While HumanProofDesigns has been growing at lightning pace (thanks everyone who's been a part of this!), I've also quietly been planning and working on my own niche site strategy.
I've always maintained the fact that it's super important for me to keep up to date with strategies and general niche site management. Afterall, I don't want to end up teaching methods that are old or no longer working. There are plenty of guys out there who succeed with something then create an eBook or membership site teaching you how to do the same and lose touch with what is really working.
I also think my portfolio could do with updating! As of last month, I made a measly $200-$250 from my niche sites. Not exactly something worth writing home about.
Maintaining And Growing A Niche Site Portfolio
Some people out there will always say it's better to have one website and grow it into a mega authority site. There's definitely virtue in this, as that's exactly what I've been doing with HPD and the income is starting to reward me for it.
It takes time to build out an authority site though, and while you can make money in every niche, I'm not convinced that EVERY site is fit to become an authority. By authority site I mean a huge site with over 100 pages of content that has a regular blog and an avid fanbase.
Equally, some people just don't have the time, passion, or expertise to dedicate themselves to growing out a massive site. In this situation, accumulating a handful of niche sites (let's say each one earning $100+ a month) and growing a portfolio over time could be a more prudent option.
There are definitely some pros and cons to building out this kind of portfolio, and depending on which category you fit into, you may or may not decide it's for you:
Pros of a Niche Site Portfolio
– Theoretically it's easier to get 10 sites to $100 a month than 1 site to $1000.
– If a niche/site turns out to be a bust or suddenly loses its rankings, you're covered by the others.
– Niche sites require less work after they are initially set up.
– Adding new sites to a portfolio over time is pretty straightforward.
Cons of a Niche Site Portfolio
– In 2014 it's not as simple to rank a niche site as it used to be (but still doable).
– Keeping track of each site can take practice.
– You might be gimping the earnings of a site by not focusing on it.
Overall I'd say the pros outweigh the cons and building a portfolio was something I was always interested to do. Unfortunately how I learned to build successful websites was through very white-hat SEO and authority style blogging. This works exceptionally well if you're building up an authority site, but it just doesn't cut it if you want to create multiple niche sites.
You can't “just keep blogging” when you have several sites on the go, you need to be more proactive with your link building and promoting.
It took me the better part of the year to learn what sort of strategies I can apply to my passive portfolio sites in order to keep them growing and earning, without taking a lot of my time away from Human Proof Designs.
Now that I'm confident I've found something that will work for me and is scale-able, I'm able to get started on it and share it with you guys as I do!
The Plan Going Forward
I'm going to have slightly different objectives depending on what the site is. Overall though, I need to get a few more “money pages” on each site ranking.
Every site has one or two main pages ranking but they also have various other pages lost in the ether of Google. I've just not had time to really do any work on the sites, so pages have either lost rankings, or not really gained them yet.
If I can get one or two pages on each site ranking nicely on page 1, then I should be able to start getting conversions and more income from them. This all starts with rankings though.
I've never hugely relied on backlinks as my main strategy. With HPD I've never sent a backlink to the site that I didn't earn through a guest post or a deserved shout-out from another site.
The value in good backlinks is immense though.
Having a couple of clean backlinks from good relevant sites can do wonders for Google rankings. I tested this on a couple of my niche sites with links from high value sites, and saw that 1 or 2 good quality links can make a page jump from page 4 to page 1 of Google in no time.
Since I won't have a whole lot of time to create new content on these sites, I'm going to test a couple of good link building methods. This could be a mixture of guest posting, using trustworthy link building packages, and other link-bait style techniques. I'll also be using this guide.
I'll definitely keep you all in the loop on this, because those of you who don't have much time to dedicate to site promotion or content creation might well benefit from the same techniques.
As far as I'm concerned there's absolutely nothing wrong with laying down a layer of “pillow” links to your site to help Google find it.
It's not spammy, because the links aren't spam. Your content isn't spam either. All you're doing is saying to Google “Look I've created some great content and there are a few links out there pointing to my site that agree”.
You can't succeed with backlinks without good content, and you can't really succeed with good content without backlinks, especially when it's a site that you're leaving to run on autopilot.
If any of you want to know anything more about the packages I'm going to use, I can probably hook you up with a service, so let me know via the contact form.
More Tables And Other Page Elements
Once I've got those rankings and traffic going to the money pages, I'm going to be testing creating tables in TablePress and other page elements to see how I can boost conversions. I'm not really looking to get subscribers or expecting to get repeat visitors with these sites, so maximizing conversions is a huge necessity.
I will even be experimenting with Adsense only, Adsense + Amazon, and Amazon only to see how all those things affect overall conversions.
I'll test some Adsense optimized themes as well.
So right now I have one site earning over $150-200 a month, one site earning around $50+ and another two sites earning pennies. The goal is to get all four of them earning $100+ and to also add one or two new sites and get them on their way to earning by the end of the year.
When I get some results worth reporting I will definitely do so, so make sure you're subscribed to get notified about the posts.