Niche Site Update #3: A Blast From the Not-So-Distant Past

I was hoping that my niche site updates would be all about how my newest niche site’s meteoric rise through the SERPs, right up to #1 in Google.  Of course, it has been less than two months since the launch of the site, so hitting #1 for even one of its primary keywords would have been incredibly lucky, to say the least.

So, no, this update isn’t to celebrate my newest niche site’s success.  Sure, it’s getting a trickle of natural, organic search engine traffic, and all four of it’s primary keyword phrases are on the first two pages of Google.  One is even on the first page, bouncing around between #6 and #8.  The simple fact, though,  is that I’ve got a while to go before the site will start getting enough traffic to produce passive income for me.

What has pleasantly surprised me, though, is that my second niche site, www.goodpetsforkids.com, hit #1 for its primary keyword phrase in Google while I was away on vacation.  It is also bouncing between #1 and #2 for the semantic equivalent phrase good pets for children.  I had taken AdSense off the site some time ago, as it was not getting any clicks and was dragging my CTR (Click-Thru Rate) down, which could lead to lower CPC (Cost per Click) rates on my newer site.Since the site has moved up drastically from when I had taken AdSense down, it was now getting about 700 visitors a month, with an average of about two pageviews per visit.  I knew that the placement of the ads had been the primary reason for the low CTR before, so I decided to redesign the site and get my AdSense ads where they would have a better chance of getting clicked.  I moved the whole site from its original, static HTML structure over into WordPress, set up 301 redirects to account for the variations in naming conventions of the old pages, and put the ads back up.

I’d like to say that the earnings blew me away, but they haven’t.  They have been significantly higher than I anticipated, though.  The CTR is very low, but the average CPC I’ve gotten is a lot higher than I thought it would be.  I can’t give exact numbers due to Google’s terms of service, but I will say that it’s in the ballpark of half a dollar per click.  As far as internet marketing goes, that’s still very low, but higher than I had expected from looking at the Google Keyword Tool’s CPC estimates.

Given current traffic, CTR, and CPC, it looks like I should average about $15 a month from the site if I do nothing to it.  While that’s not much money, it is enough to completely pay for my web hosting and several domain name renewals each year.  It is also a good indication that there is more hope for the site than I thought when I basically abandoned it several months ago.  Specifically, I now know that I have found a niche that I can rank well for without spending a tremendous amount of time creating backlinks.  The in-depth, high-quality content that I produced and my exact-match domain name were all it took to get the site to #1, and I now have authority within my niche in Google’s eyes.

So, what do I do now?  I’ve already hit the top of Google for my primary keyword so the traffic to the site has plateaued. If I want the site to produce more than its current trickle of income, I need to do one of two things–find more traffic sources, or increase the return from each visitor that I get.  Of course, I would like to do both, and benefit from the synergy between them.

My first step is going to be adding more content to the site.  I’ve been amazed at how many visitors actually read every single page of content on the site before leaving.  While that’s awesome, it also means that I’m missing out on a lot of page-views that I could have gotten by providing more articles for those visitors to read.  In particular, I only discuss five different kinds of kids’ pets right now.  I will be adding pages for other pets, although I don’t anticipate a lot of direct search engine traffic from them.  I simply don’t get a lot of traffic dealing with the individual animal types right now  Almost all of the traffic currently comes from people looking for more general information.

In addition to adding more pet types to the site, I am going to be writing some support articles.  The support articles will cover several important aspects of pet ownership, and they are an excellent opportunity for me to not only add valuable content to the site, but to target buyer-oriented keywords as well.  In particular, suggestions for what new pet owners will need to purchase are a natural addition to the site.

The next step is to further monetize the site to make better use of the traffic that I am getting.  I had tried a Petco affiliate banner, but even above the fold the CTR on the banner was almost zero.  There just doesn’t seem to be any incentive for the visitor to click through.  This time around, I will try something a little different.  I will be putting affiliate sales links to specific products inside the site content.

The Petco affiliate program (available through the Commission Junction marketplace) only allows affiliates to place general banners and buttons on their sites.  They do not allow product-specific links, which is just bad marketing.  There is another pet product supplier in CJ, Pet Mountain, but they have the same policy as Petco.  Thankfully, Amazon.com has pet supplies in their marketplace, so I will be using their affiliate program to add the product links.

I’m very excited to be moving forward with the old site, and I can’t wait for my newer site to start taking off, too.

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2 Responses to Niche Site Update #3: A Blast From the Not-So-Distant Past

  1. Stephen says:

    Hey Corey.

    I haven’t commented in a while but I have still been reading.

    The new pets site looks a lot better than the old one. Looks like it could be a good informative, authoritative site if you just keep at it.

    Keep up the good work

    Stephen

    • Cory says:

      Hey, Stephen. Thanks for sticking with me. :)

      The content on the pets site is pretty much the same as it was–I just moved it over to WordPress and put more effort into the design to make it look a bit cleaner and easier to read. At some point I want to get a nice header designed for it, but I don’t currently have the skill or the money to pay for a graphic designer.

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