Happy New Year my readers! I wish to you in 2015 new opportunities and success in everything that you are doing!
I just came back from the retreat with NoHatDigital, and it was best experience I had so far. You can learn about my experience here. In short I learned a lot and currently working hard on the WordPress plugin that I mentioned in last article. It’s 60% done at this moment, and I will announce on my blog when it will be ready for download.
In the beginning, I promised writing income reports every month and I failed to do it. People say entrepreneurs like failures because they can learn from it and improve them self. And I finally decided to do income report for the whole 2014 year.
Today I created a spreadsheet and pulled all numbers together. I was surprised how much money I invested in different online businesses and compared to my income from various online sources. Anyway, it always hard in the beginning, and I needed to test and try different waters in the online business game. Those who don’t risk, don’t drink champagne! And here I am to show and prove to you what works and what’s not.
Summary of What I Did in 2014
I want to review here everything that I did in 2014 this will help to me, and to you (my readers) avoid mistakes in the future.
Purchased Expensive Domain with Keyword Name
I started my journey in May of 2014 with looking all over online how to invest money and found Flippa website. Over there you can buy and sell websites. There are thousands of websites available for sell, and 90% of them are a scam (turn-key websites).
What kind of scam I mean: People sells ready to use websites created in WordPress using some templates and data with different domains. They can fake traffic, backlinks, social profiles and etc. Today I can detect if a website is fake in couple seconds. If you are looking to find out how to buy a website from Flippa then I can do small guide, just leave a comment below if you are interested.
After a week of research and comparing different websites I found one of the niche websites were making around $1k-$2k per month, and the website was sold for $12k. The website was poorly made with a lot of small pages with pictures and description. I can say only that the website was about interior design.
Mistake 1 – Don’t Spend Money on Exact Match Domain Names
I checked website and decided to create a similar website with keyword domain name. I paid $1299 just for .COM domain name! One of the first biggest mistake I did! Later on, I found out that the exact domain name doesn’t boost any more search engine ranking!
Mistake 2 – Don’t Create Static Websites
The second mistake I did when I tried to create a static website from scratch in HTML. Why static? To increase speed of website of course. After about 3-4 weeks when I posted around 20 pages I found out that it is difficult to maintain static websites and add new pages. In only couple hours, I converted a static website to dynamic WordPress blog. It helped me to decrease time to update a website, but website speed dropped four times. The static HTML version of the website was able to load in 0.4 second and WordPress version loads as fast as 1.6 second. Anyway, not so bad.
What did I learn from this? Don’t spend money on exact match domains (EMD) only if it’s cheap or necessary. And don’t create a static website if it will contain more than ten pages.
I didn’t make enough money from this website yet because I don’t have the organic traffic yet. Just about 2-5 visitors per day from search engines. Most traffic was coming from Facebook advertisement, and I was monetizing website with Google AdSense. In the end, I was earning the same money that I spent on Facebook ads. Not bad, but I need to come out with something better here.
Purchased Guest Posting Blog
Meantime when I was working on “interior design website” in June of 2014 I bought guest posting blog from Flippa. It was a three-year-old website with page rank 3 (PR3) blog and domain authority 21 (DA21). It had around 200+ backlinks and 650+ articles from guest posts. Original owner claimed that he was making an average of $400 per month through guest postings.
I took a look at the website and found that I will able to do many improvements. Like change the theme, make a logo, add social profiles and make it search engine friendly. I also saw potential to use this blog for link building opportunity for my other websites in future because blog about life and I can use it for different niches.
Anyway after negotiation with the seller and many questions and a week later I bought guest posting website for $1780 after escrow and wire fees.
Mistake 1 – Don’t Believe To Sellers
Seller provided PayPal copies of transactions that he claimed were payments for guest posting. The average sale was around $100. After owning website for six month I can say that you can get paid $100 per guest post on PR3 website – DA21 website, but it’s really rare!
Mistake 2 – Don’t Sell Links on Your Website
The main purpose for this website to monetize it through paid guest posts and AdSense. I received an email in August of 2014 from one of the company to post paid links on my home page. And they were offering $30 per month per link. Not bad? Right? Let’s make more money from this website. I accepted the offer and posted only one link on my website.
Guess what happened next? After couple weeks, I received a message on my Google Webmaster Tool saying my website was penalized. It was penalized because of unnatural links coming out from the website. My traffic from Google dropped 90%. Omg! What I have done. I removed the link and sent reconsideration email back to Google. After about a week later I received an answer from Google, and they took off the penalty, but my traffic only recover 40%.
Even after four month later my traffic didn’t go back where it was before.
Mistake 3 – Use Facebook Ads Correctly
Facebook ads are the powerful tool if you know how to use it. This website had about 200 real fans on the Facebook page, and I decided why to not increased it. So targeted big auditory who interested in health and lifestyle and I paid about $20 to run for a week. After a week, I got 1500 new fans, and most of them were fake likes!!!
Now if I will post any blog post on Facebook page it show me that my post reach only 2-3 people when I have 1700 fans instead of 30-40 reach when I had 200 fans. Sucks! Isn’t it? Anyway I started removing fake likes slowly and my audience reach increased.
If you are looking to promote your Facebook page please use existed website alike audience or custom audience with narrow down interests. I also suggest to read Jon Loomer blog, he is the guru of Facebook Ads.
Original owner launched website in August of 2012 and traffic was going up till July 2013. After traffic dropped probably because of some Google update. In June of 2014 I purchased the website and traffic was steady (about 3500 visitors per month) and remain about the same till august when I got penalized later from Google. After I remove Google penalization the website traffic was down to 2000 visitors per months.
You can check traffic graph below:
Let’s review my earnings from Lifestyle website. I used 2 monetization methods: Paid Guest Posts and AdSense.
I had not bad couple months of earnings from AdSense and unfortunately after Google penalized the website earnings dropped.
In total website made $64.08 with AdSense. Not bad for beginning. Fortunately it wasn’t my biggest monetization method. My main monetization method was paid guest posts and without any advertisement at all I made in total $814.96. Not bad at all. Since June 2014 I made in total $879.04 and as I said above I bought this website for total $1780. Almost half way till I make even.
As you can see from chart below Google penalization didn’t affect on my guest post earnings because most people find my website through old advertisements, forum posts and blog comments from previous owner.
And also I started accept paid guest posts only in August.
Created Multiple Amazon Affiliate Websites
As I mentioned in my welcome Hello World post I create amazon affiliate website based on expired domains. It took some time to find not spammy with good backlinks expired domains. If you are looking for a guide how to find perfect expired domain then just leave the comment below if you are interested and I will write in-depth guide.
What it takes to create amazon affiliate website:
- Find perfect niche by doing market research
- Find related expired domains with good backlinks
- Buy domain through auction or broker
- Create 5-10 articles titles using keyword research
- Hire writer or writers and assign to write articles
- Create website and make a great and easy to use layout
- Create website logo
- Post articles
- Create comparison table with Table Press and add amazon products
- Build social profiles
- Continue to promote website and build backlinks
- Check your traffic and earnings everyday!
A lot of steps? Right? It’s not so bad when you start doing it. You just need to start! Everything is easy and simple!
Alright! So how many websites did I create? 8 Amazon Affiliate Websites.
I will talk about them below and I won’t provide links yet, but I will tell in what areas are they.
Website which earn money:
Website provides reviews of some supplements selling on amazon and refer people to buy it. The main traffic comes from Yahoo and Bing search engines. The traffic is pretty steady and avg about 30 visitors per day. It’s exact match domain and rank number 3 for the main keyword in Yahoo and Bing, but almost on 10th page in Google so far.
As you can see from the chart below traffic have been increasing and now I am playing with 7Search ads to drive additional traffic to the website.
Mistake – Start Sell Early
I started advertise amazon items only in October and website was launched in August. If I started 2 month earlier then I will make extra $200 already.
Laptop Accessories Website
I created this website on expired partial match domain and I am getting traffic again here from Bing and Yahoo. The website is on the first page for multiple keywords.
Mistake – Start Sale Earlier Again!
I didn’t earn too much money because of poorly location of amazon affiliate links. I earned only $9.45 and it’s really small amount because again I posted amazon links only in the end of November.
I will need to update website and post more affiliate links to increase conversion.
Home Electronics Website
The expired domain name I chose for this website wasn’t great at all, but it contains some keyword in the domain name. Still I am getting traffic from Bing and Yahoo here too. Not so much like from website above, but better than nothing.
To increase earning I can build more backlinks and add more traffic to drive.
Other websites without traffic: I have in total 5 websites which doesn’t earn any money yet, but they have some traffic already, little work for my future VA and it should bring gold in the future.
Another Method to Earn with Amazon Affiliate
I was posting affiliate links on related forums where I was allow to do it. In future I will give this task to virtual assistant because it’s little time consuming.
Anyway I made in total $216.37 in 2 last month mostly because of Black Friday and holidays.
When I was looking for expired domains for amazon websites, I bought multiple expired domains and build blogs related to different niches.
Why I built PBN? To build backlinks to my future money websites. In total I built 15 PBN websites and it wasn’t really time consuming. I pretty much build all PBN websites in less than 2 months.
After September Google came out with some new algorithm to detect and penalize all PBNs. Fortunately for me I spent a lot of time of researching and made a great strategy on how to build perfect PBN and guess what? No one of my PBN websites didn’t get penalize.
I will write in the future how to create perfect hidden PBN in the future and the main secret is:
[sociallocker id=”238″]Create real blog/website so even with manual inspection no one will detect this is PBN. [/sociallocker]
Worked with Multiple Writers
I hired around 10 writers in total and only kept 3 of them for now. They are from different countries and have different writing styles.
One of them from Philippines and charge around $8.5 per 1000 words and another guy from India and he charge only $4.4 per 1000 words.
I have a american writer living in states and she writes for me for now for $10 per 500 words because I am the first customer and she doesn’t have too much experience, but I like her style and she writes for my authority website only.
I will write article in the soon about how I am hiring writers.
Hired Couple Designers
I hired designer to make logo for my amazon supplements website and designer company based in India to update design for my authority website.
Honestly I think I need to learn and get more experience how to hire good designers because I didn’t nail it like I did with writers.
Started Authority Website
I was creating one of the amazon affiliate niche websites and though why don’t move on and create big authority website. I love this niche and really passionate about it. Lets say I am using it everyday and most people too.
I found great short domain name and bought it for $500 through the broker vs $800 original price. Remember I said don’t spend money on domain names? Well I really like the domain name and if I will add offline business to this website the name will be just perfect!
I did keyword research and came out with 500+ articles! Isn’t it awesome. Then I hired 4 different writers and they were writing couple articles per week. I end up for now with only one writer from states and she writes about 2-3 articles every week.
As I mentioned above I hired designer company from India to redesign the website and I am kinda happy with it, but it took 2 months and just finished last week!
Mistake – Didn’t Publish Posts Yet
Since website was in redesign I didn’t publish any content yet. So website doesn’t get any traffic yet and I need to do a lot of work over there.
Anyway I am really excited about this project and I think I will transfer all work to virtual assistant.
Started Developing WordPress Plugin
After I came back from retreat with NoHatDigital, I got many ideas for my future projects and I decided to make a WordPress Plugin. I was working hard on it before Christmas vacation and it’s 60% done. I hope I will finish it in 2 weeks.
So what the plugin will be about? I just will say this: It will be free and many bloggers will use it!
How Much Did I Earn and Spend in 2014
My Incomes in 2014
Let’s calculate everything how much money I made in total in 2014. I will say not so much compare how much I spent if I wanted, but entrepreneurs need to test different waters.
- With 2 websites I made so far with Google AdSense only: $81.72
- My guest posts blog earn in total: $814.96
- Total Earning with Amazon Affiliates: $477.94
So in total I only made: $1374.62
But it’s just the beginning 🙂
My Expenses in 2014
When I started calculating my expenses and how much money did I spend for my online venture I was in shock. Anyway I did some mistakes and I know what works better right now and whats not.
For example I spent money on ads:
- Don’t use random Facebook ads! You need to target your audience and better to use look alike website audience.
- Google and Bing ads cost a lot, but if you will find cheap keywords then you are good to go.
- 7Search traffic can be really bad and you need to test it out.
- Banners can bring traffic to you, but it my not worth it compare to other ways.
- I had good experience with Twitter and it might be cheaper than Facebook ads.
- Facebook, Twitter, Google Ads, Bing Ads, Banners and 7Search : $691.46
- Domain registration, expired domains, hostings (Hostgator, BlueHost, InMotionHosting, HostNine, IXWebHosting) : $1875.72 (Mostly I spent money to buy expired domains, it will pay back over time)
- Tools like: LeadPages, OptinMonster, Social Locker, SeoMoz, LongTail Pro, SumoMe, WordPress Templates : $568.51
- Content from writers I hired through Elance : $1660.79
- Hired designers through Elance : $212.87
- Purchased Guest Post Website : $1780.25
- Bought 2 expensive domains : $1799
- Business license expenses : $84
In total I spent : $8672.6
Yes, it’s a lot, but it was investment for the future. Why?
- I will continue to use all this tools in the future.
- I half way through covering guest posting website expenses and at the end I will able to sell through Empire Flippers for 20x avg earnings! It’s about $4000. Not bad? right?
- Content will work for long time and earn money slowly.
- I will utilize PBN to increase authority of my money website to earn more money.
- I will sell interior decoration website to return my money or even make some.
- The only lost expense probably is money spent on ads. It’s all about testing and I learn a lot from it.
What Next? My Goals For 2015!
I will take a nap. Yes, everyone need to take a rest from their work and I will enjoy some time off from time to time. I know most entrepreneurs working 24 hours per day 7 days per week and they don’t have time to rest. I just came back from LA where I spent my Christmas and New Year celebration and now I am ready for new successful ventures!
My Goals For 2015
- Finish WordPress Plugin – Currently I am working on the WordPress Plugin and I would like to finish it in 2 weeks and then promote it and use VA to support it.
- Hire Virtual Assistance – I realized that I need virtual assistance because I want to spend all my time to develop new businesses. And I don’t have time to take care of already established websites and improve them. My future VA will work on current websites and established projects and do research for future projects. Also VA will handle writers too: order and post content on websites. I will save so much time with it. I am planning to hire from onlinejobs.ph. You can hire full time VA for $300 per month. Not bad, right?
- Start Private Label Business – As I mentioned above I have multiple Amazon Affiliate Websites and successfully selling supplements from one of them right now. I am working right now with suppliers from USA and would like to sell my own “Made in USA” supplements on amazon and through my website. And not only supplements, I already found interesting items for sale on amazon.
- Develop SaaS Project – I am really interested in this project and this will be really huge! Everyone will use it and it will be of course free! How I will monetize it? There is an idea and customers wouldn’t pay for to use it. I am planning to start working on it right after I finish the WordPress Plugin.
- Sell Some Websites – I would like to sell “Lifestyle Guest Posts Blog” and “Interior Decoration Blog”. My plan is to have VA who will improve and promote websites for 4 months and then sell them. I am planning to use Empire Flippers to sell “Lifestyle Blog” and sell for around 20x of my earnings. And “Interior Decoration Blog” sell on Flippa because I don’t think I will able to make good earnings from it and usually if website make less than $2k per month it’s better to sell it on Flippa than Empire Flippers
- Improve Amazon Affiliate Websites – I need to build backilinks for my amazon affiliate websites and improve them. I believe there are a lot of improvements I can do.
- Authority Website – I have passion for this project, but I don’t have enough time. I will start posting articles and then make my future VA will do it.
- Residual Incomer Blog – Continue to write guides and my experiences with my ventures. I hope you guys enjoying it and I bring value to you.
- Spend Less and Earn More – As you guys saw from above I have spent a lot of money and didn’t earn too much yet. It don’t really worry because it were investments to my online businesses and I will spent less and less money now and earn more.
That’s it folks! Hope you liked my first income article, please share it and follow me on Facebook and Twitter. I am also interested and really excited to you new year resolutions and goals for 2015. Share your thoughts in comments below!