I’m back with another Niche Site Duel update!
The experimental niche site I created from scratch live here on SPI (see the Niche Site Duel Hub for more details) has undergone quite a few tests and experiments since my last post about it.
The security guard training site is still ranking #1 in Google for its primary keyword and I’ve had the opportunity to attempt to make money from methods other than just Google Adsense, which is what I’m going to share with you today (and my current income report too, of course).
Below is everything that I experimented with since my last update:
I had heard of a number of people who were making a killing by creating lead generation websites specifically for online universities. I thought that this might be a perfect opportunity for me and my niche site because a lot of security guards continue their education to add to their resume and increase their salary.
Here’s the gist on how CPA (cost-per-acquisition) networks work:
- Find a CPA network (such as Commission Junction, NeverBlue, eLearners, CollegeBound, etc.) and go through the application process. They’ll call you on the phone to discuss your application because they don’t take just anyone. They’ll want to know what size audience you have and how you’ll be promoting offers.
- After approval, find a promotion or offer that fits your audience. Place banners or setup text links on your site.
- Get traffic and get paid not per-click, but per “acquisition” – or every time a person clicks your banner or link and fills in the required information on the landing page, which is sometimes just an email address, and other times a full name/address/phone number type form. It depends on the offer.
It’s a little more difficult to generate a lead compared to getting a click for an advertisement, however some of these offers range between $20 and $45 per lead, so when you think about it you don’t need nearly as many people to convert in order to make the same amount (or even more) than you could with basic PPC (pay-per-click) advertising.
When my application was accepted to a number of networks and I found offers for Criminal Justice and Law degrees, I thought I had struck gold.
I placed a banner in the sidebar of my site, which is where I knew my Adsense clicks had the best click-throughs, and waited 2 weeks.
After 8,672 impressions and 157 clicks, I saw a grand total of $0.00 in commissions:
I tried different sized banners, banners with different copy and even just plain text-link ads. It seems as though offering higher education to those who were looking for basic education about how to become a security guard just didn’t make sense, which is okay. My commissions and terribly low click-through rate (less than 0.2%) was enough to tell me that this wasn’t the right move.
In a number of previous Niche Site Duel updates I had mentioned that a couple of companies contacted me to learn more about advertising on my site. The holidays definitely put a delay on that because it wasn’t until recently that I heard back from one of them, finally.
When it comes to private advertising, the number one goal during the negotiation process is to make sure they understand that they are saving money by advertising on your site.
Typically, most of the sites that contact you already have campaigns running on Adwords, so they know how much they are paying per click. Even if they don’t, a gentle reminder never hurts because when you show a comparison between how much they would pay Google vs. how much they would pay you, then they’d be crazy not to agree to a contract.
For example, using the Google Adwords Keyword Tool (and of course, Market Samurai [free trial, but full disclosure – I earn a commission if you buy] can do this for you too), I can see that the average cost per click for my primary keyword is $2.83:
Let’s say then, for example, that a potential advertiser could get 100 clicks per month from a particular banner or advertisement location on my site. With Adwords, 100 clicks would cost approximately $283.00 (100 x $2.83).
This is where I insert my sweet deal, such as advertising with me for only $200.00 per month, which is an $83 savings (about 30%). Sometimes I go 50% just to make the deal even sweeter, especially if it’s the first advertiser and I really want to get an ad on my site as proof for other potential advertisers. So, a 50% savings would be about $140 per month in this case.
I also make sure to add that there is a potential to save even more because there is no limit to how many clicks an advertiser can get.
Also, when negotiating (usually via email or phone), I’ll add in a few other things to sweeten the deal even more:
First, I’ll offer a long-term contract savings, which means that if the advertiser were to purchase at least 3 months of advertising with me, I would take even more off the monthly price. The longer the contract, the more passive this income becomes.
Second, I mention that I’ll send a monthly report of how many clicks the advertisement receives. This is easy, especially with a plugin such as GoCodes or Pretty Link, which keeps track of the number of clicks for you. If you want to get even more ninja and supercharge your banner ads on your site, you could use the plugin WP-125, which manages 125×125 pixel advertisements (the most popular size on blogs), keeps track of clicks for each and can even disables specific ads after a certain date. I used this with GreenExamAcademy.com back before my eBook was launched, and it worked really well.
Lastly, if the deal hasn’t gone through yet, I usually tell the person I’m speaking with to try it out for one month, if they don’t like what they see then that’s it.
One question you might have is: how do I know how many clicks an advertisement on my own site could generate?
You won’t know for sure because there are a lot of variables: the location of the ad, the month of the year, the copy and look of the advertisement, etc. But, you should be able to give yourself an educated guess, especially if you have Adsense running on your site already or other banners and links that you should be keeping track of.
If it’s your first time dealing with other companies for advertising space, it’ll be scary because it’s like you’re actually doing real business, with negotiations and other scary things like that, but with time and practice you’ll have an understanding of how to estimate clicks for potential ads, how to price them for maximum income, and how to play hardball.
So where am I with this on my site? We’ve negotiated a price and now the advertiser is deciding whether or not to go long term.
I’ll keep you posted.
A Job Board
I don’t even remember how I discovered indeed.com, but I did and it’s awesome, indeed.
Indeed.com is a job search site that gives web publishers the ability to create their own job boards on their own site using the database of millions of jobs available through indeed.com. Plus, we can earn money both from people who fill in applications (kind of like leads – but this only pays between $0.25 and $2.00 per lead, generally), and employers who post their own available jobs, which you can set your own price for!
You can check out the job board over at securityguardtraininghq.com (I try not to link directly to my niche site from SPI because I don’t want to skew the search engine results) to get an idea of how nicely it can integrate into a site, and honestly it was as simple as creating a page in WordPress and dropping in a snippet of code.
To insert your own job board on your site, you’ll have to go to indeed’s publishers area. There are several ways to integrate a job board, but I chose the instant job site, which seems to be the easiest.
So far, I’ve earned a whopping $2.65. Although this is pocket change, I feel that the job board is a nice addition to the site, one that makes it more professional and useful. Based on my earnings I know at least a few visitors have filled out applications, and if my site can help even just one person find a job I say that’s a win, especially in this economy.
So as you can see, I’ve been testing some new avenues of income. I haven’t struck gold with any of them yet (and I’m still waiting to finalize the advertising deal), but I’m glad I tried some new things.
Like they say, you’ll never know unless you try.
As far as total income, my Adsense earnings have actually started to pick up. In my last report (November of 2010), I mentioned that the site had earned a total of $213.83 (after being live for about 3.5 months).
In January alone (and we’re only halfway through), the site has already earned well over $150.00 with a $30 day yesterday, which is awesome. To date, the site has earned a total of $576.49.
Also, I’m currently creating new niche sites. I have a total of 5 at the moment, 4 of them ranking on the first page of Google, including this one. If you remember from my 2011 Goal Post, my goal was to have 10 high-ranking niche sites by the end of the year. I’m on my way!
Just imagine $30.00/day with an extra zero before the decimal. Mmm..nice.
Keep up the good work everyone! I know you’re working hard to reach your goals this year.
Have a great weekend! Cheers!
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)