Hello and welcome to the July edition of my niche website update and income report.
Every month I like to share with you what’s new with my website-building efforts and where the business is going. It’s been one of my favorite ways to build passive income because the more I find success the more income I stand to bring in every month. My hope is that you’ll be able to take some of these tricks and use them for your own good; whether it be for a new blog or any other entrepreneurial effort.
July was a busy time for me with the release of my new ebook plus a lot of other big news going on in my personal life (like finishing chemotherapy and deciding to move to a different city!) However, I still made time to stay dedicated to the work I set out to do on at least one of my sites. And as I’ll talk about more in greater detail, I think we’re on the right path for building long-term success.
Here’s what’s new with my niche site portfolio.
Niche Website Income Report – July 2015:
Here is my income and expense report for the month:
Here’s a closer look at my income sources for the month:
- Amazon = $54
- Clickbank = $312
- Google Adsense = $342
- Web Hosting = $130
- Personal Capital = $0
- Private Advertising = $333
Expenses only included some annual domain registration and article writing.
Big Changes for NS2:
Like I mentioned last month, I had lots of BIG ideas and changes planned ahead to breathe some much needed life into niche site #2 (NS2 for short).
For a long time now the site has simply “existed” on its own with relatively no new material, updates, or backlinks. Yet, despite all of that it seems to be one of my highest trafficked and top earning niche sites.
So like any business opportunist, I asked the question: How can I make it even better?
I decided that out of all my niche sites this one was probably the best ROI for my time and effort. So I turned my attention solely to this site (for now) and am trying to turn it into something really special.
There were a few main areas I wanted to concentrate on:
- Change the theme to something new, fresh, and mobile friendly – DONE! I bought a new, friendlier looking theme from StudioPress and installed it.
- Update the content – This has been a work in progress. So far I’ve only added about 8 new pages of content to the site. LOTS more on this topic in the sections below.
- Linking from the main page – This is being done as I add the new content.
- Restructure the internal links – This is also being done as I add the new content.
- Use the HOTH Blitz – If you remember a few updates ago, I mentioned that at some point I was going to try out the HOTH Blitz to try to help drive some high DA links my way. I ordered a package for one of my other (non niche) websites and will be monitoring the progress to see how that works out. If all goes well, then for sure I’ll use it on NS2!
What Were the Results?
I like to measure my progress by looking at the results of two very specific areas: Traffic and money.
In terms of the number of ranking keywords, you’ll see that NS2 is actually DOWN for the month.
This is likely due to a few things.
First – Google keeps on aggressively changing their algorithm and that has caused many older sites with non-updated content to loose ranking.
Second – What little new content I have recently added has not yet had time to register in the Google search engines, and thus no new keywords are ranking quite yet. I’ll have to be patient and see if they start to kick in say next month (or so). If they don’t, then I’m doing something wrong with my on-page SEO!
In terms of money I think it helps to isolate one type of income stream and then do a comparison. As you can see below, my Google Adsense for NS2 this month compared to last month was roughly about the same.
That doesn’t surprise me at all. Usually there is direct correlation between your traffic and amount of money you earn from CPC types of ads. More (of the right kind of) traffic usually equals more money! It’s all a numbers game.
So if I want to see my income streams go up, I’m going to need to attract more traffic with better, new content as well as start ranking for more keywords.
That brings me to what’s new with my content strategy.
Publishing Strategic Content:
I know … only 5 new pages of content for NS2 for the month? That number should be a lot higher, right?
Well, if seems like my progress is slow or that I’m not adding enough content quick enough, I’m doing that on purpose.
I’m really, really focused on increasing the quality of the content.
You have to understand that things are a lot different now today than they were a few years ago; or even when I first started creating niche sites.
Back then you could pay someone half-way across the world $150 to pump out 50 keyword-saturated 500-word articles that would become the basis of your entire niche site.
But that’s not how it works anymore. Google has gotten incredibly good at sifting out quality and relevancy as part of its ranking system. If you want to truly compete, you have to really step up your game these days.
Read any of the big-boy SEO blogs like Quick Sprout or No Hat Digital and they will be able to confirm this is true. In fact Quick Sprout on more than one occasion has shown a graphic that charts the average word count of the top-10 Google search results. Are you ready to compete with 2,000 words or better per article?
SO keeping this all in mind, I’ve decided to be much more strategic in my entire content-generating process as I move forward with new stuff for NS2.
Here’s a brief synopsis of what my new process is:
- Perform keyword research and look for several related higher volume, low competition keywords to target.
- Take a look at the current Top 10 ranking articles and inspect what sort of structure, headings, keywords, etc they use.
- Request an article from iWriter. Lots more on this below.
- Upload the article and publish it. Be sure to promote it through my normal social media channels.
- Since each article is specifically targeting a topic on the main page, I then link that article to the main page. This should give it some much needed link juice right away.
- Find 2-4 previously published articles that I can use to link to this new article.
- Repeat with the next target keyword!
Using iWriter to Generate Fast Content:
I mentioned up above that I’ve been using iWriter to create my new content, and I’ve got to admit I’m completely addicted!
iWriter has become my new secret weapon. It’s basically an article writing service that helps you generate a ton of content very fast. The way it works is simple:
- You post a writing assignment
- Within 24-48 hours, someone will write the article for you
If you’ve ever used a different service like Elance, then you know how incredibly frustrating it can be to wait 4 weeks to get 8 mediocre articles. Who’s got time for that?
The best part: You can command the price per article. You can pay as little as $3 or as high as you’re willing to go. They do have minimum price settings based on:
- The length of the article
- Star-rating of the potential writer (you can choose to get a writer of any star rating, 4/5 or higher, 4.6/5 or higher, and then
How’s the quality? As you can guess, if you only pay $3, you’ll get a $3 quality article. I tried their minimum-cost options and found the quality to be pretty poor resulting in almost a complete re-write.
But then again, you don’t need to go paying $30 per article for their ultra-high quality packages either.
Here’s what I suggest:
- Select 1,000 words – usually you’ll get an article that is longer than this.
- Select 4/5 stars
At that price you’ll pay $10.50 per article, and it will actually be pretty good content.
It really helps to improve the quality of your article if you provide an outline in the job posting of exactly the types of headings and topics you’d like the writer to cover. I usually stress that I want them to focus on just the hard facts and actionable steps; no fluff. NoHatDigital had some really good tips as well for getting the most for your buck. Definitely check that article out as well.
At 1,000 words, by the time you add your own flare to the article, you’ll have a pretty decent and chunky-sized article that should stand a much better chance of making it up there in the Google ranks. Plus longer content means more opportunity for your article to rank better for long-tail keywords as well as your main target keyword.
All-in-all I’d like to see the NS2 increase to 100 posts. That might be a pretty tall order considering we’re still under 60 posts right now. But like I said earlier – there’s no rush. I’m more focused on building content that will withstand the test of time rather than just trying to spin out a bunch of garbage right away. Looking back at some of my earlier (cheaper) posts you can really tell the difference in quality, and it’s tough because all that does is make me want to go back and re-write those articles. Hence you’d just be better off doing things right the first time and making sure each piece of new content is worthy of being on the Internet.
Fun with Amazon:
Before I leave you, here’s something fun that will make you laugh …
Whenever someone clicks on my NS4 Amazon niche site and buy something through Amazon, I can see what they ordered. Remember with the Amazon Associates program you get a commission whenever someone buys anything within the last 24 hours; whether it was the thing you were promoting or something else.
I got a little chuckle to find that someone had purchased this little guy for themselves …
Man, only $6? I really wish they had sprung for the deluxe model. I would have appreciated the higher commission!
Readers – What’s the strangest thing someone has ever purchased through one of your affiliate programs?
Featured image courtesy of Mike Licht | Flickr
[email protected] says
That’s hilarious! I almost don’t want to see what other people buy. Congrats on your continuing niche income. It must make you new job search less urgent.
It’s been kind of fun and good for a laugh to see all the random stuff people buy within 24 hours of visiting my site.
Claudia @ Two Cup House says
Hello! I stumbled across your website via referral from Eyes on the Dollar. Since my life is digital marketing, I am concerned about the search-related troubles you’ve experienced. I checked your robots file and I think some improvements to that file should help your situation. Typically, the user agent should just be the asterisk and the sitemap should be included. Also, some of your meta info, tags aren’t meeting best practices. Have you tried a Screaming Frog crawl? Hope this helps!
Thanks Claudia! I have never heard of Screaming Frog. I’ll give it a try.
Jason B says
That’s pretty funny. I haven’t had anybody buy anything like that from any of my amazon links.
Every once in a while someone will buy something really unusual from Amazon that just makes me laugh.
Feeling Financial says
Thanks as always for the updates. This is cool to watch.
It seems you really can get anything on Amazon.
You’re welcome. Hopefully you pull some good tips from it.
Jayson @ Monster Piggy Bank says
Nice MMD! Your Google Adsense income is impressive. Getting more than $300 is really something! Congrats!
Thanks Jayson. But I’d really like to see what I have to do to break the $1,000/month mark.
EL @ Moneywatch101 says
It goes to show if you focus on something you care about it will only get better. The dedication you have given to making passive income will one day pay off, keep it up. Thanks for all the good advice.
Thanks. And if it doesn’t, I’ll have a whole heap of things for people NOT to try 🙂
Another great month, MMD!
I’ve been following some of the new posts on NS2 and left a comment on one as well. I’ve always enjoyed that site, even before I knew it was related to this blog. It’s definitely been my favorite of your niche sites.
I’m hoping to get some of my blog posts to rank up there, but it’s slow going. Most of my work is well over 2000 words and (I hope) is very high quality. I am ranking on Page 2 for certain keywords, and am ranking for some pretty strange ones as well (my blog about retail banking was ranking between the 9th and 11th spot for the term “warden eternal” due to a passing mention/joke about the upcoming game in the Halo franchise in my mystery shopping article). Hopefully Google starts recognizing my literary talent soon. My feelings are getting hurt! 🙂
Speaking of Amazon, I had my first two sales on there recently! And one of them was a little eBook called “Save Better”. I thought you would like that. The other purchase was for the game “Five Nights At Freddy’s”, a game so scary I won’t actually play it myself.
ARB–Angry Retail Banker
We know all about the “Five Nights at Freddy’s” game franchise. My son has all four of them. Quite a demented and brilliant plot for a video game.
Financial Samurai says
Nice job holding the $1,000/month niche income steady!
Thanks Sam. I am really trying to see what I can do to boost it to a steady $2K per month.
Abigail @ipickuppennies says
Ah, I was *wondering* how you managed 100 posts in a month on one website alone. Yowza.
I can’t believe people will churn out 1,000+ words for $10.50. That’s great for you, of course. But wow.
Thanks Abigail. But just to be clear, 100 posts is my goal for the site in total over time. I only published 5 new posts this month.
Dane Hinson says
I haven’t got to the point of outsourcing any articles yet, but iWriter sounds like a great resource. I’ll have to look into it if my finance blog grows down the road.
I’d recommend it. I’ve been having some really good luck with their “4 star and higher” service. Paying $10 is a pretty great price for getting over 1,000 words of useful content.
Dee @ Color Me Frugal says
I once had someone purchase a ton of doilies through my Amazon links. I didn’t even know you could buy those- I thought the only way to acquire them was if your 90 year old grandmother crocheted. My husband didn’t even know what doilies were (crocheted cloths to put on table tops, if anyone else is wondering!)
Hopefully they all counted as separate purchases and really boosted your commission level. For anyone who doesn’t know, the higher the quantity of orders, the higher percentage commission you receive from Amazon.
Derek @ MoneyAhoy.com says
Nice work on another great month. LOL at the item purchased! I find people buy the craziest things through my amazon affiliates as well. It sounds like I need to look more into iWriter. $10.50 for a 1,00 word article? Where do I sign up?!? 🙂
Sign up with my affiliate link please! 🙂
Matthew Allen says
I’ve had a need lately to get more articles written than my regular writer can provide for me. And honestly, I’ve been procrastinating looking into writing services or going through the hiring process on UpWork. I think I’ll check out iWriter based on your recommendation. And of course I’ll use your affiliate link!
I’ve had more than one spectacular dildo purchased from my Amazon links. These things were wild and I didn’t even know anything like them even existed! Really makes me wonder – cause items like that have absolutely nothing to do with any of my sites.
Thank you Amazon for helping me to see what people are just causally shopping for on a Sunday afternoon!