N1M4 – July – Project 24 Blogging Journey


july

“Thanks for the updates. Are you still driving traffic via social at the moment? It’s not unusual to be low on organic traffic after only 2 months. 

How much content is on your site now?” – Friend

30 articles, yes it is – Me

 

Tread Lightly in Moderated Groups

 

I have learned that posting to FB groups really helps. I have one main group that I target. When someone asks a question about radiography, I respond with a link to the article on my site that answers it. The Mods of that group ended up saying something like “we’ve talked about you and we’ve been noticing that you are doing an increasing amount of self-promoting and that isn’t what this group is for. Please refrain.” or something along those lines. Since I can’t afford to lose that pot of potential views, I backed off and it showed in my numbers.

But there is still some residual traffic coming from that group. Eventually, though, I imagine it will get buried. I did find a second group that appears to have no real moderation. So I started pounding that one with links to all my articles. Researching the mods and seeing when they last posted tells me they aren’t active. I cranked up just under 1000 pageviews yesterday by posting links to articles on group #2. Turns out, Group #1 has about 15,000 members. Group #2 has almost 35,000 members. So I’m seeing better results now. 

The problem, of course, is that I can’t just keep spamming them over and over. They’ll get sick of my repeated posts. So I’ll focus on new memes as they do drive some traffic to the blog. Then weekly, I post a “the meme page has been updated with dozens of new meme images and videos.” That will get a big influx of views for 24 hours.

Always Looking for New Groups

So I have to keep watching for more FB groups. LinkedIn is just about worthless for this sort of thing. Since my site is kind of centered around people looking into radiography, there’s no real traffic from LinkedIn for that. I did find one Reddit group that works and I post there.

I also started my own FB group and dump all my stuff there. I put a disclaimer at the top that says “groups are requesting that I stop self-promoting with my helpful articles so I opened my own group where you can see everything.” Income school says don’t bother with Facebook. They don’t like FB because they say you don’t truly own your group. I can understand that. But I’m also driving quite a bit of traffic so until organic traffic shows up, I’m going to keep after social media.

When I started the journey, I created a FB page. Now I have a FB group. I don’t fully understand the reason for a page. It seems to distract from the group because people sign up for one or the other. I’m thinking about either deleting the page or just placing one post saying “go to the group page.” (Update: I did pin a notice at the top of the Facebook Page informing visitors to use the Group page and left a link to the Group.)

Also keeping my eyes out for other social media outlets to post on….


“Hi Ron, I’m starting this same journey (project 24) and will keep an eye on this post. I chose a niche that i know nothing (dont do this mistake guys)!
I think you are doing very very well, hope i get half of your numbers! lol

Here are my two cents.  Maybe you are trying too hard to drive traffic through marketing? The project philosophy is “content is king”, they say nothing you can do to boost your traffic is as good as writing new valuable content.

I would keep pushing till get accepted by ezoic ads to boost your earnings. but after that I would wait for organic traffic kicks in…. writing more posts every week and maybe starting the second niche site.” – New Friend

Yes! I agree 100%. I don’t want to market all the time but it gets REAL addicting to see high traffic and then watch is drift off. I saw it again this week. One day dropped to 66 pageviews and I had to step in again. I found another facebook group in the same genre and started posting links to my content. Luckily, this group has absent mods. Nobody said anything about me posting 12 separate links to my content. I hit 999 pageviews by the end of the day.

I’m only pushing hard on the traffic to hit Ezoic’s requirements. I’m hoping that by month 4, their minimum age to join, I’ll be at a constant 10,000 pv per month. Then I’ll drop Adsense and start making some money.

Found what I think is another trick for traffic. Using the niche of radiography, let’s say there are radiography organizations that control what the industry of radiographers do. I saw one of the members of the org posting in Reddit on some new rules that were coming out on how radiographers can do their jobs. I contacted that person and asked if I could interview them for my radiography podcast. (I have only completed one episode so far, total noob.) The expert agreed. That will add more quality content to my site. But then I went to the FB group and told them I would be interviewing this person. I solicited their concerns and said “post your questions of what you would like to know and I’ll ask them during the interview.”

This got a lot of attention and people asking questions. That got me zero traffic but people started to ask when the podcast would be available. I told them they would find out first if they were members of my newsletter. I linked to it on my website and BAM! I’m going to mention them by first name and their questions in the podcast. This will incur interest in listening and keep them on my page longer since I embedded the podcast on my site using Libsyn (which is only $5 per month by the way!)

So the interview is tomorrow. I dropped a few more posts on the FB group with teasers to build interest. It appears to be working. Once i post the podcast episode, it should drive some good traffic with long length of stay (I shoot for one full hour.).

What I need to learn next is how to monetize the podcast episodes. Here are some thoughts on that:

  • it would be hard to get paid sponsorships given that I’m on episode number 2 but I could mention Audible and direct people to use my affiliate link
  • I could mention other affiliate links pre-show, middle and post-show. That’s three opportunities to earn some revenue but I have very low expectations that will work.
  • that’s all I know. What else can I do to earn revenue from people listening to my podcasts if I don’t have paid advertisement placed?

On another note, my go live contest is not very impressive. I only have about 50 signed up for the newsletter. The prizes are pretty decent. One is sponsored. The rest I’ll have to pay for. Will cost around $300 in the end. I need to start monetizing that newsletter now.

Paid around $50 to a service to speed up my site. I now score very high and load very fast. Hoping that does something for inviting Google organic traffic. (note: this was pre-Acabado)

I’m finishing up the youtube video aspect of the plan. I’ve done about eight vids. Seem pretty lame to me but whatever. Some are 5 minutes, one is 21 minutes. A couple I use the iphone animoji face to try and be funny. the rest are me recanting the most popular posts on video.

I need to wrap up this site and I am supposed to be starting blog #2 now. I have bought the URL and hosting. Set up Word Press. Have the first 8 Response Posts done. I’ll leak a little here cuz if you’re reading this far in the weeds, your interest is solid. This niche #2 is kayaking. I bought a new domain. Set up my Divi. The 8 posts were sitting on a blogspot I had been toying with so the content is about three months old. I reworked it a little to make it more Project 24 friendly. Wife also started her first niche. She has written one post that I need to edit. I have one other that I paid for through iWriter. Not sure I really like that service yet but I’ll keep experimenting.


I started with Blue Host as recommended by Project 24. But I have a feeling (unsubstantiated) that my Google page speed is not optimal due to the host. (Note: this turned out to be not a problem with the host). Again, not my field of expertise but to experiment, I have left my first two niche sites on Blue Host and started the next two on Site Ground. It sucks learning new platforms, so to speak, but I’ll get it down eventually. So far, Blue Host has been easier to deal with only because their internet/phone connection has been clear. Site Ground sounds like they’re in a war bunker on the other side of the world ( and English isn’t their first language.) Nevertheless, they have both helped me troubleshoot and I have no qualms about either yet. It is yet to be seen which is faster.

I say all that to get to the stats. Project 24 advised not to use the Monster plugin and just go with Google Analytics. I did that for the first two sites. I’m only a few weeks into niche site #2. The 3rd and 4th are just parked. But, on the Site Ground, I went ahead and installed all of the bells and whistles: Yoast SEO, Monster Insights, JetPack, etc. We’ll see if this slows the site down or helps at all.

For comfort, I still use StatCounter.com for viewing hit counter type statistics. It’s nowhere near as complicated as GA and shows me a lot of data. So I have it installed on everything. But I also have GA on everything. The screenshots I post here are a mix of StatCounter and GA.

I will add that site #3 (Kayak-101.com) was a new addition to an old blog that I tried to resurrect on blogger. While I was building niche site #1, I was experimenting with the Project 24 layout on my old blogger. After about 8 Response Posts, I decided I might as well give this niche its own site and get it off the blogger.

Since this is starting to confuse even me, I’ll be a little more specific.

Niche #1 is healthcare related – 90 days in and over 30 articles completed, including 8 YT vids and two podcasts. This is the one that all my Journey has been about so far. (revealed as The Radiologic Technologist)
Niche #2 is food related – two weeks in, only three articles so far, one video. Wife’s going to work this one with my help (and iWriter to help).(note: no more iWriter, too expensive and not good enough quality)
Niche #3 is outdoor sports & rec – transferred 8 Response Posts from my blogger. I”m going to work this one (and might lean on iWriter) (Kayak-101)
Niche #4 is seasonal. You guys will laugh at this one. Not enough there yet to poke fun at but…let’s just say, every year I grow my beard out woodsman style, triple bleach it and pimp myself out in a big red suit all through December. I’ve got tons of pics volunteering at nursing homes and such. I figured, what the hell. Let’s see what Project 24 can do with it.
I’m also considering building a site just like Ferdy Korp. Then offer local seminars on “How to Build a Website using Divi”.

Update: this site you are reading now turned out to be niche #5. Wife is still struggling through #2 so it isn’t worth revealing yet. I will probably end up jumping in after Kayak-101 is complete to finish #2.

Another quick tip. When I first started using iWriter, I got a really good 4000-word article from a writer for $66. Using her name, I found her on LinkedIn. I connected and offered to cut out the middle man. She accepted. I now get 4000-word articles for $40-45 (before tip). It may not be the most ethical but… this is business. And her writing is graduate level grade
AND in the healthcare niche, which is even harder IMHO.

Tip #2 – I thought I was a pretty good writer. I’m headed for my doctorate in August. Then I downloaded Grammarly and holy crap was I wrong. With only the free Grammarly, I went back and corrected every single post. Some of the suggestions are wrong but it caught a lot. Mostly was me typing fast and misspelling and not doing a good enough job proofreading. I highly recommend the free Grammarly. I have not paid for an upgrade yet but probably will someday.


“I am interested in how you see the finances going at the moment. What is your totally outlay at this point and what have you made back? I am interested to see if the $66 per article is worth it? How are you tracking the article vs revenue ?

See if you can follow me here, assuming the site needs 30 articles plus the resources pages written it adds up to around 85,000 words for a minimum site as per the instructions on Project 24. That means each site excluding hosting costs about $1000-$1500 to outlay for content. I am assuming about $1 to $1.50 per 1000 words depending on the writer. Add on hosting and domain and your total outlay is around $1600.

That seems like peanuts to pay when you consider the possible return but how is it tracking right now at the early stages ? 

Obviously if you write the content yourself your outlay is only $100-$200 per year for hosting and domain. At what point did you decide to take the plunge with writers to scale? “ – Smart Friend

You are pretty accurate in your numbers. I have laid out the following (that I can remember):
BlueHost – 80 (came with domain name)
Divi – 80 one year membership
5 articles from iWriter – probably around 150, cuz i ordered different sized articles
page speed optimization from guys here on BHW – 49 (made huge diff on speed, no effect on organic traffic that I can see…yet)
logo design – 30 (dezinerguys here on BHW), they do good work
so, i’m around 400 or so. I’ve probably spent a little more. Oh, like Gleam.io is 50/mo for contests and I ran for two months to build email list

the income school guys posted a yt video in the past week or so that reviews a website they built using their Project Rexburg writing team. Their analysis was that it takes about 13 months or so (ROI) to break even. But they don’t say what their actual expenses were so I’m assuming pretty much like you said: hosting, paid content, etc. – Me


P24plan

July 12

I have laid off social media marketing on the daily. It was bringing me around 250-300 page views each day. But the difficulty is coming up with new content every day. I have allowed the traffic to dwindle under the auspice that I was really only fooling myself with the inorganic traffic. I don’t want a site that requires three hours every day of posting crap to social media sites just to get people to go look at my site. I am relying on the Income School theory that organic traffic will start to flow around the six-month mark. That should be around early October. Fingers crossed.

Plus, the Adsense revenue of 250-300 pageviews a day is still ridiculously low in my opinion.

So the past few days I’ve had under 100 pageviews on the first niche site. I have been focusing on my second niche site and have right around 10 response posts. I’ll be moving to the second tier of posts soon: Staple posts.

My contest is about over. I set it up to run the duration of the 3-month building cycle for niche #1. The Gleam.io membership cost me $49 / mo x 2 months and I really don’t think it was worth the results. That’s $100 expense in an attempt to build up a subscriber newsletter base. In the end, I’m only looking at about 40 subscribers. The software was super easy to use and looks very nice on the GUI side. My hopes were that someone would go ninja on this thing and share it all over social media. It just didn’t happen. So, after July 14, I’m taking down the contest and canceling Gleam.io. You can see about half of the subscribers didn’t sign up correctly and used a popup rather than the contest widget. So I had to manually enter them into the subscription base. Nobody has dropped since signing up. I put out an email every Monday cataloging what has happened in the past week and what is on the agenda for the upcoming week.

contest

I’ll post my adsense from today, which shows page views are down 40% (Last 7 days vs previous 7 days). My Impressions are down 63%. But my Page CTR is up 47%. So it almost seems like while I did lose page views, the people that still showed up clicked my ads more. I lost dead weight?

july 12 adsense

Spinners versus Content Writers

I researched spinners yesterday on a whim. WordAI popped up a lot in conversations so I tried them out. I signed up for their trial service. Three days free but they collect all of our billing info upfront. I spun a few articles. There’s a learning curve to figure out which of their many options you want to use when you spin. In the end, I pulled one article out of it and posted it.

I set it to replace words. It does a very good job of this. I kept reading through the spin on my left screen and the original on my right screen. Sometimes the spin wouldn’t make any sense. I’d have to read the original and decipher… then reword. Altogether, I took the #1 ranked competitor page for specific topics and spun it. I think it looks decent. I added my own pics and personal inuendos.

Then I canceled my subscription today. At $59 / month, it’s a little steep for me right now. I already wasted enough money on contests and such. Plus, I figured I could use this spinner for the full 3-day trial and download a bunch of articles….NOPE. As soon as I canceled, it said “You have canceled but your membership stays active until the end of your trial period.” which is tomorrow. So I happily loaded up another article and hit SPIN.

It failed and told me that my account had been canceled. If I wanted to continue using the service, I had to turn it back on. Well, that’s not what it said when I canceled. Nevertheless, I walked away for now.

In the future, I can see using WorkAI to help during creative slumps. It seems easier to me to rewrite an article than to come up with original articles sometimes.

Smart Friend chimed in:

“I like SmallSEOTools “Article Rewriter”. It’s your fairly standard synonym replacer and, like you, I have the original up on my second screen to decipher. Actually got to the point where I was just going paragraph by paragraph and rephrasing them myself. Then I run it through Grammarly and SmallSEOTools Plagiarism Checker. They claim to not store the texts you’re searching on. Can’t say the same about Copyscape (nothing about it that I’ve seen easily on their site), but they’re a good second check. SmallSEOTools checks at the sentence level for exact matches, while Copyscape will let you know if parts of the sentences match. 

Oh, forgot to mention that SmallSEOTools is free.

I am only at 20 articles on the first niche site. I am using Google auto ad placement and I don’t think its great. I’ll likely remove it and place ads specifically in spots that make sense. The Blog looks a mess with the auto ad placements.

My CPC is much higher than yours as is my RPM. Considering the effort I put into this site (which isn’t much) its paying for itself but I’m looking at getting up to that 30 articles in the next month or two.

have you put a Facebook pixel on your website yet? Do this asap. Once you do this you get to know your target market. If you make a product or you can increase your RPM to $10+ then by having the facebook pixel you learn who to target with Facebook paid ads and how much you should be spending on getting that traffic to make a profit. But first, you need to get the data so start collecting it now.”

I manually place the ad code where I want it. I do no top banner but place several in the body of long posts. Then the obligatory footer. But I will check out the Pixel. – Me


 

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