Niche Income Report #1 (Jan to March 2012)

Niche Affiliate IncomeCan you make money with small niche sites?

This is a question I want to answer in 2012.

You see, I’ve built a successful authority affiliate marketing business.  But I’ve never tried my hand at creating multiple small-scale websites.

So my goal for 2012 is to figure out this whole niche site thing.  I even created a special series that talks about how I’m doing it.

In today’s post, I’ll provide my first income report from these experiments.  I’ll show what has made money.  Plus I’ll detail a major setback that’s a negative impact on these sites.  And finally I’ll give my opinion on the future of niche sites.

Let’s get to it…

[title color=”green-vibrant” align=”scmgccenter” font=”verdana” style=”normal” size=”scmgc-2em”]6 Types of Niche Sites[/title]

This might be the first post you’ve read on my blog.  So let me go over the six types of niche sites I’m currently testing:

Launch Jacking Videos:  You make money by targeting a specific product launch and creating YouTube videos that attract customers who have a buying mindset.

Product Review Sites:  This income model is similar to launch jacking.  The difference is you go after established products with a proven track record of converting sales.

Affiliate Product Sites: Here you find high traffic keywords in a specific market and create a content site.  People visit your site because they have a specific problem.  Then you convert this traffic by recommending an affiliate offer.

Google Adsense Sites:   This is another way to monetize niche-specific traffic.  The difference is you’re getting people to click on links instead of buying an affiliate product.

Amazon Sites:  Building an Amazon site is another way to leverage search engine traffic.  It’s different from other affiliate sites because you’re recommending physical products instead of information-based offers.

Kindle eBooks: I believe in simplification.  So I treat my Kindle eBook as a niche site.  It’s content-based and depends on search engine traffic.  That means you can optimize a Kindle book like you would with other sites.

That’s my brief overview of the six types of niche sites. I recommend you check out these posts to learn more:

Now let’s see what happened in the last few months…

[title color=”green-vibrant” align=”scmgccenter” font=”verdana” style=”normal” size=”scmgc-2em”]January 2012[/title]

I started my first niche site at the end of 2011.  But I wasn’t serious about this income model until January.  So I spent most of this month re-learning SEO and how to get backlinks.  As a result, my income didn’t amount to a whole lot:

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[title color=”green-vibrant” align=”scmgccenter” font=”verdana” style=”normal” size=”scmgc-2em”]February 2012[/title]

February brought an exciting change to my online business.  I joined forces with my brother (Gene) and we decided to build niche sites together.  This is great because we’re able to bounce ideas off one another.  Gene helped me realize the profit potential to building Amazon affiliate sites.

February was another month of testing and experimentation.  Some things worked.  Others didn’t.  The good news is we made a little money:

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[title color=”green-vibrant” align=”scmgccenter” font=”verdana” style=”normal” size=”scmgc-2em”]March 2012[/title]

It was the best of times.  It was the worst of times. 

That’s how I’d describe March.  We had a profitable month.  But some of our niche sites took a major hit from Google (more on this later.)

Here’s the breakdown:

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[title color=”green-vibrant” align=”scmgccenter” font=”verdana” style=”normal” size=”scmgc-2em”]The Good News and The Bad News…[/title]

The good news is we made money.  $2397.48 to be exact.   Not bad for brand new sites that didn’t exist a few months ago.

I think this proves the point that you can make money online – Even if you’re just starting out.

The bad news is the death of Build My Rank and other blog network sites.

Build My Rank (BMR) was my favorite “trick” for getting a high search engine ranking.  This service is no longer available.  Even worse – Some sites have been penalized by Google because we used BMR to get backlinks.


We’re back to square one with some of these niche sites. It can be quite frustrating to see a site make money and then watch it get penalized a few days later.   This makes me wonder if it’s worth my time to focus on this income model.

[title color=”green-vibrant” align=”scmgccenter” font=”verdana” style=”normal” size=”scmgc-2em”]Moving Forward with Niche Sites[/title]

Here’s my honest opinion about niche sites…

I think they still work.  But I’m not sure how long it’ll last.  Google has declared war against “thin” websites.  Eventually they’ll figure out how to permanently weed out content that doesn’t provide genuine value to the reader.

Don’t believe me?

It happened with Pay-Per-Click (PPC).

It happened with Article Marketing.

It happened with Google Adsense.

Okay…this income report has turned into a Chicken Little declaration that the sky is falling.  But that’s just how I feel.  No longer can you create a tiny website and expect it to remain profitable for years to come.  Eventually Google will come a knockin’.  And Google likes to knock hard.

What’s the answer?

You’re not going to like it.

My solution is to build quality authority-style niche sites!

Trust me… I love the idea of having tiny money-makers.  But Google HATES these sites.  That’s why they work hard to slap them down.

There’s a lot of profit potential to niche sites.  The trick is to stop building dozens of five-page websites.  Instead it might be best to concentrate on a few and make sure you provide great content!

Obviously it takes time to build these kinds of sites.

So we probably won’t make much money in the next few months.  The upshot is we’re building web properties that will develop into a long-term source of passive income.

Stay tuned for more details…

Take Action. Get Results.

43 thoughts on “Niche Income Report #1 (Jan to March 2012)”

  1. Scott,
    I agree with you that authority sites seem to have more success in the long run. However, one-page sites are still seeming to rank very high in the search engines for me. I will continue to build one page sites to figure out how, and Which sites are ranking well in the search engines before I build them up into an authority site. I wish you the best of luck.

    • Mike,

      I am far from an expert at these mini-niche sites. Maybe I could get a few tips from you. 😉

      Anyhow, I am still going to play with them. Like I said I like the idea of really targetted site, but my gut and my mind do tell me that long term a little “deeper” sites are a better bet. Like any portfolio, I think having -some- of those sites is great. But I wouldn’t want ALL of my sites to be one-two pagers.

      Thanks man! And glad they are still workin well for ya!

  2. Steve

    Interesting report. Thanks for sharing. What’s your thoughts on the ‘Amazon Kindle’ model? I know you’ve made a few bucks there (less than 70) – have you put in much work in promoting that?


    • Paul,

      I really haven’t played Kindle that much after the writing of it. I have been as busy as a one armed paperhanger. (In Panama now too!) I have only thrown a few links at it so far…so my results are decent as per the effort I have put into it. (forgetting what it took to write the ebook initially)

      But generally, I am still high on that model, I just need to get it rolling.

      How is your Kindle stuff going?

      • Steve

        I’ve still to really hit Kindle…planning to release 5 non fiction books later in the year (40 to 50 page jobs)…but I’m doing it via a Kindle Publishing Company for lots of reasons!


  3. Hey Steve,

    I was waiting for the moment you announce that you’re bouncing off to authority style sites. And I like it, I plan to start on building one too.

    However…I’ve got a question – how do you consider building just simple squeeze pages and promoting through emails (something that you do)? Do you consider it as an authority business, even if content is delivered only through emails (no blog)?

    Thanks for your insight!

    • Marcin,

      I think it is a matter of semantics. When I talk about “authority” sites, I am generally speaking about depth of content and hopefully (ultimately) perception within the niche.

      But even though I wouldn’t brand squeeze page/email marketing as “authority site” I DO think it is still one of the best forms of marketing out there. (and hence why I do a fair bit of it.)

      The great thing about building a list is that the only effect Google has on this is the traffic that it drives. While Google could -hurt- your efforts, they won’t kill it overnight.

      So back to semantics, I wouldn’t say it is an “Authority site” and maybe not “authority business” but you CAN build authority within a niche and it is something worthwhile to pursue. But in my mind kinda a separate topic.

  4. Hey Steve nice report for the first quarter, I started with Amazon in early December and whilst the clicks are increasing I’ve manage around 4 bucks in three months. We’ll just have to wait and see what happens in the Q2. All the best with your future projects.

  5. Daaaaang,

    That’s some incredible earners there Steve!

    I agree with you on building authority with the niche websites which is why I’m taking my own focus away from doing keyword rich sites and leaning them more toward items I’m interested in such as classic cars (my stepdad/granpa goes to a lot of shows), raves (I club a lot), and things that generally pop up, regularly, in my world around me.

    I think the big difference here is that there may not be as much earning potential but it definitely has longevity.

    In some ways, I think we should see ourselves as a media company. We need to be creating assets that we’d be proud to share with people and not try to keep them out of the eyes of competitors.

    I’m interested in seeing what you’ve got in store for the next part of the series – you’re always delivering the goods.

    • Murray,

      I think you got my idea exactly a site on “Classic Cars” is going to be a LOT better long term than, although it will take a LOT more work bringing the traffic to bear.

      You said it perfectly, “there may not be as much earning potential but it definitely has longevity”

      Thanks for a great comment, man! (As always)

  6. Hey Steve,

    Thanks for the info…. It can be difficult to decide where to go to make money in the internet world. What other backlinking strategies do you use now since the backlink building sites have been shut down?

    It can be difficult to rank quickly without some help.


    • Jeremey,

      Really without BMR I don’t have a good backlinking system past, a little social bookmarking, the occasional article marketing (guest posting would work better, but I haven’t done that either).

      I am playing around with a few systems a little, but none are really impressing me like BMR did in the past. This is another reason why building an authority site may really be better long term.

  7. Hi Steve,

    Thanks for this great post, I loved it! I’m into building niche sites myself, but have recently switched my focus to building larger authority-style sites. Something that intrigues me though is affiliate video marketing. Is there a post on your blog where you go over your video marketing strategy? How many videos did it take you to create the approx $400/month income stream in the report? Are you shooting new videos every month and how long are they on average?

    Sorry to bombard you with questions:) I’m just looking to diversify my income streams a bit this year and I’d love to learn more about how you’re doing video. Well, I’m also interested in learning more about list-building strategies, but that’s for another comment:)

    Keep up the great work!

  8. Hey Steve, very motivating income stream in not a lot of time, congrats. I see that you have a consistent upstream in video launch jacking and product review sites. Are they tied together, such as promoting an IM product on a site as well as promoting the same product through video. I’m just starting out with Adsense but I really want to diversify and not get all tied up with Google adsense being my only source. I found launch jacking pretty appealing a while ago but never followed through with it, but seeing you do well with it in 2012 makes me want to go back to it.

  9. Wow, this one is interesting. Steve, can I ask a question what do you focus right now? Just Niche? Thanks for sharing this one here. I do agree on the statement of Jeremy “It can be difficult to decide where to go to make money in the internet world.” I think I must prioritize one so that I can achieve my goals.

  10. Thank you for sharing detailed information about various kind of niche sites and how they are rocking! It is true that you should build authority on these niche sites to get more traffic and thus earn more money!

  11. I imagine video launch jacking would still work from a traffic point of view as youtube is always going to rank high and has it’s own traffic following outside of ranking in the search engines. With this said, I’ve created a few videos that review ebook products and they have been removed by youtube for being too commercial. I also have videos that are still in youtube but when you look at the ranking in the google serps the description has been changed to advertisement. Pretty weird as I thought the videos were good – outline the problem, suggest solutions and then talk about the ebook as a way to fix the problem. Certainly better than the dozens of animoto videos I have up which don’t seem to be on Googles radar at this time.

  12. Hey Scott…

    I think anyone that wants to build a real internet business needs to develop authority websites, not thin sites that if slapped can get you in a financial mess.

    This is my main focus from now on! If i can’t build a real authority website then there’s no need to spend months on creating a website and then lose all your income with just an update.

    But here’s the good part of building authority: It’s waaaay easier to maintain and grow 1 website that makes 10k /month than building 100 websites that each earn 100$. Not only it’s easier to maintain… you still have almost the same work involved + you get a steady income on which you can realy on.

    I am in this business for almost 5 years now and I realized this : You need something that you can rely on! I would take a $100/month website that’s sure to make that $100 for 10 years starting from now and have the chance to grow it every month, instead of a thousand bucks website that it’s gaming google and it’s visitors someway!

    It’s my first comment around here but I really found your blog very interesting. Keep up the good work!


    • Thanks for a great comment Nino. Totally with ya with what you say about authority web sites.

      I would say that I don’t think it is 10 sites to 1 authority site equation. Ultimately yeah…but they do take more faith and time. With authority sites you have a lot of time with little results, then eventually you begin to reap the larger benefits. It is the long term approach. But with google slapping down thin sites, it may be the only really viable one going forward.

      Again, thans for some great insight. Nice to see your comment!

      • I don’t know Scott… IMO authority sites are the oposite – they get if not faster just as fast results as the niche sites built for search engine traffic mainly because you will target so many traffic avenues and not just one: Google (which is obviously not all the traffic in the world).

        And those traffic sources can send boatloads of it pretty quick..

  13. I’m glad this post could help us where do we need to focus on. But it’s what we think helps us the most. You did a great job.

  14. Some great stats here. I am always getting inspired to work more, when I am seeing other bloggers stats. And I got one idea related to niche sites after reading this post…

  15. Hi Steve, this has been my thought for about a year. Whilst I agree with you the idea is great in principle to have lot of income generators working for you 24 hours in reality, it’s a lot of work and frustrating as hell when your efforts get debunked like that.

    At least your experiment has validated the importance of authority sites!


    • Matthew,

      Yeah, it is hard to say something doesn’t work until you really try it. I have found just enough success with niche sites to think that maybe with a different appraoch they could be still viable. Like authority/niche hybrids. (thinner than authority…but far deeper than most niche sites)

      Regardless, for long term success, the ONLY real way to ensure a site will be around 5 years from now, it to build authority.

  16. Thanks Steve for this article and sharing your income, I have 2 questions:

    1) What is the service we can use instead BMR ? what do you recommend ?
    2) How can I know if my website go penalized by Google?

    Thanks 😉

    • Ibraheem,

      1. I suggest using EzineArticleLinks for Post Runner instead of BMR. I wasn’t really a heavy user of BMR to begin with so I wasn’t very affected by it’s getting shut down.

      2. If you want to know if you’ve been deindexed just search in google site:http://www.YOURDOMAINNAME.COM and if no results show up then you aren’t indexed in Google.

      I hope that helps

      • Thanks Mike, absolutely help 😉 .

        1) I have an account in Ezinearticle but It is suspended I do not know why 🙁 . I think there is another service like BMR .

        2) Good, I check now, my website indexed 🙂 But it is not in 1st page, I know I make more mistakes with this site specially keyword research But I will avoid it in the next .

        Thanks again Mike 😉

        • You’re welcome.

          1. Sorry, I meant EZArticlelink. It’s different than ezinearticles.

          2. If you want me to take a look at your site for you I will. Just send me an email or make a comment on my site with your link.



          • Thanks again Mike,

            1) Oh, I thought you mean EZINARTICLE, I am visiting EZArticlelink now .

            2) You can check my website by clicking on my name in this comment.


          • Mike:

            Thanks for giving Ibrahim some great answers. (I have been away for a bit).


            There are other services like BMR. My worries is that anything that works will be short lived. For now my main backlinking methods are very, “backlinking lite” … just some social network stuff, and a few random links manually submitted here and there.

            I am experimenting with a few other “systems” but I do not know if I have found any I am crazy about yet. (I haven’t looked at the one Mike mentioned I may give it a try).

            As for the second part, you CAN be penalized by google and still be indexed. Usually the way you notice that is with a HUGE drop in rankings. like from page 1 to page 5-6 in one day. But as long as you are indexed you can recover.

            Also, just fyi, without looking up specifics, I would hazard a guess your keywords are pretty competitive. (almost all in “make money” are) so it might take some real time to rank for those.

            Anyhow, good luck to you!

  17. I was hit by Google too. It was a painful experience, but it taught you to build good sites with awesome articles rather than focusing on small niche sites with around 5 articles.

    BTW. You’re great Steve 🙂
    Can you reveal your backlink method?

    • Thanks Tho! I appreciate your compliment.

      As for my backlink method.. Well right now I don’t have a really good system in place. For now at least it is mostly light article marketing (manual submission). Social networking (Twitter, etc.) and some light manual social bookmarking.

      I am playing around with a few other methods on less important sites I own. (where I don’t care if they get trashed by google) but haven’t found anything I “love” in that is priced reasonably, effective and efficient.

      I will let you, and everyone else, know if one of the things i am experimenting with turns out to seem beneficial.

  18. Hi Steve.. Great post. Nice to see that this is working for your.

    I also had some sites also slapped after BMR. My main authority site is still ok but 2 niche sites got hit. Do you have any suggestions for getting them unslapped?

    • Darren. Not really. It seems to me that the sites I had hit relied probably too heavily on the one source. My thinking is to just make sure there are a WIDE variety of links pointed that way. (social, ariticle marketing, comments etc….the classic old stuff). That and of course asking BMR to remove the links, which they have a form for. I Haven’t tested that enough to say it really works, but it should at least tick things in the right direction.

  19. Hi, Steve. The earnings you got from your new niche sites are not bad at all, considering they’re still a few months old. Lots of sites did face problems after the blog networks went down. It is a great challenge and effort now to be able to do quality and natural linkbuilding.

    • Mae, to be honest, I did have a few issues after the blog networks went down myself. But as you pointed out, quality and natural linkbuilding is always the best…and building a little bit deeper sites.

  20. Hi Steve.. Great post. Nice to see that this is working for bloggers stats.I am always getting inspired to work more, when I am seeing other bloggers stats. And I got one idea related to niche sites after reading this post…

  21. Steve,
    You hit the nail on the head with this post. That’s why I’ve created two quality, content-oriented sites based on your suggestion. I’m working on monetizing them now.

    Great advice and great site, Steve. I’ll stay tuned.

  22. Steve,

    It looks like you’re doing a good job with your niche sites. I like how you’ve broken down the different categories and made it simple for newbies to pick one direction to pursue and stick with it. One thing I can’t stress enough for people about to launch a new website is keyword research. Research all of the keywords related to a product or niche _before_ starting the website to get an idea of who your competition will be and whether you can create content as good as theirs. If a market is already saturated with great websites, it may be a good idea to pick another niche.

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