Welcome back to the ninth month of the authority site project.
If this is the first time you are reading my authority site project then check out the first post which explains the strategy and the long-term goals, you can read it right here.
If you have been following then you should by now know that I ‘ve changed the authority site project updates to quarterly, rather than monthly. There are a few reasons for this, one of the main reasons is that there are not enough new actions being taken on a monthly basis as a lot of actions are dependent on the second phase of the website development being finished which has been an absolute nightmare and is still on-going.
Let’s begin by looking at the monthly revenue comparison, I’ve scrapped the bullet point finances for a nice looking graph instead, I think we can all agree it’s far more visually appealing and easier to follow.
As you can see from the above, November was a huge month, I finally hit four figures for the authority site with $1,279.79 in Amazon commissions. Interestingly, October wasn’t half bad either hitting $875.99 in Amazon commissions which is a huge increase from September, so why did this happen?
Launching a PPC campaign
In September I launched a PPC campaign on Google Adwords to help drive targeted visitors to my site. The reason I did this was to both generate revenue but also to collect data and lastly to analyze the user engagement on the website as I was working on the design for the beta launch.
For September there was no real goal in terms of how much revenue I wanted to generate, I had a budget of £500 to spend on PPC advertising and in September I only spent $188.46. Throughout September I made a variety of changes, optimizing the campaigns based on bounce rates and average time on site (since I can’t optimize based on conversions) and then in October decided to crank it up.
Below you can see the total number of sessions that were generated from PPC activity alone.
That’s quite a decent amount of visitors hitting my site on a monthly basis from PPC alone which costs me just a few cents per visitor, well worth it I think!
In October & November, I successfully made a profit, you can see the spend for Google Adwords activity plotted below.
Whilst this graph shows that I am making a profit, what it does not account for is organic sales which are combined in that commission bar above. Unfortunately, due to Amazon Associates restrictions, I can’t split the commissions from each traffic source. Therefore I will just continue to look at it cumulatively, as long as my commissions are higher than my spend then I am happy for now.
Also, the added benefits of spending $800 per month on Adwords activity is that I have access to more than 5,000 queries which I can use for content writing and SEO. Secondly, I can see which pages convert best, what products sell well and analyse how visitors interact with my website. In the future I plan on creating multiple landing pages to compare alternative landing page designs, the end goal being to drive more people to Amazon and generate more orders.
As we’ve just discussed PPC activity we may as well move straight on to what is happening from an organic perspective.
As you can see from the graph above which is a snapshot of the last 90 days organic activity, the site is growing quite nicely, it’s now hitting about 150 organic visitors per day. We’ve also begun to hit the first page for a few ‘best xxxx’ type keywords, however, these are quite low traffic volumes and generally low average order value products.
The below snapshot shows you organic sessions for the past 3 months:
A slight uplift in November, most of which was around the time of Black Friday & Cyber Monday, even though I didn’t have a Black Friday page setup for this website the demand was higher due to it being a peak retail event.
Part of the SEO strategy is to invest a significant chunk of the £25,000 loan I took out for content. In the past 3 months, I’ve published approximately 300,000 words of content on the website and each month I continue to publish at least an additional 100,000 words.
One of the most difficult parts of this process is finding the best products to create consumer guides for, products which deserve a buyers guide and secondly products which are highly searched and have low competition keywords. I’ve been utilising AHREFs top pages tool for this which allows me to look at my competitors highest traffic driving pages and then I can use this to begin keyword research and decide whether or not the topic makes my list.
I am ashamed to say this but very little link building has been done over the past 90 days.
I did have a fantastic writer who created some guest posts which I then submitted to various sites but most of them have just been stuck in review for the past 45-60 days, which is incredibly annoying. Going forward from January 2017 onwards I am going to be focusing more time on networking, creating business cards and building a proper brand out of this website which I hope will help me generate more natural links and also present a better opportunity when it comes to pitching guest post ideas to websites such as entrepreneur.com and forbes.com.
Apart from this, I have my VA making a large list of universities for me to approach with the scholarship strategy, meanwhile I have created a scholarship page on my website and also created a PDF leaflet to make things look more professional. I will be delaying this, as I will be getting a more professional scholarship page created, as a sort of template which I can use across several of my sites which I hope will increase the conversion rate of the scholarship campaign.
For December I will continue to publish the 100,000+ words of content and hopefully, the website developer will have finished with the beta version of the website. Apart from this, a lot of December will be used for reflecting on 2016, looking at the goals I set up at the beginning of the year and what I’ve accomplished so far. It will also be time to create goals for 2017 and an action plan on how I can start the year off smashing them and a big focus will be on this authority site!
In 2017 the targets I have for this site so far are:
- Launch UK, Canada & Australian websites by May 2017
- Hit 50,000 organic visitors per month by May 2017
- Have at least 1,000 pages of content published by May 2017
These are some bold targets, however this is whats needed to really take this site to the level I want to take it. To hit those targets I need to stop thinking of this site as another affiliate site and begin treating it as an individual brand, which is why I will be completely overhauling my priorities for 2017 however, I will talk more about that in a future post 🙂
If you have any questions, just leave a comment below and I will reply as soon as possible.