Progress Report: How NicheHacks Grew To Over 1 Million Visitors In 3 Years Without Any Promotion

Filed in Case Studies, Progress Reports by on January 5, 2017

Happy Birthday to you.

Happy Birthday to you.

Happy Birthday dear NicheHacks.

Happy Birthday to you.

NicheHacks turned 3 years old on December 13th 2016...

(Apologies for this coming late I was tied up with travel and the festive period)

Yep, 3 whole years sounds crazy to me too.

But check this out:

Seeing as the blog has now been running for 3 years I'm going to share how the blog has grown to serve over 1 million visitors since it started.

Despite the fact I do nothing to promote it to new visitors.

And also to share the lessons you can learn from my mistakes and successes over the past 3 years.

So let's get on with this...

 

 

Thanks For Supporting NicheHacks

First I'd like to say a massive thanks to YOU for being a loyal NicheHacks tribe member.

And thanks if you've purchased any of my products, joined the membership site or bought an affiliate product I recommend as you keep this blog running.

You might be surprised to see just how expensive it is each month to run this blog (more on that below).

So you keep the blog alive by supporting me and the team of Nader, Jawad, Chelsea and James (not to mention the behind the scenes researchers).

And without you, it wouldn't be possible to run it.

You contribute not only to the blog but allow me to maintain a really amazing lifestyle that I'm grateful for.

And one that I think everyone, including you, deserves to have if you're willing to put the effort in.

Which I hope NicheHacks can help you achieve thanks to our niche reports, advice and guidance.

So thanks very much again!

But let's get back on with this progress report for now. (see previous reports here)

And first let's start off with some overall stats from the blog since we launched on December 9th, 2013...

 

Way back in 2014, when we only had a few menu buttons...

NicheHacks way back in 2014, when we only had a few menu buttons...

 

 

 

Here's What You'll Learn

  • Overall stats since NicheHacks launched and what we should improve on (and you can implement the same strategy)
  • Total revenue earned and what makes NH the most money (and what income streams you should get involved with)
  • Traffic stats and difference between 2016 and 2015 - you'll learn what you should focus to improve your own traffic without making my mistakes
  • Content that performs the best for NicheHacks and what you should focus on for your own content
  • Social media stats and how we increased traffic from Facebook for free
  • What affiliate promo's made us the most profit and why they worked well
  • How we changed our optin strategy for more high-quality subscribers
  • What strategies we'll implement for 2017 and what we'll do to improve
  • Major events that happened with NicheHacks

 

 

(P.S. If you'd like to download a free list of 1,781 profitable niches click here or the image below)

1781 niches [new]

                                                                         

Overall Stats Since NicheHacks Launched

NicheHacks has now had over 1.8 million sessions, over 1 million visitors and over 3 million pageviews since we launched in December 2013...

 

Overall visitors since blog launched in 2013

Overall visitors since blog launched in 2013

 

How insane is that?

 

Overall Traffic Data From Launch Until Now:

  • Sessions: 1,870,979
  • Users: 1,039,826
  • Page Views: 3,689,794

 

So that's over 1 million people visiting the blog which is incredible.

 

Now let's look at just the traffic from 2016...

 

Traffic Stats 2016

We cracked the 1 million sessions mark in 2016 alone, brought in over 642,000 users and had over 2 million page views as you can see in the image below...

 

2016 traffic stats

2016 overall traffic stats

 

And in November we had the first month where we got over 100,000 sessions in a single month...

 

november-2016

November 2016 was the first month we had over 100,000 visitors

 

2016 Stats Overview

  • Sessions: 1,127.788
  • Users: 642,138
  • Pageviews: 2,113,572

So we've hit a nice milestone in terms of traffic but I can't help but feel it could have been MUCH higher.

I actually do very little to drive NEW traffic to the blog mostly focusing on bring existing traffic back.

I share our content to our social media pages, including the 25,000+ Facebook Group.

I also send out emails to the 20,000+ email list about every new post.

Side note: I actually usually send 4 or 5 emails in total, re-sending the original email with a new headline to anyone who didn't open the first one.

This can increase click through rates / traffic to the blog by 4 times.

I also run a Facebook Retargeting Ad for each new post for 7 days.

And for the past few months, I've been using the newly built 2,000ish people push notifications list to drive traffic to new posts that way.

But this is all EXISTING traffic that I'm bringing back to the blog instead of bringing in NEW traffic.

Now existing traffic is NOT bad, a new customer is 60-70% more likely to buy from you than NEW traffic as it's warmed up (Source).

But new traffic is vital to any business.

And like I said I have done very little to acquire new visitors.

I've no outreach strategy in place to pick up new links or social shares.

 

Social locks tend to bring us a lot of social shares like this one...

Social locks tend to bring us a lot of social shares like this one...

 

I don't actively guest post, comment on blogs, or take part in social media groups and forums.

And all the paid ads I'm running are for retargeting existing visitors as I still haven't quite mastered that yet so have held off spending money on new customers.

So any new traffic coming in is organic and passive via Google, other people sharing the content, or other bloggers linking to NicheHacks.

It's all well and good, and it's amazing the blog has grown to serve over 1 million visitors without focusing on advertising to new customers, but it's not a smart strategy.

You need an active promotion strategy in place to bring in new visitors that revolves around outreach and networking.

I hope you learn the lesson from this as I never seem to.

I've been saying I need to have more of a strategy in place since 2014 and still haven't done it.

 

Matthew Woodward often links to us as you can see here...

Matthew Woodward often links to us as you can see here...

 

Your Takeaway From This:

  • Do what you can to bring existing visitors back to your site (via email, retargeting, social media and push notifications) as these are warmed up visitors who are more likely to buy from you.
  • But don't ignore NEW visitors either, you need a strategy in place to be bringing in new visitors to all your new content via search, social, paid ads and more.
  • Stay active in your niche by getting involved in communities, social groups, forums and commenting on other blogs.

But anyway...

 

Other Interesting Stats From The Blog

  • Pages per session: 1.88
  • Avg Duration: 00:02:39
  • Bounce Rate: 69.18%
  • New Sessions: 56.46%

This shows that each visitor visits on average 1.88 pages.

This is shockingly low.

Not even 2 pages per visit.

And the average duration is just 2 minutes and 39 seconds...again VERY low.

And 69.18% of visitors are bouncing right off the site without visiting any other pages.

 

3-analytics-overview

Data from Google Analytics on user metrics

 

We attempted earlier in the year to increase time spent on page and lower bounce rate by improving the introductions to high traffic pages.

And we will look at the difference between now and last year below...

 

Difference From 2015

  • Sessions: +79.16% (GOOD)
  • Users: +86.03% (GOOD)
  • Pageviews: +62.10% (GOOD)
  • Pages per session: -9.52% (BAD)
  • Average session duration: -9.92% (BAD)
  • Bounce Rate: -3.59% (BAD)
  • New Sessions: +3.54% (GOOD)

So as you can see from the data above....

Traffic is increasing by substantial numbers, users are up by 86.03% which is great.

But page views per session is DOWN a massive -9.52%.

The average duration of a visitor is also DOWN -9.92%.

And bounce rate UP by 3.59%, which is bad as I need bounce rate to drop!

And considering I spent a fair amount of time improving our high traffic pages.

By working on writing better intros, implementing better page design and structure to keep people reading longer...

...things have gone TOTALLY the wrong way.

I need to dig into Google Analytics and see what's going wrong and figure out a way to improve it.

 

"[Google's 200 Ranking Factors] 130. Bounce Rate: Not everyone in SEO agrees bounce rate matters, but it may be a way of Google to use their users as quality testers (pages where people quickly bounce is probably not very good)." - Brian Dean

 

Your Takeaways From This:

  • Monitor your bounce rate, time spent on site and pages per visit from month to month to see if they are changing.
  • If you notice a downward trend examine your posts to see what's going wrong and remedy it ASAP.
  • Likewise, if you see an upward trend then work out what you're doing right then do more of it.

If you're interested to see where our traffic is coming from here's the stats...

 

Traffic Stats By Source 2016

  • Organic: 614,345 (58.82%)
  • Direct: 225,231 (21.56%) (includes email)
  • Social: 141,393 (13.54%)
  • Referral: 44,553 (4.27%)
  • Other: 18,593 (1.77%) (includes push notifications)

So as you can see, the vast majority of our traffic a whopping 58.82% is coming from search traffic (mostly Google).

That worries me as you know how I feel about Google traffic...

...it's unpredictable, unreliable and can be taken away from you at ANY time.

I tell everyone never to be reliant on it and here I am, again one year later, seeing that Niche Hacks is more reliant on it than ever.

I love the free, passive, traffic Google sends but I would like to build up the other traffic sources.

 

4-traffic-stats

Our top traffic sources

 

The second biggest traffic source is 'direct' at 21.56%.

Now this is a bit difficult as technically direct traffic counts as anyone who types http://nichehacks.com into their browser or has it in their favorites.

But Google Analytics, sadly, doesn't track clicks from your email list to your website and just records it as 'direct' unless you set it up otherwise.

So a huge amount of that 'direct' traffic is from my email list but I don't know exactly how much.

Social accounts for 13.54% mostly from Facebook thanks to the FB Mastermind Group.

And 4.27% is referral traffic from other blogs and forums where they've linked to me.

Other than that, which includes the new push notifications traffic (a new and growing traffic source) accounts for just 1.77% so far.

 

New Backlinks & Supporters

NicheHacks was featured and linked many times over 2016 which is awesome to see.

Shout out to those who did and thanks for supporting us as you help drive traffic.

Here are some of them:

 

Here I am featured over at Cloudliving.com...

Here I am featured over at Cloudliving...

 

Now let's look at the traffic differences by source between last year and now to see how we progressed...

 

Traffic Difference Between 2015 and 2016

  • Organic: +102.06%
  • Direct: +47.81%
  • Social: +165%
  • Other: +3,795.37%

Organic is up a whopping 102% without doing any active work to acquire links, which is nice.

Nader spent some time improving on-page SEO earlier in the year on high traffic posts which ranked well and it looks like it worked.

Sadly I didn't think to record any meaningful data before doing this so don't have anything conclusive to share.

But he simply took the keywords the posts were ranking for and made sure the on-page SEO was looking good with the help of Yoast SEO plugin.

And another nice thing:

Direct is up 47% which is hard to say what caused it as I have no data to see which is really direct traffic and which is from my email list (that's something I should have remedied a long time ago).

And social up a huge 165% thanks to the ever growing Facebook Group and the fact we now share more content to it than ever.

Other shows the biggest increase at 3,795% but only because I introduced the Push Notifications earlier this year which didn't exist before.

Push Notifications actually sent 17,965 visitors so far this year and they were only introduced about 4 months ago.

The potential for Push Notifications is HUGE and they are underutilized right now by most marketers so get in now while the going is good.

 

Here's an example of a push notification optin...

 

So get them on your site ASAP.

They are easy to set up, drive good traffic levels, and unobtrusive.

I'm able to get up to 22% click through rate from a Push Notification as you can see in the image below.

 

push-22

22% clickrate from Push Notifications

 

Compare that to a less than 10% click through rate from my email list you can see why Push Notifications are a BIG deal right now.

If you'd really like to geek out on EXACTLY where the traffic is coming from then here's some data for you...

 

Traffic Broken Down

  • Google 57.92%
  • Direct: 21.56% (email and paid)
  • Facebook (Social): 8.39%
  • Facebook (Referral) 2.84%
  • Facebook Mobile Referral 1.04%
  • Push Notifications RSS: 0.99%
  • After Offers: 0.83% *
  • Push Notification Browser: 0.73%
  • Bing: 0.45%
  • Yahoo: 0.38%

 

5-actual-traffic-sources

Our top traffic sources

 

Your Takeaways From This:

  • Organic traffic is EASY and passive traffic when it flows so make sure your pages are optimized for Google but don't put all your energy into it as it's unpredictable and out of your control.
  • Focus on building your email list as it's the only traffic source you 100% control and can never be taken away from you.
  • Social traffic is nice but even with a huge audience (NH has over 20,000 in our group) it doesn't always give a HUGE return compared to other sources so use it but don't get too carried away with it.
  • Again, get on Push Notifications ASAP. PushCrew.com are the ones to use.

 

(P.S. If you'd like to download a free list of 1,781 profitable niches click here or the image below)

1781 niches [new]

                                                                         

Top Content Stats 2016

Let's take a look at the top content on the blog this year in terms of visits to that page and see what we can learn from it...

 

6-top-traffic-content

Our top peforming content

 

Top Content Of 2016:

  • Home Page (7.27%)
  • Amazon product list (6.01%)
  • Niche Market Category Page: (3.89%)
  • Profitable Niches for Aff Marketing (2.77%)
  • Choose a niche blogging (1.93%)
  • Profitable Aff Sites (1.70%)
  • 1109 niche ideas (1.60%)
  • High Priced Amazon Products (1.40%)
  • Create Affiliate Review Sites (1.33%)
  • TWIB Case Study (1.32%)

Which amazingly is EXACTLY the same as 2015 just in a slightly different order, see here...

 

Top Content 2015:

  • Choose a niche blogging

Which means no new content we added in 2016, or any older content, cracked the top 10 traffic pages.

Which shows that a handful of posts will drive most of your overall traffic.

It's basically the 80/20 (Pareto) principle in action.

Roughly 20% of your actions will bring 80% of your results.

Or in this case 20% of our content is driving 80% of out traffic.

And I will be very surprised if it's not the same for most websites.

Going forward we will be looking to add LESS new content.

Promote the new content we do add a LOT more.

And focus on updating, improving, and driving new traffic to older content.

The older content on the blog is some of the most popular content anyway.

Ad we spent enough time and money on it.

So why not improve it and keep bringing in more traffic to it still, right?

Also, you may have noticed this SHOCKING stat:

6.01% of our overall traffic is coming into the blog via the Amazon Product List Post.

That's just over 1% less than what the HOME PAGE brings in.

It's quite a crazy number because no other page drives anywhere near that traffic.

The closest is the Profitable Niches For Affiliate Marketing post which brings in 3.89% of overall traffic.

It shows me this...

Finding Amazon products is a popular thing for the NicheHacks audience.

 

One of the most popular posts on this site...

One of the most popular posts on this site...

 

We need to focus on providing more content like this.

And there are plans in place to regularly update this post on a monthly basis with new products.

And we need more content in general on Amazon Affiliate topics as this is a popular one for our audience.

Yet we don't have that much content on the subject.

This will need to be addressed in 2017.

Looking at the overall content that is popular you'll notice a trend...

Niche ideas and affiliate marketing topics are very popular.

That's the 2 things our audience are mostly interested in.

And even though we DO have a big focus on that now we should capitalize on it more in 2017.

This should be your approach with your content too.

Find out what the most popular topics for your audience are and focus on them.

Now let's look at the top content by social shares according to Buzzsumo...

 

Top Social Content According to BuzzSumo:

However, it's not accurate as I can clearly see by going to the actual blog that these 2 posts have more shares:

So there may be others on the blog that do too and I just haven't found them.

I'm not really sure why BuzzSumo doesn't pick those posts up.

 

7-social-shares

BuzzSumo showing our most popular social posts

 

But the conclusion here is that well-done expert round ups will bring in a lot of social shares.

And that you love posts on “future trends” as the Affiliate Marketing Post Trends show.

You also love affiliate case studies where real life results are shared like in the Commission Black Ops and Niche Reaper study.

And Amazon products and profitable niches are important to you too.

We have more affiliate marketing case studies in the works now.

And we're going to focus more on affiliate niche ideas going forward.

 

Your Takeaways From This:

  • A handful of posts will likely drive the bulk of your traffic (the 80/20 rule in action) so focus on quality over quantity.
  • There's no point in pushing out a new post every day if 10 older posts are bringing in 80% of your traffic anyway.
  • Keep an eye on what the bulk of your traffic is interested in and create more content around it.

 

Email List Stats 2016

Your email list is your most important asset.

It's the only traffic source which you fully control and own as it's YOUR customer list and can never be taken away from you.

It's also responsible for approximately 95% of the income generated on NicheHacks as very few of the posts are monetized in any way.

Let's look at the current size of the list and the other stats...

 

This is one of the few lead magnets we have on the site and it works well (Notice why it works?)...

 

Email Stats Currently:

  • Email Subscribers: 26,593
  • Average optin rate over the year: 5.79%
  • Email sub worth per month: $0.69
  • Email sub worth over 3 month period: $2.07

So over 26,000 email subscribers right now up from 19,134 this time last year which is only an extra 7,328 subscribers.

 

8-email-subs

The total number of email subscribers

 

This number would have been much larger but I have been cleaning the list regularly to wipe out inactive subscribers or those who don't take much action.

So the total has pretty much stagnated around the mid 20,000 level consistently this year.

The average optin rate over the year is just 5.79% down from 10.93% at it's highest last year.

Sounds like a big drop but it's not a bad thing...

As I actually made it MORE difficult to opt into the blog earlier this year by removing pop up optins and making you click through to a landing page instead.

That might sound counterproductive, but hear me out...

The easier you make it for someone to join the more low-quality subscribers you get.

If you're offering a freebie / incentive (which I am in the form of my many lead magnets) and people can get them easily...

...then you get a large volume of people who just opt in because something free was on offer.

And not because they actually wanted to join your list and get follow up emails.

And they end up being unresponsive subscribers who don't open, click, take action.

Or worse they mark your emails as spam.

And you'll see from the stats above...

An email subscriber is worth just $0.69 per month on average.

Or $2.07 over a 3 month period (the average lifetime of a subscriber)

Which means I can spend $2.07 to acquire a new subscriber without losing money.

This is MUCH lower than I would like and I will work to increase in in 2017.

 

Your Takeaways From This:

  • You need an email list and you need it yesterday, don't delay any further if you don't have one.
  • You have full control over this traffic source which is something you cannot say about any other and it literally can be used to send traffic on demand.
  • Don't focus on list SIZE but on the quality of subscribers. A smaller list of really targeted subscribers is worth more than a huge list of vaguely interested subs.
  • The harder you make it to optin, the higher quality list you'll get as it eliminates the lazy, freebie seekers, who don't actually want to be on your email list.

Now let's look at social media...

 

Social Media Stats 2016

The only social media platform we were getting any major traffic and engagement from was Facebook.

And specifically the Facebook Mastermind Group.

 

big-number

That is a big number of members, wouldn't you agree?

 

So we've pretty much abandoned all other platforms.

The Facebook PAGE hasn't been updated since last year.

And I never go on Twitter.

It only became apparent to me that my Twitter account was no longer active (not sure why) recently.

So there'd been no updates there either.

The Facebook Mastermind Group has over 28,000 members, a lot of activity and sends about 10% of our traffic.

I definitely prefer a GROUP over a page.

You get more of your content seen by your audience, more interaction and can build more of a community.

The Facebook Page never got any interaction on posts or discussions going but a group facilitates that.

You can schedule all your content and updated in advance with Buffer and just let the members spur the convo's on.

 

Your Takeaways From This:

  • Facebook Groups are far better than FB Pages for interaction, traffic and community aspects.
  • Focus on the social media platform where most of your audience is and that is sending the most traffic instead of trying to be on all the platforms out there.

 

Income Stats 2016

  • Revenue: $156,195
  • Expenses: $42,019.86
  • Profit: $114,161 (before tax)
  • Average Profit Per Month: $10,378.30 (before tax)

 

And here's the rough breakdown of where it came from:

  • Products: 24.74%
  • Membership: 28.64%
  • Affiliate Income: 46.62% * (see note below on AfterOffers)

 

Selling my own digital products has resulted in 1645 in sales and generated $40,840.87 this year alone:

 

9-wsopro-product-sales

Sales of my digital products on WarriorPlus, over $40K

 

The membership site has 798 members, most of which are paying a monthly recurring fee of up to $29.99 depending on when they joined:

 

10-membership-members

798 members and growing

 

And on just JVZOO alone I've made 1,709 affiliate sales and been paid $35,792.30 in commissions, not to mention additional prize money for placing in affiliate contests that isn't shown here:

 

11-jvzoo-aff-sales-2016

Affiliate Sales From JVZOO

 

JVZOO is the main affiliate network I use as it's where the bulk of launches are in the online marketing space.

Though much more launches these years are moving to their own independent affiliate platforms.

And new network Lurn.com has got off to a firing start by launching Learn, Build Earn by Mark Ling and Inbox Blueprint by Anik Singal.

I also promote affiliate products on Clickbank, W+ and other networks.

*NOTE on AfterOffers: In the 46.62%  "Affiliate Income" category also is included income from AfterOffers.com.

It is not the typical affiliate income, it comes through allowing people to sign up for other marketers lists whilst opting in to your email list and you getting paid for it, but I have included it in the affiliate section.

 

Passive income from AfterOffers

Passive income from AfterOffers

 

I have made a passive $6,494.25 in 2016 from using AfterOffers and it's only at the end part of the year that I included it in ALL my email funnels.

It would be much higher if I had it in all my funnels throughout 2016.

 

content-in-members-area

This is what we offer in the members area...

 

Comparison To 2015 Income

It's always good to look at if your business is growing, stagnating, or has hit a downward spiral.

So I'll compare the income from 2015 to now.

 

Overall breakdown for 2015 income:

  • Revenue: $119,519.59
  • Expense: $36,789.87
  • Profit: $82,711.23 (before tax)

 

Difference from 2015 to 2016:

  • Income: +$36,675.41
  • Expenses: +$5,299.99
  • Profit: +$31,449.77

So a nice $31,499.77 increase in profit from 2015 to 2016.

My income from each source has remained much the same from 2015 percentage wise.

Though a slight increase in the percentage coming from the membership site.

And slightly less (roughly 4%) from affiliate marketing.

 

Summary of Income

My digital products, which are currently offline and will be relaunched with revamped version in 2016, account for nearly 25% of the income in 2016.

This is all relatively passive income.

As they are part of my sales funnels and you are exposed to them automatically when opting in for the blog and being on the email list.

The membership site, where you get 6 niche reports per month, accounts just under 30% of income again on autopilot as you're exposed to them continually on optin.

 

Here's a partial list of niche reports we've released in 2016....

Here's a partial list of niche reports we've released in 2016....

 

You NEED sales funnels (a way of automatically exposing people to your products / sales messages) in place otherwise you're leaving money on the table.

And onto the affiliate income...

Affiliate income accounts for over 45% of the income through a mix of promoting new product launches...

...and evergreen email funnels I created promoting affiliate products.

If you're on the email list you'll likely have seen these email funnels in action.

I automatically send out “hands up” emails telling you that I have a mini-series of emails going out with training and then a product recommendation at the end.

You have to click a link to get further messages about it.

Here's an example of one of those emails in action...

 

Subject: You won't believe what's launching tomorrow...

There's a huge product launch tomorrow...

This is going to take the web by storm.

And I know that you'll be interested.

Here's why:

This is a proven product that has already helped thousands of people launch their first ever successful online-business.

It literally has all the pieces of the puzzle and almost everything you could ever need.

But access only gets opened a few times a year then it's closed back down again.

And demand is always HUGE for this as it's such a high quality A to Z product.

And it's proven to work...

...which you'll see tomorrow from the testimonials.

Because the guy behind this launch has been a top level marketer for close to a decade now.

And the really cool thing...

Tomorrow a Black Friday special offer goes live.

And the price has been slashed dramatically.

There's a is a HUGE discount on offer tomorrow that is usually never available.

You will not believe how low the price is tomorrow for all the value on offer.

And here's why this matters to you:

Tomorrow you are finally getting all the pieces to the puzzle.

And you'll finally have all the steps you need to build your very own successful online business.

But to get more information on this you need to sign up to the early bird list right now, here:

http://nichehacks.com/ISFN

Enjoy tomorrow,

Stuart

 

No click and you get no more messages about it.

So you're literally raising your hand to say you want to hear about it.

Or keeping your hand down if not.

Making all the people on the list more responsive to the emails you're sending and more likely to buy.

These affiliate sales funnels currently account for roughly 20% of the total affiliate income per month, on average.

 

One of my "hands up" emails

One of my "hands up" emails

 

A Side Note On Sales Funnels

My aim, and this should be your aim too, is to generate income on auto-pilot 365 days per year.

You literally want to make money whilst you sleep.

And that's what a 'sales funnel' does for you.

It may be a confusing term to get your head around if it's new to you.

Basically, it's a concept rather than a 'thing'.

Think of it as any way where you can automate your audience being shown your products / make sales.

It might look like this...

  1. Traffic to Website From Paid Ad or Guest Post
  2. Read Your Content
  3. Pop Up Asking Subscriber To Opt In
  4. Subscriber Join Email List
  5. Subscriber Sent To Product Sales Page

That's your sales funnel.

It can all be automated and running 24/7.

So that no matter when someone lands on your website they can enter into your sales funnel.

You don't have to physically sending out emails or doing a promotion to get people buying.

And here's the thing:

I actually was hoping to move away from affiliate launches in 2016 as it means having to do more work each month to make money.

My plan was to launch an A to Z course alongside the affiliate and product email funnels.

And I hoped that would make up for the income affiliate launches currently generate.

Sadly the affiliate email funnels whilst a decent earner didn't get close to the income I hoped they would.

And despite working on the A to Z course for months and getting a good bit of version 1 finished...

Never got round to finishing it then got sidetracked, distracted and lazy.

And here we are approaching the end of 2016 and just like at the end 2015 I'm looking back and saying “it's not done”.

Shocking really.

I get sidetracked quite easily and lose focus.

Especially when I move around or travel a lot which I did in 2016.

 

(P.S. If you'd like to download a free list of 1,781 profitable niches click here or the image below)

1781 niches [new]

                                                                         

Important Affiliate Promos In 2016

Affiliate Promo's still play a big part in my income and here were some of the more memorable ones:

  • Inbox Blueprint $13,324.60
  • Learn Build Earn - $5,690.00
  • Niche Profit Full Control - $13,446.00 [in total this year as this is now an evergreen promo]

I didn't promote as many affiliate programs in 2016 as previously.

In fact, I went 3 months without promoting a single new launch or even checking the launch events calendars.

I'd became so disillusioned with the average product launch that I gave up on them.

You know the types; low-quality info-products and pointless tools that don't serve any purpose or will be abandoned within a month.

Thankfully there was a bit of a change towards the end of the year where some very high-quality products were released.

So I did have some very successful promos that I think you'd like to see the results for...

 

Inbox Blueprint - $13,324.60

 

12-inbox-blueprint-stats

Showing commissions from InboxBlueprint

 

Learn Build Earn - $5,690.00

 

13-learn-build-earn-stats

Showing commissions from Learn, Build, Earn

 

Niche Profit Full Control - $13,446.00

 

14-npcfc-sales

Showing commissions from Niche Profit Full Control

 

These were all easy launches to get involved with.

Not only are they all extremely high-quality A to Z courses.

But as they follow the “event style” launch where it revolves around sending your audience to free reports, videos and training webinars...

...you don't have to do any hard selling or much promotions, simply send your leads to high-quality content.

Then the vendor's sales funnel does the rest, warming them up and converting them into sales.

And without them ever feeling like they were hard sold to.

I really like these types of events and hope it's a trend we see more of in the future.

Everyone wins with launches like these.

The vendor gets paid for his hard work.

The affiliate gets a generous commission (usually 50% of $1499 to $1999).

And the customer gets a high-quality A to Z, step by step, training course that gives them everything they need to succeed.

If you get a chance to recommend high-quality A to Z courses like this one with an event style launch then jump on it.

You'll not regret it as your customer wins and you win too.

They are easy to make money from and your customer gets something that really can change their life.

And don't let the price put you off promoting.

There are people in your audience that CAN and WILL spend on high-end courses as they realize the value in them.

And how could I forget:

A memorable shout out goes to Commission Cartel by Michael Cheney.

While, not a huge earner compared to some of the above, at $1,283.37 it was one of the most fun to do.

 

15-commission-cartel

Commission from Commission Cartel

 

Michael always gives his launches a theme and this one was the Godfather / Cartel.

It was great because I could theme my emails along the same storyline and the response from people was that they enjoyed the promo.

Here was my opening email about it which I received a lot of praise about from the NH tribe...

Headline: Just when I thought I was out they pulled me back in!

You remember the famous line in The Godfather when Michael Corleone played by Al Pacino says...

“Just when I thought I was out they pulled me back in!”

He thought he'd escaped from the underworld.

But he'd just been dragged back in by his old mafioso contacts.

Something similar just happened to me....

Earlier in the year, I decided I would be getting involved with far fewer affiliate promos.

Especially low priced info-products.

Because I wanted to focus on promoting my digital products.

And recommending you A to Z courses over individual info-products.

But here's the thing:

I just got word from “The Affiliate Godfather” that he needs new recruits for “The Cartel”

“The Affiliate Godfather” is the don of all dons when it comes to affiliate marketing.

He's been in the affiliate business for over 15 years.

And it's reported he's made millions from it.

He's responsible for turning regular guys into Affiliate Mobsters who bank the sort of moolah that would make Al Capone and Scarface envious.

I'm a member of his inner circle aka “The Cartel”

I've maintained my code of silence since then, but now it's time to lift the lid on how my life has changed.

Here's the deal

Since I joined the “The Cartel” no longer do I struggle to make commissions.

I'm now a super affiliate who can make affiliate commissions on command.

And my life revolves around 5-star travel and living in the tropics.

When you're part of the cartel, you can “whack the competition” with a click of the fingers you see.

As you know strategies like “The Man in the Shadows” technique.

And “The Shower of Bullets” approach.

Both which make you more affiliate-comms on near demand.

That your competition just don't have as a weapon in their arsenal.

Don't just take my word for it:

Here's a screenshot showing how I've made $32,220.00 in commissions from promoting a single affiliate product in the past 12 months.

[SCREENSHOT WAS HERE]

That is just ONE product on ONE network.

I'm on dozens of networks and promoting scores of products.

And I'm going to share more about how I made that $32K in commissions with you later.

This is just to show you what's possible when you are in with “The Affiliate Godfather” and know his inner secrets.

But here's the thing:

The way “The Affiliate Godfather” operates is not for everyone.

And not everyone is a good fit for “The Cartel”

As you'd expect from a Godfather he's an equally loved and feared character.

He says EXACTLY what he thinks regardless of who might get offended.

He isn't afraid to give you a smack in the mouth if you step out of line.

He's fearless and emails hard.

And he promotes daily.

If this is something that doesn't sit easy with you...

...then the cartel is not for you.

The mafia call it “Cosa Nostra”.

Which literally means “our thing”.

And “The Cartel” is NOT for everyone.

On top of that:

What “The Affiliate Godfather” teaches revolves around promoting digital affiliate products.

And the examples used are in the online marketing niche.

But hold on:

Just because he focuses on digital products and the IM niche...

….doesn't mean they cannot be used by those doing Amazon affiliate marketing.

Or those in niches away from the online marketing arena.

In fact these techniques work for selling pretty much ANYTHING.

And I'm going to show you how to apply them to Amazon and other niches later.

But the core training does NOT talk about Amazon affiliate marketing or non IM niches.

So here's the deal:

The Affiliate Godfather is taking on new recruits to “The Cartel” next Tuesday 11th October.

And as I'm already a well respected cartel member I can vouch for you and get you on the inside.

IF you think you can handle it.

And if you have read the full email above and know what you're getting yourself into.

This isn't for the faint hearted.

But you need to make me one promise, OK?

You talk to no one about this.

We maintain a strict code of silence that must never be broken...

...Capiche?

So here's what you need to do:

If you're interested in joining “The Cartel” you have to show me a commitment now.

All you have to do is click the link below to show you're interested in this.

And my email software will “tag” you and follow up with more emails about it.

The first email will come almost immediately after you click.

Then you'll receive more about the recruitment process over the next few days.

Before finally finding out how to get inside “The Cartel” come Tuesday 11th.

But only if you have made it through the recruitment process.

So if interested in committing to “The Cartel” just click here now:

>>

Hope to see you in the inner circle soon,

Stuart “Scarface” Walker

That's a well written and fun email even if I do say so myself.

What do you think about it?

 

 

Your Takeaways From This:

  • Have your own digital products, they build your authority and can be easier to sell than affiliate products.
  • Set up sales funnels for everything you're selling so that sales are coming in 24/7 on auto-pilot.
  • Don't focus too much on affiliate launch income as if there's no good launches or a launch flops your income is gone.
  • Start a recurring monthly offer like a membership site, the income comes in month after month without much additional work.
  • Add evergreen affiliate offers into follow-up email funnels to sell them automatically without doing broadcast promos.
  • Promote A to Z courses, with event style launches, for a win-win situation for you and your audience.

 

My Aims for 2016 & Whether I Achieved Them

These were the aims I set at the end of 2015 for 2016...

  • Make the A to Z course - NO
  • Feature more NH success stories - NO
  • Restructure NH so it's built from back to front - NO
  • More automation and outsourcing - NO
  • Make £10K / $15K p/m consistently - NO
  • Reduce reliance on affiliate product launches – KIND OF
  • Get paid traffic campaigns up and running - YES
  • Hire content / traffic manager - NO
  • Re-design blog - NO
  • Diversify by launching new biz ideas – NO

And as you can see from all the 'NO' above....

I did not achieve much that I set out to.

And most of these were the same goals I set for 2015 and didn't achieve in 2015 either.

I've really taken my eye off the prize.

At the beginning of 2016, I was on track and doing well.

Then midway through the year I moved back to the UK and had a summer of distraction and complacency.

Simply because I didn't keep track of my goals and check regularly to see if I was on track.

And probably because I set too many goals too.

The only one goal I managed was to get more paid traffic campaigns up and running.

But I can hardly say I mastered that.

I'm not much better at it now than I was when I started.

And I'm still only re-targeting existing visitors and not paying for new ones.

The only other goal I made any impact on was reducing reliance on doing affiliate launches.

Due to the fact I created evergreen affiliate email funnels promoting existing products that stay on sale year round.

But that's still affiliate income even if it is more reliable than having to promote new launches.

And also because I increased the membership income percentage from 2015 by including it more in my sales funnels.

 

Your Takeaways From This:

  • Set realistic goals, milestones, and reminders, to keep you on track AND STICK TO THEM.
  • Be sure to be reviewing your goals and regularly aims to make sure you are still on track or like me, you'll get lost and distracted.
  • Don't aim to do too much or you'll get overwhelmed and achieve little.
  • If a goal doesn't take you towards your BIGGER lifetime goals and achievements, then it's probably not worth doing.

 

NicheHacks Events This Year

NicheHacks just kinda plodded along this year.

There were no major events that caused any huge changes.

But here's some things we did do....

 

Added Affiliate Email Funnels

I touched on this earlier; we added in email follow up series's that continually promoted evergreen affiliate products.

These are automatically being sent out to the list every 2 days and if interested in hearing more you have to click a link to get more emails on the topic.

 

16-email-funnels

My email funnels

 

 

I use Aweber and AWProTools 'smart link' feature to do this. It stops people getting emails on subjects they aren't necessarily interested in.

And increases engagement and conversion rate on the things they are.

 

Updating Older content

We improved some of our older, high traffic, content to bring them into line without current editorial guidelines.

And also improved On-Page SEO as previously it was ignored.

For a handful of posts, we have upgraded the content to add more value and add content we thought was missing.

And then republished them to the front page of the blog.

There was an increase of 4,469 extra visitors on last month or a percentage increase of 81.48%.

  • 2,665 of those visitors came from Google alone.
  • 672 came direct / from email.
  • 441 from social media.
  • 356 from referral traffic.

And that's not all:

We also had 256 new social shares on the post.

And 12 new comments.

Because of this, we're looking to improve on more content in 2017 and you should consider it too.

 

Publishing More Niche Reports Into Posts

It's no surprise that you mostly come to NH for niche ideas yet for a while we were hardly publishing any new niches.

We now publish 2 new niche reports every month in addition to the 6 we share in the members area every month.

 

Selection of niche reports on the blog

Selection of niche reports on the blog

 

Making Push Notifications Part Of The Traffic Strategy

I had tried these in 2015 when they were new and didn't work on Chrome yet.

The results were abysmal and they sent no traffic.

So I wrote them off for a while.

Eventually, they found out a way to get them working with Chrome but I still didn't jump back on.

Then a few months back I saw more and more blogs were using them.

So I gave them another try and as I mentioned previously they've sent 17,965 visitors to date.

 

push-22

A PushNotifications with a 22% click through rate

 

Even though they've only been active for around 4 months and it's only been the past few weeks I've been sending them more regularly.

If you're not using Push Notifications get on them now with PushCrew.com as it's an EASY way to bring repeat traffic back to your site.

 

(P.S. If you'd like to download a free list of 1,781 profitable niches click here or the image below)

1781 niches [new]

                                                                         

What We Want To Do In 2017

 

Content: Upgrade Old Posts

As upgrading content has had such good results as you can see above we'll be looking to do more of it in 2017.

You should try it too, it's cheaper, quicker and easier than creating new content and you get extra value out of it. Plus most of your audience have never seen it anyway if it's buried away in the archives.

Plus most of your audience have never seen it anyway if it's buried away in the archives.

 

Outreach To Promote Existing Stuff

When I first launched NH we did a lot of outreach but then after a few months stopped. It helped NH get a lot of recognition, links, and social shares so we really shouldn't have stopped. I will be hiring someone to do this in 2017.

It helped NH get a lot of recognition, links, and social shares so we really shouldn't have stopped. I will be hiring someone to do this in 2017.

 

Income

Make existing funnels more comprehensive and catering to all different things people want.

Currently my email series / sales funnels are quite basic.

I'll be looking to expand on them and add in more value and further product recommendations to them to increase income and give you more of what you need.

The deeper your sales funnels are with the more product recommendations you have within them the more money you can make.

 

Digital Marketer's definition of a conversion funnel...

Digital Marketer's definition of a conversion funnel...

 

New Funnels

I also want to create new funnels to cover a wider range of topics you're interested in.

If you're not covering a topic well enough that your audience is interested in then they'll go elsewhere and spend money with someone else.

 

Re-Launch Products and Make More

My products are currently offline so I will revamp and relaunch in 2017 as well as launch new ones.

Many of which are already created but have yet to see the light of day. Your own digital products are a great income generator and build authority with your audience too.

Many of which are already created but have yet to see the light of day. Your own digital products are a great income generator and build authority with your audience too.

Your own digital products are a great income generator and build authority with your audience too.

Launch course I've been talking about this for 2 years now and the rough first draft is ready so I'd like to get round to launching this in 2017, the early part of.

 

Some my products here and they will soon be re-launched...

Some my products here and they will soon be re-launched...

 

Traffic: Increase Search Via Upgrading Posts and Optimizing

This ties in with our content plans to upgrade older posts.

We'll update, optimize for SEO, and promote more by outreaching to other bloggers.

This is great because you can improve your older content which is valuable for your audience.

But you can also republish it to get more traffic to it. And pick up more links and shares.

 

Outreach

Outreaching is great for networking with others in your niche, if you're not doing it you need to be.

There's no point in you trying to go it alone.

In the world of online marketing think of the others in your niche not as competition but people you can network with so you both benefit.

I need to do much more of this in 2017.

 

An example of when Nader was outreaching for his affiliate round up post...

An example of when Nader was outreaching for his affiliate round up post...

Paid traffic

Paid traffic is king.

If you master it you win.

He who can spend the most acquiring a new customer and make that money back wins.

I have been doing Facebook Ads for over a year now but not got close to mastering it despite spending tens of thousands of dollars on it.

It's not a quick or easy game but you can get started for just $5 and the quicker you get started the quicker you get ahead.

And you might just be better at it than me. It's traffic on demand and beats free traffic that eats up a lot of your time.

It's traffic on demand and beats free traffic that eats up a lot of your time.

I hope to ramp up my paid traffic efforts in 2017.

 

Retargeting

I have mostly been doing retargeting with my Facebook Ads to date.

I have kept things relatively simple by retargeting existing visitors back to new blog posts.

And to my main opt-in page.

I will look to expand on this in 2017.

 

youreright

 

Push Notifications

Push notifications is a relatively new technology and very few websites are using it yet. Which means it's wide open for savvy marketers like us.

Which means it's wide open for savvy marketers like us.

I'm already seeing great results from it as I mentioned earlier with 17,965 new visitors from it in the past 4 months.

That's without really pushing it too hard or testing it much.

Originally I was just having it automatically send out a notification for a new post.

I've recently started testing sending out notifications to older posts and niche reports.

 

 

Thanks To The NicheHacks Team

I want to say a HUGE thanks to all the NicheHacks team for making everything we've talked about above possible.

From my right hand man Nader who literally runs the blog day to day, keeps me on track, does a lot of the boring work and a lot of the creative work too.

 

My right hand man Nader, showing off the guns

My right hand man Nader, showing off the guns

 

Without him it would be hard to keep NicheHacks going and growing.

And to the writing team, James Johnson, Jawad Khan, and Chelsea Baldwin.

Who have all been with me since the end of 2014 and always being reliable and great to work with.

Without them the blog wouldn't be as good as it is now.

They provide high quality content month in month out and have been a pleasure to work with.

 

Jawad, one of the original writing team

Jawad, one of the original writing team

 

I genuinely believe they are some of the best freelance writers available in the online marketing niche.

Between them they've been featured everywhere from Time Magazine, Entrpeneur, Jeff Bullas, BoostBlogTraffic, Business.com, Fiverr.com, ProBlogger and more.

And I hope they agree with me when I say that I think since joining NicheHacks and working together every single one of them has improved as a writer.

 

Chelsea has been with NicheHacks since December 2014

Chelsea has been with NicheHacks since December 2014

 

And that they are now putting out their best content ever.

I don't claim to take credit for that, progression and improvement is natural and they have worked hard on their content.

But I like to think us working together has helped both NicheHacks improve and them improve.

And hopefully working with NicheHacks has helped them further their own businesses and pick up more work.

What do you think guys?

 

James has worked with us since 2014

James has worked with us since 2014

 

Wrapping Things Up

Thanks for reading this quite long progress report.

And thanks for being part of the NicheHacks tribe as without you none of what I've written about above would be possible.

You make it all happen by visiting the blog and by supporting it through purchasing products I sell and recommend.

And hopefully, you get a lot back out of it as well in profitable niche ideas and ways to make money from them.

If you're going to take any major takeaways from this post I'd say focus on the following:

  • Never take your foot off the pedal and get complacent, always keep grinding or things just stagnate.
  • Always have a strategy in place to bring back existing visitors and to bring in NEW visitors on auto-pilot.
  • Have sales funnels in place, whether for your products or affiliate products, that generate money 24/7 on auto-pilot.
  • If you can find A to Z courses with event style launches to recommend then do so, everyone wins with these launches.
  • Monitor your website stats like traffic, bounce rate, time spent on site regularly and take action when you notice upticks or downward spirals.
  • A handful of your content will drive the bulk of your traffic so focus on improving, updating, and creating similar content to the most popular.
  • The biggest list isn't necessarily the best list. If you make it too easy for people to join your list you dilute the quality of subscriber.

Thanks again for reading and being a loyal supporter of NicheHacks.

Myself and all the team really appreciate you and hope you've had a successful 2016.

Or at very least can use some of what you've learned at NicheHacks to have a successful 2017.

Now I'd like to hear from you, so please tell me:

What was your biggest achievement in 2016?

And what is the ONE thing you'd most like to achieve in 2017?

Tell me in the comments below...

 

CLICK HERE TO GET ACCESS TO 150+ NICHE REPORTS

NicheHacks
To date, Stuart has revealed well over 1,500 hot niches.

He's living his dream of being location independent, and having traveled the world, thanks to internet marketing.

The aim with Niche Hacks is to help you live your dream thanks to online marketing, whatever that may be.
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Comments (39)

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  1. Patrick says:

    Hi am really excited with your of achievement. You talk of hiring a person in 2017 am very interested in contributing to the success of my beloved Blog. Thanks

  2. Jawad Khan says:

    Can't believe it has been 3 years!

    So proud to be a part of it since the early days

    The content quality on NH has seriously gone up, and it's great to see that we have such large comunity around the blog now.

    Love the progress NH has made, and bullish about the coming years.

    A big congrats to Stuart and all the guys who're behind NH.

  3. Brian Dean says:

    Congrats on your success, Stuart. You publish awesome stuff so it's well deserved. Here's to an awesome 2017!

  4. Terry Kyle says:

    Always enjoy your work Stuart - keep the good stuff coming in 2017 dude!

  5. Mark Webster says:

    Nice one Stuart. Very interesting to see how you canned popups there. When you did that, did you track how that affected average signup duration?

  6. Congrats on 2016. Income gains and more good stuff. Very solid year and several ideas for me to grow traffic as well.

    • NicheHacks says:

      Thanks Chris, without tools like AmaSuites to recommend as an affiliate the income gains wouldn't be possible. Glad you got some ideas for traffic, which ones in particular?

  7. Stuart,

    You're one of my top 150 favourite Scottish people and your success is inspiring to say the least.

    It's been a pleasure to be a part of the process from way back when (over 2 years now!) and I can't wait to see what the future holds.

    • NicheHacks says:

      Thanks to you mate, even if you do have a dodgy accent (ironic coming from me!), without you and the rest of the writers it would be difficult to have reached this point. You always send me top notch content and glad you're here.

      Were you still working in the shoe shop when you started working for NH or had you already quit?

  8. It's hard to believe how far NH has come.

    I remember back in the early days looking at your site, it seemed like everyone already recognized it as a big successful brand name.

    It seems like you took something that you knew was going to work, and went from A to B and dived right into it.

    The only way to go from here, is up!

    Congratulations Stuart and the rest of the team 🙂

    • NicheHacks says:

      Thanks mate, without you running the day to day stuff it wouldn't be possible. You keep me on track, remind me what we're doing and deal with a lot of stuff I don't have the patience for. Plus you are good at the creative stuff and have a lot of ideas. Great working with you.

  9. Zac Johnson says:

    Congrats! You always have great content, which shows through the growth of the blog.

    • NicheHacks says:

      Thanks Zac, watching your blogging success over the years was my inspiration for starting NicheHacks. Appreciate you coming over and commenting.

  10. Congrats man. It's interesting to see the journey you've had. We started our sites at a similar time and it's been fun being around for most of the NH journey.

  11. Wowwww

    It's so cool to see the story of NicheHacks unfold, and I love how you do these progress reports every year. (And I've LOVED being on board to help it grow!)

    • NicheHacks says:

      I loved you being on board Chelsea, you are a pleasure to work with. I don't think you've ever missed a deadline?

      Thanks for being part of it and helping me grow the blog,

  12. Ken says:

    It’s rare in this industry to find a community and content base so laser-focused on sharing true results-oriented value, not just disseminating scattered tidbits of facts overloaded with fluff as most blogs do.

    Your unmistakable mission to help your audience succeed, achieve, and get results permeates through the entire community and content.

    Thank you Stuart for being one of the good guys in this amazing digital entrepreneurship industry. I respect you and your success is categorically deserved.

    • NicheHacks says:

      Thanks Ken, means a lot coming from someone like you who I see as a true trustworthy marketer and leader in our corner of the internet. Just a shame you don't seem to be around so much recently.

      Go on release a new course or product so I can recommend it, they are always great!

  13. Happy Birthday you wonderful place..

    3 years is amazing and I've know Stuart for about 2.5.. You go from strenghth to strength and have helped so many people..

    Here's to the next 10 years of Nichehacks,. 🙂

    • NicheHacks says:

      Thanks a lot mate, you're one of the best people in our industry. You're genuine, you are a great people person, and you're thoughtful. You never ever make it about YOU but always about the people you're networking with.

  14. Congratulations on your success Stuart, but I suspect this is only scratching the surface!

    • NicheHacks says:

      Thanks Matt, your blog with refreshing high quality content was the inspiration for me starting it. Congrats on doing over a million in sales on your own blog btw! Big achievement.

      You need to give me some tips on better monetizing NH. I think we have more traffic than you every month but I'm not making as much as you in income.

  15. Tung says:

    Congrats on your success with NicheHacks Stuart.

    I missed your detailed analysis of affiliate sites like This IS Why I'm Broke. That's what drawn me into your blog in the first place 🙂 Would love to see more 😀

  16. Bobby says:

    Happy Birthday to you! This site is AMAZING, Stuart, you are amazing! Keep up the good work and cheers to the next million visitors 🙂

  17. Adam Nolan says:

    Stuart, this is awesome man! As if it's only been 3 years. What's incredible Is I have a hard time remembering a time when NicheHacks wasn't around. Happy Birthday my friend.

    I'm looking forward to many more years. 🙂

    Onwards & upwards.

    - Adam Nolan

  18. Russell Lobo says:

    Hey Stuart,
    Congrats on 3 years 🙂 Seems much more especially considering the amazing value your site and group gives. I have a suggestion about email subscribers, if you slice it by region (location), you will get a better idea of earning per email subscriber and then can focus retargeting, etc and other paid traffic on that group. I did that for one of my niche sites and lifetime revenue rose from ~$6 per email to ~$17 per email subscriber for that targeted region

  19. Akhil says:

    Congrats Stuart, on 3rd anniversary, it's great to be a part of the niche hacks community 🙂

  20. Vlad Sandu says:

    The hard work and persistence paid off. You also used the right tools to get your content on the social sites. It's not a one-man job running this website so I want to congratulate all of you for your effort.

    Let 2017 be a growth and successful year for you and our community.