Welcome to my niche site project which I’m calling Keep it Simple, Steven.
It’s a play on words for the KISS acronym, Keep it Simple, Stupid.
This post will update the journey I’ve had with this niche site so far.
I’ll share the total earnings and traffic, along with some struggles I’ve had maintaining focus and success with this site.
In future posts, I’ll be sharing my plans and strategies in the coming months, documenting the entire process.
If you’re new to niche sites, I believe this project will be extremely valuable.
Table of Contents
A Brief History of This Niche Site
I bought a niche site a few years ago and proceeded to almost abandon it.
The early days seemed promising and I had high hopes. But due to little action taken, algorithm hits, and other life challenges, the site gradually (and then suddenly) took a nosedive.
Now I’m ready to “dive” back into the site and make a come back.
They say there’s no such thing as failure, only feedback. And I’ve gotten a ton of feedback in the last few years, even though this site is far from successful.
What to Expect from Niche Site Project KISS
This post is the first in this series, where I’ll be sharing everything there is to know about this site from when I purchased it, to last month. (Feb 2023.)
Moving forward, I’ll be posting monthly updates of the site’s progress, starting from the month of March 2023. You can expect each update to go live in the first week of the month.
Things I’ll be sharing include:
- Income reports and expenses
- Number of posts (published or updated)
- Google Search Console data (impressions, clicks, CTR)
- Google Analytics data (traffic, average engagement time, affiliate clicks, etc)
- Rank tracking positions using SerpRobot
- Goals (wins and setbacks)
The only things I wont be sharing are the niche and domain.
Why the Name KISS?
My past niche site project attempts haven’t worked out so well for several reasons.
But my biggest drawbacks were caused by too much complexity.
Working on too many projects at the same time and struggles with my brain. More on my brain later.
To put it another way, almost everything I’ve attempted in life, I’ve made much harder than it needs to be.
So, I’m naming this Niche Site Project KISS (Keep It Simple, Steven), because I want to keep things as simple as possible.
- Only working on one niche site at a time
- Focusing entirely on content production
- Tracking only the absolute essentials
- Keeping things as organized as possible
Will I be able to refrain from complicating things? That’s a difficult question.
Seriously, my ego is pretty clever at tricking me. You’ll see what I mean, I’m sure.
If you look up the definition of stuck, you’ll see a picture of my face, weeping like a baby.
It’s why I got into personal developement and reprogramming my mind in the last five years.
I needed to get over myself. I read hundreds of books and took a mindset certification. For real.
I even spent $4,000 on a personal transformation coaching program with a world leading life coach. It was life changing on a core level.
To give more context to my story, I’ll finish this post off with some challenges I’ve experienced in life that have contributed to my niche site failures.
I think many bloggers and niche site builders will relate. And hopefully, you’ll find some encouragement.
For now, let’s first look at the setbacks I’ve had with the site and then we’ll look at the sites overall performance.
Stuggles with The Site
The site was purchased from Motion Invest who provided a great experience. Read my Motion Invest review to get all the details.
Just to clarify, I don’t attribute any of the struggles I’ve had to Motion Invest. That’s all on me.
I think many people buy things like courses or “money making” products and blame the product when it doesn’t work.
This is just an excuse people make. They deflect taking responsability to avoid feeling bad about themselves.
Almost anything you buy has value. It’s up to you to make it work.
That being said, it doesn’t completely negate personal challenges such as mental health, adversity, and fear.
You just have to work on yourself, and success will follow.
Here are a few of the struggles I’ve had since the purchase of the site.
There were over 100 articles published, but many of them were violating the Amazon Associates rules.
Things like product images uploaded on WordPress and sharing details about Amazon product reviews.
Some of the content was way below average, I was amazed they were ranking. Some articles weren’t even finished.
Then the structure of internal links was all over the place.
It was a challenge to put things right from a reverse engineering standpoint.
It would have been easier to start a fresh site in all honesty.
After removing almost half of the content, I gradually began to update each post.
I had about 55 to update. Then life circumstances prevented me from working on the site for several months.
Eventually, I got round to making some changes in early 2022.
The site was actually getting OK traffic. Then this happened:
The site was hit by the helpful content update.
Before the hit, the site was getting up to 130 clicks per day and 8,000+ impressions. Then it dropped all the way down to less than 20 clicks per day and less than 200 impressions.
It jumped up and then back down again.
Then, for about two months, none of the keywords were ranking. It was like Google had wiped their hands with the site.
At this point, I started a deep exploration of the Google algorithm and what helpful content looked like.
I created a set of guidelines and standard operating procedures to follow for every post.
I removed even more content I believed fell under the Your Money or Your Life (YMYL) category.
I also completely removed Ezoic ads as I wanted to make the site as appealing and user friendly as possibible.
Finally after a few months, rankings started to come back. But they were no where near the level they were before.
It was kind of soul destroying, but you live and you learn.
Since then, I’ve added a few posts and made a few updates, but nothing substantial to move the needle.
Enter Niche Site Project KISS ✊
Niche Site Update: February 2020 to Febuary 2023
Here are a few things that have happened since purchasing the site, then I’ll go over a full income report.
- Site was purchased for $1,200 in Jan 2020
- Website changed hands on Feb 1, 2020
- I rebranded the site with a new domain on March 10, 2020
- Updated the design to look more like a brand
- The site has been monetized with Amazon and Ezoic
- I purchased 15 articles from ContentPit in 2020
- Overall average monthly income: $34.55 (Ezoic) $31.50 (Amazon)
- Best month in income (April 2022): $148.92
- Average monthly sessions: 3,516
- Best month in traffic (Nov 2020): 5,566
- Published articles (as of Mar 31, 2023): 27
Niche site Income report
This chart shows the monthly and accumulative earnings so far:
Here’s a table that breaks down the earnings from Amazon and Ezoic. The first row is all the income from 2020.
I had to add it like this as I no longer have the historical data in Amazon Associates.
Total income from Amazon was $1,133.83 (Not including any bonuses). Here’s a screenshot from last years (2022) earnings:
Total income from Ezoic was $656.49. For some reason, Ezoics report is off by 1 cent 🤷
Here’s the screenshot:
So, total income from Febuary 2020 to Febuary 2023 was $1,790.32. I’m quite happy with that considering the lack of action taken and a big Google hit.
It definitely has a lot of potential.
The only other income the site has made was from Amazon UK. It was only £12.70 ($10), so I haven’t added it to my total earnings.
Niche Site Expenses
I haven’t included the theme as I have licence that covers all my sites.
- Web hosting (Cloudways/Namecheap): $265
- Domain name: $30
- AAWP (129 Euros): $140
- TableLabs: $134
- ContentPit: $689
Net income after expenses: $-667.68 (loss)
Unfortunately, after all expenses, this project, is at a current loss of almost $670.
Niche Site Project KISS is going to change all of that.
Niche Site Traffic Analysis
The total traffic in 3 years was 127,647 sessions. That averages at around 3,516 per month.
If I had put in more effort in the beginning, maybe I wouldn’t have gotten the Google hit. I feel as though I had to experience this to learn from it.
This is exactly what happened in 2011 and 2012 when I first got into niche sites.
But, when it happened back then, I gave up on niche site all together for 6 years. Not this time.
Personal Challenges in Life and Business
I have forever struggled with content creation since I started my blogging journey in 2010. But, I couldn’t understand why.
Today, I know exactly why and it comes down to a few things that are all connected:
- A fixed mindset
- A negative self-image
- Bad habits
I’ll break some of these down and how they relate to my struggles with achieving success with niche sites.
It’s possible you’ve struggled with some of these yourself.
My intention in sharing this is to help you break out of these patterns, so you can hit all your blogging goals.
A fixed mindset makes learning impossible
A fixed mindset is a belief that it is hard to learn something new or that developing your intelligence is impossible.
The reason comes down to the person feeling inferior based on what they know or their level of intelligence.
This causes a lot of discomfort when learning something, because it confirms the persons false belief that they might be stupid.
This creates a negative self-image that they’re hopeless and to counteract these feelings, they strive for perfectionism.
Imagine how this can have a detrimental impact for bloggers and writers.
To be a successful blogger, you must learn things constantly.
To write a decent article, you have to read other content (or books), so you can create something better that has more value.
To combat a fixed mindset, you need the opposite.
The opposite is a growth mindset. When you adopt a growth mindset, you don’t strive for perfection, you strive for change.
Instead of feeling uncomfortable when learning, you feel excited, because you know it’s how you become successful.
Perfectionism blocks growth, creativity, and happiness
Perfectionism is the belief that there’s a perfect way or right way to do something and it must be done that way, or you’ll fail.
For people with perfectionism, failure must be avoided at all costs.
The fear of not being perfect and that people might judge us for it, prevents us from taking action and learning from failure.
This creates a distorted self-image that you’re a failure and to be happy, you must acieve success.
Imagine trying to write an article for your blog, but you can’t post it until it’s perfect. Imagine how long that would take.
Is it even possible?
Of course it isn’t. No thing is 100% perfect. Not even successful bloggers.
Successful people still have doubts and insecurities, but they push through them.
They do their best with the knowledge they have and aim to improve their work through iteration.
This is fantastic news. Why?
Because you can post a terrible article today and in that process you discover how to make it better.
Then you can update the post in the future. If you try to make it perfect in the beginning, you’re shooting yourself in the foot.
Bad habits sabotage progress
With all these false beliefs running around in my head, it developed low self-worth, because I was failing to prove my worthiness through achievement.
This creates a self-fulfilling prophecy, where I was constantly sabotaging myself.
I ended up developing bad habits like procrastination and shiny object syndrome.
I even got addicted to things like social media, binging Netflix, playing video games, and overspending money.
I was miserable, because I wasn’t living up to my highest values.
Values like helping others, entrepreneurship, financial and location independence, and ironically, growth.
Things are a lot different now. They have been for a few years.
I’m hardly ever on social media, Netflix is capped to one episode per evening, and I play video games in moderation every 3-6 months.
Lastly, this is a big one, because I only recently found out I have ADHD.
This makes so much sense and explains a lot of why I’ve struggled with focus and fully committing to something.
What’s ironic is I started reading books on brain health in 2017, yet it took me five years to realise I actually have something wrong with my brain.
Intuitively I knew there was something wrong, but it never clicked that it could be ADHD.
How do I find out?
I started writing for Spencer Haws at Niche Pursuits in September 2021. I was thrilled to start writing for his blog, because I had been a long time fan.
The problem I had was very apparent when I couldn’t write enough content.
I had these lofty goals of writing 2-3 articles per week, but I struggled to do that monthly.
That’s when I started looking into ADHD. In February 2022, I must have watched around 20 hours of video on the neuroscience of ADHD.
And read at least 50 articles on the topic.
I was mind-blown by how accurate they were describing my life, even my childhood.
After consulting with my doctor who confirmed I most likely have it, she referred me to a specialist.
In all honesty, the only reason I would want a diagnosis is to get medication, but I’m not even sure I want it.
I’ve made so much progress since learning more about ADHD and I’ve changed many aspects of my life.
For example, I went vegetarian for 5 months, spent over £200 on supplements (which actually helped), and even quit coffee for a while 😫
Now, with an optimised diet (I’m on keto now), regular exercise, and an epic blogging strategy, I know I’ll succeed.
This concludes my update and announcement of Niche Site Project KISS.
I’m really excited and looking forward to sharing the highs (and lows) with you to motivate and inspire you in your own niche site project.
For now, leave a comment with your questions. Or let me know what you’re currently working on.