Niche Website Update 11 – Doubling the Size of NS1 and NS2

Niche Website When they say “Rome wasn’t built in a day”, you can add niche sites to that assumption as well.

All throughout October I spent the majority of my niche website effort getting content and uploading it to both of my sites, NS1 and NS2.  As has been the goal for the past 2 months, I’m trying to build each one of these niche sites to be much larger than they are now – 50 or posts or more to be specific.

My current theory (as observed in other people’s niche website developments) is that if I can build them up that high, they will rank for thousands of various keyword queries, attract far more organic traffic, and increase the potential for people to click through on the ads I have placed on them.

So how is that assumption working out?  It’s a bit early to tell since we just got started in October, but here’s how our income is looking so far.


Niche Website Income Report:

Since last month, here is how much money my niche websites have made (along with a few other key details).

Niche Website


Compared to last month, income actually went down.  But this is a little bit misleading.  Last month I had one direct advertisement deal that really helped to boost the profits.  In reality my October Google Adsense income was more than it was in September.  So that does show some small signs that the “more content, more revenue” theory is working.

On direct advertising: Though I don’t plan to rely on it heavily, I do find it unfortunate that so many advertisers STILL rely on Pagerank as their main deciding factor.  Google hasn’t updated the toolbar Pagerank score since February.  And according to this tweet from Matt Cutts, they don’t plan to again until sometime in 2014.  Unfortunately NS1 and NS2 have a score of 1 and N/A, so most advertisers will pass up working with me on these sites even though they receive just as much traffic or more than my blog here.  To combat this, I have been trying to play up some of the other website metrics for my sites such as the domain and page authority ranks.  In some cases that gets them to take a look, but so far not a lot of interest.


No one cares when you make a million dollars if it cost you $1.2 million to get there.  So as part of these income reports, I thought it might be useful to include a tally of my expenses.

Note that these expenses are for costs that are specific to each site such as hosting fees, writing, etc.  I do not include my general link building oDesk costs in here because I tend to have each contractor work on more than one site.  Within my personal accounting, I then expense those oDesk hours against the income I make from My Money Design rather than my niche sites.  The income I make from this site more than covers those weekly general expenses.

It’s kind of funny, but at first glance when you add everything up as I’ve done in this report, I’ve barely made any money at all!

Again, this is just a little bit misleading.  When you treat your websites like a business like I’m now trying to do, what’s really going on here is that I’m taking the revenue I’m making from these sites and reinvesting them into the sites themselves.  For example, last month I took $200 from the previous income we made on NS1 and bought 26 new articles for it.  That will affectively double the size of that site and this should increase the site’s earning potential for months to come.

If you noticed some bigger expenses with NS3, don’t worry – I’ll get into more detail below with what’s going on there ….


The Battle of the Income Strategies:

I’ve realized for a while that Google Adsense isn’t the one and only way to generate revenue.  So I decided to experiment with a few new methods:

Here’s how it’s going:

Skimlinks earnings: 26 cents.

Right now I’ve only got Skimlinks on one of my sites (NS2).  While at first you might think that that’s the reason my earnings have been so low, I should point out that NS2 has just as much traffic as My Money Design.  I’ll probably leave it on there for about one more month and see if things change.  But if they don’t I’ll remove or try a different site.

Now to be fair, Skimlinks is really big on Amazon-type products.  So perhaps using it on NS2 was the wrong fit for this type of affiliate.  If I was using it on a site that was more Amazon product friendly, I might be doing way better. earnings: $8.04

I’m testing this one on my blog here.  In general I like the appearance of these ads a lot better than Google Adsense.  I think they look a lot more natural and less evasive.  But despite that, the only thing that matters is how much revenue you earn from them.  And compared to previous months with Google Adsense, we still have yet to see how things will work out.  Again, I’ll probably try it out for about another month or experiment with other sized ads.

Unfortunately at the moment testing it on my other sites is not an option.  The application for my other sites was denied.  Maybe I’ll see if I can appeal.


Content Creation:

Content creation for NS1 and NS2 has been going great!  I received the last few articles from my NS1 article order.  Most of the articles have been uploaded and are ready to go.

Concurrently I am still continuing to personally write like crazy for NS2.  I’d like to see both sites approximately the same size in number of posts.   Right now with all the material I have, NS2 is about 10 posts behind NS1, so I’ve still got some work to do.  But I’ve been in a pretty good groove and that shouldn’t been too difficult to accomplish.

My current plan for each site is to schedule 2 posts to go live each week.  At that rate that we should continue to keep both sites fresh with new content for about the next 2-3 months until I finally run out of material.

At that point, each site would have about 50 posts on it.  That would qualify each niche website as a medium sized niche site or small authority website.  According to the pros like Niche Pursuits, this is where your best opportunity lies.  This is because the extra content will:

  • Increase the number of ranking keywords for the site overall.  This will lead to increased organic traffic and potential revenue.
  • Increase the page / domain authority and strength of the site.  Not only will this feed into the potential for organic traffic, but it will also make the sites more attractive to advertisers or potential buyers.


Link Building and Being Snubbed from the Carnivals!!!

If you haven’t been seeing MMD around the blogger carnivals lately, there’s a good reason: I’ve been banned!

Yes, unfortunately I’ve learned that the webmaster who controls the blogger carnival entry software has made it so that it denies niche websites from being entered.  Along with that, My Money Design also became black-listed.  It was expressed to me that too many submissions seemed like spamming.  Using a VA is also apparently frowned upon.

This is all very unfortunate because I’ve really enjoyed the carnivals for some time now.  Not only can I find a lot of good people there to network with, but they also have been a cornerstone to my link building efforts for quite some time now.

Fortunately blogger carnivals are not the only trick I have up my sleeve.  I’ve got a few VA’s who are helping me using some other link building strategies with social media, blog commenting, etc.


Anything New with NS3?

As a matter of fact there is.

Now that almost all the content I need for NS1 and NS2 has been created and is slowing being uploaded to these sites, they will eventually go into auto-pilot mode as they auto-post week after week.  That will give me time to safely turn my attention back to NS3.

To get the ball rolling, I have recently done a great deal of keyword research using Long Tail Pro Platinum.  What I wanted to do was find about 20 or so low competition, secondary keywords that I could use as the basis for the next NS3 articles.

If you noticed up above that the expenses for NS3 were close to $200, that’s because I did put down a deposit on getting another package of 15 articles from Elance. Post your job today..  15 articles would bring the site up to a total of 20 posts, and that should qualify my site safely above the micro-niche classification that Google seems to frown upon.

I’m choosing not to give up on NS3 because I’m very excited about the income potential.  The CPC of the keywords I’m targeting are much higher than any other keyword I’ve used before.  That means each time someone clicks on one of the ads, my revenue will likely be a few dollars rather than just a few pennies.

Ironically even though I haven’t really done anything with NS3 other than have my VA make a few social media links, the site continues to creep in rankings for the primary keyword.  Last month we were in the 50’s and 60’s.  This month we’re at 30.

The Bigger Picture with NS3:

Probably the most important thing to keep in mind with NS3:  I want to see if making money off of an outsourced website is possible.

Other than doing the keyword research and uploading the content, I really haven’t done much of anything for it.  All of the writing was outsourced.  All of the link building has been outsourced.

If NS3 can turn a corner (likely after I’ve uploaded the new content) and have some success in generating revenue each month, this will prove to me that a site without a lick of writing from myself can succeed.

And that may become a model that I exploit for future niche website projects to come.  I’ll keep you posted in how that turns out in the next update.


Readers – How have your experiments with monetization been going?  Has anyone had any more or less success with one service over the other?


Previous Niche Site Chapters:

  1. Starting the Next of My Extra Income Ideas – Building a Niche Website
  2. Niche Website Project Part 2 – The Unveiling
  3. Building My Money Earning Sites – Niche Website Update Part 3
  4. Building My Money Earning Sites – Niche Website Update Part 4
  5. Building My Money Earning Sites – Niche Website Update Part 5
  6. Building My Money Earning Sites – Niche Website Update Part 6
  7. Niche Website Update 7 – Site Number 2 Launched!
  8. Niche Website Update 8 – NS2 on the First Page Search Results Already!
  9. Niche Website Update 9 – Criticisms of My Second Niche Site
  10. Niche Website Update 10 – NS3 is a Failure (So Far) and I’m Glad

Images courtesy of


    • says

      Thanks Holly and great to hear you guys are getting into the niche site game. Feel free to email me if you have any questions. I’m always glad to help.

  1. says

    I cannot believe they banned you from the carnivals!! I just started using a submission service for Single Moms Income and Defeat Our Debt. That’s crazy. I see people with several sites listed in the carnivals all the time. If they let them do it, why not you? In way of revenue things are looking pretty good for you. I am try to get on a better schedule now of posting to my sites but I think I need to do a bit more keyword research.
    Alexa recently posted..Staying on Target: October Update and November GoalsMy Profile

    • says

      I was pretty shocked to learn I had been black-listed without a warning or anything of the such. But what can you do.

      I’m pretty excited myself to see the earnings increase. October was the first time my Adsense account made it over $200. That’s a huge milestone for me, and very encouraging!

  2. says

    Good work MMD! I’ll be interested to see how the more content strategy works out and would be inclined to think that it should. Sorry to hear about the Carnivals, I am really hoping he doesn’t make it so VAs can’t submit posts. I understand the need to cut down on spam, but think there can be a balance. I just started buying a few domain names myself, so hopefully I can get started here soon. :)
    John S @ Frugal Rules recently posted..What is the Key to Success When Paying off Debt?My Profile

    • says

      Thanks John. I’m pretty confident that the content strategy will work out well. Every time I’ve read about a truly successful niche website, it was always due to having 50-100 quality posts. I think there’s a lot of things you can do to game the system one way or the other, and you might see some temporary success. But to really get people to stay interested, a human reader has to express interest and like what they are reading.

      I’ll be very interested to see what you come up with for a niche site!

    • says

      That’s a really excellent question Sam. To sum it up: Diversification.

      The goal of these niche sites was to create multiple financial streams rather than just put all my eggs into one basket with just MMD. Having multiple sites allows me to experiment with income strategies, link building, SEO, content creation, etc. In fact, I’ve probably learned more about blogging and website creation from these niche sites than I have from running MMD. Ultimately I hope that each one will eventually pay out over $1,000 per month (a stretch but possible). Maybe that won’t happen and I can just sell them off for a fixed price on Flippa for +$1,000 each. Either way I win.

      Producing niche sites has also been a good way to diversify my writing. In the early days of MMD, I felt like I had to write about anything and everything. Now with other “personal finance” sites, I can vent some of my ideas out through other channels and save some of the focused stuff for here.

      Unfortunately with MMD, I’ve honestly I’ve tried so many things to make this blog more successful and able to produce income. But I feel like I’ve hit a brick wall in terms of what I could differently. Until I get any brilliant ideas, this system of writing one post per week seems to be working well for me.

      Also, the Google updates do not scare me. Google has been making updates for as long as they have been around. Yes, the recent ones have been a little intimidating. But I think people have to remember that when Google does this kind of stuff its to eliminate all the garbage. So if you’ve got a quality site, you shouldn’t have anything to worry about. I really believe the people who fear the Google updates the most are the ones who have something to hide – black/grey hat links, blog networks, crap content, etc.

        • says

          Dividends and capital gains will play a very strong role in my someday early retirement. (I have a pretty lengthy post coming up in about two weeks about all of this.) It’s been a while, but I used to do a quarterly post about my dividend stocks and the payments I’m collecting on them. I’m only five figures invested in them so far, but over the next 3-5 years I plan to push that up to six. Blog income will play a big role in this effort. Right now most of the profits I take in from my website ambitions go from my Paypal account to my brokerage account.

          Real estate is something I’ve very strongly considered and still return to often as a possible alternative income stream. I’ve worked out the numbers in a number of exercises here and here convincing myself that it would be a very worthwhile opportunity. Unfortunately at this point in time it just doesn’t seem to be in the cards for me. Long hours at work and trying to raise a family are not very conducive to managing one or more rental properties, doing renovations, or flipping homes. But someday!

  3. says

    Great update MMD, it is really fascinating to follow along as you document your progress. I haven’t ever considered a niche website per se, but have definitely thought about creating a second site for myself. You have given me something to thing about for sure.
    writing2reality recently posted..Prosper – June 2013 UpdateMy Profile

    • says

      Glad to hear I’m perking your curiosity. Having a second or third site is a lot of fun, but it is not for the faint of heart. You have to go into it with a plan for how you will manage all the work, linking, content creation, etc. Otherwise you can easily overwhelm yourself and get buried in the process. And that won’t be any fun!

    • says

      Thanks Chris. I thought I had solved the time problem by using VA’s, but that kind of back-fired on me. Oh well – I’ll just have to build links elsewhere.

  4. Debt and the Girl says

    That sucks your website was banned. I have been trying to submit my blog to more carnivals as well. It has helped increase my number a lot.

    • says

      You’ll probably be just fine. I think when the software noticed the same IP address from my VA applying for +60 carnivals per week it just automatically blacklisted me.

    • says

      What’s worse is that I noticed within the last year a lot of the hosts who were running them switched the links to nofollow. That kind of became a negative for me.

    • says

      Yeah, with blog carnivals apparently you’ve got to be careful how many and how you apply to. They will pay attention and revoke those who they feel are “spamming” them.

      Thanks for the compliment on the update. If you ever need advice and can’t find what you’re looking for, feel free to email me.

  5. says

    Love these posts MMD. I’ve been thinking a lot about what I want to do online and I’m pretty sure that trying out one of these niche sites is actually the route I want to take. I’ve been doing some extremely limited keyword research with the free Google tool. Ideally I’d like to find a topic where there was a clear monetization strategy beyond adsense. I’ve been reading through Pat’s niche duel posts and one of the reasons it seems like his sites are successful (beyond having a huge reader base that he can get to go to and link to them) are that they’ve had natural courses/products that they could become affiliates for. That, to me, seems like where you could really start to make money from one of these things.

    Anyways, I’ll probably be reaching out to you directly soon to get some more advice on how to get started. Right now I’m still trying to read up on the topic and make sure I’m approaching it with at least some sense of what I’m doing.
    Matt Becker recently posted..How to Start Investing From Scratch – Part 1My Profile

    • says

      Glad to hear I may be inspiring you Matt. If you ever have any questions and need some direct answers feel free to reach out.

      The Pat Flynn updates are good to read, but you may find the Niche Site Project 2 Updates on Niche Pursuits to be more useful and focused. That series is really cool because the author, Spencer, is coaching a student on how to build a niche site straight from scratch. There is a TON of good information that will be valuable to not only future you’re projects you’re thinking about taking on but also on your current blog.

  6. says

    Thanks for sharing your performance!

    I fell into blogging as an experiment and it’s been eye-opening learning the ins and outs of monetization at this level.

    Perhaps I’m still clinging to my naivety, but I’m hoping I can reach profitable levels organically while still doing the majority of my blogging myself. Time will tell.
    Jack @ Enwealthen recently posted..Great Enwealthen Anniversary Giveaway 2013My Profile

  7. says

    That is too bad about the carnivals. It’s not like you were sending poor quality niche site articles. I know your sites are set up to look and feel more like blogs.

    You really seem to have a handle on outsourcing link building. I wonder if you might consider writing a detailed post on that one day? I really need to start outsourcing some link building tasks myself – as I hate doing that stuff and I just can’t keep up with it.

    Glad to see you are making progress. It wasn’t that long ago that you thought NS1 would never make page one of Google!

    • says

      Thanks Matt. I’d love to write a more detailed post on link building. But to be honest – I’d feel like I’m just ripping off Niche Pursuits because that is where I seem to get a lot of my up-to-date tips. Most of what I do is just simple white hat stuff – internal linking, commenting, social media, and a few guest links with my friends. Nothing too fancy. I have strongly considered taking things to the next level by consulting a professional or agency. Maybe I’ll give it a whirl with NS3!

        • says

          I’ve actually tried the oDesk / Elance route a few times now with no luck. But I fear the failure is in my method. For example: I’ll post an ad for a link building expert and then get flooded with low quality applicants (even a few VA’s I already let go of). All of them claim to know SEO or have gotten various niche sites to rank. But then once they get hired, they either ask me what to do or just don’t do anything at all. A better approach and what I probably need to do is find a good referral to use.

  8. Dion Lynk says

    Good is good, as we wait patiently for great ~ Me, but sounds poignant enough that some great thinker could have coined it. It’s great to see that all of your NS’s are turning profit. It does take a while, and we all know what “a while” means, but hanging around and not giving up on a site is everything! I’ve thought of blog carnivals, and now that I hear first person accounts on how the networking opportunities can be as beneficial, I think I’ll join a few.

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