As Twitter tries out bigger things to spur growth activity – like changing the order and length of tweets – it is turning away from others. Twitter has quietly retired Magic Recs, a strikingly effective bot account that used to send you DMs recommending viral accounts or Tweets to follow, run by an algorithm that measured how many others you knew were following an account… Read More
We finally finished the last month of the $100,000 challenge. March was an awesome month for Nutrition Secrets. Not only did the traffic grow to 218,811 visitors, but revenue did too-it went up to $121,492.65.
It wasn’t hard to hit the revenue goals as we had enough fish oil in stock, plus we started to generate money from affiliate sales.
So let’s dive right in…
Compared to February, the traffic went up to 218,811 visitors and 269,814 pageviews. The increase was only 18,102, which isn’t much.
But considering that the popularity of nutrition and fitness sites is cyclical (January and February are most popular) and that Mike didn’t blog much on NutritionSecrets.com in March, it wasn’t too bad.
Overall, Mike has slowed down on the blogging front. Over the next few months, he wants to try a few fun content formats such as infographics and wants to see what happens if we were to dump a few hundred grand into the blog. It won’t be much of an experiment at that point, but we are just curious to see if we can get the blog to a million visitors a month.
Nonetheless, the traffic isn’t performing too badly. Even in April, the traffic has been on an upward trend while little to no effort has been put into the blog since the challenge has been over.
The revenue is a bit more complicated to breakdown as it is coming from two sources now: Amazon and affiliates.
In March, revenue from Amazon hit $112,573.30.
There are a few key elements to growing Amazon sales:
- Reviews – the more people you can get to leave a review, the better off you are. Most people don’t even read the reviews, but if they are high in ratings and you have tons in quantity, you are in good shape. If you have a blog that’s driving sales, a great way to get more reviews is through marketing automation. You can promote the product to your email list, and then after a few weeks of promoting your product to those people, you would send an automated email asking them to leave a review. You won’t really know who bought the product, but you would still put the review email-applicable to a portion of your list-in your sequence.
- Keywords – with Amazon, you can add keywords. Most people add basic ones like “fish oil,” but as you know, it is all about the long tail. Amazon opened it up so you can stuff hundreds of keywords now, and with the use of Google Keyword Planner, you can come up with popular variations. You’ll then start ranking for tons of keywords on Amazon.
- Combating negative Amazon reviews – similarly to what happens when people employ negative SEO, competitors sabotage your Amazon listing by taking up your front page with terrible reviews. They do this to tank your sales so they can generate more income. You fight this by building up your email list on your blog and continually blasting out to your list when you have bad reviews, asking your readers to up-vote the positive ones.
- Ads – Amazon allows ads on its platform. Whether it is profitable or not, ads help you generate more sales. And if you can increase your sales velocity, you’ll find that your listing climbs up higher and starts to stick-it stays up there even after your ads stop showing. Sure, other people can do the same thing, but most don’t.
As for affiliate income, we started to push stuff by the Truth About Abs guys. We started doing email blasts to our list in order to generate the sales, and it has been working out well. The copy isn’t too bad, but there are two reasons it’s working out well.
- We collect a lot more emails – we are generating 300 to 400 email sign-ups a day. It’s much larger than our previous numbers for one reason: we turned off double opt-in. Aweber usually requires double opt-in when you use third-party software to collect emails, but Mike called Aweber and got them to disable double opt-ins.
- Good copy – our copy converts well. You can see an example email below. And we have many more emails like this in the sequence. So, we continually send you affiliate offers over time, which helps.
Here is the email copy we have been testing:
Email – This plant food HARMS your metabolism & heart
Sometimes it’s not the enemy you know that’s the problem, but the friend you think you know.
In this case, I’m talking about nutrition in foods. It’s common knowledge that stuff like sugary drinks are just plain bad for you. The best you can say is that your body can absorb the bad effects if you only have them occasionally.
But what about foods you thought weren’t bad, and you heard were actually good for you?
I have some bad news, and some good news. The bad: some so-called “healthy” foods may be the cause of why you work so hard to eat healthy and haven’t seen the results you expected. The good news: There’s a solution I read about from best selling author Mike Geary. Read on… (removed affiliate link)
Email – 2 Simple steps to REMOVE visceral belly fat (the DEADLIEST type)
People often refer to past times as “the good old days” with a nostalgic tone. At least when it comes to many nutritional and health practices, I think of them more like the “bad old days.”
For example, people thought the wonders of science had delivered new, healthy products called “trans fats” that were featured in margarine, to replace that nasty butter. We now know that trans fats are about the worst thing you can coat your innards with.
People also thought they could do “spot reducing” of unattractive belly fat by using those jiggling-belt machines, or some other gimmick.
Well, belly fat certainly is still unattractive, and research says it’s also a danger sign. But research has also identified more-effective ways of getting rid of that spare tire. Here’s how. (removed affiliate link)
Email – 7 “fatty” foods for a flat stomach
I spend full time on nutrition- and health-related activities. That’s the business I’m in.
I’m also an improvement junkie, always looking for the latest, best information. So you can imagine that I’ve pretty much seen it all: Every product, every supplement, every type of exercise.
Most of them are underwhelming. Yawn.
I’m writing you today because I recently came across something that made me sit up and pay attention. It’s a short-term blueprint for eating the right foods to burn substantial fat, and it’s all explained here… (removed affiliate link)
You can find high converting offers on sites such as Clickbank. They even sort the offers by popularity. I need to get a screenshot of our Clickbank revenue and our other affiliate income sources from Mike as he created the accounts and has the logins. Once I do, I will update the post with a screenshot (we use three networks).
The total affiliate revenue was $8,919.35.
As for monthly profit, it was high…but for a different reason than you might think. When you sell tangible products, you buy tons of inventory and then sell it over the following few months. We didn’t want to be out for our last month, so we spent a good chunk of money in the previous month, and, of course, we bought more in March.
Here is a breakdown of the expenses:
- Fish oil – $68,492.52 (including Amazon fees, shipping to Amazon for Prime, coupon-related expenses, and producing more inventory)
- Aweber – $149
- Designer – $375 (continually tweaking the site)
- Hosting – $249
- Mike – free (Mike doesn’t get paid, but he owns a percentage of the blog)
- Accounting – $290 (we are now paying a bookkeeper to help out with the books)
Total expenses came out to $69,555.52.
That brings the total profit to $51,937.13.
Of course, to maintain the growth, we would have to keep buying fish oil, but after awhile, we would cap out on sales, and our margins should be a healthy 30% plus. As for March, I didn’t spend much on buying tons more inventory as I wanted to show that selling supplements can be profitable.
Overall, the $100,000 challenge was fun, but I wouldn’t do it again. It’s just too much work with everything I have going on.
It was still a good learning experience. One thing I realized is how much harder it is to rank on Google today compared to 5 years ago. Almost all of my sites are old, so it is much easier for them to rank.
And although NutritionSecrets.com generated good traffic, if it were 5 years ago, the blog would have been at a million visitors a month with the same amount of effort.
So, what do you think of the $100,000 challenge?
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We here at Mashable are obsessed with Snapchat – the filters, the live stories, and of course, the Discover channels.
But of course, it’s not perfect. In addition to a confusing, non-intuitive interface – Snapchat makes you work just to find that black drawing tool – there’s a lot we wish it had. Plus, there are older, now-removed features, we want back too, like the “best friends” feature which highlighted who you snapped with the most.
While the app is always improving and adding new features, we’ve rounded up our wish list of Snapchat features, from an eraser tool to different fonts. Let’s take a look. Read more…
Snapchat may have started out as the ephemeral messaging and photo-sharing app, but a majority of users now consume video there too, according to a report from Bloomberg today. Daily video views on Snapchat have spiked to 10 billion, the report said. That’s up from 8 billion video views on Snapchat in February this year, 6 billion daily video views in November 2015, and 4 billion in… Read More
Facebook’s “family of apps” strategy is a wild success. While some might have expected it to roll Instagram into Facebook and leave chat in its main app, keeping Instagram independent and splitting off Messenger into a companion app has helped it solidify itself as more than just a ubiquitous utility, but as a downright addiction.
Today on the Q1 2016 earnings call, Mark… Read More
“Frankly, if Hillary Clinton were a man, I don’t think she’d get 5% of the vote. The only thing she’s got going is the woman’s card,” Trump said during a news conference.
His audience barely applauded the controversial comment, which became a top-10 trending hashtag in the U.S. on Wednesday.
Twitter users, many of whom identified as Clinton supporters, began pointing out that the so-called #womancard actually isn’t worth much because of historic and persistent gender inequality. Read more…
Don’t you love that feeling that comes with keyword research?
You’re left with hundreds, often thousands, of opportunities you can target to grow your business.
If you do your keyword research well, you can even identify several relatively easy keywords to go after.
I know you’re excited.
But there’s a problem…
Which one do you go after first?
Which one do you go after second?
For the vast majority of blogs and business websites, you’ll be able to create only a few really great pieces of content a month.
That means you’ll never get to every single keyword you dug up in your research.
In fact, you may never get past 10% (but you can still be incredibly successful). So, what do you do?
Some keywords are better than others to go after for your business.
I’m going to show you a 4-step process you can follow to analyze the keywords you came up with and decide which keywords to pursue.
Step 1: Organization is key
Keyword research and analysis is not something that can just be thrown together.
You can’t randomly input keywords into tools and sporadically analyze them-it’s impossible when you have potentially thousands to go through.
That’s why organization is critical. Take the time upfront to get all your keyword research into one area.
In this case, I recommend using a spreadsheet. Once you have a list of keywords to consider, put them in a single column.
Next, get the search volumes for each keyword if you haven’t already. Just copy and paste them into the Keyword Planner if you have to.
This step isn’t hard, but it could take some time.
By the end, you should have a spreadsheet like this, with all your keywords:
Step 2: It’s time to take stock
Before you even look at your keywords, you need to decide what you’re willing to invest to go after them.
For example, if you have a $500 monthly budget, you cannot target highly competitive terms such as “home insurance” because you’ll get zero traffic. Instead, it’s better to target more realistic terms and get a steady trickle of traffic.
Since keyword research is usually tied to SEO at least a bit, you need to give yourself a fighting chance at ranking #1-3 for each keyword you target.
But put aside the competition aspect for now, and make sure you know exactly how much of the following three factors you have available.
Factor #1 – budget. To target a keyword, you’ll need two things: content and promotion (mainly backlinks).
Many businesses hire someone (or a small team) to produce content and do the promotion.
Right here, you need to be able to answer these questions:
- Do you even want to spend money on targeting keywords?
- Alternatively, do you have to spend money to do it (because no one on your team has the skills or time to)?
- If so, how much can you reliably afford to commit on a long term basis (at least 6 months)?
To get the most out of your content, you need to think long term. It takes months of consistent, high quality work before traffic starts to pick up.
That’s why it’s not enough to invest a lot upfront and then pull funding when the results aren’t amazing immediately.
If you are going to employ that approach, divide that upfront money into at least six portions, and plan your content and promotion accordingly in the future.
Factor #2 – manpower. If you don’t want to spend money to hire people to produce content and promote it, you need to do it yourself (or assign it to an employee).
Or you might want a mixture of the two options.
Either way, determine right now the maximum amount of time you, or someone on your team, can commit to working on a specific keyword.
Again, this needs to be an amount of time specifically carved out for this work. You need consistency.
Factor #3 – expectations. When I refer to expectations, I mean answering this question: How well do you need to rank in order to be happy?
Or a better question might be: How much traffic do you need if you spend a certain level of resources on your marketing and SEO?
If you’re starting from scratch, getting just 100 organic visits a day might justify the work you’re going to put in, at least for now.
But if you’re heading up this work at a large website, getting an extra 100 visits a day might be only 1% more traffic, which isn’t good enough.
The point here is to see if there’s any misalignment between the first two factors and your goals.
If you’re expecting big things with a small budget, you’re doomed before you even started. At this point, you need to revisit your budget and manpower available-or tone down your expectations.
Alternatively, if you’re expecting to get an extra few thousand visitors a month after 6 months of work with a budget of a few thousand dollars a month, that’s achievable, and you can move on to the next step.
Step 3: Competition will dictate desirability
All right, now we can get back to your list of keywords.
This step is about one thing: determining the level of competition for each keyword.
This competition level refers to how hard it will be to rank in the top 3 listings for that keyword in Google.
That being said, if you have another distribution channel (social media, forum, etc.) that you know you can get a ton of traffic from for content on a specific keyword, classify that as easy.
Essentially, we’re looking for an overall measure of how easy it will be to get a reasonable amount of traffic from each keyword.
Option #1 – assign each keyword a competition value manually: Create a column on your spreadsheet to assign a competition value in either of two ways:
- General categories – competition isn’t an exact science. You may opt to simply label each keyword with something like: easy, relatively easy, average, hard, very hard, etc.
- Specific numbers – you can also use a scale of 1-5 or 1-10, where low numbers indicate low competition and high numbers are the toughest.
I recommend the second way because we’ll be using it later on.
Here comes the hard part: figuring out the competition level for each keyword. This can take a lot of time, especially if you’re doing it all yourself.
Basically, you need to get the top 3 results (or more) for each keyword, and then look at the following factors:
- How relevant is the content? (i.e., is it clearly optimized for the keyword?)
- How impressive is the content? (can you make something significantly better?)
- How many backlinks point to the page? (only count high quality ones)
- How authoritative is the site? (e.g., Forbes is highly authoritative, potatoesarethebest.com is not)
You could also look at factors such as mobile-friendliness and page load speed, but you’ll never be able to analyze all your keywords if you include too many factors.
This doesn’t need to be a perfect analysis, but it should be at least a good estimate of what you’re up against.
Put all those together to come up with an overall competition score.
Option #2 – use a tool to gauge competition: I know I don’t have time to do the above for thousands of keywords.
The good news is that many signals can be checked automatically with tools. You can find a bunch of options in the keyword competition section of this guide.
These tools look at the above factors and then use a formula to calculate an overall competition value (usually out of 10 or 100).
This can take this step down from several hours to just minutes, which is obviously a great thing.
The one thing you sacrifice is control.
You have to trust that the minds behind the tool are weighing the factors correctly and generating a relatively good competition estimate.
I suggest trying out a tool and then manually going through a dozen keywords to see whether the tool’s competition assessment matches yours.
Step 4: It’s time to turn to math
“Oh crap, I don’t remember calculus…”
Don’t worry, you’ll need only very basic math here.
This is the final step of our analysis, where we create a score that will tell us which keywords to prioritize.
Let’s recap what we’ve done so far and, more importantly, what we’re looking for in a great keyword.
- We want keywords with low competition.
- We want to get a lot of traffic if we rank highly for it (more is better).
- It must be realistic-if a keyword has competition that clearly exceeds your budget, it should automatically be the lowest priority.
- We need a minimum amount of traffic to make it worth your time.
Part #1 – filter and eliminate: Those last two points are the easiest to start with. If a keyword doesn’t meet those conditions, it should be assigned low priority and removed from consideration.
Start with the minimum traffic level.
You’ve already decided the minimum return you need, and we’ll use that here.
If your minimum was 100 visitors per day, or 3,000 per month, a keyword with a monthly search volume of 50 will not be worth it.
Your cutoff will probably be 500-1,000 for that example. With 7-15 pieces of content, you could hit your goal, which is reasonable for most. Keep in mind that you will get only about 30% of the monthly search volume as #1 these days.
Filter out all the keywords below that monthly search volume.
Next, based on your predetermined budget and manpower, along with SEO experience, determine what competition is too high.
If you have a small budget with very little manpower or SEO experience, eliminate all keywords that are above average in difficulty.
You’ll have to judge this for yourself.
Part #2 – calculate a priority score: Now you’re left with a list of keywords that would be both good and realistic to rank for.
They should all be keywords you would target if you had enough time.
This is where the math comes in.
We’ll use the following formula:
(A*Traffic) / (B*Competition) = Priority Score
A and B are both constants that we’ll figure out in a second. Traffic and competition both come from your earlier numbers.
A high priority score is a good thing. The higher the score, the sooner you should target it.
The constants can be anything, but they mainly depend on two things:
- Risk tolerance – if you’re willing to take a risk and go for high volume keywords (that require more resources to target) make “A” larger. If you want more reliable results (small wins), make “B” larger.
- Skill level – if you’re an expert SEO, you can decrease “B” because competition isn’t as scary. If you’re not as experienced, make “B” larger.
Before you do this, I’d advise to normalize your traffic numbers. You should do this since competition is already normalized from 1 to 10 (or to 5).
To do so, take the logarithm of each number. For example:
Then, multiply each of these numbers by a scaling factor that is equal to 10 (or 5) divided by the largest number you have. If you only had the two examples above, the scaling factor would be equal to 3.33 (10 divided by 3).
Now all your traffic numbers are out of 10, and you’ll get a more reasonable set of priority scores.
Sort your list and get to work: You’ve done all the hard work. The last step is to sort your final list by the priority score, highest to lowest.
Now, plan your content and promotion schedule according to this list. Start at the keyword with the highest priority score, and work your way down.
As you can see, keyword analysis isn’t incredibly difficult, but it takes a lot of work.
While you may want to take shortcuts, don’t.
Getting your analysis right will save you from chasing the wrong keywords and wasting hundreds of hours, and it will help you target keywords that will give you the quickest results.
If you have any questions about keyword analysis, just leave me a comment below.
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