If you are new here and want to know what this blog is about visit the about page.
If you are new here and want to know what this blog is about visit the about page.
If you are new here and want to know what this blog is about visit the about page.
In the past I’d had mixed results from my keyword research, some sites would not come to much while others would go onto do really well, making $100s a month from just a few pages.
As I’ve not started any new niche sites for a couple of years, I thought I’d sign up for a course that lays it all out in front of you which is what Long Tail Classroom does.
I’ve been using Long Tail Pro Platinum to do my keyword research and the $17 a month for the Platinum upgrade has been more than worth the price. With Platinum, each keyword is given an average competiveness rating out of 100. Spencer who made the tool says that keywords with a rating of 35 or less are fairly easily to rank for.
So my using this rating, it makes the whole process a lot quicker as you can easily shortlist keywords with a low rating.
You still have to go and look at the top 10, which you can do in the tool, and see which sites are ranking, but overall its been an excellent time saver.
I think you could go on doing keyword research forever. The more you do, the more keywords you find, but the more you want to keep going for that perfect keyword. I think I spent a few weeks doing keyword research for my new niche site. Not solidly but just a few hours each night when I’d finished my freelance writing jobs.
It gets addictive and in the end I had to set a deadline. When that deadline came around I picked my best keyword and used that for my site. Without this I probably would still be doing niche keyword research until the end of the year.
In the end I went with two keywords and registered them both with namecheap.com. I never found the perfect keyword and these two were as close as I got. I’d rather of had just one but both looked good so I’m going to register them both.
For one keyword I will outsource as much as possible and for the other I will write most of the content myself.
I’m not going to reveal the keywords for fear of too much competition but maybe once the sites are up and running I will share them.
Here is some info about the keywords to give you an idea of what can be found with Long Tail Pro Platinum:
Neither keyword is perfect which is why I think I bought two. But two poor keywords don’t equal one good keyword so we shall see what happens.
My main concern is the other retailers in the top 10. Will Google rank my site when they are mainly ranking ecommerce sites in the top 10?
If they do rank the sites, will people click on my site instead of a well-known retailer?
I think going with an information niche such as ‘how to become a security guard’ probably has more potential in terms of adsense earnings and promoting an eBook but maybe I will try that next time.
For both sites I will use WordPress, hosting them on my shared Hostgator webhosting so it won’t cost me any more money per month.
I think I will use the same theme as Spencer which is his Niche Websites Theme just because it looks quite nice and should be suitable for this kind of site. If you can afford a premium theme from somewhere like Woothemes go for it. Although the free Twenty Twelve theme and a nice logo would be fine too.
For each site I will write a 2,000 word article for the home page which covers the main information people might be asking when shopping in these niches as well as providing a run down on the top 5-10 products in the niche.
Then I will add another 10 or posts covering the best products in the niche as well as targeting some of the longer tail keywords that will be easier to rank for.
Then I will start thinking about link building.
I hope to have at least one site up and running by the end of the month!
My end-goals for these sites are to have them earning $200 a month, fairly passively, by September 2013.
How are your new niche sites coming along?
If you are thinking about starting a new niche site which you plan to monetise with an affiliate programme such as amazon associates, then you are probably at the keyword research stage at the moment.
This is the most important stage when it comes to starting a new niche site you hope to make money from and its the stage I am currently at with my new site.
I’m using Long Tail Pro Platinum which is great as it gives you an overall competition ranking for each keyword. Essentially every keyword gets a score out of 100 and anything with a score of 30 or below will probably be easy to rank.
When it comes to finding a winning keyword for your new niche site, its pretty much a numbers game when you are using the modern day keyword research tools. Enter enough seed or idea keywords and eventually you will find gold.
For example, start by enter a keyword like ‘garden tools’ and keep drilling down, making lists of the keywords that are generated and then re-entering them into the keyword tool until eventually you get a list of keywords that meet your criteria.
Obviously these can be altered a bit. For example if you found a keyword that got only 2,500 exact matches but it was for a product that sold for over $200 then it could be worth taking on.
I know this is all basic stuff for affiliates out there but as I am going back to basics for my new sites, I hope this will be useful information for someone out there who is about to get starting making money online or preparing to follow along with Niche Site Duel 2.0.
As this is the most important step of the whole process it makes sense to do it yourself to ensure you get it right and learn from the process.
However, you could also say, as this is the most important process it is a good idea to hand it over to someone who knows what they are doing.
I’ve recently hired someone on Odesk to use Long Tail Pro Platinum (a single license allows for use on three computers) and look for keywords for me. Hopefully they can hand me a list and then I can select any good ones.
As this process is essentially data entry, it shouldn’t be too hard to train someone up on how to do it (I hope I don’t have to eat my words)!
Alternatively, you could ‘buy’ a keyword from someone who knows what they are doing.
The prices are cheaper than buying Long Tail Pro and allow you to get started straight away.
Why is he selling keywords he could turn into profitable niche sites? I guess he wants some start up money for his new sites. Sell 10 keywords and he could have enough to outsource the creation of a new site. If he can find these keywords quickly then why not sell some on?
I haven’t used his service yet, but am very interested, so I can’t say whether they are any good or not. Perhaps he might give me a review copy
The thread is here if you want to see exactly what he is offering. I don’t know if there are other sellers out there offering the same service?
Anyway, that’s enough from me, I’m off to do some keyword research and watch some more of Long Tail Classroom. Have a good day!
I thought I better get this affiliate marketing income report in before the month is over and now that May is almost done I’ll keep this report for April brief.
April was a busy month as our second baby was born and had family visiting for three weeks out of the four. This meant I got very little work done! When you work from home and are your own boss its hard to slip off for a few hours a day when you’ve got people visiting from overseas.
Not that I’m complaining as it was nice to take some time off. Although when you work for yourself, especially doing freelance writing, if you don’t work you don’t get paid which is reflected in this month’s income report.
My goals for April were to pick up another ongoing freelance blogging job which I was able to do. I was hired by a WordPress blog to write two post a week on an ongoing basis which was great.
I now write for two WordPress blogs on an ongoing basis so it looks like I might be able to establish myself as a WordPress blogger, and move up the food chain like fellow Brit freelance blogger Tom Ewer. I didn’t set out to copy him but I know quite a bit about WordPress and manage to find these jobs so now I guess I can call myself a WordPress Blogger!
I was supposed to start my freelance writing portfolio site/blog which I would use to find work but it didn’t happen in April.
Neither did a I pick a keyword for my new niche site although I have upgraded to Long Tail Pro Platinum which makes keyword research about a million times easier!
I’ll roll these two goals over to May and also aim to pick up another ongoing writing job.
This is down about $100 and my big niche site didn’t make any money as opposed to last month when it earned $99. While this isn’t much money its 100% passive so I can’t complain!
I didn’t have the time to search out new work and earn much from writing so mainly stuck with my existing ongoing gigs. This is a massive drop from last month but I’m not worried as I just didn’t have the time to work as much.
Total Online Earnings for April 2013:
Well that is a big drop, well over 50% (you do the maths) but time was short and in the end so where my earnings. Things should pick up in May if I can adjust to the new schedule at home.
See you next month and don’t forget to sign up to my mailing list for a notification of when the May Income Report is out!
Now seems to be like the perfect time to start a new site. Spencer just launched his first online niche site building course and Pat Flynn over at Smart Passive Income is gearing up to start round two of his famous Niche Site Duel.
Last time, Pat and some of his readers entered into a little competition to motivate each other to create a new niche site from scratch. Pat’s effort went on to earn up to $3,000 per month which it continues to do to this day.
If you’ve been holding off starting any new sites since the recent Google updates, as I have, then now seems like the perfect time to get back in the game. By following these more experienced marketers you can see what works and what doesn’t and increase your chances of success.
Here are some useful links to help you get started:
Do you have any plans to start a new site? If so, what will your approach be?
It’s been a while since I started a new affiliate site and it’s something that’s been on my ‘to do’ list for a while now.
As quite a bit has changed since I last started a new ‘make money online’ type site, what with the Google Penguin and Panda updates, along with whatever else they’ve been up to, I’ve been a bit unsure about the best way to go about it and whether it was worth it at all.
I was following the new niche site Spencer started on his NichePursuits.com blog and saw that he got it ranking fairly quickly in Google and making money within a few months of its inception. This gave me some encouragement to give it a go too. I know Spencer is a keyword research expert but it can’t that hard right? And I have Long Tail Pro already.
Then today I got an email from his list, announcing he had launched his first training course that covers the whole process from start to finish, including selecting a niche, doing keyword research and then building the site and taking care of the link building.
The course also features a live case study of another site he started at the beginning of 2013 and is now ranking and making money, showing that the information in his course still works today.
While most of this info can be found for free on his site I expect, I purchased the course for the convenience of having it all in one place, and perhaps for the extra details he’s not published elsewhere.
I’ve watched the first few videos and they seem pretty good. I think Spencer is a straight up guy, from what I can tell from following his blog for a while, anyways.
So I’m going to watch the videos, and aim to get a new website up and running by the end of the month. I’m going to follow his ‘teachings’ and report how it goes on my blog here in case anyone is interested in the quality of the course.
If you don’t want to wait, you can get the course yourself here for about $50.
Don’t forget to subscribe if you want to be kept up to date with my progress following the Long Tail Classroom course.
As you probably know I’ve been doing a bit of freelance writing and online blogging for cash. Last month I earned about £898 / $1,369 from it so it’s a good way to get some money in while you are waiting for your affiliate projects to take off.
This post is part of the monthly income report series which covers what I earned and what I did in the previous month. To view my previous reports click here.
March was a good month. I got back in the gym after only going once in both January and February. With my gym membership being what it is, this worked out to about £50 a workout! Plus there is also a gym in our apartments so I really have no excuse not go. Perhaps this is why my fitness authority style big niche site isn’t making any money…
I’ve not done any work on this site for ages and it is probably sitting at around 80 pages of long content that I wrote myself over the first half of 2012. It gets about 30 hits a day but has yet to make more than a few dollars. At the start of this month I had a chat with Matt from matthewwoodward.co.uk who gave me some great tips for moving forward with the site. Unfortunately I’ve been flat out busy this month with my freelance writing and haven’t had time to put his advice to work but I will, I promise.
Coincidently the site went on to make $96 / £63 this month which was its best month ever and only the second month it has ever made any money. The site only has a couple of pages with affiliate links on so isn’t very monetised. However all the sales were of one product I did a comparison page on. I think I will use Matt’s tips to try and promote this product a bit more as I now know it sells.
A lot of the 100 or so micro niche exact match domain affiliate sites I have are expiring at the moment. If the site hasn’t made over £10 in the last 12 months then I’m not renewing the domain. This has helped me clear out some of my old sites but a fair few have been renewed thanks to them just making over £10 in the last year. I’ve not done any work on these sites apart from fix the affiliate link on one site that I noticed wasn’t an affiliate link but just a link to the merchant.
This is now my main focus when it comes to making money online. My main aim here is to write for a few blogs on a weekly basis, for a fixed fee per blog post. So far I’m writing for two blogs and one more in the pipeline. In March, although freelance blogging is my main goal, I’ve not done anything to find any work of this type. All my freelance writing efforts, for the most part, have come from ODesk and I’ve been pretty busy with my three or four hours a day I have available to work. My hourly rate is pretty low but overall I’ve managed to rack up quite a few hours this month doing the freelance writing thing.
I’m still determined to get back into affiliate marketing and find a more passive source of income but for now, freelance writing is helping me get closer to my goal of £2000 / $3000 a month by September 2013.
Last month I said how I signed up for the Freelance Writers Den in order to help me become a better freelance blogger and find more work. They have their own jobs board there so it’s a good way to find well-paying work. The site and the service looked good but I was just too busy to login more than a couple of times so cancelled my monthly membership. This is a shame and it quite short sighted of me in terms of improving my chances of finding work in the future but at the moment. I bird in the hand is worth two in the bush so I need to use my limited time to work when the jobs are there. Once I’m earning a bit more I will try and spend more time on investing in my skills.
To see if I did what I said I would in March, these were my goals:
Well I didn’t do any of them! I found some writing work on Odesk, which along with my other writing jobs took up all my free time. I guess I will just roll these over for April:
£63 of this was from my big niche site which I am very pleased about and gives me a bit of motivation to keep on going with it.
This big increase was down to getting a couple of short term Odesk jobs rather than anything on going so in order to do well again next month I need to find new jobs. It’s still money though so can’t complain.
This is halfway towards my goal of £2000 a month by September 2013 and with five months to go I feel there is a good chance I can reach this goal. Especially when I factor in that I was only working a few hours a day most days in March and that I will, in theory at least, have much more free time from April onwards. It certainly feels good to be hitting four figures again, even if it is only at he lower end.
Last month I said I would calculate my earnings from writing based on the date I got the money in my account, rather than the date I did the work. I’ve changed my mind on this and I am now calculating my earnings from writing based on the date I did the work. So if I did £100 of writing on March 13 but didn’t get paid for it until April, I will still count it in my March earnings. This makes it easier for me to keep track of my jobs in my old Excel spread sheet, rather than having two dates for each job.
I probably won’t be able to do much work for the first two weeks of the month as the in-laws are coming to stay, and I’m expecting a special delivery which will take up a lot of my time for the rest of the month at least. This means my earnings will be down by at least half unless I pick up a well-paid writing job or two. As my Mrs is now off work until September, I should have lots more time to work, but things are never that simple…
Don’t forget to check out Matt’s income report round up to see who is making money online and how you can too: http://www.matthewwoodward.co.uk/category/income-report/
If you need any content for your sites, blogs or whatevers you can contact me at http://joecanwrite.wordpress.com
I write a mean product review, so if you have an affiliate site and want compelling content that makes sales, get in touch now.
See you next month and good luck!
Another month is over and 2013 is well underway. I’ve still only got a few hours a day to work, but am taking things a lot more seriously now, and I am using my limited time more wisely. I was listening to an old Pat Flynn podcast and he said he was recording it at 3.30am, when his family were asleep, as it was the only time he could work, as he plays with his kid all day.
If that dude can be busy all day with other stuff, and still find the time to do some internet work and earn $40,000 a month or whatever he is hitting these days, I’m sure I can find the time to earn $4,000 a month.
So with that in mind I’ve started getting up an hour earlier each morning to get some work done before the day kicks off proper. Although I love staying up late and hate getting up, the fact is I work better in the morning and get slower as the day progresses.
So it just makes sense to get up at 6.30 and get straight on the computer while my coffee brews on the hob. If I can stick with this for a few weeks I might start rolling the time back to even earlier to get more work in.
Right, that’s enough about my sleeping arrangements; let’s start the progress and income report for February!
I love affiliate marketing. It really allowed me to change my life, as well as dream about and then actually give up working 9-5. However in the last year or so I’ve really sucked at it, and no longer make any real money from it. I’m determined to put this right this year. I’ve got a big niche, authority site that I’ve been working on but it’s not taking off. It’s getting about 50 unique hits a day some days, but not making any sales or getting any signups to the newsletter.
I think the main problem with that site is that it is too general. It is in a sub-niche of the fitness niche but the content and therefore the traffic is too varied. Despite getting 50 hits a day, they are all for different keywords. I might get 5 visitors interested in dumbbells, 5 looking for leg exercises, 5 after a diet idea, 5 wanting to know how to lose weight and 5 who are interested in skipping ropes. While the traffic is a bit focused, it’s not focused on any one keyword, so no sales are made. I do like writing for this site but it’s not giving me much incentive to do so.
Jumping from one site to the next has been my downfall in the past, but I feel it might be time to put the fitness site on hold and start a new one.
I’ve been following Spencer at Niche Pursuits with his new public case study on starting a new niche authority site. This has made me start thinking about a new site. His is on survival knives and so it is just focussing on one type of product. This means all his traffic should be people who are looking for information on the different survival knives on sale, which he will lay out in front of them.
This is what I want to do so am in the process of using Long Tail Pro to look for a keyword and product I can target that gets traffic but hasn’t got too much competition.
This is the same type of site I used to make in the past. But the difference here is my new site will have lots of information posts instead of being 100% pure affiliate content, in the form of product reviews. Writing content for money has shown me I can write 20 or so decent quality 800-ish word articles a week. At least I can when I’m being paid cash for them. I hope I can motivate myself to write for my own site at the same speed. In the past I haven’t been able to do this but hopefully things have changed…
Freelance content writing is now my main focus and way to make money online, as I try to replace some of my lost earnings from affiliate marketing that occurred over the last year or so. While content writing is in no way passive, it does equal pretty much instant cash. This means it is exactly what I need right now. I while ago I was moaning about not finding any work but a few months into being a freelance writer I’ve got some good jobs on the go.
These jobs happen to be on-going freelance blogging jobs for a few different blogs. After looking into the different types of freelance writing one can do, freelance blogging is the direction I want to go in now, at least for the moment. I do love writing product reviews but I don’t think it has much scope for increasing your hourly rate or per word rate. Whereas freelance blogging has the potential for bringing in a nice income once you can build a bit of a reputation in your field.
Since looking into this I’ve come across a few people who are earning in excess of $100 a blog post or over $50 an hour (equivalent to word count) in some cases. Freelance blogging is good because the style is less informal than some other forms of copywriting, making it easier to write on topics and convey your own personal style.
If you want to start freelance blogging and working your way up to making $100 a post, then I recommend you check out Tom Ewer’s excellent Successful Freelance Writing Online ebook. I did buy this and it is really good.
I’ve got one job from Odesk left, that I’m halfway through, and then I will give the low paying, content mill, generic SEO article stuff a break for a week or two, while I focus on finding some more on-going freelance blogging jobs. So far I’m writing in the WordPress, Travel and Fitness niches which are all areas I am genuinely interested in and (somewhat) knowledgeable in. This makes it much easier to write for, than doing twenty 500 word articles on stepladders for a site or project I will never see.
I’ve also signed up for the Freelance Writers Den. This is basically an online membership site for aspiring freelance writers. It has a job board and forums and courses and costs about $20 a month. I haven’t had time to look around yet but if I can find one good writing job from there it will be worth it.
On top of that I also signed up for Fresh Books which is an invoice creation service, which is actually bloody good. The first month is free then its $20 a month. At first I was messing about with Google docs spread sheets but Fresh Books saves me so much time and makes everything look much more professional. If you ever write invoices, check it out now, you won’t regret it.!
Do people still say ‘Epic Fail’? It’s hard to know what is going on in when you live in Thailand, as we are somewhat cut off from the outside world. Expats out here tend to continue wearing the same type of clothes that where in fashion the day they left their home country. The same goes for slang. It is not uncommon to see a person wearing a shell suit with a wet perm saying things like ‘mega’, ‘wizard’ and ‘radical’ without a hint of irony.
Anyway, I digress. My epic failure this month (and the last few months) was not putting an affiliate link on my most trafficked site. I set this site up ages ago as a micro niche site with a few pages and left it. Despite all my other sites of this type getting panned in the Google updates, this one is now number one in Google for its main keyword, and is getting about 50 unique visitors a day.
Now that the site is number one and getting these very targeted visitors each day, I was expecting some good sales for this site, although the product only costs about £10 on amazon.co.uk. The site has an Easy Content Unit way below the fold, which carries my affiliate links. However there is a big button at the top of the page which says ‘click here to view all products now’.
When I was checking my amazon associates stats for February, I was expecting to see a few sales from this site. However it has only made nine sales, with only one of those coming from a direct link on my site. The other 8 sales being other stuff that was in there basket at checkout. This was a bit puzzling so I had a look around the site only to discover the big button above the fold didn’t have an affiliate link, just a regular link to amazon. I’ve quickly made the necessary changes so hopefully I will get a few more sales in March.
But knowing my luck, Google will pan the site and send it out of the SERPs just like my others!
I’ve got three on going freelance blogging jobs running now which is great, but I’d like to find a fourth during March. I also want to setup a proper freelance blogging blog to replace my free WordPress.com site. This will serve as my portfolio for finding writing jobs as I can post examples of my writing skills on there. I could use this blog but it’s not really suited to me writing 1000 word posts on my travel experiences in Asia or the time I got bitten by a horse. Maybe the new blog could also help other people to start being a freelance writer. Who knows…
As I said earlier, I’ve been following Spencer’s public case study on his Niche Pursuits site. I want to give this a go so I will be hoping to find a keyword/niche/product to use for my site in March and get the site up and running.
In February I was really busy with content writing. I only get a few free hours a day to work, so I was working most days in some capacity. However most of the work I did, I didn’t get paid for in February, and am only getting the money now we are in March.
The way I’m going to work out my writing earnings is by the date the money reaches my bank account or my PayPal account. This just makes it easier to keep track of what is coming in. So while the figures for content writing earnings below is low, I have about £400 that will come into my accounts in March, for the work I did in February. Hopefully things will even out over the year, so that it gives a good picture of how much I earn each month, from this type of online work.
Did I mention I used to make about £1,800 a month from affiliate marketing, before the Penguin update?
So while this number is low, I’ve already got £400 coming my way in March for the work did in February.
After contacting other freelance bloggers, and reading the sites of others, I’m starting to see that writing for a living could be the next best thing to earning money from internet marketing. It isn’t passive but it does pay well and making £100 a day doesn’t seem that unrealistic. With the big guys charging over £100 a post, I should be able to charge £50 a post in six months or so, providing I keep at it and do what needs to be done to build my reputation. Doing two posts a day seems feasible so £500 weeks could be back again.
The only problem with this type of work is that you do get paid for your time and if you can’t work you don’t get paid, and could even lose your job due to not being able to deliver. While you can write posts in advance and schedule them, effectively giving you time off, it’s still a precarious position to be in. A few weeks ago I had a bit of food poisoning and was out of action for four days or so. If I was still doing internet marketing, I’d have still made money on those days when I didn’t turn on my computer.
So while content writing is great, I still want to get at least one affiliate marketing site up, that is making me a few quid a month to cover me should anything happen.
…and last but not least, all the people who paid me money to write for them this month!
There you go, over 2000 words of quality content and you didn’t have to pay a penny for it. If you liked this post, please Tweet it or share it, it is much appreciated.
Just a quick post to promote Matt’s list of top 10 earners in the affiliate marketing and other methods of making money online sphere for January 2013.
Obviously its not the real top 10, as I am on the list and I didn’t earn much at all last month. However it is a good list of people making money from the internet in different ways so it definitely worth checking out.
I just thought I better slip this income report in before the end of the month as I’ve had it on the to do list for a while. This blog has been pretty quiet since last months income report and goals for 2013 post.
In January my main focus was on content writing which I have been doing since October 2012. I turned to Odesk in a bid to find some work. As I had no history on there it was hard to get started which I moaned about in this post. Things picked up a bit after that and I got hired for some better jobs. They weren’t exactly what I was after and were mainly article marketing for affiliate sites. The pay wasn’t great but it was better than nothing. I get the feeling for most of these jobs that the work I am doing has been sub-contracted out by someone else on Odesk. Seems like a good way to make money though for the guy in the middle.
I was glad to get a few jobs on Odesk and via email but these writing jobs took up all my free time in January so I had no time for affiliate marketing. Even though the game had changed massively in 2012 I still think there is money to be made from affiliate marketing so it is something I definitely want to pursue. My big niche authoirty stlye site got no new content in January and is still getting around 30 hits a day and making no money. I’m still not sure whether to pursue it or not.
Spencer at Niche Pursuits has started a good case study on building a site from scratch, revealing what he does along the way and the site. I’m going to follow this and give it a try when/if I get some free time. I bought his Long Tail Pro tool as well in January.
Did I get the year off to a good start? Well not really but in terms of content writing a few seeds were planted this month and although a lot of writing was done, the pay was low and most of the jobs were ongoing into February so didn’t bring in any money in January.
I suppose an increase of £4 is better than no increase at all! I expect content writing to pick up a lot for February as I’ve got some new jobs starting and should finish some jobs I started in January and get paid. As for affiliate marketing, I don’t see it picking up any time soon.
Find a freelance blogging job or two and do some more general article writing on Odesk or wherever I can find it. Think about niches and keywords for an affiliate marketing site in 2013