Niche Website Update 15 – A Slow Start for NS4 and $935 in Passive Income!

slow snailIt’s official: I finally have a website that is NOT about personal finance.  My latest creation, niche site 4 (which we’ll call NS4), is up and running. 

For those of you who are new to my updates, this creation is an Amazon based niche website that centers around the theme of music and musical products for sale.

This is latest addition to my collection of niche sites that I’ve been building and promoting to help bring in more passive income.  For this creation specifically my intended goal for this project is to create a website that uses Amazon as its primary source of monetization rather than Google Adsense.  Lots of people who build niche sites claim that they get a far better return with the Amazon Affiliates program than they do with Google Adsense.  That’s because if you can pick a product or group of products to promote that has a higher retail value, you could potentially make more in commissions with each conversion.

Plus: It’s simply a good idea to diversify where your income streams are coming from.  (It’s just like in investing – don’t put all your eggs in one basket).  Having a portion of my passive income come from Google Adsense as well as some place else like Amazon is way smarter than just relying on Adsense forever.

This style of website is a little bit different for me because all I’ve ever written about before was personal finance topics.  I’ve got say – it’s been a refreshing change of pace!

Let’s take a look at what I did (and did not) accomplish during the cold, cold month of February:


NS4 Progress for February:

In early February I registered the domain, setup the website theme, and then began uploading whatever content I had written so far.

Where did that put us by the end of the month?

  • Google Rank for the primary keyword: +500
  • Search queries: 5
  • Visitors: < 250


We’re really off to a rough, rough start!  What the hell am I doing wrong?

Failure 1) Lack of Focus:

I can’t lie.  I do feel as though I should be a lot further along with this project than I am right now.

Unfortunately the main reason I’m not further along than I should be: Lack of focus.

I’ve been distracted by a few other online income projects that have been occupying my attention.  Because time is limited, I have not been able to work as much on content creation, back-linking, and networking as I should.

The Fix: There is really nothing else I can do here except make this website a priority!  I’ve got to start working on the different aspects of building it and get real about outsourcing the parts that I won’t be able to do.

Failure 2) Not Enough Content:

Because I really love music and talking about it, I figured writing about it should be a breeze.  And it was for the most part … when I had time!

Unfortunately I only wrote a total of 1 main post and 8 smaller posts for the website.  That’s an okay start but certainly no where as far along as I need to be to make this site “great”.  I really don’t want to settle until I have as many as 20 posts minimum.  50 posts would be even better!

The Fix: Because I can realize my fault, towards the end of February I did hop on Elance and find a writer to create 10 posts about music for me.

Thankfully I already have Long Tail Pro Platinum and have used it to research a ton of good keywords.  So at least this part of the process is complete.

Failure 3) Not Enough Promotion:

This is one area that has really been stifling my progress.

I was working pretty well with a VA on Fiverr and my original plan was to hire him to find and do blog comments for this new site.  Unfortunately that did not happen.  He felt his schedule was too busy and so he declined my offer (despite it being more generous that what I usually offer).

I tried to hire a few other VA’s through Fiverr, but they all were not able to carry out the assignment.  I also found out the hard way – Fiverr doesn’t allow refunds??  I was able to press and get one, but they said that if I asked again they’d cancel my account???

Just to get some traction, I did start making comments myself.  This was good for me because I’m starting to compile a list of blogs that I can then send out to future VA’s to use for blog commenting.  Plus – music blogs are way less intense to read and comment on than personal finance blogs!

I do intend to find another VA to regularly carry out the blog commenting.  Hopefully I’ll have some good news to report in March.

On the Social Media / Bookmarking front, things have been going smoothly.  My regular social media VA started building links to my new posts using my regular regimen of social media sites.

To help diversify my backlink profile, I decided to change things up by using a social media service called IMAutomator.  The cost is only $12/month which works out to $3 per week; the same as I would have paid a VA.  The benefit here is that unlike when you use a VA a service like this uses unique IP addresses for each submission.  This helps make the links look less suspicion.

Don’t Other Webmasters Do Better Within the First 1-2 months?

Yes.  Most of them do.

However I’m going to let you in on a secret.  Most of the popular niche website builders are able to “game” the system by using their own personal private blog networks to build backlinks to the site right away.

Despite whether you think this is right or wrong, that’s how they do it.  These webmasters get to control their own destiny by artificially getting the links they need.

Unfortunately I do not have a private blog network.  Nor do I know anyone in the music blog world.  So my plan for now is to blaze the trail using white-techniques like I’m already using.  Though it will be a slow-go, I’m fine with going legit and avoiding another penalty like I got with NS3.


NS4 Expenses:

To give you an idea of what it costs to start a new niche website, here is a summary of the points I made above and the relative expenses for each:

  • Domain Registration / Hosting / Privacy: $26 for the year.  Because my iPage website hosting account allows me to host unlimited domains, I can simply share hosting from my “My Money Design” account without any additional cost.  That’s pretty cheap!
  • Logo:  Unlike previous projects, I decided I wanted a really professional look right off the bat and decided to pay to get a nice logo made.  I was able to get one from Fiverr for only $5.
  • Content Creation: As I mentioned, I haven’t really been doing a very good job of making time to create the content myself.  So to take care of this I have hired a freelance writer on Elance to ghost write 10 posts for me at $60.  The cost to find and research keywords for these articles was negligible since I already use Long Tail Pro for all my websites.
  • Blog Commenting: So far only $3 on Elance.  This expense should increase as I find someone who can regularly perform this for me weekly.
  • Social Media:  Since I’m using my regular VA who takes care of this for ALL my websites, this area  adds no extra cost to my weekly expenses.  My only new expense here is the subscription to IMAutomator that I mentioned above for $12.  After about one more month we’ll evaluate it and see if I need to continue using it or not.

Total Expenses: $106

Not too bad!  Originally I was going to try to keep this project under $100 for the first month.  So we’re not too far off.

Given the lack of time I had to devote to this project and the small investment cost for the writing and VA’s, I’m totally fine with this initial investment.


Niche Website Income Report – February 2014:

Despite the short month of February, we didn’t do too bad for income:

niche website

There is nothing new to report for NS1 – NS3.

  • I am out of new content for all the sites and I don’t have any new posts in the works.
  • I am still having my VA make a few social media / bookmark links every week.
  • I’m continuing with my “guest post” effort and including links in there whenever I can.

I have noticed that for the second month in a row my Adsense income has decreased.  I suppose its no surprise then that my Click to Impression ratio has also been decreasing.  If this trend continues I may have to address this concern by spending a little time building new and fresh backlinks back to these sites to breathe some life into them.

Readers – I’m guilty of not spending enough time on my new niche website project.  I’m interested: What do you do to focus on a particular project and avoid distractions? 


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!
  13. Niche Website Update 13 – NS3 May Be Lost But We Still Made $933 in Passive Income!
  14. Niche Website Update 14 – Creating an Amazon Niche Site and $439 in Passive Income!

Image courtesy of


  1. says

    Loving the NS updates MMD. We should do some sort of friendly competition with our new niche sites to keep each other motivated.

    I stated my latest niche site 46 days ago (it’s a recreational hobby website monetized through Amazon) and so far I have managed to collect around 6-7 links from other sites in the same niche simply by asking.

    I have supplemented this link building effort with commenting on big authority sites and even adding 2 homepage private blog network posts. So far I have around 10 sites in my PBN, but most are used for other niche sites and I don’t want to interlink them.

    So far I have only made around $15 on the site, but I can see the potential. Plus my rankings are steadily starting to improve and my “brand name” is fluctuating in the top 3 at the moment.

    Best of luck with your sites mate, I hope you have a massive success!
    Glen @ Monster Piggy Bank recently posted..How much does if cost you to keep smelling good?My Profile

    • says

      Comments like this are encouragement enough for me, Glen! I might take you up on that offer to a friendly competition if NS4 takes off. Right now sitting at +500 for my keyword makes me a little nervous. If it goes belly up like NS3, I’m afraid I’ll have 2 wins and 2 losses, so it’s a little early to tell.

      I can see that the PBN’s really work well. Unfortunately I haven’t invested much time into this area yet. That’s good to hear that the other sites within your niche decided to link with you. If I make some connections with these other music sites I may also try to reach out to them as you have.

    • says

      I know the feeling! You tend to get a little spoiled with the popularity of your main blog when you start a second site. Fortunately this time I’m a little smarter than I was before and am using VA’s much more extensively than I ever was.

    • says

      Thanks John! I’m very optimistic as well. I just need to be more aggressive about getting traffic to the site. Once I have a steady flow of people interested in the content, the sales will take care of themselves.

    • says

      That’s too bad. I still don’t really understand why some states are anti-Amazon affiliates. I guess they don’t like their citizens bringing in thousands of extra dollars in taxable income … :)

  2. says

    Thanks for sharing all this! As a new blogger, it’s been super educational to read about your progress. It sounds like you’re off to a decent start, even if you’ve encountered some challenges.

    I still have a lot to learn, but I’m trying to dedicate a large chunk of my free time to Cashville Skyline. Mornings before work tend to be most productive for me.
    Addison @ Cashville Skyline recently posted..Holding Myself Accountable: The February ReviewMy Profile

    • says

      Mornings are 100% the most productive! There’s nothing more I want to do at night then relax and go to sleep. I find Saturday and Sunday mornings before everyone else wakes up to be the ideal peak of productivity for me.

    • says

      NS2 had a banner ad sale that really helped boost the overall income for that site this month. If only more of those steadily rolled in every other month!

    • says

      I was really, really surprised by that with Fiverr – especially given how popular it is and how much people sing their praises. It’s actually kind of ridiculous for any company not to refund you if you did not get what you paid for; as if they have something hide.

  3. says

    You’re a niche website weapon! I’m trying to take some of your SEO tips etc and implement them on my sites, but I can’t seem to get the hits coming in enough.

    Just downloaded Long Tail Pro just as you did. Can you list some details on the exact process you take to use it on your niche sites?

    I’m not sure how many searches are good to aim for when look for keywords and what price to aim for in average CPC.

    • says

      Thanks in advance if you used my affiliate link!

      To start I use the Platinum addition of LTP because that’s the version that gives you a KC score. Really without the KC score LTP is nothing more than a fancy interface for Google Keyword Planner. The KC feature in the Platinum version is absolutely essential and worth the money.

      Here’s what I did for this Amazon site:

      1) First I browsed Amazon for products I liked and had somewhat high price tags
      2) I would try variations of those product niches in LTP. For example: “best digital recorder software” or “free weight work out equipment”. Avoid actual brand names because it will probably be impossible for you to ever rank above the commerce sites that sell these items.
      3) Search for a great keyword until you find something that gets 1,000 searches or more per month and has a KC of 30 or less. The higher the search volume and lower the KC the better! Don’t worry about CPC unless you plan to use Adsense to monetize your site.
      4) Once you find a great keyword, now try to find related keywords that get +100 searches and have a KC of 35 or less.
      5) LTP has a great export feature that let’s you output your list to an Excel file. Save this file and use it work from.

  4. says

    It’s very impressive (and motivating) that you’re able to earn so much from your niche sites. To be honest, creating one has long been something I’ve thought about doing, but even with all of the guides on the web, I don’t know if I have enough time or energy to complete it right now. I’m still struggling with my main blog, and the monetization from that is lacking (it’s nothing compared to even your NS4). Maybe one day in the future, but for now I’ll just keep learning more. And Fiverr is a total rip. I used it once, and don’t think I would do it again…
    Ryan @ Impersonal Finance recently is historically cheap, but you can still save on itMy Profile

    • says

      When you say you’re having trouble monetizing your main site, what seems to be the problem? How do you WANT to make money from it? (I’ve actually got a post coming up on this very topic on 3/17.)

      I feel your pain. MMD made almost nothing the first year until I started to change some things around and look at things differently.

  5. says

    Always interesting to hear about these developments. I’ve really been working on finding a system that helps me prioritize and focus with all this newfound freedom I have. I’ve tried creating a set schedule where I fill tasks into each time slot and just focus for that period. It’s going okay, but I definitely suffer from a little ADD.
    Matt Becker recently posted..Retirement Planning the Easy WayMy Profile

    • says

      I’ve got a very similar system and also feel as though I struggle with ADD (despite the list)! I’ve found that each Sunday if I make a quick to-do list in Excel and that if I just stick to that I seem to stay on target with most of my goals. The big down fall: Sometimes I just don’t feel like blogging or writing!

    • says

      I have been pleasantly surprised by their continual income despite me doing almost nothing with them. As I’ve learned before – it pays to be the owner of something!

  6. says

    I’m having this problem with my other blog too. For me it’s not so much a lack of focus as it is a lack of time. I think the only way to make it somewhat successful is to hire someone to help, and I’m not really in a position to do that either. It’s a bit of a catch 22.

    • says

      I know that problem! One small trick that helps: Moving content from one site to another. If you’ve got some old posts on BATB that you’d like to see some life breathed in to, then moving them to your other site (as long as their relevant) may be an easy way to do this. Just make sure first that they are not the posts that are naturally driving traffic to BATB!

  7. says

    Personally I don’t worry too much about a new site’s traffic, earnings or rankings for the first 3 months or so. So I wouldn’t be sweating it if I was you.

    It can take time to get used to a new niche, find the linking opportunities, develop relationships and build up a content base. In addition, while using PBN’s might be effective, it’s still a risky strategy.

    Going for the long haul – and building far more natural (and safer) links slowly over time may just be the best long-term strategy for keeping a site ranking – and earning – for years to come.

    I’m enjoying following these updates and wish you all the best with the new site :-) recently posted..How To Create Your Best Resume Ever: My Proven FormulaMy Profile


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