The $100,000 Challenge: June Update
I just wrapped up the third month of Nutrition Secrets, and I have to say, it turned out to be a great month.
When you look at the traffic stats of 33,562 visitors, however, you may think things are not progressing as the traffic only grew by 1,297 visitors. But all signals are pointing in the right direction.
Here’s what happened in the month of June…
Started to focus more on search traffic
Our search traffic hasn’t climbed by much, but the blog is only 3-months old. Technically speaking, you can even say it is 2-months old as the domain name was switched after the first month.
For the month of June, Nutrition Secrets received 3,675 search engine visitors, which is a 106% increase over the previous month.
Typically, whenever you start a new blog, you have to wait 5 to 6 months before you start seeing good growth in search traffic. Why? Because search engines don’t just look at on-page code and links. They look at factors such as bounce rate, time on site, etc.
As your metrics hold steady or improve, they reward you over time. This prevents new sites from popping up and spamming their way to the top of Google.
Big drop in Facebook traffic
On June 20th, all of my blogs had a drop in traffic from my Facebook fan pages. Nutrition Secret saw something similar, and I ended up taking a big hit as the majority of the traffic was coming from the social web.
In addition to that, the post titles and topics focused more on targeting SEO and not social media. For example, topics such as “13 Fatty Foods That Are Surprisingly Healthy” did really well on Facebook because they were on unique topics that evoked curiosity.
But when you look at the search volume for these phrases, you’ll notice that the volume is really low. So instead, I had Mike shift his focus toward writing on topics that were more mainstream and would pick up more search traffic in the long run.
I even created an Excel spreadsheet for him that helps him generate topic ideas based on search volume and popularity on the social web. (I’ll share it with you next month so you can use it for your own blog.)
Content production is up
If you look at the month of June, you’ll notice that we posted roughly 5 times a week. I taught Mike the exact process I have been using on Quick Sprout to write content at a rapid pace.
I even broke down the process on Quick Sprout in these 2 blog posts for you:
- How to Double Your Writing Speed Without Lowering Its Quality
- 13 Important Questions You Need to Ask Yourself Before Blogging
Mike is now able to write a blog post within 1.5 to 2 hours. Over the course of the next 30 days, I want him to be able to write a blog post in less than 1.5 hours so I can get him to write 2 posts a day. Sure, the content may be a bit shorter, but it should be doable since he isn’t writing 5,000-word posts like I am on Quick Sprout.
In the long run, this will help the site generate more comments, search traffic, and social shares.
Comments come from email
If you look at the comments on the Nutrition Secrets blog, you’ll notice that a lot of them are from the same people. Why? Because those people are subscribed to our email list.
Roughly 81% of all the comments on the blog are from people who are subscribed to the email list. Currently, the email list is only growing by a few subscribers a day, and every once in a while, we see a spike in opt-ins if a post does well on Facebook, but generally it’s not growing fast enough.
The traffic is there, but the opt-in offer isn’t too appealing. I will have Mike create some sort of a 30-day nutrition course, which we will use as an opt-in bribe. This should help increase the number of opt-ins to a few thousand a month.
Fixing mobile issues
The interesting thing about Nutrition Secrets is that over 54.4% of our traffic comes from mobile and tablet devices. But if you look at our mobile load time, you’ll see it could be improved.
I will have Mike focus on improving it. WordPress plugins that compress image sizes and cache the blog will help. As those metrics improve, search traffic will also start increasing at a faster rate.
The majority of the links we acquired are from other resource pages.
Here is how we get them. Mike searches the web with queries such as “nutrition resources” to find pages and sites that should be linking to our blog.
A good portion of the people we reached out to in June haven’t linked back, but that is mainly because we are going after EDU sites. It’s summer, which means most colleges are not in session.
So we are shifting our focus to building links from resource pages that aren’t on EDU sites.
In addition to that, we found that a couple of spammy sites linked to us. Here is one of the links. As you can see, the site isn’t the highest in quality, but there isn’t much we can do.
This happens to all websites, and you could disavow the link through Webmaster Tools, but there is no point if it’s only a small portion of your links.
Google is smart, and it knows it’s inevitable for you to have a few bad links. Because of that, it typically doesn’t penalize sites when this happens.
Mike’s also been building relationships with authors on sites like GQ, Vogue, and other magazine sites that have our ideal audience. We haven’t received any links from them yet, but we should once we start asking.
Currently, Mike is following these steps before he asks these people for a link. We’ll see how it goes in the next 30 days.
The one big issue we have been running into when building links is that people are removing links because they think Mike isn’t certified. His certification allows him to give advice on nutrition and fitness. I told him to update his bio to include this and create an about page to talk about the purpose of the blog as well as showcase his certifications.
Once he does this, we should be able to generate more links and hopefully keep them longer. In the meantime, he’s been emailing people who are removing the links and sending them a screenshot of his certificate. The only issue is, not everyone reads all of their emails, which means we are still losing links.
Although the traffic on the nutrition blog isn’t growing as fast as I would like it to, all the signals are pointing in the right direction. The content is great; people are commenting; and the rankings are climbing fast.
For example, the blog ranks on page 5 for the keyword “nutrition.” I know it is a vague search term and getting on page 1 will be hard…but we aren’t even trying to rank for that term.
We are also starting to rank for terms such as “lose lower belly fat.” We aren’t seeing a huge increase in traffic yet because moving up from page 4 to page 3 doesn’t do much. But once the site starts ranking on page 1, our search traffic will skyrocket.
Currently, we aren’t trying to rank for any specific term, and we aren’t building rich anchor text links. Instead, we are trying to write good educational content in hopes that people will want to link to us when we show them how great Nutrition Secrets is.
I still haven’t focused on monetizing the blog yet, but I will start within the next few months. The revenue will largely come from the email list, so I need to focus on growing it first, which will happen in July.
As for expenses, they have stayed more or less flat. Total expenses, since the start of the project, have been $2,889.74 dollars. In June, I spent $219, which went towards Aweber and hand-drawn images for Facebook.
What do you think about the progress so far? Do you think I’ll be able to generate $100,000 a month in income within 12 months?
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