The 1k Niche Property Project – Month 5 – January 2022

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Welcome back to the 1K Niche property project!


We're officially through the fifth month of this project and everything is moving into high gear.

The Goal:

If you have not been following along so far, the goal of this project is to see how long it takes us to take a niche property (a small website focused on a single topic, such as fishing) from nothing to $1000 in monthly recurring income.

By combining a variety of different strategies and techniques, the goal is to reach the $1000 per month mark in less than one year.

The History:

Over the previous four months, we have selected our niche, published the initial 44 pieces of content, and started to see significant organic traffic at just over 625 sessions per month.

While this traffic number isn't anywhere close to where we need to be, in order to achieve our monetization goal, we've also seen some other promising signs of growth over the past four months.

If you'd like to check out any of the previous updates on this project to see in step-by-step detail everything we've done up to this point, you can check the links out here:

The Activity This Month:

This month has been an interesting one.

While our overall growth was not as fast as it's been in some of the previous months (you'll find out all the details below) and we spotted a few things we were going to need to keep an eye on, overall it's been a great month with a ton of new activity.

Let's dive in and first take a look at what happened with our traffic this month.

Traffic:

Overall, our traffic increased just over 60% compared to month 4 of this project, with our organic traffic (the number we keep the closest eye on) increasing by just over 66%.

While this increase doesn’t appear to be as significant as last month (where organic traffic increased by 98%), we did see a larger “real” increase in traffic, as you would expect to see as a site grows.

If you take a look at the month 4 update, you’ll see we were averaging just over 20 organic visits per day, this month we saw 1,050 visits from organic search or about 35 per day (with a few days between 55-60 at the end of the month).

Even though this growth hasn’t remained at the same rate in terms of a percentage increase (we didn’t expect it to….but it sure would be nice!), we are still seeing large increases in growth from our previously created content, which is a promising sign.

One thing of note this month is we saw a significant “low period” of organic traffic for about a week.

Our organic traffic dropped by about 40% during the second week of the month, before it recovered to previous levels and began increasing again. 

We saw a similar thing happen in our keyword rankings (during the same time period) and decided to do a little digging.

While a drop like this can often be concerning (especially if this is your first site), Scott and I have been around long enough to know that there is always a reason.

In this case, it appears that Google rolled out a series of updates (several days in a row) that massively shook up search results and resulted in a large number of sites reporting unusual drops in organic traffic and keyword indexing (especially on mobile), before slowly starting to recover.

While “Google Updates” causing a shakeup in the search results may sound like a scary thing (and can often give you a short term “heart attack”), if you’re creating GOOD content and thinking about how real people use your site and information, you’ll often see a quick recovery and even a little “turbo boost” at the end of the day…just like we saw here.

Keyword Rankings:

You may know by now, that in addition to keeping a close eye on how our organic traffic performs month over month, we also like to keep watch on our keyword rankings (where we show up and how many different possible ways people can find our site on search engines).

These tend to move around significantly over time but serve as a great “leading indicator” for what we will see in our organic traffic over the next month or two.

This month is showing us something very interesting.

While we are seeing a HUGE increase (200+%) in keywords that are indexed on the second page or Lower (most likely due to the new content we are creating, more on that below) and the increase in keywords located on the bottom half of the first page (about 146%), we also saw a large decrease in the number of keywords on the top half of the first page.

Last MonthThis MonthGrowth
Page 2 Or Lower6311968211.89%
Bottom Of Page One3074146.67%
Top Of Page One4511-75.56%
Total Keywords7062053190.79%

As you probably know, the first 3-4 search results will bring in the vast majority of the search traffic for any given keyword, so the goal is ALWAYS to be in the top half of the first page.

While a drop like this isn’t completely unexpected (especially given Google changes this month and that the content is only 3 months old at this point and we know it typically takes about 6-8 months to reach its final place in the search results), it IS something we are going to want to keep an eye on.

In this case, it appears that the majority of the keywords that shifted down past the first half of the page were keywords related to what the site USED to be.

If you’ve been following along, you may remember that one of the strategies we are using in order to speed up the process is what’s called an “aged” domain, which we purchased from our friends over at Niche Website Builders.

Essentially, we bought a website that was no longer being used and created our own niche property on the site.

By doing this, you’re able to take advantage of the history of the site (and any authority it may have developed over time) to help your content rank faster AND be able to rank for more competitive terms more quickly.

One key thing to remember is that your niche site needs to be in the same space as the original site.

In our case, the original site was for a business with a physical location and even though they’ve been out of business for a few years at this point, they were still getting a large amount of search traffic based on their name.

It looks like after a few months of these organic visits doing what Google refers to as “pogo-sticking” (coming to the site and then IMMEDIATELY going back to Google, because they realize they’re in the wrong place), that they’ve finally started to “demote” us in some of the local search results for the business name.

While we are going to continue to keep an eye on this, the growth in the other categories of keywords being indexed is extremely strong and growing FAST due to the growth of some additional content.

Content Creation:

As we discussed last month, we knew the original content (44 articles we launched with the site in month 2 of this project) would start to see slowing growth in the coming months as it started to reach its final indexed position, and as a result that we had planned to create additional content to reach our goal.

Scott and I sat down after the month 3 report and began to implement a content plan that would help us massively accelerate site growth AND decided to test a few things along the way.

Since our last update, we’ve published an additional 22 pieces of content (bringing the total content on the site to 66 articles) and we plan to aggressively publish content (between 3-4 articles per week) for the next month or two if we continue to see similar growth.

We are testing two different types of content with the new articles we have published.

The first is what we refer to as “answer posts”.

This is our “tried and true” content that works across every niche. Essentially, we do our keyword research and look for questions our audience is asking (such as “Can You Fish For Bass at Night?”) and we write a post answering the question in as much detail as possible.

While this makes up the vast majority of content we create for our sites (and works in every niche out there), we wanted to test another post type that seems popular in the current niche we are in.

This other post type is often referred to as a “roundup” post.

Instead of answering a question or giving a single piece of information, you are “rounding up” the best advice or ideas from other websites in your niche and publishing a post summarizing each of the pieces of advice/ideas, then linking to the original article where you discovered the advice/idea.

A good example of this would be “10 Bass Fishing Tips From Former Bass Tournament Winners”.

In this article, we would find 10 different articles (obviously, written by previous winners of Bass Tournaments), summarize each of their tips, and then link back to the original article or video that contained the tip.

While this type of content doesn’t work for every niche, if you see something similar in your niche, it may be worth a try.

It’s extremely simple to create and can be a great way to add a few additional pieces of content to your site quickly (not to mention it has the potential to bring in a ton of traffic from social media).

In our case, we had tested one of these pieces of content during the initial “content blitz” and have consistently seen it perform in the top 3 pieces of content that were driving traffic for us, so we decided to test a few more (and are already starting to see some results).

The Money:

FINALLY, we have something to talk about on the money side of things!

It may seem silly that I’m excited to finally be talking about SPENDING a bit of money, but I know you love it when we break everything down, and quite frankly…this part of the project has been somewhat boring, beyond our initial investment with our friends over at Niche Site Builders.

Expenses

If you read the section on content above (if you haven’t, you really should), you’ll know that since our last monthly update, we have published 22 pieces of content.

One of these was an example, which I wrote, of the new style of content we are testing out for the site (this is covered in more detail in the content section above).

That leaves us with 21 other pieces of content that we had to create.

As you are probably aware, Scott and I outsource the vast majority of our content creation and had all of the remaining 21 articles written, edited, and posted by our writers and outsourced team.

While the cost varies a bit from post to post, we paid an average of $45 per post to have each piece written and published. 

This includes the cost of having the article written AND paying someone on our outsourced team to double-check everything, make sure it meets our standards, and publish the piece.

That means, over the last month, we paid $945 total to have all of our new content published on the site.

While this number may seem a bit steep, it’s important to keep two things in mind.

First, this is a one-time investment that will pay us month after month (once we have monetized the site).

Secondly, we are being fairly aggressive with our content schedule, because we are positive about the return on our investment for these topics and the niche as a whole.

Generally, we don’t publish 22 articles in 30 days (outside of an initial content blitz that we use on a new site) and a more normal schedule would be between 8-12 pieces in a month (about half of what we did in the last month).

Additionally, we could have written ALL 22 pieces ourselves and saved all of the money, but with everything we have going on, it makes MORE sense for us to invest a little money into the site and save the 22ish hours it would have taken us to create the content, so we can use it for other projects that need our skills and attention.

Month 5 Expenses: $945

Earnings:

Since our site is still in the early stages of growth, we haven’t yet monetized the site with either ads or affiliate links.

If we continue to see growth at the rate we are (especially with the addition of the new content over the last month), I would expect to start to see earnings around the 7-month mark.

Month 5 Earnings: $0

Net Earnings

Month 0 Expenses: -$9,000

Month 0 Earnings: $0

Month 1 Expenses: $0 (Zero Additional)

Month 1 Earnings: $0

Month 2 Expenses: $0 (Zero Additional)

Month 2 Earnings: $0

Month 3 Expenses: $0 (Zero Additional)

Month 3 Earnings: $0

Month 4 Expenses: $0 (Zero Additional)

Month 4 Earnings: $0

Month 5 Expenses: $945

Month 5 Earnings: $0

—————————————
Month 5 Net: -$9,945

That’s A Wrap:

Month 5 of the 1k Niche Property Project was a BUSY one. 

Between the shake-ups with Google and the addition of a ton of new content, it certainly hasn’t been boring.

Make sure to check back next month to get an update and if you’d like to learn how we got to where we are, make sure to check out the full 1k Niche Property Project Archive here.

Chris lives at the intersection of business strategy and growth tactics. Having consulted with dozens of different businesses (as well as building several of his own), he brings a unique perspective on what's working across the eCommerce world in businesses of all shapes and sizes.

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