Author Archives | Justin

Marketing Strategy For Non-Marketers

AFP 38: 5 Marketing Strategies For Non-Marketers

Are you looking to build your blog, brand, or business but don’t consider yourself a “marketing/sales” guy/gal? Great…this episode is for you!

Joe and I don’t consider ourselves sales guys which is why we rely on marketing to drive inbound leads, deals, and customers to our business.  The good news is that there are some tips and tricks we’ve learned with AdSense Flippers that transfer well to other businesses, niches, and industries.

In this episode, we’ll share with you our top 5 strategies to promote your business or brand that are both repeatable and scalable.  Enjoy!

Check out this week’s episode here:

 

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Topics Discussed This Week Include:

  • “Vetted” sites and productizing our business
  • Blog/Podcast Drafting
  • Responding To Everything
  • The Mendoza Line For Blogs
  • Community Connections And Giving More Than You Get
  • The “Free Help” Strategy
  • Our last AdSense Flippers Podcast episode?

Mentions:

What marketing tips and strategies have worked for you? Let us know on Twitter or drop a comment below!

Posted in All Posts, Featured, Internet Marketing, Podcast11 Comments

Squashing The Resistance

AFP 37: Squashing The Resistance

Do you REALLY need to knock out some work, but find yourself making excuses or seeing things pop up that get in the way?  You could have a bigger problem on your hands than you think.

Joe and I sit down this week with Dan from LifestyleBusinessPodcast.com and Damian from Linchpin.net to discuss “The Resistance” – those things that get in the way of us doing the real work that needs to be done.  We’ll share with you our particular struggles and our best tips on how to squash the resistance in your business.

This was a really fun podcast to put together for all involved and I’m really interested in your thoughts.  Our guests brought a ton of energy to the show and it’s pretty fast-paced with a ton of useful nuggets in there.

Check out this week’s episode here:

 

Direct Download – Right Click And Save As

Topics Discussed This Week Include:

  • Overcoming Analysis/Paralysis Stop Asking For Permission
  • The “No-Work”
  • Work Trap Running Vs. Driving
  • Your Business Ideas Vs. Execution

Mentions:

What forms of The Resistance do you struggle with? Let us know on Twitter, drop a comment, or you can also use Speakpipe to leave us a message!  (Don’t worry…you can stop and start over if it doesn’t come out right the first time!)



Posted in All Posts, Featured, Internet Marketing, Podcast25 Comments

Answering Reader Questions

Your Questions Answered

Helping others build their online empire is an extremely rewarding activity for us. Many of our best questions come in via email and Joe and I make a point to respond to all of them. The problem is that many of those answers would never see the light of day as they were private replies.

Instead of keeping those answers buried in my email, I thought it might be helpful to share our (expanded) answers here for you as well. Below, you’ll find some of the more common questions we get regarding niche sites, outsourcing, the Philippines, and partnerships.

Do you have any questions you’d like answered? Feel free to leave a comment below, check in with us on Twitter, or contact us directly!

Are Niche Sites Best For A Newbie Like Me To Get Started?

In short…yes. You may have noticed our debate post a while back, Niche Sites Vs. Authority Sites. There were some great arguments made on both sides of the debate and the value authority sites hold isn’t lost on us…but here are a few of the reasons we think that niche sites are the best option if you’re just starting off.

Niche Sites Are Easier

This is especially true if you’re using AdSense. You do your keyword research, buy the domain, setup your theme, and write your content.  Learning how to build niche sites will give you all of the fundamentals you need to build the authority sites later. They don’t require any of the intermediate or advanced skills that are required for authority sites. You can make some mistakes, plod along, and you’ll still find yourself making a bit of money in a couple of months…which leads to our next point.

Fastest Route To Earnings

Authority sites may have more opportunity in the long run, pound-for-pound…but when you’re first starting off you’re wondering whether you’ll be able to make ANY money, not just BIG money. There’s plenty of built-in self-doubt when starting anything new and I think it’s really helpful to start down a path that can prove itself viable awfully quickly.  There’s a bigger concern that, if starting with an authority site, you won’t be able to make it through the 6, 12, or 18 months that are required to start seeing a return that’s worthwhile.  With a niche site, you’re looking at 4-6 months…maybe less.

You Learn The Building Blocks

It’s not like you’ll build niche sites for 6 months, want to switch to ecommerce sites and end up feeling like you haven’t learned anything.  In fact, there’s very little you’ll learn building niche sites that WON’T apply to any other sites you’d like to try out in the future. Whether you decide to switch to authority sites, kindle books, squidoo lenses, directories, etc…all will require the skills you’ll learn building niche sites.  (and then some)

Learning Curve Will Cost You Less

This may apply to both your actual $$ spent as well as your time. Any good poker player knows they spent quite a bit of time and $$ learning the required skills that made them good. If you’re just starting out and looking to learn, you might not want to start out at the high-roller table unless you have a bankroll to support it!

We made plenty of mistakes with our first niche sites.  I think we were a couple weeks and 10 sites in  or so before we realized we were targeting the wrong keywords and building worthless sites…ouch! That would have been a much more painful mistake if it were 10 authority sites and 6-9 months of my time.

Why An Internet Business In The Philippines

We’re often enamored with the Silicon Valley start-ups like Linked-In, Pinterest, and others with their massive, multi-million dollar funding rounds. These companies have great stories, but almost sound mythical for most of us and our plans to start an online business. Are there options for the rest of us? Those that aren’t Silicon Valley heavyweights?

Fortunately, we’ve seen an explosion of information regarding boot-strapped start-ups in recent years. From Tim Ferriss’s 4 Hour Workweek to Chris Guillebeau’s $100 Startup, we’re being shown that it doesn’t always require insider connections or VC funding to take your dream from idea to launch. There is another way.

Davao Island Hopping

We’ve left corporate America, moved to the Philippines, and have started two successful business with plans for more. No, we’re not getting write-ups on TechCrunch and our businesses wouldn’t register with Valley insiders, but we’re making money. Real money. Here are some of the reasons the Philippines might be an answer for your business:

Low Cost Of Living

Outside of the poshest areas in Manila, you’ll find that your monthly living expenses are significantly lower than they might be in the US, UK, Australia, etc. Want a luxury two-bedroom condo with a live-in maid and maid’s quarters? $400-$600 per month. Want a guarded 4-bedroom, 4-bath luxury home with a pool, clubhouse access, etc. that you can use to house a team to build out your project? $800-$1,000 per month. Sick of worrying about the little details (food shopping, cleaning, paying bills, laundry, etc.) instead of building your business? In the Philippines, you can hire a live-in maid or “house manager” that will run your house for around $80-$130 per month. You just can’t beat that…

Amazing Employee Value

Start-ups can be planned out by the founders, but there’s usually a ton of ground work that needs to be done and employees in the Philippines are a great way to get that work done quickly. Depending on your location, you can hire an entry-level data entry employee ($200-400), a mid-level designer ($300-$500), and a mid-level programmer ($500-$800), for significantly less than you can in the West. Another benefit is the English. Young people are taught English in school in the Philippines and it is one of the national languages. (All contracts and legal documents are written in English…a real benefit) You won’t have any problem finding internet-savvy young employees to help you grow your business.

Extended Runway

If you don’t have awesome angel investors or VC cash to play with, figuring out your “runway” (how long you’ll be able to operate and pay your bills while getting your business off the ground) is critical. If you’re willing to put your head down, cut some of the extras, and get to work…you could easily live on $1,500 or even less in the Philippines on your own. That’s key…$18,000 could buy you an entire year of full-time work in getting your project off the ground!

There is some downside, (government bureaucracy, living in a third-world country, etc.) but the overall benefits have been tremendous and critical for us in building our successful overseas business. If you’re considering building a business in the Philippines and for further reading, I would highly suggest checking out Derek Sivers’ Wood Egg project. There’s a book coming out about building a business in the Philippines that we’ve helped create and you’ll likely find useful.

Outsourcing: How Do I Get Started? How Do I Pick The Best People? Any Tips On Hiring?

There seems to be a trend in recent years where authors and bloggers talk about outsourcing as if it were some magic bullet. It’s not. There’s tremendous value when used correctly, but there are a few all-to-common mistakes people make when attempting to outsource their first projects. Here are a few key points:

Know The Process Yourself First

You’ll almost NEVER be able to take an un-established process, send it overseas, and find success. YOU need to be the to determine best practices, test through the process, and make sure you have some defined metrics and a blueprint for success. Hoping you can dream-up a business, send it overseas, and then collect your money just isn’t realistic, no matter what you’ve read.

Lay Out A Step-By-Step Plan

Once you know the process, you need to send them your exact process so that they can follow it exactly. This is usually best accomplished through written directions and/or screenshots or screencasts. As questions come in, considering creating a FAQ’s section that you can send to the next Virtual Assistant you’d like to train and get up to speed. (See: Building Human Machines)

Outsource Specific Skillsets NOT Combinations Of Skillsets

Many web entrepreneurs only want to hire one Virtual Assistant and they want that person to be able to do some copywriting, a bit of design, custom coding, etc. That’s just not realistic. You won’t be able to replace a co-founder’s work with a $300 VA. (You’d have a problem finding someone good at all of those skills in the US at any price…nevermind the Philippines at $300/month!) Instead, look for repetitive, time-consuming tasks that can take up a good amount of time but don’t require a ton of autonomy to complete. Group those tasks by skillsets and find VA’s to help in those specific areas.

Hiring Directly VS. Using An Outsourcing Company

If you’re only looking to hire one or two agents, you’re often better off hiring directly. The larger outsourcing companies would consider that too small to take on and it won’t be worth the time for many mid-sized companies to put much effort into your project. You can find independent VA’s through a company like oDesk directly, but you could also consider using a company like VirtualStaffFinder to save you the time in finding and hiring your VA for a fee. When your project has more complicated needs and processes and a need for 4 or more agents, you may consider using an outsourcing company to manage the project directly. This will save you time in managing the agents directly and provide you better reports, redundancy, etc.

Use Of Easter Eggs

When writing a job description on sites like oDesk, Sulit, etc…considering including “easter eggs” to weed out applicants. This may include something like mentioning “pink unicorns” in their application to including a 200-word writing sample on their favorite sport. There are a ton of potential candidates that blindly apply for jobs without even bothering to read the job description. This will help to weed those agents out and is highly recommended.

How Did The AdSenseFlippers Blog Become An Authority So Quickly?

When we decided to start documenting our niche site creation and monetization process online, I looked around at some of the top bloggers that I admired or respected in the space and put together elements of their business that I thought would go together great with our AdSense Flippers brand. We never knew it would grow to the success we’ve found today, necessarily, but we did incorporate marketing that we knew would help to put us in front of the right audience. Here are a few of the strategies we incorporated in building our blog, podcast, and brand.

Authenticity

The internet is littered with low-level, anonymous bloggers recommending this or that service only to make a buck through an affiliate offer. This type of marketing wreaks of desperation and lacks any authentic connection with their audience. We decided early that, since we already had a successful business that was paying the bills, we didn’t need to “monetize our audience” directly and could instead focus on providing them real value and sharing both our success and failures. We used our real names, our real stories, and didn’t hold anything back when it came to talking about our business. This connected with readers and listeners in a big way and is something we still follow today.

“Be Everywhere”

Your ideal audience likely consumes content in different ways. Some may prefer blog posts while others prefer video. Some may like podcasts while others are big on forums and community. Having a “Be Everywhere” policy allows you to connect with them through the medium of their choosing and there’s no better promoter of the idea than Pat Flynn. He’s presented the idea at BlogWorld and is currently going through the process of writing a book about it, but you can check out SmartPassiveIncome.com to see more about this concept.

Focus On Connecting Instead Of Sales

This concept may be specific to our brand and not to brands in general, so please keep that in mind. Joe and I aren’t terribly great at sales. We understand the concepts, but feel a bit queasy about the hype and pulled-heartstrings that typically come along with selling products, services, etc. Instead, we’ve focused on providing extremely valuable information to our audience and regularly inviting them back to consume that content. While we do offer sites for sale, we’ve realized that by showing people step-by-step how to recreate our process we’ve actually bolstered the authority and trust we have with our audience, making our offers and sites for sale that much more appealing. Sure, there are plenty of people that sell much more directly, but we’ve found that selling around our content has been a great way for non-salesy guys like us to still bring in the cash required to keep the business successful.

Be Disruptive

While there are many positive aspects of other successful bloggers we copied, we also looked for areas we could be disruptive and go against the grain. We noticed that there were a ton of paid ebooks, courses, and membership groups promising to show you how to build niche sites, make a profit, etc. Since we were doing this already, our thought was to simply document our successes and failures for free and to not hold back where others would when it comes to what’s working for us. By not putting our best content behind a paywall, we were able to build an audience much faster than we would have if we had charged for that content. While we might have sold ourselves short in the short-term, the long-term benefit of having an active and engaged audience is tremendous and totally worth it.

What Advice Do You Have On How To Choose The Best Business Partner?

Picking the right business partner is extremely difficult. It’s funny…Joe and I have been in business together for many years and we often recommend to new entrepreneurs that they should NOT bring on a business partner. Instead, you can have limited partnerships on a project-by-project basis, find yourself an accountability partner, etc. We’ve discussed our thoughts on partnerships at some length in our podcasts. For more information, feel free to check out:

Remember that in a 50-50 partnership split, your business has to be twice as successful or more to make it worth it. Otherwise, you’re better off on your own. That being said, Joe and I have had quite a bit of success together so it can’t be that bad, right? :-)

Do you have any questions you’d like us to answer?  Feel free to leave a message in the comments below, reach out on Twitter @adsenseflippers, or you can use our Contact Us form!

Posted in All Posts, Featured, Internet Marketing, Niche Websites38 Comments

Get Started With AdSense

How To Get Started With AdSense

With 125 posts on AdSenseFlippers.com, Joe and I just realized we’d never actually written a post about how to setup and get started with an AdSense account!  Rather than writing it ourselves (it’s been a while!) we thought we’d take on a guest post from Steven to tackle the subject.

This is post is definitely for beginners…if you’re looking for more intermediate or advanced AdSense strategies, check out our podcast episode on AdSense tips, tricks, and hacks.  I’ve added some notes that are italicized below.  Now…over to Steven!

The Google AdSense platform, representing the other side of the Google advertising empire known as Adwords, is an advertising system through which the ads that Google customers buy (through Adwords) get posted to the websites of site owners that have signed up and have been approved for an AdSense account. It’s a great way for Google to expand their empire. Instead of just having advertisements on the Search Engine Results Page (SERP), they can also have advertisements on the particular sites that people click through to, expanding their reach for the advertisers.

By signing up to AdSense, a site owner then has different types and sizes of advertising blocks, contextualized to their content and able to be placed on their site or blog pages. Every time a site visitor clicks one of these ads, a small payment of anywhere from a few cents to several dollars is made to the webmaster that is attached to the AdSense account for the site that’s been clicked on.  Once the account owner has reached the payment threshold, he or she will receive their first payment via AdSense. (via direct deposit or check)

Through this system, Google rewards website owners who know how to create well-optimized and rich content that’s in a particular niche and is also popular; since the more visitors a site garners, the more ad clicks and thus revenue it also generates for the site owner.  The relationship between visitors and clicks is known as Click-Through-Rate (CTR) and is dependent on the placement of the ads on the site, relevance of the ads, the niche selected, etc.

No porn allowedHowever, there are also certain conditions that any site owner who applies for AdSense has to abide by: For one thing, no pornographic, illegal, or copyright violating content can be displayed. Secondly, the content must be genuine and have a certain (somewhat arbitrary) timescale during which it has been online.

Note: If your content is even close to being questionable, don’t place AdSense on it.

Finally, certain ad-related rules prohibit you from clicking on your own ads, redirecting people to pages full of ads through some sort of spam related means or creating purely advertising related AdSense pages that are empty of valuable and meaningful content.

Because of these design features and the immense advertiser market that exists on the Adwords side of the Google business, site owners who sign up with AdSense can be quite richly rewarded for having popular, high-quality, content-rich websites that talk about relevant subjects in one or more niches.

The niche you select and the keywords you target will have a direct relationship on the Cost-Per-Click and, ultimately, the amount you’ll get paid per click.  Target keywords that don’t have a very high CPC and you won’t earn much per click.  Target keywords that have too high a CPC and they’re likely to have heavy competition.  The trick is to find just the right balance with regards to keyword research.

In some cases, people have been known to generate many thousands of dollars per month in personal income just from the few cents they earn per click on the ads that are placed on their pages.

While this is definitely true, I should mention that the vast majority of AdSense publishers make less than $100 per month with AdSense.  This usually has to do with the fact that they’ve added AdSense to their site as an afterthought or they simply don’t (yet) know what they’re doing.

Now that we’ve gone over the basics of what AdSense is, let’s take you step by step through how you can set up your own AdSense account and start earning money with AdSense too.

Step One: Get Your Website Ready

You can’t join AdSense until you’ve got your own well-established, well-fleshed out website or blog up and running. Of course, it doesn’t have to be some sort of internet superstar with thousands of pages and thousands of monthly page views, but it should meet at least a few basic content and design guidelines. Essentially, as an AdSense applicant, you’ll need to at least possess a blog/site that has a decent amount of richly written text-based content, has reasonably good traffic and is at least 3 months old.

Also, the site doesn’t necessarily have to be yours but you will at least need to have access to the source code for its pages so that you can coordinate where to post your ads on the pages.

I’d definitely recommend using your own site here.  While you can get approved using someone else’s site, it’s not advised by us.  Having your AdSense code on someone else’s site is not the best option.

Finally, the site isn’t allowed to link to any pornographic content, host material that infringes copyright (because we all know YouTube, which is full of Adsense ads, also doesn’t) or be a site that’s built or advertised in a way that can be considered highly spammy. With regards to the spam aspect, if you’re unsure, just make sure your site abides by Penguin or Panda SEO standards and you’ll be totally in the clear.

Step Two: Register a Google AdSense Account

This is fairly easy; simply use an existing Google account that you already have and attach it to your AdSense application or, if you don’t actually somehow have a Google account of any kind (You really should, Gmail is amazing!) just sign up within a few minutes directly here.

Step Three:  The Application Process

Once you’ve logged into AdSense, the first steps will consist of a series of questions about your website; things such as the nature of its content, URL and the main language in which your site will be written (English, French, Spanish, etc). You’ll also have to agree to Google’s terms and policies, which you really should stop to read through.

AdSense Application

Afterwards, going through the same series of events, you’ll continue by filling out your full AdSense application and including details about your name, billing address/postal address, account type (Business or Individual) and country of origin.

Once you’ve clicked “Submit” you simply need to wait roughly 24 to 48 hours and see if you’ve been approved.

48 hours seems to be true in most cases, but I’ve heard of some having to wait close to a week for approval.  If you haven’t been approved within a week, you can visit the AdSense forum to find out more information.

Step Four: Make Money!

Of course, there’s no guarantee that you’ll earn much of anything with Adsense, but if you run your keyword research and content well, work on developing your sites effectively and make sure you don’t break any of Google’s major rules against spam, low quality content or banned content, you really can start successfully making anything from a few hundred to a few thousand or more dollars per month with relatively little work on your AdSense pages.

After you’ve been approved, you’ll have to make slight modifications to your pages’ source code but this isn’t usually complicated and if in doubt, either ask a friend who’s already done the same, look up the numerous online tutorials that are available or hire someone to help you out.

There, that’s it and good luck with building your AdSense Empire!

Steven Chalmers has been immersed in the online marketing community for over 10 years. When he’s not writing about marketing, you can find him covering virtual environments. Find out more information here or check out Intercall.com.

If you’re just getting started, we’d really recommend checking out our guide, Building A Niche Site Empire. It’s free and we give away our best tips and tricks for getting started building niche sites and working with AdSense. Was this overview helpful? Let us know what you think in the comments below!

Posted in All Posts, Featured, Internet Marketing, Niche Websites14 Comments

AdSense Tips Tricks And Hacks

AFP 36: 5 Little Known AdSense Features, Tricks, and Hacks

While there’s plenty of content online about how to setup your AdSense account, how to place AdSense code on your site, etc. there are quite a few tricks regarding AdSense you don’t see discussed.  Joe and I wanted to dig into the various ways we use AdSense that you don’t see most people talking about and that’s how this episode came about.  Whatever your experience level with AdSense, we’re confident there will be at least a couple of things mentioned in this podcast you probably didn’t know…a must-listen for AdSense users!

Check out this week’s episode here:

 

Direct Download – Right Click And Save As

Topics Discussed This Week Include:

  • Adding Users To Your AdSense Account
  • Authorized Sites
  • Site Management In AdSense
  • Using The AdSense API
  • Targeted Ad Placement
  • Protecting Your AdSense Account

Mentions:

  • iTunes Reviews – Over 116 5-Star reviews…thank you so much for the support!
  • Mark from MarkBrenwall.com – It was great to take one of our readers out on his birthday here in Davao!
  • Long Tail Platinum – A new feature from LongTailPro that allows you to verify the competition level on the first page…a really nifty trick!
  • Audible.com – Our GoTo for audio books…worth checking out.

Did you learn something about AdSense you didn’t know before? If you did, come say hi on Twitter or you can also use Speakpipe to leave us a message!  (Don’t worry…you can stop and start over if it doesn’t come out right the first time!)



Posted in All Posts, Featured, Internet Marketing, Niche Websites, Podcast11 Comments

Davao Christmas 2012

Christmas Gift Project Wrap-Up And Raffle Winners

I wanted to first thank everyone that supported our charity project this year with your donations, tweets, and FB likes. We were hoping to have an even better Christmas giveaway for the kids this year and we definitely succeeded! We were able to put together more than 500 gifts for the kids in Davao thanks to your support!

Some of our Filipino friends and staff that helped with this project told us that, aside from this, many of these kids weren’t likely to receive any presents at all for Christmas. We had SO much fun with this project, we wanted to share with you a video our team created. (Big thanks to Sheng and Lorenz for putting the video together and to Aiza, Arlene, and Anne for some SERIOUS present wrapping!) Here’s the video:

We’d asked for donations this year and you guys came through like champions…we quickly hit our target within a few days! A HUGE thank you goes out to all who donated:

  • Matt P.
  • Rod W.
  • Michael S.
  • Josh R.
  • Marcin S.
  • Eden R.
  • Alexander I.
  • Domenica T.
  • John B.

Now…let’s get to the contest winners!

In our first post about this, we’d mentioned we’d have a raffle for 3 copies of IntelliTheme and one niche site. Here are the winners!

IntelliTheme Copy Winners

  •  Matt P.
  • Josh R.
  • Michael S.

And the niche site winner is…

 

Niche Site Winner

Congratulations Matt P.!

You can get in contact and claim your prize via our Contact Us form…thank you so much!

Posted in All Posts, Featured, Internet Marketing, Lifestyle8 Comments

Life In The Philippines

AFP 35: Life In The Philippines

What’s life REALLY like as an expat living in the Philippines?  This is a question we got from a listener a couple of weeks ago and we realized we’d never really gone into depth about what it’s like here.  Did you have visions of us sipping tropical drinks on the beach while we run Flippa auctions and build sites?  Maybe you thought we were huddled in the corner of a Nipa hut, dodging the raindrops from the leaky roof and wolfing down some dog BBQ?

It’s interesting to hear some of the myths and distortions about life here and we thought we’d dispel some of those in the podcast.  It’s a fantastic place, but it definitely has some disadvantages that we’ll cover as well.

Check out this week’s episode here:

 

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Topics Discussed This Week Include:

  • Cost Of Living
  • Grapes are gold but mangos aplenty!
  • Living Conditions
  • Pockets of luxury Attitudes Towards Expats
  • The VIP treatment Cultural Differences
  • False sense of familiarity Business In The Philippines
  • DMV on steroids

Mentions:

What did you think about this episode?  Is the Philippines a place you’d like to visit/live or did we scare you away?  Let us know in the comments below or feel free to say hi on Twitter!  You can also use Speakpipe to leave us a message below!  (Don’t worry…you can stop and start over if it doesn’t come out right the first time!)



Posted in All Posts, Featured, Lifestyle, Podcast24 Comments

Income Report December 2012

Income Report – December 2012

It’s been an amazing ride for us through 2012 and we wanted to wrap up the year with our December income report. We’re including both our monthly numbers as well as some of our overall metrics for 2012 in the hopes that it will encourage, inspire, and provide you with ideas that can foster growth in your own business. We’ll cover everything in this report, but if you’re just looking for the total, we pulled in $6,756.81 in December 2012 and our total revenue for 2012 came in at $203,825.54…not too shabby!

Even though our income reports have remained quite popular, I’m considering cutting them down to quarterly reports instead. It takes quite a bit of time to pull all of the numbers together and there might be just as much value in reporting them quarterly while saving myself time/effort/energy for more meaningful posts each month. It’s our quarterly reports that we look at internally…maybe that should be reflected on the blog as well?

A Niche Idea

You may remember that the original plan for the WSO Testers was to go through the Warrior Special Offer section on the Warrior Forum, test out those offers, and report back their findings.  To be honest, I wasn’t particularly hot on the idea when they started and much preferred their content on niche sites.  Also, I’ve found the noise levels on the Warrior Forum somewhat disturbing…and cutting through that to find the good information takes quite a bit of time/effort/energy.

It occurred to me that it would be VERY helpful if someone took the time to cut through the noise and delivered the VERY best content from the WF.  There are SO many threads there (many of them filled with nonsense) and it would be a pain to go through them all to find nuggets of truth…a pain that hasn’t been solved for me.  If someone were to go through the interesting/popular threads each week and curate the content to cut out all of the noise from posers, spammers, etc. that would be of interest to me.

You could monetize through a paid community (with even better curated content), affiliate offers from those that actually know what they’re talking about and deliver good products, etc.  There’s a TON of information on the WF (and a ton of members) and I think this could end up being pretty popular.

Looking Towards 2013

I wanted to give you a sneak peek at what we have planned for 2013 and I’m interested in hearing your thoughts or suggestions in the comments.  We’ve had a great 2012 and have plans for much more this year, including:

Brokered Sites For Sale – We’ve had a ton of requests from others to be able to sell their sites here, but we’ve had to wait until our BuyOurSites page was ready and all API’s were working correctly.  We’re currently working on the page to allow us to vet and sell brokered AdSense sites from other trustworthy sellers and should have this up and running this year.

Adjusting Our Niche Site Process – Although we’ve cut back on niche site creation in recent months, we’d like to cautiously explore getting back to it in 2013.  We’ve made slight adjustments to our process that look promising and I’m looking to do more case studies and updating our content and guide to reflect those changes as we continue forward.

Leveling Up Niche Sites – As discussed in our most recent podcast, we’re really looking forward to building out more meaningful sites.  We’ll be testing through larger informational sites, eCommerce sites (Joe’s digging into this now…for a great resource, check out eCommerceFuel here) and exploring alternative monetization options as the sites advance past AdSense.  This has the added bonus of providing a blueprint to niche site builders and buyers on how to grow their niche sites forward.

Outsourcing For Startups – We’re disappointed with the lack of quality content on outsourcing…most of it seems to come from those who aren’t actually involved and would rather sell you their ebook or make outsourcing seem like a magic bullet.  We see a gap we can fill in talking about exactly how to setup a corporation in the Philippines, building your business into processes that can be outsourced, blending work between onshore and offshore employees, etc.  We’ll be launching OutsourcingForStartups this year!

Buying Sites – John and Joe have both been interested in potentially purchasing niche sites, expanding them, and then selling them off for a profit.  I’m not as bullish on this idea, but it is something we plan to explore further this year.

All of these have been written into our goals for 2013 and we’re working towards seeing them through.  Here are a few of the ideas or projects that are on hold for now:

Squidoo Lenses – We built out a few of these lenses and, frankly, they just didn’t work for us. I didn’t expect them to earn all that much, ($0.00 to date) but I was hoping for a bit of traffic and the fact that a good number of them are below the 400K threshold and invisible to Google has made us much less interested in pursuing this strategy. If you are interested, I would suggest checking out Claire Smith (aka Skeffling) and her December income report. She’s planning to release a book/guide in the near future and I’ll probably take a look at it when it’s released.

Niches For Charity – A well-intentioned project that just never really got off the ground. I really like the idea and purpose, but the execution would simply be too much work and would likely re-hash much of what we post here anyway. I’d like to incorporate some charity and good-will into 2013, though, and will continue to look for positive ways to do that.

Traffic To AdSenseFlippers

December Traffic

AdSense Flippers Traffic December 2012

We didn’t publish much content in December and it’s reflected in our traffic, dropping from 19,219 visits in November to 16,115 visits in December, 2012. Joe and I spent much of our time working on other projects, planning our our goals for 2013 and spending the end of the year with close friends, but we’re expecting to see this number rebound a bit in January.

Here are our top content pages for December 2012:

2012 Traffic

We received nearly a quarter of a million visits in 2012, with a pretty even split between search traffic, referrals, and direct traffic. Here’s the most popular content for us in 2012:

Top content pages 2012

And here’s a look at our traffic sources for 2012:

Top traffic sources 2012

It’s interesting to see that our #1 source of traffic for the year was Twitter. I decided to approach Twitter differently than I have in the past and we didn’t do any gaming, tricks to get followers, etc. Instead, I really tried to reach out to others and connect much more honestly and it’s really paid off for us in terms of traffic to the site.

It’s no surprise that Niche Pursuits, Flippa, TropicalMBA, and Mike From Maine are on the list as we’ve continued to build relationships with all of them. www.selbstaendig-im-netz.de is a very popular IM blog in Germany that tracks bloggers with income reports in the US. I’ve followed his content a bit (as much as I can thanks to Google Translate!) and appreciate his readers here as well.

The last thing I’ll mention here is that our guide, “Building A Niche Site Empire” has been downloaded 18,796 times as of today, January 8th 2013…wow!  I know we probably would have done well selling it, but there’s no way we would have had anywhere near that level of distribution and I really think that was a more important goal for us.

Podcast Statistics

Podcast downloads December 2012

We had pretty close to the same amount of downloads this month, pulling in 7,863 total downloads in December, 2012. Many of these were due to our popular podcast with Pat Flynn where we discuss expanding niche sites, business strategy, and cool niche ideas. It was great to have him on the program and we’re looking forward to many more interesting guests in 2013.

We had a total of 133,018 downloads in 2012 and it’s really been a blast putting on the show. We’ll likely be adding a couple of different shows through this next year. If you’re at all interested in starting a podcast, we’d really recommend checking out Pat Flynn’s post on getting started as well as Dan Norris’s The Beginner’s Guide To Podcasting on Inform.ly.

AdSense Earnings

We were able to pull in a total of $2,378.53 via AdSense for the month. Our worst day was Christmas Eve at $47.40 and our best day was Dec 12th at $109.78.

AdSense Earnings December 2012

We’re starting to feel the effects of our site creation slow-down that started in October. With less domains purchased and less sites created, we’re not seeing as many winners pop up as they have before and we’re expecting this to continue through the first few months of 2013. We plan to slowly (cautiously) recover our site building through Q1 of 2013 and should start to see some recovery in Q2.

AdSense Earnings 2012

Site Sales

We sold off a few sites earlier in the month bringing in $3,134.40 for December, but we gave it a rest heading into the holidays. We should be able to continue with more site sales in January, although our slow-down in production will limit the sites that are good enough to sell.

We sold a total of $147,061.78 sites through 2012, mostly through our Buy Our Sites page. We continue to have higher demand than we have sites to sell and we’re expecting that to continue to be the case through early 2013. We’ve decided to test through allowing others to sell through the page where we act as brokers for their sites. The sellers will be verified and vetted as well as the income…pulling the data directly from their AdSense accounts. We’ve had a ton of requests for this and know there’s interest…more on this in the next few months!

Affiliate Sales

Our affiliate income from the site went up slightly to $1,243.88 in December. We’ve seen continued improvement in our Kindle sales of “Building A Niche Site Empire” which is great to see. It’s interesting to point out that even though we offer this for free on our site and as an opt-in bonus to our email list, there are some who are willing to pay for it in the format they prefer.

Summary

We’re not finishing 2012 nearly as strong as we started, but we’re quite pleased with how far we’ve come overall. I think a renewed focus on other areas and revenue streams in our business will prove to be a bit painful in terms of revenue in the short-term, but will be critical when it comes to the long-term growth of our business.

Here’s a look our relevant metrics for 2012:

2012 Totals

We were able to pull in over $200K for the year through the creation of more than 1,500 sites. We had more than 230K visits to the site and more than 130K downloads of the AdSense Flippers Podcast…sweet!

And here are the stats for December:

Sites Created: 3 (5 last month) Note: The domains purchased in October were created through Oct/Nov/Dec.

AdSense Earnings: $2,378.53 ($2,787.69 last month)

Flippa Sales: $0.00 ($0.00 last month)

Private Sales: $3,134.40 ($11,896.76 last month)

Niche Site Gold: $0.00 ($50.00 last month)

Consulting: $0.00 ($300.00 last month)

Total Affiliate Sales: $1,243.88 ($1,090.13 last month)

Total Income: $6,756.81 ($16,124.58 last month)

I definitely hope you got some value from this report and if you did, please give us a shout on Twitter or let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

Posted in 2012, All Posts, Featured, Income Report50 Comments

Expanding Niche Sites

AFP 34: Expanding Niche Sites With Pat Flynn From Smart Passive Income

Wondering about how to take your niche sites to the next level?  We’ve been thinking about and working on this in recent weeks and we decided to sit down with Pat Flynn of Smart Passive Income to discuss how to build and grow a niche site beyond the typical keyword research and content strategies we’ve mentioned previously.

Pat’s been very public with a few of his niche sites and we really wanted to pick his brain regarding niche selection, backlinking, traffic strategies, and content creation.  We’re glad to say he did NOT disappoint and we think this is probably our best interview to date.  We get down and dirty with Pat this week and really delve into the successes and failures of his previous niche sites, his plan for future sites, and even get him to give away one of the ideas he’s currently working on.  This is definitely an episode you shouldn’t miss!

Check out this week’s episode here:

 

Direct Download – Right Click And Save As

Topics Discussed This Week Include:

  • Tools for finding a site’s historical pagerank – Question from Ryan Higgins
  • Interest Vs. Profit – What makes for a good niche?
  • 7 Problems, 7 Fears, 7 Passions – A strategy for niche selection
  • Driving traffic to a site and determine whether it’s “made it” or not
  • The upside/downside of making your sites public
  • Backlinking strategies that work and keeping current with Google updates
  • The role of VA’s with niche sites – Everything except content – Hourly Vs. Project-based outsourcing
  • Picking the winning projects from the losers and doubling down

Mentions:

  • iTunes Reviews – Another 5-star iTunes review…sweet!
  • Smart Passive Income – Pat Flynn’s blog where he outlines his online strategy, lays out his income reports, and publishes his highly-rated SPI podcast on iTunes.
  • SEOMoz and LivePageRanks.com – Tools you can use to check a site’s historical Google pagerank.
  • OutsourcingForStartups.com – A new marketing arm for our outsourcing business…coming in 2013!
  • GreenExamAcademy.com – Pat’s first niche site about passing the LEED exam.
  • Internet Business Mastery – Jeremy from IBM helped get Pat (and so many others) started with monetizing his first niche site.
  • eLance – Pat uses them for outsourced help when it comes to ebooks, programming, etc.
  • SecurityGuardTrainingHQ.com – Pat’s public niche site example and the site he’s looking to take to the next level in terms of quality content.
  • NicheSiteDuel – Hub on SmartPassiveIncome that shows every post relating to his Security Guard site including niche selection, keyword research, content creation, linkbuilding, etc.
  • The Backlinking Strategy That Works – The strategy used on Pat’s niche sites and inspired by our previous guest Joseph Archibald.
  • Indeed – Allows you to embed job boards onto your site and earn money as well as helping to fill out your site.
  • Bubbl.us – Great cloud-based software that “might” be able to replace your whiteboard…check it out!

Thoughts on this episode?  (Sorry about the quality of my voice during the interview…damn mic settings!)  Please let us know in the comments below and do say hi on Twitter!  You can also use Speakpipe to leave us a message below!  (Don’t worry…you can stop and start over if it doesn’t come out right the first time!)



Posted in All Posts, Featured, Niche Websites, Podcast30 Comments

Income Report AdSense Flippers Nov 2012

Income Report – November 2012

Another month has come and gone and we wanted to once again share with you our numbers for the month of November, 2012. This information stems from a proven belief that transparency in business is the best practice for us and a hope that sharing our numbers with you, warts and all, will help you learn and grow as you continue to build your business. We’ll go through all of the details below, but if you’re looking for a total we brought in a total of $16,124.58 to AdSense Flippers for the month of November…not bad, eh?

As 2012 draws to a close, Joe and I have had considerable time to reflect on our business over the last 12 months. There were quite a few goals we were looking to accomplish in 2012 and many of them we met and even exceeded in some cases. (more on that in a later post) It helped that we had a pretty clear vision of where we wanted to go this year, based on a careful planning process we went through last December, but we’re feeling much less confident about what we’d like to accomplish in 2013 as we look forward.

We have a choice on what type of business we want to have at the end of 2013. What will it look like? Who will be involved? What will our day-to-day be like both individually and as a team? What about 2014? 2015? These are questions we don’t have clear answers to…and is something we need to remedy in the very near future.

More on that in a future post. For now, let’s dig into the numbers.

Quick Note: We’ve already met our goal for donations on the Christmas Gift Giving Project! That said, the need here is overwhelming and we’re happy to take on more!  100% of the donations go to presents for the kids.  You can find out more about the project (and have a chance of winning a niche site from us) by clicking here…or you could just donate here!

Traffic To AdSenseFlippers

Our traffic dipped a bit in November to 19,219 visits from 22,203 the previous month. We didn’t have any stand-out posts that drove in a bunch of traffic like we did in October and our overall traffic was a bit more balanced. We’re expecting the traffic to again be lower in December as everyone prepares for the holidays and we’ll likely be putting out less content through the month as well.

AdSense Flippers Analytics November 2012

AdSense Flippers Analytics November 2012

We have quite a bit of content that we’re working on, including a series about recovering from the EMD Update, but we’ll most likely be waiting to get through December to put some of it out. Here are the most popular posts in November:

Podcast Statistics

AdSense Flippers Podcast Downloads November 2012

We saw a bump in podcast downloads for November, 7,986 downloads as compared to 6,949 the previous month. This was likely due to us releasing two new episodes this month, (AFP 32 – Leveling Up Site Content and AFP 33 – Niche Sites Are Not A Business)

We’re excited about some of the interviews and content we have prepared for the coming weeks and plan to continue the podcast as we head into 2013.

AdSense Earnings

AdSense Revenue November 2012

November was a remarkable month for us in regards to our AdSense earnings. After taking quite a hit the previous month, we saw some bounce-back in November, bringing in a total of $2,787.69. Our worst day was November 6th at $59.23 and our best day was November 26th at $148.58.

You’ll see a notable increase from the beginning through the end of the month with a slight drop-off at the very end once we’d sold some of our sites. The growth has remained consistent into December, but we’re expecting our reduced site-building to start impacting revenue January through March.

Site Sales

After not selling any sites in October, we were keen on “getting back to business” once the dust had settled and we’d determined which sites were hit in the previous update and which were not. We went through two rounds of site sales in November on our Buy Our Sites page and pulled in a total of $11,896.76 for the month.

We have various sites that are currently “on hold” and cannot be sold due to some testing we’ve been doing. We’ll continue to hold these sites until we complete the tests, selling off some of the newer sites that have popped up in recent weeks/months as strong earners.

Affiliate Sales

Our affiliate sales held pretty steady, pulling in a total of $1,090.13 for the month. A good portion of that came in from our sales of LongTailPro, but sales at HireWriters.com have gone up quite a bit, as have our Kindle sales of “Building A Niche Site Empire”.

We have no major changes planned in this area for the next few months, other than a site-redesign that might better funnel our traffic. I’d really wanted to do some in-depth reviews on exactly how we’re using some of the tools and software, but I have limited time and figure it’s better focused on higher-value areas of our business.

Summary

Sites Created: 5 (141 last month) Note: The domains purchased in October were created through Oct/Nov.

AdSense Earnings: $2,787.69 ($1,952.19 last month)

Flippa Sales: $0.00 ($0.00 last month)

Private Sales: $11,896.76 ($0.00 last month)

Niche Site Gold: $50.00 ($0.00 last month)

Consulting: $300.00 ($1,000.00 last month)

Total Affiliate Sales: $1,090.13 ($962.23 last month)

Total Income: $16,124.58 ($3,914.42 last month)

I hope you find this November report useful! Want to hear a bit more from us? You can sign up for email updates, check us out on Facebook, or say Hi on Twitter! How did things work out for your business in November? Let us know in the comments below!

Posted in 2012, All Posts, Featured, Income Report48 Comments

Our Twitter Feed

Websites for Sale

Status Niche Views Earnings Price
sold Home & Garden 154 $9.30 $186.00
sold Apparel 1613 $141.91 $2,838.20
sold Health 182 $12.50 $250.00
sold Apparel 563 $20.58 $411.60
sold Home & Garden 431 $23.27 $465.40