Learning by Trial and Error

| April 13, 2011

Trial & ErrorIn my last post I mentioned that I was concentrating on making niche sites. Well, I’m still working niche number two and have decided to turn it into an “authority” site.

What’s the difference between a niche site and an authority site? I think of a niche site as a small tightly focused site with no more than 5 or 10 pages. Its purpose is to create a low or no maintenance site that shares information and/or products while earning money.

An authority site is still a tightly focused site, but it’s larger. It’s chock full of information and becomes the place to go when researching the subject matter. The biggest difference between a niche and an authority site, is the size and the depth level of information.

Niche Site #1

As I said before, I tried to create a small niche site after performing a bit of keyword search. That site is up, running and lonely. It’s had a total of 33 hits since it went live on March 24th.

I think I knew when I created the site that it just wasn’t me. I did what the experts/gurus told me to do and my site is out there falling flat on its face. I’m chalking that one up to experience.Authority Site

Authority Site Type of Gal

Learning quickly from that mistake, I modified the information I got from the experts. What I did was I inserted the Felicia factor for the Felicia sites. You can substitute your name where mine appears in this blog post. The Felicia factor is factoring in my personality, preference and nature. With the second blog I still took a bit of what I learned from the gurus but calibrated it just a bit to suit my personality.

I’m still amazed at the early results of blog number two. The blog currently has 9 posts and 4 pages. The pages include the privacy, about/contact, sitemap and a primer on the subject matter. It went live on March 31st (two weeks ago) and has had over 500 page views and earned over $16. I knew I had something when a public library linked to it on day number 5 (by the way, I didn’t do any backlinking).

Originally I was going to create a small niche site but as I continued to write content and learned more about the topic, I realized I wanted to explore the topic in depth and produce an authority site. I think I can fully cover the topic with a 70 or 80 page site.

The More I Learn the Easier it Gets

As I delve into the topic, it’s becoming easier and easier to write additional posts. The information flows. I have a better understanding of my subject matter and I think I’m gaining a bit of information on what the reader is looking for. I’m not employing any tricks for getting them to click on ads. As a matter of fact, I think the information is so complete there really shouldn’t be a need to click on the ads, but they do it anyway. Go figure!

How I Did My Keyword Search

Some time ago, I came across a Hub about the Money Matrix. That very same matrix is the one I used to come up with the keywords for both blogs. I apparently screwed things up the first time, but learned a valuable lesson for the second go ‘round.

When I’m wasting time on my computer playing Solitaire, I realize I can play the Money Matrix game instead. After all, it’s

Keywords

not fun losing imaginary Solitaire money and going further in the hole. With the Money Matrix game, I can come up with keywords for my next site and earn real money.

Getting Rid of the Bottle Neck

When I come up with winner keywords, I put it on a list for further investigation. I currently have 4 more niche sites waiting for content. Since I’m not very passionate about those particular topics, I’ve decided to use Textbroker to have someone else write content for those subjects. This way, I can continue creating the authority site that I’m enjoying so much while other writers can help me get my other sites up and running. I’ll let you know how it goes.

I’m learning to get out of my own way when it comes to exploring new avenues for earning money online. It all comes down to that chubby Panda guy. I’ve said it before, but I’ve got to say it again. Thank you, Panda for forcing me to take a new and exciting path.

Tags: ,

Category: Earning Money, Niche Sites

About the Author ()

Felicia A. Williams is a freelance writer and blogger. She spends the majority of her time with her family and writing. If she's not writing or commenting on NJFM, she's either outside smelling the roses or writing articles for one of her other sites.

Comments (33)

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  1. Gwendolen says:

    When determining keyword competition, should we put the keyword into Google with quotation marks?

    Felicia-Your blog finally gave me the nudge to start making niche sites of my own. Thanks!

    • Felicia says:

      Yes, I use quotation marks.

      I’m glad you decided to take the plunge in making your own niche sites. You won’t regret it.

  2. Robert says:

    Oh, and by the way, I am not an agent or a publisher. Just sayin’.

  3. Robert says:

    No Job for Mom would be a great title for a book. I strongly suggest that you do NOT self-publish. If you are selling 100 copies of a book, sure you will make more money self-publishing. If you reaching 50,000 readers, you make more money, and have a lot less hassle, going with traditional publishing. You need to count your fingers every time you shake hands with these folks, as you may already know:) But there is a lot more money in traditional print publishing than in print publishing for really good authors. I’m not one of the greats, but I have made up to a few hundred thousand dollars on some of my books, over the course of a few years for each of them. Any agent or publisher who reads your blog would immediately recognize that you have the patience and smarts to make a book work. There are plenty of hassles, but at least no Pandas.

    • Felicia says:

      Robert, your comments yesterday and today really got me thinking. It would be nice to have an income source totally unrelated to Google and algorithms. I’m going to start investigating my options. Thanks for the nudge.

    • I’m, actually very interested in doing something similar with my new blog. I’d like for you to check it out
      Robert, it’s centered on people using their stories to inspire change.

      • Robert says:

        Artesia, I found you on YouTube and I loved your interview. There’s just one thing I would change. Instead of telling your YouTube viewers it’s OK to study the media for budget-friendly ways to dress beautifully (love the pink, by the way), tell them just to go to your site. That’s the change in mindset we all have to make. Instead of going-to a site to publish us, become the go-to expert in our niche. Or to use Felicia’s terminology, become the authorities in our niches.

  4. Robert says:

    I think that writers need to get as far away from Google-based strategies as possible. To me, that means cultivated an audience of people who read what you write because they know you an authority on your topic, and they have an ongoing need for information, not because they Google a search term and your page pops up. Radio, the aerial kind, is one possibility, as are print papers. They do still exist. It takes an additional skill set but the income streams are much more robust. Google will keep turning our worlds upside down every 18 to 24 months, if not more often, and in my opinion, it’s best to plan for that. Of course, my ideas are perilously close to a “job.”

    • Felicia says:

      Robert, you offer sound advice. I have a difficult time allowing any one source to control the lion share of my income. Unfortunately, one swipe of a Google algorithm will have and has had a major affect on my income (both good and bad).

      During my “brain storming” time, I’m considering my non-Google options without having to take on assignments that feel like jobs. Google is a powerful internet force that we all have to deal with, but there are ways to minimize Google’s impact. The tough part is finding the right venues that don’t feel like jobs.

  5. Geoff says:

    Felicia: When using the Money Matrix and the Google Keyword Tool, for the monthly searches variable, do you use Global Monthly Searches or Local Monthly Searches?

    Thanks for sharing!

  6. Chezfat says:

    Hey Felicia, congrats on finding some early success on your 2nd niche site – Panda really is making the niche site (assuming it’s not thin) very lucrative. 🙂 Glad you’ve found something that works for you!

    As always you can take a lot away from modeling your techniques after proven strategies but you always have to put your own spin on things to make them work for you. Good luck!
    Chezfat recently posted…San Diego Memorial Day – A Case Study RevisitedMy Profile

  7. Grandma says:

    Everything happening or not happening now online is just reminding me of lyrics in a Dwight Yoakam song about “baby things change”…

    Obviously, time to adjust and adapt. Does anyone remember a book by Alvin Toffler, Future Shock? (1970) Here is wikipedia link with info: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Future_Shock

    It applies so well now, worth reviewing. “His shortest definition for the term is a personal perception of “too much change in too short a period of time.”

  8. kidgas says:

    I am like you and want to make my own mistakes and learn from them. I always learn best with trial and error, and since I mostly make errors, I end up learning a lot.

    Glad to see the authority site is working for you.
    kidgas recently posted…Starting to Get Search Engine TrafficMy Profile

  9. William Tha Great says:

    Hey Felicia,

    One day at a time you will learn everything you need to reach your destination. I believe you have everything it takes to do excatly what you desire. I miss you blog, and your writing. I haven’t been online as much lately, but hopefully I can get back in my groove. ( :

    God bless,
    William Veasley
    William Tha Great recently posted…Living One Day at a Time!My Profile

  10. Angela says:

    Glad things are working out for you. Thanks for sharing.

  11. I’d love to hear more about your experiences with Textbroker. Have you used them before? I’ve considered this, but it seems silly since I also sometimes write for them when I have free time.

    But I can certainly see the appeal. I’m more interested in setting up sites than in writing at the moment, so this could work for me too.

    Gip
    Gip @ So Much More Life recently posted…The Silliness of Paying For Things That Are FreeMy Profile

    • Felicia says:

      I understand how you feel, Gip. I’ve been reading the 4-Hour Work Week and it reminds me that I don’t have to do everything. I’ll let you know how it goes.

  12. years ago I thought about building my own website as a center point for everything I want to produce as a writer – from political and religious articles to science fiction stories. I felt that it was a very unique idea at the time, many well known authors don’t even have a website, but what you’re doing refines and focuses the idea for me, and you are giving me the faith to consider doing it, “my way,” writing what I want to write the way I want to write it – not forgetting my audience of course.

    Because of the way you are approaching this whole Panda thing, it makes me see it as a great positive as well, a move that puts quality above farming. So thank you for sharing, I’ll be watching your progress closely even as I start tooling to create my own website.

  13. Bill Swan says:

    I’m currently trying to asertane the niche topics I want. The keyword thing is always a big hurdle for me. I think I’m too worried I’ll hit the wrong ones and bomb.

    Textbroker…..well that could turn into an interesting experiment for you considering you’re now on both sides of the freelance writing game. At least you didn’t go for Freelancer.com or eLance
    Bill Swan recently posted…When No One Around You Considers Your Writing WorkMy Profile

    • Felicia says:

      Bill, bombing is a part of the online world. I’ve got more bombs out there on the internet than money making articles/blogs. Get out there and bomb. I’ve found my mistakes to be my best teachers.

      • Ken says:

        Bombs are commonplace. Ha! I cannot count the number of “bombs” I’ve had over the last 12 months. Ok, maybe I can but its laughable. But the ones that don’t bomb are so well worth it.

        Bill – Just do it. Seriously, even the most seasoned marketers like Frank Kearns bombs even today. Some ideas will, some ideas won’t. It’s kinda like fishing to a point. You gotta keep throwing the line out in different parts of the pond to find the hungry fish.

        You will also be pleasantly surprised when one of the “bombs” turn around and bring in some income at the most unexpected time. 🙂
        Ken recently posted…Successful Affiliate Marketing Advice For NewbiesMy Profile

  14. Deanna says:

    As usual, I have learned something new from you that I can apply to the work I am doing now on a site of my own. Thanks for sharing as you learn. 🙂
    Deanna recently posted…Examiner Changes Its Payment ModelMy Profile

  15. Debra says:

    I’ve looked for a method that works for me. I’m all over the place, so many paid programs don’t work well with me, especially those that keep diverting me to other paid products and end up confusing me.

    I’m like Goldilocks. I’ve finally found one that’s step-by-step and fits in with my philosophy. It’s too early to recommend it to anyone, and the doors close on it in the next week or so, but I have already gotten my money’s worth out of it.

    Not here to promote a product, by the way.

    One thing I’ve learned is that when you categorize posts under different sections (even videos), Google sees duplicate content and gives you less juice. This surprises me because I’d naturally post an article under various relevant categories. Like I said, I’m learning lots.

    • Felicia says:

      Wow, Debra. That’s good to know. Guess I have a lot of duplicate content because I always list things in more than one category. That’s something for me to look into.

  16. Crystal says:

    Love the matrix, Felicia. I so struggle with the whole keyword thing and this should make it easier. Did you join the Niche Proftis Classroom? If so, what do you think and how much is it after the $1 trial?
    Crystal recently posted…When Decluttering Collides with SentimentalityMy Profile

    • Felicia says:

      No, I didn’t join the Niche Profits Classroom. This is the first I’ve heard of it. I tend to stay away from “programs” because then I’ll feel compelled to use them as a crutch. I like the freedom of making mistakes and learning from them.

  17. Debra says:

    Felicia, I’ve been studying about niche sites and authority sites as part of an online program I’m excited about. You are the very definition of an authority site where your personality and personal branding shine forth.

    After Google Panda and reading your blog over the months, I’m branching out into Internet marketing. I have tried a number of things, but am finally seeing results, although small.

    I won’t abandon article writing, for I love it, but I’m understanding more about leverage and combining various revenue streams to create a more lasting income over the years ahead.

    Best of luck going forward. We’ve all learned much from your words of wisdom you so graciously share.

  18. Will says:

    Congratulations! This is very encouraging. There is life beyond revenue-share article sites and after Panda, and you’re proving it!

    I’ll explore the Money Matrix in depth and compare it to advice I’ve gotten from other keyword gurus.

  19. Ken says:

    I love the mix Felicia. The factor is the personality that comes with the method. Some folks do well with niche sites while others, like yourself, do better with authority type sites. But your personal personality always plays a huge part no matter what niche you are in.

    In essence you have thousands of people all promoting the same thing. BUT you have many more searching for that information. Your “voice”, your personality is a big part of what draws people in. You might explain the same thing, but you do it in such a way that it attracts people to you and your site(s).

    BTW – One other thing about this whole Panda update. Some more pieces are coming out about what Google is looking for as well. One interesting thing is the length of content on sites. Vary the length of content is the message I am seeing. If you article are averaging 400 words on each and every piece or your format each article the same way, Google is seeing the site as a “content mill.” Mix up formats, and mix up content length.
    Ken recently posted…3 Optimizing Tips For Writing Articles For MoneyMy Profile

    • Felicia says:

      Thanks for the input, Ken. I’m finding that my posts vary in length from a long as 800 or so words to as short as 200. I write just enough to explain the subject matter, no more, no less.

      People get bored with word count extending fluff and they feel short changed if you try to cut it down to only 400 words. Good to know that Google feels as I do. LOL