An Update on Traffic, Earnings, & More [Authority Site Duel]

It’s been a long time since I’ve written an update dedicated to my Authority Site Duel site.  

Although you may see my earnings (or lack thereof) in my monthly income reports, you don’t really get to see what’s happening behind the scenes.  Progress has been slow and steady, but continues to head in a positive direction.

Given the fact that my Slow Carb Diet Experiments site is in the health & diet niche,  I expected things to move rather slowly, but I’m still confident that I can continue to get the site to grow.

Here’s what’s been going on with the site…

Traffic Update

Traffic is what I focus on above all other metrics (earnings, etc.) because traffic is the source of everything good when you own a blog or website.  No traffic means no….anything.

For along time, my traffic growth was pretty flat.  Every day there were between 30-50 unique visitors, and it didn’t seem like that number was growing.  Recently, however, I’ve noticed an uptick in traffic thanks to a lot of sharing via Pinterest.

Here’s what the traffic looks like since the beginning of this past December:

As you can see, traffic has more recently been in the 60-80 visits per day range instead of the 20-50 I was used to seeing over the past few months.

Given the length of my posts and the fact that most of them are recipes (i.e. they are shorter in length), I think a bounce rate of 61.75% isn’t too bad.  I think the average visit duration is a bit lower than it used to be because a lot more of my traffic is coming from Pinterest.

Pinterest traffic is high quality (because most people are essentially bookmarking your page for future use), but when they initially visit a recipe (for example), they’re not actually using it yet.  Therefore, they don’t stay on the page as long.

Here’s a breakdown of my traffic over that time period:

It’s clear that I haven’t yet made much progress with search engine rankings.  Google has provided about the same amount of traffic as Yahoo and Bing, but I’m actually ranking better for my target keywords on Yahoo/Bing.

Most of my Google traffic is from people either Googling my URL or “slow carb diet experiments”, which I of course rank #1 for because it’s the name of the blog.  Otherwise, Google hasn’t yet been kind to the site.  I can’t help feeling like there might be some kind of over-optimization penalty in play either with my on-page keyword density or the anchor text of my backlinks.

Pinterest has been the best traffic source for the site, and to me that isn’t surprising.  Food-related sites tend to do very well with Pinterest, assuming you can take good pictures of food. One of the things that has really helped me gain more traffic from Pinterest is this plugin, which makes it really easy for people to pin various images within each of my posts.

Earnings Update

Ultimately, this is what everyone (including myself) is interested in.  It’s great that the traffic is increasing, but is the site earning any money?

Up until recently, I made no real attempts to monetize the site outside of a handful of Amazon affiliate links placed in random places throughout my posts.  Now, I’ve started integrating ads from Media.net.

Earnings have been minimal, but given my traffic numbers, the Media.net ads are probably doing just as well AdSense would have done.  I placed the ads on the site earlier this month and they have, so far, generated about $4.00.   Obviously, that’s nothing to get excited about.

It’s important to keep in mind that the food niche isn’t necessarily a hot niche for ad revenue. I suspect I will need a substantial amount of traffic to start earning anything respectable from these ads.  Also, I can test the ad placement and design to see what might give me better results.  Right now I have one ad block within each post (near the top), and one tower ad in the sidebar (“below the fold”).

I thought Amazon would do a lot better, but so far, it’s been a disappointment.  Over the past month or so, the site has generated over 250 clicks and only one sale.  It doesn’t take a math genius to figure out that this conversion rate is really bad.  Again, this could be niche related – people who are browsing recipes may not be in a buyer’s mindset.

Nevertheless, people are always buying from Amazon, so just getting them to click on the link is really most of the battle.  I plan on sticking with Amazon for awhile longer on the site, because I still think it can do a lot better than it has been.

The Mailing List

One other way I plan on making money eventually with this site is through the mailing list I’m building (via Aweber).  Currently, I have about 40 subscribers.  When it’s all said and done, I think any real money I make with this site will be with the list.

During the holidays, I can point people to a post that contains lots of Amazon affiliate links (such as “Top 10 Gifts for Amateur Cooks”), and if I eventually come out with my own product (be it an eBook, a course, or some other digital product), the list will be the key to making sales.

Overall Thoughts & Looking Forward

While progress has been slow on this authority site, it has so far been my favorite site that I’ve built.  Cooking has become a real hobby of mine, and even if I have trouble actually sticking to the slow carb diet, I enjoy coming up with new recipes that taste good and fit the rules of the diet.

People always say to “follow your passion“, and it’s become so cliche that I feel weird even mentioning it.  The reason it’s important to write about things that genuinely interest you though is because you will continue to work at it even when things aren’t going well. If my authority site was about something I had no interest in (such as women’s handbags), I would’ve easily given up months ago.

I still believe this authority site has a lot of potential as long as I continue to build the traffic and e-mail list.  The only way that’s going to happen is if I keep cranking out new content, and that’s definitely something I plan on doing.  In such a competitive niche, persistence is probably the #1 factor that sets the leaders apart from everyone else.  

Anyway, enough about me.  How is your authority site doing?  Leave a comment below!

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24 Responses to “An Update on Traffic, Earnings, & More [Authority Site Duel]”

  1. At what traffic point do you expect to make decent money from ad clicks? 500 UVs a day? 1,000?

    [Reply]

    Eric G. Reply:

    Ultimately, I don’t expect ad clicks to ever become a substantial revenue source until the site is receiving 10,000+ visitors per day (which is a long way off).

    If everything goes as planned, my primary revenue sources will be through affiliate sales and sales of my own product.

    [Reply]

  2. I’m working on my own authority site since a week ago and I love it. I rarely find something I love to write about, but I can’t wait to write some authority pieces on this one.

    Good luck with your site.
    Alex recently posted… Rustic White Oak Wall Sconce With Edison Bulb

    [Reply]

    Eric G. Reply:

    Thanks Alex. It’s amazing how much easier it is to write when you’re actually interested in the topic you’re writing about.

    [Reply]

  3. I’m just getting started myself on a new site. It has been live for about 2 months and I have about 3 content pages on it.

    I gave myself the challenge of entering the internet business niche and am getting around 2 or 3 visitors per day so far.

    When Google spiders a bit deeper and starts sending me some traffic I expect to get a few more visitors per day.

    My money is going to be in the list. When I get a few more visitors, I’m going to send out a newsletter.

    If you want to build a good authority site, you need to be credible and know everything about your niche. I think you should also write your own content and build a trusting relationship with your visitors.

    When your readers trust you, they will listen to your recommendations.
    Mark McKnight recently posted… WordPress Website Tutorial: How To Setup And Install Your New Blog From Scratch

    [Reply]

    Eric G. Reply:

    Sounds like you have a solid plan, Mark. As you continue to create content, you will see the traffic increase.

    I definitely agree with your point about trust – in a niche where your personality is what sets you apart from others, gaining your readers’ trust is critical.

    [Reply]

  4. Hey Eric,

    Great job and congrats on being able to stay focused on your work – it’s certainly starting to pay off.

    Overall, do you believe Pinterest to be worthwhile traffic? How long do these people generally stick around?

    I like that you’re going after something you enjoy especially since it’s such a stark contrast to My4HWW.

    Keep us updated on it yo!
    Murray Lunn recently posted… A Short History of My Complete Failures, Stagnation, and Rise to Success (and How You’ll Do the Same)

    [Reply]

    Eric G. Reply:

    Hey Murray,

    For my niche, yes, I believe Pinterest is worthwhile traffic. If I had to rank the traffic quality, I’d probably put it ahead of Twitter but maybe behind Facebook.

    The reason I like Pinterest so much is because the content is much more likely to be shared and go viral if you have high quality, attractive images related to your articles. People feel compelled to share – and it’s not only a share, but a bookmark as well. They are much more likely to return compared to if they were to retweet the post or share it on Facebook.

    I almost view it as a much higher quality version of StumbleUpon. Yes, you will get people who look briefly and leave, but they’re visiting in the first place because you’ve already delivered some level of value (i.e. the attractive or enticing image).

    [Reply]

  5. Nice job on the traffic. Very interesting to see the traffic you are getting from pinterest!

    Have you shared your pinterest strategy somewhere that I missed? I would definitely like to hear about what you are doing to generate that traffic.

    [Reply]

    Eric G. Reply:

    Thanks Jon. I haven’t shared any sort of Pinterest strategy yet, aside from mentioning the plugin I used that drives most of it. Perhaps at some point I’ll write a more comprehensive post on Pinterest.

    [Reply]

  6. Looks like you are definitely making some progress. It might not be much right now (I can relate with some of my own things) but over time it might add up to something more! Just keep investing in stuff and eventually it’ll pay off long term!
    Mike recently posted… The Best Way to Achieve Financial Success

    [Reply]

    Eric G. Reply:

    Thanks Mike, I hope it keeps trending upward!

    [Reply]

  7. Hi Eric,

    My daily visits about 1500-2000 for last 3 months and it is stabilized there and the revenue also to $1-$2 a day. How to increase?
    Surya recently posted… iPad Leather Case Review

    [Reply]

    Eric G. Reply:

    The best way to increase your revenue is to increase traffic, and the best way to increase traffic is to write more content and build relationships with other bloggers/site owners in your niche. It’s not easy, but if you stick with it, you’ll find success.

    [Reply]

  8. My authority site is moving along.

    I created a website for new farmers. It started off as just an idea, but I am trying to make it into an authority site.

    It is hard to determine how that is going. I guess it is a slow process.

    It has only been a short while and I know it can take time.

    Great update about the authority site. I look forward to seeing what happens in the future.
    Iain Robson recently posted… Start organic farming and reap rewards

    [Reply]

    Eric G. Reply:

    Sounds good, Iain, good luck with your site. Just stick with it and it’ll pay off eventually.

    [Reply]

    Iain Robson Reply:

    Thanks for the encouragement.
    Iain Robson recently posted… Buying farmland: key factors you should know before buying

    [Reply]

  9. Eric, I didn’t think you’d mind if I crowed a little bit over here, but I’m pleased as punch that we made almost $500 this month over at Live the New Economy! Since your site was one of the very first I discovered when I started this gig nine months ago, I thought I’d let you know!

    And I still miss AdSense…
    Mike recently posted… The LTNE Report — January 2013

    [Reply]

    Eric G. Reply:

    I don’t mind at all – Congrats on hitting the $500 mark – that’s huge! After 9 months into my journey, I don’t think I had reached that income level yet, so you’re doing great.

    (And yes, I miss AdSense too.)

    [Reply]

  10. Wow, impressive results. When you first started out, did you ever get discouraged by the results you got? I’m in the online biz myself and sometimes I feel like I’m getting a lot of work done but the stuff I get don’t reflect that, lol So far m authority is getting better but is there any strategies you can recommend? Would appreciate that thanks!

    [Reply]

    Eric G. Reply:

    Thanks Lexi. Yes, there was plenty of times I got discouraged, but it’s important to take your small wins as motivation. Even if you work hard on something for hours and it only earns you a $1 click, look at that as a small step in the right direction. It’s really all about mindset – feel accomplished by the work your complete, not the results you get in the short-term. If you can focus like that, the results will come.

    [Reply]

  11. Eric,

    You mentioned a pinterest plugin. Which pinterest plugin do you use?
    RoadtoOnePercent recently posted… Starting my micro niche website project

    [Reply]

    Eric G. Reply:

    I actually linked to it in the post – it’s called Pinbutton Attraction.

    [Reply]

  12. By seeing the stats.. it shows that your site is going popular day by day. As a blogger, we must have discipline & dedication. It motivates new blogger.
    Osho Garg recently posted… Top 5 Ways To Increase Website Traffic

    [Reply]

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