A lot of you have been requesting an update on my security guard training niche site, so here it is!
If you aren’t familiar with this particular site of mine, I recommend you read up on the niche site duel—where I and several other bloggers and internet marketers share and reveal everything from idea generation to monetization (and we reveal our niches and domain names too!).
Currently, the site is still ranking #1 for my target keyword and primarily making money from Google Adsense, and thanks to some great advice from Spencer over at NicheAdsenseChallenge.com (who has his last day of work at his 9-to-5 job today…congrats Spencer!), I made a couple of little tweaks that dramatically increased my income from an average of $8.00 per day, to a whopping $19.09 per day since the changes I made on March 2nd.
That’s a 139% increase in earnings, and over the course of an entire year that’s an extra $4,047.85! This just shows you that even little changes can make a huge difference over the long haul.
Here’s a graph showing you my earnings since the change:
To date, the site has earned a total of $908.80 in Adsense ads alone in about 5 months time. Although this is a small portion of income compared to some of my other online businesses, I definitely think this is a success – one that will earn a lot more in the future, especially with some of the things I have planed for the site, which I’ll talk more about later in this post.
So what were those little tweaks?
The first thing I did was remove the 300 x 250 rectangle ad that was at the top of my sidebar, and put move it to within the body of any post or page, floating on the right hand side so text wraps around on the left.
This move got rid of the stock image of the security guard (which in my opinion wasn’t really adding much to the site) and it makes the sidebar look a little more professional too. Because the ads are now centered on the page and closer to where the main text is located, it increased the click-through rate dramatically.
Note: I’m using a wordpress plugin called Advertisement Management to easily place ads in specific areas of my site. It’s free in the WordPress plugin directory.
Another small tweak I did was add a horizontal Link Ad unit above the image banner at the top. Before adding this unit, there were no ads shown above the fold (above the fold = what you see without having to scroll down the page) for certain screen resolutions. What’s nice about this ad unit is that it is fairly unobtrusive and is always displayed no matter what the screen resolution is. It’s all about testing and optimization, and not just in regards to advertisements. If something seems like it works pretty well (and even if it’s not working at all), you may be able to do better, and the only way to know is to test.
Take action, and see what happens. Experiment!
Lastly, know that every website is different and different tests (like ad placements) will yield different results. There are general things you can do to potentially increase your income like I did, but the only way to really know if it’ll work for you is to try.
A Company Directory
My next experiment with this site is to utilize a company directory. I’ve seen a number of different websites successfully create an infrastructure that allows companies to sign up for a small monthly fee to be listed into a directory and enjoy the exposure as well as the SEO benefits it can give them from a top, relevant site.
The math is pretty crazy here. There are hundreds and hundreds of security guard companies in each individual state. If I were to get only 1 company from each state to signup for $10/month (for example), that’s $500.00/month in residual income. Two companies from each state = $1000/month, and so on.
Of course, this is much easier said than done. Luckily, a programmer has already built the infrastructure on my site so it’s completely automated.
This stuff isn’t live on the site yet (so these are a bit rough), but this is how it’ll work:
1. Sign Up Form
This is the page companies will use to sign up. There are fields for the following:
- Your Company Name
- Company Address
- Company Phone Number
- Website URL
- Company Logo
- The State the Company Resides
- Company Description
They also have the ability to choose a regular listing or a premium listing at at a higher price.
A premium listing give them the opportunity to have their company highlighted on the directory and always show near the top.
This is all connected to paypal so after they fill out this information, they’ll be taken to a checkout screen to pay. After payment, their company will be live on the site.
2. The Main Directory
After companies sign up, their information will be placed onto an overall company directory, as shown below:
3. Within Each Individual State Post
Additionally, their company will be listed at the bottom of every post that has a tag that matches the state their business is located. So for example, if the company is in California, all posts that deal will California will list the companies at the bottom in a California-only directory:
4. A Company Page on the Site
In addition to the main company directory, and the directories within each individual state’s post, the company will also get their own dedicated page on the site. Whenever someone clicks on the company name within the directories, they will be taken to a page that looks like the one you see below:
A logo and description of the company will be included as well – those were just features I added after the example companies were put in as a test.
Also, you can see a Google map of where the company is located and a link for directions too.
As you can see, this is all pretty slick. Especially because the developer also created a wordpress plugin just for the purposes of easily managing the directory. On the backend, I have the ability to add a company manually, delete companies, change the pricing for both the regular and premium listing, and include a free 30 or 60 day trial. And like I said, the best part is that it’s all automated – I just have to feed companies into it.
So How Do I Do That?
This is the big question, obviously. I can have a cool functioning, totally automated directory, but it’ll all be useless unless I get companies to sign up.
I have a number of options to try to get companies on board:
- Email each individual company
- Speak to the owner of each company over the phone (aka. cold call)
- Send direct-mail to these companies
- I could utilize a pURL (personalized URL) in each of the above 3 methods. (Say for example, I send a postcard to a company. It’ll have some intriguing copy on it and a link that includes the company name, and when they go to that link their name will automatically be inserted onto that landing page. This is all automated using a pURL service/system)
- I could utilize a free-trial period in each of the above methods as well.
- I could hire people to help me gather leads for me.
My intuition leads me to believe that a basic email won’t do any good. Many of these companies probably get asked by SEO companies if they need help with their search engine rankings quite often (I know I do!). Although I’d have an upper-hand because I have a very relevant site that could give them legitimate exposure, I’m afraid I could easily be seen as just another SEO company with an email that will be quickly ignored.
Am I right, or should I send out an email anyways, because it can’t hurt to try? (remember…experiment!)
I’m very intrigued by the direct-mail response method. I’m researching the costs right now and it would definitely be a fun experiment, that’s for sure. The copy on those postcards would be immensely important.
So this is where I stop to ask you: what do you think is the best approach here?
I’ve been involved with this particular project for about a month now and I’m getting tunnel vision. I would love some fresh eyes and some fresh first impressions to generate some potential ideas and opinions. If you’ve got anything to say (and I welcome constructive criticism!) or have some experience with something like this under your belt already, I’d love to hear from you.
I’m super stoked to see what happens.
Thanks everyone, and have a safe, happy and healthy weekend. Cheers!
My prayers go out to everyone who has in one way or another, directly or indirectly been effected by the earthquake in Japan.
Other Posts in The Niche Site Duel Series
- Niche Site Duel: I’ve Been Challenged, and I Accept! (8/16)
- Niche Site Duel 002: Finding a Profitable Niche – My Process Revealed (8/18)
- Oops. The Niche I Selected is Bad, and Here’s Why (8/20)
- Niche Site Duel 003: How to Setup a Niche Site – Before You Add Content (8/25)
- Niche Site Duel 004: My Content Strategy (9/10)
- Niche Site Duel 005: My Backlinking Boo Boo (9/13)
- Niche Site Duel 006: My Backlinking Strategy (9/14)
- Niche Site Duel 007: Ranking and Traffic (and Earnings!) Update (9/29)
- Niche Site Duel 008: My Monetization Strategy (10/26)
- Niche Site Duel 009: I’m On The First Page of Google! (10/27)
- Niche Site Duel 010: I’m Ranked Number One in Google!! (11/8)
- Niche Site Duel 011: THE Backlinking Strategy That Works (11/10)
- Niche Site Duel 012: An Experiment and Income Update (11/29)
- Niche Site Duel 013: CPA Promotions, Private Advertising, Job Board and Income Report(1/14)
- My 275% Increase in Adsense Revenue (1/26)
- Niche Site Earnings and Directory Listing Update (3/11)
- I Was Just Offered Five Figures For My Niche Site! (5/11)
- Niche Site Update – New Content, Record Earnings, and What’s Next (5/26)
- Niche Site Duel – One Year Later (Earnings and Traffic Update (8/15)