You Think I’m Failing…Here’s My Response
Over the past few weeks, I’ve received a few comments/e-mails that essentially question or criticize my current niche site progress. Because there are a few of you who have actually voiced this criticism, I can imagine there are probably more people who are thinking the same thing. In simple terms, you think I’m on the path to failure.
There was one comment that really stood out to me (I’ll repost it below), because of its bluntness and honesty. While my gut reaction was to be defensive, I greatly appreciated the criticism and I do see some truth to it. However, I wanted to take the opportunity to give a more detailed response on why I think everything’s going to be okay.
This was the comment I received, from Dan, on my recent income report:
Eric, I enjoy your blog, but someone here has to keep it real. The micro niche sites really seem to be failing. Less than a dollar per month per site? Dude, at that price you barely cover the domain registration cost. I can also tell you why your conversion rate is so low on these sites, its because you aren’t giving the reader the information they need to make a purchase. These thin micro niche sites are out imo. I’d just focus on that authority site – and if it’s in a real niche there should be tons of ways to expand the site, and with some work you could drive more traffic with one site if you focus your efforts. Even if you don’t rank for any major key terms yet, the longtail should be driving a ton of traffic if you have lots of high quality content.
Sorry man but $1/month niche sites seems like a poor investment of time – let alone money. Hate to give ya this “tough love” type post but I know you are a good guy, and just wanted to help out / give back a little. I think you should rethink your strategy.
I think Dan has a lot of great points here, but there are a few things he is missing (in my opinion). Let’s break it down.
There are a few key points that Dan touches upon here that I’d like to respond to individually, and a few things I want to point out.
Why “less than a dollar per month per site” isn’t is as bad as it looks.
First of all, Dan’s statement is accurate. Last month, my 81 micro-niche sites generated $74.06. Not that it makes too much of a difference, this was actually the first month in the past 9 months where my sites generated under $1/month each. The previous 8 months all saw $2/month or more per site, mainly because I had less sites and a handful of them were doing well with Amazon.
Although earnings appear low, it’s very important to note that 62 of the 81 sites were created less than 3 months ago. Of those, 40 were created within the past 2 months, and of those, 20 were created just about a month ago.
The key thing to remember is, these sites aren’t done yet.
I don’t do this full time.
I’ll start off by pointing out that I know there are many people who are successful online, who don’t do it full time. At the same time, most of the people you read about who are making at least $X,XXX per month are spending a good amount of time on it (or at some point they put in a lot of time).
I work a full time job, and during tax season, it’s more than full time (60+ hours/week on average). That leaves little time for me to blog and work on my niche sites. I’d estimate that I spend maybe 5-7 hours per week on building and maintaining niche sites. While this doesn’t make success impossible, it does lengthen the timeline for reaching my goals. It’s only logical that someone who can do this 10-15 hours per week could do the same thing in half as much time, assuming everything else is the same – maybe even faster (due to efficiencies built and probably being able to outsource sooner).
The important thing to me is that I’m okay with this. The ability to be patient in this game is so crucial to being successful. The willingness to fail and keep moving forward is even more critical.
I’m just trying to be transparent.
I know I don’t excite anyone by showing them how my micro niche sites didn’t crack $100 last month. If you want exciting success stories, there are a ton of other blogs you can read. The most popular bloggers in this niche are obviously the more successful ones – the ones who are easily clearing $100,000 per year.
While there are many more people like me who are only earning modest amounts, we don’t have a very loud voice. I’m fortunate enough that I have a fair amount of people who read this blog, but I don’t (and never claim to) have a level of success that even comes close to most other bloggers you read about.
I’m showing you the journey – so one day, whether I find massive success or utter failure, I can look back and clearly see that this is how I got there.
I’m not going to give up.
While some of you may think I’m wasting my time and money, I’m confident that I’m not. First of all, my projects are fully funded by the money I earn online, so it’s not like I’m dipping into my “offline” earnings or savings to build these sites.
Second, this is a great learning experience. Looking at where I started over a year ago, I’ve come a long way. More importantly, I enjoy this. Sure, maybe I would’ve made more money if I spent all this time flipping burgers at McDonald’s, but I can assure you that it wouldn’t be as fun. Every time I see a new niche site get its first click, even if it’s for 37 cents, I still get excited. That to me is enough motivation to keep pushing forward.
I concur – it’s time to rethink my strategy.
Just to bring this discussion back to Dan’s comment, I want to acknowledge that I agree it’s time to rethink my strategy. It would be wrong if I didn’t tweak things along the way.
Although my initial goal was to build over 200 micro niche sites, I do think it’s important to make sure I can get a group of 80 sites to be profitable first. So, I’m going to slow down my niche site creation and put more work into finishing the current sites I have. For the most part, that means adding more content and backlinks.
Authority sites are better, but micro-niche sites are NOT dead.
On a final note, I just want to say that I don’t believe micro-niche sites are dead. You still need to provide good content and build adequate backlinks, but at the end of the day, you need to remember that Google ranks pages, not websites. For long-tail, low competition keywords, there is a spot for thinner websites that are extremely relevant to the search term.
While authority sites will always have greater potential, they also require more focus and effort. And with that, comes more risk. If a micro-niche site fails, you’ve maybe wasted a few hours and $30-50, but if an authority site fails, the loss could be much greater. Again, you also have a better chance of succeeding, so you’re compensated for the extra risk.
I think I have niche site A.D.D. – all joking aside, I have fun creating new sites. For me to keep moving forward, I need to enjoy what I’m doing. If I get bored of an authority site halfway through its creation, I might end up with nothing. To me, that’s something that needs to be taken into consideration. You might be different, but that’s how I operate. I know that “spreading myself thin” isn’t a great way to work, but it keeps me interested and motivated, so it’s oddly an ideal working style for me. Again, this may not be true for you.
Thanks again for the comment, Dan. While I know I’ve argued a lot of what you wrote, your comment did open my eyes a bit and make me realize that I do need to put more work into my current sites before I go crazy building 100 more sites.
What does everyone else think? Also, I’d be curious to hear from any of you who work like me, and how you deal with it.