Hello all. I’ve started this journey thread because I really want to get back into internet marketing and build out a niche website portfolio. I started IM/niche sites back in 2013 and had some success/failures. In late-2017, I was made redundant from my corporate job, but as I already had a few lowish earning websites (talking sub-$1,000 total revenue here), I decided it would be a good idea to focus on building out my website portfolio. The problem was a became a bit disorganised at the back end of 2017/early 2018 and, due to some poor SEO service purchases and lack of focus, I lost my way in the black hat world. Around February 2018, I started to listen to Income School YouTube videos and around March 2018 I purchased their Project 24 course. I spent a lot of money outsourcing content, but I didn’t really follow their “60-step” plan. Needless, to say, I still have some way to go to breakeven on this Project 24 site. During the last few weeks, I have taken stock of what I want to achieve with niche websites and this is why I wanted to create this thread: to document my journey, hold myself accountable and get advice from other members on this great forum. What is my ultimate goal? To achieve passive income: earn $2k per month by working 8 hours per week To create assets: in the form of niche websites that can be sold for 20-30x monthly profit How will I do this? Build out a niche website portfolio. Gain knowledge in ranking, growing and flipping sites. Gain skills in outsourcing (to facilitate scaling). What will this look like? My ideal vision is to purchase sites from services such as @Neurodigitalagency and use my SEO and content outsourcing skills to scale up these sites and build out my portfolio. This portfolio of sites will provide both a monthly passive income and potential for future capital through website sales. What can I control/outsource (for future scaling)? Keyword research – Yes. Content creation – Yes. Traffic - No. SEO (as a driver of traffic) – Yes, but requires testing and ROI analysis. SEO skills Gaining SEO skills will allow me to scale to having more sites (as I already have the keyword research and content creation skills or can outsource). As site builds can be outsourced, learning what works in SEO (so I can also outsource) will be my #1 focus. Basically, how can I gain skills in this area? SEO will be a big part of this case study and I am going to test different marketplace services to improve my skills in growing niche sites. The Plan My plan is to use a website that I already own and test SEO services and methods. This will be documented in this journey along with any relevant metrics. The site I’ve chosen was created back in 2017 but has yet to earn any revenue (Amazon affiliate is the main monetisation) and minimal backlinking was done at the start, so it makes a good candidate for this case study. Key stats/metrics In SemRush the site is currently showing the following (US) stats: Organic search: 0 Keywords: 11 Top 10 keywords: 0 Top traffic keyword position and search volume: No traffic % shown Keyword tracking (Serprobot): Number of keywords tracked: 17 Number of keywords ranking: 2 Highest keyword position: 28 Keyword competitiveness (Keysearch.co): Keyword scores range from 21 to 34 (all green). I have not carried out any in-depth SERP analysis yet, but it looks like a lot of niche sites are in the Top 10. This may also mean that the niche sites could be hiding their PBNs and distorting the competitive metrics. Overall though, at a quick glance, I’m reasonably happy with the keyword competitiveness. Backlinks (AHrefs): Domain rating: 0.2 Backlinks: 168 (18% DF) RD: 48 (21% DF) Site history The site was purchased from a BHW seller (BST thread, now closed) for $199 back in June 2017 (this was a 5,000 word package). I then added a further 12x 500 word reviews and 2x 1,000 word Best XYZ articles for a total cost of $87. This took the total word count to 13,000 words. Basic foundation link building was done in September 2017 and consisted of the following (all using BHW services): 15x Web 2.0s (@The SEO) – targeting home page 50x niche blog comments (@gold service) - targeting home page and 3 Best XYZ pages 600x PBN Tier 2 posts to the Web 2.0s (@eatingMemory) “Top50+” PR package (@RankGeek) targeting home page and 3 Best XYZ pages Total cost for SEO: $99 Total cost of site/content/SEO = $396 Total earnings = $0 Total profit/loss = -$396 First goals My initial financial goals are as follows: 1. Get my first affiliate (Amazon) sale from the site 2. Re-coup my initial $396 cost, even if this means more money is spent on SEO What do I need to do next? The site is currently in a mess in terms of layout and some articles were set to draft for some reason. So, my first step is to fix the “architecture” and on-page elements of the site. Next, I going to grab a $7/7 day trial of AHrefs and look at the backlink profile of all the niche sites currently in the Top 10 for my top target keywords. Will look at a minimum of 10 sites. Hope you find this interesting as I go along. If you have any question, please leave a reply below. Thanks.