niche site project

Niche Site Project – Making $500 in Passive Income in 6 Months (Update 1)

The month is over and I have an update for my Niche Site Project.

For this project, my goal is to make at least $500 in passive income in 6 months. February was my first month and I have something to report.

Before we continue, here is a recap of the goals I had for February:

i) Create a logo

ii) Install and customize a premium theme

iii) Improve the site speed

iv) Proofread and expand on existing content (based on keyword research)

v) Set up email capture forms

vi) Do keyword research for further articles

vii) Come up with a promotion strategy

I am happy to report that I completed all of the tasks that I’d set. I may not have completed the tasks perfectly, but imperfection is the enemy of progress. I made sure that I worked on all the tasks, satisfactorily.

Granted, there are some things I will have to tweak along the way in this journey.

Let’s go over, one by one, the tasks that I was to do.

1. Create a Logo

The website did not have a logo. I wanted something that is simple and reflective of what the niche is about.

I know my way around Photoshop and so I created the logo by myself. It’s a simple logo that I’m proud of.

If you don’t know how to create a logo, you can get it done for cheap at sites like Fiverr or SEOClerks.

I usually use SEOClerks as you can be sure of getting original logos for just $5. At Fiverr, I’ve found most sellers have some sort of “package”, which usually means you end up paying more if you need great work.

If you’d like to order a logo from SEOClerk, here is the guy I use.

2. Install and Customize a Premium Theme

The next step was to install and customize a premium theme. For my niche sites, I prefer WordPress themes that have been coded properly and load fast. Moreover, I usually want to use themes that are compatible with WooCommerce as I may need to sell my own products in the future.

For this niche site, I chose the Magnus WordPress theme by MyThemeShop.

magnus wordpress theme

The theme is fast, has clean code, and comes with multiple homepage designs that I found to be perfect for what I have in mind for the site. The theme also has inbuilt advertising sections, which would be great for this site as I’ll be offering some affiliate products.

I installed and customized the theme and it looks great. If you need someone to help you with installing and customize your theme, check out my man iCozens. I’ve never really met him in person but he’s a good guy. He’s helped me with multiple WordPress issues in the past.

3. Improve Site Speed

Site speed is something I’ve made standard for all my website projects. In the past, I really did not care about site speed; I did not see the need to.

However, from the projects I’ve been undertaking, it’s clear that site speed has an impact on a site’s user experience as well as search engine rankings.

I did some tweaks to improve my niche website theme’s speed. However, I haven’t truly achieved the speeds I want. Ideally, a website should load under 1 second. My site still has a long way to go as it’s currently taking over 6 seconds to load.

There are a couple of reasons why a website may take a long time to load. The main culprits are:

i) Using images that have not been well optimized for web or mobile devices

ii) Using clunky  plugins

iii) Junk code in the theme

For this niche site, I have just done the basics of site optimization, i.e., optimized the images I’ve used.

At the moment, here is what GTmetrix shows about the website speed.

gtmetrix speed
Niche Site GTMetrix Speed 1st March 2019

I still have some way to go to get the website to load under 1 second. However, this is a great start.

As part of the website improvement strategy, I am using WPRocket to optimize the website code and ShortPixel to optimize images.

If you are running a static or WordPress site, you need ShortPixel to optimize your images. For static sites, you simply need to upload your images on ShortPixel.com and compress them to be optimized. You can end up saving up to 90 percent of your images’ sizes without compromising the quality of the pixels.

Here is an example of an image that has been optimized with ShortpPixel.

shortpixel optimized image
ShortPixel Optimized Image

As you can see from the blurred image at the back, the original image has been compressed by 70%. The image has gone from 100 kb to 38.4 kb without significantly losing its quality. If you want to improve your website speed, you can use ShortPixel to compress your images without losing their quality.

For WordPress users, ShortPixel has a plugin that you can install in your site to automatically optimize all your images.

I’ve previously written about how to optimize images with ShortPixel here.

4. Proofread and expand existing content (based on keyword research)

This is where the bulk of my work was. The content on the website was poorly written and not optimized for any keywords. I had to expand the articles to ensure that they provide all the answers that potential visitors may have regarding the topics covered.

Expanding the content took longer than I expected. This is because I had to research the topics all over again, determine the keywords to use, and write out the articles.

For content, I did most of the writing myself. I also outsourced a few articles to my team. By the way, if you are running an Amazon niche site and need content, check us at The Content Bear.

As an Amazon affiliate marketer, I know what it takes to write an SEO-friendly and conversion-optimized articles. I’ve trained my team to do the same and we’ve been working with a few clients who’ve given us great reviews.

If you’d like to try our services, go here. Enter the coupon code “NSV2019” to get 30% off your first order.

At the moment, I’ve expanded all the 23 articles on the site. Apart from this, I’ve written and published 5 articles based on the Keyword Golden Ratio guidelines.

5. Set up email capture forms

I’ve also set up email capture forms on the niche site. Email is becoming an increasingly important strategy for my online businesses. This is especially after the Google Medic update that significantly cut off traffic to a number of my sites.

One thing that has been holding me back from success in my online endeavors is relying solely on SEO for traffic. Yes, SEO traffic is great since it’s free. However, with the multiple updates that Google has been pushing, you really don’t want all your traffic to be coming from SEO. This is why it is important to diversify your traffic sources.

I will delve more into the various traffic sources I’m using (and they are not paid) for this niche site. Email is just one of them.

For my email capture forms, I’m using Bloom plugin by Elegant Themes. The plugin is easy to customize and comes with pre-set designs that will help you get started easily with collecting emails. Apart from this, the plugin integrates with the major email providers, including my favorite, GetResponse.

6. Do keyword research for further articles

I expanded the content and also did further keyword research to end up with content that will rank well for multiple search phrases.

For keyword research, I’m using three tools:

i) SEMrush (Get your 7-day FREE Trial Here)

ii) Keyword Researcher (Excellent tool for finding long tail keywords). Check my review here.

iii) Keywords Everywhere (Free Chrome Extension)

When doing keyword research, I came across tons of potential keywords that will keep me busy throughout the coming 5 months. These keywords range from informational ones to those with commercial intent.

In my past Amazon affiliate ventures, I’ve not really concentrated on writing informational content. After all, there is no money to be made with a “how to” article.

However, I’ve realized this mindset is flawed. If you are building a real business, you need to satisfy your audience’s needs. This means not just writing those articles with commercial intent (best x product, product x review, etc.) but also those with informational intent.

Informational content us great for three main reasons:

i) They can bring tons of traffic to your website since not many affiliates are targeting them. Depending on your niche, the content may be easy or difficult to rank.

ii) You can direct the traffic that arrives on informational content into your sales funnel. From there, you can make sales from the backend through, perhaps, email marketing.

iii) It is easier to promote informational content to other webmasters when you are looking to build links. Most people would gladly link to informational content than to a blatant commercial review article.

7. Come up with a promotion strategy

For promotions, I don’t have a well laid out plan for the website at the moment. There are a number of ideas I have at the back of my mind but haven’t laid them down systematically.

For the short run, here is how I plan to promote the niche site:

i) Forum marketing

Yes, I will be promoting the site on niche forums. The goal will not be to get profile links but to connect with other people in the niche, find out their problems for potential content opportunities. I will also occasionally drop links to my website to content that may be valuable to the users.

ii) Link building

This is vital for long term traffic to the website. However, unless you have been living under a rock, links do not seem to build power to websites as fast as they did in the past. This is partly due to Google’s Rank Transition.

You can find out more about it here.

iii) Referral Traffic

I plan to get active on Pinterest and Instagram to drive traffic to the website.

Niche Site Project February Review

So, after all the work I’ve done, what do I have to show for it? Here are some visuals so that you can see how the project is panning out.

Semrush Stats

You can clearly see that my Semrush stats have decreased. I thought it was weird that the website lost traffic and rankings with every change I made. I was thinking something was wrong until I came to learn about Rank Transition.

I did some further reading and now have adjusted my expectations to rankings. If you are solely focusing on SEO but don’t know about Rank Transition, read about it.

Ahrefs Stats

Ahrefs seems to show a number of keywords are getting picked up.

However, while the image show some keywords are picking up, overall, they decreased from 202 as can be seen from the stats in January. (check here)

Google Analytics

I installed Google Analytics on the site. Here’s what the report says about February. Daamn…just 17 seconds!

Earnings

The site is primarily monetized by Amazon. Here’s what I have to show for all my efforts:

Notebook Stuff

This is just a little something that I came across when working on this project in February.

As I was reviewing some of the products on Amazon, I noticed that they are also available on AliExpress. I think I can sell the products directly from my site as a dropshipper. This will probably increase my earnings faster than relying solely on Amazon.

I’ve set up a Woocommerce store section on the site. I’m taking the dropshipping thing as a long term play. But for the short run, I’ll be incorporating some dropshipping products in the reviews I’m writing.

March Goals

Here is an overview of what I have planned for March.

i) Link Building
I want to do some bit of link building in March. I will primarily be concentrating on the broken link building tactic.

Apart from this, I will create one LINK WORTHY SOURCE. I am thinking of an online calculator for my industry.

ii) Referral Traffic
Pinterest has been on my radar for a while now. I’ll start getting active on Pinterest with the intention of driving referral traffic to my site. I have a few months’ subscriptions of Tailwind. I’ll be using the tool to schedule posts on Pinterest.

Instagram – I have a lifetime subscription of Grum. I’ll be using the tool to schedule Instagram posts. On the other hand, I’ll be following prospects manually.

iii) Lead Generation
I’ll create an eBook for the niche and use it to generate leads. I’ll drive the leads from Facebook ads. I have allocated a budget of $100 for FB ads.

iv) Content Creation
-Write 4 KGR articles
-Write one cornerstone article (best x product)

That’s what I have in plan for March.

Are you building a niche site? Let me know your progress on the comment section below.

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