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$1,000 Challenge: Update 4.5

Yes, I have skipped "Update 4" due to hosting issues. I sent an email to those of you who entered, so I am not going to go into a long-winding rant about it on here as well.

The good news is the site is up, though I still need to clean it all up. How fun!

Also, as I changed from my old Hostgator hosting to SiteGround, I figured it was a great time to take advantage of SiteGround's free HTTPS program and switch to a secured site.

Now on to the outsourced site challenge update!

Quick Review

Since it's been a couple of weeks since I last posted on here, I figure the best way to get started is a brief refresher of what has been done so far. 

Work done so far -

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    Did keyword research using KWFinder
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    Picked a niche (however I am not revealing that for obvious reasons)
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    Outsourced content from Human Proof Designs
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    Picked and purchased a partial match domain from Namecheap
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    Purchased and set up hosting from SiteGround
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    Found a writer on Upwork for some basic web 2.0 content
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    Chose and purchased a one-off WordPress theme from ThemeForest
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    Set up the 2.0 sites so they index and age
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    Set up the basic money site (installed the theme, added the contact & about pages, etc.)
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    Tiered the 2.0 sites with a low-cost automated 2.0 service from Fiverr

That's a whole lot of steps to go through before even publishing the first post. The good news is we can now move on to where the money is potentially made.

Time to Populate the Site

All of the groundwork has been done, and great news! My Human Proof Designs content came in a few days ago!

As I previously stated in a different update, I wish I could have bought a bigger package, but the $1,000 budget is keeping me in check. 

Publishing the Content

In the missing "Update 4", which is sadly lost forever, I went into a very long explanation of how I sometimes silo the content on my affiliate sites. 

A very very quick rundown of my base idea was that I use three basic tiers of content -

  1. the homepage, usually static, but a magazine-style homepage would work too - this links down to the top of each silo
  2. the top of the silos, which are usually non-branded "best" and "reviews" keywords that someone with the intent to buy a product would use
  3. under each silo are supporting reviews targeting a mix of branded and lower traffic keywords - these posts link up to the top of the silo
  4. I also sometimes add a blog running parallel to all the of the silos linking to them

Here's what it might look like -

silo

This type of site architecture absolutely works. However, I am not using it on this new affiliate site.

Why?

The sub-silo supporting content requires a decent amount of time and money (resources) and due to competing with e-commerce sites and/or being based around low search volume doesn't pull in many earnings leading to a rather low direct ROI. Due to the restrictions of this challenge, it's just not possible to build the site this way.

Instead, I am using a simple architecture using a card based theme. This allows the winner to either maintain the same structure, or develop the site into a silo architecture if they choose to expand the site. 

As far as getting the new content up, here are some highlights.

Permalinks

If you are building a site as you follow along, don't forget this step. No one, including Google, likes ugly URLs. I tend to make these short and leave out the buying keywords like "reviews" as a way to make sure I don't over-optimize. 

If you are not sure what I am talking about, you can read more about URL structure here

Amazon TOS

A fast way to ruining an Amazon niche site is by getting booted from the Amazon affiliate program. Do what you can to abide by their TOS.

One easy-to-avoid mistake involves images. DON'T download images from Amazon and upload them to your hosting. DO use the Amazon API or their Sitestripe.

I used Stripestripe to link to the reviewed products. But, I didn't go crazy with affiliate links. I can always add more after the site is ranking. 

Internal & Outbound Linking

I like to make sure that when I start to build links, the incoming link juice bounces around the site. I make sure to add some internal links within the content when it makes sense.

I also don't think it's a natural look to only have internal and affiliate links. I always add at least one outbound link per post to a relevant site.

Use Time Wisely

In the past I would spend tons of time trying to make each post perfect. I wanted it to look great and be a conversion machine. But, this might be a big waste of time.

Since this site is built with SEO in mind, it's not going to get traffic right away. Of course I want to make sure it's built to rank, but I can worry about making it look perfect when it starts to pull in some traffic.

In Summary

The bulk of the site is up. I have published the Human Proof Designs content and it's already starting to index. I also tiered the 2.0 sites so they are ready to link out from when I'm ready.

Here's where everything currently stands - 

The Good - Almost all of the initial content is done, and it's online. Everything is aging and getting ready for the off-site SEO work. I'm also doing OK with the budget.

The Bad - The theme I chose is nice, but it will take a little more effort than using something like Thrive to get the final version to look as good as I would want it to. Oh, and the hassle of fixing this site has been a thorn in my side.

Money Spent - As of Update 3 we had spent a total of $472. I only spent an additional $16 on the Fiverr gig for tiering the 2.0's.

That puts us at an total expenditure to date of: $488

That leaves us with a nice chuck of change for link building: $512

Time Spent - Before this update we had about 9 hours and 15 minutes invested. I tinkered a bit with the content and proofread a little more than maybe I should have at first. It took me about 3 hours to get the site up to a basic standard of acceptability, which was probably more than I should have spent.  

That puts us at a total time of around 12 hours and 15 minutes to date.

Next Step - It's time to get some basic links built. I like to start with a very simple press release. 

This is ONLY for anchor link pillowing/diversification and to kind of "wake up" the site. It's not for a rankings boost or anything like that. 

I think I have enough left in the budget to just pay someone on Fiverr to write a simple PR and run it through syndication for me. 

Once that is done and I see more pages start to index, I'll link to the money site from the 2.0 sites I have previously set up.

That's it for now. Thanks for reading and keep ranking.

  • Brad

    Thanks for the update Tim! Great progress so far.

    I’m just wondering about “tiering the 2.0 links” – can you explain that in more detail? I’ve never understood what that’s about.

    Does it simply mean setting it up so anytime you publish a post, it gets posted on a 2.0?

    • Tim

      Hey Brad,

      A tier is basically building a set of links behind your links. So, Links –> Links –> money site.

      • Brad

        Hi Tim,

        Ok that sounds good.

        Basically you great a few 2.0s and link them to your money site. Then, create more 2.0s and point them to the 2.0s that point to your money site.

        Correct?

        • Tim

          Yes, exactly.

  • Peter

    Hi Tim! Great summary of your project. I keep following your strategy. I just have a question about tiering the links. I have an Amazon Affiliate site bought from HPD. I’ve already paid for a great tiering service (The Hoth) seeing great results of it. Do you recommend buy more tier service (even from Fiverr) to make better ranking? Thank you!

    • Tim

      Hi Peter,

      I would NOT add any more tiers at that point. I basically just want to get my 2.0’s to index. After that, throwing more low quality links at them gets more risky for not much reward IMO.

      • Peter

        Hi Tim, thank you very much for your kind help! All the best for your challenge.