I have been receiving a great number of emails and messages from various people over the past year all basically asking the same question. "Is that cruise blog of yours earning $100 a day?" Well, due to popular demand I thought I would give you an update on where this particular site is at now and also describe briefly my mistakes at the time and what I do differently now.
First of all, on average the cruise blog is earning around $10 bucks a day now every day. Yes, this is well short of my original challenge target but when you consider I have done absolutely nothing to this site in well over a year, no new content, no new backlinks.. NOTHING.. it ain't that bad.
The site is receiving around 200 - 250 unique visitors a day on average with peak traffic pre-summer. My CTR on average over the past year is 8% and although the earnings per click do fluctuate daily, it gets about 80 cents per click. The highest earning click was $4.84 in March.
My Early Mistakes
So ultimately the challenge failed to reach $100 a day and with hindsight although it captured people's imaginations it was always going to be difficult to achieve. The other mistake was putting such a tough time limit on it. This led to me taking short cuts and not spending enough time on creating better content.
What I Do Differently Now
1. Never start a new site based on keyword research.
2. Do extensive research into my chosen niche to get to the heart of it and find out everything that makes it tick!
3. Only after I know the niche inside out do I translate that into keywords. Initially targeting keywords that are achievable for Google's top 10. My motto being "start small to grow big"..
4. Give my target audience what they are looking for in terms of information and try to make it as interesting and thought provoking as possible. This is the where all my extensive niche research really pays off. I know how to switch the buttons of my audience = viral link bait!
5. The normal on-page and off-page SEO rules apply except I ensure that I put my calculator away when it comes to working out the percentage of your content that should be your target keyword.
6. Utilize the power of social media like facebook, Twitter and also use social networking in an effective manner to create "social buzz". This is where good information rich non-salesy content is vital.
7. Quality backlinks from relevant other sites.
8. Don't use Linkwheels or any other pattern based linking scheme. Pattern based backlinking like this is at best mildly effective. All backlinking has to be random in nature.
9. Article directory syndication, blog commenting, guest authoring, press releases, effective link exchanges, small amount of profile backlinks all work for promotion of pages still.
10. Create link bait in the form of software downloads, forums, ebook giveaways, diagrams, charts and anything else that is original, interesting and answers a need. This is truly the best way of attaining backlinks and promoting a site!
This is where I am at now and if I were to restart the challenge again it would be from these points.