Niche Site Challenge: Why You Need To Forget Your Income If You Want Your Niche Site To Be Successful [Part 3]

Filed in Blogging, Case Studies by on August 21, 2016

You can see all updates from the Niche Site Challenge here.

Running a Niche Site is, by far, the most rewarding experience of my online career so far.

Forget quitting my job and becoming a writer.

Forget landing big clients like Canva and Matthew Woodward.

Forget that time I wrote an article high on the euphoria of Machu Picchu.

Having my own baby - my site, not a real one, of course - has given me more satisfaction than anything else so far.

And this month, I want to catch you up on the last two months of what I've been doing.

I'm a little off the pace with writing the challenge, between: travelling to create content, still running a Freelance Business, hosting Live Video Q&A's in the Nichehacks Members Group and dealing with a new long-distance relationship, juggling my time has been hard.

So I'm going to take this opportunity to catch you up on everything I've done since the last article, to the exact moment I'm writing this article, so we can move forward with the most up-to-date content for you.

Because I'm just good like that.

 

james johnson machu picchu

 

 

What You'll Learn

Here's what you're going to learn in this article...

  • How To Get Facebook Page Likes For Pennies
  • The One Tool I'm Using To Create Better Content My Audience Wants
  • Why I'm Not Focused On My Income (And You Shouldn't Be Either)

If you're ready, let's get stuck in, shall we?

 

(P.S. If you'd like to download a free checklist of 31 blog traffic secrets click here or the image below)

 

This Month In Short

Here's your quick hit update on how One Day Guides is performing this month.

Income: $0

Traffic: 1,605 sessions (best 700 July 1st - July 31st) (+90 sessions), Bounce Rate 68.35% (Improved 4.1%)

Subscribers: 12 (+5)

I'll touch on income, and why it's not important to me, a little later on. But I am pretty unimpressed by the email conversions. That's my main focus of improvement for August.

However, Facebook page likes have improved dramatically:

 

facebook page looks

 

 

This has been down to the big Facebook Video push you read about last month.

I'll be experimenting over the next month to see how I can convert these into email subscribers as well.

I've been experimenting with Boosted Posts and Facebook Ads to see what's been more beneficial for me.

Boosted Posts create a now engagement, while Facebook Ads create a longer, more trusting engagement.

My major disconnect has been between the page, and the site, so I'm going to focus more on bringing them together.

I've been using lots of data - like Heat Maps - to help me make smarter decisions on my content.

You can read more about that in that section of the article.

All in all, it's still early days.

There is a lot of putting content out there, seeing what works, adjusting and making informed decisions.

 

 

How To Get Insanely High Facebook Conversions For Pennies

I'm not on a big budget.

I have money to devote to the site, but I'm not exactly what you'd consider a big spender.

So, when it comes to Facebook Ads, I'm all about getting the most engagements for the least amount of money.

A really important metrics for me now is page likes. Because, attention in the travel niche is heavily on Facebook.

The psychology of it is simple.

People go on to Facebook to share their travel pictures, tell stories, share videos of beautiful places and ask questions like, "Where's good to visit?" and, "Where can I get cheap flights?".

Here I can create entertaining content that speaks to the heart of my brand, and connect with people.

And, by doing that, I managed to get some interesting results. Especially learning from Jawad's Facebook Ads article.

I ran two tests, on small budgets, to see which content performs better.

 

Test #1: The One That Didn't Work That Well

The first test I ran, I targeted fans of industry blogs: Nomadic Matt, Wandering Earl and so on.

And, I used one of my top performing videos from my Facebook Video campaigns.

 

james johnson one day guides

 

Of the 3,802 people reached, only 14 people liked it. That's pretty poor.

Although those 14 people interact with my posts, the conversion rate is pretty crappy.

 

facebook budget results

 

£1.18 per page like. Ugh.

So, I went back and looked at my demographics.

I'd focused on:

  • United Kingdom and United States
  • Both Genders
  • 18-35
  • People who like industry leaders, problem solvers and different activities (like Hiking and Trekking and City Breaks)

Plus, my video was just a generic video.

And, while it's entertaining, it didn't give people a reason to like my page.

So, what could I change?

That brings me to test number two...

 

Test #2: The High Achiever

Okay, it was time for some drastic changes. Here's what I did instead.

I created a value adding video for the Facebook Ad.

Which you can watch right here:

 

 

Then, I changed my targeting to focus on brands that have the same values as my niche site.

Brands that make travel cheaper and more accessible.

I also focused on just my region, the United Kingdom.

Brands like:

  • Ryanair
  • Easy Jet
  • Expedia
  • Sky Scanner

Which resulted in an advert that looks like this:

 

second facebook ad

 

Here's the difference in results after just three days...

 

facebook results

 

It's already gotten 17 likes, and each of them has cost me £0.25.

That's a reduction of nearly £1.00 per page like. There's still time running on this advert, too.

I can already hear what you're saying though, "But you spent more money on the second advert!"

That is true.

But, after three days to already be outperforming the first advert (which is spending £12.00 less than the first test) is pretty staggering.

When it comes to your adverts then, here's what I'd suggest you do...

 

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“Video marketing is, without a doubt, one of the biggest reasons I’ve been able to create a multiple six-figure business online.”

– Katie Freiling

Click Here To Tweet This!

 

 

Key Takeaways

When you create a Facebook Advert, stop looking for how to compete with the other authorities in your niche.

The people who follow them have already found their guru.

Instead look for the: people, brands, companies and products that all help people create the same end product as you.

Let's look at a niche outside of Travel, let's say playing Guitar. Instead of looking to compete with fans of Nate Savage or MartyzSongs or Your Guitar Sage, why not look at sharing with fans of:

  • Local music stores
  • Cheap (or expensive) Guitar brands
  • Music Venues and Open Mic Nights
  • Bands in the genre of music you're teaching

These will be the first places they're looking for answers.

Or, you'll find people interested in your niche.

Open Mic Nights?

Maybe someone wants to get on stage themselves and perform.

Metallica fan?

Maybe they want to learn how to play Master of Puppets.

Find brands and companies who represent what your audience want to achieve, and then reach out to them.

 

How To Use Heat Maps To Create Better Content

Where your audience is clicking on your site can be one of the biggest giveaways of how to tailor your content. And, heat maps show you exactly that.

 

one day guides heat map

 

A heat map shows you where attention is on your page.

Where are people clicking, what are they looking for, and how can you optimise your site to fit those peoples needs?

But, when you run a site heavily dependent on content, you can also start to see in trends in the sort of content your audience is looking for.

Let me explain...

Take a look at this section of my websites heat map.

This is where all of my content is listed.

Look at the density of clicks on How To Guides and Travel Tech:

 

heat map main toolbar

 

13% of my pages clicks are in this one spot. 

That's before you even see the data for the other side of the button, and we move on to travel tech.

Your audience are leaving clues for the sort of content they're looking for.

They're coming to my site because they want to know how to travel smarter, clearly.

Tech ties into that concept, too. Because it makes travel easier.

There's also a big interest in why the blog exists:

 

heat map screenshot 2

 

Which would also explain why my more thought leader, personal style, posts get a lot of clicks...

 

why now is the time to travel

 

And social shares...

 

post social shares

 

Using this knowledge, and the clues they're leaving me, I know I need to:

  • Create How To Content
  • Create Tech Content
  • Experiment with Thought Leader Posts

That's not a bad little cheat code, is it?

You can set up a heat map for free with SumoMe.

All you have to do is sign up for a free account, and get it running on the page where most of your content is displayed.

Then, follow the clicks and test the results you get.

It's really that simple.

 

“Legacy is greater than currency.” garyvee

– Gary Vaynerchuk

Click Here To Tweet This!

 

 

Why I'm Not Focused On My Income (Yet)

I can see it in your eyes.

You're almost furious about it. Why the hell have I not spoken about monetisation yet?

My income, for all three installments has sat at $0.00.

Well, let me be clear on this...

Making money right now isn't important to me.

Quick money - with no relationship, no investment in my brand, no consistent value given to the audience - isn't good money at all.

It might create a wonderful one off payment, but it's not going to create reoccurring income you can depend on.

And, niche sites aren't quick money spinners, at least not in the way you might think they are. Sean Ogle said it well in his article on whether you should become a Freelancer or start a Niche Site:

"If you’re finding yourself in debt, without work, or needing to make some cash within the next 60-90 days, then freelancing is absolutely the better way to go. I’ve seen people make $4,000 in their first month within the Location Rebel community through freelance writing."

Niche Sites aren't designed to make you money right now.

It's not a case of sign up and start earning.

This is business and you have to earn your money.

Let's go back into the archives and look at the first year progress of Nichehacks.

Stuart has this to say about his income over the first year...

stuart comment

For the first six months the blog cost him money to run.

He made no income whatsoever from it. It took six months just to cover his $1,500 a month expenses (including incredible writers like me, Jawad and Chelsea).

My focus is this:

  1. Build an audience: I'd like to hit at least 300 email subscribers before I start creating products.
  2. Cater to their needs: What does that audience want? Maybe it's a book on how to save money travelling from the UK. Maybe it's a video course on how to plan the perfect trip.
  3. Create it and sell it: Exactly what I just said.

I'm currently in phase one, building an audience.

I'm going to save the sales until I have people to, you know, sell to. And people who trust me.

That's why I'm not focused on my income yet.

Although if you do want to focus on your income - and feel you're ready to do it - Stuart's 101 Affiliate Hacks is a great place to start.

 

(P.S. If you'd like to download a free checklist of 31 blog traffic secrets click here or the image below)

 

Wrapping It Up...

Okay, that was the cream-of-the-crop of what I've been trying to do this last few months.

Here's what you should try for yourself:

  • Video Content For Ads: Try running your Facebook Ads with video content for higher conversions.
  • Look For Brands: Not influencers to target people with.
  • Run Heat Maps: To find out the content your audience is looking for, and where their attention is.
  • Forget Your Income: And look for how you can help your audience. Income will be a byproduct of that, I promise.

So, what do you want to see from next months Niche Site challenge?

Let me know in the comments...

 

CLICK HERE TO GET ACCESS TO 150+ NICHE REPORTS

James Johnson
James is the founder of the Freelance Writers School where he teaches normal people how to make money through freelance writing even if they failed English at school and have no idea about business.

Comments (7)

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  1. Anumula says:

    Thanks for the post and yes it needs a lot of patience to deal with the niche site improvement. Also thanks for that heat map tips.

  2. ethan moore says:

    What great information!

  3. Erez says:

    Good content.
    I appreciate the patience, but 6 months seems like quite a long time.
    Any shortcuts in mind? 🙂

  4. ethan moore says:

    For email marketing, if you’re computer-savvy, or know someone who is, I’d recommend PHPList. It’s an online application, installed in your server, really powerful for managing email marketing campaigns.

    • What's the advantage of this over email marketing websites that have prebuilt programs aweber and activecampaign?

    • Lloyd Hester says:

      It is kinda dodgy running your email campaigns from your own server.

      If you get spam complaints or your hosting account pick up a lot of activity on your server, you can get blocked pretty easily and your IP blacklisted.

      You can use smtp services like sendpulse.com but really you are better off using an email service like aweber or if you want free then mailerlite.com is a great one.