Well it’s been 7 days, and so far i’ve got 20% of my sites fully completed with many more on the way. I’m already starting to receive a trickle of search traffic and a few clicks, however no huge earnings to share yet. I’m guessing the average site will take 1-2 weeks to “marinate” before it begins brining in any kind of earnings.
As I said in my last post, I’ve found that Google has been extremely tough on EPN sites lately, and I’ve even had a couple more get deindexed since writing it. I took that to heart while designing this challenge, and while it’s made things a lot tougher, a lot more work, and a lot more expensive – in terms of outsourcing, I believe overall that all 100 of these sites will end up being a valuable long term investment. The basic rule I had in mind is that I wanted to make each site so that it emphasizes the EPN ads, while at the same time, the site would still be 100% relevant and easy to monitize if using EPN was no longer an option to me.
Basically this means I had to add a lot of content to each site. In fact, every site has – at a minimum – 2500 unique, quality words of content. This is a huge jump from my previous strategy, where I would find some low hanging fruit, throw up a site equipped with WP Commerce Steel and S2P, and start making money. The problem is, I just wasn’t putting out a quality offering, and Google definitely taught me a lesson for doing so.
That leads me to my next key point – I decided not to use Search 2 Post on any of my sites, at least starting out. I’ve loved S2P since I started using it well over a year ago, however I’m really starting to get concerned that it may be one of the downfalls for a lot of my sites – this isn’t to say that it isn’t my fault for misusing it, but I want to test it fully before using it on every single site. I also want to see – earnings and ranking wise, if the absence of S2P really makes that much of a difference anyway. I’m starting to feel that sound keyword research combined with a properly built site will lead to positive results regardless, and s2p may simply not be necessary. But that’s the good thing about making 100 fresh sites, I’ll be able test a variety of different things and really narrow down what works and what doesn’t.
Another thing I’ve done is significantly reduced the amount of auctions I’m displaying per page. I’ve taken full advantage of the PHPBay sidebar widget, using on all of my first 20 sites – I am running between 1 and 5 auctions in the sidebar, and specifically configuring it to show certain auctions. Then I am also running between 4 – 12 auctions within the content of the page. So overall, I have less than 20 auctions running per page. I’m really excited to see what kind of results I get with this, because it’s something totally different than what I’ve done in the past.
Themes – this is also something new for me. I’m going to be using a different theme on all 100 sites. Thanks to the great advances of WP that now allow us to select themes from within WP admin, it’s extremely easy to use a wide variety of themes. I usually don’t spend more than 2 minutes picking a theme, as I feel the overall design doesnt matter. I just try to associate a color with my topic, and pick a theme in my color. I also make sure to remove the time from posts and archives pages – this is a key point I feel. You may think it’s really a bitch to go to all the hassle of removing the time from posts, but it honestly takes me like 30 seconds, and even for novice WP’ers, it isn’t hard at all once you do it, and I really think it’s well worth it. I also make sure to change H2 to H1 tags whereever applicable. This can be a pain in the ass sometimes as it can often call for the stylesheet to be updated. Again, once you do a few of these, all this stuff happens pretty quick.
Hosting – I’m still recommending Bluehost if you’re looking for a good hosting plan, but I wanted a fresh start with this whole deal. I happened to have a Dreamhost hosting account with 0 sites on it that I bought a few months back with a coupon code. Dreamhost is similar to Bluehost except doesnt have CPanel. Overall I’m happy with the results so far and the cost is about the same.
Content – I’m fortunate enough that I can outsource a large amount of the content, so that really helps a lot. There isn’t really much else to say other than ever site will have at least 2500 words of content, and it’s all good stuff.
The process for this whole thing is really the key. I spent a lot of time mapping out how I was going to do all this. I have a master spreadsheet that lists all of my domains and keywords, and tasks I’ve done for each domain. I also have a setup process checklist which I will be sharing with you guys at some point soon. Both of these are vital. I’m doing this in batches of 20 – I start by doing my keyword research and finding 20 topics. Then I get the articles created for all 20 sites, then I register 20 domains, then add the 20 domains to hosting, then install 20 instances of WP, then create 20 email accounts, then upload the plugins I need to all 20 sites. Once I get all that done, and it is a beastly amount of work, I go to the individual setup process for each of the 20 sites which starts with configuring WP – Permalinks, URL etc, and ends with adding the content and auctions. Organization, planning and a good attitude is the key to being successful at this. It does take a long time, and it is a pretty mind-numbing process. I got my first batch of 20 sites up this week, my next articles are due in the next couple days, and hopefully I’ll be up to 40 sites by mid next week, and keep on going till I hit 100.
I will share a lot more details about the process as we go.
Promotion – My full promotion strategy is still a work in progress, however I know each site will be submitted to around 80 social bookmarking sites to start things off. I will also submit an ezine article for each site right off the bat as well. I will probably be writing all the ezines myself so I don’t bankrupt myself. I hope to get that completed for a large amount of these sites by the end of August. Then I will likely try a varied promotion strategy to see what is the most effective.
Also, I plan to fully monitor each site. I have analytics installed for each site, and i’ll be monitoring traffic, earnings, and rankings for each site. I haven’t fully mapped this out either, but I think at the end of every two weeks, or every month, I’m going to take the 5 top performing sites and 5 lowest performing sites and add additional content to them to try to 1-maximize the value of the top performing sites, and 2-prop up the poor performers.
Overall it’s already been a ton of work and I’m only 20% done. The good thing, is I can really see how this is going to be extremely beneficial long term, and having 100 similar sites in completely different niches is going to really allow me to test a lot of different strategies which I think is going to pay serious dividends in the long run.
Hopefully some people find this interesting and will stay tuned. I’ve got a lot more to share that I didn’t post here, and will try and post more often in the coming days. I’ll also hopefully have some earnings to post some time within the next several weeks.