Niche Website Update 13 – NS3 May Be Lost But We Still Made $933 in Passive Income!

Niche Website2013 finally came to a close, and when it did it closed a big development for me in terms of building new websites.  

Since I began this niche website initiative, we’ve grossed $2,300!  That’s a lot of revenue for a side project!  And in 2014, I’ll be looking to multiply that figure even further.

I’ve learned so much about not only what it takes to create a brand new site, but also all the other things you also need to do and NOT do if you want it to be profitable.  Because I’m looking to build quality over quantity, I have no problem focusing my efforts on only activities that will help promote these sites.  We’ve already seen month over month growth from using this strategy, and I can’t wait to see how far up we can take it in the New Year.

So on that note, let’s take a look at our income report and see what happened with each of these sites in December 2013.


Niche Website Income Report – December 2013:

Niche Website

Awesome! $933 in revenue! 

Overall, I’m very happy with this income report (and a little surprised to see it so high).   That’s a lot of passive income to earn simply because I’m the owner of these websites.  Try making that much money from something else without taking on a lot of significant up-front investment or risk.

Let’s take a look at what was new in December and why we had so much success.


Google Pagerank Increase All Around!

What an early Christmas present!  I was very surprised on Dec 6 to see that the toolbar Pagerank finally increased.  This happened despite so many hints and reports that Google probably wouldn’t update it before the new year (or possibly ever again).

Just to be clear in case you don’t know this – there really are two kinds of Pagerank:

  1. Your toolbar Pagerank
  2. Your real Pagerank score.

Your “real Pagerank” score is a number that is always changing and updating.  But you CAN’T see it!  It’s something that only Google knows and uses.

Your “toolbar Pagerank” by contrast the one you see in your web toolbar or on a site rank checker website.  It is nothing more than a periodic snapshot that Google publishes a few times per month.

Think of it like stepping on a scale every single day to see how much you weigh and then recording it.  Some days you might be closer to your goals and some days you might be far away.  Then on Dec 6 we publically publish your weight.  But on Dec 7 and thereafter, things are certainly welcome to change.  And even though those results aren’t public, whatever your new weight is is still the reality of how much you actually weight (despite whatever was published on Dec 6).

So even though you can’t see your real Pagerank since its constantly changing, Google can.  And they use it as part of their hundreds of variables they use to figure out where your post should get ranked when people search for a particular keyword.

So does that make the “toolbar Pagerank” that we see when we check our stats useless?  From an SEO perspective – kind of.  It lets you know basically how your page is doing; even if it’s not entirely accurate or up to date.

Honestly the only people who really get very excited about the toolbar Pagerank score and even obsess way too much over it are the private advertisers who contact you to do sponsored posts.

My Increase in Pagerank:

So since I haven’t seen my actual Pagerank score update in 8 months since the last time Google updated the toolbar, it was a welcome surprise to see the Pagerank value of my niche sites increase:

  • NS1 went from a 1 to a 3
  • NS2 went from 0 to a 3
  • NS3 did not change and is still a 0

I was completely expecting the increase in NS1.  I had built so many links and put so much effort into this site.

The increase for NS2 was honestly very unexpected.  I feel like a lot more effort was put into building up NS1 over NS2.  But links juice is kind of funny like that.

So how is that relevant back to “making money”?  As you can guess by my long winded explanation above, these sites are now attractive to advertisers now that their Pagerank is higher.  Though this isn’t really an area I plan to use much for monetization, it does increase the overall income potential for these sites.   And that means more money!

If you’d like to learn more about Pagerank, please read my post here.


Keeping the Momentum with NS1:

NS1 continues to be my prize race-horse on all fronts: income, traffic, etc.

All throughout December we’ve continued to keep posting new content to NS1, and it apparently is working very well!  The site continues to have twice as much traffic as my other websites (including My Money Design) and is really starting to accelerate in Adsense earnings.

I had originally planned on not creating any more content for this site once my current queue of posts ran out.  But then Elance had a great deal going where you get a $25 credit if you create a new job.  So I decided to contract out the creation of 10 more articles.  I really have no problems investing more money into this site since we’ve already seen how well that can pay off.


NS2 is Still Doing Good:

NS2 still continues to make a modest income for its size and effort.  Here’s what’s new with the site:

Upgrading to a Professional Theme:

In the last niche website update, I credited part of the increase in my NS1 Adsense revenue with finding a more ad-friendly template.  And then I made a commitment to try the same thing on NS2 and NS3.

The theme I chose for NS1 was not exactly perfect.  It was a free one with quite a few flaws.  But it had the layout I wanted.

So rather than use the same theme, I decided to finally splurge a little and make a business investment in a truly professional website theme.  And let me tell you something: It was worth it!

If you’re using a free WordPress theme, you know how there are always some things that never really look quite right or work the way you want them to?   That all goes away when you buy a professional theme.  You really do get what you pay for!

The theme I purchased was Genesis Magazine Pro.  It had a layout similar to the one I selected for NS1, but it was far more flexible and professional looking.  Plus for a one-time fee I get to install this theme on as many websites as I want or create!   This is great because who knows how many new niche sites I will create in 2014.  Remember that not all professional website themes offer this privilege.  Sometimes there are reoccurring fees or stipulations on how many sites your theme license will work on.  Be careful about comparing these details when you shop around.

Already NS2 looks a thousand times better!  Much more professional!

(In fact I liked the look so much, I used it to update the theme of My Money Design and NS3.  As a business expense, I applied it to My Money Design rather than NS2 since it was more a global expense than particular to just NS2).

Content, Links, and Looking Ahead:

Besides upgrading the theme, not a lot has happened here with this site.

I’ve finally exhausted my supply of new posts.  They’ve all gone live.  I’m still using my VA to build social media links.  But other than that, no extra effort is being invested here.

In the upcoming month I may take a closer look at this site to try to discover how I can optimize it a little further.  I’d love to see it earning just as much in Adsense revenue as NS1.


NS3 Took a Turn for the Worst …

In December I made the decision to NOT pump anymore money into NS3.  And then something bad happened:

  • The site dropped from #25 to #224 for its primary keyword!

Oh No!  What happened?

To be honest I haven’t really invested a lot of time into investigating what happened.  I’m not pointing fingers, but if I had to guess, I’d say that the links from The Hoth package I bought last month probably had something to do with it.  Here’s what I got for my money from The Hoth:

  • 3 new but very mediocre Web 2.0 articles.  Each one had one link pointing to various pages on NS3 (one of them being the homepage).
  • Hundreds of spammy links pointing to those Web 2.0 articles.

I’m speculating, but Google probably picked up on this (since they seem to be getting better and better at doing so) and was not happy.  This type of tiered linking was a system that worked well in the past, but is now outdated and something that Google looks out for.

So after an investment of about $300 (probably the most I’ve invested into any of my website projects without any major return on investment yet), what are we going to do?

My answer: Probably nothing.  Let it sit and move on.

Ironically the site still made about $25 despite this setback.  So that means that at least a few of the articles are still doing okay and may have some potential to attract organic traffic.  With that being said, I don’t see any reason to close the site or do anything drastic.  If I can collect $25 per month for the next 12 months, then I’ll have broken even to say the least.

So while I don’t plan to invest anymore cash or time into this project, I’ll continue to let a few links naturally trickle in using my usual strategies:

  • Social media (using my VA)
  • Building a few blog comments per week.  If you have any doubt about the effectiveness of this strategy, you may want to see Reggie Paquette’s strategy and his link to video from Matt Cutts.
  • Reaching out to my blogging friends to see if I can get a little link love
  • Guest posts

As I mentioned above, I also installed the same Genesis theme I purchased for NS2 on this site.  It already looks a million times better and like a more respectable website!


Getting Excited for NS4!

As I hinted about in my multiple streams of income goals for 2014, there will be a NS4 in the works!

Rebounding off the disappointment of NS3, I’ve decided that if I am to place any surmountable amount of energy anywhere, it will be in developing this new niche website starting from scratch.  And hopefully this time we can avoid the mistakes I made on NS3.

I’m committed to make my next niche site one that is monetized using Amazon.  Not only will it be good to diversify from something other than Google Adsense, but I’ve also read enough success stories from other niche website masters who use Amazon to know that I am missing out on a gold mine!

So throughout December I have been slowly researching and investigating possible keywords that show strong monetization potential.  Of course I’m looking for that perfect storm of a subject that is interesting as well as high in traffic, low in competition, and has lots of profitability potential!  We’ll see if such a magic unicorn exists.  I’m close to narrowing down my list to a few topics that I’m pretty excited about.  Hopefully I’ll have more to report in January!


Readers – Have you ever started a website (whether it was a niche or something else) and decided to “let it go”?  What were the circumstances and what ultimately led you to your decision? 


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
  11. Niche Website Update 11 – Doubling the Size of NS1 and NS2
  12. Niche Website Update 12 – Getting Click-Bombed and Over $600 of Passive Income!

Images courtesy of


  1. says

    Great work mate, that is some decent money.

    I have found that you have to be very careful about the type of link packages that you buy and what type of anchor text diversity you have when linking back to your own site.

    I have actually had a few of my sites hit with penalties, but each one I have managed to overcome by diversifying my link profile, so perhaps that is all that is needed with your NS3.

    Anyway, best of luck in 2014 :)
    Glen @ Monster Piggy Bank recently posted..Saving Money an Extra Dollar at a TimeMy Profile

    • says

      Anchor text is actually something that I usually pay very close attention to. BUT in this case, I may have shot myself in the foot on it with the HOTH package. As long as I continue to build comments and social media links, those anchor text ratios should change and that will hopefully put things back to where they need to be so we’re back in the good graces of Google.

    • says

      I’ll confess Matt – It’s really hard to just let NS3 go when I’ve sunk so much money into it. No one likes a loss or to lose in general. But I know that starting a different site and diversifying the type of income is the right way to take this project.

    • says

      Seeing the money roll in has been both uplifting and incredibly motivating. It makes me want to start 3 more sites just because. But then I come back to reality and remember that you can’t rush progress.

  2. says

    I love these updates. I committed myself to putting more effort into the two niche sites that I already have before going forward with the third. I wanted to get at least fifty blog posts on them. So on CHC I added more amazon affiliate posts and to my surprise, I made a $500 Amazon sale yesterday!!! I am just hoping that this is the first of many. Since I started dripping out my posts the traffic has had a huge spike again. And, last month was the best month I’ve ever had AdSense wise. Woohoo!!
    Alexa recently posted..How to Quickly Write an eBook for Your BlogMy Profile

    • says

      Nice work! December is usually a pretty a high traffic month with people doing Christmas shopping, so it doesn’t surprise me that your Amazon and Adsense both did very well.

      I’ve also come to realize that dripping your posts in is a better system than publishing them all at once. Google seems like when a website gets updated often.

  3. says

    I’m getting back into my niche site as we speak. I did a bunch of work for it but let it sit for a few months while I was busy with other things. I’ve come back to it now with a fresh look and realize that the keyword I am targeting is still a valuable one. I’m working on backlinking now along with creating a nice queue of articles to auto post.

    Keep up the great work!
    Jon @MoneySmartGuides recently posted..The Dangers of Credit CardsMy Profile

    • says

      That’s alright. There were a few times when I had a blank WordPress screen in front of me and thought “What am I doing? This is going to take forever!” You could always sell those domains if they’re really juicy terms. Or at a minimum you could setup some kind of basic template for those domains and then sell them as starter websites.

    • says

      I am looking forward to the prospect that the Amazon-style site will be more lucrative than the Adsense ones. I just don’t understand why some states out-law being an Amazon affiliate? It’s just like when I first found out that some states didn’t allow peer to peer lending or investing. Why? Isn’t it my choice what I do on the Internet?

    • says

      It would be nice if they did, but I can understand why they don’t. Compared to Alexa, Google has to index WAY more webpages than Alexa could ever think to see. Plus Google has made it somewhat of a mission to get people to stop thinking so hard about their PR. I’m afraid that if they did update it daily or even monthly, people would go nuts over trying to manipulate and game their score.

  4. says

    That is some awesome extra income from the niche sites! I started my first niche site mid-2013, but it has been sorely neglected. I plan to work on it this year and see what I can do with it. I’m still learning the ins and outs of monetizing a niche site.

    • says

      I did a similar thing with NS1. I started it and then put it on the back-burner for about 6 months while I focused more on this blog. Once you find the time to commit to it and put laser focus on your efforts, you’ll see a big change. Feel free to email me if you have any specific questions about your niche site.

    • says

      I hear you on getting burnt out! Without VA’s or the help of freelance writers, I don’t think I’d be able to accomplish any of this.

  5. says

    Awesome job! It would be interesting to see a “roundup” post of what you’ve learned from your niche site experiences in 2013. You must have picked up all sorts of tricks, strategies and experiences to help make NS4 (and 5 and 6?) an even bigger success!

    I have two niche sites built over the last few weeks – just need to start promoting now. Wish me luck 😉
    Richard recently posted..What Is The Best Keyword Research Tool?My Profile

    • says

      Thanks Richard and welcome to the site. That’s not a bad idea! Perhaps I can summarize all of these Niche update posts into a concise eBook one day.

      Best of luck on getting starting with those 2 new sites. The promotional efforts can be tricky!

    • says

      Niche sites (or any extra website) is not for everyone. I know how much work and effort it takes just to keep this one going. Sometimes when I have to write and upload content for all of them, I ask myself “what have I done to myself?” :)

  6. says

    MMD – I’m really looking forward to your updates on NS4 – the Amazon site. I’m currently working on my first serious site that will be monetized almost entirely by Amazon. It could be interesting to compare notes.

    Loving your new theme here on My Money Design! I never had the heart to tell you – but your old theme was WAY outdated. I recently switched one of my Adsense niche sites over to a Genesis theme and it is performing awesome as a result!

    Wishing you well in 2014. Let’s grow our passive income streams well into the 4 (or even 5) figures per month this year!
    Matthew Allen recently posted..[Dumb] Passive Income Report for December 2013My Profile

    • says

      Matt! You’re excited for NS4? I’m excited for NS4! I’m anxious to get this project off the ground and out there into cyber-space. In the next update I should have a ton of notes to work through.

      No harm on the old theme! It really was long overdue and time to spruce things up a bit on this site. Genesis just makes it look 1000x more professional!

  7. says

    December was a very profitable month for me because of a few holiday related websites.

    I have started 2014 with 2 new niche websites which have been tested to see if they were driving traffic at all. Both websites are on par atm.

    Good luck for 2014!
    yskan recently posted..Betoverende foto’s van ogenMy Profile

    • says

      You’re welcome! No, most people don’t reveal the names of their niche sites to protect them from copy-cats or Adsense click-bombing. Darn those Internet trolls ….

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