Discussion in 'My Journey Discussions' started by Sherb, Dec 31, 2018.
Not my 401k, down 7.87% this year. Yay.
FORMAT CHANGE TO BE MORE MINIMAL AND LESS WORDY. ALSO REMOVED THE PICTURES... EXCEPT THE ONE AT THE END. TOO MUCH SCROLLING.
KEY: [PROJECT SITE] - Ahrefs UR|Ahrefs DR|Ahrefs RD|Organic Keywords Top 100|Organic Keywords Top 10 (As of Date)
Purchased the $50/month HubSpot plan. Going to use it to create forms and email lists + track metrics, and potentially ad management for Google and Facebook. We use the enterprise edition at work, so I’m familiar with the processes necessary. I would like to use this for several of the below projects, to keep everything in one place.
My ultimate goal for this upcoming week on a full project basis is to replace the WPMU Dev plugins with Imagify and WP Rocket and get them properly configured across all sites. This will let me cancel WPMU Dev (also $50 per month) and allocate that cost to HubSpot.
I also want to ensure that all project sites are set on Google Webmaster Tools and Google Analytics by the end of next week.
This week was far less productive project-wise than last week. We got a puppy Sunday and my wife started night shift work. I churned through a good bit of content orders as well and took on a few more. I should have 18-20 hours of dedicated time at a minimum next week to work through projects.
A1: Iceland Travel Site - 8(-1)|23(-22)|80(-2)|1.2K(+138)|48(-3) (1/12)
Posted a solid 1,500+ word article targeting a 400MS keyword that one of my writers drafted up. Added to several social networks.
Posted another solid 1,600+ word article targeting a 720MS keyword that another one of my writers drafted up. Added to several social networks.
Received a very high quality 3,000 word article from @JamesBlake, added it as a draft to the site. This one is basically good to go once I add some more links (internal and external) and images from Instagram (with attributions). It’s targeting a 1,900MS keyword. I plan to post next week, outside of the every-three-days window. This means that over 9,000 words of content (four articles) will be posted to the site next week.
Ran Imagify again. I wasn’t thrilled with the site speed, so I ran through GTMetrix to see what was up. As suspected, things were not good. PageSpeed Score 39%, YSlow Score 63%. Load time 3 sec, Total page size 2.02MB, 50 requests.
My favorite metric to track is active users (daily/weekly/monthly). Here is how that is trending over the past 30 days:
There were some things I didn’t get to this week. Next week are the four posts mentioned above, as well as that 5,000+ word guidebook. Going to use FancyHands to outsource the image gathering. I will also set up WP Rocket and work on website optimization.
B3: Tools/Outdoor Products Amazon Affiliate Site - N/A|N/A|1|26(-3)|0 (1/12)
Created content spreadsheet just like what was done to B2 last week. Website currently has:
Over 31,000 words, all of which need to be revised and rewritten/expanded.
12 individual product reviews, each ~1,500 words
Three “Top 3” style articles of 2,000+ words
Five posts, one over 2,000 words, four of 1,000 words or so
Developed structure for how I want the site to be formatted and laid out.
Next week I will be taking care of website structure and optimization using the plugins you’ve already heard about quite a bit. I will also edit the slugs and titles. Currently the site ranks top 100 for 20-something keywords. None of them are page one. If I lose those keywords, I am not concerned. Traffic is nonexistent currently on the site. Plenty of things to do on this one to get it ready by end of Q1!
B7: Fitness Amazon Affiliate Site - N/A|N/A|1|0|0 (1/12)
Got GeneratePress set up, and installed and activated Yoast, Imagify, WP Rocket, and Akismet plugins.
Set up the Catalyst sub-theme from the Site Library, content imported and everything. I have worked with this sub-theme on the A2 (Other Travel Site) project. It’s relatively quick and easy, and should make a good home page setup for an Amazon affiliate site. I trashed the two posts that showed up with the import.
There are five relevant posts of around 1,500 words each on the blog for this site. They need some serious revisions and “Yoasting” to get to my level of satisfaction. I plan to take care of one each week. Next week I will also take care of replacing default images and text of the home page and get things set to where the home page can be considered done the following week.
C4: Local Breweries Project - NEW
Removed extraneous themes and plugins, updated GeneratePress license key, and installed the Spacious sub-theme of GeneratePress
Installed and activated Yoast SEO, activated Akismet, updated the GP Premium plugin. Changed the container width to 700px. This is going to be a fast, clean, quick-loading and minimalist site. Home page with a list of breweries and links to the full reviews, a page with reviews of each brewery, rankings and submission form, and a blog. Installed and activated Wp Rocket, removed W3 Total Cache.
Revised and formatted the home page to my level of satisfaction, and grabbed 700x200 crops of relevant brewery-related stock photos to go between breweries on the home page.
Installed and activated Imagify, configured and ran optimization. Ran home page through GTMetrix. 100% page speed score, 88% YSlow score (because I’m not on a CDN yet with this site). 0.5sec load time, 274kb page size, 26 total requests. Perfect for fast loading on mobile for those looking for a brewery in a pinch.
Next week, five of the nine brewery reviews will be revised and completed. I will also add a contact form from HubSpot to the Contact page. The following week, the other four will be taken care of, and the first blog post will be posted.
C5: Local Escape Rooms Project - N/A|N/A|0|35|0 (1/5)
The site was originally on a different GeneratePress sub-theme. I was really liking the Spacious theme in the same simple minimal format as the Local Breweries Project (C4, boom). So.
Removed extraneous themes and plugins, updated GeneratePress license key, and installed the Spacious sub-theme of GeneratePress
Removed, deactivated, installed and activated plugins until the only ones were Akismet, GP Premium, Imagify, WP Rocket, and Yoast SEO.
Changed the container width to 700px. This is going to be a fast, clean, quick-loading and minimalist site like the above C4. Highest level will be the Home Page, with quick overviews of each of the five room locations in the city. Second level will be pages for each of the room locations, third level will be short pages with 100-word summaries of each room.
Next week I will write up 750 or so words for the home page, with links leading to each of the room location pages. I will also add a contact form from HubSpot to the Contact page. Work on this page will be concurrent with the Local Breweries Project, as the processes, structure and format are similar.
C8: Roofing Site for SEO Purposes - 9|1.3|7|0|0 (1/12)
There are six service pages on this site. Current word counts are 213, 121, 775, 626, 343 and 409. These pages need to be rewritten so they are unique from other sites using this theme, as well as focused on the keywords I am looking to rank for. I took the first one from 213 to 265. The rest are on the docket for next 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). I will also ensure that this website has the plugin set I’ve been pushing for all sites of mine to have (Akismet, Imagify, WP Rocket, Yoast).
My goal is to have this website complete and in management mode by the end of Q1, and then start pushing rankings and keywords through Q2 for a mailing for potential customers at the start of Q3.
Instagram Growth Progression
Stats from 1/1 to 1/15:
Hit the 200,000 club, so that’s cool. I was running into issues posting to quite a few of the accounts from FollowPlanner, so I grabbed a black square and tried posting to all 15 accounts to see which ones were working and which ones were not. Every single one of them worked for the black square. Go figure.
No Work Done This Week
A2: Other Travel Site - 7|1.3|1|7(+1)|0 (1/12)
B1: Tools/Outdoor Products Amazon Affiliate Site - N/A|N/A|1|74(+4)|0 (1/12)
B2: Tools/Outdoor Products Amazon Affiliate Site - 24|11(+3)|43|568(-2)|27(-2) (1/12)
B4: Tools/Outdoor Products Amazon Affiliate Site - NEW
B5: Baby Products Amazon Affiliate Site - 5|0.2|1|125(+15)|0 (1/12)
B6: Jewelry Amazon Affiliate Site - 23|1.4(-0.1)|43|446(-14)|11(-1) (1/12)
C1: Local Photography Project - NEW
C2: Local SEO Service Project - 9|1.3|2|0|0 (1/5)
C3: Local Direct Mail Project - 9|1.3|2|0|0 (1/5)
C6: Local Food Trucks Project - NEW
C7: Local Street Area Project - N/A|N/A|1|5|0 (1/5)
NSFW Website Projects
Financial Notes for the Week
The market has been doing quite well in the first sixteen days of 2019. Thus far year-to-date, my three largest investment accounts (Robinhood, Vanguard, Fidelity) have grown by $3,130.64.
Health Notes for the Week
I am currently down almost 11 pounds since New Year’s morning. Here are the stats and YTD graphs:
I have installed an app on my phone called Zero that assists with fasting tracking. Still working through 18/6 intermittent fasting, as well as five-plus miles of walking at a minimum each day. I feel great, but I’m also trying to stay as keto as possible, and I sure do miss carbs.
I anticipate doubling productivity next week compared to this week. We shall see!
Photo from this week, sunrise on a walk near our house:
There is nothing like a sunrise experience.
Wowers, you sure can manage time! I can't even keep up with 3 projects.
Don't you think it's time to quit your job/finding another one when that kind of stuff is happening? I had the same issue, I did the same and feel way better now.
Based on this thread that's exactly what he did I guess. At least he's changed roles inside his current company as it seems.
Great to see another big journey thread from you @Sherb. I followed the last one and was sad to see that the updates stopped after some time, hope this time you have less stress and are able to continue this thread
Nice journey @Sherb.
Lot of features are good on Pro/Enterprise but not available on Starter package.
The Hubspot Starter package only allows $ 1,000 of expenses on FB/IG per month and there is no audience syncing :-/
With so many projects, if you target them all with ads, you will need to add the Ads addon, +90€/month. Or perhaps, you don't expect to spend more than $1,000/month ?
This has to be one of the best journey I've read yet. Gonna keep watching this. Lots of value in here
Missed Monday due to site-related issues. Response day is upon us.
Totally agree. I am hoping at some point soon to get back down to the beach for another one of those sunrises. Maybe Boneyard Beach over at Big Talbot. Went there for the full moon last month and it was pretty great.
Only time will tell if I can actually manage these projects or if some fall out of the basket. I'm hopeful I can wrangle the time to get these done without things dragging on for months like last year.
I did haha. Same company, much more rewarding and far lower stress role with higher pay.
Thanks! I am hoping the same.
Appreciate the insight. Currently I'm not planning on spending over $1,000 per month on ads (yet), but when that time comes I will grab that add-on. Eventually I'd love to grab the Social piece of it too. Working deeply in Enterprise with my day job has shown a ton of promise with Hubspot on multi-project things like what I have going on.
Thanks so much!
I very much appreciate that. I hope to keep them coming as well.
Just out of curiosity...what's your typing speed WPM?
Over the next six weeks I will be putting focus on B1 to B6 one per week. Trying to stretch myself out over all six sites in addition to everything else on my plate was proving futile. Even just one hour each day focusing on one single site over a week is almost a full work day dedicated to the site. After the six weeks are up, I will decide to either repeat the process or move to two or three sites a week to expand, revise, etc.
I’m not going to be putting Ahrefs updates in every title any more. Every quarter I will post up some Ahrefs screenshots and stats foe each project. Obsessing over those numbers on a weekly basis does me no good, and isn’t something that many of you will care about anyway.
Main focuses for next week: Deciding on what to do and structuring 5k+ word Iceland article, plus posting two more articles. Weekly focus on affiliate site B1. Put more focus onto the other travel site, and get the brewery site to a form of content-based “done” (i.e. get the rest of the breweries edited). Work on escape rooms site (this is the next smallest one that I think I can get to content-based “done” relatively quickly).
A1: Iceland Travel Site
Didn’t get as much posted as I hoped this week, but still got a good 4,500+ words up. Posted 1,564 word article on a 5,400MS search term. Posted to social media and Reddit. Did not use images from Instagram, as this article was related to a particular season, not a location.
Submitted a request for someone from FancyHands to find me 50+ images from Instagram and attributions to use for the massive South Iceland guide that I plan to utilize as a lead magnet for gathering emails and contact information. I received the 50+ images and all links the next day (Tuesday). I’m currently throwing around the idea of just making that ebook a longform guide-type post that is linked from the home page and sidebar. It would rank pretty well I believe, and with 50+ Instagram users to ping about their photo being featured, might get some solid word of mouth.
Posted 2,974 word article on a 1,900MS search term. Posted to social media and Reddit. Used images from Instagram, added users to log in which I will mass DM from my current 47k+ account notifying of a feature in the coming weeks.
Growth of 30-day MAUs (dark blue line):
B1: Tools/Outdoor Products Amazon Affiliate Site
Completely overhauled the home page content. It is sitting at 2,047 total words in the following structure: Introduction, selecting a product, slider with top six, how to buy and other information, what to look for, our six top picks with thumbnails, information and links, and conclusion. Pretty standard buyer’s guide.
B2: Tools/Outdoor Products Amazon Affiliate Site
This site went down for a few days due to a mistake of mine. I worked with @littlewebdragon, as the site is hosted on Servikus, and he was able to get it restored from a backup and back up and running in no time. If you’re looking for a web host, I would highly recommend his services. This was mid-day Tuesday the site was operational again, so most of the week nothing was done on this, but Wednesday I made up for lost time.
Updated all current plugins that exist on-site (there are a good number of them, 19). Deactivated and deleted All-in-one WP Migration, Google Analytics Dashboard for WP, Hummingbird Pro, Newsletter, JCH Optimize, Smush Pro, WP Super Cache, WPMU Dev Dashboard, Query Strings Remover and Simple Revisions Delete.
Activated Akismet properly via API key. Installed and activated Imagify via API key. Ran Imagify bulk compression on images and theme files. Installed and activated WP Rocket. Configured per this article minus the CDN. Ran through GTmetrix. PageSpeed Score 94%, YSlow Score 78% (almost all based on CDN), Load time 1.5 sec, Total page size 541kb, Requests 49.
Added two of the posts I had received from my writers. They both need some revisions and some formatting, as well as images, but I just wanted to get some fresh content up ASAP. Article 1 was 1,490 words and was greenlit for both readability and SEO once I added a keyword and formatted a few headings. It’s going after a 2,400MS term.
Article 2 was actually a top 10 buyer’s guide. A solid intro, 10 product reviews with advantages and disadvantages, and a solid conclusion with recommendations for different situations. Added in proper spacing, formatting, affiliate links to Amazon, links to the products that already had full reviews, and images. Total word count was 2,591 and was green for both in Yoast. It’s going after an 11,100MS term. Created as a page and published. Replaced my Best Of in the nav bar with a link to this.
Removing the newsletter plugin left a blank section on the home page and another blank section on the sidebar. Replaced the home page blank section with somewhat of an intro, and linked to the Article 2/buyer’s guide above. Replaced the sidebar newsletter section with a Featured product, with a thumbnail and link to review.
B4: Tools/Outdoor Products Amazon Affiliate Site
I received the site from @Lego earlier in the week, and he did an incredible job. See my full review here.
I also received two high-quality articles from @JamesBlake, so I went ahead and added them up with some quick formatting. I'm not performing any revisions or adding images yet, I just want to get more content on there instead of letting it marinade in my Downloads box. The articles were preformatted, I just popped in the suggested meta description and a keyword into Yoast. Article 1 was a little over 1,100 words. Article 2 was a bit over 1,000.
Removed a few extraneous plugins and activated Akismet.
C1: Local Photography Project
Added an about page with relevant information and links pointing to some of the other local sites I have (C2 to C8 here).
Installed and activated Imagify and WP Rocket. There is no need for Yoast. I ran Imagify and set to run on upload.
Took the photos that I wanted to add to the website and named them properly. I also ensured that there was a full 6000x4000 version and a 1500x1000 version uploaded to the website for each of the photos. Then all 1500x1000 photos were added to the home page with their relevant titles.
I created pages for all of the individual images (there were 15) and prices under the images on each post for 5x7, 8x10, and 11x14 matted and framed, as well as 8x10, 11x14, and 16x20 prints.
I ran GTMetrix out of curiosity on the site. 97% Page speed, 92% YSlow score, 1 sec load time, 3.41MB page size (15x 1500x1000 images on the home page, remember), 20 requests. Zoom!
At this point, the site is complete in my eyes until I get the payment processing set up via PayPal and a contact form through Hubspot added to a Contact page to start some possible lead gathering and list building. These will both be done over the next two weeks.
C2: Local SEO Service Project
The site was running on a version of the X theme that was weighted down and bloated. I wiped it completely clean with the WP Reset plugin and installed GeneratePress, as well as the Aspire sub-theme.
I deleted the published test posts with the sub-theme, then added in the 1,000 word post that one of my writers sent over. It will need some revisions and formatting, but for now I just wanted to get something up there.
I installed Imagify, WP Rocket and Yoast SEO. I didn’t set them up yet, as I wanted to replace the images in the stock site with my own custom images. There was a header image (1920 × 1278), three icons, two additional images (1920 × 1080), an about image (1200 × 800), and a background image (1920 × 1080). I configured five of my own photos (it’s a local SEO site remember), and replaced the images.
C4: Local Breweries Project
Rewrote and updated "Brewery 1" to 635 edited words. Formatted, added a logo and featured image, included links to their website and social media. Added links for the telephone number and a link on the address to open in Google Maps. Yoast was green for readability and a focus keyword. Before revisions this was #45 already for the brewery name.
Instagram Growth Progression
Stats from 1/1 to 1/23:
Grew almost 7,000 total followers across all accounts in the past week, over 25,000 since New Year’s. Ran into a few follow-related issues with all three of the NSFW accounts, but I’m working through it.
NSFW Website Projects
Checked on one of the website’s Analytics stats, even though nothing had been done to the site in months and the home page was deindexed due to a Lumen takedown. Still had 7k users over the past 28 days. That’s cool. I subscribed to a Patreon for the subject, scraped all the images, and unsubscribed. Should be good for new content soon. The associated Twitter for this one has almost 43,000 followers, and is the last bastion from a massive Twitter follow/unfollow run that lasted a couple years (along with the Iceland twitter).
I plan to spend a little bit of time in early February updating this, finding some stronger monetization methods, and formulating a plan for pushing out updates to social media and more.
Checked on my lifetime stats with that for Chaturbate and CrakRevenue for this site. Chaturbate total payout was $32.30. Crakrevenue was $19.71. Look out Warren Buffett.
No Work Done This Week
A2: Other Travel Site
B3: Tools/Outdoor Products Amazon Affiliate Site
B5: Baby Products Amazon Affiliate Site
B6: Jewelry Amazon Affiliate Site
B7: Fitness Amazon Affiliate Site
C3: Local Direct Mail Project
C5: Local Escape Rooms Project
C6: Local Food Trucks Project
C7: Local Street Area Project
C8: Roofing Site for SEO Purposes
Financial Notes for the Week
The market has continued to do quite well in January. Thus far year-to-date, my three largest investment accounts (Robinhood, Vanguard, Fidelity) have grown by $3,320.35, $189.71 higher than this time last week. Not bad with one less trading day and a disastrous Tuesday.
Health Notes for the Week
Went off the wagon over the weekend and absolutely carbo-loaded. Still managed to get my steps and activity needed. Fell off the wagon for fasting over the weekend too. Went from 220.3 on the 17th to 224.4 on the 20th. Got back to business and was back down to 221.7 this morning. Likely will be under 221 tomorrow morning. 10.5lbs down YTD (three weeks in).
I’m going to do a few free weight workouts this upcoming week as well to add some strength training in. Still walking regularly. Going to continue that daily, and start to incorporate running in the mornings at least twice a week.
Photo of the Week
Really intrested in the local SEO site, what theme was bloated? Also what is your opinion on builders (thrive architect).
Also what cameras do you own?
Your journey is truly a great work that we should be following (which I am now!). The level of detail is amazing and I thank you for that. This thread is encouraging and enlightening both and I know it will help me on my own journey. Thank you for sharing your journey with us.
ok playa, I see you making some big moves that's some impressive workload you're packi there
quite interested in the photography project, selling prints and nsfw projects. what kind of photography do you do?
Awesome write up @Sherb ,
I recently took interest in Photography and looking at dominating the stock photography Niche. What do you think ?
You take good pictures and I think you can have some for sale.
I like your attitude and while I know it takes an immense amount of work to post the detailed descriptions here you can be assured that people are enjoying them.
According to some online tool, 105WPM! Better than I thought haha. Millions of words of content in the past few years, and I never really learned the "home row" style of typing. How about that.
It was a version of the X theme, Agency demo: http://demo.theme.co/agency/. I was a huge proponent of X until I was shown the wonders and speed of GeneratePress. Builders/Thrive I've never messed around with, at least not to my knowledge.
The photos I take are either with my iPhone 6S or with an entry level Nikon D3300. I've got the standard 18-55mm lens that came with it, and a 55-200mm lens as well. The next step is either going to be an 18-300mm lens (https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00JKUPRF4), or a new camera.
Hey thanks a bunch! I'm hopeful I can keep this one going at a steady rate and have something good come out of it.
The NSFW projects and the photography work are separate projects altogether. The more time that passes, the more I think I'm going to ditch four of the five NSFW projects, build up the fifth and then sell it off.
The photography project is a local thing. It started out with me taking my camera and wandering around the city to explore and get exercise. I'm from the mountains of North Carolina in the middle of nowhere, so this level of infrastructure in a place I see every day was totally alien to me. The more time I spent out and about (this is the largest city by area in the lower 48, so plenty of things to see), the more I took pictures of.
Eventually I started an Instagram account for it, which is now at close to 26k followers after a little over a year, and is one of the largest local area focused accounts, with by far the highest engagement rate of them all. Not bad for a city of 1.6 million people. I had several people both through that and in real life ask me about selling prints, so I finally have set up a site for it with my dozen or so best quality photos from the DSLR. I'm going to be setting up PayPal in the next week or so to accept payments, and will handle the printing, framing and mailing myself vs dealing with a company like Fine Art America that takes a massive chunk off the top. It's a project of passion, so I have no problem with that. Follow in my mom's footsteps on that one, as she did a lot of that in her last few years.
I researched that a little bit. The skill level that would need to be had to compete in any way, shape or form with the big dogs of stock photography would take years for me to learn. More power to you, but I see that as being an insanely hard niche to get into.
Thanks so much to you both!
SOME QUICK NOTES
After a month of literally no commission from Amazon, I got three separate orders in the past four days for a whopping $15.61. I don't consider that earned income until it hits my bank account, though.
Gained back some weight over Friday and Saturday again. Sunday I was unable to do much of any exercise outside or walking, as we had 24 straight hours of steady rain. Sitting at 221.6 as of this morning, though, so it's on its way down. Going to be possibly doing the zero carb thing for a few days and see how that goes.
One of my highest quality traffic sources for the Iceland site has been responding to inquiries on travel related subreddits and providing insight. I am going back to doing some of that, and will likely utilize some Quora answers/questions to drive traffic and links in the near future as well. I need to cement myself as an expert, as I think I finally am haha.
Finalizing my content requests for February. I think it will be closing in on 60,000 total words that month, at a total cost of $1,100. Content income has been ~$2,200 in January, and estimating another $1,000 or so in monthly costs for subscription services, hosting, domains etc, I'm breaking even, which is great.
I salute the dedication you have placed to make up this journey thread. This is really inspiring and could be motivation to many. I hope to learn a lot from this thread
I could help you write quality contents for you. Please message me so we can talk as I am looking for gigs. I am pretty good.
Separate names with a comma.