried to search “Best survival Knife Guide”, and I found your site is ranked number one with multiple listing, such as About Us, Survival Knives, 3 Great Options, Tactical, and many more. Could you tell us how to do that?

Thanks a lot for your information. Your Long Tail Classroom is absolutely amazing. I have a lot of inspiration from that class.. Thanks, Spencer..



Google recognizes the term “best survival knife guide” as a brand.


instead of doing adsense you could probably get some private advertising and charge for a certain time frame instead of per click. Amazon is good too.

Sagar Rai

Oh what an amazing tips. I used to develop these Niche sites for my personal use but after G Panda Penguine I stopped it. Good to know it still works. I wills surely build one or two to the affiliate income.

And thanks for sharing link to TextBroker and eLance. There is another freelancing site which is quite good, iWriter dot Com. You should definately try this.

Best Wishes

Rod J. Rogers (@FreeAgentRogers)

It’s interesting to watch this experiment. I bought LTP for the purpose of building an authority site. I’ll be working on it over the next couple of months.


There is at least one WordPress plugin I’ve found that is supposed to protect you against “click bombing.” I’ve never used it, but you can search the repository.

Question: I know you like BlueHost, but what about having numerous niche sites on the same IP? I think I read in another post your thinking that this isn’t a good idea for various reasons.

Would you discuss the benefit of having numerous IP addresses for your niche sites? And if you do, I’d be curious to have recommendations on hosts from you or others. Currently, I have a VPS that I host my three sites on but I’m not happy with the host.

Spencer Haws

I see on another post that you found the answer. For others reading, here’s the answer:


Sorry! I found your posts regarding the click bomb plugins and the multiple IPs after I posted this here. 🙂


Thank you for posting this Spencer. Have you considered creating your own amazon ebook or selling a survival clickbank product? Just curious.


thank`s for share your report, i very interested to develop some amazon review site with your methode combine with my own style, is this ok right ? but may you share, about over hundreds your amazon review site you own, how many site has get deindexed ?


John J. Ziemba

Way ta go, Spencer!


Hey Spencer,

I remember quite a while ago you were only using 1 article at first to test the site and if it was converting you would go ahead and build it out. I understand that sites need to be bigger these days and with good quality but is this still a good strategy if you did plan to keep adding a lot of articles once you knew it was a good site seeing as most of the traffic will come from the main keyword anyway?

Another question. What is the cost of the items usually that people are buying? Thanks, love this blog.

Spencer Haws

Yes. The cost is usually around $50 to $100 for most of the knives.


Hey Spencer,

I want to know who write to you the article ??
I can not find one to write me 1000 words for amazon review Product ..

I Found keyword have 22k local search

Spencer Haws

Textbroker, elance, odesk, lots of places to get authors.

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