Happy belated new years, folks!
Sorry, but I really do suck at this goal tracking/blogging/updating stuff. Better late than never. And technically it’s still the first month of January 2015, so…
Which of my 2014 goals did I achieve?
Internet marketing and writing stuff
- I AM NOT A BLOGGER. I AM A CAPITALIST PIG. Yes! Yes! Yes! 90% of my blog posts on my niche sites are product reviews. The other 10% are necessary fluff needed for “authenticity” and “authority”. This crappy little blog is my one guilty indulgence. FYI: I’ve made $0 of affiliate commissions from this site. Though you guys are signing up to my mailing list, so thanks!
- MAKE AN EXTRA $5000 IN AFFILIATE INCOME FROM MY NICHE SITES. I didn’t meet my 5K per month goal. I’ve pivoted from the original plan to build a stable of niche sites. Though my sites made it through the last penguin update in October 2014 with only a slight downward dip, the update did serve as a wakeup call. I’ve sold my most successful site (Site G) in November. The process was handled through a popular broker and it took less than 2 weeks from listing to closing with 2.5 more weeks before the funds were paid out to my account. The organic search model is neither stable nor sustainable. In IM, cash is always better than potential earnings. A bird in hand is worth two in the bush.
- DIVERSIFY MY INCOME STREAM WITH EBOOKS. I finally bit the bullet and published some of my fiction. This was what took up the majority of my time in November/December — and the main reason why there have been no updates on this blog. Flogging my own products is so much more satisfying than spamming other people’s shit. While I’m not making Twilight/Harry Potter level stacks of cash, the ebooks are bringing in an additional 1.6K-2.5K in earnings with little additional work/promotion. Plus I finally have something to show my family when they ask me wtf I do in front of the computer all day.
- GROW MY NEWSLETTER BEYOND 3000 SUBSCRIBERS. Fail! My total number of subscribers actually fell since the sale of “Site G” also included an email list.
- MONETIZE MY LIST. Success! After sitting on my lists for more than a year, I sent out some test emails for Black Friday and X-mas. There were some unsubscribes, but it was far less than I had expected for lists that had been dormant for over 6 months. The lists actually averaged a surprising 33% open rate!
- LEAVE HONG KONG FOR LESS SMOGGY/SMELLY/CRAMPED PASTURES. I did it! The latter half of December was spent packing and I made the move in mid-January. I know that last year I said my wanderlust was sated, but oops… Guess where I am?
- TRY TO BE A GROWNUP AND DTW (DO THE EFFING WORK!) I’ve gotten better at this. Mornings after coffee and late evenings right before bed are my most productive hours. I can handle 2-3 days of work before I need to take a day off and recharge. My discipline is still piss poor compared to most functioning adults, but it’s a vast improvement over my previous schedule of “5 hours of work every couple of months”.
And now for the good stuff…
2015 Niche Sites Reboot
- I’m using a very popular website broker so I’m going to avoid posting identifiable information like earnings figures. I’m sure most of you are nice, but some of you are immature vindictive assholes. You know who you are. While internet points and karma are awesome, I still like cold hard cash better. 😉
- Instead, the reports starting this month are going to include network-wide figures and monthly changes in content/links. I’ll probably write about what I did, what worked, and what didn’t rather than just report $$$ figures.
- I’m going to build the sites until they have 3 months of average earnings around $1000-$3000. This seems to be the easiest type of site to sell. Any lower and the commissions/fees really eat into profits. At the other end, higher earning sites rule out a lot of nervous newbie and portfolio buyers.
- These sites are — and will — remain a side project for me. As this is a source of side income, I do not want to devote all my time and energy to managing a large network. Knowing that there’s a definite target of 1K-3K and then a large pay-off in the end is actually very motivating in comparison to holding and trying to increase earnings each month. This business model also eliminates a lot of the overhead of maintaining a network of sites and allows me to stay on top of each project without large outsourcing costs.
- No work has been done on any of the sites in the network since October. 🙁 I know, I know… But, this has given me an important data point. Even after the x-mas rush, “Site B” is earning $300+ just from Amazon sales. The majority of the content on this site was created in October so it takes about 2-3 months for content to “mature/naturally rank” in today’s SEO climate — assuming proper niche research and no backlinking. “Site B” is going to be my main focus for the next couple of months. It should be possible to push earnings for this site up into the $2-3K range by this summer.
With all of that out of the way, here are the vital facts for the niche sites network.
- There’s a total of 11 niche sites including the 2 new ones I bought in October.
- The sites will be monetized with multiple affiliate networks and offers, though Amazon will be the largest source of income.
- All of these sites are built with love and high quality. The days of sticking stock product images from Amazon into 500 word blog posts and hoping for the best are gone. All product reviews are at least 1000 words long, have custom images/infographics, and the content is actively shared on social media. The IM game gets harder and harder each year. Everybody’s stepped up their game and so have I. You should too.
- The main earning site right now is “Site 2” aka “Site B” from last year. Since most of the content was created in late October, the content didn’t really rank in time for the Christmas rush. 🙁 I will let you guys know that the site earned in the $100s in December and in the $300s in January. These will be the last income figures I’ll reveal from now on. The plan is to build this site for the next couple of months and hopefully flip it for a nice chunk of change this summer.
- Here’s some network wide stats so you all know where the starting point is for the sites this year. Again, most of the traffic and clicks are from “Site 2”. While some of the other sites are getting visitors, they only make an occasional 1-2 sales per month.
And with that, I’m going to end this post.
Again, if an unmotivated asshole like me can make this work, then so can you!
Now stop reading blogs/forums/ebooks and make a friggin niche site already! You’ll be glad you did it in April. 😉