Last week, I disclosed my first income report in over a year. The main reason why I decided to publish my income again is because I want to use this report as a way to follow-up on my progress and hold myself accountable.
I can already say it was a great idea since I’ve noticed that I was very far behind with my niche site income. I was under the impression that I was making about $500/month from them but I only made $134.22 in January. OUCH! This is about 16% of my goal of $833.33 per month from this segment.
Since the plan for my membership website is already well detailed and my blog business is on pace, I have decided to concentrate my efforts to design a plan of attack to boost my niche site income.
Over the years, we went a little trigger happy on buying domains, put together a few articles and called it a niche site. Back in the day, it was a great strategy to sell a few links and make a few bucks from Adsense. These sites didn’t require any attention from us and the money was still coming in slowly, but passively.
Now we need to step-up and create bigger sites in order to generate additional income. I didn’t want to shoot everywhere to see what comes out of the bushes. This is why I’ve selected 7 sites with potential. They are disclosed as follows:
I have selected these sites because I have two niches (investing and jobs) that I’m very comfortable working with and I know they are profitable. You don’t need much traffic to generate money with such topics. On top of this, I tried something new with an insurance related site and it works very well. It is incredibly hard to rank for insurance keywords but it is by far the most profitable niche I’ve come across so far.
Since I work with a limited time schedule, I can’t focus on everything. Focus on everything…. these are 2 words that just don’t work together. You can’t focus and work on everything… this is called a waste of time!
This is why I will be focusing on 2 simple metrics for each site:
I already know the revenue per visitor can be very high for each site. It’s all a matter of converting them at this point. Working with these 7 sites, I will apply the following strategies to improve my chances of having each visitor take an action which generates money for me:
A) Change the theme for most sites in order to make it easier to navigate through
B) Perform adsense optimization on each site
C) Add affiliate resources to help visitors
D) Improve the newsletter subscription option to keep more visitors
The second metric to focus on is obviously traffic. This is a joint problem for all niche sites at the moment. You can optimize your site all you want, if you don’t get visitors, you don’t make any money.
This will be purely trial and error for this part. I know for a fact that I have never updated my 7 niche sites and Google obviously doesn’t like this. The first challenge will be to update them on a regular basis. I’m thinking of writing 1 article per month for each site which will bring my work load to 7 more posts. This is a lot of work but I think it can make a big difference.
Then, I will try several link building strategies:
b) Commenting, carnivals and create web 2.0 properties to improve the number of links (the usual stuff)
c) Look at expired domain redirects (a new strategy mastered by Jon from Authority Website)
d) Write epic posts and mention other bloggers as link bait
I can’t really put many hours on my niche site at the moment as I have several tasks to achieve with regards to my membership website. This is why I’m considering hiring a VA to do several tasks. Since niche sites have generated a 100% passive income of $134.22, this could be my budget for March. I could use 100% of my niche site income to generate bigger revenues. Since this segment of my business is dying at the moment, I won’t jeopardize much by using pure profit to improve this division.
A few months ago, I used a good VA from ODesk to do some link building. I intend to use the same guy to work on specific tasks. For the rest of the month of February, I will concentrate on putting this plan together and build a small tutorial so my future VA will be able to achieve his work quickly.
This will be quite a challenge! But I can’t really go under $134 anyway, right?Comments: 4 Read More
Don’t skip this post too fast, I’m not going to review the same link building methods you have read over and over on many blogs. We all know we need to build links towards our site to make it great in the face of the big G. We all know we need authority links, or links from popular sites if you prefer, in order to rank higher in search engines. We all know there are tons of gray hats with suit and tie methods to build links with article submissions, spun content, private blog networks, web 2.0, blog comments and so on. It has become so obvious that many people are doing it, and many people are penalized by Google for doing so. They get penalized because it’s not a natural way of building links. This is where I’m going with my article; creating a way to build natural links with a detailed and effective process.
This is a question you may think about but never ask… just kidding! Well Google bots wonder about it with regards to links. So how can you build natural links? Isn’t it not the paradox of “building links” as if they were really natural, they wouldn’t be “built”? This is probably why it is so important to have a strict, detailed process about how you will generate them. Don’t worry, I’m not going to sell you some kind of product at the end of this post, this is a pure and natural way of building links. You may want to accelerate the process by hiring VAs to do a part of this job, but it’s not necessary.
This article is based on the method I intend to use to build links for my new niche site which hasn’t yet been revealed. I’m still building it and I want to reveal it once it generates income. My goal is to make at least $500/month with this site by the end of the year. Here’s the process I will use to make it happen
Yup… you can’t really get away without this. If you start a niche site and you want to rank in Google, you need to work several hours on your keyword research. The point is not only to find the specific keywords your homepage will target, but to build a list of at least 50 other long tail keywords that will be targeted by the other 50 articles you will write on your site. That’s right; I actually intend to write over 50 articles for this site. I’m now done with 17 at the moment. Each of them is targeting a different keyword and all of these keywords are related to the same topic. This is how you can A) build a natural fit with Google rankings since you completely cover a topic and B) rank for long tail keywords and get traffic while waiting for your most competitive keyword to rank.
For the record, I use Long tail Platinum Pro to conduct my keyword research. It helps me generate and calculate the keyword competitiveness in only a few minutes.
The second step is also all about building a natural site to get natural links; write your articles! I started to build links around my niche site once I have a structure that looks like a site instead of having a pale home page with 2 links working on it! I want to capture the interest of my first visitors right away.
While writing articles, you will start to get a real feel for your site and how you want to shape it. It will be easier for you to create internal links and modify your approach as you progress.
Now that you have a site that looks like a real site, the next step is finally about link building! You should make an attack plan before you start going crazy with building 500 links per week. Anyways, this method won’t work forever, how is this possible to get that many amount of links naturally? Duh!
Relevant quality links are done one by one with other sites discussing the same topic. There are three main ways to build these links. Blog commenting, guest posting and expired domain 301 redirects. And I don’t know much about expired domain redirect methods so I will leave that to my friend Jon Haver at Authority Website Income.
My strategy will revolve around blog commenting and guest posting. My detailed process includes how I will search through the internet to find blogs covering my topic. I don’t waste time to identify the PR or do-follow or no-follow links. My point is to find all the articles about my niche site topic, copy and paste the url in an Excel document and start write a comment on each article. The comment must be at least 50 words and must add value to it. I use a pen name with the name of the site to comment (ex: Mike @ The Financial Blogger). It looks less spammy and has better hopes of getting approved.
Then, I will write 2 guests posts per month including 2 links each. The first link will be the home page and the second link will be for another page on my site. I select preferably a page I have chance to rank high or that could lead me to some affiliate sales.
I already know a lot of people in this niche so I don’t have to be too creative in my approach for guest posts. If I didn’t know anybody, I would probably comment on their blog (not only on my topic related article but in general) for a few weeks before sending an email to ask.
Higher volume links are low quality links compared to the relevant ones but they definitely help to get several sources of links. Among the most common sources, we have Web 2.0 sites (WordPress, Blogger, etc), Private Blog Networks (not recommended), Directory Submissions, Yahoo Answers, Social promotion (Twitter, Facebook, etc) and carnival submissions.
These resources are well known by any internet marketer and have definitely lost power for ranking strategies. However, it doesn’t mean that it’s not worth something. The idea is to build a constant and sustainable flow of new links over several months, read years to consolidate your site strength.
These are hard to come by and they include important websites, high PRs and .edu links. The method that I’ve found to build such links so far is to write epic content (article over 2,000 words) going all-in about a topic and refer such important websites as resources. Then, you can send an email and hope they will link back to your site. It’s not as good as a pure link from an authority site since they are reciprocal links, but at least you have it!
This is where planning is important. You definitely want a massive amount of links pointing towards your site but you don’t want them to happen overnight. This is why I would rather take a slow approach and build roughly 100 links per month (so 25 per week). Once I’ve listed all the places I want to link from, I determine the number of links to build for each type on a weekly basis. This will look a lot more natural and it ensures that you can build links for at least a year.
Now that you know how many links per week and how you will build them, it’s important to have a plan for pages you want to rank with. You will obviously aim 50% of your link building towards your home page; this is your main page to grow your authority. However, I plan on using the other 50% of my links to point to various other articles. This is a good way to make sure that you have more than one strong page and, here again, it makes a lot more sense to have various pages highlighted in the web.
I’ve selected 5 other pages (so roughly getting 10% each of my link building strategy). It should be interesting to see which pages will rank on the top 10 searches first!
If you want to save time, create a word document with a process for each type of link you want to create. This is how you can truly think about how you can build a maximum of links with a minimum of time. Then, create an Excel spreadsheet to keep track of each of the links.
The more detailed your process is, the more effective you will become in building links. And this is when you can start to outsource part of this boring stuff…
You can pretty much do everything by yourself. There is nothing mentioned in this post that you can’t do. But these tasks are quite boring and repetitive. This is why I decided to hire a VA on ODesk to complete these tasks. This is also why I just insisted on how detailed your process must be.
I spent 30 minutes on ODesk to find the VA I was looking for. I picked someone charging under $3 per hour and started with a very simple task: find all blog posts related to my topic and copy their url into a spreadsheet. In 2h20 he found 200 articles. That was a big $6 spent on him for a very boring task.
I will train this VA slowly with a new task each week. The point will be to become proficient at all different tasks I don’t want to do:
- Find blogs to comment on
- Blog commenting
- Creating web 2.0 sites
- Carnival submissions
- Directory submissions
- Publish content (find pictures, do links, etc)
- Social promotion, etc
I’m currently writing a detailed procedure for each task with print screens and additional information to make sure he does the right thing first and doesn’t ask any questions. So far, I’m pretty happy with the results!
I mentioned this before in the article but don’t go crazy with link building once your site is live. Give it time to grow naturally as well. Now that you have a detailed process there is no rush to push the link building machine to the extreme. I will start off by building 100 links per month from various types but I won’t stop after a month. The key is to keep adding new links and make the link building wheel spin forever. After all, great sites keep getting new links each right, aren’t they?
I’ll tell you if this plan works in a few months, but I’m already seeing some results after my first attempt…
Comments: 2 Read More
About a month ago, I mentioned that I entered Pat’s Niche Site Duel 2.0 with a new site. This is quite a challenge for me since I have started many niche sites in the past but feel that I’ve never brought them to their full potential. So far, they are all “okay sites” where if you ever land on one, you might find some interesting stuff, but definitely not enough to trigger any committed action such as bookmarking the site, subscribing to a newsletter or buying a product. At best, you will click on one of my ads and I will make a few cents. This is why my 10 niche sites generate roughly $500/month so far. The good news is that I don’t put any of more effort and most of them have been generating their $50/month on a constant basis.
Building small niche sites like these are different than starting a blog. They only require 20 to 30 hours of my time. When you think of the residual income generated by them, it’s definitely worth it. After a year, a regular niche site pays me roughly $20/hours ($50* 12 months / 30 hours of work). After the second year, the same 30 hours is now showing an hourly wage of $40 and so on.
But what if I was ready to put 100 hours or more into one site? What if I could make my investment return exponential instead of linear? Based on a few sites I’ve seen (a good example is detailed at Authority Website Income), it is possible to build impressive resources for visitors and make a lot more money. If I work 100 hours on a site and it generates between $2,000 and $3,000 per month, I’ll come back to the previous hourly wage calculated… but monthly! Therefore, at $3,000/month, the 100 hours now worth $360/hour after a year of work. I definitely want to know what it feels like being paid like a successful lawyer ;-).
Aahh! The theory of building a great niche site is fun, but it leads to a lot of crucial questions:
- Where do you find the time to put in 100 hours on a site?
- What will you do with 100 hours on a site?
- How can you drive traffic to your site?
- How will you monetize it to make over $2,000 per month?
asked myself these questions once found my topic. I wanted to build my niche site on paper prior to writing my first article. Here is how answered these questions.
The first thing I realized is that I won’t be putting 100 hours during the same month into the same site. Google doesn’t like sites being created overnight so I’m better off taking a few months to create my resources.
I’ve established a writing schedule along with additional time to work on other aspects of the site (design, publishing, monetization, etc). In order to make my time highly productive, I’ve written down the big categories I wanted on the site along with each article title. Each article targets a specific set of keywords to capture both my main keyword ranking along with additional long tail searches. If you cover a topic from A to Z, you want to get as many long tail keywords included as possible. The key is not to be dependant from a short package of keywords. If Google doesn’t rank 1 or 2 of your best keywords, you don’t want to fall short and see your traffic going down by 50%.
Long tail keywords will bring you a few visitors each day per keyword. If you can rank for 50 different long tail keywords, you will get a few hundred visitors daily. The key is to rank for keywords nobody wants to rank for because they don’t bring enough visitors. The cumulative ranking of all long tail keywords will be beneficial to your site. Anyways, if you target your audience carefully, you don’t need 100,000 visitors monthly to make money from your site.
The second question is even more important than the latter. Taking time to work on something is relatively easy; you simply have to toss other tasks aside to concentrate on the new project. Using these hours efficiently is another challenge!
The bulk of my time is currently concentrated on content creation. I’ve selected a highly competitive niche and need to publish top notch content to make sure I can rank well. In order to determine my 50 articles to be written, I used both the categories I wanted on the site as well as keyword research results I pulled out from software called Long Tail Platinum Pro. The benefit of using this software instead of Market Samurai is quite simple: I get the keyword competitiveness calculated for me in one single click. It helps me save time and concentrate on several keywords at the same time.
I will go from content creation to the link building process in the upcoming months. I expect to use roughly 50 hours to build the site and another 50 hours to promote it. I will use both my extra time during the week along with my day of blogging to achieve this goal.
The key for any site is to drive traffic. It is true that if you have great content, you will get visitors. However, if you are a bit impatient like me and don’t want to wait for the wheel of fortune to spin by itself; you will want to give a little swing. The game is being played on Google’s playground. The next step is then link building.
Once my site is finished (which should be by September), I will start building links around it. I have various strategies I want to try but for now, I’ll simply line them up without much explanation:
- Guest posting
- Directory participation
- Carnival participation
- Link exchange
- Expired domain redirect
- Email marketing
The plan is to build several links and start getting significant search engine traffic (e.g. over 100 daily) before the end of the year. I’m not reinventing the wheel here but I will describe a few twists in future articles about how I will make this happen.
Traffic is great but without monetization, it doesn’t mean much. This is why I needed to find a way to make money directly with this site and not hope to generate $2,000 monthly via Adsense. Pat did it with his Security Guard Training site but you need a lot of traffic to reach it and you are still 100% dependent from one source of income… which you have no control over.
This is why I’m building my new site the Jon Haver’s way. I have spent several hours to identify potential affiliate programs that could fit with my site. I looked at something useful for my visitors as well as well me collecting an income. I even dealt a private deal directly and bypassed major affiliate program aggregators such as Commission Junction and Flex Offers. My plan is to run two CPA offers with a commission range from $20 to $40 per lead. With an average of $30 per lead, I need 67 conversions per month to get my $2,000 goals. I guess I can reach it with 10,000 unique visitors per month (with a 0.67% conversion rate).
My whole site will concentrate on two calls to action for visitors:
#1 Sign-up for the mailing list (to receive a free eBook)
#2 Complete a form from my affiliate (to receive a quote from the affiliate company)
I want to build a list since I’ll be able to keep contact with these readers and pitch my affiliate program at a later time. For visitors who are more advanced in their buying process, they will have the possibility to complete a form on my site which would generate a quality lead for my affiliate.
By taking away Adsense, I definitely say goodbye to immediate (but low) income to focus on future (but high) revenues. I’ll tell you about my progress once my site is completely live.
Readers, are you building your own niche site? How is it going so far?Comments: 8 Read More
A month ago, I didn’t have any idea of what I would do in order to participate in the Niche Site Duel 2.0 hosted by Pat from Smart Passive Income. I’ve been struggling in getting consistent work done towards any of my niche sites I’ve developed so far. The results I’ve seen so far make me think that there is a huge potential (after all, I’m making $500/month with my niche site with absolutely no work), but I haven’t worked hard enough to ensure sustainable traffic on any of them. This is why I’m always stuck around $500 while I can grow my business significantly through this model.
I’ve spent the last month working on my business plan to develop my next niche site. This time, I want to think about everything. I selected a bunch of different keywords to rank for and established a 50 post outline linked to these keywords prior to writing anything. The idea is to build the site on paper before it is built online. But this time, I went a little bit further: I’ve developed my monetization strategy upfront as well. Hint: I’m not going the Pat way, but the Jon Haver way.
Six month ago, I barely knew who this guy was. I knew he had a few sites here and there but it wasn’t clear to me who he really was. He appears to be one of members of the Mastermind Group I attend each Monday night. This is how I got in touch with him and learned about his genius!
You might know him from his flagship blog: Authority Website Income. On this blog, he details his route through building his online empire through authority website building. At this point, there is nothing much original about him, right? I mean, so many people are doing this on the web I’m pretty sure you are simply thinking “oh well, another web marketing guy trying to sell his shit…”. It is true he is using similar affiliate conversion tactics such as showing how he succeeds with this or that software and how he uses it. But in the end, I think it is the right way to do it since you can prove to your audience that it works. However, if you spend a little time on his blog, you will find that, like Pat, he is pretty open about his strategy and how he does his things.
The goal of this website was to highlight the success (and failures) of his first authority website; Pay My Student Loans. His goal was to beat Pat’s site income (Security Guard Training HQ) for three months in a row. He started his site about 6 months ago while Pat site has been around for two years now. After only six months, he is now breathing down Pat’s neck being short by only $300 over the last month. It’s true; he made over $2,000 with his authority website 6 months after its creation.
He has a similar approach for link building and getting traffic, so I won’t detail this here (you will have to read his blog to learn about it!). But what he does differently is that he completely discarded Adsense from his monetization model. He made over $2,000 last month with $0 coming from Google. How brilliant!
The problem with Google Adsense is that you can make money the very first day your site is up. All you need is a single click in your day and you make a few cents! Psychologically, this is very motivating: you earn money on Day #1! But the problem is that A) you lose your reader to another site and B) the money you get for losing your reader is meaningless.
I’ve always been motivated by building a site generating $5 or $10 per day from Adsense. I thought it would be an amazing model to rapidly and easily earn $10 per day per site. The problem with Adsense is that you rapidly stagnate in terms of income. If your traffic goes up by 10%, your Adsense income will follow. However, if you were making $300 per month, you will only make $330 with your traffic increase. Since at one point, chances are you will reach a plateau, it’s almost impossible to earn more money with your site.
Jon has decided to focus on affiliate offers. Therefore, he made the decision to make $0 for several days, but making $30, $40, $50 per sale. At one point, with decent traffic, instead of looking at 20 – 40 clicks to make $10 per day with Adsense, he is able to make $50 per day through 1 affiliate conversion. If you would get 20 to 40 clicks per day on Adsense, you can probably expect to get 20 to 40 clicks on your affiliate offer instead. Then, it’s up to the company to convert at least 1 of those clicks so you can make money.
When your traffic goes up, the amount you make per visitor is much higher and you will rapidly make over $1,000. Then, you can build a newsletter for your readers and try to pitch your affiliate program through your list as well. The advantage is that instead of losing your reader to a cheap ad, you get them to sign up for your newsletter and keep this reader for a longer period. You can provide them with value in your newsletter and give you a try through your affiliate program once in a while.
The whole site is being built with two things in mind:
#1 Get your visitors to subscribe to your newsletter
#2 Get your visitors to click on an affiliate link
Chances are that most visitors will take action within your two goals. If you add banners and Adsense blocks and other distractions, you dilute your goals and monetization strategy. Plus, your site looks like a Nascar. This is definitely not the way to go!
I’ll be following Jon’s strategy and will build my entire site around my newsletter and an affiliate offer. I know my topic very well and know that affiliate offers in that niche are quite profitable. Therefore, I will not need many conversions to make money out of it.
I wrote about ten articles out of my 50 so far and will continue to explode my writing during the month of July. At the same time, I’ll be applying for a few affiliate programs to try them out and see which ones convert best. I’m also doing a small ebook to give away free to my newsletter subscribers. Subscriptions always work better with a freebie.
Readers, how’s your niche site progress? Have you started yet?Comments: 3 Read More
Last week, Pat from Smart Passive Income launched the Niche Site Duel 2.0. The first time he launched the Niche Site Duel, he ended-up building a site earning over $2,000 per month. To date, his site has earned over $50,000…
At that time, I was reading his journey to build his niche website and I was lazy. The idea of building a niche was super interesting. Imagine making money passively for the rest of your life! Isn’t that something that resonates with you? It does with me anyways! But I gave this project the effort I normally used to watch a good movie; I sit back, relax, eat some Doritos and wait until the movie finishes thinking “wow… that was cool”. End of the story. So I read the whole thing, gave it some thought, but never went further.
The idea is the same: create a resourceful site generating traffic….and money. The difference is my level of motivation in successfully creating a site generating money. I want to go through the entire process for once and see where I can go with that.
I’ve always been very good at studying and completing my exams successfully. After all, I was able to do an MBA while doing my CFP at the same time. The only thing it requires from me is focus. That’s the magic word. This is what is different with the 2.0 challenge: I truly want to be all-in this time.
I’ve failed to join challenge 1.0.
I jumped on other projects before I completed my authority website.
I won’t make the same mistake again this time.
I’m using two simple strategies to boost my accountability level:
#1 I’ve asked my partner and VA for support to do this (this implies I will need to tell them to stop working on this if I fail!)
#2 I already spent $100 in a single day to build my niche site. Money spent is probably the biggest motivator for me as I hate to lose money.
The $100 was spent to buy software for keyword research (Long Tail Pro Platinum) and the rest of the money was used to purchase two books on Amazon about the topic I want to write about (SECRET!!!!).
I’ve already done a lot during my last day of blogging. In fact, I spent the whole day working on this!
Step #1 was learning the complete process of niche site building. I’m not the best at keyword research so I spent roughly two hours to learn more about this topic. I watched tutorials (the Long Tail Pro tutorials are awesome), read some articles and started practicing! Among the resources I used, here are the most amazing ones:
Long Tail Pro Tutorials
Following many pros’ advice, I’m now convinced that my niche site has the potential of A) getting traffic and B) making money. Now it’s only a matter of building the site!
In a few days, I’ll receive both books and read them thoroughly, study my topic and start to write articles about it. My domain, design, keyword research, 50 posts ideas are all completed. I’ll share more about this new project of mine in a few months. I first want to make sure I can make it on my own and see how it goes.
If this site is making the money I think it could make, this will be the beginning of a whole new business model for my online empire.
This time, I’m going all-in, will you give it a try?Comments: 12 Read More
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