Its official – summer is over. The kids are back in school, the pool is closed, and I’m scheduling the sprinkler system to be winterized.
In terms of my online business, that also means that I’m running out of time to hit the goals I had set with my niche websites before 2014 comes to a close.
Personally I feel like each of my websites has got a LONG, LONG ways to go. Which can be both a fun and creative thing. I’m not just talking in terms of making money. I also mean in developmental things like content, SEO, traffic, etc. Those are the kinds of activities that I believe will ultimately bring in the money if you do them right for the long run.
… even if no one wants to help you get those activities done (a funny story about that below).
Let’s recap the month and see what we were able to accomplish with my four niche sites in August.
Niche Website Income – August 2014:
Here’s the breakdown for August.
Most of this income was all from Google Adsense and private advertising. But to be honest – I’ve grown a little discouraged with myself for only allowing these sites to rely on these basic forms of income and not doing more to test other sources and diversify. And that’s partly why I’m thankful for what came next.
Rekindling the Spirit with Affiliate Income:
One of the best inspirations I had this month came from this post on Yakezie written by Financial Samurai. It was a motivational piece about why we should all be trying to work on finding the right affiliate products to promote.
By the end of the post I said to myself – Why not?
In the past I’ve had a real love-hate relationship with affiliate advertising. I loved it when it actually worked and I made money. But I hated it all the other times when I’d check my account and find I had made absolutely no money for the month.
The other thing I found difficult (more-so in my early days of writing) was sounding too much like a bad pitch-man in my posts trying to shamelessly promote this whatever product. (Fortunately I’ve gotten better about with this and have found much more subtle ways to promote products I actually use.)
However, despite all that I decided to give it another go with affiliate advertising. The Yakezie post was 100% right in that affiliate income is truly an amazing way to earn unlimited passive income. You’re only limited by how traffic and conversions you can get.
Thankfully Financial Samurai was able to hook me up with the Personal Capital affiliate program. I quickly spoke with the affiliate manger on the phone and ultimately ended up placing ads on 3 of my websites. (You can get setup with your own direct affiliate account too.)
How did that work out for me? See for yourself. Here are the results of my affiliate income versus Google Adsense:
Hmm … $0 vs $257?
So why did I compare these two methods of income? Was it to try to show you that Adsense was better than using an affiliate program?
Actually – I did it to show you the opposite.
Notice that between 3 ads on NS1 I only made $257 in income. That’s an average of $86 per ad spot. The Personal Capital ad pays out almost 15% than that for just ONE conversion.
What are the chances of getting one conversion? Let’s play the odds:
Let’s say that over time for every 100 impressions, I get one person who clicks on the ad.
For every 100 clicks on the ad, now let’s say I get 1 conversion.
That’s 1 / (100 x 100) = 1 conversion for every 10,000 impressions.
Since NS1 gets over 10,000 impressions, that means statistically I should be able to pull in at least one commission per month from the ad!
1/10000 is also a generally pretty low assumption for a conversion rate. Therefore I’m assuming that this should be a minimum goal and I should be able to do better than this in reality. But time will tell the whole story.
The lesson learned: Even though I’ve had some pretty good luck being strategic with Google Adsense, there are more opportunities out there to make additional streams of income. As a matter of fact I’ve started rethinking about what other kinds of products I could be appealing to as part of my affiliate income strategy. So over the next month I’ll likely be applying for new products and experimenting with other affiliate relationships to see how we do.
It’s So Hard to Find Good Help – Failures for NS3 and NS4:
There’s nothing worse than when you’ve got good money to spend and people won’t take it.
That’s exactly the problem I had with hiring freelance writers this month. On two separate occasions I made attempts to find people to write large batch of articles for me. Unfortunately – they both failed!
Here’s what happened:
I got all excited when I read this post by Hayden Miyamoto on Niche Pursuits that talked about some of their recent successes with building niche sites that specifically targeted long-tail keywords. Thinking of how I could apply this my two struggling sites NS3 and NS4, I decided to do some new keyword research and unveiled some really juicy, high volume, high CPC, low-low-low competition keywords! Here’s a screen shot of the keyword lot I found for NS3:
(If you’re not using Long Tail Pro, click on the image to check it out further).
Boom! Now all I needed to do was outsource these post writing assignments and get these puppies published.
Unfortunately I wish it were that easy …
The first guy was producing 10 pieces of content for NS4. His first post was terrible and it required about a 75% re-write of the content. Then after a week of waiting on him to send me the second post, I follow-up and received a reply that “his computer was broken and it would not be fixed until 6 weeks later”.
What?? That contract was promptly canceled.
The second contract never even happened. I reached out to a writer I had used in the past to write for my NS3 site. Even though we emailed back and forth on it and seemed like we were all good-to-go, the writer never accepted my offer. Therefore no content was ever produced for NS3.
Too bad for these two sites. But perhaps I should interpret this misfortune as a sign from above to leave these 2 niche sites alone. Maybe?
Did I Write an eBook?
One of the secret projects I eluded too in my post about My Money Design turning 3 is that I’ve been quietly writing a whole eBook.
However I did something with it that you’re probably not supposed to do with an eBook. I published it all on NS2 for free!
Why would I do such a thing and decide to publish the whole thing as a blog post on my niche website instead? Here’s why:
- I don’t know anything about publishing / promoting an eBook.
- The eBook market for the topic I wrote about is already saturated.
- I really wanted to test this mantra that Google keeps preaching to us that bigger, better, juicier content will be rewarded in the Google rankings.
- I felt this would also be a very good opportunity to expand upon affiliate product promotion.
The post is truly a work of art. It’s over 7,500 words of completely useful material. However I probably won’t reveal it here since many other bloggers are in competition with me for the same keyword.
Currently my post is doing HORRIBLE in terms of the search rankings for my chosen keyword. However it’s still new and it’s receiving a trickle of comments from real people who are finding it to be very helpful. So perhaps by next month it will get the love and attention I feel it deserves!
(Plus let’s not rule out the possibility that some day I always could always re-release the content as an eBook.)
Readers – I need a little help here. Who here has had great luck with affiliate marketing on your niche website or blog? If so, what were your tricks? On a different note does anyone have any experience with publishing eBooks? Any advice for where to go after you have all your content?
Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net