UPDATED DECEMBER 2016
This is the first in a series of posts which will detail what I did to get one of my first ever sites from zero to five figures. Between 2013 and 2015 I grew this site, earned a decent amount of money with it, and sold it at the beginning of 2016 for over $25,000.
I'm writing a series of posts detailing the journey, because I've been desperate to do a good case study for some time. I also put together a free Amazon video course for you as another avenue for absorbing this type of information.
Case studies are perhaps the most powerful type of post that can be created in this space. Readers can follow along and get real over-the-shoulder experiences, get inspiration, and get validation that methods work.
If you've followed me for sometime, you will know that I have blogged several times about an Amazon site I owned in the shaving niche. I blogged about how I increased traffic by 500% without adding new content. I blogged about how I increased income by 300% with just a few hours' work, and I blogged about how I sold the site for over $25,000.
What I haven't ever done though, is blog a “start to finish” report on how that site came to be, and a map of the journey it went through.
What a perfect case study this would make then!
Since we already know the result (A 5 figure sale), this site would make for a great case study.
- Readers will feel motivated to follow my posts because they know there is a happy ending with this report
- The methods I used for that site are still effective today
- I can skip out the weeks and months where nothing happened with the site
- I can distill all the knowledge into about 10 or fewer posts
- I know what had a direct effect on the site's success and what didn't, so there's no “Let's see if this works” guessing to be done.
Of course, starting a brand new case study that everyone can follow along would be great too, and as the HPD team takes more of my operational responsibilities away from me, I'll be looking to do one in the near future too. However, I would be mad to NOT do this report as well, so that's what I'll be doing over the next few weeks.
I will spread the posts out to either be weekly or twice a week, since we aren't stuck by the site's progress. I don't want to overwhelm you though and write out all the posts and then publish them at once.
So let's end this post with a summary of what happened with the site in question:
- Started in January 2013 in the shaving niche – Focused on straight razors
- Nearly sold it in August 2013 for $250 – It was earning about $20 per month at the time.
- Started link building to it in September 2014 after deciding to give it another go.
- In March 2015 it was getting great traffic but still only $50 per month.
- In April 2015 I spent a few hours re-structuring the money pages. Instant boost to $300 per month.
- For the rest of 2015 I added more content, built more links, and made the conversion boosts sitewide.
- In December 2015 the site made $2,000 +
- In January 2016 I sold the site for over $25,000.
Now, there were a lot of other things that happened along the way, and I will chronicle everything I did from start to finish. Some of the key things I will cover will be:
- Why I chose the niche
- How I set about building, structuring, and growing the site
- What my initial promotion plan was (and why it failed)
- What my initial monetization plan was (and why it didn't work out great)
- Why I gave up on the site after about 6 months
- Why I then came back to it about a year later
- How I increased traffic by 300%
- How I increased income by 500% overnight.
- How I scaled it.
- How/Why I sold it.
On top of that, I will be talking about what things worked well, what things didn't work at all, what things are not relevant anymore in 2016, and what I would do differently now.
What is really cool, having mapped out the journey in my head, is that most of you will be able to do exactly what I did, and still get similar results. Not a whole lot has changed in the last few years in the grand scheme of things.
Will I Share The URL?
Doing so would probably land me in trouble since I sold the site to a new owner. Plus, the site now has different links built to it, more rankings, and is basically not necessarily the same site I built. I feel that if I were to share the URL, not only might I jeopardize the site's future, but people would be analyzing it based on its new status rather than the position I left it in.
I'm perfectly ok with writing this case study about it though, because I had already written 2 posts about it on HPD and 1 on nichehacks.com before the site was bought. I will also share a few screenshots of the design and some info about the keywords I targeted, because in some cases this will be necessary for teaching you what I did.
Honestly though, the site is still ranking, it still has my name on the about page and in the comments, and the design hasn't changed, so if you really did want to track it down, you probably could.
The main purpose of this case study is to share what I did, what worked, and how it happened. The URL of the site in question shouldn't concern you.
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Following The Study
Each new post will go live a few days after the previous one, so your best bet is to subscribe to updates, and to use this page as an index. I'll add a link to each post here as it goes live. The first post has been done.