Failure

Not everyone is familiar with the term “niche website“.

In a nutshell, it means you create a small website (25 pages or less) on one specific topic.

For example, a website about bowling could be a niche website.

The idea behind my niche website was pretty simple. Find a topic with low competition, highly searched keywords and create content around it.

But I did an interesting spin on my website.

I decided that I was going to try to create a website that was 90% outsourced.

Meaning, I would outsource 90% of the work to other people and see what happened.

Why did I do it this way?

Well, aside from a full-time job, I was teaching college courses at three schools and trying to get my doctoral degree.

So yes, my plate was FULL.

After I got finished with work each day, I would focus on managing a writer and a web developer to create the website.

The end result?

An ugly looking website.

Content that was written with broken English. (I outsourced from India, what did I expect?)

However, the real test was going to be on how much traffic I got.

Now remember, I spent HOURS researching this website and over $400 to get all of the content and web development done.

And what happened?

Not too much traffic for the month….

But what really mattered to me at that time was how much money I made.

So, I eagerly opened up my Google Adsense account…

And there it was…..

I’ll admit I was a little energized by this because it was SOMETHING.

But mostly, I was really disappointed.

$1.47 per month isn’t enough to live on.

Experiment failed.

But that was just the beginning….

In my next project, I decided I’d focus on Google Adwords.

Specifically, I choose Google Display ads. 

(Display ads are the ads with images on them)

The reason I choose display ads was because it costs around $0.05 per click.

My thought was that I could sell an affiliate product I loved by using these ads.

(An affiliate product is someone else’s product or service you recommend and get a commission if someone buys it.)

The product I choose was Dragon Naturally Speaking software which had a $40 commission.

I thought to myself, this is gonna be a winner. All I had to do was get a spend less than $40 per purchase and I’d be set.

So, I created a very small website using a theme I purchased.

Online Business Truth #6

Using a website theme will decrease your cost of building a website significantly.  I highly recommend that you use one to build your own website.  My favorite themes can be found at Thrive Themes.

I created the display ads using Microsoft paint.

Then I launched a display ad campaign.

And wouldn’t you know it, I had 1,298 clicks to my website and……

Drumroll please……………

No affiliate sales.

FAILURE.

Probably 15 hours and around $100 in ad spend, gone.

Okay so……two failures under my belt…..

But then brilliance hit me.

What if I tried the exact same thing I did on Google Display ads…But did it by advertising with a video on YouTube instead?!!?

If I created a video where people SEE the software in action

Then they’d definitely buy it!

Right?

I made a video and advertised on YouTube.  

And then……

Failure.  No sales at all.

I did these little experiments over and over again.

I tried selling courses, failed.

I tried more affiliate marketing, failed.

I tried blogging more often, didn’t matter.

I kept trying new things because everyone else seemed to make them work, so why couldn’t I?

Eventually I got the hint that all of these “get rich quick” ideas weren’t working.

So, I had to try something new.

While looking for ideas, I glanced at the analytics for my previously failed 90% outsourced website.

Online Business Truth #7

Base all of your decisions on analytics.  Forget your intuition.  Your analytics tell a story, learn what that story is and adjust.

Turns out, it had made $12 in the last month…..

But I hadn’t even looked at the website for about three months…..

This was truly passive income.

Then, a light bulb went off.

What if I created an AUTHORITY niche website.

In other words, a website that wasn’t 10 pages of mediocre content…

….but a website that had hundreds of pages of great content.

So, I decided to focus on this new project and this is where things started to change.

But first, I had to come up with the right topic.