It’s time for a quick recap of July!
This month I’m going to keep it short and to the point: I didn’t re-invent the wheel in July.
My ecommerce websites are living their last few months on life support. I haven’t been running any paid advertising campaigns since May, and all the sales I’m still making are coming mainly from my email lists, and a very small number are coming from search traffic (Google and Bing).
As exciting as these projects have been, I don’t see myself working on these for another months or years. I am planning to keep them alive as long as they still generate sales, and I’ll simply pull the plug when they’re not covering their own costs anymore.
Now that I’m not spending any time on these websites, I’m focusing 100% on my new authority site.
In case you haven’t been following up on this new project that I started at the end of January, here is the skinny: I am working on a new authority site with absolutely zero link building.
The reason is simple: Google is telling us webmasters that building links for the purpose of manipulating search results is bad. If you take this candidly, it means that ALL link building is bad.
Let’s be honest, your last email outreach campaign was not to build “relationships”, it was simply to build links, and improve your rankings in Google as a result. That’s a big no-no for this project.
Results so far
Since I’m not going to build any links for this project, I’m working on other things: provide a great user experience, produce high-quality content that answers any questions that the visitors may have, become an authority so that people will link to the website naturally, and finally, work extensively on conversion rate optimization to get the most value out of every visitor.
311 people visited this website last month. These visitors were converted into $139.20 in revenue. This means that this website had a mind-boggling $447.59 revenue per thousand visitors.
As you can see in this chart, the growth is definitely not as impressive as websites that actively build links. With 311 visitors in the 6th month of this website, there is really nothing to boast about.
When you see case studies in the SEO community with websites that receive thousands or even tens of thousands of visitors in their first or second month online, it sure makes the case for the value of link building.
Of course, the temptation is huge to start building links for my website, but I want to stick to a strict no link building strategy. Even though this means the growth will be painfully slow, especially compared to other public case studies where they build links, it should mean that this website will be penalty-proof in the long term.
Google webmaster tools
This month, I’ve also decided to start sharing information directly from Google Webmaster Tools with you. This way you will see exactly how WS4 is doing in Google search results.
In July, this website had 21,882 impressions on Google. These impressions resulted in 148 clicks, which means an average click-through rate of 0.68%. The average position in Google results pages was 65.
Again, nothing crazy with these numbers: less than 150 visitors from Google in this chart. Considering the money I’m spending to start and grow this project, these traffic numbers are fairly ridiculous, but i’m not planning to give up anytime soon. I’ve given myself until the end of December to see if I can make this project work.
Thinking long term
For this project, I’m thinking fairly long term, and I am building this website with a possible exit in mind.
I’ve made a major mistake with my previous authority project (more about this next month), so I’m being a lot more cautious with my numbers with WS4, and I’m keeping an eye on the website value and return on investment.
The following chart shows the cumulated revenue and expenses to date for each month. Additionally, it shows the current website value as well as the return on investment before and after selling the website.
From the start of this project until the end of last month, this website generated $200.53 in revenue. I spent $5,680.06 since this website’s inception, which means a net loss of $5,479.53. In other words, that’s a 96% loss so far.
However, by using a conservative 25x multiplier on the average revenue of the past 3 months, we can calculate this website value: $1,507.25. By selling this website, I would reduce my loss to $3,972.28. That would be a 70% loss on my investment.
Of course I’m still years away from a potential sale for this website, but I’m keeping track of these numbers to know the trend, as well as the evolution month after month.
What about the money?
Here is a breakdown of the money flow for my various projects.
To make this report easier to understand, I’m using a simple color code: green numbers are positive, red numbers are negative.
Please keep in mind that these figures may not be 100% accurate due to various factors such as refund requests and network adjustments. The terms for each payment may also vary. As a result these numbers may differ from the actual payments issued and received.
|Cost of Goods||-$294.51||▲ $236.38|
|Email Marketing||-$210.00||▲ $10.00|
|Payment Fees||-$65.27||▲ $30.25|
|Customer Service||-$18.00||▼ $16.50|
|Other Sites||$206.83||▼ $157.60|
|Sponsored Blog Posts||$0.00||-/-|
In July, I had an extra expense with MaxMind. This is a bill that I pay yearly to have my own tool to redirect Amazon clicks to the correct website depending on the visitor’s location.
So I built my own geo-redirection tool over 2 years ago. It’s working perfectly fine and I keep all my click data for myself. The only downside is the cost, but it’s paying for itself with the commissions from Amazon websites (non .com) that I wouldn’t have made otherwise.
What’s happening next?
I wrote earlier in this post about how I made some serious mistakes with my previous authority site, and I think next month will be the perfect time to write about it in more details.
Next month will be a special update as I will write and give charts about all the niche and authority websites that I’m currently running so you can get an idea of what I’ve been working on for the past 4 years, and the ups and downs for each project.
Stay positive, and see you next month!