Welcome to episode 16 of the $100K project. If you are new to this case study, you can find all the previous entries here: https://www.nichesitevault.com/100k-project/
In a nutshell, the $100K Project is a follow-along case study where I am trying to build a niche website from scratch and get it to earning $100K in profits every month.
October 2020 was the 15th month of the website. Damn, how time flies.
When I started the project, I wanted to build the site to earn $1000 within the first year. However, I did not attain the goal. I reckon I could have hit the goal were it not for Amazon cutting down their commission rate in April.
I clocked my first year with the website earning $744. You can read the update here.
Now, four months later, I’m back with a short report.
First off, we’ll start with what I’ve been up to.
What I’ve Been Up To
Over the past three months, I’ve not been giving the website the full attention it deserves. There are various reasons for this:
- I got discouraged that I hadn’t clocked $1000 in monthly earnings after a year as I’d planned
- I did not have a proper plan to follow with regards to how I was going to grow the website
- Some of the other niche sites that I have started performing well, like this one here, and I shifted my focus on them
- I got frustrated as my experiments to drive traffic to the website did not result into much traction
- I’ve been having doubts whether I can really commit to staying in this niche until 2022 (the projected year when the site is supposed to hit the $100K a month goal).
All in all, I still have been putting some few hours on the website.
In particular, I have been optimizing and updating the content that is already posted on the website. Apart from this, I’ve been adding the products that I’m dropshipping as the top recommendations in my article product round-ups.
I’ve been trying a number of ways of driving traffic to the website without relying on SEO. These experiments have not been fruitful, as far as I can tell.
First off, Pinterest is one of the platforms that I’ve been concentrating on. Heck, I even bought a Tailwind subscription just to make my work easier.
Taunted with the success stories of people generating hundreds of thousands of views from Pinterest, I put the work in.
Unfortunately, I haven’t gotten any traction from Pinterest. I mean, my Pinterest accounts got over 200,000 views. However, the number of people that were visiting the website from Pinterest is just negligible. In no month did the niche site get more than 100 visits from Pinterest.
Check the social traffic referrals for the last four months (July to end of October)
You can see that Pinterest drove 379 visitors to the website over the past four months. That’s an average of 94 visitors a month.
Now, 94 visitors a month is something but nothing compared to how other bloggers claim to get 1000s of visits from Pinterest a month, you can clearly see I’m missing something.
And to make matters worse, Pinterest banned my account again. I appealed the ban but unfortunately, they decided not to reinstate my account.
Their explanation was that my content went against their community guidelines with regards to adult content.
Now, I know what you are thinking. No, my content was not adult in nature.
The latest ban was on my third Pinterest account.
I’m starting to think that I’m just not cut for Pinterest. I mean, I see my competitors on Pinterest, with the same kinds of images that I was using.
In fact, I was modeling my pins based on what the competition was doing.
I confronted the Pinterest team about this and they said that just because some content is on their platform doesn’t mean it’s approved. In short, they are going after the competitors.
However, I really don’t think this is the case as the competitors are really big brands. Think of the likes of Hearst Media sites.
I suspect that these big media affiliate sites have a different playground on social media sites like Facebook and Pinterest. Therefore, they can be allowed to flourish, even when they are breaking the rules.
It’s just a theory, so don’t quote me on that.
The Pinterest ban left me at my wits’ end. I just can’t figure out what’s wrong with my site. I mean, the bans, negligible traffic…it just doesn’t make sense.
I’m going to take a last spin at Pinterest to see how things will turn out.
By the way, did you notice in the image above that Facebook drove 242 visitors to the website?
Well, what you don’t know is that the 242 visitors all came in October. So, in a month, Facebook drove about 2.5X visitors than Pinterest did.
I’ve started posting content on my niche site’s Facebook page. At the beginning of the month, I found an Appsumo giveaway for Kingsumo. (The giveaway is still on, check it here).
If you don’t know what Kingsumo is, it’s simply an online contest software. The software allows you to set up a contest through which you can get leads and build your social media followings.
In a nutshell, when someone enters your contest, they have the option of completing other tasks to increase their chances of winning. The tasks can be things like following your Facebook group or page, Twitter account, YouTube channel, etc.
At the start of October, I set up a giveaway with Kingsumo. The giveaway ended 6 days ago and here are the results of the contest.
- Facebook page fans increased from about 2 (me and my VA) to 518 fans
- Twitter followers grew from about 10 followers to 446 followers
- Email list grew from about 200 to 3,187
- Instagram follower grew from about 200 to 605
- Youtube channel subscribers grew from 2 (me and my VA) to 299
The giveaway was a small experiment to see what kind of results I could get. I did not promote the giveaway as much as is recommended. I just set it up and submitted it on various giveaway directories.
I’m sure the results could be 10x what they were if I’d been more aggressive in promoting it.
I also did not use any money to promote the giveaway.
Still, I was impressed with the results.
Here are some highlights of the benefits of the giveaway.
Part of traffic source I want to leverage for the niche site is YouTube. I’ve heard that YouTube is a huge goldmine. I don’t know why I still don’t have my shovels out, yet!
However, on the niche site’s YouTube channel, I’ve posted 5 videos. The first video was posted in August.
With the new subscribers coming in, as well as YouTube recommending the videos internally to other searchers, this is how the statistics look like:
You can see that in October, the videos had 1,700 unique viewers. While these viewers may not have clicked on links to buy anything or go back to my website, they are learning about the niche site. It’s all about branding.
Here is a short video where I talk more about my YouTube strategy:
Studies have shown that people interact with brands multiple times before they make a purchase decision. Simply by viewing the videos, these people are getting exposed to my niche site brand.
Over time, they will come to trust the site and will want to buy from it.
Same thing goes for Twitter.
My Twitter account is full of educational tips, links to articles on the niche website, as well as some products on the store. I started posting daily on Twitter around 10th October.
Here is how my Twitter analytics for October look like:
I’m still not getting massive clicks from Twitter, but I’m not really worried at this time.
I’m trying to learn how I can leak traffic from the platform to my site.
For Twitter, I am using SocialPilot to schedule my Tweets. So far, the tool has really been a timesaver. Moreover, I can schedule not only tweets, but also Facebook page posts, Facebook group posts, Tumblr posts, and Pinterest posts.
Traffic has been fairly stagnant over the past 4 months. I haven’t been actively building backlinks to the website and this may explain why the overall traffic hasn’t moved much.
Moreover, my traffic leak experiments are performing poorly. I need to step up my effort in this area.
Here is what Google Analytics reports of October traffic numbers.
You can see that I had an astronomical bounce rate in October. This is probably as a result of the traffic that was coming from the people entering the giveaway.
Most of them simply came in to check the website, and then bounced off. I’m sure the bounce rate will go down in November.
If you love SEMrush, here is how the website looked like at the end of October.
For Ahrefs fanatics, here are the metrics:
The niche site finally cracked $1000 in earnings. I’m pretty pleased with the earnings, though not confident that they would hold in the coming months.
- Amazon Prime Day was in October. So, people were definitely in the mood of shopping.
- Amazon had a tier performance rate increase in October. The commissions are likely to have gone higher because of the tier-performance program.
Here is how the earnings were distributed from the various networks:
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In total, the site earned $1162. That’s a healthy increase in earnings.
Now that I’ve achieved the $1000 monthly earnings, what next?
Well, the journey continues. The site has come a long way but it still has so far to go.
In fact, based on my goal of earning $100,000 a month, this means I need to 100X my current efforts.
For the remainder of the year, I am leaving the site on a free-roll. This doesn’t mean I won’t be working on it. Rather, I will not be putting as much effort into it as I would have wanted.
Instead, I will be concentrating on the Build to Flip case study website. The site has been on an upward trend and earned considerably more than the $100K Project site.
However, I will still be putting a few hours into the website.
In no particular order, these are some of the things I’ll be implementing:
i) Building backlinks. I’ve been too lazy to build backlinks. This has to change
ii) Email sequence. Now that I have an email list of about 3,000 leads, I will make an email sequence to warm up the audience. Occasionally, I will be sending affiliate offers to the email list.
iii) Finish the store. The niche site e-commerce store is still hidden since I haven’t really fleshed it out properly. I’ll get the store finished and highlight it on the navigation menu.
iv) Social media content strategy. I’ll focus more on social media marketing. I need to come up with a marketing plan to grow the site’s followers and engage the existing ones, before selling to them.
v) Audience segmentation through lead magnets. I’ll set up different lead magnets to help segment the audience that will be opting into my email list.
vi) Information keyword research. Part of the site’s monetization strategy is with display ads. These ads work well with informational content. I plan to do keyword research for informational content and slap on display ads on them.
These are just a few things I have in my mind at the moment. There’s definitely more I’ll be doing, which I’ll be covering on my YouTube channel.
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Also, if you are in the niche site game, I’m slowly building a small community of online business owners that would love to keep themselves accountable. Join the Facebook Group here.