I started creating niche sites in May 2011 with the aim of earning some extra money, and I’m happy to say that I fulfilled that aim and far exceeded what I thought was possible. I’m not making mega bucks but my previous experiences from AdSense were of getting only a few pennies from clicks and waiting months and months before reaching the payment threshold, but all that has changed and every month I’ve received a nice payment from Google. The year has had it’s ups and downs but I’m still confident, I got over the Panda updates which hurt one of my biggest earners, and the only way I’m looking is upwards.
I’ve been reporting on my income reports every month so I’ll continue this with a short report below and then move onto 2011 as a whole.
December Income Report
I’ll admit that December wasn’t a very productive month for me with regards to working on my AdSense sites but I’m happy to say that it didn’t effect them and my earnings grew again this month to £208.55 ($324.97) up from £149.29 ($234.25) in November. I did however spend more time on Amazon affiliate sites with a view to diversifying my income but earnings from these remain at virtually zero as I’ve found I need to put more effort as it’s not as simple as relying on clicks as I need to get visitors to actually want to buy a physical product. To remedy this I have enrolled in Chris Guthrie’s Niche Profit Course and found it a really useful way of focusing on what’s important and it also came with the free bonus Azon Theme and that is well worth the money on it’s own as it’s especially tailored to making Amazon affilaite sites. If you don’t want to pay for the course then download the free Beginners Guide. I’m 100% confident I will make money using Amazon and I believe it will be worth the effort in the long run as another alternative to AdSense.
2011 Income Report
From something which started out as an experiment I think I’ve done quite well in my first 8 months and I believe I’ve learned quite a lot from keyword research to backlinking strategies. I’ve also earned a bit of money along the way too. I have earned this from making websites which target specific low competition keywords I’ve researched where I believe I can make a website which will not only provide useful information but which will also entice visitors to click on the adverts provided by Google AdSense.
I struck it lucky in my first few months and made an amazing start and couldn’t quite believe the success I was having but pride comes before a fall and the September/October Panda updates hit me hard and made me realise that I needed to improve the quality of my content and my backlinks as the methods I’d used were great for the short term, writing lots of content (but poor quality) and creating lots of links (but only focusing on one keyword), but these were not great for the long term with regards to the updates to Google’s algorithm. October was my lowest point with only £87.26 in earnings but the changes I’ve made as well as adding more sites to my portfolio have turned things around and it’s looks like I’m on my way back up (fingers crossed).
So in 8 months my earning from my niche sites have totalled £1642.32 or $2,559.98 which is great as this has all been earned in my spare time as I already work a 9-5 job and so this is on top of my salary and works out at an average of £200 extra earnings each month. It’s worth noting that this figure doesn’t include any of my outgoings such as hosting, domain purchases, etc and most importantly tax, which I will have to pay next January for the current financial year I am in, so for a true figure I should probably take a third off of these earnings to get a realistic bankable ‘profit’. I know some people don’t declare their online earnings but I am an honest fellow and hope that I can earn a lot more through my niche sites.
Roundup of sites I’ve built
The types of site I’ve built all come down to the keyword research I’ve put in at the beginning and what I’m aiming for. Some keywords have massive potential with a large amount of searches and a high cost-per-click (CPC), whilst others have fewer searches but less competition and I like to try and mix it up and have some variety with the sites I choose. I’m at a stage now where I have 3 different types of sites:
- Sites that virtually manage themselves and have good regular earnings (30%)
- Sites that need further development but have potential (45%)
- Sites that are dormant with no traffic (25%)
Choosing which niche to target is not an exact science and you cannot expect to have a 100% success rate, and I would say that I’m happy with the percentages above which are rough estimates. I have bought some domains which have a good potential but I will admit that I have bought some on a whim which were very poor choices with minimal research, but the saving grace is that I usually only buy .uk extensions which cost less than £3 a year so these are quite cheap mistakes and with all my domain purchases they are low risk gambles.
I have been guilty of starting work on new new sites before I’ve finished working on the previous site, and I think that has been a downfall this year as I believe some of the type-2 sites with potential could have made me some money with a little bit more work, but they are not wasted as I can go back to them anytime and improve them. Most of them currently use the CTR Theme which is easy to install and configure with AdSense and although they have very little content, they are online, getting a few clicks, and will someday move up to type-1 sites.
Overall though I’m glad that I have sites that are now making money with very little effort as this was the aim at the start of the year when I first heard the phrase ‘passive income’.
Aims for 2012
It’s always nice to have targets so here’s what I would like to achieve in 2012:
- Earn £500 in a month – This will mean more than doubling my income but is definitely achievable and is something that I would ideally like to exceed!
- Put 100% effort into each site I make – I am guilty of moving onto a new sites before I’ve finished the current one I’m working on, so my aim is to finish the job I started.
- Earn £100 a month in Amazon affiliate fees. I currently earn zero from this scheme but I’m making new sites and would like to reach this level to make it worthwhile.
- Start saving my income – I’ve mentioned that I will need to pay my taxes at the end of the year so I need to start saving at least 30% of the payments I receive and put it in a separate bank account.
How did you do?
I know quite a few people who are following the same journey as me so how did you do and what are your aims for 2012?