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[Case Study] Journey to $5K/Month - ShortNext

[Case Study]
Journey to $5K/Month

Welcome to my first affiliate website case study. I actually wanted to start the new site and post this in the new year, you know new year, new me, stuffs. But procrastination struck and here we are now.

I’ve always wanted to start a new affiliate site and document it. Mainly because I can go back and see what I have done and I also love reading other people’s case study. I hope that this case study will bring value to some of you.

I’ll try to become as transparent as possible in this case study posts without revealing too much of my niche and explain my process and why I did what I did. 

I’ll update you guys on a new post every first week of the month regarding the progress of the site.

Have you done this before?

Yes, I have created and owned a few affiliate website. Some failed, some succeed, some just collecting dust. So it's not my first time running an affiliate website, and I probably know what I am doing. I mean I think I know, its working for me so far lol.

What’s your plan for the site?

My 2018 goal for this site is to hit $5K/Month, which I don't think it will because I will be outsourcing all of my content creation and I'm limiting the budget on this site to $100-$150 per month + the earnings from the site itself. (Not counting the tools, hosting, etc.)

I'm not sure why I set $5K/Month as a goal, I know it's related to Grant Cardone's 10x Rule. Never read the book, but before starting writing this case study, $5K/Month was on my mind, so that's that.

What have you done so far?

  • Bought a domain
  • Set up SSL
  • Installed WordPress, necessary plugins & theme
  • Connect with Google Analytics & Search Console
  • Published 2 x 3000 words, "5 Best product" review post
  • Purchased 4 expired web 2.0s
  • Created a Quora account & answered 5 questions
  • Created an Instagram & Pinterest account
  • Joined FB related groups

I bought the domain back in December 2017 because I thought of a perfect name and snatched it right away. I bought it with SiteGround (affiliate), and the site is also hosted by them.

Installed a free SSL certificate with Let's Encrypt. If your site doesn't have one, I recommend you to get it. As Google, themselves encourage you to adopt HTTPS. After installing the SSL certificate, I had to install WordPress. Afterwards, themes & plugin. I use GeneratePress premium theme in all of my sites and this one is not an exception.

Here's the list of plugins installed:

  • Akismet Anti-Spam
  • All in One WP security
  • Code Snippets
  • Google XML sitemaps
  • GP Premium
  • Insert Headers and Footers
  • Jetpack by WordPress.com
  • SG Optimizer
  • Social Warfare
  • Thrive Architect
  • Thrive Comments
  • Thrive Leads
  • UpdraftPlus - Backup/Restore
  • WP Super Cache
  • WP-Optimize
  • Yoast SEO
  • Autoptimize

Holy shit. That’s a lot of plugins.

That's what came to my mind when I was listing down all those plugins lol. So I installed another plugin Autoptimize, just to test it out and here's the result.

Before

Before

After

After

I'm not much of a tech guy, but hey it worked!

Since there's so many plugins, I'll only explain some of them.

GP Premium (affiliate) is the premium version of GeneratePress theme. Basically, it's a plugin with a bunch of add-ons for the GeneratePress theme.

SG Optimizer is SiteGrounds plugin to help optimize performance. I believe it's only for SiteGround customers.

Thrive Architect is a WordPress visual editor. This plugin is one of my absolute musts, it helps me do so much, such as creating a table, buttons, graphics, icons, and much more.

I have a writer I already work with for my other sites, and I ask her if she'd be interested to write for this one as well to which she happily obliged. I found her through UpWork and currently pay her $1/100 word.

I also purchased 4 web 2.0s from this guy. At the time of purchase the stats were as follows:

  1. Tumblr PA 29 - CF 20 - TF 21 - RD 3
  2. Overblog PA 30 - CF 9 - TF 14 - RD 8
  3. Weebly PA 30 - CF 8 - TF 18 - RD 1
  4. Weebly PA 35 - CF 21 - TF 20 - RD 2

The reason why I purchased the web 2.0s is that the keyword I picked doesn't have much of a competition, around 3-5 and their content is quite subpar, I probably can outrank them easily with a few quality web 2.0 link. I'll also be regularly updating the web 2.0s to increase their strength.

I also created a Quora account and answered 5 questions related to the 2 content I already published. Finally, I created an Instagram & Pinterest account. Haven’t really been active on either platform as much as I want to.

Started the Instagram account on 16 Feb. Currently has 70 followers.

Pinterest, 1 follower lol. Pinterest follower doesn't mean much as long as your pins get a lot of repins but more followers don't hurt.

Niche Selection

I've wanted to work in this niche ages ago but never had the time to. There are so little sites talking about this pet, even the ones that are, aren't that great. Yet, there are so many FB groups related to it and people are super engaged as well.

All I can say is that it's in the pet niche. This site is going to be an authority pet site. Focus on one category, dominate that area and move to another category.

To help you understand better.

Let's say you have a skincare site. Now there are many categories under skin care, such as acne, eczema, sunburn. Dry skin, oily skin, etc. Instead of diversifying your resources on every category, dominate one category such as acne, and become an authority in that area. Afterwards, move to another category, focus on that category while you frequently update your acne category and continue.

Keyword Research

I already know which keywords I'm targeting so my process is pretty simple. I use KWfinder, LSIgraph, and Answerthepublic for most of my keyword research. Here are the stats of 2 KW I'm targeting according to KWfinder. (affiliate)

pet kwfinder stats

Here's a short guide of how I do KW research.

Let's say I want to rank for the term "best dog crate," that'd be my main KW. I would then grab that and put that into LSIgraph, it would spit out other LSI (Latent Semantic Indexing) keywords related to my main KW.

lsi results for best dog crate

As you can see, it gives you a couple of suggestion, you can rank for other KW such as "best large dog kennel" together with your main KW. You can create 1 review on dog crate related to "best large dog kennel" You can also input the "dog crate" in the search without "best," and you'll get tons of ideas for sub-headings.

Same for KWfinder, just grab your main keyword with or without "best" and slap it in there. You'll get some new KW you missed out on. You can create new content around that or upgrade your existing content.

kwfinder dog crate results

Just like that I found 2 new low competition keyword thanks to KWfinder. Although you shouldn't rely too much on KD (Keyword Difficulty) metric, it serves as a good benchmark. I'd go more in depth on this but, it'd take too long, so I'll save it for next time.

Answerthepublic.com is a unique one. It combines your KW and creates them into question, prepositions, etc. If you ran out of ideas or get stuck, this will help you.

Stats & Stuff

GA stats

Google Analytics

amazon stats

Amazon Associate Report

serpwatcher rank stats

SERPWatcher Ranking

One of the posts is ranking for 3 keywords, and the main KW rank is 49 according to SERPwatcher. Keep in mind that the site currently has 0 backlinks if you don't count quora, social profiles, etc. and the domain is fresh.

Expense & Earnings

  • Article - 2 x $30
  • 4 Expired web 2.0s - $55
  • Logo - $20

Total expense | $105
Earnings | $1.20

  • Nice case study, already got some sales that’s a good sign !
    What’s the age of the domain and how long has it been indexed?

    • Hi Ficli,

      The domain’s only around 3 months old, not really sure how long it has been indexed for. But my guess is around a month or so. That one sale is probably a lucky one, it wasn’t related to my niche at all, lol.

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