Happy 2021 everyone!
I hope this year turns out great for you both in your personal and professional lives.
I have a short update for the Building to Flip (BTF) case study. If this is the first time you are stopping by my blog, this case study is simply a documentation of how I’m transforming a website that was previously deindexed on Google search results due to a DMCA takedown request.
My goal is to get the website to be earning at least $3500 a month.
When the site hits $3500 a month for over 3 to 6 months, then I could possibly flip it for $100,000 or more.
It’s been four months since my last update. With the new year with us, it’s time for a follow-up update on the website’s progress.
This update will be short.
Apart from showing the usual statistics (traffic, earnings, etc.), I will also be outlining some of the goals I have for the website this year.
So, without further ado, let’s get started.
Last Quarter’s Goals
In my last update, my goals for the website were the following:
i) Set up an email capture form on the site to collect leads
ii) Create a lead magnet for my audience
iii) Create an auto-responder series that will enable me to monetize the subscribers
iv) Establish the site’s presence on various forums or social networks, where the target audience hangs out
This is how I’ve fared:
Goal 1. I have set up an email capture form on the site’s sidebar. At the moment, the form simply says “Sign Up to Receive Updates”. However, I will be changing the form to be more relevant to visitors by offering them a free eBook.
I already have the eBook written and formatted. The only thing remaining is hooking the eBook to an email automation software that will auto-deliver it to new subscribers.
Goal 2. As I’ve indicated above, I have already created an eBook for the website visitors. The eBook has information that is valuable to the audience.
Goal 3. I did not manage to create an autoresponder to nurture leads. However, it is becoming increasingly obvious that I will have to do so soon.
The website serves people in a very specific niche. However, these prospects belong to different subniches within the niche. In some of the sub-niches, the prospects are going for expensive items ($3K – $7k range). The sales cycle of these prospects is a little bit longer.
It is these prospects that I want to specifically put into a sales funnel and nurture them, helping them along the way to make a buying decision.
Goal 4. When it comes to social presence, I haven’t done anything apart from setting up a Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube account for the website. At this time, none of the accounts has any content.
However, I recently bought SocialPilot to help me with scheduling social media posts. I will be curating and creating content for the social media pages of this niche website, and then schedule them using the software.
This Quarter’s Goals
In the coming three months, here are some things I’ll implement on the website.
i) Previous goals’ audit
I will go through all the previous BTF case study posts and see what I’d intended to do. Any ideas that I’d planned to implement but haven’t will be implemented.
One thing that I’ve noticed about providing regular case study updates is that I tend to have a lot of creative things I want to implement. However, most of the ideas never get implemented because I simply forget about them or time catches up with me.
This year, I want to change things. We can’t keep doing the same ‘ol things and expect different results. I’ll take this project more seriously to see how much I can accomplish.
This means going through all the BTF articles, making note of things not implemented, and then implementing them.
ii) Content galore
I will also be pushing myself to produce more content for this website than I did last year. My goal is to publish 730 articles. If math isn’t your forte, that’s 2 articles a day.
I’ve already started writing the articles. So far, I’ve only written four articles. However, by the end of the year, you can be sure that the website will have 730 more articles published.
The BTF case study is not the only project I am working on at the moment. Therefore, I plan to outsource some of the writing work to freelancers.
In the niche websites space, people say that you need to write better content than your competitors to generate traffic.
I don’t believe so.
What you claim to be “better content” than what your competitors have may not necessarily be what your audience wants.
For instance, does anyone really need a 2000-words article explaining how to hammer picture frames on the wall?
Think about it.
I thought so.
Focus on providing value to your target audience…not creating better content than your competitors. You can have better content than your competitors, but is that what your audience really wants?
Why are you even focusing on competitors in the first place? They are not going to buy from you.
This content production and publishing goal isn’t really for the coming three months but the whole year. I’ll be tackling it inch by inch as the days go by.
iii) Emails and social media
I’ll put effort to generate qualified email subscribers for the niche site. Apart from this, I want to establish the website’s presence on social media networks.
I will be focusing on three social media websites (Facebook, YouTube and Twitter).
For YouTube, I will be making common “How to” videos for the niche. Moreover, I will be reviewing some products sent by a couple of manufacturers over the holidays.
Side note: Make your niche site “About Us” page more professional. You can score some great products for free from manufacturers.
Here is a video I did on the subject:
iv) Link building
This should really be a staple activity for the blog. I will actively build links to the website to increase its ranking on Google.
When it comes to links, I don’t discriminate. PBNs, guest posts, niche directory links, link exchange, paid links, name them. Cover me, I’m going in.
In a nutshell, that’s what I plan to do over the next four months.
And now, can we get into some stats?
In December, 2020, Google released another core update. As usual, some SEOers were crying while others were doing the happy dance.
My site got negatively affected by the December core update. It took a slight hit in traffic.
Here is how the SEMrush graph looked like:
Traffic reached 11,900 users, according to Google Analytics.
Most of the BTF site traffic is coming from Google search. This is a dangerous thing as the big G can decide to crash the niche site either through a manual penalty or an algorithm change.
To cushion the site against Google updates, I will be focusing more on other traffic generation strategies, such as email subscribers, forums, Q&A platforms, and so on.
Here is how Google Analytics captured visitors.
Overall, the site has been steadily growing since the last update. For this reason, I’ve decided to double down on it.
You know what they say; double down on what’s working.
When I started reviving the site in 2019, it was on a freeroll.
In 2019, the total earnings was just $1127.
In 2020, I thought that I could get the site to earn a total of $5000. Well, here is how the earnings were like in 2020.
That’s about 10X what the site made in 2019.
I’m feeling good.
December, 2020 turned out to be the best month for the site, with earnings reaching $2457 .
I had a couple of more earnings from guests posts and link insertion requests. I charge $100 for link insertions.
However, I don’t really consider the link insertions and guest posts as earnings since they are one-off fees.
Of Google Updates and Stuff
Of course, you must know of Google updates if you have an online business that majorly relies on SEO traffic.
The 21st December Google Core update affected the website. As you can see from the screenshot above, earnings declined over the last 10 days of the month.
I’m always wary about Google, and other players, coming up and decimating my online businesses due to a change in policy, an algorithmic change, etc. That’s why I don’t want to rely entirely on SEO traffic.
Nowadays, as I’m building my niche sites, I’m trying to diversify my traffic sources.
With this BTF niche site, I’m mostly concentrating on building an email list and YouTube. These are the avenues where I feel I have the best chance of connecting with my audience without relying a lot on Google search traffic.
Someone inboxed me on Facebook recently asking about the expenses I’ve incurred for this site. Well, the expenses are quite small because I have access to resources that I’m using for other niche sites I have.
In my time building niche sites, I’ve come to realize that the biggest expenses you will incur are mainly on two fronts: content and links.
If you want to take things further, you can add tools into the mix.
So, here is an overview of the expenses I’ve incurred for this site:
i) Domain name (this cost me $9 from Namesilo. Sometimes, the company sells domain names at $6.99). I recommend Namesilo over Godaddy or Namecheap because of their cheap domains and free WHOIS privacy.
ii) Hosting. I’m hosting my domain names with Namehero. Their prices start from about $30/year. I didn’t have to buy a new hosting package for this BTF site since I already had a package for the other sites I’m hosting.
iii) Premium WordPress Theme. I use MyThemeShop themes for my niche sites. The themes are fast, look beautiful and are SEO-optimized. I have a developer account with them, which costs $99/year. This gives me unlimited access and use to all their themes and plugins for year.
However, if you simply want one theme, you’ll have to pay $59. (Sometimes, the company has promos for $19 for a theme). I chose the $99/year package because you also get access to their many plugins that can really improve the functionality of your website.
By the way, this website (NicheSiteVault) also uses a theme from MyThemeShop. The theme is called Cyprus.
iv) Content. Content is, arguably, one of the biggest cost of developing a niche site. For me, content wasn’t really expensive since I’m a writer. I mean, I’ve been a freelance writer from the days I was in campus. I even had a freelance writing agency (thecontentbear.com).
I wrote all the content for the BTF website. When I was starting the site, cash was tight. So, I couldn’t outsource anything, save for very technical stuff.
My content costs moneywise for the website was $0. However, I plan to start outsource content for this website to scale it up this year. I’ll keep you on the loop on how things are going.
v) Links. Links can also be quite costly for niche sites. For this BTF website, I’ve built forum links, Reddit links, and PBN links.
Forums links are free to make. For PBN links, I have my own PBN network. I’ve had the network for some time now. Every month, the network costs me $73 in terms of hosting.
I use Noname Internet to host my PBN network.
The total domains on the network are 40. So, annually, I have to pay about $400 to renew the domain names.
The domains were registered in different months, so it’s really difficult to say how much I spend on them per month. However, I know I spend $400 for all the PBN domains per year.
Is building a PBN network really worth it?
Well, it’s really up to you. I’m not a guru but from what I know, PBN networks can be built to be real websites that generate traffic and earn income.
In fact, one of my goals is to get the network to generate $1000 a month to sustain itself. There is really no trick I’ll be using. Instead, I’ll just be posting KGR-compliant keywords on the PBN websites and leave them on a free roll.
For some perspective, here is how one of the sites in my PBN network looks like:
I’ll just keep building the network.
Other than my PBN links, I have done link exchanges with various websites and made Web 2.0 backlinks.
I, however, have never paid for a link to this website.
There are a couple of tools I use for my niche sites. Here is a rundown of the tools, and their costs;
SERPWoo: I use this tools for keyword research as well as keyword tracking. I have the bronze package, which costs $49.99 per month.
Ahrefs: I use this for competitor research and backlink analysis. I use a group buy service, where we pool our resources and share the tool. The service costs $27/month.
The group buy service also gives me access to many other tools at no extra cost.
SocialPilot. I bought this tool recently. It’s basically a social media automation tool that allows you to schedule content for social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m using it for other online businesses but will start also using it for the BTF site. The tool costs $30/month.
And that, ladies in gentlemen, is an overview of my costs for this website.
With that said, I have a good feeling about this BTF site. If all goes well, I should hit the $3500/month target by the end of the year and flip the website for $100,000.
Who knows, I may even surpass the targets if I build consistently.
I’ve got my work cut out for me, I hope you have yours too.