Niche Site Case Study: Building An Internet Culture Authority Site
I recently started a new site in the internet culture/social media niche. I’m not sure that I’ll reveal it, but picture it as Urban Dictionary meets Buzzfeed. It’s a fun experiment that I hope will provide an additional layer of income security going forward.
The site grants me wide content latitude. I can publish on a variety of obscure, but highly searched topics, enabling me to achieve some quick traffic wins and enduring ad income.
Below, I’m going to provide running commentary on my site’s growth and achievements- paying particular attention to the short (90 days in), medium (90-180 days) and long-term (180+ days) time frames.
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The Primary Goal
Create a website with big traffic and earnings potential as an additional layer of income security.
Why This Niche?
- Huge keyword search volumes
- Low competition keywords
- Doesn’t require expensive content to rank
- It’s fun to write about
- Fun for visitors to read- which means more engagement and more ad revenue
- The content plays well on social- I hope that social can at least be 5-10% of traffic someday
- Another layer of income security
How Will It Make Money?
This will be a display ad play. I hope to add it into my Mediavine account once it hits the 30k visitors a month mark.
How Will It Get Traffic?
Primarily through organic search and hopefully a moderate trickle from social.
These are my somewhat conservative traffic estimations/ambitions at the end of 90 days and at the end of 180 days:
- By the end of 90 days: 250 visits a day from organic search or greater.
- By the end of 180 days: 500 visits a day from organic search or greater.
Initial Strategy (First 90 Days)
- Bombard the site with 50 high-quality, keyword-targeted content outsourced to HireWriters.
- Track the site and keywords using Ahrefs.
- Create MissingLettr social media drip campaigns for social signals and recurring social traffic.
- Acquire 10+, high-quality, editorial backlinks.
I’ll keep an ongoing tally of significant site achievements below:
- 1/8/2019: bought the domain
- 1/8/2019: first Post published
- 1/15/2019: first keyword detected by Ahrefs
As Of 2/4/19:
Short Term Goals (First 90 Days)
At the end of 90 days, I’d like to be getting at least 60 organic visits a day.
Goal: 60/visits a day or greater.
I’m aiming to have 50 posts published in the first 90 days- I feel like this is a solid foundation. It’s pretty doable, even though I am doing a lot of the formatting work myself early on.
Goal: 50 Posts published.
I don’t expect to run ads on the site until I’m getting at least 500+ visits a day. My income expectations are pretty low in the first 3 months.
My other sites bring in a healthy amount, so I have the luxury of patience when it comes to the site’s earnings. Plus, it’s hard to project what the ad CPM will be on this content until Mediavine, which I use to manage my ads, begins running them. In terms of earnings, then, I’m going to say that I don’t expect to earn anything within the first 6 months.
This might change as it progresses- perhaps the site acquires traffic a lot faster than anticipated, or maybe I get curious and decide to insert some ad units myself when I’m only at 60 visits a day.
Goal: No income.
Medium Term Goals (90-180 days)
Hopefully, I’m getting at least 250 visits a day from organic search by this point.
Goal: 250/visits a day or greater.
After the 90 days is up on April 8, 2019, and certainly as I approach that point, I’ll have a better sense of the content that I want to create. I’ll see what keywords have achieved organic traction. Perhaps I’ll see what social media posts get social traction. This will orient my content creation going forward.
Goal: 25 more posts for a total of 75.
As I’ve mentioned, my goal is to get the traffic up to 1,000 visits a day. At which point, I’m confident that Mediavine will accept it into their managed portfolio.
I have no idea what sort of CPM I’ll be earning. If I’m earning a $20 CPM, with 1,000 visits a day, that’s a $600 a month site. Going from 1,000 visits to 2,000 visits in this niche won’t be that hard considering how uncompetitive the SERPs are- so that would be a realistic $1,200 a month if I could double site traffic say ~3 months after achieving 1,000 visits a day.
Understanding the site’s earning potential will help me decide how much more effort I should put into it.
Goal: No income yet (unless traffic exceeds expectations).
Long Term Strategy (Post 180 Days)
Goal: 500/visits a day or greater.
Goal: 25 more posts for a total of 100.
Assuming I’m getting at least 500 visits a day, and I’m able to get turn on the Mediavine ads, I’m hoping for $15 a day for a $465/month earnings.
I’m also going to share some scattershot learnings and observations as I go along.
There are so many anime and pornography keywords- it’s absolutely stunning. I’m talking massive six-figure search terms for weird fetishes and other bizarre terms. I see massive brand websites that position themselves as hubs of high-minded content ranking for the lowest, most base keywords.
Sometimes it’s incidental. For example, an article incidentally mentions a weird keyword term or concept and it ends up ranking purely because they have a huge Domain Rating.
Other times, they’re outright gunning for these weird terms just for the traffic- no shame in that. Just an observation along the way.
I’m a big fan of Reddit. I’ve subscribed to 100+ subreddits. Every day I get a curated feed of random interests. It spans from pictures of cool BMWs:
To dogs practicing ‘barkour’:
My social site enables me to write about fun and interesting content- like what I’m already reading on Reddit.
It’s a lot different than some of the other sites that I own. One of the primary ones is a general product review site. It was my first big earnings and traffic win, but a lot of the content is somewhat dry.
Another site is in a technology niche. While I’ve enjoyed the process of content creation and the income its generated, the content is really dull.
This social site provides some interesting new opportunities. As I’ve matured as a site publisher, it’s become more important to me to expand beyond the traditional rank-and-bnak content model.