Welcome to my $100K Niche Site Project. April was my 10th month into the project and this is an update of what happened.
PS: If you are new to my case study, you can find all the previous entries here, from month 1 up to last month.
Amazon Stabs Affiliates
Before we continue, I wanted to touch a little bit about Amazon changing its program’s commission rates.
In April, Amazon announced that it was slashing affiliate commission rates for some categories.
The matter has been talked about and debated across the affiliate marketing landscape. I don’t consider myself an expert with Amazon niche sites but something that I’ve learned over the years of working online is this; don’t let someone control your income.
Here are some scenarios:
i) Affiliate marketing. You depend solely on Amazon affiliate program? It converts well, great! But what happens if Bezos decides to shut it down? Yes, it can happen. So, you better start diversifying your affiliate programs.
ii) Traffic. Your traffic is 100% from Google? Great. What happens if there is an update that tanks your site? You’ll lose your livelihood if all your traffic is coming from Google.
iii) Online writing. I still take writing gigs from clients through my writing agency TheContentBear. If you are a writer and have one “main” client, what happens if the client ditches you? That’s when you’ll start resetting your UpWork password again?
iv) Lead Gen. So you’re ranking No.1 for the “Boston plumbers” and selling the leads. What if the company you are selling leads to has more business than it can handle and decides to stop buying leads?
Anyway, you get the point. In businesses, it’s important not to rely on one avenue of making money.
My site is primarily monetized through the Amazon Associates program. However, when I decided to build the site, I had everything planned out, in my mind at least.
I decided I’m done with building “niche” sites but would instead be building a business. And businesses have various facets of generating revenue. They have various sources of traffic. That’s my thinking as I go about this project.
Of course, some of the monetization ideas will be implemented in the course of time.
But for now, I’m stuck with Amazon.
I have also been applying for different affiliate programs in my niche. Luckily, I’ve found that most of the companies selling the products I’m recommending also have affiliate programs on Sovrn (formerly Viglink).
With Amazon’s move to cut affiliate commissions, my response has been to add links to the merchants’ official websites, through their affiliate programs.
So, when users are reading my reviews, they can check out the products both on Amazon and on the manufacturers’ websites.
I don’t know how effective this will be in cushioning me against Amazon. But you never know until you try.
With that said, I also set up Google Adsense on my website over the last 10 days of the month. This was a knee-jerk reaction as I need to get all the income I can.
Now that we are done with the commission’s thing, let’s recap April’s goals.
April’s Goal Recap
In April, I made 90-day goals, which were:
i) Increase content on the website
ii) Optimize the existing content
iii) Start dropshipping
Well, the only goal I accomplished was creating content. I created about 30 articles for the site. These are info articles that I’ll be monetizing with display ads.
About optimizing the existing content, I’ve not had time to do this. I’ve been meaning to buy Surfer SEO to use it for on-page optimization. However, the good guys at SERPWoo are also promising a SurferSEO-killer dubber Zora. I was waiting for their tool to be finished (it’s currently in beta) and try it.
SERPWoo has more features than SEOSurfer and is something that I would happily pay for. I had a subscription with them earlier on but stopped paying for because I couldn’t justify the cost. However, now that I have over 200 articles on my site, the tool would actually be useful.
Now you know why I’ve not been optimizing the existing articles. Perhaps I should just kick myself and buy one of the tools already instead of procrastinating.
Finally, with the dropshipping store, it’s always been there on the site but hidden. I haven’t found companies to dropship the products I’m recommending. I’ve also not been actively looking. So, no excuses here.
With the goals out of the way, let’s get to some visuals.
Well, the keywords that the site was ranking for fell considerably in April. Here is what SEMRush shows for the end of April:
Well, the traffic seems to be falling but actually is increasing. This chart just made me realize that most keyword checking tools are off and can be deceiving if you follow them to a tee.
In fact, I have a niche site with an article that ranks number one for a keyword that gets 140 searches a month. However, in reality, the article gets 300 visitors a day!
This just goes to show how inaccurate some of these tools can be.
Lesson learned: I will not be ignoring keywords that purportedly have smaller search numbers. As long as the keyword is being searched by my target audience, I will be creating content around it.
The site’s traffic has been growing over time. I was hoping I’ll hit 10,000 visitors in April but that didn’t happen. Instead, the site got 8,200 visitors.
I need to get my head in the ground and stop relying on Google traffic. Ball’s in my court.
When Amazon decided to cut their commission rates, I panicked. Reaction? Switching on Google Adsense.
Well, I shouldn’t really have panicked as I need all the money I can get, regardless of where it is coming from. After all, a real business makes money through different avenues.
So, I’m no longer feeling guilty of turning on Google Adsense.
With that said, the site earned a total of $721 in April. Below is the breakdown of the earnings from different networks:
$663 from Amazon
$39 from Sovrn.
And Google Adsense brought $19
The earnings increased by $164 from March’s $557.
The main goal in May is to add content. I want the site to have 300 articles by the end of the month. Currently, it has about 250 articles. I’ll get 50 more articles written this month.
Apart from content, I’ll be building links to the site. I’m targeting a minimum of 20 links through link exchange or cheap link inserts.
If I get the above goals completed, then I’ll start optimizing the existing content with either SurferSEO or Zora from SERPWoo, whichever I’ll choose to go with.
Damn, I feel for my competition.