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Niche Site Project Income Report for May 2013

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Niche Site Project Income Report for May 2013

May was an interesting month for my site: BestSurvivalKnifeGuide.com, and I think you will find this income report just as interesting (sure hope so).  In addition to having a bit of drama this month, my site also posted its highest earning month ever!

As you know, I have documented every step of building this site from the very beginning.  If you would like to review what I did before the site was created, how I found the keywords to target, and how I built the site, you can read all about it and more on the niche site project overview page here.

So, today I am going to cover all the traffic stats, earnings details, amount of time I've put into this site, and so much more.  The nerd inside of you is going to love all these numbers!  So, lets jump right into it.

May Earnings

When I set out on this niche site project journey, my goal was to earn $500/month after its 3rd full month in existence.  Well, May was that month!  So, did I hit my $500 earnings goal?

Amazon Earnings for BestSurvivalKnifeGuide.com during May 2013:

mayearnings
Click to Enlarge

What a great month!  I was SO close to hitting my $500 goal, but I'm still thrilled with $474.76 in earnings!  Would you be disappointed with a site earning $475/month and that is fairly passive at this point?  Neither would I.

As you can see, my site generated 194 sales on Amazon for knives or other products.  Because of this, I was able to hit the 7% commission tier on Amazon Associates.

Like my income report from last month, I thought you might find it interesting to see some of the items that people are buying through my site.  Here are just a couple of screenshots that show some of the actual purchases made in May.

mayknives1
Click to Enlarge
mayknives2
Click to Enlarge

As you can see from the screenshots, a lot of knives were ordered, and MANY more were purchased than what these screenshots show.  However, I obviously get paid when someone buys ANYTHING off Amazon; which is why you see things like fire-starters or other camping gear.  So, even though I don't send anyone to Amazon to buy a stainless steel outdoor cup; if they do, I still get paid.

So, overall, I earned $474.76 in May!

Overall Profits!

Perhaps even more exciting than nearly earning $500 in the month of May from this one niche site (I own MANY more); is the fact that bestsurvivalknifeguide.com has now officially turned profitable!  I have spent more on this niche site than I normally would, simply because I wanted to ensure that it was successful (since it was so public).

Here is a breakdown of the TOTAL EXPENSES since inception and TOTAL INCOME since inception:

  • Domain name with Privacy: $10
  • Hosting with Bluehost: $23.80 (4 months at $5.95/mth).  However, I also can share this hosting account with other sites, so the true expense is spread out with lots of sites.
  • Articles: $425.  There are currently 24 articles on the site. (So, that’s an average of $17.71/article…yes this is more than I usually pay).
  • Link Building: $244. A big part of the influence for my overall link building strategy came from the Link Building course called Point Blank SEO.  I highly recommend it if you want to do your own link building or learn more about how a good link building strategy should work.
  • Graphics: $50
  • I am using the Niche Website Theme (which I created) on my niche site.  Since I already own the product, I’m not putting it as an expense.  However, its currently being sold at a discount right here.
  • I am using the EasyAzon Plugin to add Amazon affiliate links to my site (makes it faster and easier to manage).  However, I already owned this, so I'm not adding this as an expense.

TOTAL EXPENSES: $750.80

Now for the Revenue:

TOTAL REVENUE: $914.74

OVERALL NET PROFIT: $163.94

Now, $163.94 is nothing to call Grandma about; however, it is exciting when you start to realize how passive this website has become for me.  I believe that I spent no more than 2 hours total in the month of May doing anything to BestSurvivalKnifeGuide.com.  In fact, here's everything I did:

  • Removed email opt-in form and added a couple of Amazon widgets – 30 minutes
  • Edited and posted a few articles (these were already well written by my author) – 30 minutes
  • Made Edits to Comparison Chart and made it 15 total knives instead of 10 on the homepage (I already had all the data from before) – 30 minutes
  • Thinking about site, checking reports, or other – 30 minutes

Honestly, I did not do much with my site in May; and I have no intention of spending much more time than a couple of hours a month (hopefully less) in the future.  This is now a fairly passive project for me.

My Earnings Per Hour

When I shared a spreadsheet that I use a few weeks ago, to project earnings for niche site, a common complaint that I got was that it did not include a calculation for my own time.  Its not that I don't value my own time, because I do very much.  But as a solo-entrepreneur, the amount in profits left over is what I can use to figure out how much I'm making on an hourly basis.

Overall, I have spent around 20 hours on BestSurvivalKnifeGuide.com.  Most of that came up front in researching keywords to target and creating the unique comparison chart.  And more correctly, the time was NOT spent creating the chart (that was done with a simple WordPress plugin called TablePress), the time was spent gathering the data for the chart – because you can't find all the data I found in one spot anywhere else.

So, the net profit of $163.93 divided by 20 hours is $8.20/hour.  Yep, that's a pretty lame wage…BUT it obviously is going to get better.

Let's predict that I spend 2 hours each month for the next 3 months on this site…or 6 total hours.  Lets also predict that the site PROFITS $375 each of the next 3 months. (I'm throwing in $100/mth of expenses each month for articles or other…so $475 in earnings minus $100 in expenses).  This would be an additional $1,125 in PROFITS over then next 3 months.

And to clarify, I actually expect the earnings to be more than they were this month, so I think this is a conservative prediction.

Now my earnings per hour becomes a little nicer…$49.57 per hour!

And if the trend continues for an entire year (which I expect it to), my earnings per hour becomes $106/hour!  And the truth is that it could be MUCH higher than that based on how much the site actually earns.  In all reality, the earnings per month should continue to increase as I continue to add more content.  In addition, I don't think I will actually be spending 2 hours each month on this site; but I put that in the calculation as a buffer.

I have MANY sites that I spend exactly ZERO hours on each month that earn consistently month after month whether I do anything or not.

My bestsurvivalknifeguide.com site is now entering its mostly passive stage.  Yes, I will continue to do things with the site (as explained below), but the hard work is over.

Overall Traffic

During the month of May, my niche site had a total of 23,704 visits.  Here's an image showing where that traffic came from:

mayanalytics

Over 63% of the traffic was from search engines, while nearly 33% was from direct traffic (mostly from people like you 🙂 ).  Obviously, the overall traffic was also affected by my blog readers going directly to my site or searching for the site by typing in “best survival knife”.

So, I think its important to look at all the “natural” traffic I got from other keywords.  Overall, here are the top 10 keywords that drove traffic to my site:

top10may

Obviously, you will see the “not provided”; which accounts for 64.10% of the Search traffic.  This means that Google won't tell me the keywords from these people because they were logged into their Google account at the time of the search.  For privacy reasons, they only list “not provided” for people who are logged in and searching.

So, in total, I received traffic from 1,267 DIFFERENT keywords in the month May (the image above is just 10 of those).  And if the “not provided” category was displayed, I actually got traffic from WAY more than 1,267 keywords…but unfortunately Google doesn't provided that data.

Last month I got traffic from 1,083 keywords; so I'm getting traffic from 184 more keywords than last month.  SWEET!

Here's an image with just a few more of the keywords people are using to find my site:

maykeywords1

As you can see, traffic is coming from all kinds of keywords…a win for great content!

And here's a look at the SEARCH ENGINE TRAFFIC growth since inception (this does NOT include direct traffic, referrals, etc).

organicmay
Click to Enlarge

Now that's what I call a hockey stick!  The growth in organic traffic month after month has been outstanding!

Worried About Competition?

I recently wrote a blog post about a competitor that outranked me for the keyword, “best survival knife”.   Since that blog post, the creator (Paul “Knife”) of that site has contacted me and revealed that he is indeed a reader of my blog and got the idea for his site…from me.

I obviously already knew this, but it was nice that he acknowledged that and contacted me.

I asked him to share some of his traffic and income stats with me.  He did.  Lets just say that his earnings is MUCH less than my site.  I suspect the reason for this is because he site is not being found for as many keywords as mine, and I'd like to think because my site is better.

So, even though he ranks #1 for my primary keyword of Best Survival Knife; its very possible that people leave his site and come to mine because my comparison chart and depth of content is much better.  And then of course, he ranks no where for the 1,200 OTHER keywords that I do rank for.

Am I worried about this competition?  Nope.  Not at all.  In fact, if I never rank #1 again for the term “best survival knife”…that would be just fine with me.

I will most certainly continue to focus on creating quality content, and may add some social signals, etc to get back the #1 spot…but either way, the site is going to be just fine.

Paul “Knife” (the creator of the competing site) actually offered to delete his site; but I don't think I will have him do that.  I'm going to just let it be, and focus on what I can do better.

This is the last post I expect to discuss my competitor directly.  We are both aware of each other, but my original strategy has not changed at all.

Plans Going Forward

I have plans to continue adding more content to the site.  I have a great author that I found on Elance.com.  I have contracted to have him write about 20 additional knife reviews over the next few months.  So, I will be adding around 1 to 2 articles a week for the next few months.

In addition, I will most likely activate the Digg Digg Social Sharing plugin on my site to get more social sharing (hopefully).  I should have done this from the beginning.  I am still debating whether I will connect my Google+ author profile…I'll think about this for a few more days.  If I do, it will be my real Google+ Profile here.

I may also test out some different Amazon widgets or add additional banners or text links to increase sales even more.  However, I'll be sure to not add TOO much advertising as to scare visitors away.

What I didn't do…

I should also mention that during the month of April and part of July I was collecting email addresses.  I think having an email list could be very valuable in this niche, but I was not finding any good affiliate offers that I could get behind.  I found a couple on clickbank that I just didn't feel were good enough for me to promote.

Overall, I had picked up about 100 people on the opt-in form…so nothing too exciting.

In addition, I saw a noticeable uptick in sales when I removed the email opt-in form and added the Amazon widget that you now see on the site here:

amazonwidget

So, I'm keeping the widget for now – as opposed to gathering emails.  That could change down the road, but for now I'm satisfied.

And finally, I may try to acquire a few more back-links…but if I do, it will only be a few here or there.  I will either simply leave comments on related blogs or contact a few survival site owners and see if we can work something out.  I don't expect to spend more than an hour total doing this though.

I don't want to go spend a bunch of money to simply try to boost my site from #2 to #1 in Google – its just not worth it right now.  AND my site may overtake the #1 spot “naturally” anyway.  So, we'll see how the month of June goes!

Your Thoughts

Overall, I think I've given a pretty in-depth look at the traffic, earnings, and more for my site: bestsurvivalknifeguide.com.   However, I know there are minute details that perhaps you are curious about, and I'm more than happy to answer those questions.

I would love to hear any thoughts, comments, or questions that you might have.  I look forward to your comments!

Yes! I Love to Learn

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

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210 Comments for this Post

  1. Benji

    Benji

    Fantastic write up as usual. Congrats on realizing the profit!

  2. Josh Garrod

    Josh Garrod

    Hi Spencer,

    So pleased that you managed that awesome income for the site this month. Your project has been a major inspiration to me so thanks a lot!

    Josh

  3. Bradley C.

    Bradley C.

    Great write-up, Spencer. It’s pretty awesome that your “competitor” actually contacted you. It’s not often that something like that happens.

    Something that a lot of people will overlook is that you could easily take this niche and devote more time and turn it into a site earning close to 5 figures. Collecting email addresses is never a bad idea, even if it’s just to notify your list when new survival knife reviews are posted.

    For example, someone with more time to devote to the niche could begin purchasing these knives and do a couple of YouTube review-style videos per month, which would increase trust and add another powerful traffic source.

    • Ryan

      Ryan

      Agreed. Spencer has huge potential going for him with this site. You make a great point about doing YouTube knife review videos. YouTube marketing is growing like wild fire and it would definitely increase his earnings.

      The best part is that you wouldn’t even have to buy the knives. All Spencer would have to do is contact the knife manufacturers telling them who he is (an authority in the survival knife niche), show them his site and I can guarantee 95% of them would send him knives left and right in exchange for reviews.

      The reason I say this is because I get a ton of free products through my site just for being an expert in the travel/budget travel niche. From gadgets, to travel gear, to hotel stays, adventure activities and more. Trust me when I tell you that all you have to do is ask!

      Sending out knives to Spencer costs the knife company pennies and in exchange they’re getting a high quality review and their knives/brand out there in front of knife enthusiasts. It’s an absolute no brainer! In the end you get a bunch of free knives to review and then your video reviews help sell products. What a deal!

      This applies to just about any product based niche. If you’re making money with your site and it just so happens that you really have a passion for your niche, you could be getting yourself all sorts of FREE gadgets, gear, knives, and so on. Ask and you shall receive!

      • Spencer Haws

        Spencer Haws

        Thanks Ryan! That sounds like fun…I may start asking for some knives. And also, I haven’t very publicly discussed yet, but I did buy 2 of the knives on my chart when I first created my site. I could and should be doing video reviews of those…

        • Ryan

          Ryan

          No problem. If you do a little research on YT marketing, you’ll find there is huge potential there. As I said, have the companies send you product, review them and then put an annotation in the video telling people to check out the video description for “more info” aka your affiliate link. Rank on first page of YT for “insert knife here” and you can guarantee to boost your profits. Check out a guy named James Wedmore when you get a minute. He ran a CreativeLive workshop a while back on YT marketing and it was incredible.

    • Iain

      Iain

      You brought up a good point there Bradley.

      Someone could probably take this site to the next level by collecting emails and doing video reviews.

      By doing some video reviews, it would also help the site become an even greater authority.

      Ryan, you make a great argument about getting the companies to send their knives to Spencer.

      It would be interesting to see how it would all play out.

      • Ryan

        Ryan

        Thanks Iain. I only speak from experience when it comes to getting free product in exchange for review. 😉 It’s a no brainer on both ends…

        • Iain

          Iain

          Yeah for sure.

          I think the interesting part for Spencer will be the fact that he will have to take an extra step and send them to his writer.

          I suppose it depends on whether it’s worth it or not.

  4. Daniel Adetunji

    Daniel Adetunji

    Fantastic income report.

    Keep it up bro

  5. Peter

    Peter

    Great Great Great!!! Now you are my role model.

    Newbie Internet Marketing

  6. Jon

    Jon

    Interesting that the average price of an item purchased was only around $2.45

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      You are looking at the wrong column. My guess is that $2.45 you came up with is the average amount I earned for each item. The actual average price for items purchased was over $35. (Total revenue from items is $6,865.29 divided by 194 items).

      • Jon

        Jon

        Yes, my bad! Meant “average profit price” per item.

        I believe Amazon only has a net income of less than $1 for every $1 spent. Thin margins but it’s a volume game.

  7. Jon Haver

    Jon Haver

    Great results and very fast! I am not surprised that email opt ins did not work out the way you had hoped. Some markets especially when your affiliate offer is what your visitor is looking for.

  8. Steve Eason

    Steve Eason

    Great update as usual. Nice to see the site continuing to do well. I have one question, but it’s one I think I can answer by going back to the previous posts. That question is how long was it before you saw your first sale and how high were you ranking when it happened. For example, the first sale was 15 days after the site was live and you were ranking around #14? Just curious when that break point was. I’ll go dig back through and see if you mention it.

  9. Robbin

    Robbin

    Why dont you change your seo title into: Best Survival Knife | Find the Best Survival Knife for You. Instead of: BestSurvivalKnifeGuide.com | Find the Best Survival Knife for You. And your homepage is only counting 5 times “best survival knife” as your competitor has it like 16 times…

    Same with images…Maybe worth to look into…

    Anyway, thanks for sharing your post.

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Perhaps I’ll change the title, but I’m in no rush. I’m not going to keyword stuff…more keyword mentions is not better…

  10. Jeff C

    Jeff C

    Great post….given your link building efforts so far and general SEO, how much of your traffic is coming from Google – Bing – Yahoo – Others? I assume most is coming from Google, but always nice to see some traffic coming from Bing and the other search engines.

  11. Xihlamariso

    Xihlamariso

    Wow, i found your blog sometime this week and I subscribed immediately. Thanks for the amazing content, and thank you for sharing your strategies in such detail. You inspire me, and you make me not want to give up! Hopefully I too can achieve great results.

  12. Matthew

    Matthew

    Hey, Spencer—

    Congratulations on your income uptick! It’s nice to see that despite have someone else snag the #1 spot, your earnings weren’t affected—in fact, they increased.

    I’m curious—if you decided to keep the site for a few years, would you continue link building? what kind of schedule would you keep? I’ve heard others say that they’ll revisit the site every few months to try and get some high-quality backlinks, and I’m curious to hear your thoughts.

    Congratulations again, and thank you for detailing every step of your process. You’ve helped a TON of people out, and I’m sure you’ll get some pretty good karma (aka, “nature’s link juice”) for it!

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Yes, I’ll come back from time to time (perhaps every few months?) and build just a few links. Nothing dramatic though…
      Thanks Matthew!

  13. KimP

    KimP

    Fan-freaking-tastic! I am so inspired by the way you have handled the copied content/outranking drama.

    Keep up the good work, Spencer!

  14. Andrew

    Andrew

    Hi Spencer,

    Great posts as usual. I was just wondering, what has your experience been like using layeredlinks.com? I am thinking of giving them a try and just wanted to check and see what your thoughts were. I noticed you used them on your survival knife site.

    Thanks,
    Andrew

  15. Rodolfo Oliveira

    Rodolfo Oliveira

    Congrats on the quick profits Spencer! The best part of this series are the comments, a lot of gold nuggets here! I think you should collect emails too, at least to warn people of new content and maybe even creating a 1-week series on how to buy survival knives or something like that… it is something we see a lot on the internet and that is always welcome when I am looking to become a reader for a website (would give you more returns). Really inspiring what you did there! I’m also considering buying the point blank seo course! Thanks for the publicity man! I think you should not link to your g+ account as this could lead to people from your niche pursuits site to go there and maybe distort a little bit the traffic but, hey you have proved your point! You can construct something from the ground up and profit in only three months! Awesome!

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Thanks Rodolfo!

    • Javier

      Javier

      Hey Rodolfo, I’m also interested in buying point blank SEO. Do you want to split the cost?

      Just followed you on twitter

      • Rodolfo

        Rodolfo

        Sorry man, already bought it… but I think it is really money well spent! Just bought it via Spencer’s link, and I think you should buy it too as it is a lifetime value for your niche projects!

      • Jean M

        Jean M

        Hi Javier,

        Did you bought the Blank Seo yet, if not contact me so we can split the cost as I’m interested too.

        Thanks.

  16. Nick LeRoy

    Nick LeRoy

    Spencer, as you can see from my income report (also posted today) I too am banking on a lot of my long tail keywords. Unfortunately, I have lost a bit of traction for one keyword that was driving a lot of quality traffic which converted well too.

    Not neccessarily with this niche site, but with your other, have you found that the penguin 2.0 update had any effect? I actually had several niche websites with very questionable links leap frog my site. Just doesn’t seem like Google did their job with the “major” update they had been talking about.

    Congrats again!

  17. John Gibb

    John Gibb

    hey Spencer

    well done!

    I never believed your competitor will contact you… it’s interesting he said he could delete the site…

    Anyway, I’d like to know more about your link-building methods… besides the blog commenting, did you use any particular back-linking network or SEO service we can try?

    By the way: you’ve said you’re going to post one or two knife reviews a week… why not do it more often and get even more traffic?

    You could probably approach $1k with double the reviews, don’t you think? 🙂

    Best!

    • Chris Desatoff

      Chris Desatoff

      Hey John, Spencer mentioned in a comment on a previous post that he used LayeredLinks.com

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      As mentioned in several previous comments/posts – I used LayeredLinks.com for link building. Yes, I could add lots more content and perhaps gain more traffic. I’m in it for the long haul, no need to throw up tons of content right away. I’ll just stay profitable and reinvest in content. (Rather than go in the red again by ordering tons of content).

  18. Salomon

    Salomon

    i always read “the money is in the list”, but you are now give me new ideas, i think that you should come back with that optin form, and email like a “catalog” of your new knifes or things like the same thing that does “shutupandtakemymoney.com”, but maybe i am wrong, but i will copycat your site, but in other niche of course, but with adsense how bad was the earnings?? because i read that you love adsense, but in this site you have amazon affiliates

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      I said from the beginning that I would not use adsense on this site. If you read some of my earlier posts, I explain why.

  19. Paul Hill

    Paul Hill

    Hi Spencer,

    Great work on the site! And I hope it continues. Quick question for you…

    How much of the success is down to the quality of your outsourcing? and what do you think the outcome would have been had you done everything yourself.

    Paul Hill

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Quality I feel is very important. If I did it all myself, the quality would have perhaps been even better…hard to say (I feel like I do good work 🙂 ).

      • Mark

        Mark

        Your “Felling” is definitely correct.

        😉

        • Spencer Haws

          Spencer Haws

          Lol, but my comments are terrible!

  20. Charles

    Charles

    Excellent writeup and examples. This gives me hope that if I concentrate on my few Amazon sites (they are not making any money) there is hope on the horizon.

    Thanks for all the valuable information.

    Charles

  21. Craig

    Craig

    Great post Spencer. I was wondering why you are “debating whether I will connect my Google+ author profile”? Is there a potential downside to this? I have been wondering about the potential negative consequences of adding the author profile to multiple niche sites. Are people making fake or secondary author profiles to keep the niche sites less noticed by competitors?

    What’s your opinion? Thanks!

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Because I want to create a public case study that EVERYONE can replicate. Once I start leveraging my assets that other people can’t easily gain access to, the case study become less relevant. But in general, I see no downside. Its only a downside for the quality of the case study.

      • Dror

        Dror

        I don’t think that is a valid concern in this case Spencer. Everyone can create a Google+ account and connect it to their site or sites.

        I personally don’t think that your Google+ profile is one of the assets you can leverage that others can’t. Plus, it has been 3 months now and you pretty much achieved your goal so connecting it now won’t really hurt the quality of your case study. In fact, I think it could add as it would be interesting to see what effect it would have (if any).

        • Spencer Haws

          Spencer Haws

          Very good point…I think I agree…

  22. Simon

    Simon

    Great post Spencer. So this site is now profitable, but what about your other websites? Whats your overall Income from all other websites? Just wondering 😉

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      My other niche sites have been profitable for a long time. Lets just put it this way, you can’t quit your job if your income isn’t real. I quit my job 2 years ago with no income other than what I was making from my niche sites – which was much more than I was making at my day job…

      • Dan

        Dan

        Spencer, do you mention the URLs of some of your other niche sites somewhere on your site? I’d love to check them out to see the amount of work put in.
        Awesome job on the Knife site. Almost $500/month after only 3 months. That’s a huge inspiration and I will read into your blog more often now.

        • Spencer Haws

          Spencer Haws

          No, I don’t share other sites publicly because that’s how I make a living. I don’t want all my sites copied. However, I do reveal a different one of my sites here: http://www.longtailclassroom.com

        • Dror

          Dror

          On that subject Spencer, it is pretty easy for others to find all of your other sites (if they knew how and where to look). You should look into that and think about covering your tracks.

        • Dan

          Dan

          Makes total sense. Thanks for providing all these great tips on your site. It’s been a huge help to me 🙂 Need to check out your podcast, too.

        • Alex

          Alex

          Just curious, is there other successful sites you’ve created using amazon affiliate monetization. Or this is just one sporadic successful experiment? I mean is there some representative amount to prove the idea?

        • Spencer Haws

          Spencer Haws

          This is my first Amazon site. But I’ve built hundreds of Adsense sites. The process of building the sites is exactly the same, so I have a ton of experience here. The only different is whether I put my amazon code or Adsense code on the site.

  23. Von

    Von

    Great post, Spencer!

    Question: What are pluses and minuses of connecting the page to your Google+?

    You seem to be hesitating, so I wondered if there is a reason.

  24. Chris @ Stumble Forward

    Chris @ Stumble Forward

    Those are some awesome results especially for only just starting the site back in February. I’m in the process of starting my next niche site right now and you have taught me a lot Spencer. Anyways keep the great content coming.

  25. ray

    ray

    great report! love how consistent your rise in search has been month to month—how many total articles/posts do you currently have?

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Right around 25.

      • ray

        ray

        gracias, sir! I’ve been lazy lately, time to get some posts up and going. It’s very easy, especially just starting out, to spend way too much time looking at your site’s results and brainstorming ideas, rather than creating the content. I’ve currently got 10 articles total, need to get that up, stat.

      • Rodolfo

        Rodolfo

        wow amazing! Just 25 posts… shows how quality will beat quantity any time…

  26. minakam

    minakam

    Is it possible to make a Video and show the earnings here so it will look more genuine….

    What is your opinion Spencer ?

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      You’re right, the earnings are fake. Lol…

      • minakam

        minakam

        🙂 just joking….

  27. Craig

    Craig

    Wow, Google is not showing 64% of the keywords. I am sure you know this Spencer but some of your readers may benefit from knowing that you can add additional analytics to your site like Piwik which is free or there is a very simple solution to install the plugin WP-Slimstat and you will instantly get analytics data in your WP dashboard and don’t even need to create account. The plugin will show all keywords and traffic data for free.

    http://wordpress.org/plugins/wp-slimstat/

    Thanks again Spencer for helping others and sharing SO much!

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Great point Craig…thanks for sharing…

  28. James

    James

    I am fairly new to blogging yet after a month i have got more traffic than i ever anticipated mainly due to listening to people like yourselves and great link building.

    However i have yet to make any income really, about £6.80 from google adsense. Which is still something!

    However i have recently moved on to Amazon affiliates, what are your top tips for making money from it?

    Is it promoting general products or one in particularly or just having a link like yours?

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Promoting specific products will work better.

  29. Dustin

    Dustin

    Hi Spencer,

    I followed your blueprint and was able to get my site up about two weeks ago. I put up about 50 posts (I did posts that were state-specific) in less than a week. I was wondering if that could get me penalized in google? I haven’t been ranked yet in google, but oddly I have been ranked in Yahoo. How many posts do you recommend putting up each day?

    Thanks a lot and I really was looking forward to this update. It’s awesome to see that you’re doing so well.

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      One or two posts a day is enough. However, you can add much more per day without any penalty from Google.

    • Rick

      Rick

      I did exactly the same thing, Dustin! My new site was ranking in the top 50, first on Bing/Yahoo and then Google, without any backlinks at all. Then I added 50 pages (one per state) on the same day and fell to 500+ the following week.

      My theory was that the 50 pages were too similar to each other. I considered marking them NOINDEX until quality content was ready. You could be right about “page velocity” though.

      In any event, my site is climbing the ranks again. Hang in there.

  30. Gillian G

    Gillian G

    Hi Spencer

    That’s a great result – well done and I hope you will continue to experiment with widgets etc and let us know how you get on.

    Gillian

  31. Ben

    Ben

    Your right Spencer. The nerd in me did enjoy all those numbers!

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      And I KNOW your inner nerd is pretty big…so thank you Ben!

  32. Enda McLarnon

    Enda McLarnon

    Well done and thanks for sharing. You are a very generous person

  33. Eddy D

    Eddy D

    Hi Spencer.
    Good work. you are still No1 in the UK with your competitor at No2.

    I was wondering if you have linked your G+ up on any other sites you have?

    I done this on a site that was making money, but when I linked my G+ up for some author rank, my visits dropped and my position went up due to author juice.

    I think having the G+ Author image there makes people think about your site differently before they enter.

    When I undone my G+ from my niche site, it took a while for that author image to go.
    When it did, my visitors went up again.

    It showed me that people looking for products seem to think of these sites with auth images by them differently to those looking for blog and information sites.

    I also want to say that having one of your readers up there with you is a great testament to your teachings and what you do here. Hopefully he was using longtail pro.

    If you go back to the reason you built the site publicly, I would say that you have not only succeeded your goal but the added bonus is that someone has replicated what you have done and been successful. And made it Public.

    Maybe he’s the next interview!

    eddy

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      No, I’ve never linked my Google+ accounts to any other sites.

  34. ray

    ray

    Craig brings up a good point. Do you know of any sites that might be helpful in drilling down those keywords that Google doesn’t show?

    • Dror

      Dror

      You should use other analytic solutions aside from Google Analytics as they will show you all the keyword data. Piwik is one free option and an easier one might be the plugin Craig mentioned. I’m sure going to check that plugin out.

  35. Kasper

    Kasper

    Hi Spencer,

    Have a question. How do you move your Amazon widget to the right side of the website?

    /Kasper

    • Mark

      Mark

      Kasper,

      I’ll answer this one for Spencer: right where the <object …. part begins, enter:

      align="right"

      (or "left" if you want to align it left).

      So it would look like this:

      <object align="right" id="Player_9db142……………………

      etc.

  36. Reggie Paquette

    Reggie Paquette

    Hey Spencer, I noticed on your articles that you use multiple categories. ie.

    bestsurvivalknifeguide (dot) com/category/fixed-blade/

    bestsurvivalknifeguide (dot) com/category/hunting/

    bestsurvivalknifeguide (dot) com/category/survival-knives/

    I could be wrong, but doesn’t this create duplicate content thus lowering the ranking potential of each article?

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      No, I always use multiple categories. WordPress handles this well. Also, my articles rank very well on Google – so I think that is proof enough that this isn’t an issue

  37. DT

    DT

    Spencer, I didn’t see anyone else mention it, but you can get a better view of your not provided data by writing a filter.

    You can set it to show the landing page so you have a much clearer view of what they were looking for.

    Something like this:
    http://www.stateofsearch.com/yet-another-way-to-reclaim-your-not-provided-data/

  38. Paolo

    Paolo

    Great Spencer,
    This is the demonstration of how if you do a good work researching and targeting the right keywords it is possible to earn passive income.
    You and Pat Flynn keep calling it passive but it seems to me that it’s a lot of work. It’s not only the time you spend doing it. It is identifying a good keyword and feeling it right,
    having a great idea on how to create a product around it, create a website with very good content and making it ranking first on Google.
    Not so passive I think.
    Great Job.
    And do not worry about being copied. Yes it’s annoying. But they cannot copy your brain. Maybe they can copy you again. But you will be always many steps ahead.

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      You are right, its a lot of work. But the “passive” part is now. I worked hard for 20 hours on this site; but now I do nothing everyday on it, and it STILL earns me nearly $20/day. So, you have to work hard up front, but the backend is where it pays off 🙂

  39. Josh

    Josh

    Hey Spencer,

    Just wanted to say I can’t get enough of these posts. It has motivated me to finally put a site up! I’ve purchased domains, and tried, but not until a few days ago did I actually put it together and start adding content and linking, and I’m starting to rank for some keywords. (It’s not a blog about blogging or affiliates it’s a niche).

    Just wanted to say thanks, and you can guess which theme I’m using.

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Glad the posts have helped motivate you…best of luck!

  40. Gil

    Gil

    Hi Spencer,

    Very inspirational project – congrats on the results!

    I just wondered your thoughts on this:

    Say outdoors, survivalism, and knives were your passion, and you wanted to turn your site into more of a full time income. Do you think you could make a lot more profit by becoming a knife dealer yourself, and turning Best Survival Knife Guide into kind of an ecommerce site?

    Or what about a hybrid affiliate/dealer site where you picked out one knife a month (in addition to the Amazon products), bought at a wholesale volume discount, and offered it discounted price, but received a higher margin?

    Of course, that would take away the passiveness of the site away, but I wondered your thoughts.

    Thanks again for making this project so transparent. It’s a great learning tool.

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      I think the site could earn a lot more; but I’m not so convinced that becoming a knife dealer or even drop shipping would increase the profit much. I’ve had some comments here from people that have tried dropshipping, etc. Being an affiliate really has its advantages and the profit margins are still about the same. But overall, yes, I could do much more to squeeze out more profits.

  41. Asaph

    Asaph

    I like the post! Apart from the encouragement that it really gives, your post also provides proved ways and means of how you did it – a practical way of learning for a newbei like me. Thanks and congrats for the result!

    Asaph

  42. Marc Possoff

    Marc Possoff

    Spencer did you link build yourself via Point Blank SEO or did you hire a VA to emulate it?

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      I hired LayeredLinks.com; which is recommended by Point blank SEO and very closely resembles many of the principles taught there. (There is MUCH more in the course though for acquiring quality links).

  43. tori

    tori

    How fantastic!

    It seems to me you said in another post that you spent 3 solid weeks doing research? That is more than 20 hours…?

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      I didn’t spend 3 “solid” weeks. Perhaps it took me 3 weeks to get the site up and running; but I wasn’t working on it full-time everyday (I work on lots of projects all the time). I would put in an hour or 2 here and there over that period. 20 hours is very close to the actual time spent.

  44. Fran

    Fran

    Is there a way to work out your main money keywords? ie which search terms that bring visitors to your site go on to make the most money in sales. Not just the highest commission as it may be a lower value product but earn sell a lot more. That way you could focus on the rankings for this product(s) review(s) a little more with any link building.

    I think my dilemma with this would be my obsession with leaving something fairly passive that is going well. If putting 2 hours in a month and outsourcing “X” articles will increase your visitors and earnings by “Y” then what if you put 4 hours in or 8 hours and outsourced a few more articles? Could you not expand on the authority, content and in turn visitors and revenue from this site rather than starting as many more? I feel torn by this.

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      That may be difficult to track; but someone more techie than me can respond. I agree; but I feel like I get more value out of creating 2 or 3 new sites rather than trying to eek out another few hundred dollars out of one site. Obviously if it starts showing even more improvement, I will built it out more. I play things by ear…

    • Dror

      Dror

      It sounds like you are suffering from analysis paralysis 🙂 You can always do more and you can figure out which keywords are your true “money makers” since like everything else in life the power law works here as well so 80% of your income will come from 20% of the keywords (or something like that).

      It boils down to how much time you are willing to put in to do the research and figure all that out. It could be done but not sure if it will be worth the time since you can spend it on other sites/projects.

  45. Quinton Hamp @ The Lost Cyclist

    Quinton Hamp @ The Lost Cyclist

    Very stinking cool. I loved all of the discussion about your long-tail traffic and how removing the opt-in helped with sales.

    Keep up the incredible work!

  46. Scott Jenkins

    Scott Jenkins

    You really showed everyone how to build links for the long tail with this one. (i.e. – super varied and related anchor text)

    Love that long tail, keeps us from getting overly dependent on one keyword phrase.

    Congrats on tipping the scale past profitability!

  47. Matt

    Matt

    Spencer you talk about reaping the passive income from now on. From that am I to assume that once your site is up top then it usually stays there with minimal incremental effort?

    I am new to this game but managed to get my site up to #1. Now I’m wondering what to do to keep it there? I guess you check on it from time to time and if it starts to slip then take action?

    thanks

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Yes, I would check on it from time to time. But I would focus more on adding new content then worrying about rankings. Sites tend to stay near the top once they’ve reached that position…at least for a while. It all depends on how profitable the site is for you (whether you want to invest more time/money).

  48. Sudarshan

    Sudarshan

    Hi Spencer,
    Congrats on almost reaching your goal 🙂 Did you start any other website at the same time and achieved this status (you don’t have to reveal anything, yes or no would suffice ;)). How is the bounce rate so far on bestsurvivalknifeguide.com?

    Do you think bounce rate plays a role when google ranks a website, looking forward to hear your thoughts on that 🙂 Once again thank you for this amazing case study.

    • Daniel

      Daniel

      According to one of the screenshots above, it looks like the average bounce rate is 63.22%. I think I’m interpreting that correctly.

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Yes, I’ve created many sites that have achieved this income level. The bounce rate is in one of the images.

  49. Heather

    Heather

    Just curious what theme you’re using for your website. I assume its a wordpress theme.

  50. stuart

    stuart

    Great stuff Spencer, glad to see you almost made it. I think the competitor stuff is fascinating and there are potentially things we can take from this spanner in the works. The niche site duel has certainly be interesting from a number of angles. Did you find out if he was building links to your site?
    Cheers

    Stuart

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      I don’t think it was him building the negative seo links. But I don’t know for sure.

  51. Ray

    Ray

    Maybe a bit off topic, but I see where you linked to what looks like the keyword portion of google analytics. Can you explain what the difference is between that and the Queries portion of analytics? How do you use each in gauging how you site is performing?

  52. Dan

    Dan

    Thanks Spencer, for yet another inspirational report!

    Quick Question regarding how you managed to rank for so many longtails.

    How did you outsource your list of anchor text (longtails) to the layered links service?

    Did the service allow you to provide them with a list of anchor text to use for backlinking?

    Or did you purchase “multiple blasts” so to speak, with a different list of anchor text each time?

    Thanks in advance,

    Dan

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      I only used perhaps half a dozen anchor texts with layered links. I’m getting traffic from all these long tails naturally (I didn’t build links with these keywords in them).

      • Dan

        Dan

        Cleared things up perfectly for me!

        Thanks Spencer

  53. Winston

    Winston

    Spencer,

    How do you add the amazon widget onto the post area. I figured out how to add it on the sidebar, but can seem to add it to the post itself like you did.

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      I used the plugin “Quick Adsense”.

    • Mark

      Mark

      Make sure to paste it into the post while you are in “Text” view, not “Visual” view (in the post editing page)

  54. boy

    boy

    seems like you’ve proved that long tail does makes much of a difference.

    Wondering if you would give huge discount for the software as you did recently as I only come to realize the importance of finding keyword through reading your blog?

    Thanks

  55. Dustin

    Dustin

    Hello, Spencer.

    I think there are some problems that need to be addressed here.

    1. This website is a complete violation of Google’s guidelines, and the main reason why it’s getting traffic is because it has links from a massive blog network. Of all the “link building” strategies out there, blog networks are the bane of evil. Just so you know, ANY link building is considered reason enough to have your entire website de-indexed. Going by that, it shouldn’t even be indexed. People can bang the whole “but you have to build links to rank, -X excuse here-“, but in the end, all links created for the purpose of influencing rankings is spam. The blog commenting is ok, if it was done for outreach, but if not, it’s spam.

    2. How exactly does your website provide value to the user. The keyword “best survival knife” would imply that the searcher is looking for the, “creme of the crop” so to speak, which would mean a SINGLE knife. You have a chart of like 50 knives, which wasn’t even made by someone who knows anything about knives. If anything, your website is simply a destination of confusion for the end user. But the reason people build sites like that is because they’re playing on the fact that the user is going to eventually end up on Amazon and buy something anyway. Marketers who market like this assume this fact and play off of it, but in reality, how are you providing REAL VALUE to the end user. If you were trying to rank for survival knife reviews or something, that would be different, but even then, the reviews you have on the website are based off the same concept that the end user will eventually end up on amazon and buy something, so why not you, right? The reviews on the website are not even helpful, they simply use generic pictures from Amazon’s own website. You’ve never even touched any of them. What this means is that, in the end, all of those reviews are simply regurgitated spam. Everything in all of the reviews is already found on Amazon. Where is your UNIQUE selling angle? What unique value is the website bringing to the table? As of right now, the entire website serves as a doorway page. The only difference is the reviews and content have been written by cheap SAHMs to make the content unique enough to “trick” Googles filters. It’s all a sham.

    3. No personal offense intended — but this type of website is exactly what Google is trying to eliminate from the SERPs. EVERY, SINGLE, ASPECT of the website is constructed in a way that is designed to manipulate rankings and bypass Google’s filters; the website brings nothing new to the query space that its targeting. What is even worse is the fact that this is a public case study, so all of the “noobs” out there will go on to create crap like this, and all of this for what? How can you sleep at night knowing you’re influencing hundreds, maybe even thousands of people to spam the search engines , which is all in the pursuit of money. You can continue to sugar-coat it all you want, but in the end, you know how you really feel. This niche website — and tens of thousands of others like it — will inevitably die away, if not for the simple truth that they bring NOTHING of value to the reader, let alone the Internet as a whole. The only reason crap like this even ranks is because it’s propped up by blog network links, which will also inevitably die away.

    I believe people do this for one reason, which comes down to laziness. Everyone wants to make a quick buck, and nobody wants to provide any real value to get it. Yes you need links to rank, and strong ones surely help, but YOU DON’T NEED TO BUILD THEM. Even a single link that is built to manipulate rankings is SPAM, but the truth is, you DON’T NEED TO BUILD LINKS. Here’s some advice that I believe in. Provide true value to people, and the links, traffic, money and everything you could possibly want will follow. You should always try to give more than you take. This advice will come as a shock to most people, and the majority will not take it. Yes, spammers will always find a way to rank and make money, but in the end, all they’re doing is shaving against the grain. I will write about all of this more in the future on my personal blog; I want to spread the TRUTH. Also, Spencer, I don’t mean to come off as negative, and I’m certainly not attacking you personally. BUT, please rethink what you’re doing. Look at your software you made; that provides REAL value to people who need it. I’m sure you have many other situations in life where you’ve created REAL VALUE for people who needed it. Think about how those situations paid off for you. Didn’t you previously say that your software business, aka long-tail pro, is making even more money than your niche websites. Now, I’m not saying all of your websites are crap because I can’t see them. But, at least with this one — please think about what you’re doing. You don’t want to be someone who causes even more spamming of the search engines, do you.

    One last bit of wisdom:
    “It takes the same amount of energy, whether that be time, money or resources, to provide TRUE value than it does to do the opposite, aka — spam the search engines and engage in practices like link building.

    Thanks for reading.

    • Scott

      Scott

      hahahha

      Screw Google!

      If you build a good site and then build links to it why is it my fault if Google’s algorithm ranks it?

      Don’t buy into the Google propaganda. They can’t stop people from gaming their algorithm so they tell us not to.

      And guess what happens?

      Some people actually listen.

      Good luck with your content and inbound marketing.

    • Eric

      Eric

      I don’t agree with you.

      In your post, you said:”The keyword “best survival knife” would imply that the searcher is looking for the, “creme of the crop” so to speak, which would mean a SINGLE knife. You have a chart of like 50 knives.”

      There is NO single knife that is considered as the best survival knife by all the visitors. That’s why spencer did LOTS of work to find various information from all over the internet, and made that chart. By providing these information, spencer give all visitors a chance to compare those features and choose their own “best survival knife”. If this is not the real value, I don’t know what will be.

      It’s obviously that you have not read all the posts of this public project, or else you will not say that spencer doesn’t provide any real value.

      If that’s true, then I will say: don’t judge others if you haven’t made any research.

      If you say: No, I have read all the posts of this project. Then I can only say something in your heart make you overlook other people’s hard work.

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Dustin:
      I can tell by your points that you haven’t been following my case study very closely. Because if you had, you would already know the answers to all these. So, I’m going to be nice because of that…and also because I’m always nice 🙂 Here’s some responses:

      1. Most of the links you see – and all the blog network links you see – I DID NOT BUILD. I’ve discussed in depth that someone else built links to my site for what I believe are negative SEO purposes. I didn’t want those links. Read my post about it here: https://www.nichepursuits.com/is-my-niche-site-a-victim-of-negative-seo/

      2. The site is very valuable to the end user for several reasons. First, you imply that the site should only specify ONE knife as the best survival knife for everyone. This is complete hogwash and you know it. Think about it for categories perhaps you understand. If someone types in, “best nonfiction book” – is the most valuable result a page where someone gives their opinion on just 1 book?; or a page that reviews several great books and gives all the details as to why they are great and let THE USER decide. Same thing goes for “best sedan”. The best sedan for you is not the best sedan for me, or a college student, (think price, features, gas mileage, etc.) In particular for knives – the best knife DEPENDS on the situation for which it is used. Do you want a hunting knife, bowie knife, large knife, small knife. If you had actually read the homepage of bestsurvivalknifeguide.com you would see how I explain that the best survival knife really depends on your needs, price range, quality desired, folding or fixed needs, and more.

      So, what did I do? I went out and did ORIGINAL RESEARCH to compile a list of 50 knives that are the top knives out there. This allows the user to sort and find what fits their needs. Its highly useful. And I want to stress how important that chart is – you can’t get that data anywhere else. Most of that data on knife length, blade material, etc can NOT all be found on Amazon. It took a lot of time to get all that data in one spot. I went above and beyond what any other site is providing out there. Which is how to create quality.

      Then just to top things off – I actually DID narrow it down to the TOP 5 knives on the homepage – but again, you probably didn’t even read my website so you didn’t notice that.

      And finally – and THIS IS IMPORTANT. I didn’t write most of the content on the site. The knife reviews were written by someone I hired; who happens to be a Camping and Fishing guide by profession and who happens to have used dozens and dozens of these knives. Its one of his passions. So, the reviews are indeed written by an expert and should not be considered spam – its the definition of good content.

      If you had read my case study or my niche site, you would have known this already though…

      3. Again, I believe the site provides real value. And my website stats prove it I think. When people spend multiple minutes on your site on average, that’s a good sign that people are staying and reading content. So, maybe from your point of view you don’t like my site – but real users searching for survival knives like it.

      In addition, this is EXACTLY THE KIND OF SITE GOOGLE LIKES! How do I know? Because an employee that manually reviews websites for search engines (Google?) has contacted me and told me so. This site would most definitely pass a manual review and they like what they see. Don’t believe me? Here’s the comment from that employee on one of my previous posts: https://www.nichepursuits.com/nsp-update-3-niche-site-content-strategy/#comment-35828 and here: https://www.nichepursuits.com/nsp-update-3-niche-site-content-strategy/#comment-35884

      So, Dustin you brought up good points – but I’ve already addressed these all. The site is quality, and these kinds of sites are exactly why people love the internet – real value, real reviews, and helpful data.

      Before you comment next time, please take the time to actually read up on my case study here: https://www.nichepursuits.com/niche-site-project-1-overview/

      • Rodolfo

        Rodolfo

        Man, why do you even allow these lunies comments to show here? lol

      • minakam

        minakam

        If your site Manualy win on raters,why they allow in your competetor site ?

      • Michele

        Michele

        Spencer,

        Have you ever revealed who does some of your article writing? The content is very good and I’d love to use the service.

        You may have mentioned it already, but I missed it. Would you mind revealing the service?

        If not – I will understand.

        Thanks

        • Spencer Haws

          Spencer Haws

          I hired the writer on Elance.com. I looked for someone with experience in the camping and survival niche. You can do the same for your niche.

    • alistairgd

      alistairgd

      @ Dustin

      Great post, however, you’ve missed the point by a massive margin, you’re not even in the same shooting range.

      Look at this site’s logo, “Niche Pur$uits”.

      Right there is the purpose of this site and this case study, to make $.

      Everyone reading this blog is reading it for that reason **to make $**.

      Do they care if they are using SEO tactics like link subcontractors to rank? Do they care if the are providing real value to the visitor?

      No, they care about $.

      You are preaching to the wrong crowd.

      IMHO.

  56. Miki Vicioso

    Miki Vicioso

    Such a great post Spencer! Amazing how you approach the copy of your site. The content on your website is way higher quality and you should naturally take over the first spot.

  57. Ajay Kumar

    Ajay Kumar

    Hello Spencer,

    Can you please share the details of your writer that you found on Elance for best survival knife. As it will gonna help us in starting a niche site.

  58. Tuan

    Tuan

    Congrats Spencer,
    I followed your guide here and my new niche site was able to sell more than 20 products in the first month. However, I see that I don’t receive commission for some ordered items. Do you know what the reason is?

    • Norm

      Norm

      To receive the commission on Amazon the item must be both ordered and shipped.

      Usually people either cancel the order at last minute or the order is taking a while for it to be fullfilled.

      • Tuan

        Tuan

        Thanks a lot for the explanation, Norm.
        Do you know any way to know if the order is cancelled or waiting for shipping?

  59. Tom

    Tom

    Im curious to understand more on all the hits your getting. Wasnt the original exact hits approx 5500 per month?

    What is your guesstimate if this site wasnt from your blog and us readers checking out the site, would be for monthly hits? Is the difference between the exact and the rest an organic feature of all the content (and keywords within content) and the backlinks?

    I guess im surprised by the monthly hits.

    Awesome work!

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      The search volume for “best survival knife” was 4400. I am getting search traffic from many other related keywords. The charts above show direct vs. search traffic which helps see how many are likely visitors from my blog vs other visitors…at least a start.

  60. Norm

    Norm

    Do all you MMO bloggers have some kind of Income Report timer.

    Everytime someone post theres, immediately 10 other guys report theres!

    Must be a tactic! 😉

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Yes…at the end of the month everyone posts their monthly earnings. We are all on the same calendar 🙂

  61. Nick

    Nick

    Spence, thanks for the in depth info that you gave throughout your nichepursuit.

    Question

    Lets say you fast-forwarded yourself 6 months down the road and you hit $1000-$1500 a month what would your link building and content strategy be other than what you have already done ?

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      If the site was earning more, I’d start adding several articles a week and building more links for sure.

  62. Eddy D

    Eddy D

    I don’t think Dustin will be back. Twat!

  63. Lye

    Lye

    Hi Spencer,

    Thanks for updating your niche project. I have been following the updates so far and in the middle of creating a niche website. Just like to ask do you use any product comparison plugin for your other niche website besides “TablePress”? If yes, which do you recommend?

    Thanks.

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      That’s the only table plugin I’ve used.

  64. Dror

    Dror

    Hi Spencer, as far as getting more social signals to the site, you should consider a WordPress plugin called WP-Sharely. It allows you to lock parts of the content and open them after a like, tweet or +1 is made.

    From what I tested, it usually works great with freebies and such so you need to figure out how to implement it on your site but if done right, it could provide the boost you need as far as social signals.

    • Mark

      Mark

      Thanks for this man, I had no clue something like this existed and was pretty close to ordering a plugin like this one made on eLance. You just saved me some cash 🙂

      • Dror

        Dror

        Glad I could help Mark 🙂

  65. Richard

    Richard

    Hi Spencer, thanks so much and congrats on the latest results. Have been following the posts for a couple of weeks and myself and my buddy are working on our first set of sites.

    I notice that 622 on your keyword list is the phrase “choosing the best affordable survival knife” and i know that you are getting traffic from these longtails but could you explain a little why this happens?

    I have a site up for around 2 weeks and it has about 5 pieces “quality” content and am already seeing it get rankings on page 1-3 for some longtail key phrases, however not even in the top 100 for the main keyword.

    I think this is a good start and we have not done any backlinking yet as we wanted to let it index and rank first just naturally

    With no 622 in your list i presume combinations of those words appear in broad match format in a number of articles?

    One other question on multiple categories which has come up.

    If you have an article BEST SURVIVAL KNIFE as an example would you add it to the categories (again examples) SURVIVAL KNIFE
    CAMPING KNIFE
    FISHING KNIFE

    Any advice or input appreciated

    Cheers

    Richard

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Richard:
      I get traffic from long tail because these are mentioned in broad format on my site somewhere. Google feels like my site is more relevant than the other options out there, so I rank for those terms. Relevancy is why.

      And yes, I use multiple categories for the article you mentioned.

  66. Don Shelton

    Don Shelton

    This post touches so many solid topics it could be broken down into its own lesson series. One question which jumped out at me on the expenses: where are you able to get domain registration with privacy for only $10?

  67. Jim

    Jim

    Hi Spencer!

    Great series and great results! One thing I haven’t seen mentioned on any of the public niche site projects I’ve read — business structure for the niche website. Do you setup a separate company (LLC for example) for each site you build? Or do you have all of your niche sites under one company? I’m in the process of building a niche site now, and I am wondering how to structure things – wondering if I should sign up for Amazon Associates as an individual or as a company? Let me know if you have any insights (or if you’ve covered this somewhere I haven’t seen) – thanks!

    -Jim

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      I have one LLC for my sites. Although, my Amazon Associates account is actually just under my personal name (I opened it long before I had a “real” business many years ago).

  68. Tung Tran

    Tung Tran

    Congrats Spencer on your earning this month 😀

    May was an amazing month for both of us 🙂 My site earned over $1000 and it was only a 2 month old website !!!

    The traffic is increasing so I expect this month we will break out record.

    Keep up your good work Spencer!

    Tung

  69. Doug

    Doug

    Congratulations Spencer and sincere thanks for leading the way and showing us all so openly.

    I truly admire your character in dealing with obnoxious people, a real example of a true gentleman.

    Regards & success to all,
    Doug.

  70. Boris C.

    Boris C.

    Hi Spencer. Would you consider doing a post on how to correctly find and hire experts in particular niche to write for you? How is it different than hiring your typical writer?

    • Marc Possoff

      Marc Possoff

      Yea I would like that too as well as VA for back linking.

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Yes, that’s a good post idea.

  71. minakam

    minakam

    yes,I am also looking for this

  72. Long Tail Classroom review with Spencer Haws

    Long Tail Classroom review with Spencer Haws

    […] Haws is no stranger to ranking keywords in Google. He’s currently had AMAZING SUCCESS with his niche site project where he’s shown publicly his ability to rank a website for a specific keyword. He’s on […]

  73. Travis

    Travis

    Can we get some stats as to which of your affiliate links seem to be producing the most sales?

    Is the text links or the picture links or the amazon widget links?

    • Sonia

      Sonia

      Yes, I am curious too. Is it the carousel at the top, text links within the content or the widget at the bottom of the post? Thanks!

  74. Sunday

    Sunday

    I see this post more like full tutorial than the display of just an income report for one month. A lot of work and time was put in by Spencer to produce this report and I give kudos to him for a Job well done!

    The analysis are simple and the tables and graphics readily made the whole report understandable. How income and expenses on the sites were made have been explained easily, and what more can we ask for. A good one from Spencer Haws!

    The above comment has been shared in the IM social site – kingged.com where this post was already “kingged” and shared.

    Sunday – kingged.com contributor

    http://www.kingged.com/niche-site-project-income-report-for-may-2013/

  75. The Rookie

    The Rookie

    I think I would spend time hooking up with local knife dealers, maybe small sports shops and try to sell their knives on the site, sort of dropshipping. Ive done this with sporting goods niches that did well. Then switching over to real inventory increases the amount of money made dramatically.

    Depending on the knife margins of course. Has to be room for you and the local guy to make money and still beat amazon. Id still keep amazon on their for their residual benefit in case the buyer wants to buy something else besides knives.

  76. Jake

    Jake

    Hi Spencer,

    Awesome case study here. Have you come across anyway to track your sales based on keyword or nay other variable?

  77. Tom

    Tom

    Thanks for sharing this.

    I have un-related question for anyone who can help….doing my first niche site right now – using WordPress like almost everyone else.

    It seemed natural to me that when I create pages for my site, I create a ‘page’ and not a ‘post’. But some other blog mentioned there might be reason to do as a post.

    I don’t think it matters, does it?

    thanks

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      I use a “page” as my homepage/primary article. Then other articles are “posts”. But you are likely fine either way.

  78. darrenjzy

    darrenjzy

    What about non-related sales? jeans, TV’s, etc. What were the numbers for those?

    I’m wondering because of fans that shopped with your tracking cookie. I know this is something that you can’t track. I’m just curious.

    Good post as always,

    ~D

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Yes, there were unrelated sales, books, movies, other random things…

  79. fauteuil guide

    fauteuil guide

    Hi Spencer,
    Awesome case study here. Have you come across anyway to track your sales based on keyword or nay other variable?

  80. The Rookie

    The Rookie

    Again,
    Great numbers. I was wondering if you had ever sold niche sites. Or considered it.

    I own some small niche sites that I have had for a long time, most don’t do huge numbers but they have paid for themselves many times over. In the past I was fairly lazy and let some others go, One server crashed and I lost a chunk of the info again because of pure laziness. But, as my other businesses (offline) grew I got a little more serious and started my hosting company mainly to host my subsidiaries and some of my other contacts sites. Basically I have the resources to maintain my current sites and new ones without me having to baby everything.

    I typically still like to build my own larger sites but thought Id get back into niche sites, but as an investor. What kind of staying power have your sites had in the past. The sites I have done for the most part have all been fairly consistent but again they never did large numbers. I am not impressed with some of the other niche guys out there that have done volume. –not impressed is a little harsh they never made false claims just the methods I guess– Yours seems a little more lasting plus Ive noticed your somewhat local to me so that helps.

    If I found a good source Id probably start with a trial investment of somewhere in the 20 to 50 range for buying and see how the results went. Have you talked about this in this blog before or are you like me why sell an asset that is consistent, not that there isn’t reason to sometimes.

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      I have sold just a small handfull of sites before. I’ve never actively tried to sell anything, but a few people have contacted me. I’m not looking to sell anything right now.

      • The Rookie

        The Rookie

        Ya I figured you probably didn’t. I can’t see too many good reason to sell sites if you aren’t having cash flow issues. Just like stocks or real estate, unless thats just your business model. If you do or know of a truly good source post it if you would. Or pm me thanks.

  81. Matt

    Matt

    Was anyone else hit with Penguin 2.0 in the last few days? Seems many niche website owners are reporting SERP drops.

    • The Rookie

      The Rookie

      I have actually seen more traffic in the last week or so on the few niche sites I have. But nothing that dramatic. Might not be related though.

  82. minakam

    minakam

    Is Exact match died after google updates ?I see every day lot of drops .I hope your course is good .Do you have any comments for latest update of penguin 2.0 ?

  83. Dr. Babs Omot Yusuf

    Dr. Babs Omot Yusuf

    I came to your website after I listened to Pat’s interview with you. You guys did a nice great job. That’s profit not lost. You guys has fuelled my inspiration engine and I hope to do such when I make such success like yours in the future. Thanks and God bless you all.

  84. Dave

    Dave

    Great work and congratulations. This is very encouraging and motivating for those of us aspiring to mimic some of your success.

    Thanks for continuing to share.

    Dave

  85. Goal Progress Report for May 2013 | Niche Pursuits

    Goal Progress Report for May 2013 | Niche Pursuits

    […] well…and I TRULY hope that you have received value from that case study.  As revealed, the site earned $474.76 last month.  Awesome.  I will continue to provide progress on this site and share earnings, but the […]

  86. Alan

    Alan

    Spencer,
    Just wanted to say thanks for sharing this case study publicly. The information is extremely valuable and really provides a blueprint for success.

  87. Henry

    Henry

    I’ve been following your post and they’re awesome. I love the practical examples you’re giving. Keep it up.

  88. Nicole

    Nicole

    Hi Spencer,

    Quick question – I’ve always had a hard time finding good plugins for social shares..the one on your survival knife guide looks good. Could you let me know the name of that plugin?

    Thanks

    Nicole

  89. James

    James

    Your knife site have freaking 0 PR and Alexa traffic rank of 45.000. Another proof that with PR, your site can still thrive.

  90. alistairgd

    alistairgd

    You’ve inspired me to give this a shot. I’m following in your footsteps, but not outsourcing anything. Your expenses from outsourcing article writing and linking were huge, I figured I could half that easily by setting aside time to write my own articles. I’m kind of tight that way 🙂

    I found a niche surprisingly quickly that matched your basic criteria, and had a new domain and site online all in under 1 hour. By the time the clock ticked past two hours I had two articles on there and plenty of ideas for more.

    If I get anything like the success you have had with knives, it will spur me on. I’d probably do a new site specifically to see just how quickly it is possible to start earning with as little expense as possible.

    Thanks for the inspiration.

  91. edmond sander

    edmond sander

    Hi Spencer,
    thank you very much for your publicity. Do you specialize in IT in college?

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Nope. Business Finance. Im far from an IT guy.

  92. Yaw Senti

    Yaw Senti

    Hi Spencer,
    I am new to this niche market thing, and I must truly say that your work has inspired me a lot. Please I would like to ask you, where I will get images for my site that I am creating. Like where you got the images of the knives on your site. Were they from Amazon or you bought them from somewhere?

    Thank you.

  93. Clyde B.

    Clyde B.

    Hi Spencer,

    I have a stupid question that I haven’t been able to find the answer to yet. You’re site has been incredibly helpful with all other aspects of niche site creation so I was hoping you could help.

    Can I run more than one affiliate program on my site? For instance, amazon doesn’t carry some of the brands I would like to promote but another affiliate (through CJ) does, and vice versa.

    I appreciate any help very much, thanks!

  94. Aaron

    Aaron

    Spencer,
    Are you planning to ever include links to social media sites? For example, “Share this article” and then links to Facebook, Twitter, Google+, etc.? Why or why not?

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      It already does – notice the floating sidebar with sharing options on every page. Its been there a couple of weeks.

      • Aaron

        Aaron

        Oh yeah…. I see it. It was blocked by my AdBlocker Firefox plugin. Actually, that is an issue, isn’t it — folks who use plugins like AdBlocker?

  95. John

    John

    Spencer, your floating social share plugin is 50% (vertical) obscured in FF 21.0

  96. Monthly Income Reports May 2013 | Australian Ecommerce Web Design & Website Development News
  97. Keith

    Keith

    Love your help and commentary, following your guidelines I published my first niche site on the June 18 and it was at number 76 on google June 20 with no backlinks, just the home page and some amazon advertising.Now for the web directories

  98. Steve Ruyle

    Steve Ruyle

    I know you said your scared to have your adsense account # out there in the public but I would love to see what your site would do with both Amazon & Adsense running on it since thats what I would think many of your readers plan to try out.

  99. CarMen

    CarMen

    Congrats, that you almost reached your goal! I bet, you gonna hit $6-700 next month!

  100. Gabriel Zackary - Discusfishguru.com

    Gabriel Zackary - Discusfishguru.com

    This is Amazing!!!

    You’re an inspiration to what I want my own website to achieve once I’ve revamped my site into a blog.
    (it’s now a silly clickbank sales page)

    Your own site is literally a true account of the possibilities of an Amazon Associates Store, if it is done properly.

    Your month by month analysis also kind of adds tension and excitement to make us want to know more.

    Your website also gives proper easy to follow advice on how to set up your niche websites and monetize them.

    I’m really hoping to continue reading about your journey and also to continue learning from your experiences.

    Gabriel Zackary
    Author/Founder/Fish Enthusiast
    DiscusFishGuru.com

  101. Bas

    Bas

    Hey Spencer,

    I saw you don’t have the date/time used in you blog posts on this Niche site.

    Do you never do this on niche sites? And how do you remove it?

    I saw different options, like deleting it in the files, to adding some code to the functions.php.

    Not sure what the best way it. What do you prefer?

  102. Brian

    Brian

    Hello Spencer,

    Do you have any intention of creating a list building platform for the Best Survival Knife site?

    You might not be, I would like to know if you wanted to build a list for a niche site like this any idea how you would do it?

    Would like to hear others’ replies to this question too. If you were putting together a niche site like this, would you have an idea on how to build a mailing list?

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      You may have forgotten, but I actually was building a list for the first month or 2. I have about 100 people on that list, but I couldn’t find any affiliate products that I felt were a good fit to promote. I found my income to be higher with out the opt-in; but if I found a good product to promote…I could likely increase earnings.

  103. Brian

    Brian

    I just wanted to say thank you for doing the Niche Site Project. I am working on my site and happy to report that I earned my first $5.00 in June.

  104. Maggie

    Maggie

    Sam,

    I read about 20 of your articles now and very inspired but also have many questions.

    1. When you said you have over 100 niche site, do you have 1 master Amazon Associate and Adsense account for all of these sites? or do you have separate one for each site.

    2. If you have 1 master adsense account for all your site, what happen when you sell your site? Does the buyer have to re-link all the ads unit on those site?

    3. In terms of legal entity holding all of your site, do you recommend incorporating an LLC to hold of the sites? or is it ok to do it under your name. I read some articles on this and it seems mixed. Are there lots of risk to have these under your name? I figured I ask you since you have been doing this for awhile.

  105. Nick

    Nick

    Hey Spencer,

    I see that you are currently ranking at number 4 for ‘best survival knife’ keyword.

    What would you do if you want to get back to number 1 position. I like to learn about steps one should take in this kind of situation.

    Thanks a lot.

  106. Sam

    Sam

    Spencer,

    Will you be sharing your income report for the month of June? Just wanted to see how much (if any) change there is in the income from a change in the site’s ranking on Google.

  107. Robert Wright

    Robert Wright

    Really really good information on your process in building a niche web site. Thank you for sharing with this newbie. Very enjoyable read, and educational. I appreciate the inspiration.

  108. SEO

    SEO

    Whats up! I just want to give an enormous thumbs up for the good data you may have right here on this post.

    I will probably be coming again to your blog for more soon.

  109. learn to play guitar

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