Niche Website Journal: Month Three Summary
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It’s hard to believe that we’re already on the third update in the niche website journal series.
The last few months have flown by!
As you’ll see below, ToolCrowd is still well and truly in its infancy.
We’re yet to see any significant traffic numbers, and expenses still massively outweigh income meaning it’s a long way off generating a profit.
Do I care, though? Not a bit.
Yes, it can be tough switching from my inherent need for instant results in favor of delayed gratification, but for the most part, I’m loving investing (significant amounts of) time, energy, and creativity into a long-term asset that I’m already proud of.
I understand that with enough consistency, persistence, and time, it’ll be a case of when ToolCrowd becomes as successful as I want it to be, not if.
Speaking of consistency and persistence, I’ve continued to be fairly productive in month three as you’re about to see.
I upped the number of posts written compared to last month, and I also managed to smash the 50,000-word milestone across all of my published articles (64,590 to be exact!), which I’m massively happy with.
The results section below follows the same basic format as the previous updates, as this is the most logical and easy-to-follow format that I can think of.
As always, I want to be as open and transparent as follow, and so I haven’t held anything back here. My goal is to show you exactly what it takes to achieve niche site success – the good, the bad, and the ugly!
So, let’s get stuck into the detail for month three…
Niche Website Journal – Month Three Results
January 25th 2019 – February 24th 2019
How did I track my results?
I don’t just wait until I’m compiling these reports to check my progress – I use a combination of both free and paid software pretty much daily to see how my niche site is performing.
Firstly, when it comes to tracking the content itself, WordPress tells you the date that you published each article, and the Yoast SEO plugin includes a handy word count function as shown below.
I keep both of these pieces of information in my ‘niche site tracker’ spreadsheet.
The spreadsheet is also used to tally monthly expenses, and I’ll be entering income data (once I earn some!) which I’ll take directly from the affiliate portals of the various affiliate programs that I’ve joined (currently only Amazon Associates).
When it comes to tracking hard data, for example, traffic, backlinks, and rankings, I use the following:
- Google Search Console (Free)
- Google Analytics (Free)
- Ahrefs (Paid)
Ahrefs is hands down the tool I use the most (multiple times a day usually).
One of my favorite Ahrefs features is the quick and easy dashboard it provides that gives me an overview of how my ToolCrowd niche website is performing, or to see any (good or bad) changes that have occurred, in seconds.
Here’s how my Ahrefs dashboard looked at the end of month three:
So now that’s out of the way, let’s see how ToolCrowd performed in month three…
As I mentioned in the introduction, I managed to hit a major milestone this month by surpassing the 50,000-word mark with my published articles.
I was slightly disappointed with month two’s progress having only published two articles, so I’m happy that I was able to increase this to six for month three.
I feel that I’ve found my groove when it comes to juggling creating content for ToolCrowd with my other commitments for this site and in general, and so I’m confident that I’ll be able to stick to at least six articles per month going forward.
Here are the high-level stats for the content produced in month three and to-date:
|Number of Articles Published||6|
|Number of Infographics Created||2|
|Total Article Wordcount||20,950|
|Longest Article Wordcount||4,044|
|Shortest Article Wordcount||3,036|
|Number of Articles Published||23|
|Number of Infographics Created||6|
|Total Article Wordcount||64,590|
|Longest Article Wordcount||4,044|
|Shortest Article Wordcount||1,211|
Hitting 50,000-words isn’t the only thing I achieved with my content this month though, as I also managed to write my longest piece of niche content yet at 4,044 words.
The average length of my content now sits at 2,808 words (versus 2,567 words last month), which can only be a good thing considering that longer content has been shown to rank better.
I generally aim for around 2,500 words per article, but I won’t beat myself up if I can’t achieve this.
I feel that it’s important to do each topic that I choose to write about justice, and so if I’m able to do this in 1,200 words, for example, great. I won’t add content for the sake of it just to increase the word count as I refuse to sacrifice quality for quantity.
Writing articles is just one aspect of my content strategy though, as I’m also continuing to create infographics around the topics I think have the best potential to rank well or quickly (or preferably both).
As you’ll see below, these infographics aren’t just a critical part of my content strategy. They’re also a key way that I’ve been able to get most of ToolCrowd’s backlinks so far, and I don’t see that changing anytime soon.
Another benefit of infographics? I’ve found that swapping between graphic design and writing has helped whenever I’ve felt writer’s block start to rear its ugly head, or during the times that I’m feeling less creative.
As per the last two months, income was zero for month three.
I’m not particularly concerned by this though.
I discussed my switch to a delayed gratification mindset in the introduction, and nowhere is this more important than when it comes to generating revenue from a niche website (especially one as young as ToolCrowd).
The simple fact is, you can’t earn money without significant traffic, and at the minute, ToolCrowd’s visitor count is nowhere near where it needs to be to make money consistently.
Because of this, I’m prioritizing working on anything and everything required to increase traffic and putting making money right at the back of my mind until I’ve managed to do so.
Month three was another relatively cheap month for ToolCrowd, as aside from some inexpensive infographic promotions ($16.58 in total), I didn’t need to purchase any other products or services to help me run my niche site.
To help give you an understanding of how much it costs to start and run a niche website, here’s a complete list of all of the purchases made for ToolCrowd as of the end of month three:
(I’ve kept the list itemized for now, but I may change it to high-level categories with a separate downloadable, itemized spreadsheet in future updates if it becomes a bit too large and cumbersome).
Here’s a table showing a summary of each month’s expenses so far (hover over the table’s line for more detail):
ToolCrowd Total Expenses
As I mentioned in last month’s update, there’s another expense that I incur each month that I haven’t included above (as I use it primarily for OnePercentIntent, not ToolCrowd), and that’s my monthly subscription to Ahrefs which sets me back $99 per month.
I still do use it pretty regularly for ToolCrowd, however, to check out competitors’ websites, to do keyword research, and to find good backlink opportunities, for example.
Because of this, I thought it was worth mentioning here even though I fund it from a different site’s budget and the fact that it isn’t wholly attributable to ToolCrowd.
I feel like I owe you that in the spirit of being as open and honest as possible!
While at first glance Ahrefs appears to provide organic traffic data (see the long horizontal screenshot above from my Ahrefs dashboard that shows organic traffic sitting at 53 for month three), I won’t be paying much attention to this figure.
Well, it’s merely an estimate of ToolCrowd’s organic traffic based on the keywords ranked for between positions 1-100, with a standard calculation made based on their specific search positions and monthly search volumes.
I want actual, accurate data when it comes to tracking the performance of my niche website, and so I rely on Google Analytics instead which provides me with exactly that.
Here’s a screenshot from Google Analytics for the organic traffic only for month three (January 25th 2018 – February 24th 2019)…
…and here are the total organic traffic figures to-date for ToolCrowd (November 24th 2018 – February 24th 2019):
Finally, here’s a new graph showing how pageviews and sessions have increased each month in a format that I feel is much easier to read and appreciate.
I’ll continue to update this graph each month going forward:
ToolCrowd Total Traffic
I know…I know…the traffic figures probably don’t look too inspiring at first, but the fact is, they’re growing month on month, and this is way more important to me at this stage than the specific numbers.
It shows that ToolCrowd is gaining traction.
It’s all happening pretty fast too, as this month saw an almost 327% increase in total sessions and a nearly 353% increase in total page views versus last month.
Definitely something to be happy about!
I was able to smash last month’s goal of getting 3x additional backlinks from 2x new referring domains in month three.
ToolCrowd now has thirty backlinks from fifteen different domains, which is a massive increase of 13 and seven respectively:
As you can see from the graph below, referring domains increased by almost 188% this month, while backlinks grew by approximately 176%:
ToolCrowd Backlink/Referring Domain Growth
There’s no denying the importance of getting high-quality backlinks when it comes to boosting rankings and increasing traffic, so I’m happy with month three’s performance.
Although, if I’m honest, I’m much more interested in consistency month-on-month than I am in any large, one-off increases.
So, in a bid to try and make continual improvements each month going forward, I’ve switched up my schedule somewhat to free up more time to focus on SEO.
Creating content is only half the battle, just as important is getting out there and promoting it to try and gain traction and ultimately attract backlinks, and that’s what I’ll be spending more time doing going forward now that I’ve freed up some time each week.
ToolCrowd now is now ranking between positions 1-100 in the SERPS (search engine results pages) according to Ahrefs, which is a massive increase versus the 358 keywords at the end of month two.
I’m happy with the increase, and it’s a sign that my SEO efforts are starting to bear fruit, but I’ll hold off celebrating until I’ve got a few low-competition, high-search-volume phrases into the top-10 results.
After all, you can write off a lot of the keywords that sit outside the top-10.
Well, it has been shown that results in positions one through ten of Google’s rankings get 84.81% of click-throughs on average (position one gets 32.58%, and this drops severely to just 1.53% for position ten results).
As of next month, I’ll be starting to report not only how many keywords are ranking in total, but also how many are in the top-ten, top-twenty-five, and so on, along with some insight into their monthly search volumes, as this will provide a better indicator as to my niche site’s traffic potential.
Month Two / Overall Stats Summary:
(End of Month Three)
|Number of Articles Published||+6||23|
|Total Article Wordcount||+20,950||64,590|
|Ahrefs URL Rating (Homepage)||+2||10|
|Ahrefs Domain Rating||+0.3||2.4|
|Number of Backlinks (Homepage)||+13||30|
|Number of Referring Domains (Homepage)||+7||15|
|Number of Ranked Keywords||+590||948|
Niche Website Goals for Month Four & Beyond
A huge part of what has kept me motivated so far in my niche site’s short life is the goals that I’ve set. I can’t stress enough how important these are for anything major in your life that you want to achieve.
In my case, breaking down my longer-term goal into smaller, bite-sized pieces has had two major benefits.
Firstly, it has made the whole process a lot less intimidating by providing a ‘roadmap’ of logical steps to achieving my bigger goal. Instead of working here, there, and everywhere, I can narrow my focus to concentrate on the tasks that I know will help me achieve niche site success.
Secondly, it has helped provide the accountability I’ve needed to overcome any short-term lulls in motivation or productivity.
As Tommy Baker mentions in The 1% Rule (highly recommended), it’s progress that keeps you fulfilled and working towards your larger vision, and these smaller goals help add fuel to my fire.
Because of this, goal-setting will continue to be a key part of my niche site journey going forward.
Here are my goals both for next month and for further into the future:
Month Four Goals:
6x 2000+ word articles written.
3x additional backlinks.
2x additional referring domains.
2x additional infographics created.
Wider promotion of existing infographics.
$500 per month revenue by the end of month six.
That’s all from the third monthly update in my niche website journal series – I hope you’ve found the above info useful.
Feel free to provide feedback or to ask any questions in the comments section below.
As always, if you’d like to learn how to create niche site of your own, click the banner below for a seriously in-depth (yet simple) guide that shows you exactly how to do it step-by-step.