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

Kikerinka

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I see where you're coming from, but don't you think it's too early for AI content? It's rarely mentioned in the media and usually they focus on audio or video.

There has to be a precedent first, a company that becomes exposed and gets bad press. But unless there's a whistleblower, AI content is hard to prove. And it'll only become more and more sophisticated.

Right now AI content generation is seen more as a cool thing, something to wonder of. See this NY Times author how he proudly admits of generating AI content:

"I even used GPT-3 to write a book review for this paper last year — and, had I not clued in my editors beforehand, I doubt they would have suspected anything."
You make a great point here and are 100% right. It is seen as a cool thing, which I find kind of sad... But maybe this is the world we will live in 10 years down the road, a world where everything is artificial, and the real human touch to any aspect of life is missing.

Imagine this scenario: Google embraces AI content to the fullest, and instead of showing websites in search results, it will simply shown long answer for each query (with pictures and everything), generated real-time with the help of AI from actual results, on top of the SERPs. 95% of people will just read that and barely anybody will click the results. That would be an end of blogging as we know it today...

I am someone with a sense for quality writing & cinema, be it in any genre. For me it is easy to spot AI content, or shit content :D, in general.
And it isn't hard to prove either when it comes to websites that use it: Often the only thing you have to do is looking at the number of posts published n a certain period... If a website publishes 5K articles/month, it isn't hard telling that it wasn't a result of a human effort, no? :).
 

blogmen

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But maybe this is the world we will live in 10 years down the road, a world where everything is artificial, and the real human touch to any aspect of life is missing.
Hopefully that will have the opposite effect and create demand for real human touch.
it will simply shown long answer for each query (with pictures and everything), generated real-time with the help of AI from actual results, on top of the SERPs. 95% of people will just read that and barely anybody will click the results. That would be an end of blogging as we know it today...
It would, but I think google needs our content so they won't make us leave. But if they do it anyway, they'll lose to a competitor who doesn't do that. Might be the end of google.
If a website publishes 5K articles/month, it isn't hard telling that it wasn't a result of a human effort, no?
For us it seems obvious, but there are websites posting more than 5k posts per month of user generated content and anyone could claim their website is like that.

Surely it can be proven, but it's difficult.

I think AI content opens the Pandora's box, don't see a way to stop it. Maybe Openai will impose more restrictions on GPT over time, but that won't stop people from using other NLP models, or create their own.
 

Kikerinka

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Hopefully that will have the opposite effect and create demand for real human touch.

It would, but I think google needs our content so they won't make us leave. But if they do it anyway, they'll lose to a competitor who doesn't do that. Might be the end of google.

For us it seems obvious, but there are websites posting more than 5k posts per month of user generated content and anyone could claim their website is like that.

Surely it can be proven, but it's difficult.

I think AI content opens the Pandora's box, don't see a way to stop it. Maybe Openai will impose more restrictions on GPT over time, but that won't stop people from using other NLP models, or create their own.
The thing is that once you connect the dots, and no doubt people at Google can do that, it is super easy to tell an AI site.

Sure, you can have a website with user-generated content. But with web archive and everything it is pretty easy to know when the website started, how quickly it grew etc.

If you ever tried building some community, you for sure know how hard it is... A new website with no traffic and little exposure isn't going to get 1,000 members writing posts for it for free from month one, for obscure topics & keywords with little value, and reach 50K posts in a year. That's not just how it works...
You can be sure engineers at Google earning $200K+/year have the capacity to see this. The question is what they do with it, if anything :).

Amazing content ;)
Thanks, it is nice that your very first post came in my thread :). Hopefully you will enjoy it!
 

blogmen

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If you ever tried building some community, you for sure know how hard it is... A new website with no traffic and little exposure isn't going to get 1,000 members writing posts for it for free from month one, for obscure topics & keywords with little value, and reach 50K posts in a year. That's not just how it works...
You can be sure engineers at Google earning $200K+/year have the capacity to see this. The question is what they do with it, if anything :).
The problem is that google has to do this automatically, what you're saying is true for you and me, we can spot them manually but they don't have an engineer to look at every website and doing it algorithmically will have a huge impact with a huge margin of error.
 

Kikerinka

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Small update:
I do not have a milestone to update on, but did one important change lately on the website, and this change contributed to better ad earnings.

I thought those of you guys already with a premium ad network may find it interesting, and can benefit from it in September and Q4, that's why I decided to update on it immediately instead of in a monthly update (which may be even delayed in October due to my travels).

Let's start with a picture:
adthrive_7th_sept.png
- Just for the record, these are the highest daily ad earnings I had since end of Q1 this year, that means since 1st April.

Now compare it with the same day of the week (Wednesday) 2 weeks ago, since I still do not have final data from a week ago (the bug I reported on in my monthly update hasn't been resolved yet).
It gives me a slightly different screen (not sure why) and I cannot squeeze it into one screen, so I'll post 2 pictures for 24th August, for you to see all data and compare:
adthrive_24th_august_1.png

adthrive_24th_august.png

When you compare the 2 days, you can see that on 7th September, we had only 500 sessions more than on 24th August. Yet we made $130 more. Now how that's possible?

A close inspection of the data will show the difference. Just look at earnings from different ad units.

24th August:
  • Content ads: $271
  • Footer ads: $188
  • Video ads: $122
  • Other ad formats with lower earnings you cannot see on the screen.
7th September:
  • Content ads: $288 (+$17)
  • Footer ads: $186 (-$2)
  • Video ads: $232 (+$110)

The difference comes from earnings from video ads, and here is the story. Until 7 days ago, I used videos provided by Adthrive on my website. These short videos weren't very relevant for my niche, and didn't have a clear message altogether. Imagine just a random 30 seconds video that doesn't really say anything...

Inspired by high video earnings I saw in @Anon9109 thread, but also because I wanted better user experience (little relevant video with no significant message isn't a good user experience, especially if visitor has to see an ad before seeing the actual video--which is the case sometimes, other times the ads play just between the videos), I decided to download a few good videos from my old YT channel and replace the videos provided by Adthrive with them.

They said to me an ideal video length for ad earnings is 30-60 seconds, but in my niche it is close to impossible to give any meaningful message in 60 seconds, and so I uploaded videos that have between 2min and 4.5 min. I picked videos that I found most relevant for the majority of visitors, regardless of their landing page, and another condition was that they had to have great like vs dislike ratio (at least 10 to 1 or better) on my old YT channel (not updated anymore)

Guys at Adthrive thought ad earnings would be lower, since ads play mostly between videos, and my videos are longer compared to the default stuff they provided. But they were wrong :). Since the videos are relevant, people seem to watch them, even more videos during the visit, and hence they see more video ads and the earnings are significantly better.

When I compare last 7 days to previous 7 days and look just at video ads, I see I made almost $500 extra, which means that possibly in a month we'll make $2K extra, just making this simple change that took me only couple of hours to implement (choosing the right videos, downloading them, checking quality of each one, and uploading them to Adthrive).

I do not know how Mediavine works, but if you are with Adthrive and have video ads enabled with their default videos, I strongly suggest you to make (or let someone make you) a few custom, truly relevant videos, since it is really something worth making, at least based on the data I see so far. And as I've said many times over the duration of this journey: numbers do not lie :).

That's it for this special update. Hope it will help some of you to also ramp up the ad earnings! Digital product sales continue to suck badly in September, hence I am glad at least the ads are working great after implementing this change, and so perhaps we can get close to $20K monthly earnings already in September...


The problem is that google has to do this automatically, what you're saying is true for you and me, we can spot them manually but they don't have an engineer to look at every website and doing it algorithmically will have a huge impact with a huge margin of error.
You are spot on, but I also feel it won't be that hard setting it up algorithmically, as long as they have in their database historical data for websites, and can see how they keep growing over time. Then the margin for error won't be that huge.

Plus we should not forget on manual reviewers working for Google (my good friend had this job for our local market, so I know 100% such people exist)... Anyway, let's see what happens :)
 

snowboardman

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do you plan on moving to mediavine ? with your traffic, i think you can negotiate 90% rev share instead of the fixed 75% offered by adthrive, jon dykstra from fatstacksblog did it , and his RPM went from 25-30 up to mid 40s
 

Kikerinka

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do you plan on moving to mediavine ? with your traffic, i think you can negotiate 90% rev share instead of the fixed 75% offered by adthrive, jon dykstra from fatstacksblog did it , and his RPM went from 25-30 up to mid 40s

It is definitely something to consider, but at the moment I do not plan to make the transition. Have a few reasons, some of which are not necessarily logical :D. But that's how it is in life I guess. Sometimes logic isn't the most important thing.

I am kind of a loyal person in life in general. This partnership with Adthrive has done me so much good in life... I've already made close to $300K with them, and believe the best is yet to come.

Sure, my life doesn't turn around money, but the freedom this sort of monetization gives you is priceless, plus it allows me to pursue other goals in life, goals that require money. Adthrive gave me a chance when the website had just 100K PV/month and below 45% US traffic. Yet they took me onboard and I enjoyed the cooperation ever-since. It just doesn't feel right to me leaving, even if I am possibly (not necessarily) letting some money on the table.


- The second main reason is that in my opinion, Mediavine is slightly losing it. Seen a few AI sites with them lately, and also a couple of sites which had, in my opinion, really poor content (weren't AI though).

Sure nothing has happened yet, and there's no buzz created in the ad industry :), but maybe it is just a question of time... Or maybe they will address the situation, and clean their portfolio... In any case, personally I see Adthrive as a more stable player with more solid standards, and believe in a long run it will win the race over Mediavine.

I can be totally wrong here though, and we will see down the road :D
 

b2mcd

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Hey man, glad to see your continued success. I've read through about 85% of this thread over the past week or so and this a goldmine of knowledge for anyone looking to get into the IM game. As someone in a similar field, I have a few questions for you (which I don't think you've answered, forgive me if you did!)

1) Do you think there's any chance of getting approved for AdThrive early if your website metrics are indicating exponential growth in organic traffic? Let's say you're about 10,000 monthly page views short of the requirement but everything else is great. Is it worth waiting for more growth in this situation?

2) Do you place your ads manually with AdThrive? I'm currently using adsense and placing manual ad blocks instead of using their auto ads. I feel like the revenue is roughly the same while maintaining a good user experience.

Would love to know your thoughts! Thanks so much.
 

Guntater

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Has the recent google update affected your traffic positively?
 

Kikerinka

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Hey man, glad to see your continued success. I've read through about 85% of this thread over the past week or so and this a goldmine of knowledge for anyone looking to get into the IM game. As someone in a similar field, I have a few questions for you (which I don't think you've answered, forgive me if you did!)

1) Do you think there's any chance of getting approved for AdThrive early if your website metrics are indicating exponential growth in organic traffic? Let's say you're about 10,000 monthly page views short of the requirement but everything else is great. Is it worth waiting for more growth in this situation?

2) Do you place your ads manually with AdThrive? I'm currently using adsense and placing manual ad blocks instead of using their auto ads. I feel like the revenue is roughly the same while maintaining a good user experience.

Would love to know your thoughts! Thanks so much.
Hey mate, thank you for dedicating time to my journey here :). To your questions:

1. I think they can let you in with 90K PV and even if not, you won't lose anything showing them your website and analytics etc. People at Adthrive are very nice, so reach out to them and see what they have to say. Maybe they let you in, maybe they give you suggestions, or at least encourage you to keep going and reach the 100K PV as soon as possible!

2. You do not place them manually--Adthrive team does that for you, but you have full control when it comes to the layout. That means, if you say you do not want any in-content ads, or up to 3 of them per page, or do not want sidebar ads, or video ads, or whatever, they won't force you to turn them on just to get better RPM.

It is always your choice, though they take care of the process in the back end. Don't worry though, you do not have to give them access to your dashboard, it is enough installing the plugin and let them do the magic. Of course, they will give you suggestions on maximizing the RPM, but you always have the final word whether you want to proceed with the suggestions or not.

Hope it helps, let me know if you need anything else, and enjoy the journey!

Has the recent google update affected your traffic positively?
There is a slight growth of traffic in last few days (3%-6%), but to be honest I cannot tell whether it is due to the update, or simply seasonality in the niche... Do not have rank tracker or anything, so I do not monitor the positions on a daily basis.

In any case, I can definitely say that the update hasn't affected the website negatively. It either stayed on the same positions or there was a slightly positive impact of the update...

By the way, checking also stats for my smaller sites, this update doesn't seem to affect any of them.
 

Guntater

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Hey mate, thank you for dedicating time to my journey here :). To your questions:

1. I think they can let you in with 90K PV and even if not, you won't lose anything showing them your website and analytics etc. People at Adthrive are very nice, so reach out to them and see what they have to say. Maybe they let you in, maybe they give you suggestions, or at least encourage you to keep going and reach the 100K PV as soon as possible!

2. You do not place them manually--Adthrive team does that for you, but you have full control when it comes to the layout. That means, if you say you do not want any in-content ads, or up to 3 of them per page, or do not want sidebar ads, or video ads, or whatever, they won't force you to turn them on just to get better RPM.

It is always your choice, though they take care of the process in the back end. Don't worry though, you do not have to give them access to your dashboard, it is enough installing the plugin and let them do the magic. Of course, they will give you suggestions on maximizing the RPM, but you always have the final word whether you want to proceed with the suggestions or not.

Hope it helps, let me know if you need anything else, and enjoy the journey!


There is a slight growth of traffic in last few days (3%-6%), but to be honest I cannot tell whether it is due to the update, or simply seasonality in the niche... Do not have rank tracker or anything, so I do not monitor the positions on a daily basis.

In any case, I can definitely say that the update hasn't affected the website negatively. It either stayed on the same positions or there was a slightly positive impact of the update...

By the way, checking also stats for my smaller sites, this update doesn't seem to affect any of them.
It means that you have high quality content on your website.
 

Escehas

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Thank you for your thorough update (as usual), as well as for the hint that it's possible to change the video content. Honestly, it never even crossed my mind to try adding targeted videos, since I am lazy and let Adthrive do everything for me. I may try it out as well as see if I get an increase in revenue.
As an update from me about the link-building competitor, it seems that two months later, there has been no impact, yet. I am not sure how much these things can take. Months, years? No idea since I never bothered with them. Hopefully, he just wasted money, like a dumbass.
Stay safe and multiply in every way! :D
 

Kikerinka

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It means that you have high quality content on your website.
Or maybe I was just lucky :).

Jokes aside, the content has great quality, and it should reflect on user metrics that google uses to judge websites and rank them. However, with any update, unless you spot some obvious mistake(s), it is more guessing than knowing why you were impacted positively or negatively...

Thank you for your thorough update (as usual), as well as for the hint that it's possible to change the video content. Honestly, it never even crossed my mind to try adding targeted videos, since I am lazy and let Adthrive do everything for me. I may try it out as well as see if I get an increase in revenue.
As an update from me about the link-building competitor, it seems that two months later, there has been no impact, yet. I am not sure how much these things can take. Months, years? No idea since I never bothered with them. Hopefully, he just wasted money, like a dumbass.
Stay safe and multiply in every way! :D
I strongly suggest you to do so. It really is a question of investment/effort versus financial impact.

Once you are already with Adthrive, you make nice money. Let's say you make $5K/month (an example). With a change that makes mere 5% difference in ad earnings, that's $250/month, or $3K/year. If such a change can be implemented in a few hours or few days, it is definitely worth implementing it, or paying someone to implement it.
Of course, the key is to make evergreen videos, that means you won't have to change them in years to come.

Things change so much as the website grows... Until certain traffic levels, I believe we should devote almost 100% of our efforts to KW research and content creation.
But once you reach a certain level of traffic and income, investing time into these small changes that improve the earnings by 1%, 2%, 5%, starts to make a lot of sense. Especially if you implement many of them over time and the effect sort of compounds :)

- Remember the story with your competitor spending a lot on links. I am not an expert on link building, but from what I've seen with other people who shared their journeys with me, it often is a hit and miss... In some cases it may bring almost immediate results, in some cases you have to wait for long months, and in some cases it makes no difference whatsoever...

If I was you, I'd focus on your own project, and won't pay too much attention to the LB efforts of your competitor :).
 

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Hi Kikerinka,

I am currently looking into monetizing a small website of mine with "direct marketing". The website has only about 5,000 visitors per month, but is extremely tailored to a niche and therefore certainly very interesting for some companies. Since I don't want to use Google Adsense, but the website is too small for premium networks, I'm thinking about offering ad positions exclusively to one company. The traffic potential of the niche is almost completely exhausted. So there is no chance for me to get 10.000 or more visitors.

While thinking about this, I came across a question that I am very interested in. Do you actually know how many ad clicks are made on your website per month? Does Adthrive report that? The screenshots from your Adthrive Dashbord don't show this number. I would be interested to know what percentage of users click on an ad.

Thank you in advance!

Best
OLS
 

Konroy pp

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Hello,
I have a question. Do you think GSC is necessary ( especially to submit news links to have articles indexed faster ) ?
I have a semi blackhat website that rank well and I dont want to put anything with google ( analytics and GSC ) , and I wondering if its can be a problem versus my competitor :)
 

bruce willis

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A member of the forum had on the subject compile several interesting links of the forum concerning several stages of the creation of a site somebody on the subject remembers the message or towards which page it is found?

For my part, after a scorching summer I started working again last week, the start-up is hard, because it is very difficult to concentrate again on long sessions.

I launched the site, which is not perfect in terms of navigation but the essence is there with some articles to see what it will give in terms of traffic. I don't plan to do anything before november in terms of serps.
During this time I will resume writing articles to publish every 2 days or even every day if I have the fire in my fingers.
I have 40 articles in stock "waiting to be published" to compensate for a slowdown.
the idea is to arrive in January 2023 with 50 articles on the site and to keep my "emergency" articles

I also aim to improve the structure of the site, to make it more professional.

question: when should I start posting affiliate links and advertisements?
from the beginning? once the traffic arrives? let the site grow a few months?
 

Kikerinka

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Hi Kikerinka,

I am currently looking into monetizing a small website of mine with "direct marketing". The website has only about 5,000 visitors per month, but is extremely tailored to a niche and therefore certainly very interesting for some companies. Since I don't want to use Google Adsense, but the website is too small for premium networks, I'm thinking about offering ad positions exclusively to one company. The traffic potential of the niche is almost completely exhausted. So there is no chance for me to get 10.000 or more visitors.

While thinking about this, I came across a question that I am very interested in. Do you actually know how many ad clicks are made on your website per month? Does Adthrive report that? The screenshots from your Adthrive Dashbord don't show this number. I would be interested to know what percentage of users click on an ad.

Thank you in advance!

Best
OLS
I think you have a great idea here, and a model of monetization that can be much more profitable for such a website.

While I do not have such data from Adthrive, we can look at data from Adsense, for a bit older period:
adsense CTR.png

As you can see, in the observed period on this account, I got 7,963 clicks on 527,229 page views. Which basically means that for every click, I needed 66 page views in average.

Of course, everything depends on relevance and other factors, such as the attractiveness of the ad for target audience, but I believe it is realistic promising your advertisers 1 click from each 50 page views, which means about 100 clicks/month from your website.

This may seem like a small number, but if the relevancy is high, and the product/service they sell has a high profit margin, it can still be worth for the company paying hundreds/month for such an exclusive ad space...

An example: They sell product/service with an average lifetime value profit of a customer of $1K. Hence even if they get just 1 conversion/month from the cooperation, it is still worth paying $500/month for such a promotion.

Hope this helps, let me know if you need anything else.

Hello,
I have a question. Do you think GSC is necessary ( especially to submit news links to have articles indexed faster ) ?
I have a semi blackhat website that rank well and I dont want to put anything with google ( analytics and GSC ) , and I wondering if its can be a problem versus my competitor :)
Remember that Google knows everything about your website, even if you do not have GSC or Analytics code installed.

They already have the data, and these tools are only for you to also see them, and be able to work with them, which is something I do a lot ;).

Hence while it isn't necessary, I would suggest you to use these tools. No doubt it can help with indexing issues as well.

A member of the forum had on the subject compile several interesting links of the forum concerning several stages of the creation of a site somebody on the subject remembers the message or towards which page it is found?

For my part, after a scorching summer I started working again last week, the start-up is hard, because it is very difficult to concentrate again on long sessions.

I launched the site, which is not perfect in terms of navigation but the essence is there with some articles to see what it will give in terms of traffic. I don't plan to do anything before november in terms of serps.
During this time I will resume writing articles to publish every 2 days or even every day if I have the fire in my fingers.
I have 40 articles in stock "waiting to be published" to compensate for a slowdown.
the idea is to arrive in January 2023 with 50 articles on the site and to keep my "emergency" articles

I also aim to improve the structure of the site, to make it more professional.

question: when should I start posting affiliate links and advertisements?
from the beginning? once the traffic arrives? let the site grow a few months?
Mate I really cannot "decode" your first sentence :D :D :D.

For the rest, the summer temperatures were hard for me as well, but here we are... You have a solid plan and I hope you'll manage to stick to your content creation schedule,

Do not post any affiliate links/ads unless you have at least 1K monthly visitors (bare minimum). It just isn't worth it at the beginning and can be even demotivating, for example when you have aff links on but do not earn any commission. It is a result of low traffic, but it may give you doubts and you may start to question the entire project...

Hope this helps, let me know if you have more questions.
 

bruce willis

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Mate I really cannot "decode" your first sentence :D :D :D.
I explain myself

on the topic a member of the forum had listed different tips that you gave and he put links to other topics talking about the techniques you talked about.
 
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