Niche Site Project 4: October 2018 Monthly Report

By Spencer Haws |

The time has come for another monthly report for the niche site project!   If you have been following along with this case study, this is a project where I built a new website from scratch with the goal of ranking in Google and making money.

I've been documenting all my strategies along the way.  In addition, several hundred people are participating on their own as they build a niche site as well.

Today, I'll dive into what I've been up to over the past month along with sharing the results in terms of visitors and earnings.

A Quick Timeline

As a refresher, I thought I would go over what's happened so far in this project.

So, even though I announced the project way back on July 31st, my site has only had content on it since Sept. 10th.  So, I've got a site that is almost 2 months old now.

Traffic and Earning Results

Unfortunately, I did not make any money during October.  I was hoping to have my first sale or two via Amazon, but alas, I didn't get any buyers!  Here's a quick screenshot showing that I did get a few clicks, but no takers.

In total, my Amazon associates links got clicked 32 times.   And in fact, the big spikes you see are most likely me testing my own affiliate links to make sure things worked.

The traffic to the site is slightly more interesting than the lack of earnings, but not overly impressive.  Here's a quick look at October:

In total, the site had 342 visits, which is a little more than September (258), so that's good!

Above is the breakdown of where the traffic came from.  Just 69 visitors from Organic search, which is what I'm mostly trying to build.  Most of the traffic came from social sources (Pinterest), which is something I just started in October.

As you can see, the organic sessions actually took a dip, which is not what I was hoping for.  But I do know several of the organic sessions were me in September as a I was checking how my site was showing up in Google.

My Thoughts on These Results

My honest thoughts?  I wish the results were better.  I was hoping for at least one sale, and was certainly hoping for growth in terms of organic search.

However, I think it's super important that I publish my results live as they happen and don't try to sugar coat things.  Building a site from absolutely nothing is hard.  I've said all along that it takes a few months for your new site to really start to pick up steam.

So, right now, I'm experiencing that.  And the reality is that my site is really only about a month and a half old, since I published the first article on the site on Sept. 10th. So, it could be a couple more months before I really start to see some better rankings and results in Google.

However, my goal isn't to see how much money I can make in six months.  If that were the case, this would be incredibly frustrating.  My goal is to see how much money I can make from this site after a year, 18 months, 2 years.  

That's when sites start to get really interesting, once they have a little bit of age.

I can also see that most people reporting for their Niche Site Project sites below are in the same boat without any earnings.  My advice is to not give up!

Speed Up the Process?

Could I speed up the process if I did more link building?  Yes, I probably could.  However, I haven't ventured into building links up to this point outside of leaving a few comments.

I'll be considering some link building strategies this month, because I do know that the sooner I build up the authority of the site, the sooner my articles will start ranking better.  I'll share the strategies I settle on in a future post.

What Was Accomplished in October?

I didn't get quite as much done in October as I was hoping.  If my Niche Site Project 4 site was the only thing I had going on, I'm sure things would be quite different, but alas, I run several other websites and sometimes I get stretched a bit thin.

However, I was still able to get 12 articles published and get a good system in place for my writers.

I also got my Pinterest account set up and a process in place for that!  The silver lining of this monthly report is that I'm seeing a least a trickle of regular traffic from Pinterest.

A total of 144 sessions from Pinterest is nothing amazing, but this is after my first month with a brand new account, so I only expect growth from there.  I've got a Canva template set up, so for each new article written, I create 2 new pins with these templates and pin them to Pinterest.

I'm hopeful that Pinterest will continue to grow, and will eventually lead to secondary links from other sites that might notice my pins.

Another area I worked on during October was actually narrowing the focus of my site a little bit.  When I first picked this niche, it has the opportunity to go somewhat broad.  However, in order to establish better topical authority over a particular set of subjects, I decided to eliminate some of the categories I had originally intended to cover on my site.

I wrote an entire article here on this subject.

In addition to eliminating these categories, I've decided I need to write a couple of better “Pillar” articles to help Google better understand what my site is all about.  I've done lots of Amazon comparison type articles (best xyz…), but now I'm going to go back and do a few more large info type articles.

These will be “listicle” articles that will help me better establish myself as an authority in the niche.  These Pillar articles will then link out to each of the “best xyz” type articles, and each of those articles will link back to the Pillar article.

Plans for Future Growth

Overall, I plan to continue publishing content targeting low competition keywords.  As my site grows in both topical authority and domain authority (links), the site will start ranking for more keywords and making money.

In addition to narrowing the focus of my niche site, I'll also be publishing at least a couple of larger Pillar articles that are not monetized, but are purely there to establish the topical authority and relevancy of the site.

I'll also continue to grow my Pinterest following.   Even though the visitors right now are not extremely valuable, over time I expect the traffic to grow and at some point I may ad display ads where each visitors will be worth something.

Pinterest also works as a secondary link building strategy.  So, even though there are technically no follow links coming from Pinterest, I expect that over time other websites will find my content on Pinterest and then link to my site from their site.

Finally, I know the site needs more links to gain authority.  So, I plan on doing a bit of outreach to see what type of link opportunities I can drum up.  As I develop a strategy that I decide to follow, I'll share those details in a future blog post.

However, I'm also patient.  As much as I'd love to have my site take off after just a couple of months, I know that the real money is made after the first year.  I'm not going to be happy with something that makes $500 or $1,000 a month, I'd like something much larger.  And for that to happen, I have to be patient and just stay consistent.

So, overall my plan is to stay consistent with content, Pinterest, and now a few outreach opportunities here and there to build links.

Niche Site Project 4 Participants Report

I'm also excited to share the reports from the participants in Niche Site Project 4!  Below you will find the earnings, traffic, and a brief summary of what each of these participants did for the month.

Looks like Jae Jun continues to grow his business!  

And congrats to the others that are beginning to see a little bit of earnings…

<td data-sheets-value=”{“1″:2,”2″:”Published 4 Articles, set up social media channels and got 20 more easy to rank for keywords for more articles in November. Still catching up (started end of September)”}”>

Published 4 Articles, set up social media channels and got 20 more easy to rank for keywords for more articles in November. Still catching up (started end of September)
Real Name or Nickname  Number of articles total published on your site? Number of Total “Sessions” your site received in October 2018? Earnings for October 2018?
What was accomplished in October 2018 for your site? 
Jono 20 135 0
Just kept up with content addition, managed to get 14 more articles added. Email capture set up on site as well.
Jbora 10 1 Yes Nice
Chelle 11 48 0
Busy month between family + other sites but did get 2 new posts up and have others ready to publish this month. Not worried about traffic/earnings – niche is somewhat seasonal and weather dependent so the goal is to rank in time for spring/summer 6-8 months from now.
Sergio 1 9 0
Only made one article, tried to build links and to optimise the other ones with better images and social links
Kutluay 5 1509 $42.95
I have started this experiment in September 4th (a month later than the official start date of Niche Site Project 4). Mainly working on getting the Pinterest traffic to my site and monetize it with Adsense. I'm also publishing the weekly updates for this experiment on my site:
Md Billal Hossain Sarker 4 144 0
Published 4 articles- 12k words total. Growing the site like an authority website. Google Analytics: and ahrefs: I didn't create any backlinks. Created 4 social profiles. Done some social shares. Affiliate links not yet linked. Ordered few more articles. My main focus is on articles. Hope I can write an case study on my personal blog:
jac 0 646 2.8
Added more affiliate links on Twitter account.
Ally G. 3 0 0
NSP4 is not going well. I was frustrated and depressed about my lack of progress. I did some more keyword research and wrote 1 article. Can't afford to outsource and it takes me forever to write a decent article. Doesn't help that I hate writing articles.
Bob 0 0 0
I purchased a domain name and continued to research niche sites.
Arun 10 282 6
Not as per plan on content publishing. Needs to stick on consistent publishing
Alwayne gray 30 185 0
Writing 15 more articles and getting 5 high quality links to my site
David S 7 81 £0.65
Made my first sale. And added a few more articles to the site. Added a number of systems in place to track and manage tasks.
Ryan Faucher 69 795 $41.97
Major steps taken to establish brand authority including: a personal Quora post, as well as creating my most prized piece of content yet. Full Details:
Rohan Bhardwaj 56 114 0
Posted the next batch of articles. Side note: Adsense got 60 impressions with no revenue and so did Amazon ads. Let's see next time
Bill 16 305 0
Its a brand new domain from september 2018. Create website with on page optimize 16 contents. building some backlink via social and infographic. Have only one keyword ranking under 20. But a good sign is DA and PA went from 1 , 2 to 9 , 17 in the same month
Stephen 0 0 0
Slow start, but I finally feel like I'm starting to make a little progress. Landing page is up. Collecting emails after posting on related groups. Hired 3 writers and assigned work. Expect better results next month!
Jobe 9 0 0
I have been more focused on building a team and creating and improving SOP´s and content templates rather than publish articles. I think this will help me to grow the site much faster in the next few months. Also, I am starting to develop a backlink strategy for the site.
atef 6 124 33 low
Andrew Courtney 42 1529 0
Wrote approximately 10 articles. Have another 15 articles lined up to write. Spent a lot of time optimizing and improving existing content and growing Pinterest profile. Most of traffic coming organically from Pinterest. 2-3 visitors per day from Google. No real monetization yet. Will slow content publishing until gaining traction with google organic traffic.
Chadwick 12 213 0
I'd say 80% of the sessions are probably me. For some reason, most of my organic traffic is from outside the US.
Chris H 0 15 0
Got all of my basic pages up like about, contact, and privacy policy. Currently working on my first article and plan to hire a writer to speed things up.
Jesse 28 356 $2.45
I published 7 more articles, although by tomorrow I will have put out another 4 in the first few days of November.
Dragon 0 0 0 Niche selection
Justin 1 0 0 Published first post
Yuyu 2 0 0
Prepared a few draft articles and planned to release it periodically.
Endre 0 0 0
As I try to do this on the cheap, I don’t have access to many tools. I’m still trying to do the keyword research without semrush or ahref, and I feel that I do it wrong. However, I think I have selected a niche. It is competitive according to all the different tools I have found, but not impossible. Next month I hope to be able to put in higher numbers in some of the boxes above.
Ben Doyle 34 146 0
Published 6 articles, re-designed the home page to capture email subscribers started building which has resulted in three guest posts and 5 resource page links.
Alex J 4 11 $0.00
Christina 13 21 0
switched sites from what I was working on in September to a smaller, more manageable niche. So doing keyword research and getting 13 articles published and getting a writing schedule going.
Towfiq 13 26 0
On October I've a plan of adding another 30K words but can't reach my goal. Last October I've published almost 10000 words article.
Jules 6 234 0
Wrote and published 6 blog posts. Started my youtube channel and uploaded my first video. Created a “resources” type of page. Started using Tailwind to consistently promote on Pinterest. I left comments on a few related blogs. I participated in Instagram challenges related to my niche and grew my following by quite a bit (I had a related IG account with over 3000 followers I hadn't been using, so I changed the name to fit this new brand/niche site.) My niche site is
smsajal 11 90 n/a n/a
Katha 36 281 1.20 USD
Published a few more articles and made a first sale, although not on a product I recommend. I'm having some doubts about my niche and playing with the idea of starting a second site.
Mike 18 57 0
Nothing, but it started to get a trickle of organic traffic. Haven't posted since mid-September because I got busy on other things. Realized the 5 posts I paid for were basically spun content :/
slipperx 3 0 0
After a slow start the content is beginning to flow a little. I've got a keyword list together and set up a couple of writers to help with content, signed contracts, filtered out the bad ones and moving forward with the good ones. Just concentrating on content at the moment. Seems like I have achived little but actually I have made good progress. Looking forward to getting my first traffic this month – just starting ranking today with average position 3.3 which means I have picked some easy low volume keywords to begin with.
Rachel 4 330 $28
Achieved first sale from site. Commenced link building. Pinterest monthly views growing, with targeted focus on growing followers and regular manual pinning. Pinterest largest driver of traffic at this point.
Jae Jun 0 250 $2,522.54
Increased email list by making it easier to sign up. Convert free users to paid users. Going for engaging and value driven emails. Developed more requested features and working on improving our service and speed to keep people using the product. Bounce rate is high so the value proposition has to be clearer and more engaging. Podcast with Spencer definitely helped get some extra traffic and backlink is always appreciated.
Philipp 5 0 0
My target was to finish my Cornerstone Article. I got that down with about 3k Words. Also I made a few extra articles to Link to from the Cornerstone Article. Currently I'm having problems with Google finding my page (robots.txt is blocking my page. Checked the robots.txt, but it issn't blocking anything). I'm checking everything I can, but thats my current struggle. I could further push my Instagram followers to almost 470 now and getting good impressions here. I'm branching out to Pinterest and the next step will be a Facebook Page.
Farhad 40 20 Link not placed
Done publishing 40 articles. Basic linking such as profile linking, blog comments, social share.
DaveClifton 12 111 0
Not much accomplished. Too busy with work.
Jean Maurice 44 140 0.2
very little was done last month, only 2 articles added.
hassane 2 32 0
Started working on 20 more articles, with 2 freelancers
Angela Lewis 10 23 0.2
I have been placing many more amazon products in my posts and researching other websites like mine. Focusing on getting a lot more quality content on my site.
David 8 5 0
Put the site live on the 11th, started pushing out content.
wendy 6 178 0 marketing through Pinterest to increase traffic.”}”>

-done few editing on the website homepage until i'm fully satisfied
-apply for some affiliate marketing (achieve a commission increase)
not much accomplishment. need to increase the blog post and marketing through Pinterest to increase traffic.
DaveyH 0 0 0
On bit of a start stop procedure at the moment unfortunately. I've completed a sitemap of pretty much everything I need over the next 12 months for the website. Installed a premium theme and sourced decent images.


Success Stories | 31 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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Md Billal Hossain Sarker

Super! I am more inspiring day by day to do more works. I think my website will be one of the example of NSP4. Thanks one more, Spencer.

Spencer Haws

Sounds great!



Thanks so much for keeping us updated. It is encouraging – I just launched a little over a month ago and am finding pretty much the same results you’re reporting. Knowing that time is on our side if we stick with it is valuable guidance. I need to bump up my Pinterest efforts and actually get an email subscriber or two (or 100). I’m not getting any direct contact without it.

Keep up the good work, looking forward to next month’s update!


Spencer Haws

Thanks Mike, glad you found the report encouraging!



Thanks for the update. It really keeps me on my toes!


Jules |

Hi Spencer,

Thanks for the update! I like the idea of writing a few pillar posts that aren’t monetized to establish authority. And just the encouragement to keep going was great! This is a long game.

Thanks again,

Spencer Haws

Absolutely, good luck Jules!

Morshed Alam

Keep up the good work Spencer! I can’t wait to read the next update. The pillar article strategy gave me new ideas what to publish on my blog!

Spencer Haws

Excellent…good luck!


Thanks for the update, I’m really looking forward on how things, will move forward. And I really like the transparency.

Spencer Haws



Nice job, Spencer! Curious, why two pinterest images for each article? Do you pin each one to different boards?

Spencer Haws

Different sizes tend to perform better on mobile vs desktop.


very informative article loved reading it thanks for sharing with us.


it is very nice to see some other people giving out reports along side with Spencer’s own. I need to start new case study to follow along this. Kudos to you Spencer.


Hi Spencer, love the blog and how in depth it is. I started out last month and am currently in the content, content, content stage trying to get around 50-60 articles written (starting to see ripples in the rankings despite no link building yet) and then ensuring the internal linking is strong before I go all out for quality backlinks and pinterest and growing the site out from there.

I was just wondering, obviously PBN is a big no-no and I plan to really build high quality content with quality back links but I wanted to know if to give the website a start while i’m writing out all of this content if leaving genuine high quality comments on relevant blog posts would harm my site as a back linking strategy even if the comments are high quality and genuine?

Additionally, what would you recommend is a good price point/ place for finding high quality writers?

Many thanks!

Spencer Haws

Blog comments are fine, they won’t likely help significantly, but they shouldn’t hurt. 3 to 5 cents a word, or go hourly rates and you might find cheaper.


Perfect, thank you again! Just wondering what your thoughts are on 301 redirecting expired domains with solid backlinks or is that a strict no-go in 2018 Google world?

Spencer Haws

Its probably fine if its just one domain (don’t buy a bunch and redirect); and ideally the previous domain is related (same niche).


I published my first article on August 1st. I have a total of 36 all money articles. I am also getting around 10 clicks every day but not recorded any sales yet. I will add informational articles and start on link building, plus add some low competition keywords. Hope I will make a sale or two at the end of this month.

Spencer Haws

Good luck!


Here I am after 1 and a half month I’m ranking for 187 keywords. Position : 1-20 there are only : 12 rankings, but I wasn’t doing any kind of backlinking for now. Total articles : 24. Is that even good, I think I could do better, i failed with pinterest too 😀

Should I go with more articles or backlinking from forums, sites, pinterest etc. Thanks!


Is that good Spencer? Now I’m at 250 keywords ranked, bad thing there’s still only 14 keywords in top 1-20 poistions. How can I improve that? More backlinking or what?



Very interesting as I am on a very similar journey. Could I guess that you are slightly inspired by the “Income School” guys?

High quality content, waiting 18-24 months to see full results & little or not linkbuilding. You just sound like them 

Spencer Haws

I don’t really know the income school guys, but I think I’ve been blogging longer than them (I could be wrong).

Faheem Raza


This is my update for OCT 2018 – i got increment in my earning … it was $91

Enjoying with this progress …


Hi, when mentioning affiliate link, are you using Native Shopping Ads link that shows all the details or just a text link like check on Amazon?

Varun Sharma

Spencer, Thanks For the update! Great content


Hey Spencer,

When you talked about creating a topical authority. Is that the same as building a Silo structure for your niche site?

Spencer Haws

Maybe, just depends on what your definition of the term silo is. I personally don’t like the term silo, and have never really used or defined it.

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