Niche Website Update 19 – Using the 80-20 Rule to Adjust My Priorities – Plus $1,295 in Income

80-20 ruleBefore we get to the latest developments with my side-income generating efforts using my niche website portfolio (and what a great month it was), I wanted to pause for a minute and have everyone try a short exercise I used this month.

I was on vacation recently when I had a moment of clarity and decide to try out this little exercise.  It’s amazing how much your perspective on things can change when you’re physically in a new location and removed from the everyday grindstone of your normal routine.

Here is the exercise I tried:

  1. Take a pen and paper and on the left side begin jotting down a list of all the things you or your virtual assistant work on every week to make your niche sites or blog money.
  2. Now add some kind of monthly dollar figure next to each of those actions.  This dollar figure should represent how much you stand to gain from that action.  For example: Action = Increase traffic to website to help increase affiliate income, $200 more per month.  Remember too also write down how much you stand to SAVE from certain actions that you might otherwise outsource.  For example: I could pay Lightning Rank to write and publish a post for me to help increase my website ranks for $75.  Or I could write a guest myself and ask a blogger friend to publish it.  If I did that, that action would effectively be worth $75 since I didn’t have to pay someone else $75 to do it for me.  After-all, a penny saved a penny earned.
  3. Now on the right side of your paper, re-order your list starting with the highest dollar-value items all the way down to the lowest dollar-value items.

What do you see?  Were the things you’re doing for your blog really in line with things that will truly make make more money with your website?

Or were you squandering your time on activities that aren’t really doing much of anything for your bottom line?

Be honest.  There’s no shame in admitting your priorities were out of whack.  Mine certainly were…


The Power of the 80/20 Rule:

Effectively what you just did in the exercise above was use the 80/20 Rule.  In case you’re not familiar with this concept, it’s a widely accepted theory that states that 80 of your results will come from 20 percent of your effort.  It is also known as a Pareto Chart named after its founder Vilfredo Pareto.

In the case of your website activities, the same is true.  You could probably do 100 things to make some money with your website.  But only 20 of those things will actually bring you any real money (or at least 80% of it).

The trick is knowing which 20% of the things you’re doing right now are the ones that will actually yield those 80% of your results.  But fear not – it’s not that difficult to figure it out once you put things on paper in front of you like you saw in the exercise above.  Sometimes it just takes a reality check to remind ourselves of which things fall into that 20% category.


My Niche Website Income Report – June 2014:

And so on that note, I decided to change direction on quite a few of the things I was working on in June with my niche websites and focus my attention more on the things that were actually producing.

I think the income report will speak for the results.

Niche Website

As you can see the numbers are quite a bit more impressive than what how much money we made during May.

Let’s take a closer look at each and see what’s new with each site.


NS2 and NS1 – Thank You Panda Update!

In case you didn’t know, Google rolled out the Panda 4.0 update in late May and caused quite a rumble for lots of webmasters.

Some people were furious because their websites (and opportunity to make money) went down.  But I was fortunate enough to have a different experience – my traffic actually increased!

All of the sudden the homepage for my second niche website (which we call NS2) is ranking well within the Top 10 search results for a broader keyword with a very large amount of traffic that I was never really attacking.  As you can guess, this is bringing me a great deal more traffic and more clicks on my Google Adsense ads.  Hooray for great content and non-shady link building strategies!

I was strongly considering using this new found fame to add more content to the site and make it even stronger.  But then after doing the keyword research with Long Tail Pro Platinum and using my new Google Adsense Income Equation, I discovered that adding new content to NS2 would not result in nearly as much money as I could be making if I were to add the new content to NS1 (almost five times more).

So with that, I decided to be smart, leave NS2 alone for now, and go where the money is using my budget for this month to hire a freelance writer to produce 20 new articles for NS1.  In addition I’ve also been writing a few new articles myself just to try to keep the content count increasing.  I have a vanity goal to grow this site up over 100 articles before the end of year!

I’m in the process now of uploading the new content to NS1 and letting 2-3 new posts go live every week.  All the while I’m using SocialADR to index the new content and adding lots of internal backlinks.


Love for NS3?

With the few bucks I’m making on this niche website despite doing absolutely nothing with it, I have considered spending a few hours this Summer rehabilitating the site.  The RPM from the click on this site are amazingly high compared to any of the other niche sites I’ve built so far, and I’d still like to take advantage of the opportunity.

At the moment I don’t plan to add any new articles to it.  However the site was made in a rush and the internal linking is not really all that good.  I think something as simple as improving the internal linking could help add value to the internal pages.

The main thing I’d like to do is a few guest posts that will contain a link or two to an article on the site that I believe I can bump into the Top 10 search results.   Other than my time, the cost for this activity will be completely free.  So why not?


What Does All This Mean for NS4?

When I did the exercise above, do you want to know where my forecasted potential income for NS4 ranked within this little exercise I did?

Somewhere near the bottom.

Unfortunately despite a post from Lightning Rank and two more guest posts on completely relevant blogs, the stats for the page have not budged from where they were last month.    More and more its beginning to look like no matter how many hours I’ve put into the site and effort I’ve put into reaching out to other bloggers, none of it is really producing the magnitude of results I want for this niche site.

With less effort and less work on NS1 and NS2, I could probably make 5 to 10 times as much more money than if I were to continue to mess around with NS4.

Does that mean we shut down the project?

Absolutely not.   The site is not a goner.  In fact, I made my first few sales this month through Amazon, and that resulted in $32.  Not a ton of cash, but enough to show me that the site still has a heartbeat.

And who knows …  If my Amazon sales continue to rise over the next few months, maybe I underestimated the earnings potential and should turn my attention (and budget) back over to it.  We’ll just have to be patient and see.

Readers – How many of you have ever taken a step back from your money making efforts (niche website or blog related) and decided to change course based on what potential you saw for future income?  How did Panda 4.0 affect your rankings this month?  Up?  Down? 


Image courtesy of


    • says

      Usually the 80-20 rule gets passed off as a buzz-term in the business / corporate world. But the more you think of it as it applies to different things in your life, it becomes very surprising how much sense this rule actually makes and the perspective it gives you.

  1. says

    Nice work on the income MMD! Nicer still in taking a step back to look at things to see where you really needed to be focusing your efforts. I try to challenge myself to do that on somewhat regular intervals. Sometimes it means you change nothing, but often it means bringing about some change. In terms of Panda, I saw a few rankings slip a little and some up so I think I pretty much came out even.
    John @ Wise Dollar recently posted..Do You Make More Than a Stripper?My Profile

    • says

      I totally agree John. Every now and again you just need to take a seat and look at the view from an overall perspective. Whether or not you change anything about your view is inconsequential. What matters is that you understand what is in front of you and are good with where things are going.

  2. says

    I’ve recently done something very similar by attaching the numbers to the activities. I listed what I though was realistic income figures for certain areas. For example, I want to get CPC advertising on my blog up to $1500/ month. Right now it hovers around $500 and I’ve really done very little to try to increase it.

    So for this goal I broke it down into five mini goals. 1)Build relationships (I’m venturing outside of the PF world) 2) Guest Post 3)Right one post per week from a keyword I get off long tail pro. 4) Work on my social media presence 5)Make my content more interesting by adding different types (video, etc.)

    Hopefully when all of these are consistently worked on for a few months I’ll see some results and be able to move on to the next goal!
    Alexa recently posted..June Income UpdateMy Profile

    • says

      If you could get your CPC up to $1500 per month, that would be outstanding! It would be like having a free mortgage payment every month.

      Interesting breakdown of your goals. Do you view building relationships as #1 because you feel like this will increase your revenue the most?

  3. says

    MMD – one major question begs to be answered. What are your sources for “other income” on NS1 and NS2? Are you selling links on your niche sites or are they some type of affiliate sales? Those figures seem to make up the biggest difference in your income. Would love to hear more about it.
    Matthew Allen recently posted..[Dumb] Passive Income Report for May 2014My Profile

    • says

      Thanks. I honestly do believe we’ve got some great and useful content up on the niche sites. I purposely hired only writers who were knowledgeable about the topics or wrote the content myself. I’ve got a long-term belief that good content will triumph over all the short term link building tricks.

    • says

      Thanks Joe! If you were impressed by that, you should check out the link I placed in the article to my Google Adsense equation post. I’ve got a pretty useful algorithm in there you might enjoy.

  4. says

    We have used the 80/20 rule for years in my optometry practice. You can’t always follow it exactly because there are people in that 80% who need lots of time and it’s just the right thing to do, but if you can take care of the 20%, it really helps the bottom line. I guess you can apply this to just about anything, blogging for sure.
    Kim recently posted..Paying Off Debt Is EasyMy Profile

    • says

      Of course there will always be exceptions to the rule; especially in your optometry case where you were willing to help others who couldn’t really afford it. In that situation you were motivated by principles; not money. I put charity, no matter big or small, in a completely different category. You don’t always make a lot of money doing the right thing, but you can bet Karma is going pay dividends later on.

  5. says

    you’re doing such a great job with your niche sites! It’s something I’ve always considered doing, but I just don’t have the time right now. Maybe when I finish grad school I think figuring out what the keyword should be is usually the hardest part

  6. says

    Glad to find somebody else see the insane value that can come from applying the 80/20 principle. I understand the appeal of adding more articles to try to target more keywords, but what are your current rankings like for your biggest traffic driving keywords? If you aren’t in the top 3, how much link building would it take to get there? It may be worthwhile to focus on improving those rankings instead of finding new terms to rank for

    • says

      Actually that’s a really good point – and I failed to mention this in the post. I am of course still actively working on building links to as many of my potentially “high dollar” webpages as I can through guest posts, links from friends, links from my own sites, etc. Part of my method is to comb through Webmaster Tools, see which words I’m ranking 5-20 in, and then evaluating which ones I should target that could possibly bring in the largest return.

  7. says

    Wow, your adsense revenue absolutely destroys mine. I’m going to have to go take a gander at your post on it!
    The 80/20 approach sounds like something I *should* do… but probably won’t make it to the top of my to-do list for a little bit, as I’m in launch mode with Money Propeller at the moment and there is a lot of work to be done!
    Anne @ Money Propeller recently posted..My Experience with FiverrMy Profile

    • says

      Actually during the launch of a new website is the perfect time to apply the 80-20 rule. It can help you focus on the meaty-important things that will get your income rolling vs worrying about +100 small actions that probably won’t affect the bottom line too much.

  8. says

    I didn’t really see any “blips” at all from the recent algo updates. I certainly saw some ranking increases but I think these are more attributed to the link building I’ve been doing recently. So far things are moving in the right direction though it seems that Google is taking longer and longer to index new links and boost your rankings accordingly.

    I’ve always treated link building as a “softly softly” strategy, adding links slowly, gently and “naturally” over time and paying close attention to what seems to be working and what doesn’t. Then I adjust my strategies as I go to gently creep up the rankings.

    However with number of experts now suggesting it’s taking a month+ for link building to actually improve your rankings this process is becoming a little harder! Still, right now everything is moving in the right direction for my little niche site – long may it continue!

    • says

      I totally agree – slow and steady seems to be what wins the race (long-term) these days. It may take a little longer to build up, but at least you know you won’t have to start from ground-zero the next time there’s an algorithm update and Google penalizes your site.

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