Hey HPD family!
We're back again with another success story and this time we're joined by Scott Perry.
He might look familiar since we recently featured him in our roundup post where we asked 10 site owners “how did you grow your blog?”
Many of you, including us, were impressed by Scott's answers and especially his site.
Mostly due to the fact that it's very similar to the way we build sites in the Human Proof Method course.
We also know that his site is in a seasonal niche so it was all the more reason to come and chat with him.
Without further ado, here's our interview with Scott.
Could you tell us about your site? What is it, how old, etc.
Sure! My site is called Catchers Home (https://www.catchershome.com) and it was started in July 2017.
So we’re a little over a year old.
My site is dedicated to Baseball and Fastpitch Softball catchers, and on my site we provide reviews of catcher’s gear as well as articles on Baseball or Softball history, tips for catchers, new or relevant equipment brands, etc.
How much experience did you have with affiliate marketing prior to starting? How did you learn?
I hadn’t even heard of the term ‘affiliate marketing’ or ‘niche sites’ prior to last summer.
I was introduced to the topic from a podcast by Nick Loper from Side Hustle Nation.
Also, I had/have zero programming or web development experience, so I had to do some basic research on that as well.
Can you give a brief overview/timeline of how things have progressed with your site? For example… What did you do first, what happened after 3 months, 6 months etc.
I am a professional Project Manager, so I know how important it is to plan.
Accordingly, the first month was all about planning.
Meaning, coming up with initial concepts on what I wanted my site to be and then doing keyword research.
Based on that research, I used Google Sheets to build my content creation plan.
Then, around the second month I started focusing on content creation in earnest.
My plan was to focus on writing reviews of each piece of catchers gear (ie, helmet, chest protector, leg guards, etc) for three segments of my audience – Baseball catchers, Softball catchers, and youth catchers.
Creating that content took roughly 4 months.
Around 4 months in, I applied to a few affiliate networks, including Amazon’s program.
Once accepted, I began to insert affiliate links in my review posts.
The content I developed in the first four months really remains my “core content”, in terms of what generates the most revenue.
Beginning around month 5, I began the keyword research process again to identify other valuable keywords I could create content around to supplement my “core content”.
Based on the results of this research, I started pumping out more content, which I have continued to do today.
Lately, my focus has been on creating helpful articles which – while it doesn’t bring in a lot of revenue – helps to bring relevant people on to my site.
Would you please share some details about your current stats? Monthly traffic, monthly sales, and income, monthly expenses, total income, etc. (pictures say 1,000 words!)
Sure. My monthly traffic fluctuates as my niche is seasonal.
Predictably, my highest traffic has been in the late winter and spring as the new Baseball/Softball season takes off.
My monthly high has been April 2018 with roughly 4,700 visitors, and it’s currently hovering around 3,500 per month during the fall (snapshot below).
Regarding expenses, I am making every effort to keep expenses as low as possible since I created my site as a means to make side income.
My total expenses over the life of my website has not exceeded $400, which came primarily from domain name costs, hosting, and a number of Fiverr tasks to help create or fix certain things.
In terms of my income, I saw my first “sale” in January of 2018.
In that time, I’ve made right at $4,000 across all sources.
Income sources include Amazon Associates, AdSense, and 3 other, minor niche-specific affiliate marketplaces.
I have brought in the most income year-to-date using Amazon Associates, which you can see in the snapshot below.
What did you struggle with the most at first? How did you fix this?
Without a doubt I struggled with the time needed to create lots of good quality content.
I work full-time and have various volunteer responsibilities, in addition to being a homeowner, husband, and father to
an infant son.
This meant that I spent lunch breaks, evenings and weekends creating content.
I’m not sure I ever “fixed” this problem.
Rather, I pushed through it and stretched my initial content creation timeline out a bit longer than originally expected until my “core content” was created.
A secondary struggle has been the technical side of my site. I have encountered various bugs and glitches that I had no idea how to fix.
Trying to fix it on my own proved complex and time-intensive, so I have had to lean on others to fix things in a piecemeal fashion as problems arise, mostly by buying gigs on Fiverr.
It's clear to see that there isn't a replacement for getting your hands dirty and doing the hard work. Hard work means different things to different people though and certainly at different stages of your site.
Even though Scott might be writing all the content himself currently, it doesn't mean that he will be later on.
We personally prefer to outsource the writing as soon as possible because it really is a time-suck and if Scott get's to the point where he's comfortable handing off keywords to a writing team, then he's still going to be getting his hands dirty somewhere else.
The point being that he will just be working on something else to grow the site.
How do you deal with being in a seasonal niche?
It’s the reality of my niche so I try to use it to my advantage.
In the “off-season”, which I’m kind of in right now, I am focusing on cleaning up my ‘core content’ and beefing it up with more information, increasing the word count, etc.
My goal is for this to serve three purposes:
1. To get rid of any outdated or bad-looking material in these posts, and to freshen it with new pictures and materials;
2. To increase the SEO value of my core content before the new season starts, and
3. To prepare this content for a greater number of visitors expected in the spring season so that I can add value to them and hopefully maximize sales for me.
Then, during the season instead of focusing on equipment reviews (which I did in the offseason to prep for the main season) I am using my time on link building and on writing helpful, useful articles.
What steps would you take if your post was ranking on Page 2 or the bottom of Page 1?
I am by no means an expert on this, but my gut reaction is that I would do two things in this scenario:
1. Add more and more value-added content to the post so that the Google algorithm views it as being the most relevant post for that targeted keyword.
2. Focus on building links to that post, in order to increase the authority of the particular post in light of the targeted keyword.
What are your future plans for the site?
My future plans are the following:
Revise, refreshen and expand my core content to hopefully increase its SEO score (and hopefully its SERP results) in anticipation for the 2019 season.
Finish writing and posting all Q&A posts, which are interviews with former Major League Baseball catchers where they answer relevant questions for my audience.
Consider changing my advertising platform, since Adsense brings in very little income.
Write more guest posts!
Work with a web-design consultant to redesign my site, in order to make it look more modern.
Add more affiliate partners and create new content around topics that would leverage affiliate relationships .
Possibly offer a scholarship program in order to help high school kids and to drive traffic/build more links.
Are there any other words of advice or tricks that you’d like to share about your journey?
I still have a long way to go, but the journey thus far has been great and very interesting.
I have learned everything from other knowledgeable people who were willing to share, so I’m happy to give some tips…
Choosing a niche. When picking a niche, choose something you’re interested in! I can’t emphasize this enough.
I have always loved and played Baseball, and my wife is the same way with Softball. Creating content and building out my site hasn’t at all been burdensome or uninteresting because I love the topic so much.
Research, research, research! Keyword research is incredibly important, especially if you plan to get the most of your traffic from organic searches, as I do. Write content that people are looking for!
Link Building. It’s also very important. And it’s equally important to do it the right way. Avoid spammy stuff, blackhat tactics. Do things the right way and you will start to increase your site’s authority.
Persevere. You may not see results right away, but if you have a smart plan and focus on executing against that plan, the results will come.
Comparison (mostly) sucks. If you do some research on affiliate marketing and niche sites, you’re likely to find information from people who have been very successful and often made incredible amounts of wealth in online business. If you’re like me, it’s natural to compare yourself to them, and to feel a bit depressed if your revenue is no where near theirs.
It’s not helpful.
Yes, compare your progress and other metrics to your immediate online competitors. But don’t stress about how you match up to the Pat Flynn’s of the world.
As I mentioned before, develop a smart plan and continue to execute against that plan.
Be wise. Be a hard worker. But try not to be worried by, or envious of, others.