Well another month has come and gone. I started off slow, but I’m getting back into the swing of things. A lot of interesting stuff has happened this month, and several things that are changing the course of my future plans in MMO.
First off, I want to touch quickly on the PHPBay issue –
As many of you may know, I reported throughout March and April that once I removed PHPBay from my 100 EPN sites and replaced it with EPN Widgets, all 100 sites seemed to become un-penalized almost instantly as soon as they were spidered. Based on that I came to the conclusion that I was receiving some kind of penalty from PHPBay.
Based on all this, I just want to clarify my personal stance on PHPBay:
I think PHPBay is an excellent product. It obviously did not work out for me on this particular project, however I still use it liberally on many of my existing sites, and as of right now, all of my top EPN earners are running PHPBay. It also is much better for displaying auctions than EPN widgets are, in my opinion. I still fully recommend PHPBay as a product, for anyone who plans on being a serious EPN affiliate.
The only caveat I have: don’t make the same mistake I did – by putting up 100 sites at once without testing first. My personal experience is that putting PHPBay on a brand new domain caused me to drop out of the SERPS (not a full deindex). This isn’t necessarily the same result you will get, but it’s the result that I got. If you do plan on using it on new domains, I simply recommend you take it slow and make sure everything is working the way you expect it to work before scaling up. Other than that, use liberally on aged domains, and enjoy!
Now to the real meat and potatos….
The Future of Niche Sites
I only follow a few make money online blogs out there. Grizzly, who many people likely have heard of, and Ben, a true inspiration, both made interesting posts this week regarding their personal experiences with AdSense, and niche sites.
To make a long story short, a large number of Ben’s AdSense niche sites were deindexed after his account hit $100/day. In his case, the main problem appeared to be the sites just looked like they were MFA, and he probably got blown out on a manual review. This definitely puts a lot of things into perspective for me, as someone who owns over 250 sites right now.
In my case, I don’t think my sites are quite as thin – I use different themes on at least 75% of all my sites so there’s very little footprint, I don’t use SEO titles, I use real titles for articles and title tags, and I always have a minimum of 5 pages per site. I also spread the sites out on different servers and I no longer bother with analytics. So overall I feel like I have a decent offering that isn’t too spammy. If you would have asked me a year ago if I thought what I just described above would be appropriate and not spammy, I would have absolutely agreed 100%. The type of shit I was doing a year ago was way worse than the sites I’ve got now. Unfortunately, despite my best efforts to put up better quality sites, I couldn’t say right now that I’m 100% confident my AdSense snipers would pass a manual review, because despite the fact that I’m using good quality content and only 1 ad block per page, it’s still pretty blatant what the purpose of the site is.
Luckily, I only have about 25 of these adsense snipers right now, a far cry from the hundreds that Ben had, and my income is at about $40/day right now, so I don’t feel like I’m in any immediate trouble *knock on wood*.
This all did, however, come at a good time, because for the last several months, I’ve really been playing with the idea of throwing up 100 or more new AdSense snipers, based on the postive results I got from my first 25. There’s absolutely no denying that this is super easy money, and I feel like now, I’ve finally got the formula perfect. I literally have no doubt in my mind that I could take an AdSense account from 0 – $100/day within 3 months, maybe less with niche sites. The only problem? It’s losing it’s viability altogether as a sustainable strategy for making money online. The fact is, it’s just too easy, it’s a little spammy, and there’s all kinds of ways you can risk getting your adsense account banned or getting your whole portfolio of sites deindexed overnight.
Based on all that’s transpired this week, I feel lucky that this came at a good time – before I put a ton of time and money into scaling my AdSense operation up, and I now have absolutely no plans to make any more adsense niche sites in the future. Additionally, I want to slowly transition my existing adsense snipers to Amazon, or possibly EPN. I also have some other existing AdSense sites that I may very well get rid of as I move into a new phase of MMO.
So what’s the best way forward?
Personally, I plan on completely switching focus and working on 1-3 authority sites over the next couple months. I have a great writer, so quality content is no problem, but I want to have the most sustainable portfolio possible, of huge authority sites that are flexible as far as monitization, and not in any way spammy – sites that may actually *gasp* get return visitors because of the quality of the content. I really think this is the way forward, and the most sustainable method for making money online.
The upside is that there’s SOOO much less to worry about in terms of covering my ass. I want to own sites that I would feel 100% confident putting through a manual review. Also, I’m getting tired of having to spread things out on different hosting accounts, having to deal with hundreds of WP installs, keeping track of domain registrations, etc. It’s cheaper and way less of a pain in the ass to only have to manage a few sites. I know that for sure. Lastly, building links will be more beneficial when intead of building 10 links to 100 sites, I’m building 1000 links to one site. That is going to make it so easy to strengthen a domain over time, and get it established as a true authority in a niche.
The downsides – I finally feel like I know exactly how to make a ton of money off adsense using niche sites, and unfortunately I don’t think I can go that route anymore, so it’s a little painful. Not only that, running a big authority site is a totally different animal than setting up niche sites. There are a lot of things I’m going to have to learn, and it’s going to take some time and resources for me to do so. Basically, it’s much more of an uphill climb at this point, but the overall reward is probably worth it. If in 6 months to a year from now I’m as good at making high quality authority sites as I am making niche sites, I will really be in good shape. And eventually, with enough trial and error, that will happen.
A quick look at my goals –
I kind of got out of my groove on this as I was just gassed in March and had to take it easy for a while, but here’s a quick look. As far as my AdSense/EPN/Amazon earnings, I’m making about $40-45/day from adsense right now and $30/day from EPN, climbing steadily, still not much in the way of Amazon.
Still working on SEO for my main E-Commerce site and I’ve really picked up the pace on that in the past couple weeks, so I hope I get close to closing that goal out pretty soon. My resort web design project is still a long way out.
Goals for May
My main goal is to get started on some authority sites. I have one site right now that I already own that I want to beef up, and I have about 3-4 niches in mind for new authority sites I want to start. The first thing I have to do is get some quality domains. I lost several auctions for expired domains over the past couple weeks that would have been perfect, so I just have to keep at it an hopefully I will land 1 or 2 good ones this month. I really want to start production on a huge batch of content for one of these sites this month, and hopefully roll at least one new site out and get cracking on it.
That’s pretty much it. The only other thing is, I am thinking I might give bookmarking demon a try for strengthing my backlinks. Not 100% sure if I’m going to do it or not, but I was just about ready to buy it today before I got busy, so I’m pretty sure I will give it a shot and see what happens there.