Unfortunately after many attempts, my niche website has still not broken into the ultra competitive Top 10 in the Google search engine results (SERP) for my main keyword. While some may call that a disappointment (since the goal for most money earning sites is to make it to No. 1 and start generating revenue), I’m not completely sure that all hope is lost just yet. I have noticed a few very interesting things that put a little bit of sunshine over my situation. Let’s take a look at them:
First off, my Google Adsense account for the past two months has generated about $35 each month.
Although this does not break the bank, that’s not all that terrible – especially for not being on the first SERP like I aim to be. So that makes me think that with perhaps a little more effort, I could potentially increase this my prospects. Why do I think that?
Well, consider that if I am making SOME money, it has to be coming from somewhere. So where?
Without hardly any real promotion or activity, I can see in my Google Analytics account that the site has averaged around 75 to 100 visitors per day.
When I compare that to the incredible amount of effort to get My Money Design to the same traffic levels, I am amazed that this has happened naturally on its own. (Though I do note that some of that traffic may be a direct result of these public updates).
So with some organic traffic and some earnings, what is going on here?
The answer is simple:
- While I’m not ranking No. 1 for my main keyword, that doesn’t mean that I can’t rank on page 1 for other popular keywords.
Just take a look at my Google Webmaster query results.
As you can see, my posts are getting picked up for more and more search queries as I add more and more articles.
A more thorough review of the results shows that:
- My money earning site is ranking on Page 1 for at least 12 versions of keywords
- Each of those keywords is bringing in traffic
As I scroll down my Webmaster results and compare that to my main keyword (not shown), I appear to have no click-through traffic from it whatsoever.
Niche Website Conclusions:
With 20 high quality posts on the site, all between 500 and 1,000 words and SEO compliant, the site does appear to have some potential as it seems to be getting found naturally by regular visitors and having some small conversions. But the main whale post on the homepage seems to not be receiving any attention at all from organic traffic. So perhaps this is where the biggest avenue of growth can come from.
So at this juncture, I’ve decided to do the following:
- Leave the site alone for a while and see what happens to the earnings, rankings, etc.
- The only thing I plan to do is some minor backlinking to make sure the site gains some metric popularity.
- I’m going to discontinue adding any new posts. See below and I’ll tell you why. I could of course always come back and add more content later if I really wanted.
Outsourcing My Link Building?
I’ve been pretty cheap when it came to this niche site because I wasn’t really sure what would happen. It could be a complete flop or maybe it wouldn’t.
I think altogether I’ve spent about $25 on the site for the domain registry and privacy protection. The monthly hosting is free because iPage allows me to have unlimited domains under one account. So this niche site piggybacks onto My Money Design.
So taking a step back at where the site has gone so far and what I’m personally capable of as far as link building and SEO, I had to ask the question:
- Should I open up my wallet and pay someone else to do the link building?
After all, just like when you don’t know how to fix something around the house, it simply makes sense sometimes to outsource it. Sometimes these kinds of things are better left to the pros. Even Spencer from Niche Pursuits used a virtual assistant to build some of the links for his No. 1 niche site. Scroll over to the “Link Building for My Niche Site” section.
So there I was – all set to outsource my link building campaign on eLance when I was abruptly persuaded by a blogger friend NOT to do it. He made a valid point that choosing the wrong service provider could do more harm than good, and that I was in a much better position having control over the issues myself. Plus with the site so close to page 1, why risk it?
So for now, I will continue to build the links myself manually while I give the content creation a rest. I think this is a fair trade-off of time and effort. And if my earnings increase, that will only prove my point further.
But to my readers: Does anyone have any experience with outsourcing link building? Any horror or success stories?
Adding More Money Earning Sites?
Just like I alluded to in my previous post, I do have intentions to try this whole niche website process over again BUT this time with a much better targeted keyword. That means doing first things first: Finding THE RIGHT keyword through a valiant effort of research. Looking for keywords may not be the most exciting part of the website creation experience, but I do have strong beliefs (after witnessing it first hand) that the right choices with high traffic and low competition CAN equal extraordinary results.
So here’s some good news: I believe I may have my next target for Niche Site 2. This is why I mentioned above that I would probably stop creating content for my first niche website and spend some time researching this opportunity. Obviously this is a very early announcement and I still have a lot of work to do before I can move ahead with it. But I am very excited to give this another try and see what happens. With any luck, I will be able to turn this into a portfolio of money earning sites before the year is over!
Readers – How have your extra niche website projects been going?
Previous Niche Website 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
Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net
John S @ Frugal Rules says
It sounds as if you may be taking the right approach MMD, especially as you’re starting to get some traffic and it’ll be interesting to see where things go as you do not add any more articles but do continue the manual link building. I don’t have an extra site yet, but am definitely thinking about it.
If you do get around to building one John, let me know. I’ve got plenty of advice for things that worked and things that didn’t. But then again you built a site that shot up to a PR4 in a matter of months, so maybe I should be asking you for all the advice!
KC @ genxfinance says
If you’re planning to outsource SEO or link building, make sure they’re organic. No black hats techniques or you’ll get burned. Keep it as unspammy as possible. But I think you already know that. 😉 Good luck.
The first line of my ad was “white hat tactics only!” I definitely do not want to see this project get burned, and that’s why I didn’t ultimately go with the outsourcing. But the door is still open. I’m willing to give it a try for the next project.
Scott Jenkins says
You’re starting to see the potential in long tail keywords there. It will drive you much more traffic than ranking for a specific keyword usually will.
Layered Links is exactly the way you should be building links. You can copy their formula if you want but it’s not a secret. Contextual links across many different platforms for your first tier, and then build some spammier links to your first tier to juice it up.
I think overall you’re doing a great job. Keep it up!
Thanks Scott and welcome to the site. I’ve read quite a bit about the two tier system for building links, and understand how it can be effective. Perhaps if I build enough manual links I can revisit outsourcing my link building to the first tier and see what happens. That would be sort of a “can’t lose” situation because whether the outsource packages are spammy or not would be completely irrelevant.
I will need to check out your site. The name is intriguing.
What is your opinion on using a fiverr gig to build some spammier links to the tier 1 properties? Or how would you suggest building those?
As far as adsense goes I don’t think $34 in a month is too bad at all. I think I picked an easy keyword to rank for with my site but not enough income potential. I am going to keep working on it until I am content with the content. Then I am going to pick a new keyword and try again.
If we keep trying we will eventually be niche site pros. 😉
I keep telling myself that if I keep at it, then things will get better!
The income potential was and remains a huge part of my selection process. I’ve found dozens of long tail keywords that would make great choices, but they all have very low CPC. Until I become more experienced and ready to move on to something other than Adsense, I’ll have to make sure that all my choices have a high income potential as well as low competition. Since my niche is finance, this is usually a pretty safe bet that most of the phrases have high income potential. I was pretty happy with $34, but I’ll be a lot happier when it’s $500 per month. I’m just going to keep experimenting!
You can do it! You have made good progress already you just need to give it some more time to make it up to the $500 mark
Both my ego and my wallet certainly hope so! 🙂
[email protected] says
Finding the right keyword should, as you point out, always match up to appropriate content. Thanks for the reminder!
Agreed! Without the content to support it, you’re not going to rank strong for very long.
Financial Independence says
Thank you for sharing this very interesting and valuable experience.
I have a nice site of my own, whih rans number 1 in google on th related topic. At the moment site generatesabout $50-$100 a month. My personal experience that it i somewhat disproportionate time invested vs. returns.
I didnot outsourced any external links, but instead kept on posting updates nd additional rcticles. Now here is almost 70 of tem. Took about year to get there.
The topic of the web site is quite dear to me, so it was purely out of joy, raher anything else. I could quicker earn money working in McDonalds, than spendig hours in front of PC otherwise.
It’s funny you should bring that up. I often wonder if this whole niche site pursuit will eventually pan out or continue to trickle a few hundred dollars my way over the course of the year. Obviously I have high hopes given the success of the masters like Spencer from Niche Pursuits and Pat Flynn from SPI. But I’m hoping my luck turns around shortly and makes this a more profitable activity. It is fun, but earning money is a lot funner. My hope is that opening up my wallet and outsourcing parts of the activities may speed things up and reveal if this is truly a worthwhile exercise.
I agree to mess with something that is so close to where you want it to be. Keep adding posts here and there and building the site up. That’s what I would do, to continue to drive traffic. I’m not SEO pro and don’t have a niche site but I have read so much on SEO this past year and a half that my head wants to explode. I do know from experimenting that it makes a huge difference. Keep up the great work.. your adsense is awesome to me… heck anything over $0 is awesome to me!! Cheers mate.
Well thanks! I’m also excited to be making more than $0, but my goal was more like $500 per month. I’ve got a ways to go.
Adding more content would probably help, but my mindset has already moved on to the next project. I’ll be creating content for that one instead.
Modest Money says
Sorry but I have to laugh at your blogger friend who urged you not to outsource link building. It seems that some people are just too paranoid. Yes there are plenty of lousy link builders out there, but finding a good one would take things to the next level much quicker. You just have to do your due diligence before hiring someone. You can e-mail me for a recommendation if you want, but the guy isn’t too cheap.
Thanks for the offer Jeremy, and I’ll take you up on the recommendation. Let me just say: I’m not opposed to outsourcing the link building. You’re absolutely right that there are good ones and bad ones out there, and you just have to be careful. But chances are in this instance my friend was probably right. Picking the most popular package from eLance was probably not the way to go and ultimately spammy. But I’m game to try new things.
Daisy @ Suburban Finance says
I think $35/month is actually pretty good for that many pageviews/day. Just keep building it up and I am sure it will get there.
Thanks Daisy. We’ll see where the link building takes us and then move on to the next project.
You should keep on the path you are remember slow and steady wins the race. With SEO and linkbuilding its a little grey ok a lot grey. Some things work today and not tomorrow. There are always updates in search. Actual BUILDING of links is suppose to be bad. People stress great content but you need to make sure people are seeing the content. If you choose to outsource go with a referral source. Use someone who has been recommended and get references. Last thing you want or need is something that will kill your site. what you are making is good and i would say good for the longer tail keyword phrases. Too often people attack the head term like car insurance or travel insurance. There are a lot of things people are typing in when looking for car insurance that are a lot less competitive that will get you to page one. When you get those pages to page one make sure you have a link to several other pages from that page with your head term as anchor text that are interlinked.
Good suggestion. Perhaps I will go with someone that is recommended rather than hand-picked. The rules are always changing and I have the basic white-hat techniques down. Unfortunately the competition for my keyword seems to be getting stiffer, so I may need to bring in the big guns.
Chris @ Stumble Forward says
When it comes to outsourcing links stay away from things like Fiver and places that promise thousands of links for only a few bucks. Google is very good at spotting these kinds of links.
What I suggest is hiring a writer at Elance and have them write up 10 guest post at a time that are well written for $12 to $15 per article you can get some great content and then just submit them to various high quality blogs.
Doing things this way ensures you know what kind of links you’ll be getting are high quality and won’t hurt your site.
I’m also planning to start my next niche site here shortly as well since I’m following along with Pat Flynns NSD 2.0 program.
Definitely no Fiver. I looked at those ads. 1,000 links for $5? Doesn’t that look like a red flag to anyone?
Chris, that is brilliant! I didn’t think to have guest posts outsourced. That would save a lot of time and get much richer, deeper links out there.
I had a laugh with myself when I saw that Pat Flynn started up his niche site series again at almost the same time I started experimenting with it. Purely coincidence. Though I’m not exactly following along, I am finding some of his guest posts and interviews to be helpful. There is a wealth of information baked into some of those podcasts.
Matt Becker says
I love these posts because they give me a lot to think about. I still have very little knowledge about how to purposely build blog traffic, but this is great stuff. It sounds like you’re thinking about things the right way. Good luck!
Thanks Matt! Give yourself a year of blogging and you’ll be feeling the itch to start branching out as well. As I’ve observed and trying to recreate myself: Owning more quality sites = more income!
Matthew Allen says
I did experiment with a couple of Fiverr gigs to get some links to one of my old sites that I don’t care that much about. I tried to be careful and pick what I thought were the best gigs.
One promised 50 submissions to PR4 or higher directories. That one went okay. They actually submitted to 69 directories for me! But I’m not sure it was wise to do so many all at the same time.
The other was for blog comments. I found one that promised to comment for me on 20 relevant blogs. When I got my results, I discovered that they used exact match anchor text in more than half of my comments – and usually included a link within the comment itself (red flag for spam). Perhaps this was my fault for not giving more clear instructions.
Results: that site was ranking around 50 or 60 in Google, then got hit and shot up into the 200’s – I’m assuming because of the anchor text in those comments. Recently, it’s made it’s way back into the 80’s in Google.
I really don’t know what to think. At least with the directory gig, I got a list of all the directories they submitted to that I can use for future submissions on other sites. I probably will never use a Fiverr gig for blog commenting again.
I’ll take that lesson learned, Matt! Thanks for sharing your experiences. Fiverr seemed like a bad idea to me, but then again at $5 its really tempting to see what happens. I may end up using them for things like a single link or single article write-up. But when I see the things like 100 links to social media or PR4 sites, that just screams red flag.
You may have touched on something that I just now realized I did wrong. All my niche site blog comments on other sites use either the site name or “MMD @ blog name” as the name and resulting anchor text (I rarely ever post a link within the blog comment body unless it is absolutely relevant). I wonder if my over-optimized brand name could be biasing my SERP rank …. I suppose I could experiment by using something else in that field and seeing if my rank improves.
Glen @ Monster Piggy Bank says
My main niche site is now generating > $50 a month without me doing any work on it at all.
I decided that I would attempt 2 new niche sites 1 – an amazon affiliate site and 2 a mixture of affiliate adsense site.
Both are lowish competitiveness and already the amazon one is page 1 on a few search terms after only being live for 3-4 weeks.
Keep us all updated with your niche sites – i love reading about them.
Thanks Glen! And congrats on getting one of them to the first page. $50 isn’t bad.
I’m hoping I can eventually get one of my future sites up there beyond $100 per month. I’ve been doing only backlinking on my first niche site which has been giving me lots of time to focus on Niche Site No 2. More details to come in the next update!