Niche Site Journal

by Will Blears Will Blears 7 Comments

Niche Site Journal – Revenue Update – Month 8

niche site journal amazon revenue

As part of the Niche Site Journal I have begun recording the monthly performance of revenue, organic traffic and SERPs and will begin to publish these here for everyone to see.

Revenue Performance

I’ve been monitoring the revenue from Amazon, monthly since the website launched in March/April 2016. I would recommend that everyone does this, it helps to track your success, makes forecasting and investing easier and lastly it will help if and when you come to sell the web property.

OK let’s dig into the details for October 2016:

Amazon Niche Site - Monthly Revenue October 2016

As I mentioned last month I was expecting to hit $100 in commission in October, well I absolutely smashed it with $165.83 in revenue! Now you would expect this huge increase to be the results of a significant increase in traffic, well that’s what you would assume but it’s not. To be honest organic traffic only increased by 10.08% MOM, whereas revenue jumped from $69.81 to $165.83 an increase of 137%!

If traffic wasn’t the cause of the revenue increase then what was?

The answer is conversion rates.

September’s conversion rate was 13.43% which is pretty damn awesome, but October was just mental…30.99%!

That is the one and only reason for the increase in revenue. Aside from that the additional 10% organic traffic might of helped slightly this month, but really it comes down to the conversion rates.

What did I do to improve the conversion rate?

Nothing.

I’d love to say I did this and this and this, but in all honesty nothing drastic was done.

Last month I spent very little time doing anything on the site from an on-page perspective, I removed the featured images as they were simply too big and I also added a schema plugin to help add the review bar to my organic positions, nothing that would directly impact the conversion rates, or at least by 100%.

What I have just noticed though is that my pages do not have comparison tables…I know, wtf! I forgot -_- so this will be on the task list for this month!

August vs. September Organic Traffic Performance

Next, let’s compare the performance of impressions and clicks MOM.

September – Search Console Performance

amazon affiliate site organic traffic proof

October – Search Console Performance

amazon affiliate site organic traffic proof

Once again very consistent traffic month to month, no huge gains to be seen. As we mentioned previously a small 10% increase in organic traffic is all we achieved in October, however, we do have quite a few keywords starting to balance between page 1 and page 2.

That’s all for this month, just a quick revenue update. I will be working on the table comparisons, schema and meta descriptions throughout this month and hopefully we will hit at least $150 again this month.

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by Will Blears Will Blears 7 Comments

Niche Site Journal – Revenue Update – Month 7

niche site journal amazon revenue

As part of the Niche Site Journal I have begun recording the monthly performance of revenue, organic traffic and SERPs and will begin to publish these here for everyone to see.

Revenue Performance

I’ve been monitoring the revenue from Amazon, monthly since the website launched in March/April 2016. I would recommend that everyone does this, it helps to track your success, makes forecasting and investing easier and lastly it will help if and when you come to sell the web property.

Amazon Affiliate Marketing Monthly Revenue

As you can see from the graph above, the revenue has been increasing since June 2016 when the site had zero sales, unfortunately, the growth from August to September was negligible, with only a $6 increase. However, I believe October’s performance should hit at least $100 and the site will hit $500 by December 2016.

August vs. September Organic Traffic Performance

Next, let’s compare the performance of impressions and clicks from August to September.

August – Search Console Performance

amazon affiliate site organic traffic

September – Search Console Performance

amazon affiliate site organic traffic proof

As you can see from the two graphs above, the organic traffic was very consistent month on month which correlates with the revenue comparisons. The reason we didn’t see much organic growth in September is difficult to pinpoint, I imagine it’s due to the fact that the keywords I am targeting are quite competitive and will take at least one more month before we see some significant gains.

Interestingly, you can see that on the last day of September there was a significant increase in average positions and clicks, the average position moved from 21.9 to 18.5, hopefully this will increase in to October.

This is all for today, as I mentioned this is just a monthly revenue update for the Niche site case study, please also check out my Authority site case study here.

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by Will Blears Will Blears 4 Comments

Niche Site Journal – Month 6

amazon niche site journal month 6

Welcome back to the sixth month of the Niche Site Journal case study.

For a few reasons, I chose not to update this journal for the past few months, in fact, the last update was on the 8th May and recapped the second full month of activity for the niche site. Apologies for the lack of updates, if you have already read my Authority Project update, you will know why I’ve not updated the site for a while and well I apologise.

However, I am back and this time, we have our 6-month update, for anyone new to building niche sites by the sixth month you really should know whether or not the website is going to be a success or not. By the sixth month, you should should see steady increases in both organic traffic and sales.

Let’s start off by delving into the site’s performance!

Site Performance

The following is a screenshot of Google Analytics traffic month by month filtered by organic traffic only.

niche site amazon journal case study

We launched the website in March 2016 and it has taken 3-4 months for our initial link building activity to begin taking effect, however as you can see over the past two months we’ve begun to see good growth in organic traffic.

amazon affiliate site case study

The above screenshot is taken from Google Search Console and shows the past 90 days performance, as you can see our clicks and impressions have increased significantly month on month. Below you can see the monthly performance:

  • March – 57 organic visitors
  • April – 163 organic visitors
  • May – 216 organic visitors
  • June – 228 organic visitors
  • July – 585 organic visitors
  • August – 1,104 organic visitors

What is responsible for the sudden increase in clicks and impressions?

There are a few specific pages which I was initially link building for; I chose these pages as they were among the easiest pages to rank for my chosen keywords. I knew that it would take 3-4 months to begin ranking for these keywords based on previous experience and Long Tail Pro showed keyword competition of mid 20’s for the majority of keywords on these pages.

screen-shot-2016-09-21-at-14-53-27

This is an example of one page which I’ve been targeted with off page SEO; you can also see another one below which shows even larger growth.

screen-shot-2016-09-21-at-14-53-07

A handful of pages show very similar results, and when I analyse the search console performance I can see multiple keywords for each page which have an increase in the average position leading to an increase in impressions and clicks.

I know what you are wondering now, well how has all this impacted my Amazon earnings? Well, let’s take a look!

Amazon Earnings Performance

The Amazon earnings have been increasing month on month as expected, after I received the first Amazon sale in early May, as discussed in the previous Niche Site update.

  • Amazon March Statistics: 5 clicks
  • Amazon April Statistics: 23 clicks
  • Amazon May Statistics: 36 clicks and 4 orders = $14.95
  • Amazon June Statistics: 33 clicks and 1 order = $1.60
  • Amazon July Statistics: 101 clicks and 9 orders = $28.80
  • Amazon August Statistics: 180 clicks and 31 orders = $63.59
  • Amazon September Statistics: 123 clicks and 20 orders = $31.15 – as of 19th September 2016

It has taken 2 months (March & April) to begin generating sales, by early May I received the first order and every month afterwards the site consistently generated orders. You may be looking at June and thinking wow, that sucked! Yes it did, but these things do happen and we just continue going, as I always say persistence is the key to success.

From July onwards to correlate with the uptick in visitors our earnings began to increase also, looking at this month we should be in line with last month’s performance and then we go into the last quarter of the year, the biggest quarter of the year so I am hoping to hit $500 by December 2016 for this site.

What have I been working on over the past four months?

Since the last update, you may be wondering what I’ve been doing to the website for it to grow so much and for it to begin generating a consistent monthly income. Well, to tell you the truth I’ve not touched the website at all, except for logging in to WordPress and checking everything is up to date, adding a few new plugins including Litespeed Web Server as part of my server upgrade, I’ve done very little on-page SEO as this was all done during the initial month of setting the site up.

Instead, my focus has been on link building and sorting out the Amazon FBA side of the business.

  • Outreach – obviously this will continue, I want to get articles published on all of the contributor accounts I have. Also, want to begin seeing some results from the two systems I have running.
  • Press Releases – I will submit a press release or two for the site.
  • Amazon FBA – hopefully next month’s update will include something like “and we’re live on Amazon…” or at least we’ll be very, very close.

Above is what I was supposed to be working on since the last update, so let’s go through this one by one.

Outreach

Admittedly this has been a slow process, mainly because my time has been significantly divided over the past few months, as many of you will know I was traveling during the month of July and August, so this site was one of my last priorities. I’ve not done any outreach during this time, I have had a virtual assistant help with basic SEO such as blog commenting, forum commenting e.t.c which I doubt has helped massively, but when it comes to getting larger authority links these basic links will help keep the link diversity.

Press Releases

I have managed to submit a press release last month for the website and I will be following that up this month with an additional press release which will also get the bolted on service which means the site will be submitted to Yahoo. I do this simply due to the fact that it increases the sites exposure and backlinks from Yahoo, they are no follow however, I am a firm believer in these type of authority links still having a positive impact, especially on relatively new websites.

Amazon FBA

Finally, the product is live on Amazon! It has taken so many months, going back and forth with the manufacturer to finalise the product, branding, packaging e.t.c but I got there in the end. Now the product is live on Amazon.com, it’s a very competitive market and this is my first FBA product so things are slow though. I’ve just begun adding the product to various review websites to generate additional reviews for the product, then the plan is to launch an Amazon PPC campaign. Meanwhile, I am promoting the product via HelloBar on the website, directing visitors straight to my Amazon product page in an effort to drive a few sales each month.

Next steps…

OK, firstly let me mention that I may continue to do monthly updates for this case study however, I may also decide to just do quarterly updates. The reason being is that there isn’t enough work being done on the site each month which means the monthly updates would merely be a site performance update. If you are interested in hearing how the site is doing each month then let me know in the comments section below!

More outreach, PR & hire some help…

The focus is really on building higher quality, authoritative links from relevant websites. Now, I can’t do this alone so the next steps are to find people that can help me with this. I am currently looking on PeoplePerHour & UpWork, I will continue to look for someone who has experience with outreach, can speak fluent English and also has experience in writing high quality content.

Amazon FBA

For the Amazon FBA side of the business the focus here is to generate more customer reviews and then to launch the PPC campaign, I still need to learn a lot about Amazon as a platform for selling and how their BSR algorithm works so there will be a lot of my own time spent on learning.

That’s all for this month, I do hope you find these case studies useful. If you have any questions, please leave a comment below!

by Will Blears Will Blears 1 Comment

Niche Site Journal – Month 2

amazon niche site journal month 2

Welcome back to the second month of the Niche Site Journal case study.

You may have noticed we’ve stopped publishing weekly updates and moved to monthly updates instead. The reason I’ve done this is that during the initial research and setup phase weekly updates definitely make sense due to there being such a large amount of work to be completed. However, once we have completed the initial keyword research, competitor analysis, website setup and content writing the pace changes significantly. It goes from being all hands on deck, to everything being focused on one single task and that’s off page SEO, which is exactly where we are at right now.

So, let’s begin by recapping what was on the action list from last month:

  • Continue outreach – looking for contributor accounts, guest posting opportunities I’d like to set a target of at least 5 guest posts approved and to be submitted or already published by next week.
  • Amazon FBA – I need to design what content will be put on to the packaging and give the designer instructions on colours e.t.c / I also need to start getting the product page formatted, content ready / talk with the video guy about how the video will look, feel, what’s the message e.t.c.

Continue outreach

OK, so this is an ongoing process, however I’ve made quite significant progress over the past 4 weeks, especially in the past 7-10 days, mainly due to the fact that I’ve been so freaking focused, seriously I am like a robot right now – it’s amazing, it won’t last, it never does, but if/when you get to this point take complete advantage of it.

During the past four weeks I began to create guest posting templates in Google Docs which I could share with the team of writers (when I hired them). The plan was, that I’d completely control and manage all communications with the website owners and I’d leave the creative writing completely in the hands of the team of writers I’d hire. As of right now I am trialling a team which I found via UpWork, it’s very early days, as in they’ve yet to complete there first article (next week) however looking at their previous work, I’ve got high hoped for them.

The Google Doc template simply has the following columns:

  • URL of where I want to be published – takes the writers directly to the submission page which usually includes the guidelines.
  • Category – the category of the website, so I can keep it organised and potentially re-use opportunities for future sites.
  • Date Added – the date I added the website so I can keep track of how long it takes the team.
  • Article Dropbox URL – this is for the writers to send me the article.
  • Date Article Created – this is the date the writer finished writing the initial article.

As well as this, the team have already been briefed about the website I am looking to link back to and the type of articles that I want to be written. So, we’ll see how this goes.

At this point you might be thinking OK great Will, some definite progress there…but wait, that’s not all!

I do not want to put all my eggs in one basket when it comes to building systems, I am new to it and I don’t know which will work best. So, I’ve been building a few other systems as well.

Contributor Accounts

As I’ve previously mentioned, contributor accounts are of vital importance to me as I feel they have the most benefits from a long term perspective. It’s been slow progress on this front, however recently I have begun to make some movements, I now have contributor accounts at the following DA sites:

  • DA72
  • DA42
  • DA60
  • DA50
  • DA76

All of which provide do follow links. I will continue to build contributor accounts, but it’s definitely a secondary approach to my link building efforts as I seem to do this as and when I stumble across sites that offer contributor accounts rather than actively seeking them out.

Partner Guest Post Accounts

Another strategy of mine is to use other people’s contributor accounts to get links in some very prominent, highly sought after publications. Now, I have a few reasons that I am doing this:

  • It’s quick – I can contact these people and get them to publish guest posts all within 5-7 days.
  • It’s great research – if these people can get contributor accounts and then sell those services to other people, then I am thinking I can definitely get contributor accounts at the same sites for my own personal use.

Now, since these are services quite a few of the guest posts are nofollow which in a normal situation I’d not be interested in, however I know for a fact (having completed the competitor analysis) that many of my competitors (in multiple niches) have used these same websites for nofollow guest posts. My thoughts are, I should be getting whatever links they have and more.

So, I am going to be getting guest posts at the following DA sites:

  • DA77
  • DA64
  • DA80
  • DA88
  • DA31
  • DA28
  • DA23
  • DA38
  • DA16
  • DA26
  • DA43
  • DA68
  • DA95
  • DA91
  • DA91
  • DA33
  • DA70
  • DA70
  • DA30

Now obviously I won’t just start publishing guest posts at all of these straight away, instead I will be drip feeding it so I can see the progress and also so it doesn’t look like I’ve just gone out and gone crazy over the course of a few days.

Press Releases

OK so now for another link building strategy, I am using an agency account I have at a major press release submission network to do a press release, one every month for my niche site (and my other sites). To be honest, I used to do press releases, years ago when it was all the rage and then I forgot about it as I never really saw any direct impact from doing so. However, it’s an affordable way of getting an extra layer of links which isn’t seen as being completely black hat, so I am up for it.

Amazon FBA

The product packaging has been designed and samples are on their way to me here in South Korea and my business partner back in the UK. This week we’ll have a call to discuss the samples, make sure we both agree on everything and then I will give the manufacturer the final go ahead to get the mass production completed. After that, we will pay the final 70% fee and have the products shipped to Amazon US warehouses which will take between 1-2 weeks.

Meanwhile, we have a professional photographer / video editor creating a quick promo video and professional photography for our Amazon product page, however these will also be used for press releases, our website and any other promotional channels we use such as social media. I am beginning to get quite excited with this side of the business as it’s completely new to me and whilst I don’t have high expectations of performance (it’s very competitive), I am positive the learning curve will be fantastic and well worth it.

Site Performance

OK with all that out of the way, let’s take a peak at performance, quite excited as I’ve not looked at the stats in such a detailed way for a few weeks.

amazon niche site performance

OK so this is the graph for the past 90 days, which is pretty much since the site was added to Search Console, but prior to the official launch of the website. You will notice I highlighted the 11th March 2016 well that’s when link building initially started. After that you can see a steady increase in impressions and then a slight jump at the beginning of April and then a second much more significant jump at the beginning of May. If the site continues to increase as it is doing I will be very happy indeed, now as we have some initial data let’s overlay this with some clicks!

amazon niche site performance 2

As you know from previous updates I didn’t actually want to add clicks as it’s far to sporadic and doesn’t really show much of a trend. However I thought for an initial analysis it could be quite useful to see how these impressions translate in to clicks. I’ve highlighted the last spike which as on the 3rd May where the site received 296 impressions and 10 clicks. Now, you might be thinking holy shit that’s an awful CTR, but remember most of these keywords are in an average position of like 50, ha.

Overall, I think it’s safe to say that the site is growing quite nicely, we’re in our second month officially approximately 8 weeks in to the launch of the website.

OK Will, awesome you have some clicks and impressions, but what about dollar dollar bill yo?

Good question! Let’s take a quick look.

  • Amazon March Statistics: 5 clicks
  • Amazon April Statistics: 23 clicks
  • Amazon May Statistics: 7 clicks and 3 orders

I absolutely knew it, completely 100% that this month would generate orders, honestly I am not bullshitting here. For some reason by looking at my search console graphs over the past day or two I was 100% confident that this month my niche site cherry would pop and it did, today actually! I’ve received 3 orders with a total revenue of approximately $200 at a commission level of 8% (this is generally what I hit each month) that translates to approximately $16, yeah, go me!

What’s the plan for the next four weeks?

Over the next four weeks I reckon there will be some big changes with the site in both impressions, clicks, revenue and then from an action list point of view lots of things are starting to piece together now so it’s going to be very exciting indeed.

  • Outreach – obviously this will continue, I want to get articles published on all of the contributor accounts I have. Also, want to begin seeing some results from the two systems I have running.
  • Press Releases – I will submit a press release or two for the site.
  • Amazon FBA – hopefully next month’s update will include something like “and we’re live on Amazon…” or at least we’ll be very, very close.

So, that’s it for this months update – let me know if you have any questions and please subscribe for more updates! oh and share on Facebook, Twitter and all that jazz.

by Will Blears Will Blears No Comments

Niche Site Journal – Week 4

amazon niche site journal week 4

Welcome to the fourth week of the Niche Site Journal case study.

Over the past week quite a few of the larger cogs within this business started turning, including ordering the initial 500 units of my Amazon FBA product which is a part of this website. Secondly, getting initial guest posts live including the post on the DA74 website and much more, read all about it below.

Last weeks action plan

  • Continue outreach – looking for contributor accounts, guest posting opportunities.
  • Submit my first article to my DA74 contributor account.
  • Amazon FBA – order my product, research like crazy the next stages to make sure I don’t make any big mistakes.

Wooh! Now I won’t say I’ve completed everything from my action plan since it’s really an on going battle, however I have taken action which is the most important part.

Guest Posting Progress

OK, so I’ve successfully got my first guest post on the DA74 website which is an awesome start! As well as this I’ve begun researching other guest posting opportunities and I am on the look out for additional contributor accounts. As I’ve mentioned before contributor accounts are awesome since you can continue to post on the same website multiple times without having to build a relationship with the owner and it really drives down the amount of time the whole process takes. The issue with this for my niche site is the fact that contributor accounts are few and far between, even the DA74 link I have attained isn’t in the same niche.

The approach I am taking is possibly quite a reverse to what a lot of people do, rather than researching where I can guest post and then writing content for that website. I actually research what type of content I am going to write, the angle I am approaching the guest post from and then find guest posting opportunities in that area.

For example, the DA74 site is a tech website so I chose the angle of looking at my niche site market and writing a post about the evolution of the market from it’s roots to present day and how technology has affected this evolution.

I am using a similar approach for another website (the authority site) and whilst it’s early days the progress looks promising. The main benefits of working this way is that you have content ready to be published, you have the angle and a proposal for the editor or webmaster and you can simply contact them and pitch your idea along with the content which means if they say yes there is no waiting it’s a simple case of publishing the content and hey presto, it’s live!

Other link building activities

Apart from the guest posting I am also having the VA I am testing out doing blog commenting and forum posting however I am vetting absolutely everything first to ensure it’s top quality and not just spam. If it turns out to be spam I will stop doing it, as I hate that sort of crap.

Amazon FBA Progress

Finally the order went through on Friday last week, therefore the manufacturer has begun to manufacture the 500 units, whilst designing the packaging and getting the samples I’ve requested ready to send across. I’ve asked for additional samples of the finished goods for a few reasons. Mainly to inspect the finished product but also because I will be getting a video developed for the product and will also be doing additional photography for use on the website, social and advertising.

The manufacturing should take approximately 10 days and then the shipping (by air) will take between 7 and 9 days which means I should have the product in Amazon’s warehouses by the end of the month. I am very excited about this venture as it’s a completely new area to me and if all goes well I am sure my skill set will compliment the whole Amazon FBA business model.

OK with all that out of the way how does the traffic look, let’s take a peak shall we…

google search console amazon

You will notice I have removed clicks from the graph, the reason being is that I think just confuses the progress that’s being made since our average position is generally too low to generate any decent volume of clicks. I’d like to focus on whats important at this point in time which is impressions because as long as the graph is on an incline then I am doing well. In a few months when the clicks are consistent then I will begin posting a graph with both clicks and impressions.

As you can see from the graph if we compare the start of March with the start of April the increase is approximately triple. At the beginning of March we were hitting about 40 impressions per day where as now we are at 120 impressions.

What’s the plan for next week?

It’s pretty similar to last week’s action points, everything is focused on off-page SEO right now, as you can see below:

  • Continue outreach – looking for contributor accounts, guest posting opportunities I’d like to set a target of at least 5 guest posts approved and to be submitted or already published by next week.
  • Amazon FBA – I need to design what content will be put on to the packaging and give the designer instructions on colours e.t.c / I also need to start getting the product page formatted, content ready / talk with the video guy about how the video will look, feel, what’s the message e.t.c.
by Will Blears Will Blears 2 Comments

Niche Site Journal – Week 3

niche site journal week 3

This is the third week of the Niche Site Journal case study.

Over the past week I spent a lot of time catching up on work I missed during my ventures in Singapore, also due to me spilling Whisky all over my laptop I was forced to use my old Macbook Pro which just doesn’t quite cut it. If you recall from last weeks action list, I had the following to complete:

  • Start looking for guest posting opportunities, get the content writers creating guest posts ready to submit.
  • Do a bit of blog commenting
  • Do some on page SEO, make sure everything is awesome.
  • Amazon FBA – order my product, research like crazy the next stages to make sure I don’t make any big mistakes.
  • Research additional affiliate networks (a few of the pages on my site are more related to B2B products which Amazon can’t supply so I need to find another affiliate network or establish partnerships directly with certain brands)
  • Implement Google Adsense advertisements within the website (yes it’s an Amazon affiliate website but that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t test Adsense)

As you can see from the above, those which have been crossed out I was able to complete. You will notice that the Amazon FBA action point has not been completed. Well, I’ve been discussing with the manufacturer and we’re getting closer to finalising the order, we’re just finalising the total costs (including shipping).

Guest Posting Opportunities

I’ve begun this process, as I have a contributor account at a DA74 magazine I am also going to be putting together a guest post for that website which should most certainly help. To be frank, I am quite the noob when it comes to guest posting…this is the strategy I am currently working on:

To research and highlight websites which offer contributor accounts, then work with the editor/owner to get a contributor account which I can then use over and over again with multiple websites.

The reason I am focusing on this rather than looking for individual guest posting opportunities is simply down to the time it takes. If I can spend equal amount of time getting a contributor account which I can then post multiple times to, it will be more beneficial for me.

However, having said that…

I am also testing Virtual Assistants who are assisting in creating lists of relevant guest posting opportunities (actual guest posts, not contributor accounts) so the strategy is more two-fold.

I am hoping by next week to have the guest post published on the DA74 site and to have at least a 3-5 more in the pipeline.

Blog Commenting

Now, this isn’t a strategy I am overly fond on…in my opinion it’s a really old school technique which has seen it’s day and it’s very often misused as a strategy for building links. The way I do this is quite simple, I only comment on blogs/websites which are high quality, publish fantastic content and have already an established community discussing the article. I don’t comment for the sake of commenting and I always try and get a dialogue going, whether it be with the administrator/writer/author or fellow readers. I also only link to my home page and usually use my authors name as the anchor text, none of that keyword crap…

On Page SEO

I love on-page SEO, I’ve found it to be so effective but only when you have an excellent link building strategy in place. The amount of times I’ve analysed my SERPs and noticed one of my sites pages hanging on page 2 or 3 for a keyword, then I’ve gone in and done a little on-page SEO (adding header tags, changing header tags, alt tags, analysing the competition and bolstering my content) and a week or so later I’ve shift 5 or more positions, it happens very frequently. Interestingly, I thought I was alone in doing this approach, but I noticed Josh over at NicheSiteAzon does exactly the same (he obviously copied me…).

This is a quick check list of what I do for my on-page SEO & when initially setting up my site:

  • About, Privacy, Contact, Terms & Disclosure Pages
  • HTML Sitemap (usually placed in the footer)
  • XML Sitemap (usually use Yoast SEO and submit this to Google Search Console)
  • Meta Tags (title, description tags)
  • Alt Text Images (always ensuring I add alt text to my images, usually the main keyword then variants of this)
  • Header Tags (one and only one H1 tag, multiple H2 & H3 e.t.c tags)
  • Keyword Highlight (I always highlight my keyword or a variant of it within the first paragraph of text with either bold, italic or underline…it’s a really old technique which I doubt does anything any more but I still do it)
  • Table of contents (I always add a table of contents linking to each of the main sections of the page)

Most importantly, I make the pages look sexy…

Yes, sexy…as in they look aesthetically pleasing and they make the reader feel happy and it does not have the opposite effect of making the reader want to vomit.

OK, now we have all that out of the way, let’s take a look at week on week traffic statistics.

Below is a snapshot of last weeks Search Console activity:

So, for a 2 week old site it’s not too bad, unfortunately no sales as of yet though. Now let’s look at week 3:

Screen Shot 2016-03-30 at 11.25.27

We can see a steady increase week on week, as long as the graph shows an incline I am a happy boy…now I am talking specifically about impressions and not clicks.

You might be thinking, but why Will…why do you care about impressions when you need clicks?

Good thinking – the reason is it’s a brand new website, so I highly doubt I will get many clicks considering my average position within the SERPs is 63.5 (across the board). Therefore, what we do want to focus on initially is:

  • Impressions – monitor impressions and ensure there is a week on week incline.
  • Search Queries – monitor how many queries the website is appearing for and ensure that continues to increase.

What’s the plan for next week?

As I have now finished the on-page SEO (for now at least) I will focus all of my efforts on off-page SEO, as mentioned before the contributor accounts, guest posts, training/hiring virtual assistants to assist and finally, I will hopefully make my initial Amazon FBA order.

  • Continue outreach – looking for contributor accounts, guest posting opportunities.
  • Submit my first article to my DA74 contributor account.
  • Amazon FBA – order my product, research like crazy the next stages to make sure I don’t make any big mistakes.
by Will Blears Will Blears 1 Comment

Niche Site Journal – Week 2

niche site journal week 2

This is the second week of the Niche Site Journal case study.

The past week has been crazy busy and quite stressful (at times). I had a business trip to Singapore which was great once I’d arrived, however leading up to the trip I realised my passport had less than 6 months validity (you need more than 6 months to enter the country). Therefore I had to run around and contact Singapore ICA (immigration office) and explain the situation and beg for entry in to the country. Fortunately, all went well and I was soon sipping on old fashioned cocktails, soaking in the sun and devouring steak. This leads me on to my second issue…

Because I went to Singapore, after the business meeting I went in to full on holiday mode which meant I got very little (none) affiliate work completed. Fortunately for my business, it was only a short trip, after 3 nights I flew back to South Korea which leads me on to the third issue.

After I arrived home I had a few drinks with some friends which led to me spilling a small glass of Japanese whisky all over my Macbook Pro, which then led to the keys being unusable and me having to run around the next day trying to get it fixed. This brings me to the present, I am using my old Macbook Pro which is slow, and waiting for my new MBP to be fixed.

So, with that all out of the way, what did go on last week then…

Yes, if you read the above I just said I got no work completed on my affiliate sites, well this is true but I still have the SEO agency beginning the link building and the content writers publishing content.

The checklist from last week included:

  • Liaise with SEO agency to ensure outreach is being completed
  • Research additional affiliate networks (a few of the pages on my site are more related to B2B products which Amazon can’t supply so I need to find another affiliate network or establish partnerships directly with certain brands)
  • Implement Google Adsense advertisements within the website (yes it’s an Amazon affiliate website but that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t test Adsense)

From the very small checklist above, I was able to complete one action point – the other two are not high on my priority list so I will bring them over to this week.

As of right now the site has:

  • Content – 31 pages of content out of the planned 35 pages – overall the amount of words that I initially planned to launch the site with stands at approximately 35,000 words with some pages hitting 2,500 words, others 1,500 and the minimum being 750 words.
  • Site design & layout – this has all been completed and the site actually looks pretty darn nice, I am using a new WP theme I hadn’t used before but a friend showed me and it’s extremely easy to use so the chances are I will use it for future sites as well.
  • SEO – I’ve spoken to the SEO agency and the outreach has begun, however Google Search Console (previously known as Google Webmaster Tools) is not yet showing any links to my website (find out how to check right here).
  • Amazon FBA – as my initial product will be in the same market as the website and the long term plan is to leverage the site for the FBA brand, it’s worth mentioning that progress is being made. I am finalising the initial costs for 500 MOQ (minimum order quantity) and then we’re going to proceed, hopefully this week. Next steps, package design, manufacturing and adding the logo to the product via laser, package and then ship.

You may be wondering if the website has made any sales or had any traffic yet, well I am beginning to see the first trickle of traffic coming in from Google organic search, check out this exciting image below:

google search console traffic statistics

Not a huge amount of traffic, but considering the site hasn’t even launched properly yet it’s a good start. I am also looking at what search terms I am beginning to appear for, which pages are generating the most impressions and in Google Analytics I am looking at the actual visitor engagement (bounce rates, time on page/site) to ensure the user experience is positive. You will also notice that the graph shows growth, this is exactly what you want for any website at any time period. If it starts to flat line then perhaps you need to add more content, improve your on page SEO or do more off page SEO or look in to promoting the site via other channels (social e.t.c). If the traffic starts to decline then you really need to start taking action (that is unless the website is seasonal).

For example, check out the next screenshot from another website I own, the date range is the past 90 days and this is not a seasonal market.

Screen Shot 2016-03-23 at 12.51.09 PM

You can see an obvious incline in both impressions and clicks and this will hopefully continue as I add additional pages of content, improve content and on page SEO of existing pages and continue to do more outreach.

However, you don’t always have to worry if your website looks like it’s tanking, especially just after Christmas and especially if the market is seasonal, such as the following:

Screen Shot 2016-03-23 at 12.52.50 PM

That huge spike is Christmas day and well everyone goes mental on Christmas day…all that food and drink I think. You can see very little growth after Christmas and it actually looks like the website is flat lining which could be a cause for concern. However, this is a very seasonal market and is highly dependent on the companies within the industry launching products, so it is not a concern for me at all.

With websites that are seasonal, the best thing to do when you are concerned about the growth is extend the period of time you are analysing and to ensure there is growth YOY. Now, unfortunately Google Search Console limits you to just 90 day views (very annoying) so you have to do this in Google Analytics instead, such as:

The following graph is taken from Google Analytics over a 12 month period (December 2014 to December 2015) and is filtered by organic traffic only.

Screen Shot 2016-03-23 at 12.56.50 PM

Right, that’s all for snapshots today ha…if anyone wants to know other ways of analysing a sites performance, growth e.t.c just leave a comment below.

What’s the plan for next week?

The content will be finished in the next few days, only 5 pages left to publish. After this, I will focus all my efforts on SEO, I will start getting guest post opportunities and also do a bit of blog commenting. Apart from this I will continue my Amazon FBA efforts and hopefully get my product ordered and continue to do a whole load of reading to ensure I don’t miss a trick!

So for next week we have:

  • Start looking for guest posting opportunities, get the content writers creating guest posts ready to submit.
  • Do a bit of blog commenting
  • Do some on page SEO, make sure everything is awesome.
  • Amazon FBA – order my product, research like crazy the next stages to make sure I don’t make any big mistakes.
  • Research additional affiliate networks (a few of the pages on my site are more related to B2B products which Amazon can’t supply so I need to find another affiliate network or establish partnerships directly with certain brands)
  • Implement Google Adsense advertisements within the website (yes it’s an Amazon affiliate website but that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t test Adsense)

How to check if Google Search Console has indexed the backlinks to your website?

Login to Google’ Search Console, click on the relevant property (website) then go to Search Traffic > Links to your site. Here you can find what links Google have indexed and appropriately shown as links back to your website.

google search console finding links

by Will Blears Will Blears 4 Comments

Niche Site Journal – Week 1

niche site journal week 1

Welcome to the first week of the niche site journal.

The purpose of this journal is two fold – on the one hand it’s a weekly update of recapping what I’ve done during the previous week as well as the plans for the week ahead which keeps me accountable. On the other hand I hope it is a source of inspiration and motivation for those who are just starting out and also a booster for those who have already started but are finding the road to making money online a little tough.

What I will share with you

  • Statistics – I will share the sites monthly growth in impressions, clicks, queries and revenue.
  • Costs – I will openly discuss the costs of both the setup and ongoing costs.
  • Time – I will discuss the time I’ve spent each week on the website.
  • Strategy & Goals – I will share the strategy I am implementing and the short-term, mid-term and long-term goals.

What I will not share with you

  • The website URL or the specific market I am in.

You may find this unfair but it’s a choice I’ve made based on what I’ve seen happen to other people’s businesses once they publicly announced their website and market.

OK so with that all out the way let’s get in to it.

First of lets talk about my goals for this niche site.

Goals

I’ve previously discussed how important it is to have goals when building a niche website and that’s why we shall start with my goals for this niche site.

  • 6 month goal – to hit $1,000 monthly in affiliate net revenue
  • 12 month goal – to hit $5,000 in accumulated net revenue from Amazon FBA and affiliate revenue

Notice: I said ‘net revenue’ yes well I am referring to revenue after I deduct costs which would include monthly SEO and content costs as well as any other ad hoc costs.

Also in the 12 month goal I mentioned Amazon FBA, yes well I am launching my first Amazon FBA product next week and this website will be in the same market so I plan on leveraging this affiliate site to help generate additional sales for my FBA product in the future.

To be honest it’s a little backwards the concept of doing Amazon FBA and Amazon Affiliate marketing combined should really be done in the opposite way – build an affiliate site first, wait until it has traffic and generates an income and then source a product similar to what you are selling on the affiliate site and begin promoting your own product. This is exactly what I was going to do with one of my largest authority sites however after doing some pretty heavy research I realised the margins on the products I was selling were just too small for me to enter the market, therefore I have just continued doing affiliate marketing for that website.

However, I’ve already done the calculations for this niche website and everything looks good, so the long term plan is to leverage the site for my own Amazon FBA products.

What’s been going on in week 1!

Whilst we are calling this week 1, realistically it’s actually week 3 for me as the initial market research, keyword researchcompetitive research, content plan and site setup have now been completed.

Content Plan

Generally speaking when I launch new niche websites I usually outsource approximately 10-15 pages of content which usually consists of several ‘best xxx’ related pages of 1,500 – 2,500 words and then 5-10 product review pages which are usually ‘xxx review’ and are usually about 750 words. However, for this niche site whilst I was doing the keyword research and content plan I just realised there was so much to write and because I am very confident it will generate a revenue quite soon I decided to outsource 30 pages of content which is about 28,000 words in total.

If you are wondering how much I pay for content I pay $2.50 per 100 words and have a team of writers I’ve been using for many years, unfortunately I can’t refer anyone because they are really busy with my projects ha.

Also, what I do when setting up new niche sites is give the writer editor access to the backend of WordPress where they will find drafts of the content I want them to create. I will add the headline such as ‘best xxxx’ and then I will append ‘- 1500’ to the end which refers to the minimum word count.

Note: I say minimum because I never add a maximum as I want the content to be as in-depth as possible.

Then the writer goes in to the backend of WP writes the content and I go in afterwards and add images, format headlines e.t.c which usually takes me between 15-20 minutes.

The finished content usually looks pretty average in regards to the design/layout and there is definitely room for improvement but the purpose is to spend as little time as possible but to ensure it’s good enough to convert and not to scare people away. This is my initial strategy as time for me is pretty darn sacred so I can’t afford to spend more time than that curating content and making it look all pretty. That comes later once the traffic starts coming in…

Website Structure & Layout

I have a few go to wordpress themes I use for my niche sites and I use the same themes across a few websites simply down to the fact that it cuts down the learning curve and time investment when setting up new websites. Oh and the fact that some of my authority sites use the same themes and they are doing very well, so they can’t be that bad, eh!

I do not use Thrive themes or any other type of backend addons as I just don’t think I have the time right now to try and learn how to use Thrive themes and when my sites get established enough I always get a completely custom design built.

In regards to plugins this is what I usually use:

  • Yoast SEO – for on-page SEO, title tags, XML sitemaps (for use with Google Webmaster tools)
  • HTML Sitemap – it’s a plugin which uses a shortcode to automatically create a HTML sitemap (for user experience, add it to my footer)
  • Sucuri Security – it’s a free plugin with a paid option which helps keep little hacker kids hands off my websites
  • Table Press – the best (only the best because 99% of the others are pure garbage) plugin for creating tables within WordPress

And that’s it really, I try to keep plugins to a minimum since they slow down websites massively, or at least some plugins do.

What’s the plan for next week!

Since the website is practically finished the next step is off-page promotional activity which is primarily focused on link building. I have sent the website information to my SEO agency who helps take care of my off-page link building and they will begin outreach next week.

Apart from this I am testing several virtual assistants at the moment to help me create an outreach system for use with guest posting. Basically, I am trying to get a team to help find guest post opportunities, create a list of leads with contact information which I can then contact and build relationships with. This is on-going and will likely take a few weeks if not a month or so and this isn’t just for this website but for my entire business.

Specific plans include:

  • Liaise with SEO agency to ensure outreach is being completed
  • Research additional affiliate networks (a few of the pages on my site are more related to B2B products which Amazon can’t supply so I need to find another affiliate network or establish partnerships directly with certain brands)
  • Implement Google Adsense advertisements within the website (yes it’s an Amazon affiliate website but that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t test Adsense)

That’s all for week 1 if anyone has any questions just drop a comment below or if you have any requests for this journal then let me know!

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