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Why All of You Are Wrong about What It Takes To Build and Rank a Niche Site

This post is for those who are relatively new to building and ranking niche websites. I’m no expert by any means but I have been having a lot of success lately and I want to share my thoughts about what I’ve learned. I try to help out as many people as I can over at the Niche Site Duel forum, and I answer a lot of questions beginners have. 

The point of this article is simply this, to get you thinking differently.

The number 1 thing I notice is that most people just starting out tend to take what the “experts” such as Pat Flynn, Spencer Haws, and other say as law. They look at the numbers in Market Samurai or Long Tail Pro and take the numbers as being indisputable. They copy the public case studies using the same themes, plugins, and content strategies. They don’t even have a site up yet and are stressing about page juice links, social metrics, and keyword density. They are overwhelmed with information, strategies, and data. They are concerned too much about whether this is right or that is.

Now I completely understand this train of though … when you’re inexperienced you have to rely on what others tell you since you have not built up your own experience yet. I was there too, which is why it took me over 2 years to feel confident in my niche site assessments and skills. It’s okay to start out mimicking other’s success … but you have to grow from there before you find true success.

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The Challenge: From $50/Month to $600/Month in Five Months – March

I’ve made myself a challenge. I will be attempting to take my online revenue from $50/month all the way up to $600/month within 5 months. I started this challenge on January 1, 2014 and it will end on May 31. 2014. You see in 2013 I started making about $50 a month in revenue rather consistently, and now I’m ready to take it to the next level. I need this to be my full time job and I need it to happen as fast as possible. I’m willing to put in the effort and hard work it will take, and this challenge will help me to jump start my progress.

This goal is Phase One: Seed Money in my overall long term plan to work for myself. After I reach it, I will use that money to fuel Phase Two of my plan, which we’ll get into when it’s time.

March Overall Results

Wow … March is over already?! It’s really sinking in how valuable my time is and how important time management is. Although it’s looking good for reaching my goal of generating $600/month in 5 months, I really feel like I’m not getting enough done. I know how much time and effort I’ve put into making money online already just to reach the point that I’m at now, and it’s a bit scary when I think about how far I still need to go and how much time/effort it will take to get there. You better believe that I’m sticking with it until the end though!

My results for March were not as drastic as the change from January to February, which is what I expected. In March I made $391.67 which is just a little less than the month before so I’m not concerned. I think this is good considering that I didn’t really add very much content to my sites or work on backlinking very much.

Once again like in February, I didn’t quite reach my small goals that I set last month due to life happening all around me. I’m also trying to attract a few small web development jobs which took up a lot of my time this month. So although this time wasn’t spent on working towards this particular goal, it was spent on growing my overall business.

What is awesome is that at the end of March I got my first $100+ direct deposit from Amazon and it’s re-investment time baby! About half of it will go to paying for my web hosting, email list software, and domain renewals, the other half plus a few dollars from my own pocket will go to ordering my first 4 outsourced articles from a great writer I found on textbroker.com.

What I’m really looking forward to though is my $400+ payment at the end of April and you better believe that I’ll be reinvesting 100% of that back into my business. So in May I’ll be having about 10 new pieces of content written for site #1 and buying a few of the products I review for a big giveaway I’m planning for June. Since I now have revenue coming in to reinvest into content creation, I will be able to focus solely on copy editing & publishing my outsourced articles, backlinking, and higher level tasks like my giveaway.

It’s exciting to reach the point where I can afford to start outsourcing content and freeing up a lot of my time for higher level tasks.

More about that next month though … I’m getting excited and ahead of myself.

(Side note, I had a really good month on another niche site I own which actually had a record month of revenue, making March my best month ever in total, but this site is not counted in my case study)

March Revenue -  $391.67

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The Challenge: From $50/Month to $600/Month in Five Months – February

I’ve made myself a challenge. I will be attempting to take my online revenue from $50/month all the way up to $600/month within 5 months. I started this challenge on January 1, 2014 and it will end on May 31. 2014. You see in 2013 I started making about $50 a month in revenue rather consistently, and now I’m ready to take it to the next level. I need this to be my full time job and I need it to happen as fast as possible. I’m willing to put in the effort and hard work it will take, and this challenge will help me to jump start my progress.

This goal is Phase One: Seed Money in my overall long term plan to work for myself. After I reach it, I will use that money to fuel Phase Two of my plan, which we’ll get into when it’s time.

February Overall Results

February turned out to be a great month in regards to reaching my goal, even though the month didn’t exactly go as planned. I had a record month in revenue and I’m well ahead of schedule for my goal. I did get a ton of work done in February, although not all of it was what I had planned for the month. A strayed off course a bit to start a side project (I know I’m not focusing here, but I’m an experimenter!) with my wife, and did something totally unplanned with my main niche site, but something that will be a huge help in optimizing the site to get the most value.

I’m starting to see that the fact I set a SMART goal is really helping me to stay focused and work on it as much as I can. For those who don’t know, SMART stands for - Specific,Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound. Each one of these is important to making the goal effective. Essentially if you string together a lot of smaller SMART goals leading up to a bigger vision, you’ll get it done.

Another thing I want to mention is that I don’t live in a bubble. I have a full time job, have to take care of my household, spend time with my wife, and deal with other matters of life, and only then do I have time to work on my internet marketing business. That being said, I do work on it multiple times a weeks for 2 to 6 hours, depending on how tired I am that night. Thankfully my wife is very supportive and I do a lot of my work on the laptop in the living room while we hang out. I told her to make this happen I’ll be working on it most evenings of the week for quite a while. As long as I’ll take a night off just to hang out or go out once or twice a week she’s 100% fine with it. She just works on her own projects (not web related).

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Part 1: Developing a Custom CTR Tracking System for My Niche Website

This is part 1 of my niche website experiment. My goal is to see if I can increase the CTR on my Amazon affiliate links and make overall improvements to my website based off the data I collect. I am going to be setting up a custom CTR tracking system on my Amazon niche website and running tests, A/B split tests, and making other optimizations based off the data I collect. I will also be data mining my buyer’s guide to find out what brands, models, and features people are the most interested in, and then making further optimizations based off that information as well.

At the bottom of all posts in this series will be a table of contents for your convenience.

To the Drawing Board!

To start out I wanted to figure out everything I need to track in order to get a clear picture of exactly what links are being clicked on, and what parts of the site are performing well or under performing. I figured it would help me avoid making mistakes when I set up everything. Boy was I glad I did this! When I finally had it all planned, I realized that it would now be a lot easier to set up and save a lot of time since I already had the blueprint in front of me.

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The Challenge: From $50/Month to $600/Month in Five Months – January

I’ve made myself a challenge. I will be attempting to take my online revenue from $50/month all the way up to $600/month within 5 months. I started this challenge on January 1, 2014 and it will end on May 31. 2014. You see in 2013 I started making about $50 a month in revenue rather consistently, and now I’m ready to take it to the next level. I need this to be my full time job and I need it to happen as fast as possible. I’m willing to put in the effort and hard work it will take, and this challenge will help me to jump start my progress.

This goal is Phase One: Seed Money in my overall long term plan to work for myself. After I reach it, I will use that money to fuel Phase Two of my plan, which we’ll get into when it’s time.

January Overall Results

January is off to a really great start I’m happy to say. I had one niche site coming into 2014, my main one that earned $48 in December 2013. I also launched all three of the other sites I’m using to reach my goal. Not too bad, launching 3 sites in one month. My main site, Niche Site #1 more than doubled it’s revenue from the month before. The other three sites didn’t make anything but that’s to be expected since they were all just launched this month.

So want to know how much I made in January?

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Using Paid Advertising Testing & Tracking Methods to Optimize a Niche Site Conversions

Over the past few weeks I’ve been researching another area of Internet Marketing, paid advertising. Although building niche websites is extremely fun and challenging, I’m also attracted to the allure of promoting affiliate offers through paid advertising. Those are the guys who make the BIG bucks at internet marketing, because they test, track, test, track, test, track, optimize, and scale.

Traffic = $$$

In order to make money off an affiliate offer, you need to direct traffic to it somehow. Building a website doing SEO is the long slow way, and buying traffic is the fast way.

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The Challenge: From $50/Month to $600/Month in Five Months – Overview

Hey everybody, I hope you’re all doing well this year so far. I myself have set a pretty hefty internet marketing goal for 2014 that I want to discuss, and I’ve already been hard at work on it in January. I wanted to put this in writing though before I got too far into 2014 and lost sight of my goal.

Unfortunately I won’t be sharing any of the URL’s of these sites as we all know that people would just copy me and make it that much harder for me to accomplish. I hope you understand.

My #1 Internet Marketing Goal for 2014

To go from $50/month to $600/month by May 31, 2014. I’ve been averaging about $50 a month for the last few months, and now it’s time to get serious. I want this to be my full time job, and I’m finally ready to make it happen. I believe that I know what I’m doing and have developed all of the necessary skills enough to make this happen. I have a game plan to get myself from $50/month to myself and my wife being able to work together for ourselves. The first phase is getting up to $600 a month form my niche sites. I have big plans after that but let’s just focus on the goal at hand, Phase One: Seed Money. Once I get my niche site income up to my goal, I am going to shift gears and use part of that monthly revenue to fund Phase 2, which we’ll get to when it’s time.

Not only am I doing this to work my way up to full time internet marketing, but I’m doing it so I can make my day to day life better as well as soon as possible. My wife and I work hard full time, but we live paycheck to paycheck right now. If I could add even just a few hundred dollars a month to our income, it would help us save more, pay off our debts faster, pad our bank accounts, and buy some things we need like a new couch. Only a few hundred dollars a month would make the difference between worrying about an unexpected car repair and not stressing it because we have it covered. That’s why once I reach my goal for Phase One, I’ll be putting some of the monthly income towards our daily life and savings. I know I could probably achieve my long term goal faster by investing all of my revenue back into growing the business, but I need to improve my home finances as soon as possible too, and I feel it’s totally worth it. Hey, I’ve been working hard at this for two years, I want to feel some benefits!

Just a little extra cash would mean a huge difference to us in our daily lives … and I’m almost there … 

How Will I Reach My Goal of $600 a Month?

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Quit Now, This Isn’t for You.

internet-marketing-is-too-hard-quit-nowI’ve been hearing from lots of people that they’re getting frustrated over building niche sites for one reason or another. I’ve been there and still get frustrated a lot, but I get through it and keep going. I hear things like “The last Google update ruined my site“, or “there’s already good sites in the niche I want to build one with, I can’t compete“, or No matter what I do, I can’t get traffic to my site“. These are not reasons for not succeeding, they are excuses.

Here’s a piece of Advice: Quit now, this isn’t for you.

Since I’ve been learning about internet marketing the past few years, I’ve come to realize some things about this business. I call these my “Internet Marketing Truths“. I read through it every once in a while, especially when I’m getting frustrated and it always helps to motivate me.

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My Life and Internet Marketing in 2014 and Beyond

internet-marketing-in-2014

Dear 2014,

I’m looking forward to building up a full time income through internet marketing and my own online business. I’m considering the past two years of learning and experimenting the equivalent of a college degree in internet marketing, and now it’s time to hit the trenches full force. Boot camp is over my friends! It’s time to make it happen!

Here’s to a great and profitable 2014 for ALL OF US!

- Dave

What being an Internet Marketer Means To Me

I was sitting here today on Christmas morning 2013, thinking about all of the benefits of being a successful Internet Marketer. The benefits of mastering this industry are just so damn amazing, I would be insane not to give it a go. Here’s a few of the pros:

  1. I would be location independent
  2. I could spend way more time with my wife
  3. I could live life on my own schedule
  4. I would not need a retirement plan, just semi-passive income streams
  5. I would be in control of my own situation and not have to rely on others to pay me
  6. I would spend my time working to make my own life better and of those around me, rather than making somebody else rich

And that’s just a few of the pros I can think of off the top of my head! I’m sure you could think of more of your own reasons as well. The point is … who wouldn’t want that? Of course that sounds sounds great to most of us, but what I’ve discovered is that most people don’t actually have what it takes to follow through, make it happen, and reap the benefits. It’s definitely not easy or quick.  read more

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Google Penalty Removed from My Niche Site, and a Quick rise Back to the Top of the Rankings

how-to-beat-google-penalty-on-a-niche-siteI’ve been discussing the niche site I built for the Niche Site Duel 2.0 a little bit, and a Google penalty that I had received just as my site traffic and earnings started to take off. Ouch! Well on December 17, 2013 I woke up to find that Google had lifted my penalty and I was ranking on page 1 again.

My traffic had returned.

Here’s the full story of how I beat a Google penalty on my Amazon Associate niche website. Hopefully it will help somebody out in the same situation. I’ll try to give as much information as possible to explain the situation in detail. read more