Discussion in 'My Journey Discussions' started by Sherb, Dec 31, 2018.
holy shit you can write. u are gifted my friend.
Good luck! Inspired by your post and like the whole idea of local projects!
So many methods combined and you really showed me that rich people are even working harder.
Now I planning from the scratch, hope I can get things done little by little, just like you did!
He's been blessed by the English Writing god.
Just kidding. He's the English Writing god himself.
Good luck, @Sherb! It's always pleasurable to read your threads!
Mad respect for having so many projects and still not losing track on it. I sure would lose track,lol.
However, you seem to be on the right track again, i think everyone here that works hard has gone through some sort of mild depression or atleast an all-time-low. It's part of the process and only the winners will continue on.
Judging by your goals and what you have learned out of 2018 i would say you are a winner. Unless you quit in 2019 now... best of luck Sherb!
Following the thread. Also why so many building pictures?
If you don't mind me asking, what are you doing with all these local websites, you obviously can't be managing say 5+ local business all on different niches (you mentioned photography, roofing and what not) how do you actually monetize them? Or you got some sort of affiliate program with local businesses?
Best of luck @Sherb
A little bit of Monday Q&A starting fresh, a day early (at least here in EST). I’m not going to multiquote, but instead format a little nicer.
Q1: @nodyguy: Just a quick question, why you do keep your day job if you are already earning decently online?
A1: Good question! Having a day job helps me to: a) remain disciplined and orderly time-wise, b) make $30+ an hour doing something I (now) really enjoy, c) interact with others in the same field, d) have a great backup in case my online stuff hits the fan, e) obtain capital to use for my IM pursuits, and f) avoid risk, which is especially important when I have a wife and dog who count on me.
Q2: @Skyebug77: What happened to the bhw weekly wrap up? That was gold.
A2: Thanks! To be honest, it was taking me 2-3 hours to do each one of those. That was time that I was taking away from projects and health and instead putting into sifting through hundreds of garage threads to tease out the better ones.
Q3: @mhtro: Following the thread. Also why so many building pictures?
A3: I like buildings, the bigger and taller the better. They represent a collaborative effort of many people that culminates in a physical finished product that can be seen for miles. Plus, I took all the photos in the OP.
Q4: @vinku: Seriously, I don't know about what this journey is There are so many standard business models here, so I don't see "gold" here. Why not focus on single thing?
A4: Good question. For me, it’s a mixture of the need to diversify, build skills in various mediums, and getting bored of the same project quickly. It’s problematic that it leads to a lot of “unfinished business”, but I’m hoping that 2019 changes that. Plus, I’ve already got all the stuff, why not build on it? Whether to keep or to sell off remains to be seen.
Q5: @nodyguy: Really? If you were making good amount of money AUTOMATED, would you still go to the job the next day? I mean, why not scaling it up, or if you don't want to, enjoy the auto-pilot income and enjoy your life?
A5: My money is not automated currently. Even if it was, up to a point, yes I would still go to my job the next day. There was a while in 2017 where I would have said differently. But I found a job that I really enjoy, and I have no issues waking up and heading into the office.
Q6: @dkv023: Your English is perfect. And you have cool writers skills. How do you know English so well?
A6: Thanks a lot! See my response to question three here. Most importantly: "Knowing how to write is (to me) the second most important real-world skill you can have. The first being the ability to communicate and filter your thoughts into spoken words and actions.”
Q7: @DentalMidget: Coming from the travel business, why don't you monetize your Iceland site through direct selling, managing end to end itinerary. You have a sizable traffic and if it's converting well you can make a lot more that way. AFAIK booking.com pays pennies to affiliates.
A7: Thanks for the insight! I’ll be checking into that. I’m currently working on building up the end to end itinerary services in the form of a PDF that will have affiliate links in it. Double dipping the cost of the itinerary, potential affiliate income from their initial time on the site, and continued potential affiliate income from the PDF. If I had less on my plate, I would start reaching out to hotels, tour providers, etc to see about getting a complete itinerary package set up. That may be something for 2020.
Q8: @zionbar: instead of 3 adsense sites and 5 amazon sites that maybe together made you a few pennies, imagine if you invest a ton of time and effort into 1 site , you could make a ton more... just telling you what iv started doing since i focused a lot of my energy in one of my site its been absolutely crushing it
A8: Thanks a ton for the insight and the sentiments! Re: stocks, I’m avoiding putting money into individual stocks this year, and plan to leave my Robinhood to sit and (hopefully) grow. I do plan to put a good bit into Vanguard in 2019, as it’s less volatile (VTSAX), and 15% of my paycheck plus a 3% employer match go into a Fidelity account that is 100% VINIX. Re: websites, I plan to get rid of quite a few web properties in 2019. There are some in the list that, once built up, will be relatively autopilot, with occasional content updates and articles posted. My big issue in 2018 was taking on more projects than I could handle. No new projects for 2019, just working on the ones outlined in the OP.
Q9: @spectrejoe: If you don't mind me asking, what are you doing with all these local websites, you obviously can't be managing say 5+ local business all on different niches (you mentioned photography, roofing and what not) how do you actually monetize them? Or you got some sort of affiliate program with local businesses?
A9: I don’t mind at all! Here are the monetization (hopeful) methods with each of the local projects:
C1 - Local photography: I’ve already got all the equipment and have a good stockpile of worthy shots for prints. I’d like to try and see what I can sell. That plus potentially shoutouts in exchange for currency or services may be in the future for the local Instagram account.
C2 - Local SEO work: I’ve got a list I’ve been building of some potential customers. Once I have my site set and a good actionable plan in place, I will be carving out some time and reaching out to these businesses via 7878 direct mailing method.
C3 - Local direct mail service: See same as C2. I’ve got the financials figured out, the routes figured out, and a long list of strong potential advertisers and all contact information. These potential customers are people who are advertising in at least two circulars that are distributed to my immediate area, checked in both February and August of 2018.
C4 - Local breweries website: This one is for fun, really. As stated in the OP: I’d like to maybe sell a couple banner ads at a set monthly rate, nothing special. I’m working on a minimalist review system as well, so I can potentially charge a monthly fee for the ability to respond to customer reviews. Not sure the demand for that. I would assume it would be dependent on how well i’m ranking for relevant local terms.
C5 - Local escape room website: Same situation as the above.
C6 - Local food truck directory: I’d try to monetize through selling monthly listings. Kind of the same as the above again. See if maybe I can get some free delicious food truck food out of it too, am I right?
C7 - Local area “street” site: Again, same as above. This site is the lowest on the totem pole of the eight priority-wise, but I don’t want to just abandon it.
C8 - Roofing site for SEO purposes: Once traffic comes in and the site ranks well, I will approach local roofers via 7878 Method to show them what I can do for them. I hope to bag one of them for $2,500 per month or so to manage their full brand online. Like focused local SEO, but with a product to show as a case study.
That's all for now. Have a wonderful first half of the week, and I will have a project update for you all on Wednesday.
Alright, time for a weekly project update!
KEY: [PROJECT SITE] - Ahrefs UR|Ahrefs DR|Ahrefs RD|Organic Keywords Top 100|Organic Keywords Top 10 (As of Date)
Photos taken by me, Sunday morning.
A1: Iceland Travel Site - 9|55|82|1K|51 (1/5)
Ordered eight articles totaling 16,500 words of content from my local writers for January. Condensed my content calendar from one article posted every four days to one article every three days. The articles all need some revisions, formatting, links and images, but they are all in some form of either “ready” or assigned per the above. There are 22 articles, so with one every three days I am good until March 9th.
Published one 1800-word article targeting a 720MS buyer-centric keyword on 1/2. Posted an update on my totally blank and dormant Facebook page with a link to the article and solid copy. Boosted post with $20 for one day (1/3), just to test out some things. The ad was quickly approved and started running. Results: 3701 people reached, 130 clicks to the article, 22 clicks through to Amazon, $0. Ah well.
Published a 1377-word article targeting a 2,900MS keyword on 1/5. I created a better post sidebar, with an intro blurb, list of places we stayed on our own trip (with booking.com links), a photo of the day, and recent posts. Then I added updates pointing to that post on Facebook and Twitter, and pushed out a link to a relevant subreddit.
Tip: As this site is focused on a highly-traveled location, the area has a ton of great photos on Instagram. As an added traffic source and to drum up publicity, plus to get free photos, what I have started doing is: Adding in relevant imagery from Instagram, linking to the owner and photo, and then informing all the photographers via message that their photo is being featured on a popular travel site. Might be good for some word of mouth traffic!
Received another article from one of my writers on 1/6, 1525 words in pretty good condition. It’s not set to be published until 2/16, so I popped it in drafts.
Traffic for this site from 1/1 to 1/8: 87, 105, 217, 106, 129, 297, 238, 166.
I went ahead and disabled Smush Pro and then installed, activated and enabled the 2GB/month subscription to Imagify. My plan is to move from WMPU Dev ($49 per month and I'm only using 2-3 plugins on each site for it) and switch to an Imagify + WP Rocket setup instead, in line with this awesome article that @JamaicanMoose shared recently. This is something I'd like to incorporate across all sites by the end of January. I ran Imagify and then once it completed I deleted Smush Pro.
I then bought WP Rocket with the 20% off code that came with Imagify, so unlimited websites for a little under $160. Again, I was using WPMU Dev's Smush and Hummingbird for this, and paying $49 a month, so $108 for Imagify and $160 for WP Rocket for a full year is a savings of well over 50% ($300+) over a year, plus less site bloat. This week I will test it on the A2 travel site instead of immediately putting it on my largest site. See below for more on how that goes.
On 1/7, I started prepping the next article for posting. It started as a 980-ish word, relatively informative article. However, I was wanting a bit more from it, especially as it is going to be going after a 40,000+MS term. Looking at the current high-ranking articles and pages for this attraction, I am pretty sure I could craft something to do well. When I was done, it was over 2,000 words and was magnificent. I added well over a dozen relevant Instagram images and noted the photographer. Next week I will be messaging all photo owners from other posts and see what happens.
I published, and then posted to the same subreddit. I also posted to the main Travel subreddit, just to see what happened (hint: it’s not doing so hot). Popped it on Facebook and Twitter as well, and called it a week for this project.
Next week is two more posts, progression on the site, setting up Imagify and WP Rocket, and completion of a massive 5,000+ word guidebook that will be a lead magnet for starting up an email list. The following week I will set up HubSpot Marketing Hub Starter ($50/month), and start building up a list and cultivating customers. This tool will be used across many of these site projects. I use it extensively in my new day job, and would like to translate that knowledge to these projects.
Also in January I want to finish a database that will be used to develop custom itineraries as an income source. I will try to make it as drag and drop as possible to negate workload in the long-term. I will develop samples for 3-day, 7-day, and 14-day itineraries as a proof of concept.
A2: Other Travel Site - 7|1.3|1|6|0 (1/5)
Ordered seven articles totaling 9,000 words of content from my local writers for January. On 1/1, it had three blog posts on it already and two in drafts. I built a content calendar with post, status, estimated publish date and focus keyword. On 1/2, between the purchased and drafts, there were nine posts. Scheduled out once every four days from 1/4, those would get me to 2/8.
Posted first of the drafted articles on 1/3, 873 words on hiking tips for this location. Received two articles, posted to drafts (1025 and 979 words, one needs a little formatting work, the other is pretty solid as-is). I went ahead and added website to Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools (both www and non-www versions).
I installed the Imagify plugin (like the Iceland site) and deactivated Smush Pro. I then ran the compression on-site (remember, this site is very small compared to the Iceland one still). Then I downloaded and installed WP Rocket after disabling WPMU Dev's Hummingbird Pro. I configured using this post as a guide (except for CSS minification, which destroyed my site, and CDN, which is a job for February), then deleted Hummingbird and Smush completely.
One of the articles I had received (the one that was solid), I formatted properly, ensured it was Yoast greenlit across the board, added relevant imagery and external/internal links, and then posted. I’m going to wait until I have several articles up and are ranking for a few good keywords before pushing these out onto social media.
Next week brings more work on this site, as well as another post or two and some revisions to existing pages.
B1: Tools/Outdoor Products Amazon Affiliate Site - N/A|N/A|1|70|0 (1/5)
Ordered a “10 Best” article and a Tips and Tricks article (2,500 words and 1,500 words respectively) for the site in January. Added website to Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools (both www and non-www versions).
Next week's work includes revisions and expansions to the home page content, and the development of a spreadsheet tracking structure similar to B2 below.
B2: Tools/Outdoor Products Amazon Affiliate Site - 24|8|43|570|29 (1/5)
Ordered a 2,500 word “Best Of” article for the site in January. This site was purchased from Hacko back in the day, and came in awesome shape and already ranking for some keywords.
I created a spreadsheet with a list of all pages, reviews, and articles present on-site, and what I want to do with each page. 36 total items, almost 37,000 words. Once all were reviewed, there was only one page I was fine with leaving as-is, and that was the Amazon affiliate disclosure page. But this one is in a good starting place for 2019.
I’ve made $100 or so from the site in 2018 from Amazon sales. It’s getting traffic. It’s ranking well for some great search terms with high traffic value. Ahrefs says UR24, DR8, 573 organic keywords in the top 100. 29 page one keywords, five of which with MS over 1,000. So I’m happy with its starting point this year.
My January focus is on overhauling the current content and making the site more user friendly.
Next week, my goal is to start the content overhaul strong, revising five of the articles and getting them to a point where I would consider them “done”. I also want to ensure I have Amazon affiliate links on all articles where applicable.
B3: Tools/Outdoor Products Amazon Affiliate Site - N/A|N/A|1|29|0 (1/5)
Added website to Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools (both www and non-www versions). Other than that, did not spend any time on this project this week.
Next week I will be creating a content spreadsheet like in B2 above for this to determine what and where needs to be changed. I’d like to have this site in a great place by the end of Q1, but get started on content and structure overhauls next week instead of consistent pushing.
B4: Tools/Outdoor Products Amazon Affiliate Site - NEW
Ordered two articles of 1,000 words each for the site in January. This site is being provided as a review copy for an upcoming Amazon affiliate site service, and from what I have seen thus far everything is going to go swimmingly. It should be delivered next week.
Next week I will hit the ground running with research and any revisions I see that are needed.
B5: Baby Products Amazon Affiliate Site - 5|0.2|1|110|0 (1/5)
Added website to Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools (both www and non-www versions). Other than this, nothing was done on this project this week.
Next week, I will be taking a drafted “Top of 2019” article that has been sitting on site and make it the home page, and get the structure of the site set properly. There are already low-quality articles for ten products, as well as several blog-style posts. I want to get the site properly themed and in the right structure, and would like to have that done and good to go by the end of next week.
B6: Jewelry Amazon Affiliate Site - 23|1.5|43|460|12 (1/5)
Did not spend any time on this project this week. This one I will start putting a larger focus on in February.
B7: Fitness Amazon Affiliate Site - N/A|N/A|1|0|0 (1/5)
Added website to Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools (both www and non-www versions). Other than that, did not spend any time on this project this week. It’s currently a blank slate. I am going to have a good bit (10,000 words) written on this site in February, structured like a standard affiliate site, as such:
2,000 words for a home page “best of” list with a best, runner up, and budget option
1,000 words each for the three products in question
2x 1,000 word blog posts
3x 500 word blog posts
1,000 word “best accessories” style post
500 word about page
Next week I will be putting up GeneratePress and beginning some formatting to ensure I can start moving when the content starts dripping in in February.
C1: Local Photography Project - NEW
Added website to Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools (both www and non-www versions). I want this website to be super minimalist, so I installed my go-to theme for that, Zen Habits. My plan is for the home page to just be a title, subtitle, maybe a few lines of text, and then just images I’ve taken available for sale. Clicking the image leads to a “post” that is the picture, and different size buying options. I want to have this set up with 12 images by the end of January. February I’ll figure out a payment processor.
I removed any sample posts and pages, extraneous themes, default plugins, and everything from the media library. I removed the subscribe piece of the footer, and replaced the default zh2 footer links with About, Instagram, and Facebook. I made a Home and About page, and made the Home page the default home.
I added the first photo, uploading the full resolution (6000x4000) and a website page resolution (1500x1000). Did some image SEO on the file name and alt tags. Added a page for the photo, linked to it from the home page. On the page for the photo, I added lines for a 5x7 framed print matted to 8x10, an 8x10 framed print matted to 11x14, and an 11x14 framed print matted to 16x20. I also added options for 5x7, 8x10, 11x14, and 16x20 unframed prints.
Over the next few weeks, I will add the remaining photos, and will develop processes and price points for each to ensure consistency and flow of orders. I’m not outsourcing this. When someone orders, I print, get the frame, mat and mail myself. This project is personal to me, and I want to add the personal touch. Plus maximize profit potential.
C2: Local SEO Service Project - 9|1.3|2|0|0 (1/5)
Ordered a 1,000 word article for this site in January. Did not spend any time on this project this week.
Next week I will be starting formatting of the existing theme.
C3: Local Direct Mail Project - 9|1.3|2|0|0 (1/5)
Did not spend any time on this project this week.
Next week I will be starting formatting of the existing theme.
C4: Local Breweries Project - NEW
Ordered a 2,000 word article for the site in January. Added website to Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools (both www and non-www versions).
Next week I am going to research some theme options and begin downloading relevant images for the breweries, including logos and interior/exterior photos. The posts will need to be formatted and some revisions done as well.
C5: Local Escape Rooms Project - N/A|N/A|0|35|0 (1/5)
Ordered a 1,000 word article for the site in January. Received 1/3. Posted same day with some links and formatting (no images yet). 1,074 words for that article. Currently the site is not well formatted, but I checked in Ahrefs on a whim, and it’s already ranking between 30 and 60 for a ton of relevant keywords (34… way more than I thought), and #56 for my main keyword with minimal work, so that’s great.
There are five escape room locations with multiple rooms in each. Currently, there are 800 or so words of content for each of the five locations, and pages for each room which are currently linked to but blank. I added the site to Google Analytics and Webmaster Tools and submitted the sitemap. I wanted stronger visibility into traffic and such.
Plans for next week include working on the site layout, and putting up 100-word snippets with a relevant image for each of the rooms.
C6: Local Food Trucks Project - NEW
Did not spend any time on this project this week. No plans to mess with this until March.
C7: Local Street Area Project - N/A|N/A|1|5|0 (1/5)
Did not spend any time on this project this week. No plans to mess with this until April.
C8: Roofing Site for SEO Purposes - 9|1.3|7|0|0 (1/5)
Added website to Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools (both www and non-www versions). Other than that, and responding to a message on Facebook for someone asking for work (I told them I would send their info to the actual local roofers, and then I did), I did not spend any time on this project this week.
Next week I will continue working on editing the page copy to ensure uniqueness of design and content compared to other sites using the same carbon-copy content (there are several hundred that I found).
Instagram Growth Progression
Follower statistics from 1/1 to 1/8:
I’ll take it. I am using a mixture of FollowPlanner and the actual app on my phone at times. If looking linear, here is how the accounts are post-wise:
1 (Travel): daily posts, getting anywhere from 2,500 to 10,000 likes per photo
2 (NSFW): daily posts, from 1,800 to 5,000 likes per photo
3 (Photos): posts every 1-3 days, getting from 500-1500 likes per photo
4 (Travel): posts every 2-4 days, ~1,200 likes per photo
5 (Misc): bought the account, need to purge posts, then will post once every other day
6 (NSFW): posts every 3-5 days, 1,000 to 1,500 likes per photo
7 (NSFW): posts every week, 300 to 500 likes per photo
8 (Local): No posts, will start weekly posts in February once I get a content calendar built
9 (Hobbies): No posts, will start weekly posts in February once I get a content calendar built
10 (Travel): posts every week, 200 to 600 likes per photo
11 (Cars): one post, 500+ likes, will start weekly posts in February once I get a content calendar built
12 (Fitness): one post, 900+ likes, will start weekly posts in February once I get a content calendar built
13 (Travel): No posts, will start weekly posts in February once I get a content calendar built
14 (Local): No posts, will start weekly posts in February once I get a content calendar built
15 (Website): No posts, will start weekly posts in February once I get a content calendar built
NSFW Website Projects
Did not spend any time on any of these projects this week, except for a couple tweets for one of the accounts (40k+ followers). Likely won’t spend any time on them next week, but it will depend on how the workload for the above projects goes.
Financial Notes for the Week
Received a check for a little over $4,000 for escrow overpayment, deposited along with a couple hundred in checks I had forgotten to deposit a couple months back
Paid $1,500 towards student loans vs $300+ required monthly payment. 6.2% interest on one of the four years, no thanks.
Currently working on several large content requests ordered this week. All on very interesting topics.
Health Notes for the Week
Started a blend of intermittent fasting on an 18/6 schedule, the ketogenic diet, and 12,000+ steps per day. Began walking my dog 1+ miles each morning, and doing 3+ miles of cardio during lunch time, switching between walking around the outside of a dead mall near my office and hiking around an Arboretum nearby. The weather has been wonderful for it.
Sunday I did a 5.5 mile hike through the sand (hence the photos), then hit up Costco and mowed the lawn, so hit over 27,000 steps that day. I am currently down over 7.5 pounds since New Year’s morning. Here are the stats and YTD graphs:
That's all for this week! More to come next week, with a bit better split between project focuses. Hit me with those questions, and hope all is well.
Good luck with your journey! Always liked reading your posts.
The last fitness graphs you posted - can you tell us if it's from some app or you made them yourself?
Good luck, John. Try not to overextend yourself. You have a lot on your plate right now.
Ahh, I do love reading a journey by @Sherb
In terms of the fitness goals, I don't know if you're into car detailing, but it's a bloody great way to get active and get plenty of fresh air as well. Good luck with the journey
Great post @Sherb love the way you’ve took ownership of everything from last year - the good and the bad.
Good luck for 2019.
When I read journeys like this, I realize how much of a slacker I am. Sherb, thanks for the non-intentional inspiration.
I feel like a lazy bum. I admire your drive!
Awesome update, thank you!
I'm looking forward the next one!
Response time. Going to standard multiquote because it's far easier.
Right under the first picture in my OP, sir.
Didn’t hit my 2018 goal, maybe did half of what I was hoping to do, but still hit six figures
Full-time job made me depressed and miserable, lost focus on many things from plans
Stock market was a killer for me in Q4 2018, dropping net worth by 20% or so in the process
Plenty of goals in 2019, but more organized and strategized, with a more relevant day job
Have four main “projects” in 2019: Travel sites, Amazon affiliate sites, local sites/brands, and content
Hey thanks! Those are simple Excel for Mac graphs. Nothing fancy. I run a lot out of either Excel or Google Sheets.
Thanks man. I added an extra challenge to grabbing a new puppy last night. Love the little guy already though. The wife is working nights for the next four weeks, which gives me a few hours each evening to hammer through tasks.
I'm very much into car detailing! Have two huge crates full of detailing tools, sprays, waxes, microfibers and a dual action that I need to pick back up. I'd like to take the seats out of my hatchback and use an extractor on them. 10+ years of dirt and food grease, ick. That plus some solid 303 Aerospace everywhere makes things nice and shiny.
Thanks a ton! Yeah I probably fail more than most any member here. But I try to counteract them with either learning experiences or equivalent/greater successes.
Thanks to all!
Some quick updates:
Got a new puppy (Maltese/Terrier mix, eight weeks old). He's awesome.
Down 10lbs now since New Year's. Still doing IF (18/6) and Keto, plus getting 10,000+ steps daily.
Still rocking 1,000+ new followers per day on the Insta accounts.
Tearing through content writing gigs and project-based tasks.
Stock market is a tiny bit higher currently than it was at the start of the year, so that's nice.
Awesome, always great to see another person on here is into detailing. I've heard great things about 303.
Oh, and if you have alloy wheels, two layers of colinite 845 does wonders in repelling brake dust.
Separate names with a comma.