0% Balance Transfer Fee with Virgin

As I’ve mentioned previously, I’ve had to put a few things on my credit card and most of my savings have gone on the house and its renovations. This is debt that I will clear once I’ve finished spending on the house and have settled into a  routine, but for the moment it is debt, and I am getting charged for it. I managed to clear my previous debts completely a few years back by hopping around balance transfers which allowed me to pay back any money owed without having to pay interest and so I’ve been looking to do something like that.

I have the moneysavingexpert.com newsletter sent to my inbox and one of the links today was for 9 months balance transfer with Virgin and with 0% balance transfer fee. Bonus! Normally there is something like 3% of the amount transferred as a fee, and as I want to transfer around £1,250, my fee will have been £37.50. I thought it was worth applying, and after going thought the application process I have been approved and my balances will be transferred shortly.

This all means that I’ve saved money and it also gives me a deadline of 9 months to pay off my debt.

No Balance Fee… Bonus!

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The Year Ahead

So here we are, a New Year, and a time to assess what we’ve all been up to.

I started this Blog in May 2004 so it’s been going a while and has seen some big changes along the way mostly due to social media. For what blogging used to be about, an online diary, everything has shifted to Twitter and Facebook, and so what’s left on here? Just me talking about websites etc. To be honest though I don’t really share too much on Facebook and Twitter anyway so you’re not missing much.

Last year was all focused on one thing for me and that was getting married in July. That meant that everything else was put on the backburner and my focus from the time I got engaged was planning, saving money, and then actually doing the biggest and best thing I’ve ever done in my life.

So I got married (July), went on honeymoon(July/August), and then at the end of November bought a new house. Christmas was spent renovating and decorating and with the big jobs done I’ve now got some scope in my life to start new hobbies. So what do I do?

  • I’ve neglected my niche sites and so I’d like to get back on track with those as the extra money does come in handy and I also have fun making the sites too.
  • I’ve got a massive garden now so I’m looking forward to gardening and growing my own food.
  • I’m living in a lovely village and so I’d like to start walking a bit more and also getting back into photography. I’ve got a nice Canon DSLR sitting at home not getting used so that’s another opportunity.

That’s not a great amount of pressure on me so let’s do this!

What are your plans for 2013?

Recommended » Adem Djemil : Blog

I have invested time and money into many things online and so I’ve made this recommendation page so that you find things that I’ve found helpful. Some of the following are affiliate links but they are all things that I’m happy to recommend and have personally used.

Blogging/Websites

Hostgator have provided my hosting since 2007 and I’ve had no problems with them whatsoever and they have always been responsive with any queries I’ve had. They are based in the US so bills come in dollars which usually means a good exchange rate.

123-reg.co.uk are where I buy my domains from. Cheap, simple, and includes full DNS control.

Photodune.net provide a wide range of royalty free photographs and graphics with prices starting at $1. I often get photos from here for my niche sites.

Shopping

Quidco is the UK’s No.1 cashback site and if you are buying anything online then follow links through the site and get some money back. Sometime’s it’s just pennies but I’ve used the site to buy things like TVs and laptops and managed to get some nice payouts.

About » Adem Djemil : Blog

This blog is about me, Adem, and how I am going about increasing my passive income.

If you’re reading this page then I’m sure you’ve read many other blogs where the authors are make £1,000s a day and seem to have nailed the ‘get rich quick’ scheme. Of course a lot of them are willing the share this with you if you buy their latest ebook for $37. Great news eh? The fact is that there is money to be made online but only the very few will make huge amounts of money mentioned and be able to quit their job, but I don’t want to quit my job, I just want to earn a little on the side to supplement my 9-5 wages.

After reading many articles on niche websites, passive income, and making money online I created my first ‘niche website’ in May 2011 and I got lucky and it has been a success earning me over £200 each month from AdSense adverts. It’s not enough to retire on but it’s a significant figure that is helping me pay the bills. The aim now is to make more websites, make more money, and share with you how I am doing this.

A bit about Adem

I’m 30, work in the higher-education sector, and live in the UK. Concise enough an answer? You really don’t want to know more do you?

What you can expect from this blog

I will primary be letting you know how I’m getting on and how much I’m earning from my websites but I also read a fair amount online so will be hoping to share useful information with you about how you too can improve your passive income.

Why small niche sites will not make you rich

So this ‘making money online’ thing is harder than it seems! After selling my main earning site I’ve been left with a handful of smaller sites which last month only earnt me about £150 and without a lot of hard work that figure isn’t going to rise.

In my last post I spoke about ways I was going to improve my online earnings and I guess I’ve had a slight shift in that small niche sites really, most definitely, absolutely, are not the way to go due to quite a few factors.

  1. Too focused on one keyword
  2. Less topics to write content about
  3. Less searches
  4. Smaller earning potential
  5. Too easy to lose rankings due to algorithm changes in Google.
  6. Unable to create a ‘brand’
  7. Harder to promote and love

I guess those are the key factors of small sites. Yes, I’ve had some do very well in the past but with the EMD (Exact Match Domain) update they’ve lost a lot of visitors and I can’t see a potential of growth in my sites. They are still bringing in some money but nothing to shout about and aren’t worth putting in more effort to try and revive them. I probably need to draw a line after them all, and start from fresh.

I have one site I am currently working on that is going to have a lot of content and is hopefully going to be very useful too, but at the moment I’m working on content etc and am a long way from getting it launched.

I still want to have a personal project too and the other month I bought theturkishkitchen.co.uk with the aim of creating a recipe site. I’m half Turkish-Cypriot and love cooking, so what better way of having some fun? I’m on a bit of a health kick at the moment so that’s on hold for now but I will get some content on there soon, especially as I’m visiting relatives over Easter in Northern Cyprus, so maybe I can pick up some recipes there?

So what’s the outcome of this post then? Well, fewer sites will hopefully mean more money, as the sites will be better, have more content, and rank better. Sounds simple eh?

That does leave me with quite a lot of domains that I’ve bought which are still useful for small niche sites, but not for what I want so what should I do with them? I think I’ll create a portfolio post next and see if anyone wants to buy some of them.

Till then….. see ya.

Ways I’m going to improve my online income

It’s been almost a month since I sold my main earning website and as my monthly website earnings have now dropped I’ve been looking at ways of upping my income. This has fallen into two categories:

1. Improving my current websites.

2. Build new websites.

Improving my current websites

Although I sold my main earning website I still have others that bring in a combined £150-200 a month and so it would be ideal to simply add more content to these so they get more visitors and more click on adverts (I am mostly using AdSense for revenue). This isn’t actually as easy as it sounds as some of the sites I have are very niche focusing on a single topic within a wider area and so they only really need a few pages of useful content. These generally earn around £25 a month and have zero upkeep so whilst I can’t add more content I am looking to improve the click through rates (CTR) by varying advert colour, style, and location. At the moment I seem to have a better CTR by changing the majority of the adverts to plain text.

I do have couple of sites that could do with more content and I’m taking a slow and steady approach to this ensuring that it’s only good stuff getting publishing. This is slowing increasing visitors to the sites as I’m creating more longtail keywords for them to get through the site.

Building new websites

I’ve bought about a dozen new domains and that was the easy bit as now I’ve got to look at getting websites running and getting lots of useful content on there.

I have bought some content to go on several of the domains but to be honest I wasn’t overly impressed but know that’s partly due to what I’m willing to pay. That has lead me to the decision to write all the content myself. After reading Jamie Farrelly’s eBook ‘How Anyone Can Become an Online Content Writer‘ which I luckily got to download for free, I realised that I actually like writing content and specifically I enjoy learning about new topics for the various niches I write content for.

Writing my own content also means that I am in full control of the quality on the site and I can feel proud of those sites. Yes, it means that the site development is going to be slower but it will hopefully be worth it in the end.

What type of sites are they?

In an ideal world I would focus on one or two sites and purely focus on them but the fact is smaller sites are easier to rank and all these £25 a month sites do add up.  So yes I will still be making some 5-page websites but I have also bought a couple of domains that are focused on quite large topics and these will be long term projects which I hope will make at least £200-300 a month each although it will take some time getting there. Just don’t mention the phrase ‘authority site’ though as it doesn’t mean diddly squat!

Why Adsense and not Affiliate sites

I do have some affiliate sites but they are making very little money for me due mainly to the fact that Google is my main source of visitors and it’s getting increasingly hard to rank for physical products. AdSense has been good to me and I think I’m better suiting to writing about topics rather than products. Yes, I have bought a couple of new domains which are suited to an affiliate site but they’re just sitting on the backburner for the moment.

Will you be publishing Income Reports again?

I last published a proper income report in May 2012 to outline my year in niche sites and I think people enjoyed reading them so maybe I will start again as  way to keep myself to account and try and improve my month on month earnings. I guess I stopped partly because I’d leveled out a bit but now I’ve lost my major revenue stream I need to get back on track.

So expect a few more posts from me from now on.

January 2012 Income Report

It’s that time of the month when I reveal how I’m doing with my niche sites and how much money I’ve made. These figures are gross and so don’t include any expenditures such as domains, hosting, etc, and most importantly tax, and I thought it was important to let you know that. I haven’t had to fill in a tax return yet as I’ve only been creating these sites since May and so haven’t completed a full tax year yet, but come January 2013 I will be filing my returns and so I’ve got to remember to save about a third of my earnings for that.

Why do I share my earnings?

I personally enjoy finding out how others are doing with their niche sites, and so why not share how I’m doing? Perhaps if this was my full-time income and a full-time business then I may be a bit more reserved about sharing these details but for the moment there’s no harm. I also like to think that visitors to this site enjoy reading about those who earn a very modest income as well as those who are earning tens of thousands each month.

How much did I earn?

This month has been a great month and I’ve been able to diversify my income with earnings from Amazon Associates, the affiliate scheme run by Amazon. AdSense has yet again been my main earner and it’s great to see those sites I created 9 months ago coming january2012incomepie-2517475into their own with very little work from myself for the past couple of months. I have seen some of the smaller sites tail off though and I will need to put more work into them if I want to get them earning again.

As you can see I’m almost back to my August peak for AdSense income and I think the Panda update in September did me a favour by clarifying my way of creating sites. I’ve been focusing on producing good content and have also done minimal backlinking, so my sites are very much focusing on organic SEO. Perhaps this has effected some of my smaller sites, but I’m happy with it that way.

When you add the Amazon income of £42.92 to the £387.32 from AdSense then my grand total for the month is £430.24 ($676.77) which is my highest total yet! Looking at the graph below you can see that I’ve gradually emerged from my massive dip and hopefully this will continue, but I know I’ve still got more work to do and really need to get some more profitable sites up and running to up this income as I’m probably at income saturation for several sites. I’m too well aware though that another Google update could come along and hurt my earnings and so don’t take anything for granted. So the name of the game is diversifying my income streams.

totalmonthlyincome-2703348

Focusing on affiliates over AdSense

I’ve enjoyed making AdSense sites but have been focusing on affiliate sites using Amazon Associates and Affiliate Window. I’ve mentioned previously how the sites I make for these are slightly different from AdSense monetised ones and so it took a little effort to get my head around that, but I think I’m on the right track. People who get onto my affiliate sites are already in the mood to buy so if I can get them onto Amazon via my affiliate links then I can earn a 5% cut of whatever they buy which if done right is much more than I would’ve got for an AdSense click. I am well aware that the bulk of my earnings are still from AdSense and there are still sites that work better with AdSense so perhaps I should shift some of my focus back.

One thing I did learn is that there is always smallprint, and Amazon.co.uk referral fees are capped at £7 per item and so it’s not worth marketing products over £140. A friend of mine bought 4 expensive speakers for a total of £1100 through one of my sites I’d been showing him, and instead of getting £55 commission I got £28, which is still good but not as great as I was expecting but perhaps I’m just being picky. Obviously I won’t be having this ‘extra income’ again and so I will be pushing to get more organic Amazon income next month.

amazon-january-orders-4665254

The good thing I’ve noticed about affiliate sites is that even with less traffic I can still get sales as visitors are in the ‘buying mood’, where as if the sites were using AdSense I would expect far less clicks and income, so think about how you monetise your sites and what would work best. Some of my sites have solely AdSense, some have solely Amazon, and I’ve even been able to put some Amazon affiliate links on my sites that were already doing well with AdSense. Just because you’re doing well with AdSense doesn’t mean you can’t do even better by shifting some focus onto affiliate marketing.

Is this passive income?

‘Passive Income’ is used a lot for those who run PPC/Affiliate websites and after 9 months of this I can definitely confirm that it is not passive, and to say so takes away a lot of the hard work we do. It definitely takes work to do the following:

  • Keyword Research
  • Creating websites
  • Creating content
  • Ranking
  • Selling

All these take time and effort and for someone like me who has a day job too this means working on evenings, weekends, etc.

The only thing remotely passive is getting clicks and sales. I love waking up in the morning and seeing that people have been clicking away or buying through my affiliate links and seeing that money come in doesn’t seem to equate with the work I’ve previously put in. Obviously if I wasn’t making anything then I would be a bit narked but money is trickling through and I suppose I can see that some of my sites are moving towards that ‘passive’ status where all the hard work has been done and they are on auto pilot. They are still getting good clicks and as the domains age that will hopefully get better. OK, so I do need to keep and eye on the sites but I have a couple that I can leave alone now so I can focus on newer sites.

I guess that means that some of my income in passively earned but only after lots of hard work if that makes any sense.

How have you done this month? Please leave a comment and let me know as I love hearing how others are getting on.

Authority Site Ideas – What have I gone for?

affiliate-question-300x300-5069064It was probably 6 months ago when I decided to start an authority site and to be honest I haven’t got very far so I’m looking at a new subject.

What is an authority site?

My idea of an authority site is one that is focused on quality rather than quality, isn’t motivated simply to make money, is useful, shares knowledge, brings in repeat visitors, and most importantly is a site that I won’t be embarrassed about and which I would happily share to family and friends.

I wouldn’t want to share my niche sites as they aren’t unique, they are focused on making me money, and to be honest they wouldn’t be of any interest to family and friends.

I thought I’d hit upon an idea for my true authority site but here we are months down the line and I have done very little on it and when I do try I find my mind blank which probably means I’ve chosen the wrong subject.

Authority site ideas

This is the tricky part as the topic needs to be something you are interested in and something that other people are interested in reading. Here are a few ways of getting some inspiration for your authority site.

Amazon – There are books about everything so go check out the non-fiction books and have a look at the bestsellers. You may find something that really interests you and which you can write extensively about.

Magazines – People pay for these on a monthly/weekly basis and will also subscribe to them so it shows the demand is there. Can you offer an alternative? If you don’t want to pop down the newsagent then go to magazines.co.uk and magazines.com to get some ideas.

Hobbies – This is an easy one. If you already take part in something, or starting a new hobby then why not document it and provide resources?

How many articles?

I’ve found that with some topics there is a set amount of articles I can write before I run out of ideas and so make sure you pick a topic which has a long lifespan to it and make it something you enjoy.

So what topic will my authority site be about?

This has just come to me but having a look at the bestselling books and the most popular magazines it seems that a website about food could be an option. I’m not thinking about the possibility of making money from it, I’m just thinking about what interests me and what I like, and food seems to be the winner.

I’m half Turkish and I love Turkish and Middle-Eastern food so what better excuse to get to try out and make some delicious food? I know there are plenty of recipe sites out there and that I’m limiting myself with the subject but I think I can do well and as most Turkish recipe sites are on blogger style sites I hope I can do something better. I might have to play with the idea so it’s not just a blog but let’s see how this goes.

So what do you think? Even if it bombs at worse I’ll have had the chance to try out some new recipes.

I’ve sold my first niche website

I first delved into the world of niche sites and internet marketing in May 2011 and since then it’s been a great way of getting some extra income. I used to produce income reports detailing how much I earn and a ballpark would probably be around £400 (US$650) a month at a guess ever since although some months were down and some months were up.

I’ve sold a website

sold-stampYesterday I sold my first every niche site. That’s the first niche site I ever created and also the first time I’ve sold one too. It has been my one constant, full of great content, plenty of visitors, a a constant income stream earning me around £200 (US$325) a month on average but in the end I decided to cash out and get some money up front. If I’ve spoken to you about this website before then you’ll know it as the ‘minicab one’.

How much did I sell it for?

It’s a tough one putting a price on a website that earns through AdSense and in the past people were getting 24-36 times their monthly income for a site, but now it’s generally 12-18 times, and in the end I actually settled for x11 my monthly income which netted me £2,250 (US$3,656). Obviously I would’ve liked more money but that’s what it ended as for a quick deal.

A sure thing

The fact is that my money through AdSense was never guaranteed and although I could reasonably predict that I would’ve got £200 each month from the website I’ve just sold, the fact is it could also suddenly loose all it’s revenue should it lose its rank in Google. The fact is that it’s survived through all the Google updates so far (Panda/Penguin/EMD, etc) so I don’t expect that will happen but I’ve insured myself against that happening but selling up with a lump sum in my bank. I’m not sure what I’ll be doing in a years time so it’s far better to get the money now and I feel happy with the sale.

What next?

Seeing that my best earning website has just been sold I will now definitely have to concentrate on my other sites which cumulatively earn around £150 (US$240) a month and try and get a couple of those to earn bigger. Most of my sites have been on autopilot since the Summer so I’m hoping that it won’t take too much work to get them ranking higher with a spring clean and some new fresh content. I usually write all the content myself but now that I have some extra cash I am going to look at outsourcing some of it as long as I can keep to a high quality.

Who knows, I may even get started on that ‘authority site’ that I’ve been banging on about for the past year!