Updated Content Section 06/01/2016
So this is long time coming and I apologize to everyone that wanted to follow along, (I don’t really think anyone was waiting with bated breath…but a man can dream!).
Anyway, things are going pretty slowly and this new authority site of mine has been growing at a slow but steady pace.
Below I will detail a few things that I have been up to so that you can see what my failures are and how you can also avoid them.
Current State of Affairs
This particular site is not really a niche site per se, but rather more of an "authority site".
That means that I am not going for buyer keywords directly and hoping to rank naturally for some decent terms.
That said, I do come from a purely affiliate background, and as such I can't resist tracking some keywords of content that I researched.
So you an see some of the keywords I am tacking below and their rankings as of the update of this post:
So as you can see, nothing really to write home about, but these rankings are with either 0 back links, or some basic ones like social shares, infographic directory links, randomly acquired links and so on.
My goal here is not to go crazy about single keywords, but rather to create topics surrounding certain conditions.
To that end, I have focused on some key niches such as:
- Medical conditions
- Lifestyle (kind of making this the generic "blog" section that I can lump in random posts)
OK, so I am in the health niche and I think that this was probably my first mistake!
Not actually getting into this niche, but rather my niche is: Health!
That is way too broad and I didn’t really think it through that much. The reason I went for it was because I wanted to create an online magazine and then I was going to just pay for content, perhaps 8-16 posts per month.
However that was when I had a steady online income that I could reinvest.
Anyway I lost that income stream, (I put all my eggs into 1 basket…so don’t do that), and I was kind of left scrambling around a bit.
I went through a kind of sadness and despair about losing everything, however it kind of turned out not that bad and opened my eyes to other forms of income that…well it’s a long story and I will go into it a bit further in another post.
Suffice to say that I had invested a fair amount of money in setting my new site up and had an asset that I thought I may as well expand n.
That was in May 2016 so how have I been doing so far?
I decided from the outset that I wanted to get a large chunk of traffic via social media and this niche is especially ripe for this kind of traffic generation.
In particular Pinterest.
This is always the first thing I set up with a brand new site and it was no different here.
However I decided that I wanted to get some ads to boost numbers and it kind of worked, but I did it half arsed and only got around 50 followers, (pretty engaged, but very few nonetheless).
This site has never been of much interest to me really, but it is something that, like Facebook, I start with every site. However it has actually been a blessing in disguise, because according to my analytics, visitors from Twitter are some of the most engaged readers I have!!!
It is a great program where they essentially have 2 side. ! side is where you can pay them to post relevant topics on your social media pages to keep them updated with interesting content, the other side being for people like you and me that want to have our content shared.
You just upload a great image, (I always use Canva for this and all of my website images), then add a few hashtags and wiat for them to approve it.
Once it gets the OK, you get floods of shares and some decent traffic.
I have used it on about 8 of my posts, (all well written and engaging) and usually get anything from 200 – 300 shares per post of FB and Twitter, but mainly Twitter.
It is great as well because it opens up loads of opportunities to network.
For example if you see that a website has shared a post of yours to their many followers, you can reach out to them and thank them. Sometimes nothing happens, but other times you might get a link or another share of another post or a guest post opportunity.
Now this was the thing I really wanted to target because health related things get shared like mad.
I used a special software called Follower Liker that automates sharing, pinning, repinning etc and speeds up the process of getting followers.
So now I have around 1,200 followers, perhaps 1,000 of those are people as opposed to brands, in about 5 months. I could have got more but my HDD on my computer decided to die on me along with the software 🙁
I won’t go into the ins and outs of Pinterest marketing because there are much better guides out there that will explain it better than me, but it is very worthwhile.
However you must make sure to set it up correctly from the start.
SEO & Organic Traffic
As much as I want social traffic, to me being an affiliate marketer at heart; I crave organic traffic!
With regards to each point, let’s go through them both individually:
As with everything about this new site, I didn’t plan it through properly but am now starting to get things into shape.
At the beginning I just did a mixture of post types with a strong emphasis on keyword research. The way I did this was to both do my own research and also to buy a Clickbank keyword from this guy (aff link but I have used him multiple times to great effect…just make sure to specify the general niche you are in).
I then either wrote a quick post myself and optimized the on page, or outsourced it.
Don’t get me wrong, this is quality content and I have mixed it up with some 3 -5,000 word, super detailed posts.
However I am not getting the traffic I was expecting. But I know the reason behind this.
The main thing was that they are not connected to each other in any significant way.
How Did I Fix This?
I wrote several more related articles, then grouped them together in a kind of quasi, category based silo structure and then cleaned up the homepage and menus to reflect this.
I have also been on an inner page, interlinking rampage and going back over many older posts and updating them to link to related posts.
For example, I have a section about detoxing, so I have linked all the detox posts together with exact match anchor text, (where it makes sense) and I have found that this has helped engagement and keep people on my site.
I have been receiving a steady amount of traffic from all over the place and my 30 analytics shows this:
Now this is isn’t the full picture and I have not really analysed it properly, but I would say that about 1,000 of these visits are junk. Some of the junk is real people, but very un-targeted or have stumbled upon the site in random manner.
However I am fairly happy with the way it is looking.
BTW, some of the weird spikes there are from some tests I ran but ultimately decided against continuing it, adverts etc.
The backbone of any successful website.
In a usual affiliate website, I would expect to reach a certain number of posts before seeing some income, but this site is a different beast.
I have settled into posting 1 time per week and am now considering ramping that way up.
But, How Can I Do This With No Income?
Good question and one I was scratching my head about until I found a solution to get medium quality content for free, (kind of free you give something in return).
The answer is to accept guest posts on your site!
Now I will add a caveat here, you have to spend some money or write a decent amount of posts to start with, and you also need some authority.
I don’t really care for website metrics, but in this case it helps a lot.
you see, my site is now DA 23 PA 34 and TF 14 CF25 which is quite average, but great to anyone looking to get a nice backlink.
What I did was to create a page titled “write for us” (important because this is an operator people search for when looking for guest post opportunities).
On that page I displayed certain rules that must be followed in order to pitch me a guest post. This is also important because I only want high quality content for this site and not a 400 word piece of shit, boring ass post like: “5 reasons you should care about your health” YAWN, aint no one got time to read that crap!
I also specify that any link back to a site will be from an author byline, however if the content is exceptional then I allow a non exact match link back to an inner page of their site as a reference.
I also require that they must cite all sources used to research the post and I will also fact check every post for quality.
This generally ends up with me declining about 1/4 of pitches because it is either a shit article or they demand an exact match anchor text in content.
However this means that I end up with medium to high quality posts that I can add to my site that only costs me a small amount of time to fact check and edit to look pretty!
I also pay for some content when I can’t be bothered myself, or I want to write a huge post and need a skeleton to build upon, (I always find that starting a new post is the most difficult for me, so if I can pay for 500 – 1,000 words to start something off, I will).
Below is a list of the services I use:
Paid Content Services I Use
I have used several services over the years with varying degrees of success.
This is a quick list of the 3 that I use regularly and they work well for me, plus there is a new service I recently found out about that I will use much more from now on.
This is one that many people recommend and with good reason.
It is reasonably priced and the quality is fine. I have had very bad experiences with it and they are pretty unhelpful with trying to help you out, but I have also managed to find a great health writer that I have made favorite and always use.
The key is to write a very detailed brief and give examples of what you want.
Interesting one created by a guy called Jon Leger who i follow for IM related things and who seems to know his stuff.
I shy away from using his exact methods, but use some of his tools like Best Spinner and the like.
I Need Writers (INW) is pretty consistent at delivering what I want. I mainly use this service to create a bare bones post that I will flesh out and make into something more interesting.
I use it really for someone else to research a topic first!
However where INW really comes into its own, is rewriting content.
You can check out my post about the lazy mans guest posting method to see more about them, but I also use them to rewrite one of my posts so that I can pitch to another website and get a topically relevant backlink to my site, (I am sure this is what others do when they pitch me a post!).
This is a new one that I tested out to see how good the quality would be and I have to admit…I am pleasantly surprised and will be using them much more.
I wasn’t really expecting much from them because it is $10 per 1,000 words and I have found that decent quality content general goes for around $20 for the same amount of words.
I also gave them a pretty tricky subject to write about, but lo and behold, the post I got back was more than acceptable!
It needed very slight cleaning up because they write based around the keywords you give them and I changed some of it to some synonyms or swapped a few things about, but I generally do this for most content, and for 10 bucks, this is fine!
I am going to test out a 2,000 post on 1 topic and see how they do. I have a feeling that 1,000 is there sweet spot and they may go off repeating things, but you never know 🙂
(UPDATE: One of my online friends read this post and informed me that they have used these guys before and after running it through Copyscape, found that they didn’t seem completely unique. I have only used them this one time and my Copyscape result came back 100% clear, however I am writing this so that you know the facts before ordering).
So this is the beef that you all want to eat, I know.
Well to completely honest with you, the site has only really made about $100 or so, but it is only about 8 months old and I was expecting this to be a super long term project.
I know that these things have a tendency to snowball after a certain “critical mass” of links and content so I just plugging away getting links and creating content.
OK, So What Would I Do Differently?
There are many things that I would do differently if I could repeat time, but I want to preface this section by saying that this site is an ongoing effort and I am constantly learning things myself and I am always jigging things about.
However these are some things that I would either like to change or am in the process of changing:
- Use the correct size images from the get go – I used file sizes that were way too big and it ultimately slowed my site down significantly. I have corrected this issue now and always resize images in Photoshop or MS Paint, (yes I do use that!).
- Set up my Pinterest profile correctly – This is an ongoing thing for me, but I have not got the gains that I am sure I would have got if I had optimized my boards and pins correctly.
- Networking – This is ongoing and I want to boost up my site to become a bit more authoritative by networking more with other site owners.
- Build high quality links – Again this is ongoing, but tend to be slightly lazy and really need to send out more guest posts. I was hesitant at first because I really hate getting a brilliant post written, only to give it away! However this is a stupid attitude to take and now I have used Writing Pack, I am comfortable getting about $100 worth of content to send off as guest posts.
- Not enough content – Perhaps a bit of an odd one seeing as I have a publishing schedule of 1 post per week, but I want to increase this up to at least 2 per week and when the site is starting to pay for itself, I will outsource this to an article writing service and perhaps spend around $300 per month to keep it updated. I will still write the big pillar posts myself, but I just want lots of content as this is an online magazine style and it really needs a ton of info.
This is a somewhat brief overview of everything that I have been doing, but I don’t want to on about it too much.
However what I will do, is to write more posts about each point individually.
This has been the main online thing I have been focusing on recently so it has taken up a ton of time. However I have been getting some great income from a previous Amazon affiliate site that I have gone 50/50 with a partner on and I have also been keeping that updated slightly.
I have also begun a process of turning around an old Amazon site that gets about 350-400 visitors per day, into an AdSense website with some success, (the ads generate about $80 per month which is not a lot I know, but it’s something. I also use SkimLinks on it which helps me to pay for some of the new things I am doing).
So let me know of any questions you have in the comments below and I will see what I can do to anwser them 🙂