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Niche Site Growth Challenge Update Month 4 – The Finale

So another month of the challenge has gone by, and finally, we see some big gains. I won't beat around the bush, in June I was able to increase the niche site earnings from $895 to $2,632, just $368 short of my $3k target.

For those of you who like numbers, that equates to around a 194% increase in one month.

I did this using 3 simple tactics which I will cover in what will be the final episode of the case study/niche site challenge.

I feel like now is a good time to close the case study as July marks the 12-month point at which I started this site. You can read that case study intro post here.

Alternatively, I have created a special page to house all of the entries for this case study in chronological order.

 
 
I'll cover the usual traffic stats and general goings on in brief below, however what you rally want to know is how I did it right?

So…if you have your own established niche site and are stuck in the $500 – $1,000 range and want to implement steps to grow your income by over 194% jump to the good stuff here.

Traffic Stats Jun-16

NS Traffic June-16

Traffic was up slightly month on month, however, I think the big difference was the type of traffic that was coming through. I had more visits to my pages with higher ticket items, which made a huge difference.

The most trafficked pages have remained the same for a few months, however, those I added last month from the 2nd niche site I purchased and merged with this site, performed really well and those pages have risen in the rankings.

Income Stats Jun-16

Amazon Affiliate Commissions Jun-16

Affiliate Commissions Jun-16

The above screenshots come directly from my affiliate dashboards, the first is Amazon Associates and the other is from my CPA Network. These are easy to find using sites like OfferVault.com and oDigger.com.

Here's a breakdown of the income history to date:

Jun-15 $0.00
Jul-15 $28.01
Aug-15 $14.4
Sep-15 $74.19
Oct-15 $331.65
Nov-15 $745.63
Dec-15 $1,104.82
Jan-16 $1,491.69
Feb-16 $940.53
Mar-16 $849.41
Apr-16 $973.20
May-16 $895.10
Jun-16 $2,632.09
Total $10,080.72

From $895 to $2,632 in one month

The entire process I took to grow my income on this site can be broken down into three stages.

  1. Find a better offer
  2. Implement an email list
  3. Add click tracking and Heatmaps

NOTE: I had ONE PAGE and ONE PRODUCT/OFFER in mind when I set out to increase the income of this site.

Everything you will read below was applied to a single page and affected just one product this site promotes. After seeing the effects, you can be sure I will focus on one new page/offer/product each month in order to 10x, 20x, 100x my results.

So let's jump to it.

Step 1. Finding a Better Offer(s)

This has always been on my todo list and I think I have finally found two that convert well…how long they last…time will tell. The current EPC's for these products are $3.26 and $1.28.

I try to aim for an EPC (earnings per click) above $2.00…if it drops below that I start to look for a new/better offer.

So I split my traffic over the two offers using nothing more that a change of link. I use PrettyLinkPro which I use on all of my niche sites. This tool does a number of things, above all it makes managing your affiliate links that much easier.

All I had to do was swap out 1 link for another after 2 weeks of testing and I was up and running, sending traffic to offer number 2.

Here's a list of awesome PrettyLinkPro features:

  • Link Cloaking
  • Multiple Redirection types
  • Easy link management
  • Custom URL slugs
  • Parameter forwarding
  • Click and Conversion reports
  • Google Analytics Tracking
  • Keyword/URL Auto replacement
  • Split testing
  • Auto URL rotation

Being honest, a lot of that stuff goes over my head. That primary use I have for the tool is to turn an ugly link like this:

http://trkmyafflink.com/?a=9121&c=10761&s1=&s2=&s3=

Into a pretty link like this:

http://cloudincome.com/go/prettylinkpro

 
 
I'd like to say that choosing these offers was very analytical on my part, but I literally eyeballed the sales pages of 5-7 products and chose the two that looked the best and I would be more likely to buy from.

Commissions didn't come into it, in fact, the offers I decided to use paid out LESS than the previous offer I was using.

Step 2. Build an Email List

I'm going, to be honest as with everything I do on this site, I don't claim to be a guru I am still learning everyday and if I see something I like or think would work for me I try it and report the results here.

So after running through a competitors site I noticed that the were trying to capture email signups in a number of ways:

– Exit Intent
– Sidebar
– Lightbox on link/button click

Given the rankings they had, I figured they must know what they're doing, and having multiple ways to capture and build an email list was pretty much stage 2 of my niche sites growth plan.

So I decided I'd do the same…with a twist.

I didn't bother with exit intent or those sidebar option forms offering a lead magnet.

My plan wasn't to entice them in with a free guide or ebook (which I'd have to create and I really didn't have the inclination to do so), instead, I decided to place a simple Lightbox popup to capture their email address using Thrive Leads. This was placed directly in the middle of their purchase decision.

Here's how it looked:

User reads content –> clicks link to view product –> Email Lightbox –> Direct them to product with affiliate link

Now be aware, I wasn't sending them to Amazon products, as I don't see that working very well at all. Instead, it was the two CPA offers discussed above.

I expected 2 things to happen as part of this experiment.

1) My clicks over to the offer/product would decrease as I was adding an additional step into the process
2) I would capture some emails that I could remarket to in the future if not immediately

As this is just one site amongst many that I run, tracking every minute detail wasn't at the top of my list. Instead, I let the money do the talking and simply tracked my earnings vs. last month.

Email List Growth Jun-16Which is all that matters right?

How Did The Test Go?

Clicks to Offer: 3,551
Emails Captured: 1,124
CTR: 31.65%

NS Conversion Report Jun-16

For ONE PAGE and ONE OFFER I was able to add over 1,000 new subscribers to my email list. I set my auto responder to hit them on day 1 with a follow-up email pushing the benefits of the product I was promoting and provide them with another opportunity to buy.

This wasn't a hard sell, more of a friendly email making sure they were ok and had everything they needed.

I am still working on improving the open and click rate of the email, however, it did drive some sales but there is room for improvement.

Step 3. Add Click Tracking and Heatmaps

For this, I used 1 awesome tool.

– Thrive Leads

Thrive Leads

The screenshot above it from my Thrive Leads dashboard. It shows you everything you need to optimize your forms and calls to action.

This is a tool I have used since the very beginning and I have one of their themes on this blog (along now with what seems like every other IM blogger!).

I was particularly interested in their advanced Thrive Leads feature which allows you to add various opt-in forms and lead generation methods across your website and also track the results of each form individually.

It also allows for split testing, which I have just started to play with and that is a discussion for another day.

Here are the places I set up email capture forms:

– Exit Intent
– Button Click
– Link Click

Exit Intent

The first on the list above is obvious and you've likely seen them a thousand times. As the user looks like they are about to leave the page, click the back button or close the tab, Thrive will show my Lightbox email opt-in form with some compelling offer, such as “WAIT – DID YOU KNOW YOU CAN X WITH JUST X”

Hopefully, they add their email and click enter, which has them auto redirected to my offer or a thank you page.

Button/Link Click

These two are the same. When a visitor clicks on a button or link which directs them to my offer such as “CLICK HERE TO VIEW PRODUCT X”, they are then presented with a Lightbox similar to above, which will capture their email and direct them to the product (with my affiliate link of course πŸ™‚ ).

Thrive Results

Using these 2 simple tactics, along with the awesome Thrive Leads tracking system I was able to grow the email list by 1,124 subscribers. Now I know which forms produced the best results and which need improvement.

I will do this using their form split testing feature as seen below:

Thrive Split Test

Future Goals For This Niche Site

With this being the last official update on the challenge I won't be showing traffic and income stats moving forwards. However, based on the actions I take, anything that drives results and would benefit you guys, I will be sharing on an ad-hoc basis.

Here's a snippet of what I want to achieve with the site over the next 12-months.

  • Grow Email list to over 20,000
  • Add 5 new traffic/offer funnels
  • Add content to drive more traffic to best pages/offers
  • Grow income to $15,000
  • Create a robust auto responder sequence that provides value

Once those goals are hit or I believe I can't take the site any further…I will likely sell up and move on.

Wrapping Up The Niche Site Challenge

In true niche site style, in fact it's my business model to build -> rank -> hold -> flip, I like to use 25x net profit multiple to value a site. Given June's net profit of $2,632 that would put the site in the $65,000 range.

When would I sell…?

The truth is I don't have a set target. This niche site started as a case study and then moved to a growth challenge. Whilst it's great to see success, not all sites deliver this kind of income.

In terms of selling this site, I've been approached in the past by business and individuals looking to pick up sites before they go on the market, which is pretty smart.

Right now I'm not ready, I think I can 10x this site over the next 12 months.

So come on, what's stopping you building your own $2k /month site? I did this in 12-months with a half-assed approach and only some real dedication over the last 2-3 months.

In total it has brought in over $10,000 and is worth approximately $65,000…not bad for a “side project”.

If you want to learn more about niche sites, come and join me in the “Niche Framework Facebook Group“…we've got people at all stages of their affiliate marketing career helping each other out and asking questions.

See you in there.

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.

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 26 comments
Andrew - 9 months ago

Lewis, you are the magnate. You set up a lead magnet.

Typo aside, this is brain meltingly impressive. I’m going to have to read it again to get the most value out of it. Thanks for posting!

Reply
Ade - 9 months ago

This is very inspiring Lewis! I really need to get serious and put some time into building my niche site! It’s easy to get bugged down with other things! You asked the right question! What am I waiting for?

Reply
Ian Heaton - 9 months ago

Well done mate … amazing results and proved hardworking pays off

Hoping I can get my site to even half these monthly figures and I’ll be happy …

Keep it up pal

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mike - 9 months ago

Hey,

your “case studies” page doesn’t work…

this is the note I’m getting: Ooops!
The page you are looking for seems to be missing. Perhaps searching can help.

P.S. this highly successful niche site you’re talking about above, how is it monetized? Amazon affiliate or some CPA offers?

Kind regards,

mike

Reply
    Lewis Ogden - 9 months ago

    Thanks Mike I’ll look into it. The site uses both Amazon and CPA offers as you can see in the 2 income screenshots in the post above.

    Reply
Doug Cunnington - 9 months ago

Hey Lewis, Great update and SUPER impressive stats.

Was the traffic about the same in May and June? And the difference is the offer + the email to send the offer to the people that didn’t buy?

Keep up the great work!

Reply
    Lewis Ogden - 9 months ago

    Thanks Doug, yeah slign increase in traffic but only by a couple hundred unique’s. Main difference was the 3-steps I took in this email.

    Reply
Imran - 9 months ago

Hi Lewis,

An awesome post and a great case study. Congratulations on your success. Yes I think that you should spend another 1 year to maximize your earnings before you sell it. With $15,000/mo earning, 20K emails and 2 years old website you can sell it at 5,40,000 (assuming 36x earnings by selling on empire flippers).

Question: Do you have only 1 page on your niche website?

Thank you,
imran.

Reply
    Lewis Ogden - 9 months ago

    Thanks Imran. I’m not sure it’d fetch 36x…that is rare but possible. EmpireFlippers are usually at the 22-24x mark from what I remember but still a great idea.

    The site has over 100 pages, I just focused on ONE of those pages and ONE product.

    Reply
Dwayne - 9 months ago

Great job buddy. As always I look forward to reading your posts and being inspired of the opportunities online.
One question, are all the pages/website ranking without PBN links.
Dwayne

Reply
    Lewis Ogden - 9 months ago

    Cheers man, this page doesn’t have any PBN links. I have done outreach to various “informational” pages which then link internally to my product/review page.

    Reply
Michal - 9 months ago

Mate,
That was so inspiring.
It’s great to see how conversion rate optimization can make such a massive difference.

Thank You

Reply
Todd Connelly - 8 months ago

I’m alittle late Lewis, I just found this post through Twitter.

Wow, what timing for me to find this. As I dream of my goal of achieving $10,000 a month in website income that’ll let me quit my day job in a year… I often wonder what it’d be like to flip websites for side projects. Low and behold, I come across this post. I ended up reading the entire case in one sitting. Now I’m behind on my other tasks πŸ˜‰

Great insight and gives me additional motivation that this dream of mine is possible! Thanks for sharing and keep grinding.

Reply
    Lewis Ogden - 8 months ago

    Hey Todd, thanks for the comment. Just checked put your blog, sounds like you are well on your way to to achieving your goals…I wish you luck!

    Reply
Owen - 8 months ago

Hi Lewis,

Stumbled across cloud income yesterday and have been binge reading since I found it! Really good practical information here. I’m also impressed with the performance of this case study in particular.

Where would you say the bar is set for the quality of niche sites these days? It looks like the old 5 page generics I read about will no longer work consistently and that we should aim straight for a big 100+ page authority site.

I respect your decision to not share your domains but are you able to point me in the direction of a site you have come across that you would say is a good example of what you try to achieve?

Or better still, would you be willing to write a post that covers the basic quality standards you aim for with each site you create?

Reply
    Lewis Ogden - 7 months ago

    Hey Owen, I would say the bigger the better these days. My two biggest sites are also my best earners and both have over 100 pages of content. That said, you can make good money from a 10 page site that has log form content and a good number of relevant and high authority backlinks.

    A good example of sites?…TheSweetHome.com. Long informative content (often too much content). Great calls to action and they dominate the SERPS.

    Reply
      Owen - 7 months ago

      Thanks for your reply Lewis. From what I’ve read, a higher number of pages would allow you to target more specific problems identified through the popular search queries. So would you agree you are more than 10x better off writing 100 pages than you would be with only 10 pages?

      Thanks for the link. It looks like The Sweet Home is entirely reviews with no ‘informative’ content. The reviews are a high standard though so in a way they ARE the content.

      Appreciate you and some other blogs sharing your knowledge. Thanks

      Reply
        Lewis Ogden - 7 months ago

        It all depends on the niche, your time and money available and your goal for the project. If it’s to make money quicker, then less content and more links would do. If you’re looking at a long term project then obviously the larger site would mean you’d rank for more keywords.

        Reply
Kealoe - 7 months ago

Hey Lewis!
Please share your strategy to build your email list!

Reply
    Lewis Ogden - 7 months ago

    I simply took my 1-2 highest traffic pages and between them clicking on an affiliate link to an offer I placed a pop-up opt-in form using Thrive Leads, once they clicked submit they were taken to the offer. I did nothing special apart from tweak what I already had…there are so many ways to squeeze extra revenue out of your site…nobody does it.

    CRO = Conversion Rate Optimisation = The Future of Niche Sites & Profitability

    Reply
Vince - 7 months ago

Super impressive, Lewis. Do you plan on posting a 1 year update after you flip the site?

Reply
    Lewis Ogden - 7 months ago

    I will likely post an update once the site has been sold…or if I hold onto it I will update the blog from time to time with how it’s doing. At the moment, I plan to sell sometime in the new year to fund other ventures.

    Reply

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