Experimenting with niche sites

I’ve been experimenting with niche sites and the whole idea of passive income through Google Adsense. Lost yet? Basically you need to find an area where there is not much info but plenty of demand, then create a website, monetise it (through adsense), and then watch the money roll in…

That’s the idea anyway but the hardest part is finding an area to focus on that hasn’t already been written about and that doesn’t already have high rankings in Google., If you do find an area though then you have to create a website, create good content, establish links and authority, and then work to get more visitors to your site and boost your ranking in search engines. If you can get to #1 for your keywords, and get lots of visitors, then by association a percentage of them will click on your Adsense banners and earn you money.

It sounds oh so simple doesn’t it? So far I’ve made my site, written lots of content, and am already getting visitors and clicks, but now I need to focus on increasing the authority of my site.

At some stage I’ll let you know what the site is and hopefully by that time it will be established enough to earn me some sort of income (passively) and I can let you know what the figures are like.

To truly earn larger amounts via Adsense you either need a mega-huge site, or need to have many smaller sites running at the same time and collectively earning you revenue. At this point I have only focused on the one site but am now researching more areas to add to my Adsense portfolio.

Hope you’re all fine and dandy icon_smile-4499652

Addicted to Adsense

As you will know I’ve been playing around with niche sites and trying to increase my passive income (please excuse the buzz phrases) and a sideline of this is that I’ve become slightly addicted to checking my Google AdSense income. AdSense is my main revenue stream (see my May Income Report) and I’m only a few clicks away from seeing if my sites have earned me any money. We’re not even talking a huge amount but in my mind I’m thinking ‘How much have I earned for free today?’ and can’t help myself.

What has made it worse is that at the start I had some pretty successful days but a lack of effort on my behalf and also a drop in advertisers has meant that I’ve usually been disappointed this month when I’ve had a look. I also used a free AdWords coupon to boost my traffic so saw some increase in that but now it’s dropped down again. I really can’t complain though and knew that this was always the case.

The solution is and has always been to continue to write new content and also to create more sites to strengthen my position so that I’m not relying on one niche site, one set of visitors, and one set of advertisers who, through Google, wish to appeal to visitors searching for my site.

I’m happy to say I’ve got some more content written for my 2nd niche site and feel ready to start getting some backlinks for it and getting it listed on directories. We will then have to see what impact that has and hopefully I’ll be able to give you some figures for my June Income Report.

Niche site update

Half of August has already gone and yet again I haven’t been putting the effort into my niche sites and so I know that unless something drastic happens then I won’t be reaching the targets set by last month’s total income of £351.85 which is a shame. I suppose after the little work I did on them last month I believed I could leave them again and they would still be earning the same revenue but alas that isn’t the case.

My Google Analytics stats show that visitor numbers haven’t dropped that much but it can’t help that I’ve done nothing and so this evening I’ve been creating backlinks and have decided to go through my content and see if I can spruce it up a bit and improve the SEO on the site. I’ve also chosen a new niche site and will hopefully get that going later this week. Niche site P is my major earner but I think it is going to be hard to just make another site that earns me £340 a month as evidenced by Niche Site F which only earnt me £8.33 last month, but if I can get a few more sites earning even £10 a month then they will pay for themselves and every little bit counts in my pursuit of passive income.

I’ve only been creating the sites since May and so there’s plenty more experimenting to do and who know what extra factors count towards visitors and earnings? Once thing for sure is that when the weather is hot and sunny I earn less money so could I see an increase once summer is over?

What I’ve learned after getting punished by Google

My AdSense earnings for the beginning of the month were great, for the first few days they were amazing, but then something happened and they dropped down to only a couple of quid a day. What happened? The answer is that niche site P which had been ranking at #1 in Google for my main keyword had dropped down the search rankings in amazing fashion and was now languishing around the 7th page on Google which as you know is nowhere. To say I was disappointed is understating it as I’ve been happy to have been able to increase my earnings month on month but what started out as a month with great potential is now one where I will take a big drop in my passive earnings.

In my previous Income Report I wrote

The way I look at it is that I’ve earned over £1000 from my sites in less than 4 months and if I didn’t earn anymore then it was great fun whilst it lasted.

and it looks like that’s what going to happen for the moment. I’m still earning a little but nothing like before.

Why have I dropped in the Google rankings?

I’m only 4 months into my passive income journey and it’s all a learning curve but I believe I have been penalised due to my backlinking strategy which mostly revolved around using comments on blogs to get a variety of links back to the site. Some people won’t agree with this and will say it’s a bit shady but I will placate them slightly by saying that it wasn’t automated and involved me reading the blogs and leaving unique and relevant comments with my name linking to my niche site. I’ve now learnt that this is not the best way to go about things, but as I said I’m learning and am happy I’ve made these mistakes whilst my sites are still young.

I also focused primarily on one set of keywords and yet again this was a mistake. The Google algorithm is an intelligent thing and things like this stick out like a sore thumb and there is nothing ‘organic’ about it. It looks like you’re trying to cheat the system and I guess that’s what I was trying to do. All the SEO I’m learning is from what I see others doing and so I’m just as guilty and will now review my backlink strategy to something a little more honest.

SEO myths exposed and honest SEO

I came across an article today from Robert Dempsey called In Defense Of Search Engine Optimization which contained quite a lot of relevant information regarding the situation I find myself in. I’ve followed quite a few of the ‘SEO myths’ he mentioned and if you’re involved in SEO, especially if it’s your business, then it’s worth a read. Basically he has dismissed the ways I’ve gone about promoting my niche sites and proposes what actually works in SEO.

How SEO should work in theory and how it actually works

If a site is useful then it should naturally attract visitors and all the links will be organic with very little effort needed from the publisher apart from making sure the article is well written and original. I found Robert’s article useful and I’ve linked to it which is the way it should work on the internet but we all know that isn’t the case and there will always be competition to rank high on Google whilst there is money at stake. I am primarily making my niche sites to make money so I want to rank high on Google but I am now reviewing my strategy and will try and be a bit more ethical in my linkbuilding and how I attract traffic to the site. I could just follow the rat race, and do as others are doing, but Google are getting wise to this, and so I’m going to start being more responsible as I want my sites to be ranking for the long haul and not just a flash in the pan waiting to be punished by Google who provide most of my web traffic.

Link-worthy and Share-worthy content

Right from the beginning we’ve been told that ‘content is king’ and somewhere along the way that switched to ‘AdSense is king’ so the focus for me is ensuring that the people who are reading my websites and articles want to share them and that my sites have the option to to that simply. At the moment they don’t have a ‘share this’ button or anything along the lines so that’s the way to go which should hopefully improve my backlinks and spread the word to get more visitors. I’ll also be going through all my content and ensuring it is well written, unique, and that people actually would want to read them rather than them just being filler content for a site to solely provide me with income.