Why did it take so long?
It was because of a lot of factors, actually.
- I was entering the wrong niches and targeting keywords poorly.
- The links I was building were weak, spammy, and unsustainable for a long-term business.
- But most importantly, I didn’t have a clue what getting to $100/day actually meant in terms of traffic numbers……… I didn’t even bother to think about it.
As a result, I was targeting tiny niches, building micro sites, and targeting keywords where, even if I became the top site in the niche and ranked #1 for ALL MY KEYWORDS, the most I would make is less than $5/day.
The traffic just wasn’t there.
And if you remember from Lesson #2, traffic is the most important factor when choosing a niche for a website that’s going to be monetized with Adsense.
For me, although I don’t remember the exact numbers, I hit my goal of $100/day when I was getting around 150,000 visitors per month to my niche sites.
Am I saying 150,000 visitors/month will always equal $100/day? Of course not. It could be much lower, or much higher than that. There are so many factors in play that it’s going to be different for everybody. But, it’s a close estimation.
So let’s do some calculations:
The biggest metric you need to calculate Adsense income for a website is RPM.
What is RPM? Basically it’s the calculation of how much money you make per 1000 page views. It’s calculated based on your traffic, CTR (click-through-rate), and CPC (cost per click).
The average RPM I’ve experienced with Adsense is about $5 to $10 for broad niches and up to $100 for more competitive niches with high CPC.
If you’re able to know your RPM, you can accurately estimate earnings potentials for higher traffic numbers, as well as the amount of traffic you’ll need to make a full-time income.
For instance, if you’re making an average $10 RPM from one of your websites, that’s $10 for every 1000 visitors on your site.
So you can easily calculate that if you increased your traffic to 100,000 visitors, you would make $1000. If you grew it it 1,000,000 you would make $10,000. Again, not perfectly accurate, but a good estimation.
Traffic Required to Make $100/Day
Let’s break down the numbers even further with some example metrics.
We’ll try to use numbers as close to averages as possible.
For this example, we’ll use a $1 CPC and a 5% CTR.
So how much traffic do we need to make $100 per day with those figures?
First, we need to figure out how many clicks equates to $100.
100 / 1 = 100 clicks.
If we need 100 clicks at 5% CTR, the total traffic must be…
100 / 0.05 = 2,000.
We need 2,000 visitors a day. Per month, that is…
2,000 x 30 = 60,000.
60,000 visitors every month to make $100/day with Adsense. Of course, this is just an estimation using very ideal metric figures. It’s not easy to maintain an average CPC of $1 depending on your niche, and CPC is a giant factor in how much traffic you’ll require to reach this figure.
Some of my blogs consistently get over 10% CTR, while others get under 2%. Some of my sites get CPC of $3-$5, while others never get higher than a quarter.
Can you guess what the RPM is on the example site above?
If you answered $50, you’re correct. Remember, RPM is how much you would make for 1000 visitors on your website. If you got 1000 visitors at $1 CPC and a 5% CTR, that’s 50 clicks (5% of 1000) at $1 earned per click.
A $50 RPM is really great. If I were getting $50 RPM on a site, I would really start building it out with more posts and meaty content to boost those traffic figures.
You can then calculate estimated income based on your future traffic goals.
If you were to increase traffic on the site to 500,000 visitors a month, that is $25,000 a month!
So what does all this mean? How can this help you?
Like I said before, one of the reasons it took me so long to reach a full-time income online is because I never paid attention to these details.
I was targeting niches/keywords where the maximum traffic I would get IN THE BEST CASE SCENARIO was less than 5,000 visitors per month.
That didn’t mean the competition was any weaker, either. I was just terrible at niche and keyword research.
Which meant that I would put in months of work, pouring in the hours to build content for it, design the site, and build backlinks…
…and when the site finally became a success… it meant nothing.
The work wasn’t worth the reward. I did all that work for nothing.
All because I didn’t understand Adsense calculations, nor did I care to even think about them.
I was just excited to build a new site with the hope that that one would be the game changer that allowed me to quit my job.
When you’re doing niche analysis, when you doing keyword research, and when you’re thinking about creating your new site, always think about the potential payout.
Think about the traffic cap of the niche and keywords you’re targeting – Imagine the best case scenario – where you’re ranking #1 for every single major keyword you target… what’s the traffic potential? What’s the income potential?
Obviously, they will just be estimations.
You can’t accurately estimate traffic caps. The number you calculate of ranking #1 for every major keyword is going to be a LOT LOWER than the traffic you’ll actually get in real-life due to long-tail traffic.
But it’s better to calculate on the low end to be safe, rather than over-estimate your potential and be disappointed later.
These are the calculations that I run for any new niche I enter today. Although they’re just rough estimations, they give me the confidence to know that the effort I put into this site WILL BE WORTH IT.
The payout will be worth the hard work I put in.
Trust me, it gives you a ton more motivation when you know this ahead of time rather than just go in blindly.
Take it to the next level
Want me to just teach you EVERYTHING step by step? In my advanced course, The Niche Site Course, I show you every exact strategy I used to build a $10K/month niche site in just 6 months with SEO.
In the next lesson, I’ll finally be talking about link building 🙂
Backlinks are still the biggest ranking factor in Google. And it’s the #1 thing that people have trouble with. I’ll reveal what’s working for me, and how you should be building links in 2016 and beyond.
Until then, If you want to continue learning further from today’s lesson, check out how I make sure the niches and keywords I target cross $100/day, read this in-depth blog post of how I create content that gets 100,000 visitors per month.
Rule Number One: Keep White Hat Strategies
Overall, we play it safe and never engage in black or gray hat activity.
As I say, it’s never a good idea to try to game the search engines for a quick buck. Once they catch up, all the work goes to waste and you’ll have to do it all over again.
Invest in white hat strategies so your site, for the most part, can weather any Google update and maintain your hard-earned traffic.
With that reminder out of the way, let’s move on to other methods.
Creating and Optimizing New Content
We don’t create content haphazardly. We maintain a content strategy folder and a calendar on Google docs, while we have an ongoing topic ideas thread on Trello.
Suggesting topic ideas
People submit topic idea suggestions on Trello.
On the Trello cards, they input their rationale for how writing about the topic would benefit our blog. They would also add their ideas for how to effectively promote the post.
Preparing article topics
The content strategy folder is where we put drafts of approved topics.
Each document contains the topic idea, a short outline, a purpose, contact details of experts or influencers we plan to interview for the article, and comments or other instructions from the people involved in the article.
We then review again by eye for other improvements.
We use simple words and shorter paragraphs; ideally three mid-length sentences per paragraph, or at most four to five simple sentences.
We avoid large blocks of text by breaking long sections into sub-headers.
Our content calendar is where we plot the publishing schedule for our articles. It also contains a checklist of processes that we need to clear off during the cycle of preparation, publication, optimization, and promotion.
Once the content is ready and has passed editing, we paste the Google doc link under the appropriate date and mark the first section as done.
Once the text content has been edited, it is then optimized further for SEO. We use the Yoast real-time content analysis free tool for this.
We input our focus keyword and house it in the title, meta description, and URL. We follow other suggestions of the tool until the SEO score mark on the upper right-hand corner turns orange or green.
We make sure every article has one main featured image, and at least one to three other relevant images, preferably graphs, charts, or screenshots of processes and tools described in the article.
These images should come with proper descriptions. (And yes, we try to include the keywords whenever possible and relevant.)
In terms of size, these days, we try to keep all our images below 750px. This is to make sure the pages have better loading times.
Any images that go over our requirements tend to slow down the page, which is not good for SEO and for users, in general.
Adding outbound links
We find that linking to other high authority sites is not only good for our readers but good for SEO as well. So, we try to add lots of outbound links to these credible sources in our articles. We also link to other content our team has published elsewhere.
Interlinking related articles
We also practice proper interlinking of related articles within our blog. For example, when I wrote about how to do an expert roundup post, I linked to another in-house blog post I wrote detailing a case study on how to write an expert roundup that gets hundreds of shares.
Strong backlinks are par for the course, especially if we have a major article we want to promote.
We use our tool, NinjaOutreach, for reaching out and promoting to prospects who may be interested in spreading word about the value of our article.
Uploading to backend
Once the content has been uploaded to the backend, optimized for SEO, and scheduled to be published on our CMS (we check off the corresponding process sections), we then move on to our promotion processes.
The promotion process covers several sections:
- First, we schedule push notifications.
- Second, we share on our own social media (Twitter, Google Plus, Facebook, LinkedIn).
- Third, we build a list of other people who were mentioned in the article, have published, or have shared similar articles.
- Fourth, we reach out to notify these people via email and tag them on social media as well.
Once we’ve checked off all promotion processes, we move on to progress tracking.
We file the goo.gl and UTM links we used for our articles into our database for tracking.
We review our performance in our weekly, monthly and, eventually, in our annual review meetings.
We hone our strategies according to these performance results.
Optimizing older content
Not all articles we published in the past remained valuable. In fact, some articles lost relevance after a few months.
We periodically review our old articles’ performance to make sure any older, lower-value articles don’t drag our blog authority down.
Combining weaker articles into bigger, stronger ones
There are some articles that provide decent value but, on their own, do not generate enough traffic. We find other related articles and combine these to create a longer, stronger post.
Combing for broken links
Broken links or dead URLs are bad for users, so we use our own variety of tools to comb through our blog for any of these dead links. Once found, we then either remove them or replace them with another quality alternative.
To keep from accidentally linking to bad sites we go through all our outgoing URLs every few months.
All the relevant URLs get whitelisted in our tool (which has an automatic nofollow feature for all outgoing links). That’s the only time when we dofollow the whitelisted URLs.
Re-launching older content
This is an ongoing process where we look into Google Analytics and Search Console to identify older articles that could do with some optimization. We look for certain characteristics, such as high impressions but low click-through rate, or high pageviews but high bounce rate. We file these articles in a sheet and optimize them once more (fix formatting, add more images, add more useful content, etc). When done, we republish them and measure performance improvements.
Optimizing blog design
Text is not everything, so we also include design in our blog optimization strategies.
We make sure that our blog is optimized for mobile. So we avoid any designs that contain tiny text. If you look at our blog homepage, you’ll see that we put our main nav bar on top and center, making it easier for mobile users (typically with smaller screens) to access. Our CTA is top and center as well, while our comments section is neatly tucked in the bottom center.
Article archives design
For our article archives, instead of focusing solely on text headlines, we use larger image thumbnails to accompany the titles.
You’ll also see the blog topics are not arranged in typical list type categorized by date. Instead, they are arranged in blocks and categorized by topic. The format makes it easier for mobile users to navigate.
Tags and Categories
Instead of small, text type tags and categories, we use text buttons. We keep tags for the back end and have a list of common tags and categories we should all use.
We use text buttons for categories. Like our image thumbnails, these text buttons are less visually exhausting. Again, a good format for mobile users.
Dates and author profiles
We don’t include the author names and dates in the blog posts preview archive. This does away with extra text clutter. The user can only view the author and publish date once the post has been clicked.
Post formatting and ad placement
Our blog posts are formatted simply and centered. We use a medium sized font and place only one to two banner ads—a plug for our tool’s free trial within the article.
Besides those plugs, we do not place ads in our blog post’s side bars.
We place our CTA top and center, and another one at the bottom, before the author profile.
Rinse and repeat
So there you have it. An uncomplicated, walkthrough of our very own blog optimization strategies as we practice them at NinjaOutreach. Basically, we go through this process in a cycle, and it has done well for us so far. Got any questions, suggestions? Please share with us in the comments below.