I’m pleased to inform everyone that things are still going pretty well for my small niche website portfolio. To quickly recap my last update, I had just revealed my second niche site launch (called NS2), provided a full run-down of all the activities and links I built to it, and then gladly reported that it was already ranking No. 4 in the Google search results for the exact match keyword.
Well, another month has passed and I have some more developments to share. First I am going to compare NS2 to the achievements of my first niche site (NS1), and then give some critiques for both. And if you stick around long enough, I’ve also got another surprise for you…
Niche Website Progress in August:
Both sites continued to inch upward in rankings as well as traffic and are on the first page of Google! NS2 made it as high as No. 2 in Google and tends to stay there. NS1 is also now in the top 10. And then this is a little confusing: When I check it’s rank using Long Tail Pro, it comes up as No. 10. Yet when I search for it on my own computer (while I’m logged out of Google), it comes up No. 1! Check out the screen shot (and click to enlarge):
I think the discrepancy may have something to do with local versus global search results. I’m not really totally sure why. But I’m mighty glad to be ranking on the first page!
Of course better rankings and natural aging of the sub-domain posts has helped to generate some organic traffic and revenue for each site. Here is a quick glance report for both:
For as long as I feel it is appropriate, I plan to start sharing the total income made each month off of these sites so that you get a feel for how each one is progressing along. Hopefully it will inspire some of you if I can demonstrate that the rewards are out there!
Is This The Best I Can Do?
Despite some modest income and success with ranking, I have to ask myself the hard questions if I am really to take this initiative to its fullest potential. And the toughest question is this:
Is this really the best I can do?
- How can I make them better?
- How can I make these sites make more money?
My grand goal is to make at least $1,000 per month from this niche website initiative before the end of 2013. While some people may consider that to be a bit of a stretch, it certainly seems possible given all the success stories I’ve read by other niche building bloggers who have been at this for a shorter amount of time than I have.
Even if I made only $500 per month, I would still consider this to be a pretty incredible accomplishment.
Comparisons of NS2 to NS1:
Let’s start by asking why NS2 doesn’t make as much money as NS1. First there is the obvious:
- NS2 is not as old or mature a site as NS1
- NS2 does not receive as much traffic as NS1
- NS2 doesn’t have as many posts on it as NS1
- The sub-domains of NS2 don’t rank nearly as high as those of NS1
So is that the answer? Do I just need to give it more time and post more content? Let’s go one step deeper by comparing the two Google Webmaster accounts and asking ourselves why these things are happening:
- NS2 doesn’t receive as much traffic because it doesn’t have as many posts targeting good long-tail keywords.
- Overall all the keywords I choose have a lower CPC for Adsense. This means I get less per ad clicked on NS2 than on NS1.
- The long-tail keywords I am targeting do not have as high of search volume or as low of competition.
- For the long-tail keywords that I am targeting, they are not performing as well in Google which means I either do not have as strong of links or my content is not as great. Recall that one experiment I did try with NS2 is that I outsourced all the content creation to a ghost writer on eLance. While the content was okay, it was not really as good or as thorough as what I could have written myself if I had had the time to do so.
So the big question is: What do I do now?
Success Inspires Opportunity:
Right around the time I was facing this challenge, I found this post by Jason from Real Online Income Reports. He was also trying to figure out how to increase his own income, and was able to go from $235 in June to $1519 in July! An unbelievable jump in income!
So how did he do it? I highly encourage you to read the entire post. But if you’d just like a summary, here it is:
- He added A LOT more content – as in over +100 posts.
Going back to my Google Webmaster account comparison up top, this does seem to make sense. If we had more content to target more keywords, my chances for traffic would increase. And more traffic COULD result in more Adsense conversions.
But I certainly am not going to just whip up 100 new posts. And to outsource that many posts at $10 to $20 each would mean an investment of $1,000 to $2,000. Do I really want to take on that kind of risk?
Hold on tiger. Why does it have to cost so much to make that many posts? How did Jason do it?
Simple. He followed the advice of our friend Jon Haver in this early post from Authority Website Income from almost a year ago. As Jon claims: It is possible to get good posts from oDesk for $2 each.
Hmmm. 100 posts at $2 is only $200. Now that’s a lot less risky proposition than the numbers I came up with before. But could it really be true to get quality content for that low of a price?
Jason from Real Online Income Reports tried it and was able to make it work. That was how he got so much content on his site quickly and what he credits his large boost in income. But to be fair, he did say that he spent quite a bit of time reviewing and editing each of the 100 posts he ordered.
My Plans Going Forward:
Going forward in September, I’ve decide that I’m going to use this same basic approach to try to build up the content on my own sites. I just recently accepted a few contracts on oDesk and we’ll see how it goes. My technique will be slightly from what Jon Haver suggested based on some of my initial experiences. (I could write an entire post about my trails and tribulations with oDesk and eLance, so stay tuned for that.)
By adding more content and promoting it using my normal link building strategy, I feel as though I can increase the number of visitors and in turn the number of conversions.
More quality content = More long tail keywords = More potential traffic = More potential for income!
Between the two, I’m going to focus more of my attention in NS1 than NS2. Even though NS2 has some really good potential, NS1 is already doing well and I’d really like to see it grow to a full authority site maturity level.
Lessons Learned This Month:
So what have learned from my experiences this month with trying to reproduce my results on another website and using a little bit of experimentation?
- If I want my sites to really grow to their full potential, they are going to need more content than what they have now. 10 to 20 posts is probably just the beginning. We should take them up to 50 to 100 posts and then see how perform!
- I need to be more mindful of the quality of the content I allow to get published. Just because I hire out the article writing to ghost writers, I still need to have a strong editorial influence over what actually makes it to the site. If the text isn’t interesting or helpful or even pleasant to read, then no one from my audience is going to like it either and that will probably do more harm than good. I may want to consider re-working some of the old posts on NS2.
- Is my link building strategy really the most practical? I’ve been very careful not to get to crazy or in left field with my attempts to manipulate my rankings. But if the new posts on NS2 don’t perform as well within a reasonable amount of time, perhaps I need to reevaluate the keywords I’m targeting or the validity of my back-linking strategy.
Surprise – The Launch of NS3!
What? Another niche website?? Oh, no he didn’t!
Well, actually it’s too late. I already did. The domain was bought, the content written, and we are live!
The birth of this idea came while I was doing some keyword research and stumbled upon a really good cluster of keywords. They were the perfect storm of low competition, decent search volume, and high CPC.
So why take on a new niche website project if I just spent the first half of the post talking about all the work I have yet to do on the first two? My reason is simple.
Just like my first two sites, this niche site will be an experiment. And the experiment will be this:
- Can I make a decent return from a micro-niche site?
In case you’ve never heard of this term, a micro-niche site is just a really small niche website consisting of less than 10 posts. NS3 currently only has 6 pages of content.
The reason why anyone would create a site so small is because they are incredibly easy to make, cheap to build, and simple to maintain. You basically just set them up, build a few links, and then let them be.
Contrary to how great I just told you big, +100 post niche sites are, I have read a number of recent success stories from other website developers who have setup a micro-niche site and been able to make a modest amount of income using either Adsense or some other type of affiliate link. My buddy Matt from Dumb Passive Income just published a post his own experience building a micro site.
My logic is this: If the website makes any money at all or shows some kind of potential, then great! I can either:
1) Leave it as is and continue to make a modest income, or
2) Add more content using the strategy above and increase the income potential!
If it doesn’t make any money, I could add more content and see what happens. If that still doesn’t work, then I could potentially sell it or just write it off as a low risk, low cost experiment. In all directions I have options.
Readers – That’s it for my August niche website wrap-up. I’d be interested in hearing how your new website projects or side income attempts are going, and what you’re doing to develop them further.
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!
Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net
[email protected] says
I’m glad to hear that your websites are continuing to improve. I can’t imagine anyone writing a post for $2, but if it is an OK post, that sounds like a good deal.
Stay tuned for my next update and I’ll let you know how that whole $2 post thing did (or didn’t) work out. Overall I do have to say that I’ve been pretty satisfied using ghost writers to create content for my other sites. It just gives me the pleasure of focusing my more helpful content back to My Money Design.
John S @ Frugal Rules says
Great work MMD, you’re becoming a machine. 🙂 I’ve seen the same issue myself between search results and what shows up in LTP and was assuming it was the same thing. It also makes sense that with more content, you’ll likely get more traffic and thus more income. I’ve just started looking into what I want my second site to be about and doing some keyword research…this thing WILL get started!
Glad to hear you’re going to make the leap. Since Frugal Rules became an instant hit when you created, try not to blow all the fish out of the sea when you finally do start launching your own niche sites. 🙂
Matthew Allen says
The surprise at the end for me was the link to my site. Thanks MMD!
I actually started my outsourcing journey with every intention of following Jon’s advice from the article you linked to. Instead I ended up finding a great American writer who agreed to produce articles for me for $1 per 100 words.
Sounds like you got the same problem as me. It’s impossible to not act right away when you stumble on a great keyword in Long Tail Pro. I use the Favorites option to save some of my finds for later.
My micro niche site experiment is going well. I’m ranking now at #21 in Google and I’ve put VERY little effort into the site. Less than 10 hours I’d say. One thing I would point out about sites like this – some keywords or topics don’t require more than just a few posts. If you find a very specific niche, it might seem like overkill if you try to produce more content than is needed.
You’re welcome! I’m always happy to link out to good stuff!
The thing I’ve come to learn with hiring writers is to start off small on just a few articles and see what happens. If they are terrible, you’ll know right away and can move on. If they’re great, then you found yourself a keeper! $1 per 100 words is kind of an amazing bargain!
That Favorites feature in LTP is getting me into trouble. I’ve got it full of way too much good stuff. My only wish is that the KC and search volume would update every time you log in and log back out so that you get an accurate picture of what the keyword is doing now instead of last week.
I think that similar to you I’ll probably cut back on too many smaller projects after NS3 and just focus on making the first two really good.
I’m glad to hear that your micro niche is inching upward to the first page. I do agree that in some topics a small site would make more sense. I just hope that Google agrees with me and let’s it see the light of day. I’m considering bringing out the big guns if they don’t …
I’m working on a few niche sites. I’m just nervous because it’s not really something I want to be tagged to.
Interesting … why don’t you want to be tagged to them?
I apologize in advance if you tried to leave a comment to my site this morning and were not able to. There was a small problem with GASP (thanks John for pointing that out). It is fixed and you should be all set now.
Debt and the Girl says
I would love to make a few niche sites of my own in addition to my lovely blog, of course. $2 a post? I don’t know if I could accept that but it sounds like it worked for that man.
And I’ll let you know if it worked for me too in the next update! Keep your fingers crossed …
Matt Becker says
Looks like NS1 is starting to make some real progress. I might be remembering wrong, but wasn’t it just around $40 per month? If so, that’s some nice growth. And congrats on the new site. Sounds like it will mostly be an interesting experiment into how well the micro-niche thing actually works.
I have to be honest, it feels a little crazy to me to but 100 posts. I know how much time it’s taken for me to write just over 100 this year and I just find it hard to believe that the content will be reasonable. I’m not trying to doubt you or the others who’ve done that, the results certainly speak for themselves. It’s just hard to wrap my head around.
You are correct. We were at $40 per month not that long ago, and I’m excited to see it go above $100 and hopefully continue to head in that direction. Hopefully I can get the whole portfolio up to $500 or $1000 per month here soon.
100 posts is a lot! But I think it can be done. I just ordered 26 posts and I will have them before the end of the month. On top of that I’m writing some of my own posts on the side. Depending on how my income looks next month, I may just continue to keep ordering more and outsourcing until I hit my target. As you can see, I’m trying to treat this more as a business and reinvest to get bigger and bigger results. I’ve got my fingers crossed that things continue to develop and we all learn some valuable techniques along the way.
Jack @ Enwealthen says
LongTail Pro seems so popular, it seems like there’d be more money in building a competitive alternative to that, than building and managing so many niche sites.
Specific to search, Google customizes search results pages now. Even if you’re signed out, they track your cookies and possibly even your IP address. The only way to get truly natural search results would be to clear all your cookies and cache, and go through a 3rd party proxy like Tor, et al.
If you go into ClickBank, there are a lot of other software suites that try to compete with Long Tail Pro. But none of them have the personality of Niche Pursuits to back it up. Spencer’s tutorials and proven results are part of what helps make his brand so popular.
I figured that it must have been something like that that was happening with my search results. Maybe next time I’ll use a proxy to do a truly clean search.
Josh @ FormYourFuture says
Great job so far. I feel that as long as you have a good scalable model and you split test your results then you’re bound to reach your goals.
I’m actually on my journey to starting my own niche site. I have some pretty big hopes for it and I feel that I have a bit of experience coming from my previous endeavors with microniches.
Anyway, I’m looking forward to your next site. Keep up the great work!
Thanks Josh and welcome to the site. Hopefully you can take away some good lessons from my previous niche site update chapters so you can accelerate your own website development. Hearing you say you moved on from mirconiches kind of makes me nervous about my latest NS3 site, but we’ll see. At this point anything is possible as long as I’m willing to invest the time and money into chipping away at it.
Todd @ Fearless Men says
Hey man great insight! Just to let you know, when I just searched your keyword term in Google, your NS2 came up in the 9th slot.
First SERP! I’m liking it!
Todd @ Fearless Men says
Question: Is 100% of you NS2 content previously and going fwd all outsourced?
It used to be. NS2 was originally created with all outsourced content, and as I’ve alluded to, that may not have been the best strategy. The site stats and income seem to support that. It’s not that you can’t create a good niche website with ghost writers. My problem is that I probably should have paid a little more attention to the quality of the writing and either done some better editing or hired a better writer.
For this month, I plan to switch things up. I will be using a writer to create a ton of content for NS1. And in the meantime I’ll be challenging myself to develop just as much content for NS2 (written by me). There will be more on this in Update 10 next month.
thanks for sharing all this information
its a real help to beginners like me
No problem. It’s hard when you’re just starting out in blogging. There will be plenty more tips and real website building updates upcoming.
Clarisse @ Make Money Your Way says
Congrats to your new site MMD! Thanks for sharing this great post. And I know your NS2 will soon receive more traffic.
Thanks Clarisse. Unfortunately now I’ve got a third niche site to worry about driving traffic too. I guess I should have worked on No. 2 before I started creating more problems for myself 🙂
Sounds like you have hit a success plan for your site. Great. I have a friend who makes a living from the blogsphere and of his experience, quality content is important to getting rank priority on search engines and readers’ engagement. No compromise there.
Good for your friend. It’s amazing how well some people have really figured this equation out and are really maxing out a side income in the thousands! I do think that even though the SEO and link building is important, the quality of your content will always be the true to test.