My hope is to rock the world of internet marketing with the ultimate case study that will blow everyone’s mind.
Jokes aside, so far I haven’t made single cent online, but hopefully that will all change in the very near future. My name is Tom Attenborough (you can find out more about me here), and I’m determined to quit my job in 2015 by making an income online.
I’m going to hold myself accountable on this blog and share with you everything that I do and will do everything in my power to reach that goal by the end of the year.
Call me ambitious, call me ignorant, call me whatever you’d like, but I’m determined to get this done!
If I succeed, I could be the next Neil Patel, and if I fail I could never be heard from again like our friendly neighborhood rapper, Mr. Robert Matthew Van Winkle (aka Vanilla Ice).
I Love Case Studies
To kick it off, I’m announcing my arrival with a bang and will be doing an SEO case study that I hope will result in a business that will make enough money to be able to sustain me as the year 2015 comes to a close.
In my opinion, there’s nothing better than case studies. I love reading about them, and I learn the most from them.
Take Spencer & Perrin’s case study for example on building the niche site at aPennyShaved.com.
Yes.. the site ended up getting a manual penalty as a result of Google’s attack on PBNs towards the end of last year, but the step-by-step information that they go through as they build up the site is simply invaluable.
Or how about Jon Haver’s case study on his Six Figure Website Attack, where he pulls back the curtains and reveals his step by step strategy of building an authority site from scratch with the aim of making 6 figures by the end of the year? He even has a group of people joining him in this challenge.
That type of stuff beats your regular old, run of the mill, Top list posts any day of the week in my opinion. It actually allows you, as a beginner, to follow along and create a road map where you can achieve similar things – and that’s what we’re all here for aren’t we?
The Jekyll and Hyde Technique
So to kick this blog off, I won’t just be sharing with you how I start one site, but I’ll be starting two sites at the same time.
One will be a niche site that I’ll try to rank quickly using questionable methods that are frowned upon in the interwebs, and the second will be a super white-hat authority site that I’ll try to rank the right way using outreach and epic posts.
I know that starting two sites is generally seen as a big “no no”, but I’m hoping that the niche site won’t take a whole lot of time on my part. I will also be outsourcing work where I can as I will have my full-time job to juggle as well.
I have also read so much about both white and black hat approaches but was never able to find a conclusive answer. Some people say that black hat still works, some say white-hat is the only way to go these days.
I figured the only sure-fire way I’ll figure it out is to try out for myself.
This case study will be a classic story of authority versus niche, white hat versus black hat, good versus evil, hero versus villain… I’m sure you’re starting to get the gist.
The end goal is to reach at least $5,000 per month of income at the end of the year through either or both of these sites to be able quit my job.
Because all successful internet marketeers have coined their own terms, and I don’t want to be left in the fray, I’m going to call this Jekyll and Hyde Technique.
Ok… that’s what I’m hoping will happen. The idea is for good and evil to battle it out, with one ending up being the winner, and me ending up with at least one reliable source of income.
Which side are you placing your bets on?
My vision for this blog is for me to keep an account of what I am doing for each of these sites as a matter of not only keeping myself accountable, but hopefully also sharing some learnings with the others out there that have an interest in doing something similar.
Rather than writing about what you should do, I’m going to be trying out all the strategies that you see read online and put them into practice for everyone to see.
I will also start disclosing my income figures, and share traffic stats, once there is something to share but this may not be for another couple of months given that this is just the beginning.
Some of the things I plan to post on the future are as follows are detailed articles are as follows:
Future Posts Planned for Authority Site
- An account of how the site will be structured, its layout, and why
- What types of epic posts I’ll be producing, how I will go about it, and why (I’ll be using Brian Dean’s strategies for a lot of these)
- Coming up with ideas for content and using research to target extremely low competition keywords that will expose the site to at least some organic traffic from early on
- Other link bait tactics that I hope to put in place to garnish a number of .edu links (with a little bit of luck)
- Look over my shoulder as I conduct outreach to get the content in front of as many people as possible
- How I will be sourcing a product from China, selling it through Amazon FBA, and eventually pushing the product further through my authority site
- How I will write (or outsource) an E-Book, promote on Amazon, and use as another income generating tool
Future Posts Planned for Niche Site
- How I picked the niche and selected my keywords
- How I will go about finding an expired domain on which to build the site, and why
- A detailed account of how the site is structured to get maximum rank juice flowing to the money page
- The Link building strategies I will be using and how PBNs fit into that
- Detailed accounts of earnings, Google rankings, traffic, and income reports as you look over my shoulder
A Bit of Background
So, how much experience do I have in the world of internet marketing and making money online you ask?
Well, a whole five months to be exact.
You’re right in thinking that it’s not a lot, and it’s not. But I have sucked up a wealth of information in those five months by reading, and sometimes putting into practice, resources like:
- Brian Dean’s Sky Scraper Technique
- Richard Marriot’s Expert Roundups
- Jon Haver’s Epic Guide on Expired Domains
- Robbie Richard’s Guide to Growing Your Email List
- Spencer and Perrin’s Authority Site Case Study
- Neil Patel’s Advanced Guide to SEO
- David McSweeney’s Case Study on his White-Hat Niche Affiliate Site
- Mathew Woodward’s Zero Backlink Experiment
- Gael Breton’s Guide to Buzzstream Outreach
If you haven’t read any of those, I can sincerely recommend each and everyone of them.
Having said that, for me the time for sucking (no pun intended) has ended and it’s time to take action and put my money where my mouth is.
I’ll be employing these strategies in one way or another when building these sites – some will be more applicable to the niche site, while others will be more applicable to the authority site.
My Streed Cred – Two Failed Sites
Before we get into the nitty gritty, I did start two small sites within those five months, both of which flopped as bad as Jimmy Dean’s Pancakes & Sausages on a Stick.
The great news is that I was able to draw great learnings from those failures. I hope that gives me some, albeit a very small bit, of street cred with you experts out there.
The reason that these sites failed was mostly because:
- I had no idea what I was doing
- I hadn’t done any keyword research before setting up these projects
- I hadn’t decided on or researched what my monetization strategy would be
- I didn’t really provide any value in the content that I posted
- I went with the “post & pray” approach, and didn’t do any promotion
- And… did I mention that I had no idea what I was doing?
All that is going to change now. All great business men have failed many times, let’s hope that I just have to fail twice before I strike gold.
Third time’s a charm.
Enough Waffling, Show Me Your Strategy Already!
Yeah, yeah…hold your horses my friends.
I’ll likely start doing detailed follow ups to this post for each of the sites where I go into exact strategy, and how each of the sites are performing, as well as the tactics that I am using.
For now, to give you a bit of an idea, I have outlined a general strategy below. Given that I’ll be starting two completely different sites, I’ll need a unique plan of attack for each.
|Sector||Beauty & Health||Lifestyle|
|Time Horizon||6 months||12 months|
|Main Keyword||27,100 searches (buying keywords)||Various|
Web 2.0 Links
Broken Link Building
Limited Blog Commenting
Limited Forum Posting
|Domain Type||Expired Domain||New Domain|
|Monetization||Affiliate Sales||Affiliate Sales|
The General Strategy for the Black-Hat Niche Site
My budget for this will be around $1,000, most of which would be spent on obtaining PBN links, writing content, and perhaps outsourcing some other forms of link building. I’ll be writing the content on the homepage myself.
Like I said, I’ll be using questionable tactics for this one that others have gotten burnt on in the past, especially with the recent crackdown on PBNs.
Some of you may say that there is no need in even trying since I won’t be able to rank anyway, but I want to give it a fair crack. I’m a stubborn bugger… what can I say?
Worst case scenario is that I flush $1,000 down the drain without getting any return, which would be a lesson well learned. With a bit of luck, however, I’ll be able to rank the site for a while at least and make a decent return, hopefully being able to at least recoup my investment before it crashes and burns.
This means that at some point, I may just be talking about the authority site when that happens.
The idea is that this site will be an Amazon Affiliate site and the home page would be optimized for clicks. I’ll be using a comparison table on the main homepage, similar to what Spencer Haws has written about in many of his Niche Site case studies.
I’ll likely have another 10 articles or so on the site that will be outsourced to add a bit of “meat” to the site and ultimately point back to the homepage to ensure that the link juice is optimized to rank for the main keyword. That’s it.
Why Use an Expired Domain?
I want to pick up an expired and aged domain for this site that has links from sites in the same niche, and build the site on that. This should put it at less risk when blasting it with PBN and the other types of links that I mentioned below.
I may also be able to avoid the much talked-about, and oh-so mysterious, Google Sandbox.
Some say that picking up a domain with some age allows you to by-pass it. To give myself the most chance of succeeding, I figured it’s probably best that I follow that approach and just get myself a nice expired domain.
At this point, I haven’t found the domain yet, but I’ll likely use an approach similar to what Jon Haver extensively described in his ultimate guide to finding expired domains.
I’m not concerned about getting exactly the quality that he describes, but getting a domain that has at least some a number of links pointing it that has some age should be a great help. Much better than starting with a completely new domain anyway!
I’ll also make sure to host it on separate hosting to avoid my other site from potentially getting penalized.
Show Us the Keyword!
Yeah right! I may be fairly new to the game of internet marketing, but I know better than to share my keyword with everyone. I will be more than happy to show you the metrics and stats though.
Like I mentioned, the keyword has a whopping 27,100 exact searched per month and it’s a buying keyword.
I realize that that’s an ambitious number. Most of the other case studies of niche sites that I have read would target keywords in the range of 6,000 – 12,000 exact searches so this is more than double that.
Having said that, looking at the top 10 competition in Google seem beatable and I think I’ll be able to rank it – especially if I can find a relevant expired domain on which to build my niche site on (I’ll show you the details in the next post I do about the niche site specifically)
The good news is that there is also a variation of this keyword which has 8,100 exact searches per month, and with a bit of luck I’ll be able to rank for both.
To give you an example, instead of targeting a keyword like “best inflatable kayak”, I would add a modifier to the end of the statement by changing the keywords to “best inflatable kayak reviews”. That way I’ll have the ability of both ranking for the keyword “best inflatable kayak” and “inflatable kayak reviews”.
With a bit of luck I’ll be able to kill two birds with one stone on this one.
The General Strategy for the White-Hat Authority Site
Now onto the strategy for the authority site.
The good news is that Jon Haver recently launched the Authority Site Challenge as well so the launch of my site coincides nicely with that. Although I’m not officially part of it, I’ll certainly be following along as I build out my own site.
He shares some great tips on how he’s approaching his authority site, and how he’s implementing processes that will help him outsource as much as he can while juggling his family life and a full-time job at the same time.
In order to be completely transparent with you guys on the authority site in the sense that I started this site in the middle of January. I already picked the domain, and currently have around 12 articles of around 1,500 words each up already but haven’t really done any outreach at this point.
The site hasn’t really gotten any traffic aside from a spike resulting from an article that I posted on Reddit following Perrin’s guide on Niche Pursuits. I wasn’t able to convert any of that traffic and it had a bounce rate over 95%.
About the Sector and the Budget
I’ll go into the selection of the niche a bit more in future post, but basically it’s a niche that I have an interest in, but I wouldn’t say I know much about. The good news is because it’s interesting I don’t mind doing some research to make sure that my articles are quality.
I think it’s a niche that is somewhat under-penetrated. The main players in this niche are mostly information providers, and from what I can see aren’t maximizing monetization strategies to their full potential.
Most of the authorities in this niche appear to be doing it purely for their love of the subject, as opposed to seeing it as an income generator.
At this stage I’ve written most of the articles myself, but I have found a good writer on Elance now and I expect that she will be cranking out most of the content going forward. She is a little on the expensive side, but she is an expert in the field and I really want the content to be top-notch.
For those of you that want to know, at the moment I’m shelling out around $30 per 1,500 word article.
My total budget for this site will be around $3,000 out of which most will go to the writing. Since I have a full-time job, and I’m trying to build the niche site as well, I’ll have to outsource a significant chunk of the work.
Content & Promotion Strategy
As I mentioned above, this authority site will revolve around a lifestyle and hobby (not necessarily mine, but those of others) type category. For every 15 articles that I produce, my aim is to produce at least one epic article that will allow me to do a content roadshow, as coined by Brian Dean, and pitch to other blogs in the industry.
The type of content I’m talking about here is extremely in-depth “how to” articles, expert roundups, lists of the best blogs in the industry, and a number of others.
My plan is to start posting detailed accounts of how each of these strategies work out on this blog, so make sure you keep tuned.
The hope is that once I promote this content through email outreach, people will then link to it, and improve the overall authority of the site. This will hopefully allow some of the other pages to start ranking as well.
I’ll mostly be using BuzzStream for this purpose. I have played around with it a little before, and you can shave hours and hours off of email outreach. Definitely worth a look if you haven’t tried it already.
I’ll also be channeling rank juice from these power pages to the money pages which should give them a boost in the SERPs.
The idea is for this site to have multiple income streams once it’s up and running. My priority will be to create an email list as soon as possible through the various methods described in Robbie Richard’s guide.
I will be monetizing through a number of methods. One will be through affiliate sales, the other through a product that I hope to develop myself by finding a supplier on Alibaba in China. The product is related to this niche and I will also list this on Amazon at the same time.
Once I start gaining some traction on the blog, I may also choose to develop an E-Book as well. At this point I’ll hopefully have a decent size email list that I can leverage to push that product.
Listing my products an Amazon should will also give me access to their user base and allow me to leverage that and not be completely dependent upon my blog gaining rank. Hopefully this will put some money in the bank before the authority site start to rank.
In my opinion it’s always a good idea to have multiple channels and not be dependent upon one for all your earnings.
I know that overall this is a long-term strategy, especially given that I’m going to attack this in a completely white-hat way, and it could be months before I see any significant traffic.
I’m prepared for that, and have decided to give it at least a 6 good months.
To Wrap It Up
Just to wrap it up, I realize that these are somewhat ambitious goals, but like I said earlier, that is the only way I’m going to get anywhere.
I’ve put it out there for all to see, so hopefully that is something that will keep me motivated when things start to get bumpy… and they will get bumpy.
Things never go exactly as planned, it all comes down to sticking it out.
I realize that I may not get to every single thing that I mentioned above, but at least it lays out a good roadmap for me to follow as I’m building out these sites and a plan to follow.
This is where I have fallen down before with the other two sites that I created. I lacked a plan, and I feel like I have one this time.
Fortunately there are a ton of strategies out there from many of the experts I spoke about before, and rather than just reading them, I’m here to put them into action and drive results while sharing everything here for you to read.
Please leave a comment below to let me know what you think, and if there’s anything you think I should know before I get into the thick of it.