Brett from Niche Laboratory here.
In this post I want to share the results of an experiment I did on one of my micro-niche sites recently.
The site in question is hosted on a domain I bought in 2011. That year was the peak of my micro-niche site building. I bought around a dozen domain names and went on a niche site building rampage. I would routinely write 5000 – 8000 words a day! All that hard work did pay off because my AdSense income surged to over $1000 a month.
Now my online income is down. A lot. But many of my mini-niche sites still make a little bit of money.
They could potentially be making a lot more. They’re in a really good niches. I still don’t have that much competition. And I am well placed to write some more content on my sites. Firstly I have more time to write these days. I also live in the country I’m blogging about (think travel blogging; wouldn’t it be easier to blog about a country if you actually lived there?).
So a couple of months ago I gave one of my niche sites a makeover. The domains will be up for renewal in a year or two and I want to know if it’s worth keeping them.
Results of the Makeover
Well the results are in and they say a picture says a thousand words, so here’s my traffic chart:
As you can see from this chart March and April’s user numbers are almost double the levels seen in February 2019.
The traffic increase has been good quality traffic too. Here’s the referral traffic from Google:
So it looks very much as if I’ve more than doubled the amount of traffic the site gets from Google.
Good stuff – now how did I achieve this? Read the next section to find out.
How I Almost Doubled My Niche Site’s Traffic
So how did I almost double my niche site’s traffic? Here’s what I did:
- I looked through my Google Analytics and removed any post that had insignificant referral traffic from Google in the previous 6 months. I deleted a lot of content. I was really ruthless.
- I switched to a new Theme. I’m now going with HitMag. I’m using the free version which is good enough for me. I like that it’s clean, fast loading and mobile friendly. Also I like that I can put the side menu on the left. This is an effortlessly easy way to get more clicks on your side navigation content (and maybe ads too!).
- I switched to using SSL. It’s not widely known but on Hostgator (and maybe other hosts too) you can get a 100% free SSL certificate. If your host supports it – use it!
- I revamped my site ads. I use Auto Affiliate Links to put affiliate links in the body text of my posts. Although I’ve used it for a long time, I ramped up the amount of links it puts in. More affiliate links in your text = more sales. Simple as that! I also switched all of the banner ads to point to a single vendor’s offer. I can do this on this blog because it’s in a very narrow niche and there’s a clear market leader that I’m happy to promote.
- I wrote half a dozen new articles.
- I used a neat trick I saw mentioned on the Niche Pursuits blog. Basically you need to update old content, and when you do so you need to change the publication date to the current year. I tried this before with limited success (read case study here).
- I added two new tools to the site. Basically I added a couple of maps I knocked together using a jQuery map widget and some data I compiled about my niche. None of my competitors do anything interesting like this! Anyway, I imagine that over time the site will get some organic backlinks out of it.
Now I’ll point out that I don’t know which one factor was the most important as far as Google is concerned but it’s probably (1) – removing low quality content. From my results with other sites though I think the best thing you can do is to remove any content that gets little referral traffic from Google. How I think this works is that if greater than X% of your posts don’t pass a quality score then Google will penalise your entire website.
You can actually publish a lot of trash on your site. For example FindAForum is pretty much just a scraper site. However, it has so many natural backlinks that Google have a lot of evidence that it’s somehow useful, even if it is just a scraper site.
But if you’re just running a regular WordPress blog then you need to publish super high quality stuff or you’ll be slapped with a huge low quality content penalty.
The Bottom Line
So far in April 2019 this site has made two affiliate sales which is a total income of $52.
I can’t say if I’d have made the sales if I hadn’t improved the site. But it’s likely that the makeover has resulted in these sales, as before April 2019 the site very rarely made any income.
So as you can see from this article, a few simple changes can potentially bring big rewards to your niche site traffic levels.
Now it’s over to you. Have YOU got any sites you’ve neglected? Are you leaving money on the table by abandoning potentially lucrative mini niche sites? Maybe you should take a look over your portfolio of websites.
Let me know if you see any similar results from trying to revive old niche sites!