How I went from $66/month to $6,000/month with Adsense Niche Sites
This was written in July, 2012. I am NO LONGER creating Adsense Niche sites. Please CLICK HERE to check out my UPDATED ABOUT ME PAGE
I’m not a Guru. I’m just a regular guy making money on the Internet who started off with very little and has earned a bit of success. That being said, I know what it’s like to start off with nothing and build your way up.
I remember back in August, 2010 I decided that I wanted to get back into making money on the Internet again. I had had some success in 2007 and 2008 doing Adwords PPC marketing directly to CPA ads and I made a killing. I made enough money so that I could bank about $100,000 and travel the world. It was great. I was backpacking around India and every day I was making between $50-$100 in profit doing absolutely nothing. All I would do is log into my accounts once in a while to make sure my campaigns were still running and that the commissions were still rolling in. Well, like most easy ways of making money, it came to an end. I had stopped paying much attention to my streams of income and they slowly dried up. Plus Google changed their rules with Adwords and I could no longer send traffic directly to CPA ads. My income streams were gone.
But I moved on. I was able to live comfortably on my saved Internet income for a while. In August 2010 when funds were beginning to get a little low I decided to get back into Internet marketing again. As I started reading through the different forums I quickly realized that things had changed. People were doing something called “Auto blogging” where all they did was set up a site, install some plugins, and money would supposedly start rolling in. Well I tried doing that and $10,000 in info products, plugins, hosting, and themes later I had a monthly Adsense income of $63.43 at the end of December 2010. It was really frustrating.
Then in February, 2011 I joined a forum of real people making money online called WP Goldmine. I didn’t feel like everyone was trying to sell me something there. The most important thing is that I put my credit card away and stopped buying all those easy-way-to-make-money info products. Anyway, once I had a group of like-minded people helping me along my way I really started to make some progress. In February 2011, I got a check for $133.54 from Adsense. It wasn’t a lot, but it was more than double what I had made in the two previous months.
As the months went on I made some slow progress. I did my own keyword research and article writing. I built my own links with mostly commenting and a few article links from places like EzineArticles and GoArticles. In March 2011 I got a check for $320.92. That was an awesome feeling. It wasn’t the kind of money that would allow me to quit my job or anything, but it paid a big chunk of my rent payment. I was finally getting somewhere after so many months of struggling.
For the next month I wasn’t able to do much work on my sites. I had to move from one city to another, and in the process I couldn’t devote any time to my business. That being said, in April 2011 my Adsense income was $325.90. I was happy with that because it was a truly passive income. I had done nothing and I still got paid. Sweet!
In May I was able to start working again. I created a few more sites (slowly) and was able to keep my income at $316.56. It was a bit frustrating as my income had gone down, but at least it was staying around the same level. In June my Adsense income went down to $270.60, which was really frustrating. If I recall correctly, I think it was because some of my sites that were doing well at the time had lost some rankings in the SERPS.
In July disaster hit. I woke up one morning to find out that hackers had gotten into ALL of my websites and destroyed everything. I had 30 websites at the time and I didn’t have a backup of any of them. Aaaaaaaaaaa!!!!! It was not a fun situation. I had thought that since I wasn’t a big time blogger with sites making thousands of dollars per month that no one would pay attention to me. Wrong. Anyway, I built all the sites back up again by hand, which took about a week to do. Because of that, in July my Adsense income was $227.55.
August was a bit different. I decided that I needed to give myself a break to rethink things. I took a month off to spend at the beach with my friends. I used to work as a bartender in a great place in Turkey called Olympos. The place I stayed and worked at is called Kadir’s Treehouses. It’s settled in a beautiful valley surrounded by mountains and trees and it’s very close to the Meditereanean Sea. It was a great place to try and figure out what direction I wanted to go with building websites. Needless to say I didn’t do much work on my computer, but apparently I didn’t have to. In August my Adsense income was $401.02! That was huge. No work had equaled more money. Actually, there had been work, but I had done in back in May and June. Those sites had started to rank in the search engines.
In September my Adsense income was $398.28. That was fine considering I hadn’t worked in August or September. It was around this time that I decided to start reinvesting my profits back into my business. I told myself that I could spend money on outsourcing things like article writing and link building, but I should only invest back in what my business produced. This seemed to make a lot of sense to me at the time (and still does). And hey, $400 per month is a healthy amount of money to invest in niche sites. I was able to really get the gears churning.
In October my Adsense income was $619. That was great, but I had spent $265, so my profit was $355. I was spending my money very carefully on things that I really need to get my sites made, ranking in the search engines, and earning money. I was paying for subscriptions to SocialAdr, EZArticleLink, and WP Goldmine. I was also paying a guy $3 per site to submit spun articles to Unique Article Wizard and Article Marketing Robot. I was paying about $10/month at Hostgator for hosting. It was around this time that I started outsourcing a lot more of my content. I was getting articles written at oDesk for around $3 per article, but they were quite short at around 400 words.
November was another great month. I spent $333 on expenses, but I brought in a total profit of $847! Now I could pay my rent with my earnings. I was excited. I sat down and made a plan for December. I decided that I would spend about half of my profits on making new sites and improving some of my older ones.
I got my first comment on this blog on my December income report. It might not seem like a big deal, but it’s nice to know that someone is also paying attention to what you’re doing. The comment was simple:
During December I spent $533 on my blog and made a profit of $726. It wasn’t as much as the previous month, but actually my Adsense income was increasing. I was making good steady progress. I made 10 new websites and added some content to the old ones. I had around 40 sites total in my portfolio.
January was a busy month. I published a mid-month expense report and got a comment from Justin at the
Adsense Flippers Empire Flippers. He told me about he and his business partner Joe had argued about where they would get the money to create more sites. They ultimately sold some of their successful sites to have more money to build more sites. I wasn’t at the point yet to start selling sites, but I think I started to realize at this point that I’d have to start putting more money into my business if I wanted to see better returns.
It was also in January that Google released their Above the Fold algorithm change. Essentially if you had too many ads showing on the screen on the top part of your site when a visitor first entered your site then it would lose rankings. Well my top were quite top heavy with ads, so I got hit. It wasn’t the end of the world as all I had to do was change my Adsense postition on my then 51 websites. I did this by getting the CTR Theme which I still am using today. The theme is great because it gets a fantastic CTR and it decreases ad blindness by rotating the ad positioning around. So after installing that on my sites I was good to go.
Long Tail Pro also crossed my path this month. With this software I was finally able to do my own domain research instead of paying someone to do it for me. I had been paying a guy $10 each for niche site domains, but now with this software I could do it myself. It was a big step in my success.
With so many websites I had to find a way to organize them and keep their plugins and themes updated. I found a nice solution in ManageWP. They even had an option to backup my sites in case I got hacked again. But my expenses were adding up. Yes, I needed all these things, but it wasn’t cheap. My expenses in January were $1,267 while my income was $1,372. Therefore my total profit was a measly $105. Blah! That being said I had 40 new websites created bringing my website portfolio up to 69 sites.
February was a bit painful. I spent $2123.83 in expenses and only had an income of $1,307.33. That was a negative profit of -$814.50. Ouch. It was a lot of spending, but instead of having only 69 websites I had 139. I was making an investment into my business and hoping that it would pay off in the future.
In March expenses were high once again. I spent $3,827 and had another negative profit of -$1,443. I began to get a little worried that my expenses were too high and I cut costs by creating less content per site and only adding a header if the site was successful. I received multiple comments on the post telling me I was heading in the right direction, so it was nice to get some support from the community. I was apparently doing something right because my Adsense income was increasing.
In April I had my first day where I made $100 in Adsense. I think that was one of the best feelings along this journey because it truly was a big deal. I felt like I had jumped over a big hurdle. I’d always get so close to it and then be a few dollars short. It was frustrating but it finally happened. And then it continued to happen.
But April was a dangerous month for a lot of people. Around the middle of the month I checked my rankings and a lot of my sites had disappeared. I was devasted. Had Google deindexed everything? I looked at different hosting accounts and sure enough most of my sites were no where to be seen. I felt sick. I went to dinner later that night with my girlfriend and I explained to her what had happened: “Sweetie, I was doing really well online. I was about to really hit something big. But now it’s all gone”. I felt totally helpless and like giving up. I thought, “well, this is it. This is the end of my Internet Marketing career”. Anyway, after dinner I went home and went to bed. In the morning I got up and turned on my computer. I checked to see if perhaps a miracle had occurred. It had! All of my sites were back! I poked around the Warrior Forum and found that other people had experienced the same thing. There had been a glitch! Google had made a mistake! It was amazing. In one instant everything was gone, and in another back. I was soooooo happy.
About a week after that the Google Penguin Update hit. Luckily only a small fraction of my websites got hit. I lost some big earners, but I was ok. The sites that I lost were ones that I had agressively hammered with links when I first started building sites. Luckily the other sites that I had been building for the last few months were not affected.
As far as expenses go, in April I spent $5,014 and made a negative profit of -$2,502. Even though I was losing money I knew that there were profits on the horizon. At the end of the month I lised my first site on Flippa. I was starting to make a name for myself.
May brought on profits! I spent $2,072.42 and made $1,945.64! It was in May that I made money selling on Flippa and also selling Adsense Starter Sites on my blog. I also increased my Adsense earnings by 28%. It was all happening!
And then came June. I made a whopping $6,039.58 in profits. Since I was making money people really started to pay attention to my blog. I was also building a list which helped immensely with getting eyes on my posts and getting reader feedback. I also started to make affiliate commissions from things that I recommend. I felt good about what I was doing because people were coming to me for advice and I was truly helping them.
So now it’s July. Everything is still chugging along fine. I’m selling Adsense Starter Sites every day and I expect them to be sold out in the near future. I even have had a few repeat customers come back and buy some more sites from me. It’s great that I can build some thing that others can use and build on. I also have a niche site buiding course that I’m working on. Those that have followed it have had some real success so far. (April, 25th, 2013)UPDATE: I’m not building niche sites anymore…see the link to PART 2 below
What’s the lesson to be learned from my story? You don’t make money overnight. It takes time. Also, if you want to see faster results you’re going to need to invest some money into your business. Since October 2011 I’ve spent over $19,542 on my business. It was only in June that I stared to recoup my initial investment and I’m around $5,000 in profit now for the last 9 months. That’s quite a long time to wait and a lot of money to invest, but it was worth it.
As always I’ll continue to keep all my information free on this site. A lot of people helped me along the way and I feel like it’s my job to help others along this difficult road. I’m available most times of the day either by chat on my site or by email if you have any questions or need help with anything.
I’ve included a table at the end of this post showing my income from October 2011 to June 2012.
CLICK HERE TO CHECK OUT UPDATED ABOUT ME PAGE