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Million Dollar Niche Site Project: February 2020 Update – First Revenue!

August 18, 2020

I’m not going to lie, I hit a little bit of a wall this month.  Most of that probably has to do with the fact that counting February, I’m over 170,000 words deep in writing I’ve personally done for the site over the first 4 months since launching.

As you can imagine, putting that much time and energy into something that hasn’t made a dime in 4 months can mess with your mentality after a while.

So you can bet I was excited when the site referred its very first sale on Amazon Associates this month.  I made a whopping $5.52 in revenue – more important than the small sum of money though are the positive signs of what’s (hopefully) to come!

What Got Done This Month

  • I wrote and posted 20 articles to the site, totaling 53,094 words
  • My friend wrote 1 article totaling about 2,000 words
  • I signed up for a Hoth X managed SEO campaign to bolster my link building strategy (more on this below)

February was another big month in terms of content added to the site – if I can keep stacking big content months on top of each other I’m confident good things will happen and Google will start to pick up a bunch of the articles on my site.

My Link Building Strategy

This month, I made a pretty big decision about the future of my site.  I signed up for a Hoth X managed SEO campaign and committed to at least $1,000 per month in spend on links.

Essentially, somebody at The Hoth will be monitoring my site’s traffic and SEO, and deciding which pages to build foundational and guest post links towards – with the goal of getting as much traffic as possible to my site.

The biggest reason I’m doing this is because I’m not putting a bunch of time and energy into this project to build a dinky website.  If I’m going to get this thing to a $1,000,000 valuation, I’ll be needing to get some serious traffic to the site to be able to make enough money to get there.

And acquiring backlinks is a HUGE ingredient for getting Google to rank my site’s articles high in their search results.  Backlinks are social proof to Google that the content on my site is valued by the rest of the internet and to oversimplify things – more quality backlinks means higher rankings in Google search results.

Why I Think There’s a Lot of Not So Great Advice Out There

I follow a lot of influencers in the “make money online” space – and in particular I also follow a lot of people who build nice sites.  I feel like most (not all, but most) frankly don’t give good advice when it comes to link building for websites.

A lot of people will acknowledge that it’s an important part of SEO, but at the same time tell their audience that you don’t need to worry about building links at first.

It’s bad advice for a few different reasons.

First and foremost, you’re going to lose to the competition who are actively building links or who already have links pointing to their site.  Most of the sites that rank 1-3 for really any keyword on Google have multiple backlinks pointing to that page – no matter how easy the keyword is to rank for.  You have to be as good or better (or write a MUCH better piece of content) to outrank them.

Second, link building at the beginning of a sites life can really jumpstart things and give you an early leg up – and if you’ve chosen a good niche you will make your money back plus some very quickly on your link investment.

And finally, nowadays there are a ton of services out there that will do white hat link building services for you!  You don’t have to manually reach out to other websites for link building if you don’t want to, although you certainly could if you wanted to save a buck or two.

The point is, you shouldn’t be ignoring link building if you want to get your site to a point where it’s generating lots of revenue off of organic traffic.

I guess time will tell how my investment in link building pays off, but I would bet that my site would smoke an exactly similar website in the long run that wasn’t doing any link building.

Why The Hoth?

I’ve used The Hoth before and I like them a lot – and I know that the links they build to my site will be permanent and high quality.  I’m choosing them mostly because I know exactly what I’m getting with them.

With that being said, the only gripe I have with them is that their prices are pretty high.  I think it’s worth it and I’ll have a positive ROI on my link spend, but they might be out of budget for many other projects.  Maybe sometime in the future I’ll try out a few other more cost friendly link building services – but for now I’m budgeting for $1,000 per month in link spend with The Hoth.

Revenue

  • Amazon Associates: $5.52

Traffic

The traffic chart got better once again this month, with it starting to gain some nice momentum at the end of the month!

I should also add that my site’s niche is the most popular during the summertime, so I’m hoping that around May/June/July I’ll see a serious spike in traffic.

Profit and Loss

The link building spend is going to make this a “money out of my pocket” project for a couple of months – but I’m confident we’ll be cash flow positive before too long.  The good news with the link building spend is that it qualifies as an add back for valuation purposes, so I’m not hurting my site’s valuation by devoting so much cast to link building.

I’m obviously saving a lot of money by writing content myself – but the tradeoff is that I’ve had to devote 108 hours of my own time so far to this project.  Here’s a hypothetical PnL for the site if I had paid somebody to write the exact same amount of content that I’ve produced:

The valuation is the same, but I’d be over $10,000 out of pocket if I were fully outsourcing the writing.

Final Thoughts

I was starting to hit a little bit of a wall writing for this site, but seeing the first revenue earned was definitely a second wind moment.  It’s a very promising sign that we’ve already made our first revenue in the 4th month from inception!

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