It has been a few weeks since my last post – longer than I was planning, however it seems like nothing ever goes exactly as planned in this business. When I last left off I was finishing up the last 40 or so odd sites, and expecting to be done within the week. Its now about 3 weeks later and to be honest I still have about 10 sites that need to be fully completed, although nothing too major.
When I was planning this experiment, I realize in retrospect that I did not have enough of the smaller details ironed out. One crucial area that I don’t believe I gave enough thought to was hosting the sites. In the planning stage, I had a fresh Dreamhost account which I was planning on using for all 100 sites. After getting about 40 sites in and realizing how much work I was putting into it, I knew that it would be totally idiotic to put all 100 sites on the same host. I really don’t believe it would be that big of a problem, and probably a good 90% chance nothing would ever come of it, but in the disaster scenario where Dreamhost decides I’m using too much bandwidth or G realizes I have exactly 100 similarly structured sites on the same class C IP, I would be screwed. The thought of having to move 20 or more sites to a different hosting account is a frightening one based on the time I’ve already got invested into the project. The great lesson here, is that hosting is incredibly inexpensive. I found 2 new hosts to use, thus splitting my 100 sites up amongst 3 hosts. JustHost and FatCow Hosting are the two I chose, and after spending about 10 minutes searching for coupon codes I was able to get a full year of free hosting + free domain reg from JustHost, and a year of hosting and domain reg from FatCow for $66.00. So I’m really glad I switched my plan mid-stream and took the extra time and cash to split this up, as I think it will work much better for long term, and even allow me enough room to do another challenge like this down the road without having to go out and get more hosting.
Whenever you are buying or renewing domains or hosting BE SURE to Google coupon codes, as there are some very shocking deals out there just a search away, and you’ll end up saving a fortune. This is also great if you’re just getting started and don’t have a lot of startup funds to invest.
The BIGGEST downfall to using two additional hosting plans was that there were a couple small details in the setup process that were not quite the same as my initial process for the first 40 sites. I had a major issue with PHPbay which turned out to be a minor one, and I’ve came across a variety of All in One SEO conflicts. This is the top reason why I didn’t get the last batch of sites put up right away. Setting up the first 40 sites was SO smooth with Dreamhost that it was really dissapointing to be slowed down by random inconsistent server issues. But the good news is, that’s all solved and the sites are pretty well in the bag – I’ve got my buddy finishing up the last handful and I’ll run a final comb through them by the end of the week.
So based on the time frame for which I got the first 80 sites fully deployed, I’ve really only got the first 40 sites aged to a point where I feel they should be earning money. I’ll preface this by saying that outside of exchanging links and a couple random ezines, I have literally built no links to any of the 100 sites yet. Regardless of that, a lot of the keywords I’ve targeted have little competition and I expect at least 75% of these sites to get a minimum of 10 unique visits a day within 60 days. But I digress… As far as earnings go, I’ve got 20 sites out of 100 that have earned me money so far this month, and my total earnings are from those 20 sites is around $200 right now, and I’m expecting to see $300 – $350 by the end of the month. Of the 20 sites that have earned money so far – 6 are from the first batch of 20, 2 are from the second batch of 20, 10 are from the 3rd batch, and 2 are from the 4th batch. The 6 sites from the first batch have produced the highest total amount of earnings from any batch. Overall, the most positive thing I see from these numbers is that I think my keyword research got better after the first 40 sites. Sites 41-60 are doing quite well so far, and I’m guessing sites 61-100 will be equally good, as I am already seeing clicks and earnings from them after a short period of time being live, and no backlinks. I think sites 21-40 were my worst batch overall as I was in a hurry to get them done, and didn’t put as much care into the selection process as I did for all 80 of the other sites. On the plus side, I’ve still got a couple promising sites from that group already. So initially I was hoping to make well over 300 – 350 this month, but I didn’t get the sites completed on my initial timeline, and I’m pretty happy with the current results. Sorry for not posting a screenshot or anything, but at this point it’s not really worth the time, and I haven’t figured out a good way to separate my report so I’m only showing the 100 sites from this experiment. If I have a strong month next month I will strongly consider purging all my old EPN sites from my account so that I’ve only got sites from the experiment, which will make reporting much easier. I fully expect these new sites to quickly eclipse earnings from my old sites.
Which brings me to my next point…
EPN Quality Click Pricing and the Effect on Niche Sites
So while I’ve been keeping track of the progress of my sites this month, I’ve also been keeping an eye on the Quality Click Pricing Preview daily and the effect of each model on my earnings. For about the first 15 days of the month, my Quality Click Pricing numbers were far better than my current earnings – I would say averaging between 25 – 40% better for the 1st through 15th. Then, within a couple days the gap narrowed and about a week ago (or so) my current earnings surpassed the quality click pricing earnings. Then within the last 2-3 days, my quality click pricing earnings have shot back up again. It’s been interesting to watch, but I’ve pretty much come to the conclusion that for most people, the level of earnings will probably be about the same once the changes are implemented. The current system has wild ups and downs, where the QCP model is much more stable and predictable. I am looking forward to the change with a positive attitude, and I am feeling confident that I’m on the right track. Overall, I fully anticipate at least a 15% – 25% increase in my earnings next month, and then a much bigger jump into November with the holidays coming. Most of this increase will be based on the fact that I will have all 100 sites deployed, and I will be agressively building links to maximize the potential of each site, which I really don’t expect to take very long for the vast majority of niches I’ve selected.
Link Building Strategy for Niche Sites
I’ve deviated from my original plan quite a bit here as well. I was originally going to systematically go through link building in levels for each of the 100 sites. So for example on sites 1-20 level one would be link exchange, social bookmarking and directory submission, where level 1 for sites 21-40 may be link exchange, ezine article submissions and a hub page.. Etc. Instead what I think I’m going to do is focus in more on 1 to 2 batches of 20 at a time, instead of all 100. So since my last 40 sites are still pretty fresh, I’m going to do a lot more work on sites 1-40 this month and into October, then switch gears and heavily target sites 41-80. Then hit up the last batch and go back around to work on slow movers in the first batch. My theory is basically that for a good percentage of sites in each batch, it should not take a large amount of backlinks to rank well for each niche. So instead of trying to send backlinks to each of the 100 sites right away and have a lot fewer backlinks pointing to each site individually, I’m going to try to lay it on a little heavier with the first group, hopefully get 1/2 to 2/3 of the sites in those 2 batches ranking in the top 5 positions within 60 days, and I will be earning a lot more overall, plus it will be easier to concentrate on a smaller amount of sites at a time as opposed to trying to manage link building for 100 sites at a time.
So I’ve already got a huge amount of content for article distribution for the first 40 sites scheduled to be coming in this week, and when that arrives, I will get going on another equal sized batch of content to double back for a second round of link building on those same sites. After that, I will probably start in on the second large batch of sites.
With the initial content I’m getting in this week, I plan to generate around 5 quality backlinks to each site in the form of unique article authority links – ezine, hub, squidoo, infobarrel, etc. I may also play around with running some social bookmarking on the articles once published. With the second batch of content the following week, I may try to use shorter articles and generate a higher quantity of links to each site.
I also may take a handful of sites and add more content to the site itself to see what kind of benefit I get.
The expanded link building campaign should almost instantly help me increase my earnings, and I plan on getting that rolling by Thursday. I will go into more specifics on exactly what kind of links I’m using once I have a chance to see some feedback on the overall performance and speed.
I expect to post again around the end of September/first of October to give a final report on my earnings for the month as well as some insight going into the new Quality Click Pricing structure in October. I think it is going to be a very exciting 4th quarter.