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

niche site challengeI’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.

April Overall Results

Month 4 of my challenge is over already?! Where did the time go! It feels like I set this challenge just the other day yet four full months have passed. At least I’ve entered a stage where I can start reinvesting my revenue to speed things up drastically.

So overall I think I had pretty good results in April. Okay, pretty good is a bit of an understatement since I reached my goal a month early! I’ve had record traffic to all of my sites, I had my first $50+ day from Amazon Commissions, and my grand total for the month of April was $612.66.It’s safe to say I set a new all time record month on all levels. It really feels great seeing all of my hard work form the past two years finally starting to pay off. I believe that all of my progress is due to hard work (even when I don’t feel like it), knowing/understanding/believing on the process, good keyword research/selection, setting SMART goals, doing things my own way,and patience – patience – patience. It really boils down to that for me I think.

The best part of all of this is now that I’m finding some level of success, even the slightest doubt has been erased form my mind whether I can do this or not. I CAN without a shadow of a doubt and now it’s just a matter of hard work, patience, and reinvesting into my business. I’m sure it won’t all be easy, I’ll surely hit some setbacks but I’m ready for them. Bring it on!

My First $400+ Amazon Affiliates Payment!

At the end of April I received my first $400+ direct deposit from Amazon!!! My original plan was to immediately re-invest all of it in May on outsourced content creation, but I decided that want to accomplish a few different things with the money instead. I’ll still be ordering a lot of new content, paying all of my monthly web bills, but I also want to keep some of the money in my business account to pad it a little bit. I’d like to pad my account enough that when I find a great domain name to purchase for my PBN I can snap it right up, cover any other unexpected expenses that may arise, cover 3 months of monthly web bills in case my revenue streams dry up, and I needed to take $75 profit to help purchase a new guitar for a wedding I have to play during June. So overall I think that keeping some of the cash in my account to build up my balance is a great step for my business to take. It will allow me to jump on some future opportunities that may arise if I choose and give me added security in paying my monthly bills. All great benefits and part of building my business.

As for meeting my smaller monthly goals I set last month, for the first time in my challenge I actually met them all! The details are below.

Only one month to go to reach $600 … I’m sooo close ….

April Revenue -  $612.66

Here’s What I Accomplished with Each Niche Site in April

Niche Site #1

Niche Site #1 (my main site) had a great month in April. April saw record traffic, record rankings, and record revenue. As I mentioned in my last post, I received a large boost in rankings for almost every keyword my site rankings for, a few of them get decent traffic too. Well my rankings have held for over a full month now and are very steady. A good sign!

My goals for this month were to add 4 outsourced articles and plan my giveaway. I succeeded at adding the four outsourced articles and I started creating all of the copy and images for my giveaway. I stopped planning my giveaway though for now because I am going to put it off for another month or two. As I mentioned above I want to save some of my earnings to pad my account for various reasons.

I had also added an email submit at the top of my site for people who want to be notified of my giveaways in the future. So far I’ve gotten 22 email signups to my mailing list, which although isn’t a lot, it’s 22 more people I have on my list than I had before!

One other thing I saw this month was that I made about $6.57 (Canadian) on my Canadian Amazon Affiliates account, so I’m glad that I added the link localizer script to my site. I am getting some clicks in the other countries but haven’t made any other commissions other than .20 Euros from the UK.

Next month on Niche Site #1 - The final month of my challenge is upon me now! Everything I’ve been doing seems to be working so I’m not going to do anything drastically different in May. For this site I will be outsourcing 10 new product review articles to add to this site from the same writer that wrote the previous four articles, The quality is great and she writes better than me. I’m hoping to get all 10 reviews on my site within the first week of May, so hopefully I can start seeing the results of the added reviews in May. After these 10 articles are completed, I’ll have 24 full product reviews up on my site, 6 short reviews, my custom buyer’s guide, and about 5 other 1000-2000 word informational pages. The site is just about to the point I’m confident reaching out to others in my niche and related niches to promote my giveaway. My outreach will start in June most likely as I gear up for my giveaway.

In May I’ll also do a small bit of backlinking on this site since all my content is now being outsourced.

Niche Site #2

My only plan for this site in April was to backlink. I’ve spent about 5 hours finding and submitting backlinks and have had a handful approved already. No exciting updates on this site this month, but that’s to be expected since I haven’t put very much time into it yet. It’s still not ranking at all for it’s main keyword.

Next month on Niche Site #2 - Backlinking … backlinking … backlinking … and maybe a few small site layout/design modifications if I have time. I’m hoping to make my debut in the top 100 Google results for my main keyword in May.

Niche Site #3

My only plan here was to backlink this month. I won’t be adding content until I have my writer start focusing on this site, probably in July. I did get a bunch of backlinks created and it seems to be working! On April 1st I ranked around 110 for my main keyword but now my backlinking has taken me up to rank #28 as of this writing. I’m seeing a bit more traffic come in, my queries are on the rise in Google Webmaster Tools, and I also made 2 more commissions off of this site! The commissions were not for products that I reviewed but related to the general niche. Not ideal but I’ll take it.

Next month on Niche Site #3 - This month I’ll jut be continuing my backlinking. All backlinking ideas I’m using for all of my sites come from simple blog commenting and Neil Patel’s Backlinking Guide.

Niche Site #4

And we’re finally to Niche Site #4 in this update. My goals was just to backlink for this site, and just like site #3 – it’s working. On April 1st I didn’t rank at all for my main keyword, and now I’m ranking #27. I’m seeing a bit of traffic start to come through and my queries are on the rise in Google Webmaster Tools.

Next month on Niche Site #4 - Backlinking … backlinking … backlinking ….

Summary

I reached my goal a month early and I’m extremely happy with my results! My first public challenge to myself has been a success. I saw record traffic, rankings and earnings on my main site. I also saw a huge increase in rankings for Niche Site #3 and Niche Site #4, not to mention 2 new commissions on #3. Not too bad for a guy who was struggling to make $50/month only 4 short months ago! Now although I reached my goal this month, I might not even reach $600 next month. Hopefully all of the backlinking and content creation will see that that doesn’t happen though.

I’ve renewed my excitement and my motivation and drive are through the roof right now … I can barely contain myself! Time to CRUSH IT.

I always told myself that I would do everything myself rather than outsourcing until I started earning money online for two reasons. I didn’t want to invest money into something that wasn’t going to work out for me and second, I didn’t have any money to invest until I started making some! Now that I am making enough to reinvest and grow my business, I’m expecting to see a faster growth rate. I will be outsourcing all of my content creation now, padding my business account, and taking it to the next level.

(On a side note, I also made some commissions on another niche site not in this challenge and made two $50 Host Gator Commissions as well!)

The Final Month is Upon Me!

So my next report on this challenge will be my last one. I’m really excited to see if I can hold my $600+ earnings! Even if I reach my niche site income goal again, this is still just the beginning. I’m still a long way off from my wife and I quitting our jobs and becoming location independent, but I know I’m on the right path. I feel it in my bones and in my soul. I have more knowledge, motivation, and drive than ever and I feel renewed.

Earnings for April 2014 and Reaching My Goal of $600/ month Revenue by May 31, 2014

Month Niche Site #1 Niche Site #2 Niche Site #3 Niche Site #4 Total Revenue
January $104.99 $0.00 $0.00 $0.00 $104.99 
February $392.88 $0.00 $12.02 $0.00 $404.90  
March $391.67 $0.00 $0.00 $0.00 $391.67
April $607.37 $0.00 $5.29 $0.00 $612.66
May  

 

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8 Comments

  • Steve R says:

    Dave, awesome to read that mate – congratulations!

    Keep hustling, keep recording what works and doing more of that!

    Imagine if sites #2, #3 and #4 all earnt like #1 – you’d have just had a $2,400 month…

    Have you looked at your CTR from your site to Amazon? Anyway you can improve that to get a few quick wins? Easier to double your CTR than to double your traffic!

    • Dave says:

      Thanks a lot Steve! It’s almost time for me to start focusing on sites 2,3, & 4 . I need to outsource 14 more articles for site #1 and then I’ll be at a good point that I can focus on those other sites.

      I have looked at my CTR form my site to Amazon. I’m tracking every click on my website using the Google Tag Manager and event tracking. I’ve used the data I collected to make changes on my site and I now get around a 40% CTR on my affiliate links most days. On a bad day I get a 30% CTR and on a good day I get a 60% CTR. Then I get between a 6% and 9% conversion rate on Amazon. Not too bad I think!

      I started writing about how I set up my detailed tracking system on my niche site if you want to check it out. It did require a bit of coding on my part.

  • Dave says:

    Nice work dave. You know we are all right there with you. You have shown me what an amazing community we have here. I will always be appreciative of that. Keep up the good work.

    Dave

    • Dave says:

      Thanks a lot for the comment Dave! There definitely is an amazing community around and staying active in that community is soooo helpful I highly recommend it. I really with I didn’t stay in the shadows for so long myself (2 years). Lesson learned and hopefully others can learn it too. Thanks man!

  • Tim says:

    Well Done mate.

    At least I know its possible to earn coin on the internet. I’ve been reading about the latest Google Hummingbird update and how a lot people got hit by it and how Google was favouring authority sites. I was so disheartened and thought ‘whats the point’ but I think if you can stick it out and come up with different strategies, you can kill it!

    Also I got a few tips from this post on backlinking which has got me a little overwhelmed on how to do it unless you pay big bucks for the software.

    Cheers

    • Dave says:

      Thanks Tim! It’s definitely possible to make a living online, it just takes a ton pf hard work, practice, learning, and experimenting. When talking about “authority” sites, remember that any website that covers a specific topic is a “niche” site. A niche site can be a small site or a large authority site. Google does like larger more authoritative sites these days, which only means that you have to really focus on quality. I think the days of tossing up hundreds of low quality sites are over. Thnk long term now.

      Glad you got some backlinking tips! I love Neil Patel’s guide. I don’t use any software for backlinking, but I am h=going to start buying a few PBN links and building my own PBN. That definitely takes a lot of time and money to do right though!

      Final advice today, never take what others, and even the “pros” say, as set in stone. Learn what you can, experiment, and overall crank out great content.

  • scott masse says:

    Dave,

    Nice job on your site, glad to have found it from form your future! We will be publishing our first income report as well. The bulk of our income came from 1 web consulting gig, but we did have some limited affiliate and Amazon sales.

    I’ll be in touch!

    Massman in Boston

    • Dave says:

      Thanks a million Scott! The bulk of my income comes from 1 site – which scares me a bit but I’ll just keep doing what I do!

      Looking forward to reading your blog. Keep in touch, definitely!

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