Every month I recap what has happened at SEOSherpas, from website traffic to domain sales to all posts in-between. I do this because I want to have full transparency with my readers who are learning how to make a living online, as well as for my clients, so they know exactly who they are hiring (and why they should hire me).
I’m sorry the writing here has been so infrequent. I am making an earnest effort starting next month to pick up content production at SEOSherpas and will be launching a new channel here, which I think you will find very inspirational. Unfortunately, time has been too tight lately with all the craziness of a baby and summer. That will change. I promise! Just bear with me until September…
OK. Onto the report!
What Happened in July at SEOSherpas
- These rolling Panda updates have been killing Glacier. Decimating our traffic every single week. Aggravating, but all we can do is persevere, continue writing great content and marketing it appropriately. I’m considering the idea of moving some content to a sub-domain and testing to see how it performs. We are also beginning to explore different content distribution areas to grow our audience.
- Basically, what we’re seeing is this: Our site still ranks. And ranks well. But the larger brands, such as REI, OutsideOnline etc. have replaced us. Even when content we write is more relevant, such as sleeping bag reviews 2013. In this case, we have a list of the best sleeping bags for 2013. It’s a great article. But there are 2 product articles, which are not relevant for that phrase, that outrank us. When you multiply this across 100s of pages and 1,000s of queries, you have the traffic drop we’ve experienced. More on this at another time…
- Last month I mentioned that I found a new niche to go after. We’ve been VERY aggressive on that front. I’m very excited to share this website with you. I feel that it could be the biggest and most successful web venture that we’ve ever undertaken. Just a few more days… Stay tuned!
- I was invited to AvantExpo, an invitation-only event hosted by Avantlink.com for their top performing merchants and affiliates. It was great getting to network in a unique and intimate setting. There couldn’t have been more than 75-100 people there. And instead of the standard Las Vegas fare, we instead played in Park City, where we went hiking, mountain biking, slaloming and riding a solo roller coaster down the mountain. It was AWESOME.
- After AvantExpo, I went to Outdoor Retailer for 2 days where I got to meet lots of PR people in the outdoor industry and make connections to help grow my outdoor websites. Both events were valuable, but the 1-2 punch knocked me out.
- Made 1 more domain sale…
- Signing up web design clients left and right. Our web design team here has really been knocking it out of the park with our designs and our customers have been thrilled.
Posts From July
Third month in a row with only one article. Damn.
Like I mentioned above, we have very exciting plans looming that will completely rock this industry. Strategization is complete on that. Now we are beefing up and getting ready to execute with a hopeful launch of mid-September… But I’m not going to leave you in the dark until then. My goal is to begin writing 1 article per week here, the kind of epic content you’ve come to love.
That starts next week. We’re getting ready for a whole new season of great tutorials and actionable strategies that you can use everyday on your website to help you grow your business.
I can’t wait!!!
Anyway, here’s the round-up from July:
My Niche Site Income
Please keep in mind: This is only a very small percentage of my overall income. I don’t work nearly enough on these sites and almost all of it is passive income at this point.
In case you forgot, here are all the posts in this niche site development series:
In Case You Missed It:
- Want to Make Money Online? You Better Bring Hard Work
- How to Mind Map & Find Topics For Your Website
Instructions on Beginning a Blog or Website (& Making Money From It)
- Choosing a Niche & Performing Keyword Research with Market Samurai (video tutorial)
- Installing WordPress
- Learning From My Mistakes When Choosing a Niche
- Crowdsourcing a Logo Design Through 48HoursLogo
Maintaining & Growing That Website
Please note: I don’t optimize my AdSense ads as much as possible. I put them in the sidebar to promote a good user experience. AdSense earnings would likely be 4-5x their amount if placed in the optimal position (top of content, blending in), but I care more about my users and social sharing than an extra 50 bucks via AdSense.
OutdoorEquipment – Shut down and content transferred to Glacier.
- Avantlink – $92.45 (Last Month: $0.00 | Difference: $92.45)
- AdSense – $0.57 (Last Month: $1.17 | Difference: $-0.60)
- Amazon – $16.80 (Last Month: $0.00 | Difference: $16.80)
- Total – $109.82 (Last Month: $1.17 | Difference: $108.65)
- Avantlink – $296.53 (Last Month: $243.07 | Difference: $53.46)
- AdSense – $34.76 (Last Month: $45.82 | Difference: $-11.06)
- Amazon – $10.13 (Last Month: $24.56 | Difference: $-14.43)
- Total – $341.42 (Last Month: $313.45 | Difference: $27.97)
A nice bounce back in earnings compared to the atrocity that was last month.
Let’s move onto traffic…
Traffic Level Breakdown
Below is the traffic breakdown for a number of my websites, including the percentage increase. This is a screenshot directly from Google Analytics comparing July’s traffic to June’s.
Let’s break it down!
- Bicycle Touring Guide – Another 5% drop in traffic. That’s on top of 14% the previous month and 7% before that. Once again, some is seasonality, some is Google.
- AllBestBinoculars - 13% drop. 16% drop the month before. 5% before that. We’re getting hit hard across the board..
- AllArtCareers – 15% drop.
- Camping Tent Reviews - 15% drop after a 12% drop in June. But we did have 38% growth in May, so we’re still ahead a little.
- Criminology Degree – YAWN — Down 12%.
- Fulfilled Homemaking – Up 5% after 18% the month before. Still, the site makes me nothing.
- Glacier – This hurts. Another 14% drop. June was a 19% drop. May was a 14% drop. No doubt about it, this site is hurting. Sadly, this is common across the board with every other aged, authority site owner I’ve spoken with. The rolling Panda updates are wrecking hell. For a long time, I thought Panda updates had generally improved the search results (even when I lost traffic). But I no longer feel that’s the case. Many others agree.
- SEOSherpas – A drop of 12%
- Snowboarding – An increase of 16%. On top of 7.72% the previous month. This is somewhat laughable to me.
As I mentioned last month, for years my Glacier site was an ATM. I maybe spent 1-2 hours working on it every month and it was making mid 4 figures per month.
Is the issue that I ignored it for so long? Possibly.
It is being pandalized left and right, but users have loved and engaged in my content for so long. And continue to. All of a sudden, the site is no longer relevant in Google’s eyes for many phrases it was relevant for for so long. Instead, less relevant articles are taking the place of my articles.
Ultimately, Google’s in the driver seat here. My strategy with Glacier is long-term: A hit this year and a hit next year will suck. But 10 years ago Google wasn’t a dominant player. 2 years ago I was making high 4 figures a month with my content. The content that is being produced is still out there. Still circulating on the web.
A year ago, Press Releases and Guest Posting worked very well and were ‘legal’ in Google’s eyes. Now they are not.
With this authority site, I will continue to do everything on the up and up. 5 years from now, the entire web ecosystem might be different. That site might not make anything. But it also could have bounced back and be making 5 figures a month.
Simultaneously — Crappy sites are doing well. And let’s face it: My snowboarding site is a crappy site. Is it worth scaling and spamming? We’ll address that later…
FINALLY — Generally speaking, it’s clear that old, aged sites don’t do as well as newer sites. Our newest venture, targeting an under-targeted but growing niche, should set us strong for the future, even if Glacier falls even more.
OK. That’s all on this front for now.
Please know, I’m far from an expert in Domaining. If you want more expert opinions on Domaining, I’d recommend checking out Domain Sherpa, ElliotsBlog, DomainShane, DNJournal, RicksBlog, Morgan Linton and AccidentalDomainer. I’ve spent countless hours on all those sites, increasing my Financial IQ so that I could go out and kick ass in domaining. And I’m getting there, one sale at a time.
In July, I only made one sale. It was a name I bought in early July for $360 and sold at the end of the month for $2,000.
I use BuzzStream to streamline my sales and marketing process. Click here to learn how I use BuzzStream to create a list of end-users and market my domain names to them in a time-efficient (and cost-efficient) manner.
July Round Up
This summer has been challenging for our network of sites. Domain sales were few, but very profitable. And client work is chugging along as we continue helping grow our clients’ business online (learn more about my SEO services).
Overall, the game has changed for independent operators. Our newest venture is meant to disrupt an industry and focus on more diverse traffic sources. I can’t wait to tell you what it is! My SEO strategy of a few crappy websites and a handful of high quality, authority websites targeted under-targeted niches might not work for you. But it is the strategy I’ve developed and will be sticking to. It’s a formula I feel is designed for short-term and long-term success.
What do you think?
My number one goal for July was to have a great time at my conferences. And I did
My number one goal for August: Get the Facebook page of our newest venture up to 300 Likes. We’re at 98 right now!
What’s your biggest goal for August? And did you meet your July goal? Share in the comments!