Niche Site Case Study 1 – Update Jan-15

This is the 7th monthly update for the Niche Site Case Study, where I will show you how I take a niche and attempt to rank a website that earns a passive income. With the ultimate goal of flipping this site for a 16-20x multiple.

You can find links to all of the previous updates below.

June-14 – From Google Sandbox to first earnings

July-14 – Niche site blackmail attempt!

Aug-14 – Niche site plans and limitations

Sep-14 – Zero hours worked – income > $300

Oct-14 – Turning a niche site into an authority site?

Nov-14 – Way’s to increase earnings

Dec-14 – Benefitting from the holiday spending spree


CLICK HERE: GRAB MY “DONE FOR YOU” 50 KEYWORD CHEAT SHEET

What Happened In January?

If I was to summarise January into one sentence it would be this:

The come down from the December high – niche site back to business as usual

Now that the Christmas period was over I was keen to see how sales/conversions performed in January. I was fully expecting a drop in earnings, perhaps not quite so much however!

Let’s take a look at how December went.

SERP Movement

Rather than reporting the same small movement I seem to mention each month. I will instead, outline my plan for the next 2-3 months, which will hopefully increase the traffic to the site.

My method will be simple.

Create content that targets the long tail phrases people are searching for.

I will be using a few different tools for this, some free, some paid.

Long Tail Pro

Long Tail Pro Review

I’m sure by now you will have heard about LTP, and for good reason. It just works.

This is my default keyword/competition research tool which saves me a ton of time when analyzing markets and making a decision whether to target a keyword or not.

Its primary use for me is the “KC” score or Keyword Competitiveness. This neat little feature uses LTP’s own algorithm to calculate just how difficult it would be to rank for a keyword given all available metrics.

This is based on a scale of 0-100 and as a rule of thumb I target keywords with a KC 35 and below.

Keyword Revealer

I am fairly new to this online tool, however having used it for the past couple of months I can tell you that it’s fast and brings a new element to my research.

The graph you see above on the right shows the interest over time for that particular keyword. The gauge to the left of the image tells you how difficult they deem a keyword would be to rank for.

In this case we are looking at “SEO Tools” and Keyword Revealer tells us this term scores a 68 out of a possible 100. The back that up with a simple line of text…

Do not even think about it!

Google Auto-Complete

This is one of the most overlooked tools by niche site builders.

Using the inbuilt Auto Complete feature of the Google search can be a great source of information when looking for ‘real-life’ search terms. If Google suggest it, chances are people are searching for it.

Sticking with our “SEO Tools” keyword, you can see in the image above that we get 4 more suggested keywords. Free SEO Tools is an obvious one, but SEO Tools for Excel?

What I like to do is type my main keyword into Google, followed by a letter. Like so:

What I used to do is go through the alphabet entering each letter after the main keyword. This will give you a TON of ideas.

However, there is a quicker way.

UberSuggest

UberSuggest - Search Results

UberSuggest does exactly what Google Auto Complete does, automatically and in a fraction of the time. Best of all it’s FREE!

As you can see it appends the letters of the alphabet to your key phrase and brings back plenty of keyword variations. The only downside to this is that you cannot see search volume.

However I don’t believe this really matters as each piece of content you write has the potential to rank for hundreds of keywords and phrases, many of which you will never know about.

Traffic

So how will I use the tools above to grow the traffic to the site?

The plan is to use my writers to knock out at least 5 articles per week, all-around 600-1,000 words long. By doing this I will greatly increase the chance of ranking of a number of these long-tail phrases.

Despite the low search volumes, once you combine them together you are looking at several thousand potential visitors to your site.

Now growing the traffic is just one was to increase your bottom line. Next month I will focus on another…Bounce Rate.

Let’s take a look at the December/January comparison to see what’s changed.

December

January

Clicky Basics Jan-15

They say an image speaks 1,000 words. In this case, I think that holds true.

A 44% drop in traffic followed by a 5% increase in bounce rate isn’t good news.

The trouble with looking and this comparison (Dec/Jan) is that they are not really comparable given the festive shopping season.

To get a more accurate picture of what’s really happening, let’s take a look at Oct-14 vs. Jan-15 which are either side of the festive period.

Clicky Basics Oct-14 2

(I’ve removed the percentage movement from the image above as Clicky automatically shows the variance on the same period for the previous month, which is not what we are comparing here).

Immediately you can see by taking a deeper look into the analytics and comparing 2 similar months, it doesn’t look as bad as it did previously.

In fact, traffic is up by more than 600 visitors. Still, we have a 2% higher bounce rate, which is on my list to address.

Earnings

December saw the site bring in over £1,080 ($1,646) for the month, taking the total income for the site to over £2,000 ($3,145).

The image below shows the breakdown from my Amazon Associates account.

Amazon Commissions Jan-15

So a bump back down to earth for earnings in Jan, bringing the site back in-line with Oct-14 earnings.

Am I worried? Not really.

Here’s how I see it:

  • Traffic is on par with a ‘normal’ month
  • The bounce rate could be improved slightly
  • I’ve done zero conversion optimization
  • I’ve not looked at changing the theme or layout at all
  • Nov & Dec were great months for a known reason
  • No severe drop in rankings
  • There are 101 things I can do to bring the earnings up

Having said that, February to date is on course to be an even lower-earning month. So I need to get to work on this site…it’s not always passive income after all ????

Total Earnings To Date

  • June-14 – £47.53
  • July-14 – £64.54
  • Aug-14 – £25.77
  • Sept-14 – £208.63
  • Oct-14 – £263.89
  • Nov-14 – £510.90
  • Dec-14 – £1080.92
  • Jan-15 – £283.02
  • Total – £2,347.36 ($3,525.73)

Struggling To Find A Good Niche/Keyword?

It’s no secret that keyword research takes a long time, first to perfect, and then to perform regularly. This is something I have had to learn over time and I have come to the stage where I have more ideas than I can handle.

So I have decided to give some of them away for free!

I have done all of the hard work for you and pulled together a cheat sheet of awesome keywords that have great potential for a niche site.

All you need to do is click below to grab my “done for you” keyword research cheat sheet.

CLICK HERE: GRAB MY “DONE FOR YOU” 50 KEYWORD CHEAT SHEET

Key Takeaway Points

  1. Simply comparing your analytics from one month to the next can mask what is really going on.
  2. Passive Income is great, however niche sites do take work and now and then they take a lot of work.
  3. If you don’t have the money for a paid keyword research tool, UberSuggest is a great FREE alternative.

Your Turn…

How are your niche sites going? Did January look the same for you?

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