Welcome to the March edition of my niche website update.
Every month we review the progress of my growing website collection and how they are performing financially.
Building these websites and making money from my blogs is a very important part of enhancing my personal finance goals. This ongoing side hustle is just one of the ways I create passive income streams in addition to my normal working income and becoming financially independent.
March was a busy month for us. We worked really hard to build up my latest (fourth) niche site NS4. NS4 is a music niche website that will use Amazon as its primary source for monetization.
We also did a little maintenance on the old websites and had a few welcomed surprises.
Here’s what’s new:
NS4 – The Good:
This month we had a singular focus – build, build, build NS4!
Here’s a few highlights of things we accomplished:
Lots of new content.
The first (and most important thing) is that we added a ton of new posts to NS4.
The first batch of articles that I purchased through from Elance and they weren’t bad! Each one targets a very specific keyword with a Long Tail Pro Keyword Competitiveness (KC) score of 30 or lower. It also has a search volume of at least 100 or more.
I had to tweak a few things here and there in each of the articles; mostly for SEO purposes. But all-in-all the posts were pretty good and will work good for the readers of this site.
As a follow-up I ordered another 15 articles from the same author. Again, just like the first set of articles, these will each target one particular keyword in the hopes of that page ranking well organically.
I expect to have all of them received and uploaded before the end of April which will give us approximately 35 pages of unique content altogether. So far we’re up to 25.
Keywords are finally ranking.
This accomplishment goes hand in hand with the addition of new content.
Because each new post is written using proper SEO guidelines and targeting very specific keywords, it comes as no surprise that more and more of my articles are starting to rank organically.
All throughout March I was checking my Webmaster Tools account like it was the stock market. Every time the number of search queries for my site increases, that’s good! It’s simply another opportunity that someone might eventually find their way over to my NS4.
The only thing to look for after the keyword rank is to then start finding ways to help improve them rank even better!
Automating link building for super cheap.
In case you don’t already do this, you can easily automate your social media link building for each and every post you write. This is especially useful if you’re like me trying to get lots of backlinks to a brand new site!
Last month I mentioned I was using IM Automator to do this. But I decided to drop them and go back to SocialADR. Upon investigation, I decided that the social media sites used by SocialADR were better and would ultimately result in better traffic opportunities for the posts I submit.
I decided to go “all in” and buy a year’s worth of credits up-front for just over $100. Though that may sound like a lot, you have to consider that that’s only 1-2 cents per social media or bookmarking link. That’s pretty cheap!!
Plus it’s really easy to use. Once your post is listed, you don’t ever have to do anything. The users of Social ADR submit your post for you for as long as you want!
I hired a VA for commenting.
Blog comments are the other super easy way to build up backlinks to your new website.
Because I’d like to automate this process as much as possible, I was successful in hiring a virtual assistant (VA) to help make several blog comments on music related websites leaving a link back to my niche site.
Because I’m genuinely interested in the topic, I have also been leaving a few comments myself when I have time.
This borders into shady area, but I was able to secure at least 2 blogroll links to my new website through gigs on Fiverr. Both sites were related to the music niche and PR1 or higher. Not too bad for $5!
NS4 – The Bad:
Despite all that hard work, there were a few disappointments to report for this site also.
Almost no traffic.
Unfortunately the site is only currently attracting around 10-20 people per day. (I wouldn’t be surprised if 5 or so of those visits were just ME!)
I do feel like more content and links will lead to more keywords ranking organically. And then that will lend itself to sustainable traffic. This concept was proven with NS1 and NS2. Both of those sites receive more traffic than MyMoneyDesign.com, and that’s without hardly any promotion!
So I must be patient for ranking and continue to keep adding content and links.
No revenue yet.
As you can guess, little to no traffic = no clicks to Amazon and no commissions. Darn!
Let’s face it: Your income is your report card.
Until money is made, you haven’t done enough!
So until I start seeing some passive income from this niche website, I won’t really feel as though I’ve been effective at developing this site.
Not ranking well for the main keyword.
If you use Long Tail Pro to see how well my site ranks for the main keyword we’re targeting, I’m not even on the radar! The main page is ranking No. +500 – that’s somewhere in the dead zone!
Obviously the goal is to be on Page 1 (top 10 search results) for your main keyword because that’s where your organic traffic is most likely going to find you.
I was worried this would happen since my website name does not contain my keyword phrase. That was done on purpose because I wanted to use a name that was “brand-able” rather than keyword rich. Plus that seems to be the new thing for most SEO’s. Though I’m sure I could eventually get the site to rank okay for the main keyword, it is a little unorthodox for me based on history since both NS1 and NS2 contain the keyword in the title and rank wonderfully on the first page.
Anchor text is all out of proportion.
Unfortunately since the site is so new, the anchor text pointing back to NS4 is all out of whack. One of the blogs I commented on placed a link to my site in the sidebar which then resulted in over 2,000 backlinks back to my site! Though I appreciate the backlinks, it threw my anchor text diversification all for a loop, which then has consequences on your search rankings.
The only cure here is to keep building links and making sure they are diversified.
Niche Website Income Report – March 2014:
The money is always the exciting part! So here it is – Here’s a look at how we did for the month of March:
What’s going on with my Adsense income?
For 3 or 4 months in a row, I’ve noticed that my Google Adsense earnings have been going down. This is directly related to NS1 and NS2 since they make up the majority of my earnings.
Since I’ve started keeping track of my website stats, I can see that there is a correlation between the decline in traffic and the decline in earnings. So what can we do to fix this? Get more traffic to my sites of course!
For these two sites that’s going to be a matter of freshening them up a bit. That could mean adding new content, building new backlinks, or even making a few changes to the existing site. There will be a little more on this below as we go into April.
Just to point it out: We’re up to over $200 in expenses for NS4 without having earned anything yet.
Though I started off wanting to keep things to less than $100, I found it incredibly difficult to produce enough content and give the website enough attention to do everything myself. Plus I needed assistance doing such things as blog commenting and social media.
The reason I point this out: If you’re interested in building niche websites the way I am, there is going to have to be some initial investment. And that means taking on some risk of a loss if the website is a total flop.
How Are the First 3 Websites Doing?
We’ve covered a lot of ground with NS4. In case you’re wondering what’s new with the other 3 websites, here are some updates:
NS3 is back from the grave!?
When last we left, NS3 was a corpse of a website buried somewhere in the desert never to be heard from again.
But then just this month we made over $10 in Adsense with it.
What did I do to earn that?
Nothing! I did not build any new links and I did not add any new content. Yet somehow my site went from No. +500 to No. +56 for the main keyword. The other keywords are also now ranking once again (my search queries shot up from 93 to 307).
The only thing I did was go to the main page and change the keyword density. I did a quick audit of my site one day and found that my main keyword appeared almost 18 times on the first page! That’s not good and was certainly not helping with the Google penalty I had received (which I believe was a result of The Hoth link package). The reason my keyword appeared so many times was because it was part of my website title. So it was not just in the content but also in the header, sidebar, footer, etc. Anyways I reduced the keyword density down to 5 or 6 counts, and I believe that helped lift the penalty.
For the moment I still plan to do nothing with this site and leave it alone. I’m content to make a few bucks in Adsense on it to recoup some of the expenses that went into building it. However this does give me some shimmer of hope that if I do return back to this project it won’t be a complete disaster. It will at least be in a state that I can work with and possibly do more with.
Continuing to guest post on other blogs.
As I mentioned last month, I’m still exercising my guest post campaign and including links to my niche sites within them. This is a strategic backlink strategy where the goal is to strengthen the authority of these linked pages. Plus guest posting is a fun way to connect with other bloggers.
Hired a blog commentor.
NS1 and NS2 have lost a lot of backlinks over time (as websites will naturally do). So I thought it would be a good idea to hire a VA to do blog commenting on other personal finance blogs to try to build up some of those links again. This will also help to give the sites some much needed exposure throughout the PF community.
Future plans to use SocialADR more.
Since I’m finding the links on SocialADR to be so cheap, I may end up adding a few select posts and opting to have some backlinks drip back to those pages. Again, this would be a strategic move to build up the authority of these pages and hopefully help them to rank more successfully within the search engines.
Research for more content?
I was doing some keyword research for NS5 (yes I’m always scheming) and thought I had come across another gold nugget of a keyword. However a closer look revealed that only 4-5 of the related keywords would be worth going after, and so I dropped it. However the keyword would actually make a decent fit for NS1 rather than stand alone as their own website. So with 60 pages of content on NS1, I’m not afraid to keep going with content development if I find more keywords that will fit the bill. Or perhaps I might find something worthy of NS5 after all! We’ll see.
Readers – What did you do to first start attracting an audience to your website? It can be for either a niche website or even your own blog – I’m interested to hear what strategies worked well (and even which ones didn’t).
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
- Niche Website Update 12 – Getting Click-Bombed and Over $600 of Passive Income!
- Niche Website Update 13 – NS3 May Be Lost But We Still Made $933 in Passive Income!
- Niche Website Update 14 – Creating an Amazon Niche Site and $439 in Passive Income!
- Niche Website Update 15 – A Slow Start for NS4 and $935 in Passive Income!
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