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Niche Site Case Study #1 – Update Jan15

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 sites 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 that 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 know 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 analysing markets and making a decision weather to target a keyword or not.

It's 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 idea.

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

The 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, lets 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
  • Bound rate could be improved slightly
  • I've done no conversion optimisation
  • I've not looked at changing the theme or layout at all
  • Nov & Dec were great months for a known reason
  • No sever drop in rankings
  • There are 101 things I can do to bring the earnings up

Having said that, February to date in 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?

Lewis Ogden
 

Lewis was able to take his hobby of building websites and turn it into a blueprint that enables him to build, rank and profit from niche websites. As a result of his niche site success, he now makes a full-time 5-figure income and even managed to quit his 9-5 job back in early 2015 all driven by his knowledge that he shares here on this blog.

Steve - February 19, 2015

Jan is always quiet on Amazon sites mate, everyone’s filled their boots in November and December!!!

Tony - February 20, 2015

Will adding extra articles be enough to gain a significant amount of traffic? Wont you need a few more backlinks? or does the site have enough power within its own niche to rank the new articles highly enough?

    Lewis Ogden - February 20, 2015

    Hey Tony, backlinks will certainly help however I like to test new things and see how powerful the site is by itself. I will focus on the content side to see if I can rank for the lower search volume terms and if there isn’t much traction, I will then know I need to focus some more on both On and Off page SEO.

Craig - February 20, 2015

I started mine in January and it has already started to earn money. I’m targeting the UK only for now.

    Lewis Ogden - February 20, 2015

    Nice work Craig, that’s quick. Is your site on a brand new domain or an aged domain?

      Craig - February 23, 2015

      The domain was 4 months old when I started building the site in January.

Dennis Seymour - February 21, 2015

Im going to start creating new niche sites again this year. I havent done one in years. Great to see you are getting great results! Im sure you’ll bounce back this month and onwards, January is usually that way 🙂 Great work Lewis!

    Lewis Ogden - February 21, 2015

    Thanks Dennis, they are a really good source of income if done properly – things have moved on from the small 5 pages sites people used to build. It does take effort, but thats mostly in the set up and planning.

    Would be great to hear how you get on!

Martin - February 23, 2015

fantastic case study Lewis,
I’ve built an amazon niche site, found keywords, but I think I missing something, this is a screenshot of the competition for my main keyword: http://prntscr.com/68rfvn, read few articles that nowadays it’s almost impossible to reach top10 if the competitors are only ecommerce websites. What you think about this?

Thanks

    Lewis Ogden - February 24, 2015

    From the looks of that sites in spots 6,7 and 10 give me hope. They don’t appear to be the strongest in the world. Plus this site I am conducting the case study on is 8th and competing against mainly eCommerce sites.

    Good luck!

Nickeya - February 26, 2015

So if you are trying to rank for one keyword would you pump out more than 1 article using the same keywords?

    Lewis Ogden - February 27, 2015

    Yeah, you make your site around that topic or niche. You will rank for many keywords, often ones you don’t even know about.

tony - March 1, 2015

slightly off topic, but why do pages and category pages on wordpress sites rank better than posts?

My sites category pages rank for lots of keywords but only a few of my posts rank in decent positions and I do optimize those pages for specific keywords.

    Lewis Ogden - March 2, 2015

    How are your category pages laid out? Usually they are pretty content shallow and only in rare occasions outrank product specific pages.

jes - March 3, 2015

Lewis what you think of the content while sandboxed for new domains?

Let’s say after 4-6 months google finally ranks you as it should and you’ve build a lot of content to your site about 6 pages and 50 posts, is it better to wait the 4-6 months without publishing your written content, let’s say you’ve saved everything as a draft and after 4-6 months publish them on a regular basis every other day or even every day.

What is your opinion on this, does it make any major difference? I mean does Google devalue the content published while sandboxed as a new domain?

A bit weird question I know but just popped into my mind 🙂

Anyways a great informative site you have going on here, definately will bookmark!

    Lewis Ogden - March 4, 2015

    Hi Jes, I always add content ready for when you are released from the sandbox. It give Google something to rank immediately and will be an indicator for when you can start creating links etc

khan - March 10, 2015

really liked the article, have read and bookmarked, just wanted to know, about the earning ! is the earning from ADS (such as google ad sense) or some sort of affiliate.
What about the theme, used for site, if it is wordpress, if free.
thanks

    Lewis Ogden - March 11, 2015

    You can see in the post that the income comes from Amazon Associates Program. The theme is a paid theme.

Nico - March 12, 2015

Nice summary. It’s good to see that things are generally on an upward trend. Overlooking the holiday season, £283 in January is definitely better than £263 in October.

jes - March 17, 2015

To be honest that is my niche site (I referred before in the comment section here) I’ve been working on for a bit over 4 months and currently I have PUBLISHED 51 articles which basically all are under 35 KC, all relevant to my site domain & niche and uniquely written by me. My traffic is basically non existent…

So have I done a disservice to myself putting this huge amount of work of publsihing 800-2000 words per article before I’ve got out of the sandbox? When google let’s me out from the sandbox are these articles worth nothing?

Damn it if it’s so 😀 Anyways appreciate your expert opinion on this matter!

    Lewis Ogden - March 18, 2015

    Some people suggest the sandbox no longer exist – I have found that not to be true. It is taking longer for a site to get featured in Google anywhere near the top 5 pages, then after 3-6 month period BOOM there it is. So i do believe there is a sandbox, perhaps it’s for particular domains of Google Webmaster accounts….who know!

    As for your content, that’s great i would make sure they are all quality and have great on page SEO – then start building a few links.

Dai - January 7, 2016

Hi Lewis,

What rank tracker are you using? I’m testing rank tracker but interested in hopping over to a web based solution.

I just opened a keyword competition website that allows you to use your own algorithm to determine the difficulty at http://keywordjudge.com/ Feel free to contact me for a beta account Lewis.

    Lewis - January 13, 2016

    I’m using SERPLab.co.uk, they are awesome and very cheap too!

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