Can you believe the year is almost coming to a close? It seems like just the other day I was writing for the first time about which passive income idea I was going to actively pursue as my next great way to try to increase my side income. Obviously for me I felt that developing a niche site was the option that made the most sense. And so now here we are with almost one year down and three active sites moving along.
This November our niche website portfolio had a lot of ups and a few downs. One big event that was a pretty big scare happened right on the first day! More on that story below.
But luckily we ended the month with a record-breaking bang! And on that note, let’s get down to it starting with the part of these updates that everyone loves to see – our monthly income report.
Niche Website Income Report:
Here is my income report for November ’13:
I’m very impressed that this site continues to keep showing month over month grow in revenue.
The big things I credit this month’s income increase to are:
More posts. In November we had 8 new posts get published. As I’ve discussed before, the strategy we’re using for this site is:
More content -> More ranking keywords -> More organic traffic
-> Higher potential for income!
Changing the website theme to be more Adsense friendly. I was noticing how other niche website developers with statistics and website size similar to my NS1 were making significantly more income each month from Adsense than me.
I decided to get my hands dirty by reaching out to a few of them to see what it is I’m doing wrong. I was very appreciative to receive a response from. Basically he confirmed what a lot of us have probably already read – the Google “Heat Map” to some degree is still the best guideline for ad placement.
In case you’ve never seen it, Google used to publish a color-coded heat map of suggested placements for their Adsense advertising. (There is even a WordPress theme built entirely around it’s concept). Why would Google do that? Think about – the better you do with your ads, the better they do as well. Google has since moved away from this heat map concept and have some new suggestions for advertisement placement best-practices. In case you’d like to see what the old heat map looked like, here it is:
For my NS1 specifically, the problem it had was that hardly any ads were above the fold. So for the sake of experimentation, I went ahead and found a different WordPress theme that was more conducive to the layout he suggested.
Looking back at the increased revenue per individual ad, I’d say it certainly helped!
First of all I’d like to point out that not all of the income for this month was from Adsense. I was very lucky to be contacted for a private advertising deal, and that certainly contributed to the big boost in overall income for November.
Despite publishing the same number of new posts on NS2 as NS1 (eight in total), I did not see quite the same increase in Adsense, traffic, or keyword queries when I compare the two. This is also despite being No. 1 for my targeted keyword!
One thing I will be looking at for next month is to try a new website theme (similar to NS1) that gives me better ad placement using the recommended ad sizes.
NS3 continues to be the runt of the group. It still has the weakest of all my niche sites in terms of traffic, rankings, income, etc. It is also only on Page 3 of the search engine results page (SERP) for Google.
As many of you already know from my last update, NS3 isn’t much of a priority at the moment. This site started out as simply an experiment to see if I could build a micro-niche site that makes it out there on the Internet. It was a failure as a micro-niche, and so we’ve changed direction and decided to build this site up to a “small” niche website of at least 20 pages of content.
Using Elance, I was able to hire enough new posts to bring the article count up to 20. All of them are at least 800 to 1,000 words and very high quality (written by an individual who used to work in a field closely related to the targeted industry).
Throughout November I was allowing the new posts to drip in. As of last week they have all now gone live. So I’ll be anxious to see what December brings for this site as each of these new articles gets indexed and my regular array of back-links get built.
Unfortunately, when it comes to money, I don’t mess around! So I decided to be very bold and try something new with NS3 that I’ve never tried before with any of my websites:
I bought a link building package from a service called The HOTH.
I first learned about The HOTH from reading the niche website progress of NickLeroy.com. His latest niche site attempts had had some success with this service. After a few emails back and forth with Nick, I decided to give it a shot. My NS3 was already performing pretty poorly, so from that perspective the only place we have to go is up! Right?
Next month I’ll let you know how this goes with The HOTH and if I saw any big effects from using it. For now it is too early to tell.
Uh, No! My Niche Site Was Click-Bombed!
And now for the scary, low-point of the month:
On November 1st, NS1 was click-bombed!
In case you’ve never heard this phrase, “click-bombing” is when someone maliciously clicks on your Google Adsense ads in an attempt to mess up your account. This is a pretty serious offense to Google, and they will shut down your entire account if they think you had anything to do with it!
Can you imagine what that means for someone trying like me trying to monetize with Adsense? NO MORE INCOME! All that easy money we’re receiving from people randomly clicking your ads would suddenly disappear.
Unfortunately some troll somewhere decided it would be fun to click on the ads on NS1 over 200 times! Obviously this person knew what they were doing and either had something against me personally or Google Adsense in general.
You can tell you’ve been click-bombed right away when you look at your Adsense account and see a very high click through rate (CTR). In my case there were 219 clicks relative to 832 page views; that’s not natural!
To be honest I was pretty freaked out! Fortunately I remembered reading about these sorts of click-bombing attacks on Niche Pursuits and what you can do about them. Basically there are some plug-ins and services you could try, but nothing too definite that’s proven to work.
If there’s anything you CAN do, it’s fill out an Invalid Clicks Contact Form and submit it back to Google as soon as you discover the problem. This is your chance to let Google know that it wasn’t you trying to brainlessly manipulate their advertising earnings, and that you had no part in what was going on.
I believe with all three sites, we’re at a point where I don’t intend to create or add any new content. NS1 will continue to auto-post the content I’ve already written throughout December until it reaches approximately 50 posts. NS2 is just about out of new material and will max out around 40 posts. NS3 is done for now at 20 posts.
The break in creating / posting new content will be good. We’ll give the sites a chance to just sit and mature.
In the meantime I will be spending more time focusing my efforts that will improve the profitability of each nice website. These efforts will include experiments like trying out different back-linking techniques, driving more traffic, testing alternate site layouts, ad placement, etc.
Preferably we’ll be working on one website at a time; most likely starting with NS3. With over $250 invested in this project, I’d like to start seeing some more promising returns!
In reality there really isn’t any reason these two sites shouldn’t be performing just as well as NS1. I can only imagine what kind of revenue figures I’d be seeing if we had all the cylinders of all three niche websites firing on full blast!
Readers – What do you think? Should we continue to work on developing NS3 and the others, or just abandon it and move on to other niche website projects?
Previous Niche Site Chapters:
- Starting the Next of My Extra Income Ideas – Building a Niche Website
- Niche Website Project Part 2 – The Unveiling
- Building My Money Earning Sites – Niche Website Update Part 3
- Building My Money Earning Sites – Niche Website Update Part 4
- Building My Money Earning Sites – Niche Website Update Part 5
- Building My Money Earning Sites – Niche Website Update Part 6
- Niche Website Update 7 – Site Number 2 Launched!
- Niche Website Update 8 – NS2 on the First Page Search Results Already!
- Niche Website Update 9 – Criticisms of My Second Niche Site
- Niche Website Update 10 – NS3 is a Failure (So Far) and I’m Glad
- Niche Website Update 11 – Doubling the Size of NS1 and NS2
Images courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net