[Journey] Scaling an Authority website to 10K a month (and beyond)

Kikerinka

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A very inspiring journey. Adds fuel to my motivation.
Thanks, you are welcome to come here anytime you feel you need a bit more fuel to keep the fire of your motivation burning strong :)

You're doing much better than me. I got like $14 RPM, while it's usually $23-$24. And my traffic is 90% US + English speaking countries. I am starting to wonder whether Mediavine will do better since I get almost half the usual.
Well, I'd say the difference won't be more than 5%, in either direction, since except of premium deals and stuff, the ad inventory is almost identical for both ad management companies. The technology might be as well, though I believe Adthrive has a slight edge here.

Anyway, you should not compare the present RPM with yearly averages, or even with last year. Each year is specific. I remember the beginning of the "pandemics", April 2020, my RPM for the entire month was $9.43. This year also has its challenges, and you can be sure people at Adthrive do what they can to keep the RPMs at the best possible level.

On a side note, yesterday for the first time I've heard about the program called Adthrive Platinum. Some time ago anyone who reached 750,000 monthly page views would be accepted in the program, and once you are in, you can onboard any website to Adthrive, with no page views limit.

Unluckily they changed it now to $250,000 yearly earnings in last 12 months, which is something I do not qualify for (I would qualify for 750K PV).
But perhaps it is for me a motivation to give this website one more serious content push in some of the winter months when I won't have much to do in terms of my other ventures & projects, trying to qualify for the Platinum level.

If I did qualify, I would be able to add some of my smaller sites with decent chunk of US traffic (such as my side projects no. 1 and no. 3), dash Ezoic (with all its problems) for good, and perhaps double the earnings on the smaller projects overnight. That would be nice indeed, and if nothing else, would allow me to sell those smaller websites for interesting sums (if I decided to sell them).

Anyway, this Platinum program (I have no idea how many people on Adthrive qualify for it, but for sure some do) may explain why you may sometimes find on Adthrive a website that seems to be far below even the 30K page views/month limit for 2nd website with the network. It can easily have just 5K monthly visits, and be a small side project of someone running a big site with Adthrive, belonging to the Platinum program.

Just wanted to post it here since I felt someone may find it interesting. Have a nice weekend everyone :)
 

Escehas

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Well, I'd say the difference won't be more than 5%, in either direction, since except of premium deals and stuff, the ad inventory is almost identical for both ad management companies. The technology might be as well, though I believe Adthrive has a slight edge here.

Anyway, you should not compare the present RPM with yearly averages, or even with last year. Each year is specific. I remember the beginning of the "pandemics", April 2020, my RPM for the entire month was $9.43. This year also has its challenges, and you can be sure people at Adthrive do what they can to keep the RPMs at the best possible level.

On a side note, yesterday for the first time I've heard about the program called Adthrive Platinum. Some time ago anyone who reached 750,000 monthly page views would be accepted in the program, and once you are in, you can onboard any website to Adthrive, with no page views limit.

Unluckily they changed it now to $250,000 yearly earnings in last 12 months, which is something I do not qualify for (I would qualify for 750K PV).
But perhaps it is for me a motivation to give this website one more serious content push in some of the winter months when I won't have much to do in terms of my other ventures & projects, trying to qualify for the Platinum level.

If I did qualify, I would be able to add some of my smaller sites with decent chunk of US traffic (such as my side projects no. 1 and no. 3), dash Ezoic (with all its problems) for good, and perhaps double the earnings on the smaller projects overnight. That would be nice indeed, and if nothing else, would allow me to sell those smaller websites for interesting sums (if I decided to sell them).

Anyway, this Platinum program (I have no idea how many people on Adthrive qualify for it, but for sure some do) may explain why you may sometimes find on Adthrive a website that seems to be far below even the 30K page views/month limit for 2nd website with the network. It can easily have just 5K monthly visits, and be a small side project of someone running a big site with Adthrive, belonging to the Platinum program.

Just wanted to post it here since I felt someone may find it interesting. Have a nice weekend everyone :)
I did not know about the Adthrive Platinum either, so thanks for sharing this with us. I am sure you'll reach 250K with a content push, so good luck and looking forward to you telling us what it's like in the big(ger) boys league!
 

Escehas

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Just a quick question. Did you switch to UA4 (or run it in parallel with UA)? I ask that because there is a surge of traffic from Czechia and didn't want to block an entire country over some bots, so checked UA4. And besides it behind absolutely horrendous, it shows about 6 times less traffic than UA. This would make my traffic the best converting on the web right now! :D
 

tattooedbuddha

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An exciting journey, in your belief, do you feel that making this journey thread has helped you in any way? If so, how? If not, why not? Does it help you to be aware of the journey you are on? Does it help keep you accountable for the destination you are striving for?
 

shandar

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One of the best journey i have ever seen. Best wishes to you buddy.
 

Kikerinka

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I did not know about the Adthrive Platinum either, so thanks for sharing this with us. I am sure you'll reach 250K with a content push, so good luck and looking forward to you telling us what it's like in the big(ger) boys league!
It is not as simple as that, and I honestly liked more the Pageviews threshold. Because while RPM depends partially on what we do--the quality of content (longer time on page), whether we write for tier 1 traffic, how aggressive ad layout do we choose etc, it also depends a lot on factors outside of our reach (most notably the way economy impacts RPM in general, just like we see now, when it is so much lower than it used to be).

What I try to say here is that even if I manage to raise my traffic again in autumn/winter (which isn't guaranteed at all, since the entire niche is going down these days), I may still not be able to reach the 250K/year threshold.

Actually when I thought about it other time, I decided not to fix on that goal, regardless of what happens in my life until winter.

Just a quick question. Did you switch to UA4 (or run it in parallel with UA)? I ask that because there is a surge of traffic from Czechia and didn't want to block an entire country over some bots, so checked UA4. And besides it behind absolutely horrendous, it shows about 6 times less traffic than UA. This would make my traffic the best converting on the web right now! :D
I have the same problem with traffic from Czechia, and also from Seychelles (check that one too :)), and had to block traffic from these two countries to all my websites with some decent traffic. Blocked them with Cloudflare.

The day will come when I have to switch to UA4, but I likely won't do it in 2022.

Nice journey
Thanks, it isn't bad :).

An exciting journey, in your belief, do you feel that making this journey thread has helped you in any way? If so, how? If not, why not? Does it help you to be aware of the journey you are on? Does it help keep you accountable for the destination you are striving for?
Most definitely yes. It helped me a lot, gave me motivation, allowed me to explore ideas, gave my activity another dimension (not only building a great site and making a lot of money but also helping others do the same in different niches), etc.

With awareness it isn't really the thing, because I always felt like "being on a journey", in a way my entire life. Just sometimes it takes time until the moment arrives when you finally understand why this or that thing happened, and the real role it played in your life.
It is not always easy to see that, but once you aspire for some worthy goal and really believe with your heart and give it your best effort, the Universe is always on your side, even though it may sometimes seem as if it was actually against you.
I am not sure if you understood this though :D

One of the best journey i have ever seen. Best wishes to you buddy.
Thanks mate, appreciate it. Good luck to you to!
 

tattooedbuddha

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Most definitely yes. It helped me a lot, gave me motivation, allowed me to explore ideas, gave my activity another dimension (not only building a great site and making a lot of money but also helping others do the same in different niches), etc.

With awareness it isn't really the thing, because I always felt like "being on a journey", in a way my entire life. Just sometimes it takes time until the moment arrives when you finally understand why this or that thing happened, and the real role it played in your life.
It is not always easy to see that, but once you aspire for some worthy goal and really believe with your heart and give it your best effort, the Universe is always on your side, even though it may sometimes seem as if it was actually against you.
I am not sure if you understood this though :D
Sounds something like the Law of Attraction, however true that is. Have you heard about the 80/20 rule? It states that 80% of your results come from 20% of your efforts, do you feel that applies to you in this journey?
 

Aleksandar916

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The day will come when I have to switch to UA4, but I likely won't do it in 2022.
Do you have it activated already? If not, aren't you worried about not having the historical data once the switch is a must and not an option?
 

Kikerinka

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Sounds something like the Law of Attraction, however true that is. Have you heard about the 80/20 rule? It states that 80% of your results come from 20% of your efforts, do you feel that applies to you in this journey?
There is something about the theory here, since 20% of my pages, which is about 250 articles (the most visited ones) bring about 80% of total traffic to the website.

The problem is though that when writing them, I had no idea that exactly these pages will be the top players. So I had to write the 1K+ articles to find out :).

But I definitely believe into the rule, just as in this case, it isn't always easy to know what the "20%" exactly is, and what you should exactly do...

Do you have it activated already? If not, aren't you worried about not having the historical data once the switch is a must and not an option?
I have not but you have a point, I definitely should. Anyway, working a lot with data right now again, so even if I won't have access to the data anymore one day, I have a lot of info in my spreadsheets and downloads :).
 

tattooedbuddha

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There is something about the theory here, since 20% of my pages, which is about 250 articles (the most visited ones) bring about 80% of total traffic to the website.

The problem is though that when writing them, I had no idea that exactly these pages will be the top players. So I had to write the 1K+ articles to find out :).

But I definitely believe into the rule, just as in this case, it isn't always easy to know what the "20%" exactly is, and what you should exactly do...
Perhaps the other 80% of the pages are the backbone of the site, and the top 20% are the main players. Would the top 20% perform as well without the other 80%? Good luck on the rest of your journey, I will follow it :)
 

Lenard Tomkus

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Thanks for sharing your journey. Did you do anything other than publish the article?
 

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The day will come when I have to switch to UA4, but I likely won't do it in 2022.
I hate UA4 too. I set it up but kept the old one as well. They're still bugging me about it, God knows why.
 

Escehas

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I have the same problem with traffic from Czechia, and also from Seychelles (check that one too :)), and had to block traffic from these two countries to all my websites with some decent traffic. Blocked them with Cloudflare.

The day will come when I have to switch to UA4, but I likely won't do it in 2022.
Yes, it's from Seychelles as well, but there seems to be more to it. I seem to be getting bot traffic from other locations, although less obvious as the two aforementioned countries. I have the feeling that Google wants to 'persuade' us to move to GA4 by tainting the traffic. At least in my case, I no longer have an actual idea what my actual traffic is right now (got inflated by about 20% and it's all bot traffic of zero value). And then there's GA4 which seems to be missing a few screws in the head since it showed about 1K users yesterday.
 

Kikerinka

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Side projects update no. 10

Last month I updated you on my side projects on the 14th, and today I feel like doing the same. Spent some time in the Analytics, doing some analyses, thinking about stuff...

It's been some time since I started to work on these side projects (almost a year for the oldest one), and maybe I can come with some conclusion now, because at the end of the day each of them is a sort of a case study on its own.

Maybe I expected different results, but I am also still learning in IM (and always will) and the hard lessons are the priceless ones. So let's move to the actual update.

Side project no. 1 - Semi-authority website in a specific sub-niche of my main niche, 60 content pages (for profit).

sp_1_traffic_12_months.png
- Traffic by day, last 12 months. I wrote the first new articles for this website in September 2021, and the last major batch in October 2021. It means that the articles will soon be one year old, and perhaps we cannot expect that many miracles now :).

My idea with this website (and the case study at the same time) was the following: Perhaps if I make a quality content website in a specific sub-niche of my main niche, focusing really on this niche only and covering it in detail, it may outrank my authority website for the given keywords, and also outrank other websites that cover them.

As someone rightly pointed out in this thread some time ago, "topical authority works, but how exactly it works is a mystery", and I hoped this website will shed some light on the issue.

Now I think I can conclude the following: Smaller website, regardless of how focused on a specific sub-niche of a certain niche (however small), isn't going to beat an authority website in that niche, even though the authority website covers many sub-niches and not the one only.

In numbers: I manually inspected 10 most visited articles on my authority website from this sub niche, topics that I cover with articles also on the niche website. The results are following:
  • Average ranking for the main KW (for the 10 articles in question): Authority website: 4.27 - Side project no. 1: 8.45
  • Median ranking for the main KW (for the 10 articles in question): Authority website: 4 - Side project no. 1: 7
  • Top 3 rankings: Authority website: 5/10 , Side Project no. 1: 3/10
  • Top 1 rankings: Authority website: 3/10, Side Project no. 1: 0/10
  • Total traffic in last 30 days for the 10 articles in question: Authority website: 38,723 PV, Side project no. 1: 6,942 PV
  • Which website ranks better: Authority website: 9/10 - Side project no. 1: 1/10

Since the content is similar in length and quality, the conclusion is pretty clear: Regardless of how well the smaller website covers its given sub-niche (with 60 articles, compared to below 30 for the authority website), and that it specializes in this niche only (and has a domain name specific for the sub-niche), Google still prefers my authority website, and ranks it higher, virtually for every article, and especially for many secondary and long tails keywords.

The results give another +1 for building really big authority websites, instead of trying to niche down "extremely" to niches that can be covered with no more than 100 articles, simply because Google prefers bigger authority websites...


- Stats for article ranking on side project no. 1:
  • December 2021: 5 of the 46 new articles had over 10PV/day in average,13 articles from the newly published 46 got at least 30 page views during the month.
  • January 2022: 5 new articles had over 10PV/day in average, 17 got at least 30 page views during the month.
  • February 2022: 7 new articles had more than 10PV/day in average, 20 new articles had over 30PV during the month.
  • March 2022: 9 new articles had more than 10PV/day in average (or over 300PV/month), 27 new articles had over 30PV during the month.
  • April 2022: I didn't monitor the stats.
  • May 2022: 12 new articles had more than 10PV/day in average (or 310 PV/month), 40 articles had over 30PV during the month.
  • June 2022: 11 new articles had more than 10 PV/day in average (or 300 PV/month), 39 articles had over 30PV during the month.
  • July 2022: 10 new articles had over 10 PV/day in average (or 300 PV/month), 40 articles had over 30 PV during the month

- I definitely do not give up on this website yet. Consider turning off Ezoic (yep the website is still on it) for some time and see what happens, if it does not recover from the drop in latest core update.

I am not sure if I am going to publish anything new though, perhaps just wait once the summer is over and see what the traffic is in September (when this sub-niche should somehow pick up the steam again).

The thing is that now I see how it ranks compared to my authority website and other websites in the niche, I do not think I can find many new keywords that will bring art least 300 PV/month each, and somehow move me closer to the desired traffic threshold with this website. As I said already, it is a specific sub-niche of my main niche, which simply isn't that big.

I even played with an idea of giving this case study some spin, and trying to boost the authority of this website with links. That's something I'd never do with my authority website since I do not want to put it under any risk, but with this smaller website I do not care if I lose it one day, hence it is an option.

The problem is ROI though, since with the current prices for any decent links, I can hardly get a single link for the price of monthly earnings of this website :D.
With outcome uncertain (links may do no difference at all, and God knows how many I would need to buy in order to see anything happen, or conclude nothing did happen), I am not inclined to trying this option.
In the future I do not completely rule it out though... Now I save money for my offline project and cannot afford dropping 5K on links seeing what happens if anything. In the future a day may come when I have those 5K and may give it a try.

Earnings for the website in July:

earnings_ads_sp_1.png

  • Ads: $96
  • Product sales: $57 (3 sales)
  • Total earnings for July 2022: $153
* I know I said I would not reveal the ad network I use on this website down the road, but I guess it was clear anyway that I still use Ezoic here, so decided to post a screenshot.

What I did lately on the website & plans for coming weeks:
  • I didn't do anything in last 30 days on this site
  • Consider deleting the website from Ezoic (or turning the traffic off, since it would be easier to re-enable it later on should I want to do so) and seeing if it does not reverse the negative impact of the latest update.

Side project no. 2: Intended authority website in a specific sub-niche of travel niche, somehow related to my offline plans in Spain (non-profit).
sp_2_traffic_since_start.png
- As you can see the website keeps growing nicely, without me adding any new content. It is interesting indeed, considering all 40 topics I cover with articles on this website are 0 search keywords according to the tools I use (Surfer, Keywords Everywhere).

sp2_traffic_last_30.png
- With the latest changes I did (adding categories to Sidebar, better interlinking of posts) I managed to improve the bounce rate as well, and it is probably lowest from all websites in my portfolio.

We continue to get some social traffic to the website, which is a clear sign that target group likes the content, and overall things are doing well.

As I said many times, this website is related to my offline plans in Spain, and if I manage to buy a house there this autumn (I really hope I will) it will be for me a huge motivation to give it more content later in the year, so for the next season it has even more traffic, and helps me in a way in which I believe it can help me with this big offline project...

Things done & action plan for this website for next weeks:
  • I didn't do any work on this website since my last update
  • I may or not publish some new posts in next 30 days, though I may as well wait to see how my plans in Spain turn out this autumn, and for the extra motivation to work hard on this website it may give me :).

Side project no. 3: Content website I bought at the end of December 2021
sp3_last30_vs_previous.png
- It seems I am posting almost the same screenshot every month here :D, since this website just keeps dropping a few percent of traffic each month.

The thing is that while some of the new 59 articles I posted here start to rank and bring some traffic (more on it later on), some older posts keep losing traffic.

One problem I probably underestimated with this niche is how easy it is to cover. You do not need any special education or experience to make a website in this niche. Just get a decent writer (or even a bad one), give him keywords and let him do some online research and cover the topics other "low authority" website cover in the niche.

What's more, this niche is popular with people in certain South East Asia countries. And while perhaps for an American it isn't interesting starting some smaller website with content paraphrased from other sites with an earning potential of $100-$400/month, for many people in South East Asia it is an interesting idea, and for some it can be life-changing, something I have full understanding for...

What happens next is that one can find many smaller sites in this niche, similar in size to my website, and once they all compete for similar keywords, the overall traffic potential splits for everyone and basically not a single one will grows (unless the owner decides to grow it very big and make it an authority in the niche).

Inspecting some websites, I also feel that the previous owner of this website started two websites in the same niche, hoping to replicate the success and come out with a nice $5K-10K pay day when they sell it, just as it happened when I bought this website. The writing style is too similar for it to be a different person.

Anyway, for some positive news, let's have a look at charts for some new articles (which I published in April this year):


aritcle_1_2_sp_3.png
- I connected the two most successful new articles to one image, to save some space for other images (limit of 10 for one BHW post). The first one had 172 PV is last 30 days (compared to 78 in previous 30 days), and the second one 138 PV (compared to 74). That means they grow at a rate of about 100% each month.

- Other new articles keep growing at a good pace as well, often over 100% month over month, though just few had over 50 PV in last 30 days, so it is impossible to make any conclusions yet.

I cannot forget that I published these posts just in April so they are just 4 months old (or less), and we will have to wait a couple more months to see their traffic potential and whether or not I did a good job with KW research here.
amazon_sp3.png
- If you remember my last update for this project, I did some changes on the website, trying to improve the CTR and hopefully also the conversion on Amazon. Well, I got 12% more clicks with lass traffic, but the conversion rate dropped :). So far we can say the results are mixed, and I am for sure just learning my way around Amazon.

It is also true that with such low traffic numbers it doesn't make much sense trying to tweak this or that detail, improving CTR by 15% for example.
Of course if I managed to achieve such results on a website with 100K or 1M monthly visits, the financial difference would be huge. But on a website with 10K monthly PV it doesn't really make any meaningful financial or other difference. With such websites the key is to focus on gaining more traffic.

Earnings for the website in July 2022:
  • Amazon: $46
  • Ads: $109
  • Total earnings for July 2022: $155.

Work done & action plan for the website for coming weeks:
  • I've done no work on this website in last 30 days and do not plan to do any work on it in next 30 days.

Final word to Side project no. 1 & no. 3: In terms of results and everything, it may seem my side projects no. 1 and no. 3 are pretty similar, and perhaps even that project no. 1 is better, since I know the niche so well, sell my own digital product and everything. There is one difference here though that an outsider may fail to spot: The potential for growth.

Side project no. 1 is a website is a specific sub-niche, which by now I have almost covered (unless I want to write articles for topics that can realistically bring just 10-100PV/month). Even if I wanted to, I would not be able to grow this project to authority website anytime in the future. The niche is too small for that...

On the other hand, the niche of side project no. 3 is really big. I can perhaps find 10 websites from this niche on Adthrive & Mediavine combined, which is a clear indication that there is traffic in the niche.

And while I do not have any plans of making this website big in the near future, and the website suffered in several Google updates, I still feel it isn't such a bad domain to have in my portfolio...

It has some history & traffic, the content is easy to write when outsourced, and who knows what the future will bring for me income-wise???
Maybe a day will come when for some reason I decide to grow this website big, give it some serious content push for example (like 300 new posts), perhaps even outsource it all. That's definitely something I do not rule out completely, and the important thing is that it is possibility with this website and niche.

That's it for today's update guys, was quite a long one :D, but for me it is also an important one, since writing about my side project allows me to really look into the data once in a month and see where we are heading. As always, any questions do not hesitate to ask!


Perhaps the other 80% of the pages are the backbone of the site, and the top 20% are the main players. Would the top 20% perform as well without the other 80%? Good luck on the rest of your journey, I will follow it :)
Thanks mate, now I see I underestimated you a bit based on something in your first comment :). You definitely have a point in many things you write, so good luck to you and enjoy the journey!

Thanks for sharing your journey. Did you do anything other than publish the article?
Yes, lot of data analysis & case studies & planning, + some 20 new digital products if I remember correctly, plus many improvement to the website in many ways. If you have some time try to read the monthly updates in this journey to see the summary of the work I've done over the 2 years on my authority website.

I hate UA4 too. I set it up but kept the old one as well. They're still bugging me about it, God knows why.
Me to :). I just postpone it for now and we will see. Just do not feel like making the transition yet! Perhaps they postpone the deadline as well, as they did many times in the past with similar changes...

Yes, it's from Seychelles as well, but there seems to be more to it. I seem to be getting bot traffic from other locations, although less obvious as the two aforementioned countries. I have the feeling that Google wants to 'persuade' us to move to GA4 by tainting the traffic. At least in my case, I no longer have an actual idea what my actual traffic is right now (got inflated by about 20% and it's all bot traffic of zero value). And then there's GA4 which seems to be missing a few screws in the head since it showed about 1K users yesterday.
I do not think Google is behind this honestly... I just fee that now so many people are into AI and "autoblogs 2.0" , meaning auto-generated content with the help of tools, and for this scraping plays such a big role...

Hence there are countless bots (including custom-made) browsing the SERPs and websites in different ways, collecting all sorts of information. This is the bot traffic all of us are seeing, though many may not realize it since it is in direct proportion to the overall traffic of the website. What I try to say here is that I see this traffic also on my smaller websites, but when the website has 2K monthly visits for example the bot traffic is about 200 users.

Anyway, I blocked it on all websites that deserve some attention from my side, and that's perhaps the only thing we can do now :)
 

mrsmirf

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W.O.W! I finally made it to the end!

This journey thread has been incredible. It's like getting a peek behind the curtain of the Wizard in the Wizard of Oz.

Not the perfect metaphor, but I bet no one would guess your almost 1 million visitors a month website is entirely running and operated
by one man.

I had to D.M you before even getting to the end to discuss some projects I had going on and my dilemma.

I've been blessed to be self-employed online pretty much straight after university full time. The exciting thing is I got my start
in SEO and affiliate marketing, it was where I made my first income online back in high school and had my first real taste of "passive" online income.

I quickly moved on from SEO to media buying. The feedback loop is much faster; you can test and iterate at lightning speed compared to SEO. Once you find something that works with the perfect marketing message, audience, product, or C.P.A, all you have to do is flip a switch and can scale a campaign to the moon overnight.

So since then, I moved from project to project, mobile apps, web apps, private label amazon products, eCommerce, affiliate+media buy, you name it, I've probably done it. I'd always build things until they made a certain amount of money, and I would move on to the next. (extreme shiny object syndrome)

I've realized that I've always fooled myself into thinking I did this to diversify my income and protect myself. I would tell myself, just like you can achieve incredible growth overnight, you can experience epic nosedives into oblivion overnight as well online.

But using this as an excuse is all an illusion, as recent years have proven. No matter what you are doing online, your average income is probably down across the board.

Media buying, P.P.C, S.M.M, and squeezing out profits on cold traffic have become more complex and challenging. The privacy push has made platforms like Facebook ads less effective, and increased competition from mega corporations spending more of their ad dollars online has caused C.P.Ms to rise significantly.

All this led me to want to simplify my life and return to the roots that started it all, SEO. But again, with my shiny object syndrome on display at full blast, I saw opportunities everywhere. I began accumulating expired/aged domains at auction and began working on launching 14 different niche sites.

Luckily, I came across this thread that held my attention captive in the middle of all this. The level of detail and analysis was something I haven't come across in any other B.H.W journey thread, ever.

I'm thankful for all your work and dedication to this thread. @Kikerinka, your karma points must be through the roof. lol

This thread has helped me realign how I do things and approach these projects. Right off the bat, I had a P.M discussion with @Kikerinka about how I attack content creation at scale for 14 different niches. I quickly realized I was too ambitious; even if I were to outsource all the writing, this recipe was bound to fail since I would never get as intimate with any of the niches as @Kikerinka has with his. Along with my mental bandwidth being divided into so many smaller slices.

One major lesson I learned from all these thread postings is If you want to have outsized results, focus, focus, focus, focus, focus, focus, focus.

Once again, diversification is all an illusion when you are at the early stages for all your sites and depending on Google for traffic. Proper optimal diversification is focusing on one or a handful of sites and diversifying traffic sources and revenue models.

NOT just building more niche sites that all only focus on google traffic.

As we can see from @Kikerinka's "Side project no. 1 - Semi-authority website," even with his gifted writing quality and attention to detail, it is way more beneficial to FOCUS on one project to build it to be a massive authority website. Building many smaller sites will not allow you to enjoy the boost in rankings as much as FOCUSING on creating a more extensive authority website would.

I've now narrowed my projects down to 3 from 14. I know, I know...I have a problem, lol It should be just 1.

It might end up just being 1, but I want to get these other 2 seeded with content, too, since the annoying thing about SEO is that time is a significant ranking factor.

I don't want to waste time waiting for content to age and see the traction level.

It's progress, thanks to this thread. One of the projects has already shown excellent traction, and I know I should focus on that, but I'll get these other two started, aging in Google, then double back to the main project, and finally...............................

FOCUS.
 

Kikerinka

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W.O.W! I finally made it to the end!

This journey thread has been incredible. It's like getting a peek behind the curtain of the Wizard in the Wizard of Oz.

Not the perfect metaphor, but I bet no one would guess your almost 1 million visitors a month website is entirely running and operated
by one man.

I had to D.M you before even getting to the end to discuss some projects I had going on and my dilemma.

I've been blessed to be self-employed online pretty much straight after university full time. The exciting thing is I got my start
in SEO and affiliate marketing, it was where I made my first income online back in high school and had my first real taste of "passive" online income.

I quickly moved on from SEO to media buying. The feedback loop is much faster; you can test and iterate at lightning speed compared to SEO. Once you find something that works with the perfect marketing message, audience, product, or C.P.A, all you have to do is flip a switch and can scale a campaign to the moon overnight.

So since then, I moved from project to project, mobile apps, web apps, private label amazon products, eCommerce, affiliate+media buy, you name it, I've probably done it. I'd always build things until they made a certain amount of money, and I would move on to the next. (extreme shiny object syndrome)

I've realized that I've always fooled myself into thinking I did this to diversify my income and protect myself. I would tell myself, just like you can achieve incredible growth overnight, you can experience epic nosedives into oblivion overnight as well online.

But using this as an excuse is all an illusion, as recent years have proven. No matter what you are doing online, your average income is probably down across the board.

Media buying, P.P.C, S.M.M, and squeezing out profits on cold traffic have become more complex and challenging. The privacy push has made platforms like Facebook ads less effective, and increased competition from mega corporations spending more of their ad dollars online has caused C.P.Ms to rise significantly.

All this led me to want to simplify my life and return to the roots that started it all, SEO. But again, with my shiny object syndrome on display at full blast, I saw opportunities everywhere. I began accumulating expired/aged domains at auction and began working on launching 14 different niche sites.

Luckily, I came across this thread that held my attention captive in the middle of all this. The level of detail and analysis was something I haven't come across in any other B.H.W journey thread, ever.

I'm thankful for all your work and dedication to this thread. @Kikerinka, your karma points must be through the roof. lol

This thread has helped me realign how I do things and approach these projects. Right off the bat, I had a P.M discussion with @Kikerinka about how I attack content creation at scale for 14 different niches. I quickly realized I was too ambitious; even if I were to outsource all the writing, this recipe was bound to fail since I would never get as intimate with any of the niches as @Kikerinka has with his. Along with my mental bandwidth being divided into so many smaller slices.

One major lesson I learned from all these thread postings is If you want to have outsized results, focus, focus, focus, focus, focus, focus, focus.

Once again, diversification is all an illusion when you are at the early stages for all your sites and depending on Google for traffic. Proper optimal diversification is focusing on one or a handful of sites and diversifying traffic sources and revenue models.

NOT just building more niche sites that all only focus on google traffic.

As we can see from @Kikerinka's "Side project no. 1 - Semi-authority website," even with his gifted writing quality and attention to detail, it is way more beneficial to FOCUS on one project to build it to be a massive authority website. Building many smaller sites will not allow you to enjoy the boost in rankings as much as FOCUSING on creating a more extensive authority website would.

I've now narrowed my projects down to 3 from 14. I know, I know...I have a problem, lol It should be just 1.

It might end up just being 1, but I want to get these other 2 seeded with content, too, since the annoying thing about SEO is that time is a significant ranking factor.

I don't want to waste time waiting for content to age and see the traction level.

It's progress, thanks to this thread. One of the projects has already shown excellent traction, and I know I should focus on that, but I'll get these other two started, aging in Google, then double back to the main project, and finally...............................

FOCUS.

Mate, you wrote is so beautifully that if I added anything I would just spoil it.

Thank you a thousand times for reading the entire thread and for this beautiful comment.
You are also perhaps no. 2 when it comes to reactions to my posts in this thread, trailing only @Janis99 , who seems to not follow the thread anymore.

Couple of days ago I saw a documentary about Gandhi (one of my favorite figures in history). It wasn't a particularly great documentary, but they showed some of his quotes and one of them (which I've never heard before) resonated with something in me. It read: There is more to life than increasing its speed.

Simplifying life and returning to the roots is the key for inner balance and happiness, and that does not apply to work only....

I realize that I distracted myself with these Side Projects, especially project no. 1 and no. 3 (project no. 2 is different, since it is non-profit and may play an important role in my "near future life").

No doubt if I focused on my authority website instead, and devoted the roughly 300 hours that I devoted to side project no. 1 and no. 3 to this site (for example adding 200 new quality posts), it would be earning $1-2K more monthly at least, instead of the chip change these two side projects bring.

But I definitely do not regret a single hour devoted to this journey thread (and no doubt the hours count in many hundreds over the two years+), after reading your comment :).

Thank you again, and I have no doubt you will make the project (or two :)) you discussed with me in PM big and successful, far surpassing my earnings.
Do not hesitate to write anytime you need anything, and good luck to you! Let's stay focused and simplify life!
 

mrsmirf

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Mate, you wrote is so beautifully that if I added anything I would just spoil it.

Thank you a thousand times for reading the entire thread and for this beautiful comment.
You are also perhaps no. 2 when it comes to reactions to my posts in this thread, trailing only @Janis99 , who seems to not follow the thread anymore.

Couple of days ago I saw a documentary about Gandhi (one of my favorite figures in history). It wasn't a particularly great documentary, but they showed some of his quotes and one of them (which I've never heard before) resonated with something in me. It read: There is more to life than increasing its speed.

Simplifying life and returning to the roots is the key for inner balance and happiness, and that does not apply to work only....

I realize that I distracted myself with these Side Projects, especially project no. 1 and no. 3 (project no. 2 is different, since it is non-profit and may play an important role in my "near future life").

No doubt if I focused on my authority website instead, and devoted the roughly 300 hours that I devoted to side project no. 1 and no. 3 to this site (for example adding 200 new quality posts), it would be earning $1-2K more monthly at least, instead of the chip change these two side projects bring.

But I definitely do not regret a single hour devoted to this journey thread (and no doubt the hours count in many hundreds over the two years+), after reading your comment :).

Thank you again, and I have no doubt you will make the project (or two :)) you discussed with me in PM big and successful, far surpassing my earnings.
Do not hesitate to write anytime you need anything, and good luck to you! Let's stay focused and simplify life!
I'm trying to beat @Janis99 record in that case :)

I would not categorize your new niche sites as distractions yet. You've done the analysis, which could eventually be a big win. You let the data guide you. I see them as fascinating experiments that very few people are in a position to conduct at your level.

For an experiment to indeed reveal great insight, it's essential to be able to hold many variables static and change only a few to see the impact.

What makes these experiments super interesting is that you have a huge authority site in the niche, vast knowledge of the niche, and have personally written 99% of the content on all your niche sites, maintaining the same quality in expertise, writing, and keyword selection and analysis.

I don't think many websites on the web have reached your level of traffic and have 99% of the content written by one author. Most people would immediately begin outsourcing and building teams as soon as it became affordable and profitable.

All of this raises the opportunity for your experiment to hold many variables constant across the two projects, the main site V.S. your side project #1. As these two share the same niche.

What we can learn from their success or "failure" (to me, it's never a failure if you can learn from it, you're just paying your tuition fees) is immense in shaping your future strategy for an optimal path to higher levels of success.

Or, at minimum, discovering the path of least resistance from the "SERP Gods".

I've had great success in the past online, which has allowed me to live a pretty comfortable life, but the problem has always been maintaining that success over the long run. I always move my concentration onto other projects when I should be double downing on things that already work and make me money.

As a result, I have these up and down waves and swings in income if you were to make a chart.

You might wonder, if I know my problem, why don't I correct it?

It's easier said than done because many times, the fact that I had many projects saved my a**. If one project started to die out, I always had another already gearing up to replace the income. So I've had years of positive reinforcement doing things this way.

But on the other hand, I know that I could have much greater success if I just concentrated all my resources and efforts on one. But that feels too much like gambling to me.

In all actuality, that is the safest bet to make if you see it is already working.
 

Kikerinka

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I'm trying to beat @Janis99 record in that case :)

I would not categorize your new niche sites as distractions yet. You've done the analysis, which could eventually be a big win. You let the data guide you. I see them as fascinating experiments that very few people are in a position to conduct at your level.

For an experiment to indeed reveal great insight, it's essential to be able to hold many variables static and change only a few to see the impact.

What makes these experiments super interesting is that you have a huge authority site in the niche, vast knowledge of the niche, and have personally written 99% of the content on all your niche sites, maintaining the same quality in expertise, writing, and keyword selection and analysis.

I don't think many websites on the web have reached your level of traffic and have 99% of the content written by one author. Most people would immediately begin outsourcing and building teams as soon as it became affordable and profitable.

All of this raises the opportunity for your experiment to hold many variables constant across the two projects, the main site V.S. your side project #1. As these two share the same niche.

What we can learn from their success or "failure" (to me, it's never a failure if you can learn from it, you're just paying your tuition fees) is immense in shaping your future strategy for an optimal path to higher levels of success.

Or, at minimum, discovering the path of least resistance from the "SERP Gods".

I've had great success in the past online, which has allowed me to live a pretty comfortable life, but the problem has always been maintaining that success over the long run. I always move my concentration onto other projects when I should be double downing on things that already work and make me money.

As a result, I have these up and down waves and swings in income if you were to make a chart.

You might wonder, if I know my problem, why don't I correct it?

It's easier said than done because many times, the fact that I had many projects saved my a**. If one project started to die out, I always had another already gearing up to replace the income. So I've had years of positive reinforcement doing things this way.

But on the other hand, I know that I could have much greater success if I just concentrated all my resources and efforts on one. But that feels too much like gambling to me.

In all actuality, that is the safest bet to make if you see it is already working.

Thank you for the words of encouragement :). I definitely do not consider the side project no. 1 a failure. Actually I've added a couple of new articles to it these days (testing some ideas I will report on later in the thread), and also disabled Ezoic.

I disabled it on couple of websites, testing if it was the reason why my smaller sites got impacted in latest GoogleCore Update or not. People from Ezoic reached out quickly, thinking I disintegrated the websites by mistake or some tech error lol. So I told them my hypothesis and they replied the update wasn't related to ads, and that I should delete affiliate links from the websites in question (according to them update was related to affiliate ).

Funny enough, there isn't a single affiliate link on any of the websites I took down from Ezoic :D.

Now to your "syndrome" and always replacing one project with another. I honestly think that whether or not this strategy makes sense depends a lot on the type of projects you work on.

Before you worked a lot on projects that sort of have a "short lifespan" by default. As you wrote--you can test things quickly, make a lot, but also drop to zero overnight (campaign ends, app gets blocked, FB blocks your account, network ends the offer, etc).

The project you are working on right now, however, is different... This time you can focus on it, build it big without being afraid of it dying overnight, and enjoy an almost passive income for many years to come.
In any case, I hope you'll update me here or in PM once in a while about your progress :)
 
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