Niche Site Duel 2.6.0 – FoodTruckr One Year Later: Traffic, Keywords, Email List and Monetization

Last year, when I started FoodTruckr.com for Niche Site Duel 2.0, the research told me that it was a completely viable market. Beyond the keyword research data, it’s obvious that we can all feel this trend right now, and I wanted to see if I could capitalize on it.

Trends - FoodTruck

Because the industry is so new, it still feels a little like the wild wild west. Several cities (and counties) around the U.S. are still trying to figure out how to regulate mobile food in their city, and most are learning as they go. Because of this, there isn’t that much solid information online about how to get started – and that’s the void I wanted FoodTruckr.com to fill.

Of course, I’m not an owner of a food truck myself, but I do have experience getting in front of an audience. If I could combine that with the proper research and drive to figure it all out, I knew the site could do very well.

And it has.

Since launching the site in August of 2013, the site has grown as the industry leading online resource on the topic of starting and running a food truck. It’s not quite to the point where everyone in the industry knows and talks about the site (yet), but several SPI fans have actually told me they brought up FoodTruckr.com when ordering from a local food truck and many of them have heard of the site before.

That’s awesome!

Beyond that, the site has been ranking extremely high for very relevant keywords over the past few months, and the traffic has been reflecting that, with a record-breaking 25,802 unique visits in July – 77.58% coming directly from Google.

Here are the top keywords the site is ranking for at the moment (according to SEMRush.com):

foodtruckr-keywords

What Happens When People Visit the Site?

At this point, there are two major goals that I want brand new visitors to do:

  1. Stay on the site and read the content; and
  2. Sign up to the email list.

Let’s break these down and see how we’re doing, and what might be done to improve the numbers:

1. Stay on the Site and Read the Content

There are three major ways to measure this:

  1. Bounce rate.
  2. Time on the site.
  3. Actions taken per visitor.

Here are the stats for July, 2014:

click-stats-july-foodtruckr

Note: Clicky’s definition of a ‘bounce’ is, in my opinion, the best. They define a bounce as someone who has visited your site and leaves without clicking on another page within 30 seconds. After 30 seconds, it can be safe to assume that there was at least some sort of mild engagement on the site. 

I’m super pleased with the results of FoodTruckr. In terms of bounce rate, 17% is amazing. My other niche sites average about 22-25%, and The Smart Passive Income Blog averages 19%.

A lot of the “stickiness” has to do with the content on the site in relation to how people are finding it. Most people, like I said, are finding very specific information on Google after a search, and because the content is there for them when they get there, they read.

You should begin to worry if most people find your site and then leave within the first 30 seconds. We work so hard to get people on our site, but if people are leaving right away then what’s the point?

Relevance plays a huge role, but I think the design and ease of use is another. When the site was put together last year, I really wanted to make sure it was welcoming to new visitors, and I’m happy to see after a year later that that seems to be the case.

Time on Site

FoodTruckr’s average time on the site is 5 minutes and 39 seconds. Again, that’s a good signal that people are actually taking the time to read the content on the site.

SmartPassiveIncome.com has an average of 6 minutes and 51 seconds, while on the other side of the spectrum, SecurityGuardTrainingHQ.com from Niche Site Duel 1.0 has an average time of 3 minutes and 45 seconds.

The reason that FoodTruckr and SPI keep people longer is because the purpose isn’t for people to get in and get out, like with SGTHQ. With SGTHQ, I want people to get the information they need (which is much more condensed), but also click on relevant ads on the page, which takes them away from the site.

With FoodTruckr and SPI, the purpose is to keep them on the site as long as possible, and then collect their email address – or at least imprint on their mind that the site is a top resource related to something they’re interested in.

Actions Taken Per Visitor

And finally, what else are our visitors doing beyond just landing on our website? Are they clicking on anything else within the site and exploring the resource you’ve built?

A great way to measure usability is to see how many actions each visitor is taking.

FoodTruckr’s numbers show that each visitor is taking 1.9 actions per visit – so just about two, which is decent, although should be much higher in my opinion.

SGTHQ’s actions per visitor is actually higher at 2.2, and SPI averages around 2.4.

An “action” (again, according to Clicky’s tracking) is a pageview, a download, a media play (like podcast or YouTube video) and clicks on outbound links.

To increase the action on your site, a couple of things you should think about:

  • How easy is it for people to navigate around the site? Wayfinding is extremely important online. Make it difficult to find new stuff, and no one will find it. You have to make it so easy that they almost don’t even have to think in order to keep going through your site.
  • How many options are there on each page? There is such thing as too many options, but I see far too many people online who don’t think about the reader’s experience. For example, when a person gets to the end of a blog post, what else can they do? When they get to your thank you page after signing up for an email list, is that a dead-end, or a place where more calls to actions and clickable links exist? Think about not only who your audience is, but exactly what their journey is like through your site. FoodTruckr could focus a little more on this. A sidebar tool similar to what you see here on SPI when you scroll down could definitely help.
  • Are you providing calls to actions? Telling your audience to click on certain items, to watch videos or listen to podcast episodes you have is important. There’s no harm in politely asking, especially if you’ve already dropped some knowledge bombs in your content and your audience has already finished enjoying your content. If they made it to the end, they are likely ready for more. Again, FoodTruckr can do a better job here as well.

The FoodTruckr Email List

When I started both GreenExamAcademy.com (my first business), and even SmartPassiveIncome.com, I did not make building an email list a priority.

HUGE MISTAKE.

I missed out on so many opportunities to send emails to potential customers, existing customers, and build a deeper rapport with my audience because I didn’t think it was worth it.

Well, I learned my lesson, and when FoodTruckr launched (and actually, even before it launched during the pre-launch phase), I had started building an email list.

By the time of the launch after the month long “coming soon” phase, we had about 200 emails collected.

Now, a year later, we have 3,365 emails in our system, and it’s definitely utilized. It helps drive a lot of traffic back to the site in terms of sharing new content, and providing exclusive content as well.

I’m very happy with this, but expect the numbers, like with the traffic, to exponentially grow over time.

Monetization

In my last few income reports, you may have seen FoodTruckr on the list of income sources. Yep – FoodTruckr is now making money, however it’s only thanks to a few experimental Google Adsense ads on the site.

An extra $80 to $150 has been coming in each month, which is pretty cool. In fact, when I saw the first dollar come in, as mentioned in this post, I was quite ecstatic. Even though it was just a few dollars, to know that I had built a new site and it was making money felt real good.

With the traffic numbers and the engagement the site could do so much better, and I’m confident that it will once new income streams fall into place.

That’s why I’m excited for next week, when the first ever product for FoodTruckr comes out – a book that my team and I have been putting together that will be sold directly on the site at various packaging and pricing levels.

The timing should be perfect for an August launch. Remember that Google Trends from above? Here is it again:

trends-august

And here’s a graph for “How to Start a Food Truck” as well, which follows a similar trend!

how-to-start-a-food-truck

I can’t wait to get into detail about how this book was put together, and also how the launch goes next week, but I just wanted to share that things are moving along and I continue to push forward.

Although the news about FoodTruckr and the Niche Site Duel has been quiet lately, things have always been moving alog on the backend, and it’ll be fun after the book launches to talk about the launch process, and further marketing efforts down the road to sell the book even more.

Additionally, there are several other business opportunities and ways to serve this audience that FoodTruckr is totally setup for. The book was the one that made the most sense to start out with, but beyond that, I can’t wait to dive in and experiment with even more. I’ll definitely be sharing all of it along the way.

More updates coming soon. Cheers, and wish us luck!

  • http://www.cominghour.com Matthew Tims

    I love this progress Pat! Has there been any level of physical offline promotion, apart from your initial survey you’ve talked about?

    • http://www.smartpassiveincome.com/ Pat Flynn

      Nothing offline except the random conversations I’ve had with food trucks I come across, primarily for research purposes and validation of various topics of interest.

  • http://donnielaw.com/ Donnie Law

    The google traffic is amazing in such a short amount of time!

    I was scrolling through some of the FoodTruckr posts and I noticed there are virtually no comments. Does that worry you at all? I wonder what the reason for that is.

    • http://www.smartpassiveincome.com/ Pat Flynn

      Not really – some audiences don’t do comments. I would, of course, like to spur up conversation, and there has been a number of comments on the site in some of the older, more popular posts, however I’m not worried. No comments doesn’t mean they aren’t reading or I’m not providing value, but it does show there could be more community involvement, which has been top priority at this point, but hopefully will be in the future.

      • http://donnielaw.com/ Donnie Law

        Makes sense to me.

        More and more I see comments turned off altogether on some popular blogs.

  • http://www.ProlificSuccess.com Christian Psencik

    Wow over 3300 email list subscribers! That seems great to me, but is that in line with your expectations? Or is this part of what you think can do “so much better”?

    • http://www.smartpassiveincome.com/ Pat Flynn

      It’s along the same lines as what I expected. I knew this was going to be a more long-term project and experiment than the security site. Sites like GreenExamAcademy.com and SmartPassiveIncome.com both took between 1.5-2 years before really seeing movement and a significant income, and I have a feeling FoodTruckr is more in line with those brands than the other niche sites I’ve been creating.

      • chris

        Pat, Do you have any experience with food trucks? Just wondering how you go about becoming expert at these topics without having done the business yourself.

        • KC Clark

          No, he just asks questions. Listen to his podcast as well as other online business podcasts

  • http://herbolab.com/ Fran Sanchez

    Maybe a bit side track, but I was surprised to see that you use clicky. And now that I come to think about it, analytics it’s such a fundamental part of SEO and with so many options out there it can get confusing. Maybe a new post on the subject would be a good idea :)

  • Joe

    Hi Pat. Did you look at possibly selling the ebook via amazon instead?

    • http://www.smartpassiveincome.com/ Pat Flynn

      That option did come up, however the decision was made to go for maximum profit, rather than outreach, with this new project/product. Using a style similar to what Nathan Barry talked about in Session #75 of the podcast (http://www.smartpassiveincome.com/session75), we’re going for multiple bundles at various prices.

  • http://www.basicgrowth.com/ Simon Somlai

    Thanks Pat,

    This post has given me some great resources on how I can review the effectiveness of my own website! It’s amazing to see how your creativity and dedication has lead to the results you have right now! Keep it up man!

    This post makes me wonder if I should divide my attention between two businesses or one at a time. Currenntly I’m combining many goals at once at that has gotten increasingly difficult and demanding. Opinions?

    Take care,

    • http://www.smartpassiveincome.com/ Pat Flynn

      I know I have a fairly unique position online in that I sort of feel an obligation to try several different projects at the same time, for everyone in the SPI audience. The more I can try new things, the more lessons learned for everyone else. But, that being said, I think the ideal situation is to NOT do that, and to rather focus on one business at a time. You could potentially build them to a point of “more passive than active”, like I’ve done with GreenExamAcademy.com, at which point you can then move onto something else while that other project continues to work for you – but to really succeed focusing on one project and doing all you can to give it the best chance to succeed is the best way to go.

      • http://www.basicgrowth.com/ Simon Somlai

        Hey Pat,

        Thanks for answering man!

        I really dig what you’re doing here man. I should probably share more of your stuff ;) Solid advice; financial freedom first,

        Going to pick up a copy of the book “The One Thing” by Gary Keller (I believe), Might provide more insight on focusing on one thing at a time,

        Take care,

        • http://www.smartpassiveincome.com/ Pat Flynn

          Yes, SUCH a good book. :)

  • Pratik Unadkat

    Pat,

    This project is very exciting and loving pretty much to follow along.

    I am working on my project too and its been a little 6 months so far. I have started to see little more traffic coming along from Google now but that’s still very minute. I have an interesting theory and question to ask if you don’t mind replying.

    I do believe that all new sites are sandboxed for a couple of months before Google really shows some love. Some say the tipping point really comes around 9 months or so after which the traffic really starts to show up and after an year, it literally starts buzzing out. From my past experience on other site, I saw that as the case as around the 9th month, I grew organic traffic up to 3X or so, and that was in over hundred thousand visitors – so that was pretty cool.

    So my question is, do you see the similar trend for FoodTruckr (as it was just started the past year and not much has changed) if you see in Google Analytics or so by checking the levels for the whole past year and see where it really triggered or had growth spurt?

    It is a really interesting theory and the insights maybe valuable.

    Loving the work you do!

    Cheers,

    Pratik

    • http://www.smartpassiveincome.com/ Pat Flynn

      Hmm, this is interesting Pratik. It’s hard to say what is true or most common, because we really don’t have an idea of everything that’s going on – only what people care to share. The 9 month mark – to me it sounds more like just a realistic approach of how long it might take for a brand to get recognized and penetrate a market, at which point Google would come along and begin promoting it heavily as well for us – but I do know some people who have built new sites that skyrocketed to the top of Google in just 3 months, or even 1. There are obviously a lot of factors involved so it’s hard to say – but indeed very interesting like you said!

      • Pratik Unadkat

        Pat,

        Thanks for replying.

        But like you, I too like to grow it with natural efforts and no unnatural seo or link building involved. Are there chances that those were in a very low competition niche or have adopted the means of link building or so? I like to stir clear and away like you from this link building stuff.

        Cheers,

        Pratik

  • http://vivredesonblog.com/ Ling-en Hsia

    Hi Pat !

    Did you track the amount of time you’ve spent on building the site from the beginning by any chance ?
    That would be helpful.

    Thanks and congrats for all you do ! :)

    Ling-en

    • Chris Potter

      This is exactly what i was getting ready to post. I’m really curious to see how many actual hours and dollars has been put into this project.

  • http://www.smartpassiveincome.com/ Pat Flynn

    Thanks Sunday, I’m glad the article was useful to you!

  • http://www.chinabiohacker.com/ Randy

    Great stuff Pat. Best of luck on the e-book launch! Question: what process do you go about deciding on pricing for your e-books? Do you do any split testing? Perhaps you could send out emails to half your email subscribers selling the book at Price A and then sending the other half of your subscribers an email with Price B?

    • http://www.smartpassiveincome.com/ Pat Flynn

      One can definitely do that Randy. A lot of people worry because they think each group will see the other price and get upset, but that’s not what happens. Split testing, we should all be doing that at all times, however I think we’re pretty confident in the pricing structure based on the industry and competition (which is primarily Amazon eBooks), but landing page elements, definitely.

      • http://www.chinabiohacker.com/ Randy

        Interesting. Thanks for the response.

  • Marcin

    Have you watched Chef movie? It’s great and I guess it can help grow the food truck niche even more :) check it out if you haven’t yet! http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2883512/

    • http://www.smartpassiveincome.com/ Pat Flynn

      Not yet but it’s a clear sign about the growth of the industry!

      • Marcin

        One tip – just don’t watch it on an empty stomach :)

        • http://www.germainemills.com Katmassive

          I’m watching it on Taco night. I’ve never wanted pork so bad :). Good movie.

    • http://multimediabychris.com Chris W

      When we caw ‘Chef’ last weekend (loved it), I couldn’t help but be thinking about FoodTruckr in the back of my mind helping the industry in real life! In fact, even though I am a Web Designer, Chef made me read the site more thoroughly. Big fan, cheering FoodTruckr on. :)

    • Chris Goodrich

      Grate movie :)

  • http://www.expandbeyondyourself.com/ Michal

    Impressive stats Pat. Esp bounce rate and time on the site.

    This post made me to install Clicky on my site at last.

    • http://www.smartpassiveincome.com/ Pat Flynn

      Nice Michal! I think you’ll enjoy the tool. There’s a wordpress plugin (if you’re on wordpress) that makes it easy to install and connect with your account, just in case you haven’t discovered that yet.

      • http://www.expandbeyondyourself.com/ Michal

        Yes, I’ve found it while installing. And it creates a nice shortcut to analytics in the admin panel too.

  • http://www.successwithfocus.com/about/ Jeff Jones

    Holy Crap, Pat!

    If you’re making $80-$150 on Adsense, you’re going to blow it out of the water with your products when they’re ready!

    When I think about that traffic and level of engagement with even a five dollar report, it makes my head spin!

    Great job again! Keep inspiring and teaching us!

    Jeff

    • http://www.smartpassiveincome.com/ Pat Flynn

      Thanks Jeff! It’s definitely an exciting time! :)

  • Kerby

    Hi Pat,
    Did you stop doing Annual Income Reports? The last one I see is from 2011. I really liked those as a high level description of what changed over time as a new reader.
    Thanks

    • http://www.teachingeslonline.com/ Jack Askew

      Check the top right hand corner of this page.

      • Kerby

        Thanks Jack. I was asking for Annual Reports not the Monthly. I see the up to date monthly reports, but the links for annual reports ends after the 3rd report in 2011. At least what I can see….

  • http://www.teachingeslonline.com/ Jack Askew

    Can’t wait to hear about your launch. Sounds like you’ve built quite the audience so far. Good luck!

  • Josh Ludin

    Pat – that’s great that the traffic has picked up! I see that you’ve really loaded the page with tons of content on the blog to get ranked for the keywords you’re targeting. Is that the main approach you took?

    Also, I really love the theme of the site – care to share where you found it = )

  • http://blog.momekh.com/ Momekh

    You do realize Pat that no one’s dueling with you anymore?! That’s not right. I hear some western music in the background… fingers be twitching…

  • http://www.adambeckett.com/ Adam Beckett

    Hello Pat, very interesting , well done . My wife actually owns a vintage ice cream tricycle business here in the UK and business has been very solid , another indicator of how well the ‘food truck’ sector is doing .

    I’m in process of creating a ‘product’ for our own brand , the purpose of which is to create national demand for our particular service experience and also to engage potential franchisees , should we ever choose that route .

    I’m sure your own product launch at Foodtruckr will go extremely well

  • Larry Stineman

    Awesome job Pat..

  • Ben

    Hi Pat…GREAT work!!

  • Tim

    I really like your Blog and it is incredible how much you earn with this.

    Perhaps you could join my blog too: http://sparsamreich.blogspot.de

  • http://www.paydayloanindustryblog.com/ Jer Trihouse

    Pat, seriously appreciate the work you do. You’re podcasts are awesome! We met briefly at Social Media Expo in San Diego. Your workshop was valuable! Question: How do you approach building intellectual property in the food truck niche; a niche you admittedly know little about?

  • Rajaul Karim Sarker

    Nice post. Everyone can try this. Clickhere s

  • awesomepoetry

    Great information. You are an inspiration to all then new bloggers. I read many of your previous posts from 2008. It inspired me to start my own poetry blog. Just wanna say thanks. http://www.awesomepoetry.com

  • Casey Ames

    Sounds great. It’s awesome to see the progress with this site, especially since I love food trucks so much and am fortunate to be in Seattle where they are everywhere.

    I hope you will be sharing you marketing plans for the eBook, since it is different than most selling on Amazon.

  • Tim

    Food trucks are really cool. In germany there are just a few food trucks in the cities and I hope they become much more. ;-)

    Join my blog: http://sparsamreich.blogspot.de

  • Rafe

    Pretty cool pat! Wonder if I should put a product on my site http://www.lawyerconnection.ca

  • Shawn

    Hi Pat,

    Looks like you are having some great success! What is your strategy for building backlinks for FoodTruckr? Are you using the strategies from your interview with Alex Becker?

    Thanks,

    Shawn

    • Ali Zgheib

      I am having the same question !

  • Eric Walker

    Hey Pat, I joined your email list a long time ago and received E-books the Smart Way your auto-responder sequence. I also receive an occasional book club review. But for some reason I’ve never been able to figure out how to join the list in such a way so that I receive YOUR BLOGS as you post them. I receive email from just about everyone else, but I always have to come directly to your site to read your blogs. Help!

    • http://blog.ricardogomes.me Ricardo Gomes

      Hi Eric, you can use Pat’s RSS feed to keep track of new posts, just input the blogs url as the feed in any feed reader (like http://theoldreader.com) and your good to go.

  • http://www.piptree.com/ David Kwan

    Hi Pat, another great and inspiring post. I guess most of your traffic are coming from Google but as a newbie, apart from writing good + targetted content, do you spend anything to get the site indexed such as bookmarking services ? search engine submission ? etc ? Or you use services such as RankHero ?

    Thanks …

  • http://olympictrees.com Andrew Forsman

    Hi Pat,

    You’ve mentioned many times before that the “Resources” page on SPI is where a good chunk of your affiliate income comes from. It doesn’t seem like that is the case for the “Resources” page on Food Truckr, though. Is the resources page on Food Truckr getting much traffic, and if it is, why do you think it isn’t bringing in more revenue? It does seem to be a duplicate of the SPI page, rather than specific resources for food trucks. What else could you add to make it more valuable for both you and your readers?

    Thanks,
    Andrew

  • Steven Vigus

    Pat, I caught up with a friend who is going back to college to re-invent himself as a food truck operator. Because he knows that I’m a big podcast fan he told me that he has been getting information from a new podcast by a guy named Pat Flynn. He also told me about your foodtrucker site. There you go! No gimmicks here. Just straight information on the food truck business. Good luck as you continue to rock it!

  • http://excelcampus.com Jon Acampora

    How did you create the sales page for the Food Truck book? It looks great! Is this a customized Leadpages template, or did you use another software?

    Thanks Pat!

  • Cole

    Wow Pat, I just visited the Foodtruckr.com for the first time in about 8 months, it is beautiful! How did you design the site (templates,themes,etc.)??

    • http://www.bluehivehost.com bluehivehost

      Looks like its using a custom Thesis template for WordPress.

  • http://www.bookleverageblog.com/ George Rodriguez

    Pat,

    Came across this and thought you might find some use in it, “Study identifies factors that contribute to food trucks’ fast spread”.

    Keep up the great work.

    http://bit.ly/YAsDaN

  • Jo

    Hi Pat, what other method can you recommend beside using adsense to monetise FoodTruckr? I come from a country where adsense account is hard to get approval and my account was banned due to suspicious click activity (by competitors)

    • KC Clark

      There are other ad affiliate programs other than adsense that operate in similar ways. Do a google search and you should get some results. Also you could create ebooks, find affiliates, or create some type of membership site. Think outside the box.

  • Tommy Security

    Congrats Pat on the converting FoodTruckr site into an authority site already ! That itself is a commendable achievement !

  • http://www.ProjectLifeMastery.com/ Stefan Pylarinos

    Congrats on the success of this Pat. Keep it up, I’ll continue to follow and check in!

  • Lisa

    Hey Pat – I have a food truck blog as well! I started it several years ago, spending most of my energy reviewing food trucks in the area. Unfortunately, as Yelp has begun to review trucks, I’ve been pushed out of that area.

    Just recently started to write more “how to start a food truck” content, but of course FoodTruckr outranks all my stuff… :P

    Wondering – do you know any affiliate products? I can’t seem to find any and at this point I feel like that’s my only chance of making any money. I’ve spent SO much time and energy on this site and have never made a penny. Would be nice to get something back at least.

  • http://techelement.net/ Josh Hubatchek

    Thanks for continuing to provide spectacular content. I just found your site/podcast about a month ago and I’ve learned more useful information than I have collectively over the past two years.

  • Ali Zgheib

    Hi Pat :) ,can you tell me how you build backlinks to this website ?

  • Tommy Security

    Great stuff Pat as usual ! Glad to you see you as an authority in this niche !

    Your book looks promising and though appears to be priced on higher side, however considering the target audience (who are aspiring food truck owners), the price looks just perfect !

    All the very best and I am sure you will rock !

  • Robbin

    Great stuff Pat! I’m following your proces quite some time now and it’s amazing to see your journey. Looking forward to reading your article about how you created your e-book.

  • http://www.HumanEcholocation.com/ Tim

    I’m curious to know what tactics you used to gain traffic initially? Not being a food truck owner, did you outsource content? How often did you publish? Did you syndicate on certain channels? Did you pay for traffic? How long did it take to ramp up?
    I’m starting a new site now in the “mastermind” business niche and am running into some trouble gaining traffic.

    • KC Clark

      Use semrush.com to track analytics about other sites. You can see if the site us getting paid or organic traffic. I’m not an affiliate, but I use the tool often.

  • SH

    Thanks Pat!

  • Pooja Sharma

    Thanks for sharing this post. This is very useful info.
    Wow excellent !! I like very much !
    Step Up Height Increaser

  • http://start-up-your-business.com/ Start up your Business

    Hi Pat !

    I really like the niche site duel! Great work.

  • Mike Power
  • FlorianUlrich

    Hi Pat, great sharing this information here. Great resource.

    I was just looking at your FIRST niche site duel, and even though this is from way back, I was wondering – this investor who offered you 10K for the site, and you decided not to sell to – do you think you could have negotiated with him to give him the site for less but still get a part of his profits (like 20 – 50%)? That way, he would have taken over, expanded it, and you would still have had another source of completely passive income.

    All the best and thanks for your help again
    Florian