Today I have another guest interview to review their niche site. I was able to record an interview with Dee Bryant and discuss her site, TheDogEffect.com.
Dee started her site near the beginning of Niche Site Project 3 and has been able to grow it to $300 per month in revenue! She's done a great job with her site so far by following the steps I've laid out. However, she wanted to hop on a call to discuss how she could take the site to the next level.
In particular, we discuss how to do more link building and outreach. In addition, we review what her ongoing content strategy should be in terms of schedule and types of articles she should be focusing on.
Overall, I hope you enjoy the discussion!
Read the Full Transcript Here
Spencer:Hey everyone! Welcome back to the Niche Pursuits podcast. I’m your host Spencer Haws from nichepursuits.com. Before we dive into the interview, I wanted just to share some quick business or personal updates.
First, recently Amazon came out with a change to its commission structure. It’s gone from paying a variable rate based on the amount of product that you sell or the amount of revenue that you generate to now fix commission rates based on certain categories that you sell your product in. Some people are calling this change huge and a game changer, other people are saying that it really won’t impact their business very much, only time will tell.
I think the key to this is that yes, Amazon is a huge and great source for affiliate revenue but it’s important to think long term about your business so I would still and still will create Amazon associate sites but I think long term what products can I create on my own to eventually replace that affiliate revenue so that I can get a bigger piece of the pie. Maybe that’s just a word of advice for today is always be thinking how you can generate more revenue from your existing traffic. One way to do that is to create your own products especially if you are an Amazon affiliate.
As far as a quick personal update, I am still training for a marathon. I still got a little bit of time before I run my target race at the end of April. However, things are going well. Training is going well, I’m feeling good. For all you runners out there, you know what it’s like to be in the middle of a training program so a lot of days I put in quite a few miles, trying to eat healthy and do that sort of thing.
I’m hoping that I would be able to hit my goal of qualifying for Boston at the end of April and it would be great to check that off the bucket list and be done with that. I’ll provide you an update once the race is closer and once I actually run the race. We’ll see how it goes, I just wanted to provide an update to keep myself accountable and to let anybody know that is interested what’s going on.
Today, I have a guest interview. Her name is Dee Bryant. She’s the owner of thedogeffect.com and we’re gonna dive into that website. It’s a newer website, only about eight or nine months old. She started the site right around when we started niche site project three. In fact, that is how she started the site. She followed along. She decided that the steps were clear enough for her to follow and so she dove in and built her first site ever which is thedogeffect.com.
She’s doing really well, traffic is increasing and she’s making couple hundred dollars a month. In fact, she think she’ll make $300 by the end of this month and so we dive in to of course what’s working but then I have a few tips as well based on the questions that she has for how to take the site to the next level. If you’re interested in hearing from an entrepreneur that hasn’t quite been extremely successful yet, this interview with Dee would be a great one. I think she’s doing a great job but she’s still several months down the road from starting to see those bigger pay days. With that, I hope you enjoy the interview.
Hey Dee! Welcome to the Niche Pursuits Podcast.
Dee:Hey Spencer, thank you. Good to be here.
Spencer:Thank you for joining me here all the way from Australia, right?
Dee:Yep that’s the one at Wild Western Australia. I’m a bit early out here but it’s all good.
Spencer:Thanks for getting up early to do the interview. Hopefully the audience listening will appreciate that. Let’s give people a little bit of an idea who you are, your background, either what you do now professionally or what you did previously professionally before building websites.
Dee:I’m still currently working at West. We have a lot of [00:00:46] industry and mining so I’ve been working in the mining resources for probably the last 15 years. Currently, still doing that, been working away from home. We have a FIFO type role here where we fly away for work for a couple weeks and then come home for a couple of weeks. It’s been long days but it’s nice to have that time off when we get home. Then, wanting to start building websites to get away from that kind of work really, long days.
Spencer:What type of work specifically are you doing?
Dee:I have been doing all sorts of roles from operations out in the field to a corporate role in the office, that just about killed me, I think. Working 7:00 to 7:00 in the office and having to get up early everyday to go to work. That was more around the health and safety role but I’ve also been in operations and projects and all sorts of stuff. At the moment, operations is kind of a safety role looking at time, permitting, allowing our work to go ahead and making sure that everyone’s safe to go out there and go crazy.
Spencer:Makes sense. Give us a little bit of an idea then where you are at now. Why did you decide to jump into building a niche website? What led you there?
Dee:About a year ago, I was on holidays from the corporate role. We were crazy busy, we had a massive project that we were working on. It was really crazy and I went to Bali for a holiday and I was sitting next to some girl having a cocktail. I said, “I’m just going to run off to my room and answer my emails. We’re in the middle of this massive mobilization.” She was shaking her head at me. When I got back, she just looked at me and said, “What are you doing? You’re on holidays. I’ve got to introduce you to someone.”
Anyway, she did, she introduced me to this girl that was building websites. She had a site for a couple of years and it was doing really well. She kind of introduced me to the building website world. It’s something that I had always in my mind wanted to work with flexibility, I wanted to be able to work on my schedule I guess. It’s something I’ve always had in my mind. When I spoke to this girl, it all just fell into place which is really cool and I just started looking into different podcasts and different people with courses of how to do it. I didn’t actually know exactly what it meant, what it meant to build websites and niche sites.
There’s a few sites I got onto, one was yours, Pat Flynn, etc. I went through all of those then it was when I was looking at yours, I saw the Niche Site Project 3.0 come up and it was being very tactical that could give me the 1,2,3 step by step of how to do it. A lot of them are a little bit in theory rather than exactly what to do. That’s what really made sense to me and I started following that project.
Spencer:Yup, that makes sense. That’s kind of cool how you discovered niche pursuits. Obviously, there’s a lot of great podcasts and people are doing great things but I’m glad you came. I hear you’re following along with project three, I appreciate that.
We are going to talk about specifically one of your website that you have. The website we’re going to talk about, is that the first website you built or have you done others previously?
Dee:No, that is the first website that I built along with the project. It’s actually kind of still primarily my only website, I’m playing around with a few other domains. It is my first and my only at the moment.
Spencer:Why don’t you tell people what the website is and why you decided to go with that niche?
Dee:My website is thedogeffect.com, it’s about dogs. When I was going through the project, we were was talking about interest and what you thought you could build the project on, what would interest you, what you could write articles about. I chose that niche because I guess for that very reason, I had a dog, he was a little mate where we do a lot of things together and it just makes sense. I started with that, I think there’s a lot of diversity. There’s a lot different avenues to go. I probably haven’t niched it down enough, I’m still quite high level dogs but it is working alright.
Spencer:Well, how good is that working? Can you give an idea of maybe traffic, earnings, or anything you’re willing to share there?
Dee:It took a few months before anything happened, as I think is quite normal. It has been progressively going up and up since. I’m probably only still at I think 3,500 visitors a month. Income wise, that probably didn’t start until November and it was a couple of might have been $50. That’s progressively gone up to about $200 to $300 a month. You know, not a fortune but I think every month it’s getting better and better and this month already is my best month, and I still got ten days to go.
Spencer:Traffic you said was about 3,500 per month, so roughly 120 a day.
Dee:Yeah, that’s correct.
Spencer:Awesome and you were able to pull in you said about $250 or so last month and this month is looking better so that’s good. It’s a good sign, it’s growing. When did it start? When was your first published article?
Dee:First article would have been, probably that August or July.
Spencer:So it’s six or seven months old?
Dee:Yeah, that’s right. Six or seven months. That’s when I started planning, planned it a year a ago with a project, I was planning it out. It’s probably eight months because I was building it with you guys and then once I published it, got it all going, it’s been traffic and income and traffic about six to eight months.
Spencer:What do you think the site will end up with this month? What do you expect?
Dee:Probably about $300 and then up from there, hopefully.
Spencer:Yeah, hopefully so. Let’s dive into it and see if there’s any tips that I can share, I obviously looked at the site but before I just share what I see, do you have any questions? What are you struggling with right now? What questions do you have for me?
Dee:Probably, what I’m struggling with once I get the article up is probably around planning. My planning of the articles and the outreach is not so great. I sort of need a bit of a checklist of when you get your article up, you do this, this and this. Contacting the [00:09:03] that I’ve used, contacting sites that potentially might be able to use the article, putting on social, a few things like that. I’m sort of putting an article. I’m not very good with the answer and I’m not very good with outreach and things like that. I need to probably just plan that out.
Also, probably just what to do next. Do I grow doing the same thing or am I supposed to be diversifying a bit more? I have thought about getting products or ebooks, I’m halfway through doing both. Do I just keep that niche using content marketing and just keep writing articles, or do I diversify in multiple sites? I’m sort of that stage where I might need something next but I’m not sure what to do.
Spencer:Right and there’s so many ideas and options. It feels like you’re not quite sure where to put your energy probably. You got 10 different ideas and which one or two do you pursue? I think we’ve all been there so that’s good to share because I’m sure a lot of people listening have felt the same way and do feel the same way. When they’re looking at a newer site, they’re not quite sure what strategy to pursue.
Let’s dive into both of those questions. The first one was essentially should you be doing more with each of your articles that you published? Right, should you be doing more outreach, that sort of thing. Sounds like with your articles, you’re doing a pretty good job so you’re following the strategy. If you link to anybody within the article, go ahead and reach out to them, give them a heads up, let them know, “Hey, I mentioned you in this article.” That might lead to sharing it on social media and that type of thing. Sounds like you’re kind of doing that.
Dee:I think I know it but I’m not doing it well. I think I’ll just give myself a little checkbox to do that more, I think.
Spencer:That’s actually a really great thing, especially to think about even when you’re writing your articles. Linking out to people is not a bad thing, so even if you link out, mention five to ten or sometimes even more other people, that gives you ten people that you can reach out to and you say, “Hey, I just wrote a great article and mentioned you. Would you mind sharing it on social media?” Or it might just start a conversation that can lead to you doing a guest post on their site or something like that.
It’s a good outreach tool, just say, “Hey, I think you’re awesome basically and I mentioned you.” Share it on social media like you’re saying. The other thing I would say is that not every single article is deserving of a large outreach campaign.
There are some articles that you’re gonna write that are just sort of standard, they’re targeting specific keywords that could have good content but maybe they’re not fantastic content, they’re sort of like average content, probably you’re not going to be doing a lot of outreach. I don’t for my articles.
However, for those really fantastic articles, you should be doing a lot of outreach and you should probably be planning specifically to write these really epic killer posts, fantastic articles, whatever you want to call them. Maybe that’s 1 out of every 10 or one out of every 15 articles that you do is an article that’s really in depth, or it’s this really pillar post that after it’s done, you then go out and reach out to lots of people.
Dee:Yes, spend the effort on that.
Spencer:Right,. Some of your articles, like I said, it’s only a percentage of them you write specifically for outreach. Maybe it’s not even targeting a low competition keyword, maybe it’s just a really great idea that seems rally shareable, you write a great post or you do an infographic or you create some sort of resource that is linkable, that is worth to mention to other people and that’s how you do the outreach. You reach out to 100 people and point them all towards this one great article you wrote.
Dee:I think that’s a good point. I haven’t been doing that enough. I was running articles and they’ve got quite a lot of affiliate links in them. I’m realizing no one wants to see that because that’s selling my stuff on their page. I did start writing a couple of articles where I have very few, if any, affiliate links at all for that reason. That’s probably what I can expand on those and send them out.
Spencer:Yeah, absolutely. You have to figure out a schedule that’s right for you. Maybe it’s once a month that you‘re able to do a more pillar type post, or maybe it’s only once every other month. You spend two months doing outreach. It kind of depends on the work that you’re able put into that but that is an important thing because not every article that you write is gonna be something that people are going to want to link to but if you can kind of think outside the box or do something unique. Or with pets, there’s probably a lot of interesting sort of infographic ideas that you can come up with that other people would be willing to link to, that’s something you probably need to fit into your schedule.
Dee:Yeah, that sounds good.
Spencer:I’m not sure if this ties into your 2nd question but since I was mentioning schedule, something that can keep you focused is determine what your schedule is. You’re kind of at the point now where you’ve got a core set of article. I think you said maybe 50 articles or something?
Dee:Yeah, 50 or 60 now.
Spencer:You’ve got a great core set of articles. Now you just need to figure out what’s gonna your ongoing schedule? Is that two articles a week that you can do? Is that one article a week? Figure out whatever you feel like is a workload that you can produce and set that schedule, set that expectation for yourself. Let’s say I’m gonna do two keyword focused articles a week and I’m gonna do one really linkable, shareable article every month. Whatever that schedule is for you and try to stick to that. I think by teaming up with a schedule and planning that content, you’ll be able to stick to your plan a little bit better.
Dee:Would you just recommend to continue writing so you’ve got 200 or 500 or 1,000 articles or would you cap it at something and say that that’s enough?
Spencer:Boy, that’s the golden question. I would keep producing content as long as the site continues to grow and make money, so that could be for years. If you are just able to expand it into a huge site. But on the other hand, if the site plateaus out, you may decide that well, just leave it at that and move on to another project.
Dee:I guess the one thing I’m thinking about with my massive $300 a month, thinking in the future, also thinking about diversifying that Amazon income because it is from just one place and one site. If something goes wrong, then that’s all gone. I kind of think, do I still build a couple sites or do I diversify in making it more of an authority site. I’ve got some sales on there, I’ve got ebooks, products or something. Do you look at that diversification?
Spencer:Yeah, you know, I do. I think that’s important to think about once your site hits a certain level. Maybe it’s not even a certain level but once you get to the point where you feel like can take on a new project because it is. I don’t mean a new site, but for thedogeffect.com, you might finally decide, okay I’ve got this content piece figured out. I feel like I have a little bit of time and energy to now develop my own physical product or write my own ebook or whatever that may be.
For this particular site, there are a lot of physical products for dogs that you could come up with or contact manufactures on Alibaba and sell directly through your own site. There’s immense opportunity in this niche. Absolutely, I would keep that sort of in the forefront of your mind thinking what’s a unique product that I can come up with and sell on my site because that will increase your earnings probably significantly if you can come up with a great product and sell it right on your own site.
Dee:The thing I found interesting with that, looking at what is selling, I have a couple of products. I think that’s a really interesting way to think maybe that’s a product that you could make as a physical product, that’s probably a way to find those as well.
Spencer:Yes, absolutely. That’s very smart of you to look at that. That’s exactly what I do on some of my sites. It just makes sense because you’re referring sales to Amazon and you’ve got one or two products that are making up the bulk of that. If you were just sending them to your own listing of that product, you go from making 8% percent commission on Amazon, whatever it is, to making probably 75%. That would be a great place to start. If a couple of those top products that you’re selling as an affiliate is something that you can go out and produce your own sort of generic version of on Alibaba, that’s definitely worth looking at.
Spencer:To make it easy, you can still sell it on Amazon. People don’t even necessarily know that it’s your own product per se, but they’re going from TheDogEffect to Amazon and they’re still buying TheDogEffect product, they may or may not know that, they just know they’re buying through Amazon, that they know and trust, and it’s a product they like.
Dee:Yeah, exactly. Good.
Spencer:I don’t know if I fully answered your second question, you had two questions. One was sort of using content, or I guess you’re saying is there more that you should be doing, you’ve got lots of ideas. I guess we kind of tackled that, right?
Dee:Yeah, we did and that was answered.
Spencer:Good. Any other questions that you might have? Just sort of takes the site to the next level?
Dee:Nope, not so much of a question but a comment mostly. When I first started following the project and we were really focusing on keyword research, my articles that are doing very well from that period of very good keyword research and I found I kind of went away from them a little bit. One, because I had a few problems with the program, but that’s all fixed now. I was trying to diversify my content, not have so much on one product, diversify the articles I guess. I wasn’t focusing enough on keyword research.
I found that the articles that I did are ranking really well. I’m gonna go back to that and focus more on keyword research. The other part of that is I think a lot of my low competitions keywords we’re quite low volume, I'm still getting traffic, I'm still getting sales, but they’re not next level of traffic and sales. I’m gonna go back and do some research, still keep it low but probably not as low, in the 30s but I was focusing in the 20s, about 30 but with a higher volume so I’m getting more people, probably a little bit harder to rank but more volume through. I think that’s maybe another way to boost that traffic a little bit.
Spencer:Yeah, I think so. For people listening, obviously we’re talking about Long Tail Pro, the keyword competitiveness score, we’re talking about 30 or less and that’s that case you scored there. I think that’s a great idea. Really, the majority of your articles should be keyword focused and certainly keeping them more competition is key. The ideal situation is to find a really low competition keyword that is also high traffic but sometimes it’s hard to find that. Sometimes it’s easy to find the low competition and low traffic but not the other way around.
Dee:I think it’s easy to veer off from that and think I need an article on this, I need an article on that. Really at the end of the day, unless you’re doing that research, you’re not going to get what you need.
Spencer:Yeah. Absolutely, that’s a great reminder. Another good tip or reminder that I did share on the product as a way to find additional keywords rather than just starting at Long Tail Pro and thinking what seed keyword should I type in now? Is using a tool like SEMRush, looking at your competitors and what they’re already ranking for in Google? You probably already got a list of lots of your competitors but that’s something that you can dive back into, maybe find some additional competitors, see what they’re ranking for and trying to cherry pick some of their best keywords that maybe they’re getting some good volume and adding your own article, making your articles better than what they produced on their website. You can make them a little bit longer, a little more in depth, that might help Google rank you a little bit better than they are.
Dee:Actually, I haven’t probably done that enough, I’ll put that back on my list.
Spencer:I would definitely do that. Now that you do have 50 articles or 60 or whatever, you’ve really got a lot of internal linking opportunities. If you have not been doing a good job, I didn’t go through the site to really make a determination but if you haven’t been doing a good job of linking to your previous articles within your own site, it might be worth going back and trying to do some of that interlinking to try and give your pages more link juice, for lack of a better term.
Want to start your own blog?
Let’s say tomorrow you go out and you find a keyword that’s still low competition but a little bit more competitive and you feel like it needs some links, you can go back to half a dozen or a dozen articles that are on your own website and update them to include a link to your brand new article. That’s gonna provide a nice little bump or notification to Goggle, “Hey, this article might be important.” Internal links do help. Now that you’ve got 50 or 60 pages, you can start doing a little bit more interlinking with your articles. That’s something to be thinking about.
Dee:I do that but not enough probably. I don’t go back enough so that’s another reminder to put that on my checklist as well.
Spencer:Unfortunately, there can be a lot of things on the checklist, right? That can help. Like I said, in particular if you’re targeting something that’s maybe a little more competitive, you might want to dive deep into your articles and see what makes sense to link to that new article.
We’ve kind of talked about content, I think you’re doing the right things. Targeting keyword focused articles, but then thinking about every month or so doing a really in depth sort of linkable asset that can produce a lot of links for you, that can be important. There can be cool ideas. If you want to start thinking outside the box, you can certainly do something that is almost purely created to generate links.
For example, the other day I saw an article, anything that ties sort of one popular topic with a separate popular topic can be interesting. What do I mean by that? There was an article written about SuperMario Brothers, the old video game, and they tried to estimate how many miles he ran, Mario runs in the game if you complete the whole game, right? It’s just a really sort of dumb thing but all of a sudden what it did is it tied video games to runners. With that one article, this website was able to reach out to everybody in the video game space and everybody in the runner space. Tons of people linked to it because it is just a funny little infographic, it takes an angle you never though about before.
If you can do that with dogs somehow, I don’t know what that is, but if you can tie a market that’s outside of dogs so you can reach to these people that are in the video games space or whatever to link to your dog site, it’s a great way to get fresh links.
Dee:Actually, it’s interesting. I did one early on because I take my dog stand-up padde boarding. I found it a little bit hard at the time to reach out to other dog sites because I was thinking like, “Is this competition?” I linked out to external sites, some paddle boarding sites. I wrote a guest part on paddle boarding with your dog and that worked really, really well. That might be something for me to do again. I wrote another one recently, we have mountain biking with your dog. Maybe now I can outreach to a mountain biking fraternity. I think it works really well. It’s easies for me to talk and outreach to a different niche than my own, I don't know why.one of a kind.
Spencer:A lot of times it can be because if you’re reaching out to other dog sites, a lot of times you can feel that they’re your competitor, right? Maybe you feel like why would they even respond to me? If you’re reaching out to mountain bikers or somebody else that has nothing to do with pets, they’ll be like sure, that’s cool, I can link to this guy, he’s not competition at all. That’s a good reminder, even for me, to be honest I don’t always do this as well as I should so that’s one of the things I know that I should. If you’re thinking about linkable assets, that’s a great avenue to go with, think about what other markets could I target to get those thresh links?
Dee:I think that’s probably the stage I’m at. I'm at that stage where I need to tie them together. I'm doing a little bit of this, a little bit of that. We just need to tie them together and move forward on what we’re getting at.
Spencer:Yes, try not to let it be overwhelming. Obviously, set a schedule. Like I said, maybe once a month, try to think of a certain unique angle like that. Once you’ve written the article, you spend the entire month doing that outreach and you don’t have to worry about your next one until next month.
Dee:Yeah, that’s a good plan. Just do it and then concentrate on the outreach. I think that’s what I need to do.
Spencer:Yup, absolutely. I think that will help hopefully move the sites to the next level and that really is what it comes down to. Once you’ve targeted the keywords, really the only thing that left outside of the on page optimization is the link building.
The last note that I have on here was monetization which we actually did talk about a little bit. I haven’t looked at all of your articles but I can see you’re doing essentially product reviews and you’re linking to those products via Amazon affiliate, are you doing any product comparison charts?
Dee:No, I’m not. Actually, no.
Spencer:There are a couple of articles I had looked at, it didn’t look like you were. I’ve seen that those can improve your conversion rate. That might be something you want to consider maybe on future articles, maybe try putting in some comparison charts that just makes it very easy for people to see the Top 5 or 10 products in whatever category you’re reviewing in that article. That can really help, that’s something that I do on all of my sites and I’ve seen it work very well.
Dee:I’ll look at that, that’s good.
Spencer:Do you have any additional questions for me? I mean honestly, when I look at the site, you’re doing a lot of things really well. You’ve got the site laid out I think in a user friendly way. You’re building an email subscriber list, you forgot the side bars sort of opt-in form, you’ve got a pop up that comes up. You’re doing a lot of things that are right and for a site that is only maybe nine months old, you’re doing well and you’re on a great trajectory. I would just continue to encourage you to do what you’re doing and implement some of the things that we’ve talked about. I think the future would be good for the site. Any additional questions or thoughts before we sort of wrap up?
Dee:No, it’s actually been great. Probably the nine months that have been on my mind lately is the planning and direction a little bit, what to do with the site, we covered that. Really just taking those points that you mentioned and putting them into a bit of a checklist so that consistency of outreach, consistency of publishing and that consistency of what to do with those articles when they’re published, that’s probably been my latest hurdle. I think you covered that pretty well.
If anyone that is doing this, I think for me it’s a great way to start. It’s following that project, doing it step by step and probably the biggest thing, I can see why a lot of people try this and don’t continue because it’s not easy, it’s not quick, it’s not five mins. You really need to continue and just do it even if you don’t see a lot happening and in the beginning you don’t see a lot of growth, you don’t see any income but it does happen, six months in or four months in. Suddenly, you start seeing people coming. To everyone that wants to give it a try, I really think you just need to stick to it because it does work.
Spencer:Great tips, sort of motivation there. I agree. Especially when you’re just starting out, it does, it takes several months before you see any traffic and earnings of note. It is important to stick with it, have some patience and hopefully the money will start to roll in after that.
Like I said, you sort of hit the inflection point of the curve now. You’re starting to make more and more money every month. $300 like you said, it’s not like you can retire but it is something tangible, right? $300 is $300 and I think that’s gonna keep growing. I think you’ve done great, Dee, and I think the future is good. I would love it if everyone once in a while I can just check back in with you to see how the site is doing and you can keep us up to date in the future months. Sound good?
Dee:Yeah, for sure, I’d like that. That would be really good to keep me on track as well, but thank you. I’m happy with the site and I will continue to build that and hopefully I get some more income. My plan is one day to not be working while I do this so there’s motivation there to continue.
Spencer:Absolutely, we’d love it if you got there.
Spencer:It is great to work on your own schedule and not have a boss so I hope that you can get there. I hope a lot of people listening can get there too. That really is the whole point of doing the podcast, doing the blog post, not just to hear myself talk. I really do hope that people can take the advice, implement it. It is real earnings. It takes time like you said but it really is a small business that you’re running that you can run from anywhere. A lot of people have been able to work full time at it. Having said all that Dee, once again thank you for being on the podcast and thank you everybody for listening.