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Month 2 Update – Making Some Money and Lots of Mistakes

It has been a busy month and I have enjoyed a lot of the outreach work I have been doing in my niche.

The focus for month 2 of my authority site was to continue to produce a lot of content along with my main promotion strategy of guest posting.

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I also started monetization of my site and have made some ok money for just starting out under 2 months ago.

Key Successes

  1. Guest posting outreach has been going really well with making 20 real connections and getting opportunities to guest post on a couple of the top 100 personal finance sites
  2. Expired Domains – I have spent some time to find a couple HIGHLY relevant expired domains with a NATURAL link profile to supplement my SEO. These 2 domains haven’t given my site a substantial sustained boost that is clearly detected but from the analytics image below it is something I will cautiously continue.
  3. Making money – more on that later for the site being less than 2 months old I am happy!

Analyze

Key Mistakes/Failures

  • Website Re-Design – Mistakes Already!

Sometimes a theme looks great but then just doesn’t deliver the way I want it to. After using the StudioPress Generate Theme I was disappointed in how the site looked.

I really like the Genesis Framework and the StudioPress themes so I decided to try the Education Theme and have been happy with the results.

What do you think?

Student Loan

(Note – links above are affiliate links)

  • Chasing Bright Shiny Objects (I am a dumb-@&* again)

With the limited amount of time I have, evenings and weekends, I can’t stray from my priorities which for at least the next few months is PayMyStudentLoans.com.

However, for almost 3 days this month I ended up getting distracted and trying another stupid internet marketing tactic using Craigslist ads to capture leads. I knew it was a waste of time but the concept sounded interesting and I thought it would be a “fun” test.  The idea came from this MikeFromMaine’s Podcast, entertaining but not exactly a value added strategy.  The idea is now dead and I am back to being focused on adding real value.

 

Authority Website Stats for October

 

Income = $105.39

I started monetizing my website on Oct 8 and outlined my strategy here. Overall it was a good start with the results shown below…

Ads

 

Adsense – $21.39

Graph

My clickthrough rate is lower than I would like to see (but that may be a good indication of the site providing value) and the cost per click is much lower than I would like to see.

Overall I am disappointed with how AdSense is currently performing but that is ok because ideally it would not be the primary source of income from an authority site.

I will modify the ad to test how it will impact the CTR and CPC.

Edvisors CPA – $84.00

State

The CPA offer is well aligned with my sites objective. The affiliate offer is $3 per completed form for a student to sign up to see possible loan consolidation rates. The tight website to offer match has certainly helped with a high clicks to conversion.

The other advantage to this offer over AdSense is I have it set up so that it opens in a new tab thus helping keep people on my site for a longer period of time.

The next step for this CPA offer is to “move up the foodchain”. I would like to join an affiliate program with fewer levels between PayMyStudentLoans and a loan broker that can provide consolidation options to interested students/graduates.

 

Costs = 142.85

Month 1 had a startup costs totalling $192.38 (see details in month 1 update). In month 2 I had a couple assistants helping me with my outreach efforts and some link building work while my content manager continued to effectively get quality content created for cheap!

  • VA’s = $45.13 @ ODesk
  • Content Creation (30 articles) = $78.00 @ ODesk
  • Content Creation Management = $12.56 @ ODesk
  • Hosting = $7.16 @ HostGator

Running Net Income/Loss

 cumulative-authority-site-income-loss

Traffic = 906 Unique Visitors

Traffic has not been mind-blowing but it has shown steady growth with a couple spikes due to some promotion strategies (guest posting and expired domain redirects)

Traffic

The on page metrics for PayMyStudentLoans have improved over last months, there are now decent stats for pages/visit, time on site, bounce rate and visit duration.

Analytics

Email Opt-Ins

Definitely one of the biggest disappointments’ to date!

I have a centrally located call to action on the homepage for email opt ins. My sidebar opt-in form is located in a prominent location and I believe hits on student pain points. The comment section provides another opportunity for people to opt in.

With all these forms how many opt-ins have I received?

TOTAL EMAIL OPT INS TO DATE

3

(yes you can and should laugh!)

PayMyStudentLoan

I use Aweber (aff link)

I will test different forms and different locations but maybe capturing the lead and then offering solutions to their problems via email will not be the optimal solution to monetize this site.

 

On Page Content = 26 Posts

Over the month of October 26 posts were published.

Now that I have got a solid base of content on the site I will be looking to set up an editorial calendar which will provide some structure to posting and help me systematize content creation.

My content creation system has been working well and cranking out some really good quality articles I know add a lot of value to people facing the problem each article is to solve.

Off Page Promotion & Backlink Profile = Citation Flow – 31 & Trust Flow 15

My off page promotion has continued to consist of primarily personal outreach via blog commenting which may naturally lead to guest posting.

In addition I have been having my VA create a PPT presentation for several of the posts which I then provide the voice over for and upload to YouTube.

In addition over the last week I have started creating some Web 2.0 properties using my lower quality articles that were created. The plan is that I will use LinkAuthority to build links to my original content Web 2.0 properties.

My focus is going to continue to be on getting high quality links via guest posting over the next month.

Summary

Next Month Goals

I achieved all of last months goals except I do not have a new logo

–          Continue Guest  Posting – (guest post on 5 high quality sites)

–          On Page Content – (20 posts with editorial calendar in place)

–          Monetize – (Rev 1 monetization strategy created and implemented)

–          Income – Be profitable in month 3

This format changed from month 1’s let me know your thoughts. As I plan on creating many of these I would like to find a format that can stay consistent from month to month.

About the Author Jon Haver

I am a 31 year old husband, father of 2, engineer and a huge fan of developing systems to build useful and profitable websites. The reason I build online businesses is to provide financial independence for my family and yours. I am not a GURU but just a regular guy who is grinding out 12+hr days to build a life for my family on terms.
Jon Haver, Online Entrepreneur

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