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How To Build A Successful Blog From Scratch: Three Month Update

If you read my first update, you’ll know I’ve started a new authority site case study with both a site that I am building and one that my student is building. In my last update, I talked about the things we did just after getting the site up and running – primarily link building and starting to think about content.

In this update, I focus on what comes next as well as how both sites are performing 3 months in. I also update you with how I am monetising my site today which has changed recently thanks to Amazon Australia finally starting an affiliate program.

I want to remind you that this case study isn’t just about how to build a successful blog from scratch but also to show that you don’t need much time. Neither of us are working on our blogs anywhere close to full time. You don’t have to work a zillion hours to grow a profitable blog.

Ready?

If you haven’t read my last update, make sure you read it now here before continuing.

Want to start your own  site? Click here to download my New Blog Checklist. It tells you what to concentrate on in the beginning to set you up for SEO success so you don’t need to spend all your time online.

Site 1: Three months in

In my previous updates, I covered:

  • The monetisation strategy behind my new blog
  • Buying my domain name and creating my blog
  • Getting “starter content” up on my blog
  • Reserving my social media channels
  • Getting the site looking ok
  • Link building
  • Email list building

Want to see all these steps so you can follow them yourself?

Click here to download my FREE New Blog Checklist.

I am definitely doing everything as fast as I can – I don’t have the time to work on this blog and I’m definitely following the 80/20 rule when it comes to prioritising what I do. I would also prefer to focus on medium-term strategies that bring in passive income than focusing on short-term gains.

Between the seven week update and three months, I:

  • Moved hosts
  • Added a couple of short articles not written to keywords (one did manage to bring in some search traffic though)
  • Built some more links – I was up to 35 links to the site
  • Set up a rss feed email newsletter
  • Had my team member write and publish our first product guide
  • Had my team member make a quick logo and put it on the blog and social media channels
  • Had my team member write keyword plans for four more buying guides
  • Passed the keyword plans on to a writer

Other than adding the logo, we did not do anything else on the social media accounts.

Amazon Australia opened in late November so during this period. There was no affiliate program at this point but it did make me feel pressure that I wanted to get the site performing better, faster before there started being more competition with product guides. This is why I decided to pay to outsource four articles.

In the following video, I talk through what I was doing and why. I highly recommend you watch it all. Note that it was filmed about 2.5 months in so I did do some extra work noted above before the end of three months and the page views were different than stated in this video.

I do want to add that I have since hired a more expensive (but still very affordable) writer, Melissa from SEO Right, and I am not finding any difference to how well the articles perform.

My next steps were:

  • Adding the outsourced buying guides
  • Writing some posts about my trip to Europe
  • Adding more links (ALWAYS!)
  • Optimising an article that was performing in search results (but hadn’t been written to keywords)

At the three month mark, I had no monetisation on my blog – no affiliate links, no advertisements – beyond some links to Amazon US so I could use their images in my articles.

Month 3 Traffic And Earnings

Traffic: 282 users (up from 75. 25 from Google)

Earnings : AUD$0

Costs: AUD$347

($39 for hosting and approximately $308 for 11 hours of my team member’s time. You could save on this by hiring from less expensive countries)

Month 3 Traffic

Site 2: Three months in

Site 2 is being built by DNW community member, Leanna.

She has two big goals for her site:

  1. To become THE authority site on her region of the US
  2. To make a full time income from her blog starting with affiliate marketing

Unlike my site, Site 1, which I started in September last year so I am giving updates on how it was performing 3 months in, Leanna is working on this site now and is 3 months into building it RIGHT NOW.

Leanna is currently working on only two things:

  1. Building links
  2. Writing articles to keywords. Some of these are based on ones that will convert well as affiliate articles and some are based on building her site up to be the authority

She is doing a great job and already has about 35 links published and 20 keyword rich posts.

To give you an idea how much time this is taking, she is currently working 10-15 hours.

Month 3 Traffic And Earnings

Traffic: 182 users (up from 90)

Currently showing up for 633 keywords (was 108) in Google search.

Earnings:  $0 (down from US$1.43)

Costs: $12

(KeySearch subscription – keyword research tool)

Looking for a list of exactly what to do for blogging success?

You can currently get a two-month action plan of exactly what to do to grow your blog’s traffic and income when joining Build Blog Freedom.

Click here for more details.

How is my blog progressing at it’s nine month-iversary?

As mentioned above, Site 1 was started in mid September so it has just turned nine months old.

In the last update, I talked about how the Amazon Australia affiliate program had finally opened.

This program is central to my monetisation strategy and I’m happy to report that my earnings are increasing.

As I reported last month, Amazon is just not big in Australia yet. There is a limited range and the prices are high. I don’t know anyone who buys from it.

However, my earnings are already up a lot in June from May despite my traffic levels not changing much. I expect my Amazon earnings to be triple what they were in May so it seems like more people are buying on Amazon all the time. At the halfway mark in June, I’ve earned about AUD$275.

If this site was American with this level of quality traffic, I would expect to be getting up to $5000 a month. My hope is that this is just a matter of time!

My site building goals

I am so happy with the progress of my blog is this case study that I have recently started two more sites and added a new goal to my ongoing business strategy – selling one six-figure site per year.

Working with Leanna has encouraged me to step on the destination blog bandwagon. You can see one of the sites (all about my home base of Melbourne) here. We have not had time to work on it much yet so there is not much to see.  It does already have quite a few links as I follow the same process I am showing in this case study.

My plan is to spend a year building up each site – like in this case study. I outsource what I can and hope to recover the (minimal) costs by the 12 month mark.

I then wait another year for the traffic and affiliate marketing to get to high levels (this is based on what I have seen with new sites in the past). Then I wait another year before listing to sell – because sites are worth far more when they are three years old. I expect the sites to bring in good money during these last two years.

Why am I doing this?

Because it’s highly lucrative. As long as you are happy to be patient and put in the work today for a big pay off later, this works.

I am currently listing my next site to sell right now. It will hopefully be on Empire Flippers in the next couple of weeks.

I hope this update has inspired you and shown you what is possible.

I also hope it helps you understand what solid steps you can take with a new blog to start growing it in the minimal time possible.

You can have blogging success.

I’ll show you 🙂

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I’d love to know your thoughts on this case study in the comments below or let me know in the DNW Facebook group!

About the Author

Sharon Gourlay is passionate about working online and helping others to follow in her footsteps. She left Australia with her young family at the end of 2014 determined to grow an online business. She succeeded and now supports her family of 5 to live their dream lifestyle.

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