Daniel Stark

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A True 4HWW Case Study: Part 6 – Working With Freelancers

Hey guys and gals! 

Last week we wrapped up with me trying to figure out where the heck to find a good, knowledgeable writer that wouldn't charge me an eye and a limb for my skyscraper post. 

I've found her. And I'm going to tell you exactly how, and how to avoid possible major mistakes. 

Spoiler: I found her on Facebook. Ever read about people saying on the forums "just go to Facebook groups and you'll find writers"? I did. And it can work but there's more than meets the eye and you should definitely know a few things for this to work.

Also, this is mostly for some high-end pieces. If you're trying to get the bulk of your site done, I still recommend content agencies with pro writers as it will work out miles easier and cheaper.

Additionally, I've also found a guy on Fiverr who's going to get me emails for me to pitch the infographic and the skyscraper.

Let's jump into this!

Week 5 Summary

  • Find a good writer and place order - Check
  • Find good data entry guy and get emails - Check

Time input and Expenses for the week

So this week I've spent a grand total of 5hours total working on the site, spread across the days as I was having multiple conversations with possible writers, scanning through Fiverr profiles looking for a good data mining gig and testing, testing, testing.

I've spent $30 testing (test assignments for writers and some data scraping guys) and $60 on the actual skyscraper post. Then another $50 on a 300 email list spreadsheet.

I'm still to get both assignments back but I'm confident the writer and the data entry VA will do good as I've done a test run of both.

Which is one of the main things we'll talk about today. But first, let's start with actually finding these people.​

Finding a passionate writer through FB groups.

So, if you're in any of the many niche site facebook groups or you read case studies (like this one LOL) you probably have read that some people find their writers going to facebook groups that talk about the topic of their site.

But how they do it? Do they simply post "hey guys this is my site i'm looking for a writer" and they magically have dozens of people willing to write for free?​ Well, not exactly.

You'll have to filter amongst the curious and the ones that just want to waste your time.

And you'll need to know how to make the business proposition appealing to the possible writer!

So, I'm going to share the exact step-by-step proccess I've followed to find my writer using Facebook groups.

1. The Obvious: Join Facebook groups

So like I've mentioned in other episodes, MMG revolves around fitness. I went ahead and joined every big fitness and supplements group there was on FB.

A small sample of all the groups I requested access to

And you may think "but hey dude, some of those are Malaysian and Philippines groups, is that ok?"

Short answer: sure it is. If they speak good English I don't care about where they're from LOL, I'm not a native speaker myself either and I'm sure you can follow along just good 😀

You may even find cheaper writers on foreign groups!

So, join groups: Check​

2. Post looking for a writer.

Now it's time to let the thousands of people on those groups know that you're looking for a writer for your brand new site. Here's how to do it right:

  • Tag one Admin in your post (see example below) so you're upfront with the community and don't look sneaky.
  • Be very concise about what you want.
  • Tell the candidates what they can expect in terms of compensation and frequency.
  • Remain open for a chat both in the comments and MP.
  • Point out the obvious benefit for both parties.
  • Don't feed the troll.

Here's the exact message I posted on 7 different groups (the larger ones I found)

Hi, I hope the admin [admin name] is ok with this:

I’m looking for someone who’s truly knowledgeable on nutrition supplements and fitness overall and wants earn some money writing content on a weekly basis for a website I help manage.

We’d provide with a list of topics (such as how to use [supplement name] effectively, best pre-workout supplements, different kinds of workout routines and their pros/cons etc etc) and some basic guidelines for the writer.

No BS from either side. If you know what you’re talking about when you talk fitness and nutrition (as broscience-free as possible please) , we’ll agree on a topic, a rough lenght, delivery date and $ amount, you’ll get paid (well above market price, beforehand, via paypal), write, deliver and move onto the next article on the list.

We get high quality content to help our readers and you’ll get money to spend on your passion by writing about it. If this sounds good to you, simply reply here or send me a pm

TIA

No bs, no obscure secretive propositions that can only be spoken in private. Scammers do that, don't be one!

I got around 18 responses in 24hours, enough to keep me busy during the next few days.​

3. Filter, filter, filter.

I got a wide variety of responses. From people asking to see the site (just that) to people pretty much pasting a CV of fitness accomplishments and why they'd be SO interested on having an opportunity to write for me (And a few trolls. Remember not to feed them)

I went with the passionate ones of course.

Then, you'll have people who's asking more questions than they're interested on answering. These are the curious, the ones that don't trust you or the ones that think you're trying to scam someone so try to catch you. You'll spot them by their language.

What I did was to give everyone a bit of background. When did the site start, that I've got a few friends helping me with content, that I want someone who's a proper enthusiast on board and I'd ideally be looking for a ghostwriter but could make a writer's profile for them if they really want the credit etc.

You'll find that most people is ok with the ghostwriting thing, but again being upfront here is nice. Then if they react nicely "sounds good man, could I see the site?" or "yeah great, I'd love to write about workouts bro! I don't need no credit, some compensation would be cool but yeah I'm in!"​ then I tell them to go to MMG, have a look, let me know what they think etc.

But if they're like "ok. And how much does this pay? What's the site?" then well, I move onto the next passionate response. 

So, have the most passionate looking ones have a look at the site and have a little chit chat about them, how they got involved into fitness etc to get a vibe of the person.

4. Structuring a good deal for both sides.

After that initial filter, I proposed a more detailed deal:

Pay is $25 per 1,000 words. I’ll hit you with a list of topics and you pick one. We agree on a rough lenght and a delivery date and you get paid (paypal) . If the article ends up being way longer because the topic NEEDED to be covered in more depth, I’ll adjust the payment no worries. If the article ends up several hundred words shorter because it didn’t need as long as you thought, we leave those $ in a pool for the next one, no worries either. 

Now, I know you can get cheaper articles. But I value people's time and knowledge and you should too. You must know where your ceiling is in case someone finds that too low and be ready to negotiate too (It will depend on your niche. I guess if I was talking about robotics $25 per 1,000words could be even offensive)

5. Agreed? Good. Now test.

Alright I know some of you are thinking "Why don't you test before you propose a deal?" 

Well, in my mind, if they don't find the proposition suitable, It doesn't matter how great of a job they do on the test assignment, they won't take the offer. So I'm upfront about the conditions and expectations.

So, how do you test a few writers at the same time? 

What I did was to go back to my list of KGR keywords and find a topic that looked complex enough yet not too hard to answer in a short article.

I gave the same assignment to everybody.

A question type of keyword that I knew could be properly explained in less than 800 words.  I asked them if they thought they could do a good job on that topic and if $20 was a decent amount for this first job. 

You'll see.

Some people will be like "I'll do this one for free man, don't worry let me try it and if you like this first one then you can pay me for this if you want or we move to the other topics" and some will be like "perfect! I can get it done tomorrow :D" and some will try to juggle an extra $. Dump the last ones and try all the others. (He who squeezes you before to know you properly, will only squeeze you more the more confident he's with you)

Pay the man or woman what you've agreed and ask them for a clear deadline. Today? Tomorrow? Monday? and let them freely pick a day.  If they pick a day that's 5 days from now for a 700 word article, move on. If they don't deliver on time, move on. 

And remember. Don't be an ass. The nicer you're with people the more interested they'll be to do business with you. 

6. Reviewing.

Idieally, you should have some knowledge about what your own site is about. I don't (but my partner does) so that you can read an article and distinguish the BS from the fact. Then read a bit more and decide for the one that you enjoyed the most reading.

If you enjoyed reading it, so will your audience, so that's the writer you should go with. 

Agree to a communication medium such as FB chat, trello, email, smoke signals and start giving tasks to the writer. 

Finding someone to collect emails for you.

This is miles easier to be honest. 

Go to Fiverr and search for web scraping/data mining/email extraction:​

Check for anyone who mentions email extraction or lead collection on their profile and has good reviews. Then send them a private message asking if they're able to complete the following task:

  • Search for blogs inside the fitness and supplements space (gym routines, workout, calisthenia, nutrition, equipment, martial arts...add as many related topics as you can, don't expect the guy to find the topics for your, help him)
  • Find and collect: Name of author, contact email.
  • Paste data on a spreadsheet alongside name of the blog and URL

Nine out of ten guys I asked said they could do. Then ask them their rates for 50-100-200 entries. Then from the ones you think are asking for a fair amount (I paid 50€ for 300 entries), ask them if they'd be able to find you two right now as a test. 

Most of them will. Bang, slap a couple of results and ask you if you're happy.  Check them to make sure they are legit and go with the fastest.  I went with the nicest and he's taking it to the very limit of the deadline so go with the fastest hahaha.​

Alright, this has been the progress so far this week, still outsourcing heavily as you see, it works out more expensive than doing it all yourself but in return you move miles faster. Remember, time is the only asset that never grows. Spend it wisely.

What's next?

For the next week I'll probably be publishing the skyscraper post and I'll see if I have time to send some emails.

I may get HPD's article pack back from the writers too so if that happens I'll be busy just with publishing, which may mean I won't have anything interesting to share until the following week. Maybe not, maybe something awesome comes across, or I learn something valuable in the proccess of publishing a ton of content. You never know.

But as always, I'll be around in the comments to chat with you so I'll see you down there!

2

A True 4HWW Case Study: Part 5 – But Not Just Any Content…

Hey everyone, if last week it was all about content, this week is about a very specific type of content...

Link-worthy content.

Also known as "linkable asset" or simply put, a proper piece of content where you cover a topic like no-one in the whole of the internets has done ever before.

Sort of.

While the above statement may have been a bit over the top, the truth is that I've spent 6h exclusively researching the topic for just one single blog post. Because I intend to put something out that's worth linking to

Will my efforts succeed or have I just wasted a full week of work on my site trying to emulate the big players?

Let's figure out:​

Week 4 Summary

  • Research Skyscraper Post - Check
  • Place order - Pending

Time input and Expenses for the week

Like I mentioned above, I've spent a total of 6 hours (more if you count back-of-the-head-while-commuting time) looking for a topic that was interesting enough to create an epic piece of content around it.

Given that the research is actually only 80%  done (I still need to figure out minor details before I have a proper guideline) I haven't placed an order with any writer yet.

Besides, I still need to sort out WHO will write it. The average $15 per 1,000 words product review article writer won't cut it.

The ugly face of content.

I'll be straight forward: It's f**king expensive. Sure, it's the backbone of this business model so obviously if good content was cheap AF there would be virtually no barriers to entry  (I'd say there's more than enough know-how spread across the web at this moment so anyone can learn how to, but investing mentally and financially and doing the work are the real barriers to entry here)

Let's have a look at the option I'm considering:

PBNbutler's Expert Content: $40 per 500words. 80USD (Eight-zero) for 1,000 words.

I've read great reviews about these guys, but when I look at the price a dormant tic I've got on my left eye wakes up and my vision gets blurry.

I mean, best result about the topic I've chosen has around 3,000 words of content.

I'm not spending $240 on a blog post. I'm just not.

SO, dear readers, PLEASE do tell me about any content agency/writer that you know produces good quality content and won't charge me that crazy amount. Thank you.

This said, let's see how and why have I chosen that topic for my skyscraper post.

Finding a good topic for your epic post.

Alright so first things first, click here to open Brian Dean's skyscraper guide so we're all on the same page.

No ahrefs account for me so I'll do it with buzzsumo.

I started by checking the generic name of the product I recommend:​

Great results, 2 image boards, one affiliate site with bought shares and the biggest eCom in this niche.  Let's try again.

Much better results this time. I checked for the problem instead of the product. I'm pretty sure the first one got a few nice juicy links on top of that half million shares.

The problem? Its a super-duper thorough medicine article written by a doctor. And the random thing is way too random to make sense to talk about it on my site.

I do a lot of that random thing (eat X) so I did read the whole post. 0 chances I can beat that. 

Then on the next results are a few lists, which is a great format. The problem though, is that it treats the end state as a problem, while my people who use the product I recommend have the exact opposite problem. I'm not sure I can give it the right twist. 

Let's make another check.

Alright so results looked ok on the surface. Then I checked the actual sites. Pure garbage. Here comes the question then: Is that good, bad?

Good because it's easy for me to do a better job, bad because probably the shares are fake or worse? I honestly don't know.

​This are my actual results in the exact order I started analyzing the topic using buzzsumo. By now you've probably seen how, unless you know really what you're looking for, the buzzsumo results on their own don't prove very useful and can become one of those never-ending rabbit holes.

BUT, after perhaps another 5 checks, I had what I wanted. Nope, it wasn't a clear answer. It was an amalgamation of another​ 5 pages of results exaclty as the ones above.

What people share the most on this space are lists with tricks to "achieve desired state"

So I had a conversation with my business partner to see if he had any insights. He suggested we do a blog post on the best 5 ways to achieve desired state​.

Good vs Best

I love cooking. I'm a half decent amateur cook considering I slaved my arse on professional kitchens during most of my teenage years.. 

Now, if you enjoy yourself around the stoves, you have probably messed up a few dishes​, trying to do something overly-complex.

​Let's say for the sake of arguments (and I'll grab a sandwhich after this section because it's hunger driving my writing right now) that your site is about kitchen appliances. And you decide your skyscraper post is going to be a list of awesome things to do with the kitchen appliance you promote. 

Always remember WHY you do things

You only want the post so that you can email people, tell them to check it 'cuz iz awesome, and they'll link to you. You'll get cool shares. It'll hopefully help your other articles (the ones with affiliate links) rank  better.

Now, would you spend $250 on that post? Well, if it gets you 100 links after 1000 emails, the price per link is ridiculous so sure thing why not.

But what if it gets you... 5 links? Hell, that's already a lot more links per email than some outreach campaigns ever get! And that's $50 per link (not counting research time value, VA outreach cost and whatever else you may need)

I know a lot of PBN sellers who have really good links at that price. (And you have control over the anchor text)

So, what I'm trying to explain here is:

If your BLT sandwhich is good enough and you can't afford a Double Club Sandwich with wild caviar on it, just be happy with what you've got.​

Sometimes the Best choice you can make is to go with Good Enough

Some random quote I read on Instagram                 

So this time I'll take what I consider is a good enough topic "The top 5 things you can do to achieve desired state" and after deciding what those 5 things are with the help of my broscience-free business partner and finding a good writer for the topic, we should have a content piece that is good enough to promote on social channels, pitch via email and maybe even merge with the infographic (still on the oven) so that we keep moving forward.

How many times did you NOT do something thinking you wouldn't be the best? How many opportunities do we miss by thinking only the best will get them?

First month recap and next stages:

Let's do a quick recap of what I got done on MMG during the first weeks.

  • Press Release (well, partially)
  • Social Fortress built with IFTTT integration
  • 20 Local Citations
  • 25 Blog Comments
  • Research keywords and order 20 new articles
  • Get an Infographic (pending publication)
  • Get PBN links (10)
  • Research Skyscraper post

It isn't a lot, but it's definitely progress and things will compound over time. More links, more content, better website. It can only go right. And remember, I'm barely putting 4-5 hours of work per week on the site...

Monthly SEMrush snapshot:

I'll try to add one of these each 4-5 weeks to see how the site is going in terms of ranking for new keywords.

In the next episodes of A True 4HWW:

  • Publish Infographic
  • Publish 20 articles as soon as they're back from Human Proof Designs
  • Order my Skyscraper post as soon as I find a suitable writer
  • Get social signals
  • Collect email addresses and send pitches for the Infographic and Skyscraper

Alright guys and gals, I hope this episode serves you of help when you're doing your next skyscraper post and that you're enjoying this updates!

See you down in the comments 😉 (Don't forget your writer recommendations if you have any!)​

12

A True 4HWW Case Study: Part 4 – All about content

Hey guys and gals, we're back after a one week gap while I was sorting stuff out with my newly joined web biz partner and reading some more about my next planned stages to ensure I'm going the right way.

This week's update is all about content (the content that got posponed last episode) and a few interesting insights I've gained around this topic.

Let's get started.

Weeks 3 Summary

  • Research & Order Infographic - Check
  • Order KGR Articles - Check (20 articles total)
  • Order expired 2.0s - Cancelled

Time input and Expenses for the week

I've put a total of 7 hours of work on the site these 2 weeks, but technically only had week 3 accomplished, which is nicht gut ("not good" for the non-German speakers).

The main issue here has been researching the topic for an infographic. I didn't want to put just a random infographic together, and I fell too far down the rabbit hole of "must be better". This reminded me of art school when I was 8 and my teacher telling me "Best is enemy of good". 

  • Content: $450 (Human Proof, a pack of 24,000 words which will automatically more than double my existing content.)
  • Infographic: $50 (My Graphic Design friend was kind enough to charge me 25% of what he usually would. )

So technically we've just invested $500 on content which is exactly what I originally paid for the site. Now, let's jump into the why.

Investing in content Vs. something else.

As you know, one of the things I wanted to get were some expired 2.0s like Weebly, Tumblr, Blogger etc. They are cheap to get in Fiverr, but it doesn't mean it's cheap to make them the right way so that they stick, pass juice and don't harm your site. 

After some more thorough reading, I discarded the idea of setting up a mini 2.0 PBN because the amount of work needed is similar to setting a real PBN (in terms of adding filler content, legal pages, images logos blahblah), for a substantially lower ranking power.

Too much time.

Alright so I thought, let's go with The Hoth. Then I checked and it's $250 for three 2.0s. Three. $83.33 per 2.0 blog.  

Time and money balance.

I won't lie to you, and I'm sure you'll relate with this, but at this point I got mentally stuck and I couldn't move forward in any direction.

One option seemed too time consuming. The other one seemed too expensive, and I wasn't even sure I should get the 2.0s, but then I publicly said I would but and I've read they help diversify the backlink profile and this and that and before I realized I spent 2 hours thinking in loop. 

Let me tell you. I like this loops:

Roller coaster loops are fun.

And this loop:

Not just any loop...

But there's few things I hate more than mind traps aka idea loops. And my default for those situations is to throw it into the "f**k it bucket" and move on.  And that's what I did. 

​I rather spend that money on actual content inside my site, or buy good PBN links than spending just another minute figuring out 2.0s  when their impact is going to be minuscule in the big picture.

How many people get nowhere with their site because of spending too much time thinking what will work?​

About content, KGR, top level posts and guidelines.

I want to give you more details about the content I've ordered for my site, MMG. It was a mix of 12 KGR keywords (KGR being <0.25) 3 quasi KGR keywords (between 0.25 and 1) and 5 top level posts or "best blahblah" kind of post. 

The few quasi KGR posts I ordered revolve around some keywords that look very profitable. They are the exact niche of the site, talk about expensive products and are on the 200 searches range.

I thought it worth trying and see later what the difference in terms of ease of rank is between those and the other articles that focus keywords with a much lower ratio (real KGRs)

Then the 5 top level are other products. Some fitness apparatuses, other nutrition products.

I want to broaden the site slowly but surely so I went for some extremely low competition keywords with barely a few hundred searches per month, but all I want is to rank for those and get a few sales. This will compound over time.​

Guidelines: Keeping your site consistent.

Another thing that worried me was that, as different writers will be producing content for the site, it would end up looking a bit Frankensteiny, without a clear style or structure. 

It may be my favorite movie, but I don't want visitors looking at my site like Igor does here.

So before I placed the order, I spent a while creating a template that looked similar to the style the site currently has.

It's pretty much as follows:

  • Introduction. Short and sweet.
  • Top 5 blablahs: Includes specific features, the good, the bad, a conclusion and a pros and cons table after which I place the "check price" button.
  • How to use blablah (when appropiate)
  • What to know about blahblahs

Then I specified to use a first person singular voice and to talk like the main audience is males aged 18-30 which I understand is who mainly uses this sort of products I review.

I also added some links to other articles inside MMG so that the writer has internal references to quote.

Hopefully this will help the site look uniform and make the interlinking process easier later on when I'm publishing. 

What's next?

Next week I'll be doing research for a skyscraper post  

Considering the amount of time I've spent researching the topic for an infographic, this may take me well over the 4 hours I want to spend weekly, so I'll keep my projections for next week simple.

Have you ever published a skyscraper blog post? What were your results?

Let me know in the comments below! I'll see you there.

5

A True 4HWW Case Study: Part 3 – Reality Check

Hey guys and gals, this week is an interesting one. Don't read interesting as "cool" but rather as "complex".

It's about plans not going as expected. It's also about finding solutions, eating that frog and reminding that worth-pursuing projects will always test you.

Let's get started.

Week 2 Summary

  • Get Social Signals - Check
  • Get initial PBN links - Check (10 total)
  • Order KGR Articles - Delayed
  • Find 5 more "best" or "review" keywords - Check

Time input and Expenses for the week

I've put a total of 5 hours of work on the site this week, plus possibly 2-3 more hours figuring out a solution for an R&D funding problem. We'll talk about that in a second. Let's see the expenses for the week:

  • Social Signals: $14 (PBNbutler)
  • PBN Links: $200 (Konker, I'm just 60% sure of this purchase. We'll see)
  • R&D problem: probably close to 2,000€

You may be wondering what the F is that problem to be so expensive.

It was a Rain and Drift problem.  It involves rain, a roundabout and my VW Golf hitting the curb with the right rear wheel because I'm stupid. I won't go into details.

So my ride goes to the garage and my finances get messed up. After I pay the bill (hopefully it'll be fixed next week) I'll be left with ca. 100€ in my bank account for the month.

Moral of the story: Even if you trace a fool proof plan, if you're still part of the equation,  it isn't fool proof.

If life thows you s**t, remember to mix it and make a profit. 

In rural areas of some countries, cow s**t is mixed with grass, dried out and used to start fires and other uses.

Dung patties dry on the wall of a coal-fired brick oven. They're rolled into cakes, then stuck on the wall with the smack of a hand, leaving an imprint.

So I mixed my s**t to kickstart my own little bonfire.

I had a talk with a good friend of mine who's into mechanics (because, well, R&D) and he had a look at the car, recommended me a garage, laughed at me for being so dumb, etc.

During the conversation, I mentioned how much it frustrated me because I needed the money to start this little website project of mine​ and he was intrigued, like "Huh? tell me more".

He's obsessed with the gym and is quite knowledgeable about the topic of my site so I was like "Ok, here's the site". He suggested we partner up. He buys half of it, (I explained how much I'd paid for it from HPD and how much I'd spent so far) we fund the next stages 50/50 and cash out as soon as we can sell the site for $10,000 or more. ​

I thought "why not".  We pretty much agree that I'll do stuff as planned (with maybe some gaps) and he'll vet the content. He'll read every article we get and check it's not full of "broscience" (that's a thing apparently).

Here's a question for you. Do you ever talk to your "offline" friends about your websites? Would you consider partnering with one like I've done?​

A PR problem

So the funding problem for the next stages is solved. Great.  Then I get an email from PBNbutler. Media outlets refuse to syndicate the Press Release  because of the topic (a health consumable) I work in Media and I'm actually not surprised.

I guess the site is too small and too focused on that product at this point. They offered a full refund which I accepted.

The Press Release did get out on some news portals and directories (something like 20-30) but it didn't get syndicated. So technically I got 20-30 nofollow PR links for free?

J'accepte.

Spacing things out.

Not this sort of space tho

The PBN links order was placed yesterday. It's a 10 link package from a famous seller on Konker. You won't need me to tell you who, it's right on the front page. 

I decided to put 6 links to the homepage and 4 links on info articles. No specific reasoning besides maybe gathering a bit more authority at the domain level.​ I've read a lot that every time you add links to your site, it boosts the whole DA anyway.

I was meant (according to the plan) to ​order my KGR articles but after going through them, I realized some keywords were actually referring to the same question.

I then read this article from Mr KGR and I thought "ok, so I need more keywords" and decided to find the 5 other keywords first, then group them with the KGR ones and order it all together. Now I have a very nice mix of "best blabla for xyz",  question keywords, and other "best blabla" that are other products (to broaden the site a bit)

​Because that's a $450 article pack that I want to buy (from HPD's), and 50% of that (my part now that I have a partner) is still out of my purchasing power for this month, I'll be placing the order on August 1st when I get my salary.

This way I may even be able to get a little guideline done for the writers so I know that each article on MMG looks similar in format and style to each other. 

Things never seem to go to plan with case studies and online business in general, so I'm a bit frustrated that I'm only a few posts into this and already have some delays.​

Don't worry, I'll get there.​

What's next?

Next week the plan is to get an infographic, some web 2.0s and buy the review articles.

The updated plan is to get an infographic, buy the article pack (KGR and other review+best articles) and I'm not entirely sure about 2.0s.

I've been reading more and apparently web 2.0s require quite some work on setting them up so they look legit to stay indexed. That's a word combination I don't like.

I would go with The Hoth but the $250 maybe are better invested on content?

So, what are your thoughts on this? I'll appreciate your inputs!​

See you down at the comments 😉

20

A True 4HWW Case Study: Part 2 – Getting Started

Hey guys! It's been a week since I posted the first part of this case study and it was really nice to see your comments encouraging me. 

Let's have a quick recap of what I wanted to accomplish in this week, what I've actually done, problem's I've encountered, the real amount of hours and the $ cost to execute. I'll probably follow this format for the next updates aswell. Tell me in the comments if you like it? 😀

​Week 1 Summary

  • Create Social Fortress and IFTTT - Check
  • Get blog comments done - Check (50 total)
  • Get Local Citations - Check (20 total)
  • Get Press Release - Check
  • Find 20 KGR keywords - Check

Time is Money is Time is Money is...

But you know that already.  Time is money.  And money can buy time (some one else's, of course). I've put a total of 3.75h during week one .

Here's what each thing has costed so far:

  • Local Citations: $25 (PBNbutler)
  • Blog comments: $6 (Fiverr guy)
  • Press Release: $55 (PBNbutler)

What I didn't know about KGR keywords...

 I probably spent 80% of the time finding KGR keywords. I'm not counting the time spent watching Doug's youtube videos about it or thinking how to streamline the process so it isn't super-manual (because time)

Have you ever had an epiphany while sitting on the toilet? I've had a few.  Here's one:

Click the button below to download a spreadsheet with my latest toilet idea

The spreadsheet consist on a list of keywords (that you must populate yourself but we'll see how in a second) on column A, a combined allintitle: query URL on column B, Column C is the allintitle results, D is the SV and E will spit a value. Green is KGR, orange is good but not idea, red is a no.

Plug a keyword, copy the result in column B, open the url in a new tab, check results.​

Here's a replay of one webinar from Doug Cunnington explaining the KGR in better detail.

The best piece of information there is to use the Chrome extension Keywords Everywhere and to use google's suggestion at the bottom of the results page to get new ideas. 

You can click on those keywords and get even more ideas, which is what ultimately has helped me get my KGR keywords.

The problem however, is that it was damn hard to find 20.  I think there's actually quite a lot of competitors because the overall topic (not the niche product) is about weight (fitness) and that space is crazy competitive.

So even if I could find some good KGR keywords around the niche product, once I run out of "easy wins" i started thinking outside of the box and going for related topics that could end up on me recommending the product, but the space is brutal.

I mean, it's a massive pie to split though. One of the big three (Health & Fitness, Make money, Relationships & Dating). So, for as long as I'm able to claim a very little chunk of that pie, I'll still be making money and I'm cool with that.

You can use Keyword Shitter combined with Keywords Everywhere and the spreadsheet I shared above to find your KGR keywords.

Citations: doing it right.

​The idea behind using Local Citations comes from this post.

Essentially, they build trust, provide with good link velocity and branded anchors. They have 2 problems.

1. Indexing.

2. Need some initial setup to be useful.

Indexation is solved via the video sitemap trick (hats off to Matt for sharing so much knowledge) and​ the initial setup goes as following:

Find a commercial building that's unclaimed (alas, no other business is registered there) in any random city you like inside your target country as described it Matt's post (in my case US). Get the address and use a fake phone generator​ to get a phone number. T

Then, plug that data into Local Business Schema Generator and you'll get a chunk of HTML code that basically shows that data in a structured fashion google can easily read.

Go to widgets, footer, place an HTML item there and paste the schema markup for NAP there.

Add the same NAP info in all your social profiles.  

That's all the initial setup you need for the citations to work. It took me roughly 20 minutes of work and 10 minutes of figuring it out (never used schema before) so I just saved you 10 minutes. Use them wisely for another purposes of your liking. Kitten vids, for instance.

Alright, I think that covers everything I've done this week, including challenges and discoveries!

Next week I'll order content for the KGR articles and place the initial PBN links. I'm already considering 4-5 different link providers, but I'd love to hear suggestions from you guys!

10

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

A True 4HWW Case Study: Growing a Niche Site to $10,000

Today I want to introduce you to a long time NicheSiteAzon reader, Daniel, who bought a site from Human Proof Designs after we had a chat about my success with niche sites and how well I think he would do in this business.

​Daniel told me that he wants to document his journey growing a site but doesn't have a blog. Since we don't blog that much lately (as you have probably seen!), I thought I'd give him free range to share his experience here and do a little case study on niche sites and marketing in general.

I'm still involved with NSA in the background, but as I have mentioned in the past, I am not going to be doing much of the blogging myself anymore. 


Ok, over to Daniel!

Hey guys, this is Daniel (although everybody calls me Dan), and I got introduced to the world of niche sites by Mike. 

In this series of blog posts I'm going to cover the journey of my first site from $0 to $500/mo and the goal is to reach there by December this year. ​

Now, let me give you a little bit of background before we jump into this journal or like the industry calls them, Case Study (Boom! look at me, already talking like a pro)

From "Maybe" to "Let's do it"

Last year one of the clients I work with on my 9 to 5 (yes, I have a full time job at a Media company) wanted to move into Facebook ads so I went full-on into that and obviously did a lot of research about niche sites, which lead me to finding NicheSiteAzon and a bunch of other great blogs (I've linked some of them below). I started getting interested in niche sites as a side project.

Fast forward to December last year and everybody was talking on how much freaking money they were making with the holiday season and I was a bit like, dude, I want to get that aswell. 

I was reading every single blog. Every one. EVERY ONE. Tung Tran, Empire Flippers, Spencer Haws, Neil Patel, Dom Wells, Matt Diggity, Authority Hacker...  but finally something clicked in my head and I decided to take action (after maybe, 6 months? of just reading) and I bought a site from Dom. 

Some embarrasing reality.

So I get the training, nice and cool, watch the videos, gather a few ideas on how to grow the site, a few weeks later I get the website from Dom and then...

I went on a two week holiday to Thailand that put me completely off-track and I did nothing with my little side hustle. Nothing at all.

That was last February.

I'm sure there are plenty of others in this world who started a site and then forgot about it. If this is you, then I've got the perfect case study for you.

Last week I had a look at the site. It's actually quite nice.

Ok this time for good

Look at this:

Without realizing, the site was slowly ranking for some keywords and getting a few visits every day.

So I technically bought myself an aged site haha.

Now, you know I have a full time job. I intend to dedicate no more than 4-5 hours of work per week to this site and my goal is to have it make $500 during December. 

Will I be able to make it? Let's find out. During this weekend I'll be getting the basics ready and I'll be putting the months and months of reading other case studies to practice and get an strategy plan for the next 6 months together. 

Next Monday (10th) I'll be posting my plan and a few stats on the site so we all know where I'm starting from, where I want to be, and how the hell I plan to make it.

Stay tuned!