$1,800 Month - Here's How I Got Here
Last Update: Feb 1, 2020
Hey everyone, I haven't posted in awhile and I wanted to share some things from my latest site after the most recent holiday shopping season.
As some of you know who have read my other blog posts, I sold my last two sites that were making money after I got a new job.
I didn't plan on starting a new site as soon as I did as I wanted to focus on the new job, however, after a family vacation, I decided to start a site after one of my cousins committed to putting in half of the effort.
I was working with some guys who had experience buying large publisher sites, some that made almost a million dollars in profits so going into this site I was somewhat overconfident.
So I'm going to walk you through my mistakes as well as some of the things that I feel worked well for the site.
As you can see from the header image it took a while for this site's traffic to take off, even longer than my last night that made money. I was starting to sweat a little bit last fall as I'm bootstrapping this on my credit card and it was only making around $200 a month for most of last year and we were spending closer to $800.
Go Deep, Before Going Wide
When I first started this new site I was writing about 10 articles per silo ( A group of articles around the same content) and then moving on to the next one thinking that I would just build links and the site would rank.
I also went after some more competitive keywords, again, thinking that link building would allow me to compete faster than I had before.
Well after a few months with not much traffic I quickly realized that this was not the greatest strategy. After reading a couple of notes about EAT which means expertise, authority and trustworthiness, I realized that because I was only writing about 10 articles in each silo, there's no way that Google would see my site as an expert or an authority in the field.
So at that point, I stopped adding new silos and began going deeper and each one.
Go For Lower Competition First Before Higher Competition
This is what they teach here at Wealthy Affiliate but I just wanted to re-emphasize the importance of it. As your content starts to rank and your site builds trust, you can naturally go for more competitive keywords.
However, it takes quite a while for your site to gain that trust from Google so it's better to start off with lower competition keywords.
I began targeting less competitive keywords around the fourth or fifth silo and those pages started to rank way faster than the first couple silos that we wrote.
Save Link Building For At Least The 6-month Mark
When I first started this site I began building links after we only had about five or six articles posted. I think this was actually more difficult than it should have been. My conversion rate was low at the beginning for guest posting.
Since you are also waiting for Google to trust your site, there's really no point in wasting resources here in the beginning.
Now that this site is over a year-and-a-half old and I've built around a hundred fifty links, I'm getting guest post requests on a daily basis.
After the site had about fifty articles up my conversion rate for guest post requests went up quite a bit and it was much easier to land them.
Be Careful With Plugins
I've mentioned this before but it's funny how sometimes you don't learn from your own mistakes. After showing my site to a friend he pointed out that a plugin was messing with my H2 and H3 tags.
After removing the plugin from three pages the impressions went up by over 50% almost overnight. Once I saw that I immediately went through the rest of the site and made the changes.
This also happened around the same time as the November update so it's kind of hard to say what had more of an effect, my changes or the Google update, but the site went from about a hundred fifty visits a day to over 800.
Which was just in time for Black Friday!
Some Things That Went Well
I Didn't Write Any Content
One of the things I've learned the most from my new job is to create systems and processes you can train other people to follow. This allows you to scale.
When I started this site I knew I didn't have time to write my own content like I did with my last couple. So I created a procedure and tested about 15 different writers on Upwork.
After cycling through several I found one that has been with us for over a year now and we're only paying about $0.02 a word.
This is one of the things I'm most proud of, not having to write any of our own content, it also allows us to scale as we recently started posting about 10 articles a week with the increase in traffic and sales.
Keep Up With Current Trends
A couple of months ago a new schema came out for FAQ pages. The Yoast plugin allows you to add this easily to any post.
Once Google recognizes the FAQ on your page it will display it underneath the search result giving you some more eye candy for someone to click on your page.
Of course, this could backfire if they get the answer they need from the FAQ and they don't click through.
However, it was still neat to see Google placing these extra snippets under our results.
Better Keyword Research
Maybe this should have been called easier keyword research. I have access to ahrefs through my job, however it is well worth the price. If I didn't have access, I would probably find two or three other people to try and split the cost with. They offer a $7 7-Day free trial which would be enough to get months worth of keyword research done.
I used to be a fan of Long Tail Pro and I've also used semrush before ahrefs takes the cake.
When you put in your domain, the software identifies competitors for you, or you can put in your own competitor you’ve identified yourself. Using a competitor that has a similar domain rating as you but more traffic has provided great results for us.
Once you plugged in your competitor’s URL there's a report called top pages. In this report, the pages are sorted by the highest traffic and there's a drop-down that when you click on it it tells you all of the keywords that page is ranking for.
This is our version of not reinventing the wheel. Someone else has already done the heavy lifting and you can see it is working for them so we can easily “borrow” the keywords that they use on the page which makes content planning a breeze.
Focus On Conversions
Another thing I learned working with these guys is some of the quickest wins you can have is by increasing your conversion rate.
I like to think of this as maximizing your current traffic. The first thing you should do to increase conversions is start tracking them so you know what works and what doesn't
There are several conversion rates in the entire sales process when a visitor comes to your site, and you just need to double one of those to potentially double your sales. This can be much easier than doubling your traffic.
One of the ways you can increase conversions is by a/b testing. However, you need about 10,000 page views a month to do a proper test on a given page.
Since we don't have that kind of traffic I've just done a bunch of research to find best practices for these Amazon affiliate sites and trust that they work.What's Next
Now that we have some decent traffic and some data from Amazon about which products are visitors buy we've begun reaching out to manufacturers to try to sell direct add space.
I literally just started that this week and so far I have one manufacturer offering to send us a product for a video review. It's not quite money in the bank but it's a step in the right direction.
My goal for the first quarter is to get four advertisers to pay us 250 bucks a month that would be a quick $1,000!
Since we are trying to go deep in each subject we have a goal to hit 50 articles per Silo which will give us about 250 articles total.
Now that we have some money to spend we are writing about 10 articles a week and we should get there in the next month or so.
From there we will test out three new silos all at once by posting about 10 articles in each silo.
Depending on where the initial content indexes in Google, we'll pick the best one and hammer out another 50 articles or so in that silo.
We are also going to start making video reviews for some of the products that we already own now that we can send our own traffic to YouTube.
The hope is that by sending our own traffic to the videos they can start to rank on Youtube naturally and provide another traffic channel.
This also might be a good way to get manufacturers to send us free products for reviews.
There's another piece of software called page optimizer pro that dives deep into keyword analysis for any specific keyword.
I was given access to this by a friend who purchased a lifetime account when it went on sale few months ago.
The software is what actually recognized my H2 H3 issue. I plan on running every page through this to tweak the on-page SEO for the whole site.
Ther are so many things that I want to do but because I have full-time job I can only spend 3-5 hours a week on the site.
However, I have a VA that has been with us for about a year that I hand off these miscellaneous tasks to. So my plan is to continue creating procedures and systems that benefit the site and let her take care of these things.
If you test several contractors on Upwork you can really find a diamond in the rough. This contractor started out as a writer and her English wasn't that great but she was loyal, coachable and grateful for the work. I decided to let her try other tasks. We only pay her $5 an hour but she is well worth every penny of it.
Just remember talent is distributed equally across the world but opportunity is not.
I hope this inspires all of you are not at this level yet to keep pushing and keep learning to get better. You don't know what you don't know.
I will try to post another update in the next couple of months especially if I can land some direct advertisers.
If anyone wants me to dive deeper into any of the things that I mentioned feel free to message me directly or leave a comment below and I will try to expand.
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