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 5 to ,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 really 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
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
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:
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.
- Find a better offer
- Implement an email list
- 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:
Into a pretty link like this:
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
– 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.
Which is all that matters right?
How Did The Test Go?
Clicks to Offer: 3,551
Emails Captured: 1,124
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
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
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.
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 🙂 ).
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:
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…?
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 on the “Cloud Income Facebook Page“…we've got people at all stages of their affiliate marketing career helping each other out and asking questions.
See you in there.