A True 4HWW Case Study: Part 1 – Strategy

In this first part, I'm going to cover the strategy I'm going to follow to grow my niche site to $500/mo in 6 months. I may then sell the site and use the funds to create a larger site, provided that I'd by then have acquired all necessary skills to successfully grow a website. 

But today I'm starting small.

I'll try to leverage a background of getting other people to do stuff for me so I don't have to, thousands of hours playing Civilization by Sid Meier (it teaches you a lot about strategy) and a strong skillset on figuring s**t out very quickly.

Also, I've spent close to one year reading about niche sites and SEO (partially forced to because of my day job and clients who like to play smart, but that's a story for another day) so I should be able to make it work.

Alright, let's get into details.

Introducing my niche site

The site is based on a particular product inside the health and nutrition supplements industry. I don't know a lot about the niche to be honest so no content writing for me.

The name I chose for it allows some room for growth outside that particular niche (It's a partial match domain or PMD). It isn't a super competitive term but it's definitely grown harder since I bought the site (I did some KWfinder checks back then and I was like, oh nice, easy to rank baby! But not anymore. It was close to 20 and now more into 30s) 

I see the opportunity window is closing so better move quick.​

From now on and for the simplicity of arguments, I'll be referring to the site as MMG and I may eventually reveal the URL once I have some traction and I'm happy with the way it's going etc .

I've seen other case studies where people reveal the URL early, and it isn't always the best idea.​

Why am I actually doing this?

I'm no stranger to the sunk cost fallacy. Now, the $500 that I paid for the site isn't that much of a big deal. Sure thing, throwing that amount through the window does hurt a little but I'm not taking back the site 6 months after I totally forgot about its existence because of sunk cost.

It's a matter of making things right.

I told myself I'd create a separate side income to be able to travel more often. Two weeks per year seems a bit insufficient. A few hundred a month, saved, allows for some really cool travelling. Even weekend getaways would get so much more interesting. 

So this case study is all about accountability, and forcing myself to keep working.​

First Sale!​

Two days ago, after I officially published the intro post saying that I was going to make the site work, something great happened...

Aw yeah, passive income baby:

I guess this is as passive as it gets. As I explained before, I bought this site from HPD and then did nothing with it, and it managed to get its first sale.

To illustrate further how little I have done to the site, I had to dig into some discarded notebooks (aye, I'm old skool) to find my wordpress password because I hadn't logged in since March .

Now, $2.92 won't fund a lot of travels to the Seychelles, but hell yeah, it was just what I needed to truly believe this site has potential.

Alright so, appetizers were good, let's go to the meat: what's the plan?

The 6 month strategy to $500/month

When I bought the site, my idea was to execute Matt Diggity's reduce sandbox strategy, but since the site has aged a bit, I'll be doing those steps a bit faster (to get some momentum).

Then, I'll also be publishing KGR content. One of the things I did last month was joining Dom's forum to follow  his case study (which honestly did motivate me a bit more to take action on the site) and I really like the concept.

Credits: Doug Cunnington from Niche Site Project

AAAAnd I'll be using PBNs. I understand the risks, I also understand what no-nos are, and I'm confident I'll be able to do it good enough not to get bitch slapped by Google.

My tolerance to risk is moderately high, and considering that I'll be keeping the overall cost below $2,000, this is still a EV+ operation. ​

Think about it.​ Potentially selling a site for $10,000 or more in less than 6 months with $2,000 investment and minimal time investment vs eventually getting slapped and "losing" $2,000 (which I wouldn't really, as there are ways to recover from a penalty. I may not have ever done it but I've read a lot!)

So, let's see a proper breakdown of the strategy:

Week 1

  • I'll create what Matt calls 'Social Fortress'. Alas, profiles for the site on every main social network. I'll include a bit of filler content and NAP. I'll add the NAP to the MMG contact page aswell.
  • I'll get some local citations done from PBNbutler (US) to increase trust and local relevance.
  • I'll also get a Press Release (not sure on which service I will use, I accept suggestions down on the comments!) with all naked and branded anchors pointing to the homepage.
  • I'll do keyword research until I find 20 KGR keywords. This is the only part I'll be doing myself (besides creating profiles, but I'll get someone else to fill them with info. My 12 y/o cousin. Someone from Fiverr. My cat, someone but not me)
  • I'll get someone to build some blog comment links to the homepage, something like 20-30 (Author Name anchor). Open to suggestions too. 

The idea here is to stablish the basic company profile. Creating a heavily branded profile with the basic trust signals in place, so that when I start with the other not-so-safe-links there's enough trust on the site. We'll see if it works.

Week 2

  • Once the Press Release has been syndicated, I'll get some social signals (homepage)
  • I'll get some PBN links spread throughout the site. It currenty has 8,000 words. Homepage targets the main "best product" keyword, then 5 reviews and 3 info articles. I'll probably buy 10 links, 2 to homepage, 1 to the other pages and use very long tail or partial match keywords for the anchors. Keep my sins small. This may take up to 2 weeks from the few sellers i've been checking.
  • I'll order articles for all 20 KGR keywords. I'm considering human proof's service as the original content for the site was quite decent, but i'm open for suggestions.(leave them on the comments please!) I do NOT have the time to try/hire writers myself. Nor I'm interested on managing them.
  • I'll be doing more keyword research to find 5 more "product review" keywords inside my niche with decent search volume (50 or more). 

Week 3

  • I'll be doing research for a good topic for an infographic, decide and place an order with some graphic designer. If my GD friend is too busy with his regular work, I'll get someone from Upwork. I reckon 10 days TAT.
  • I'll buy some expired 2.0s. 
  • I'll place orders for the product review articles.

Week 4

  • I'll order an article on a very sciency and specific topic that affects consumers on my niche. I'll later use that article for outreach and to send some more spammy links (like the ones from the tumblrs and such). 
  • I should by now be getting my KGR content back so I'll be formatting and publishing it. Nothing fancy, few boxes, few images, hell, you've seen how non-fancy this very article is. 
  • PBN links should be placed at some point this week. I'll get another batch of social signals pointing to the targeted pages once that happens.

Week 5

  • Infographic should be back so I'll publish and start doing infographic submissions and image links (I mean I'll get someone to do it).
  • I'll get a data entry guy from Fiverr to collect email addresses from blogs inside the industry so that I can do outreach.
  • Extra review articles should be back so I'll format and publish.
  • I'll place some 2.0 links to product review posts.

Week 6

  • Sciency article should be back so I would then publish and create some wikipedia links (small edit and then add as a source. Apparently no SEO value per se but increases trust. I want some of that)
  • I'll send emails to that list of blogs pitching the infographic. I've read Gmass is quite good.

Week 7

  • It should be around 2-3 weeks since the initial PBN links were placed, so I'll do a check on rankings, movements etc to assess where I'm at.
  • I'll do keyword research until I find 2-3 more "best blahblah" keywords that have decent search volume and aren't too competitive (so, 700+ searches and below 20KC on KWfinder, not too many big guys on first page, etc). 

Week 8

  • I'll order articles for those Best Product keywords.
  • I'll do KGR keyword research to find at least 10 keywords that I could use to support each one of those articles.
  • I'll order some more PBN links (spread out between homepage and internal pages) another 10 or so links. Good links are expensive apparently.

Week 9

  • I'll order KGR articles to support the new pillar articles.
  • I'll do keyword research to find 5 good products with search volume on each category. (Product Review keywords)

Weeks 10, 11 and 12

During the third month I won't be doing much but monitoring, re-assessing and likely catching up with delayed steps from previous weeks. It all sounds great on paper but the task breakdown that I've projected may actually take me more than 4 hours of work for each week so I'll be delaying the least important stuff and catching up on the last 3 weeks of September.

Week 13 

  • I'll create an scholarship page, some email templates and get someone from Fiverr to collect email from Universities.

Week 14

  • I'll send emails to those universities to get .edu links.

Week 15 onwards.

From the second half of October onwards I plan on keep growing the site via KGR content, money pages  (best blahblah keywords) and product reviews. I'll probably use weeks 10-12 to further plan what to do in terms of social promotion (probably use Pinterest or Instagram), maybe create another infographic if the results with the first one were good... essentially see what's been working well so far and do more from that and stop doing what's not working. 

MMG: Current State of Affairs.

Here's a snapshot of the keywords I'm targeting and the rankings. I'll try to post this at the end of every report so we can have an overall look of the fluctuations etc.​

MMG has a total of 10 posts published. Here's the traffic for June:

Let's see how those numbers improve during the next weeks!

Alright folks, that's been it for today. You now know my plan, maybe see its flaws (if you do leave a comment!!) maybe think is absolutely genious (lol). In any case, I'll be doing quick weekly updates of the progress I do with just 4 hours of work on an outsourced site from ​Human Proof Designs

Daniel Stark

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 10 comments
Avi - July 11, 2017

Hey this is amazing. I have a site That this will definitely work the problem is I have a much less budget of $2000. Also i notice that you said that your goal is 500 a month are you kidding me, with this plan you’ll be making 5000 a month.

Thank You

    Daniel Stark - July 13, 2017

    Well I hope so! haha. The “I wish” number is higher than $500.

    The plan is meant to potentially hit that number. However, lack of experience plays a part and I may be screwing up in the process. Also,keeping a realistic number in which, if accomplished, I’ll still be happy is important for setting benchmarks for “success” and “failure”

    So I’d call failure a <$500 December.

      avi - July 13, 2017

      Also please update us where you get a Press Release and your other services from i want to get one to.

      Thank You

Christoffer - July 11, 2017

Hey Dan, thanks for sharing this. It’s really exciting to see the plan you have there. I am currently working on a site as well and I am definitely going to take some things from this post (like the weekly schedule and Human Proof Design writing, it seems to be good). Looking forward to the other updates 🙂

    Daniel Stark - July 13, 2017

    Ja cool! I’d love to hear about your progress with your site too.

deepanshu - July 13, 2017

I wrote the similar kind of case study a few months ago:

here it is : Amazon affiliate case study

Nice one Daniel 😀

    Daniel Stark - July 16, 2017

    Hey pretty cool one Deepanshu! How’s the site doing now?

      Deepanshu J Bedi - July 16, 2017

      Crossed $100, Will update that post soon, i didnt know that case studies can be so interesting. Thanks to you.

      Where will you upload the rest of your journey?

Sarah - July 13, 2017

Hi Daniel,

Are you going to be sending updates via email? Or is there a better way to keep track of your progress? As you know, we all look at several sites everyday in our line of work so it’s hard to keep track.

    Daniel Stark - July 16, 2017

    Yeah, after I publish I’ll get a little email sent with a notification to read the article. You’ll need to subscribe first though.


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