It is with a huge smile in my face that I am writing these sentences as the month of September was an awesome month for our business. It’s not really on the income side (mind you, we are still $4,000 ahead when compared to last year to date). But it’s more in terms of diversification and how our other projects are doing so far this year. I must admit, it’s also because we just came back from FinCon12 (both the conference and the Broncos’ game were awesome!). Now let’s see in details of what happened in September…
This may be the only place where I can feel some frustration. While the month of September went incredibly well in terms of traffic (all my sites are growing!), the last 2 days were quite frustrating. What happened on the 29th and 30th of September? Another Google update!
I’m rarely affected by these updates but this time one of my sites was hit. This update was made to diminish the impact of exact domain match (EMD) on search results. In other words, if you have a EMD on some keywords, your domain importance has been diminished and therefore, your ranking for that keyword in Google should drop accordingly. The goal behind this update was to “derank” bogus sites that have a nice domain name but low quality content.
Unfortunately, one of my sites (with very high quality content on it!) has been hit by this update. The impact was quite impressive as I usually get traffic from 400 to 440 keywords on a weekend day and I got traffic from only 118 keywords instead on last Saturday. The traffic is currently down by 40-50% after this update. Needless to say that is it incredibly frustrating!
What’s even more frustrating is that it’s the third time that we will have work on the traffic for this site. We first worked on the content and SEO in order to double its original traffic. Then, we got hit by the first round of the Panda update a while ago. Then, we worked on other aspect and survived a Google update and brought back the traffic to what it used to be prior to the Panda update. Now that we are surfing on this nice wave, we get hit again and will have to start from square one… again! Here’s the quote I took over a comment on Search Engine Land that translates my feelings right now:
Well… maybe I should bring my kids to work as well… hahaha! If your traffic has taken a good hit, I suggest you read Adsense Flipper’s theory on the topic. What I don’t understand for my site is that I wasn’t hit on any of my niche sites, I was hit on one of my blogs which provides high quality content on a weekly basis… it’s very annoying!
Wait… Mike… you just lost 50% of your traffic on one single update and you are telling us that it’s not a risk???
Well, it’s not a risk if you diversify and own several web properties. Out of my 10 major sites, only one has been hit. This means that overall; I’ll be losing roughly 6% of my total traffic compared to last month. 6% is a bitch but it’s not the end of the world. I will lose a few hundred bucks (up to a $1,000… more on this later on this post) but it won’t shut down my goal to do this full time one day. This situation is another great example showing how diversification is the key for success. If this was my only site, I would be ballistic right now. Instead, I’m just a little bit frustrated.
I’ve currently no intention of asking for reconsideration as of right now. Since most Google updates comes with a corrected update a few weeks later to make sure they did the right thing, I’ll just wait for a month or so and see how it goes. I’m convinced that Google will see that I have high quality content since my number of pages viewed on this site along with the time spent on the site is superior to the average (to my sites average anyways!). In the meantime, I have nothing else to do but to continue focusing on my newsletter in order to build more internal traffic and ignore Google!
Once again, I’ve used my newsletter power to make money in September. We recently launched our new Dividend Growth eBook via our investing newsletter. I’ll have to do an extended post on that but I just wanted to share with you that I have 141 sales in the first week and sales are still coming in at a good pace. I’ve had a well defined strategy and the newsletter was at the center of my game plan.
What I like so much about my newsletter is that I can easily know how many people opened the email, if they clicked on a link or not and if they converted into a sale. This is huge marketing data that your site cannot really give you. It also enables direct feedback from readers/potential customers.
The book is exclusively available on Kindle for the moment and I know it’s hurting my sales. However we wanted to benefit from a good ranking in Amazon in order to have this “machine” selling our book to non-readers. My guess is there are a lot more people on Amazon looking for dividend investing content that there is among my newsletter subscribers J.
On another note, just to prove the power of the newsletter managed through Aweber, I’ve included a simple affiliate link in one of my newsletter follow-ups that is being sent 30 days after you subscribe to my investing newsletter. In September, I made 6 conversions at $30 each. Therefore, with a simple link only sent to new subscribers, I’m able to generate an additional $180 per month. Technically, if the law of averages applies (and it always applies, trust me), I should make a recurring $150 – $210 per month from this private affiliate. This will happen until A) my site shuts down or B) the affiliate decides to stop his program. But the deal we designed together is perfect:
a) The reader gets a special rebate because he is a subscriber to my newsletter
b) The company is making a profit because it gains a new client
c) I make money because I generate additional sales for the company
How would this three way win circle ends? Chances are that it won’t as long as the three parties are making money I would call it the circle of money! Hahaha!
I’ve decided to publish my Niche Sites income now to give a little bit more transparency. It will also help me to know how much these sites are contributing to in my company. The $539.23 is broken down into two sources of revenues:
$71.64 from eBooks (not the dividend investing one)
$467.59 from Adsense (yeah baby!)
While they are generating some decent income at this time, I severely lack in something… and it’s called traffic! My conversion rates are pretty good overall, but I just don’t have enough visits to make them fly. This is why I’ve been doing some heavy research lately on how to create a sustainable link building strategy. There are some great things on the web but now that there is a Penguin, a Panda and an EMD (this sounds like a sickness if you ask me!) patrolling the web, nothing is harder than doing good old SEO. Still, I’m taking a look at SPI link building strategy and will probably give it a shot. I have the resources to try it and will only do it with 2 specific sites ;-).
I’m done! Well… for now! Since this new eBook adventure seems to be a success, I might rethink The Rat Race or work on other projects. One thing is for sure; there is nothing better than having your own products for sale!
I really like where this is going. This year, I’ve set a goal of selling 300 copies by December 31st and since we are already working on a relaunch in early December (with a PDF and paperback copy), I’m pretty sure we will hit the 300 for Xmas. Anyway, I’m almost halfway after the first week!
I’m back to do something very simple; optimizing my top 10 pages for each site. This means that I go into my Analytics and look at the top ten most viewed pages for the past six months.
#1 I look at why they rank so well in Google and try to improve SEO (either keywords within the page or link building around them).
#2 I also look at potential affiliate products I can add to the page.
#3 I also try to figure where I can send these readers so they can generate more revenue (either to my newsletter, to a niche site or to another high converting page on my site).
This is a simple method but it has always allowed me to make more money with what I already have. Since Google seems to want to play with the rules all the times, this exercise is a good way to keep everything up to date.
The other thing I’m currently working on for October is to optimize my book marketing strategy. This implies mentioning my books in several places:
- In my free Dividend Investing eBook
- In my newsletter follow-up messages
- Across my entire network
- On my mini-sites
- In the navigation bar of my main investing sites
- Provide other free eBooks with mentions
The last thing I’ll do in October is to start Pat’s link building strategy. Everything is setup on my side so I can truly apply what he is teaching us on his site. Now it’s only a matter of seeing if this will work!
OMG! It’s been 4 months in a row that I beat my all-time record! But this one, is far from all the others! Over four grand in Adsense income!?! Soooo cooooool!
But this will also be the last record month in a row as their stupid EMD update will cost me roughly $1,000 in Adsense income (that’s what my little fingers tells me anyway!). I’ll be back to a “poo” $100/day for a while after touching a $140/day+ average! The problem with the visitors I’ll be losing due to this update is that they were clicking on my Adsense blocks. Go figure why but the CTR on this site is at least 2 times better than on any of my sites… this is maybe why I got hit so much as well! Arg!
Anyways, I’ll have to revisit my Adsense strategy once again to generate more diversification in order to make sure that my highest source of income keeps racking up more records! This should be done via more traffic towards my niche sites and the extension of my new authority site.
Finally, I can tell that I like my new writing style on TFB (over 1,000 words per article) but it’s very time consuming. On the other hand, it truly gives me the desire to write even more and go more in-depth for each topic. I really feel that I’m delivering premium content right now and this is what I like the most about blogging. After all, this whole business is about having fun, isn’t it?
Tell me, what have you done recently on your sites to make them better?
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