NICHE EMPIRE PROJECT
Inside what it takes to build a profitable online property.
MONTH 6: APRIL 2019
In this article:
LAST MONTHS EARNINGS (USD)
TOTAL EARNINGS (USD)
MONTHLY GOOGLE IMPRESSIONS (thousand)
MONTHLY GOOGLE CLICKS (thousand)
- 2.2x Increase in Traffic
- 12x increase in Earnings
Another good month for traffic seeing significant gains, a 2.2x increase in sessions from 1,588 to 3,480 in April 2019.
As this ‘active users’ graph shows, the project is still showing a relentless upward trend week on week, month on month.
Google Impressions up from 48.7k to 91.5k.
Below shows the trend in impressions over time since the start of the project, all going in the right direction.
A 12x increase in earnings from last month which I’m pretty happy with. Last month I signed up for Australia and Canada locales as I noticed that I was getting a fair bit of traffic from those countries. Australia has delivered with one sale, but Canada has yet to come through.
Late this month I also signed up for the India and Germany locales. Germany rewarded me after a couple of days with a sale from the first click but nothing since. All very low numbers on locales outside the US and UK.
The Amazon Associates Earnings were as follows.
US – $36.94
UK – $7.17
Canada – $0
Germany – $0.56
Australia – 1 order, no commission yet
India – $0.38
Affiliate Commission: $45.05
I have a confession. When I chose my niche back in October last year I hadn’t realized that Amazon Associates commission rates vary in different locales.
I looked at the UK site and the commission level was quite high for my niche but it turns out that it’s one of the lowest in the US (almost half) where most of my sales take place.
I was pretty frustrated when I realized this was the case a few months back but there is nothing I can do about it now. In any case, Amazon just reduced the commission of a whole bunch of categories again so I may have still been in the same situation.
So, now I need more traffic than I expected. I still plan to diversify my income stream by utilizing other affiliate programs where appropriate and create my own products eventually both of which will have better margins.
“A word of warning for those picking a niche. Especially with Amazon, your commission today may not be the same commission tomorrow!”
Given that traffic has increased somewhat I decided to sign up for Adsense on 24th April. I’m not expecting this to be a big earner at this time but I don’t expect ads to have a negative impact either.
I’ve not done any manual configuration at this point and just used the Adsense ‘auto ads’ feature which uses machine learning to place ads in positions on the site where they are most likely to perform well.
From 24th – 30th Adsense earned $2.15 from the site. This means a grand total of $47.20 in earnings for the month of April.
Longer term I plan to move to use a managed Ad service as soon as I can.
At the moment I am thinking I’ll be using Ezoic (once I get to 10,000 sessions per month), Mediavine (once I get to 25,000 sessions per month) and I may give AdThrive a go to see how it fairs vs. Mediavine (once I get the 100,000 page views a month). Ezoic still uses Google Adsense but claims to achieve a higher click-through rate and higher earnings than vanilla Adsense.
In April, the focus for content was primarily single product reviews. Until now, I’ve focused on ‘best x’, ‘best x for y’ and informational content. This month I’ve targeted more single product reviews which have much lower search volumes (in fact most don’t have any volume) but the buyer intent for these articles should be much better.
In the coming month, I’ll be mixing up the content between single product reviews and long tail ‘best x for y’ content.
I now have 17 boards and have been scheduling 8-20 pins per day. I create a new pin design for each new blog published. I still expect it to take another couple of months before I see any serious traffic from Pinterest. It’s picked up slightly in April and I’m seeing on average about 3 visitors per day.
In April there were 92 sessions from Pinterest and 36 from Facebook. At this time I’m not being particularly active on Facebook and just cross-posting some pins.
In April I added 3 guest posts (one just went live at the start of May). There are now two links pointing to my main keyword article and one link a piece pointing to two of my secondary keyword articles.
My main keyword article moved from outside the top 100 to position 65 and has since moved up to 58th. Given that the volume for this keyword is around 10k per month I’ve now starting to see some traffic from this keyword/article.
The second link pointing at this article didn’t seem to make a noticeable difference but it can take 3 or 4 weeks before seeing any benefit from new links.
If anything, a link to another of my articles has seemed to have a negative effect but this could be a coincidence. This article was consistently tracking at around position 52 for a while but has been trending downwards since the link got placed and now is in position 72.
I’ll keep an eye on this and will double check the site the link is coming from. Hopefully, we’ll see this trend reverse as the link beds in over the next couple of weeks.
The final keyword has spent some time at around 48 in April but disappeared outside the 100 over the course of the month. The link to this article went live on 3rd May so we’ll see what impact that has.
In general, more time needs to pass and more work needs to be done before we can rank well for the higher volume more competitive keywords. The site still only has a DA of 11.
I’ll continue to focus on long tail keywords when creating new content as this will be my main source of traffic for some time to come.
Adding Amazon Associates Locales
Having added India and Germany in April, I plan to sign up to a few more locales in May as there really is no reason not to and doesn’t take too long for each one.
For the uninitiated, you can sign up to 11 different Amazon locales and configure the links on your site so that if someone clicks on one of those links they get taken to their local Amazon store (and more importantly you get credit for the sale).
With so little traffic going to these other locales at the moment, it’s not going to make too much difference at this stage.
In May I plan to focus on scaling up link building as best I can. More guest posts and a campaign that will include a larger linkable asset. I plan to use some form of the skyscraper technique originally made popular by Brian Dean.
Recently Authority Hacker announced an approach they call the ‘shotgun skyscraper’ technique which involves spending very little time in the early part of the outreach exercise and using available software to email a lot of prospects all at one time before focusing more carefully on those that reply.
This is in opposition to the original skyscraper technique (which they refer to as the ‘sniper skyscraper’) which recommends spending time crafting a personalized email for each and every link prospect.
Authority Hacker claims that the ‘shotgun’ approach yields better results because you’re not wasting a lot of time personalizing emails for people that will never reply.
It’s an interesting idea and I will try some form of the ‘skyscraper’ approach.
I’m conscious that I need to do more to start building a mailing list. In May I will include a giveaway on the site that I hope will pick up a few email addresses. In future months I’ll try more aggressive approaches to list building.
This month I plan more product reviews and ‘best x of y’ articles (and informational articles of course for balance). I’m also creating a ‘50 best bloggers in (my niche)’ article which I hope that I can use in an outreach exercise to gain some links from these bloggers.
I plan to double down on Pinterest putting in the groundwork that will help see traffic grow ‘organically’ from the platform in the next few months. In addition, articles like the best 50 bloggers should do quite well on Pinterest.