[Journey] Niche blogging using Income School Concepts

Anon9109

Junior Member
Joined
Aug 31, 2020
Messages
197
Reaction score
317
I have been blogging since 2009, but this August I started my first niche blog and my first time really even paying attention to SEO, honestly. I am primarily using income school ideas.

Published my first article for this new blog August 21st 2020. At some point I found BigRon's thread on income school on here, and read some on reddit. I've really enjoyed my little niche blog journey so far and just wanted to share with others who may be interested.

So...what am I doing?

I made a niche blog that is focusing on making helpful content, primarily based on google predicted search text and "alphabet soup" research. My niche is vaguely beauty related, and is a personal interest (almost hobby?) of mine. I'm trying to include answer targets that can be picked up as snippets. I'm not doing any intentional backlink building. While I primarily am basing my posts on predictive search suggestions, I have done a few posts based on questions that I regularly see asked on reddit or facebook groups for my niche. I have made all of my posts at least 1000 words, most are in the 1200-1400 range or so. I try to make my content thorough and helpful. Trying to use subheadings and other formatting that makes my posts scannable. I'm using all my own photos, and am making pinnable graphics for most of my posts.

Outside of search, the main other area of effort for this blog is Pinterest. From my other blogs, I know that Pinterest is a better use of time vs most other social media. I have pins on my other blogs that are years old and get me lots of traffic every single month. So I think Pinterest is worth the time and I am making pinterest graphics for most of my posts. I am networking with other bloggers and doing a 'pin for pin' type exchange to try to get my pins off the ground.

I have Fb, twitter and Instagram accounts for this blog but I do very quick updates to briefly explain what a post is about and then paste the link.

Goals?
I'd like this blog to be a source of income, but I also want to really enjoy the 'work'. I don't want to fall into the trap that I have with my other blogs, where I am writing sponsored posts about crap I don't really care about, just for the check. I also don't want to fall into the trap of spending a ton of time on social media. I do not like social media work. I want this blog to generate it's traffic more on its own, from organic research and pinterest.

I guess my current goal would be to get to 50k pageviews/month for the sake of getting into mediavine?

I chose a niche that I am truly passionate about, and I really enjoy writing about it. One downside to my niche choice is that it's not a great choice for affiliate revenue. I was completely aware of that when I chose the niche. There are certainly plenty of products related to my topic, but most of them are low cost. They're also items that a lot of people would probably purchase in person instead of online. So, I add affiliate links when I mention products but they're cheap products and I never expect affiliate income to be a major source of revenue from this blog. It'll primarily be ads, I expect.

I just wanted to explain what my journey is for this first post. Will follow up with my first stats update in a comment. :)
 

Anon9109

Junior Member
Joined
Aug 31, 2020
Messages
197
Reaction score
317
So, how have the first 4 months gone?
whcjan1.png
I got trickles of organic traffic starting at about week 5 (late September), and then it started to pick up more in mid October and steadily increased through the very beginning of December. Then, the google core update hit me hard. I had a few blog posts that had ranked #1 for their main keyword and were ranking well for similar/related searches as well. Losing those hurt. I had been getting about 1/3 of my overall traffic via 'google discover' which was recommending my posts, and it completely stopped the day of the core update. I assume they must choose posts for google discover that are ranking well on search? I still have several #1 positions for various keywords (a dozen or so at least?), but none of them are as highly searched as the ones that I lost, unfortunately.

I waited until Google had announced the core update was officially finished, and then went back and added some answer targets I had skipped over, and edited some others. I regained a few #1 spots through that.

The first week or so after the core update hit, my overall traffic was higher than the following week or so. However, the traffic that first week after the update was largely coming from Pinterest. This below is just my organic traffic from the day it really hit (Dec 4th) through today. So, my organic traffic tanked on the day of the core update, but has slowly increased since then.
whcsearchjan1.png

I am attempting to participate in the 'ultimate content warrior' event that income school is doing this month. I submitted an older post for today's challenge. I'm hoping that the feedback they provide to my submissions will be educational.

Other than that, I'm mostly just planning to move ahead with getting out new articles when I can. I have a pretty long list of ideas. I seem to be managing about 2 posts a week most of the time which I am fairly happy with.
 

Anon9109

Junior Member
Joined
Aug 31, 2020
Messages
197
Reaction score
317
Realized a couple of other key aspects of my journey so far that I forgot to mention.

In late November I got this blog into Ezoic ads. After a couple of weeks I realized the ads were triggering google search console errors on mobile. Text too small to read, clickable items too close together, and content wider than screen, were the 3 errors that it kept throwing. They also had really slowed down my site bad. So, I turned the ads off for now. Was not very happy with Ezoic customer service though I had never had problems with them before (I use them for one of my other blogs too). I emailed them to let them know that we had realized these search console errors were coming up only when ads were being displayed on different pages. The response they gave me was that their ads wouldn't usually cause those errors but that the easy fix would be ot add padding to the ad placements instead of turning off my ads. I assume they were annoyed that I had turned off the ads but I didn't care for the way they responded. Didn't plan to stay with them once my site was big enough for a better network anyway, but definitely not a big fan now. Anyway, we've had other stuff going on so I haven't got the padding added or tried to turn the ads back on, but my traffic had taken such a hit anyway that it wouldn't have been much $. But I had made about $60 in ads in the 3 weeks or so that I did have them up.

The other thing I forgot was reddit. There are a couple of relevant subreddits for my niche. Neither allowed self-promotion but I've talked to the moderator of the one closest to my niche and it's gone really well. She sees my content has helpful to the users of the subreddit and asked if she could link to some of my content in the wiki that is in the process of being built. That conversation happened a couple of months ago and the wiki is still just bare bones, it's been being created very slowly. The subreddit has less than 20k subscribers but is quite active. Anyway, I have links to 2 of my articles in the wiki so far. As a result of that, I have come across several threads on the subreddit where people mention my content and how helpful they found it, etc which is really cool. So I seem to be building some credibility with the community there and getting good feedback as well. The traffic seems minimal so far but the way it's being received by this community tells me that I'm on the right track with making helpful content which is important to me.
 

pr3miere

Power Member
Joined
May 10, 2014
Messages
578
Reaction score
342
Great job, OP!
How do you rank for these kind of highly competitive keywords?
 

Plastic Bowl

Jr. VIP
Jr. VIP
Joined
Jul 11, 2019
Messages
145
Reaction score
83
Great start OP! That's awesome that you get in with a reddit mod. Hopefully that relationship gets you some good traffic.

Have you looked into automating your social media at all? Beauty does great on Pinterest and I've had a lot of success automating on there!
 

st24a

Registered Member
Joined
Oct 3, 2020
Messages
54
Reaction score
22
Wow, inspiring thread. It's great that you're in a niche you truly enjoy. For that reason alone your journey is inspiring. I really hope you make good money out of this. Please keep doing the updates. Good luck in your journey
 

Anon9109

Junior Member
Joined
Aug 31, 2020
Messages
197
Reaction score
317
Great job, OP!
How do you rank for these kind of highly competitive keywords?
Thank you. I am not certain, but I don't really think the terms I am ranking for would be considered high competition. I think most of my posts would be considered low competition and some may even be more 'no' competition. There are a couple of mine that had results come up for the query, but the results weren't a 100% on-target match for the query. So I 'won' some primarily just for my content being more on-target than anything else out there. Others did have some on-target results, but I just created more thorough content which is why I think I 'won' those. I think the IncomeSchool concept of writing 'answer targets' to try to win snippets has been super helpful for me as well. I suspect that some of my #1 spots were just won due to having a good answer target.

I do have a few posts ranked highly that do have some good competition, such as brands or bigger blogs had accurate content on those too. I think I basically won them by creating more thorough content. In one case, it was describing how to do something and I put a lot of effort into including a lot of photos so you can easily understand it. Where others were just describing it. So with that one I think having good images to help explain made my content better than others'.
 

Anon9109

Junior Member
Joined
Aug 31, 2020
Messages
197
Reaction score
317
Great start OP! That's awesome that you get in with a reddit mod. Hopefully that relationship gets you some good traffic.

Have you looked into automating your social media at all? Beauty does great on Pinterest and I've had a lot of success automating on there!
I haven't, really. I knew from my first two blogs (this niche blog is my third) that Pinterest is a better use of time than Twitter or Facebook. So I have put a little bit of effort into Pinterest for this blog, but I really should research more about what makes the pinterest algorithm happy these days. Here's what I'm currently doing with Pinterest for my niche blog:
Making graphics that are ideal size for Pinterest, with text overlays and such, to put in each of my posts. Or at least 95% of them, I do have a few posts that I am pretty sure wouldn't get searched on Pinterest so I did skip a couple. Though I also have other posts where they cover multiple questions so I also have a few posts that have multiple pinterest graphics.

I have a pinterest account that is specific to this blog and I have only been pinning content specific to my niche on it.
I save all of my own pins to this account.
Then from my other account (For my main blog which is basically a lifestyle blog so it has some appropriate boards for thesepins) I have been repinning the ones from my niche blog.
I have tailwind for the pinterest account for my main lifestyle blog. So from the lifestyle pinterest account, I have been adding my niche blog pins to tailwind "tribes" and "smartloops".
I am a member of some Facebook blogging groups (mostly lifestyle or mommy blogs) that have "repin chores'. This is basically where everyone leaves a link to a pin, and then everyone repins everyone else's repins. I'm able to submit a pink from my niche blog, but then repin content from others on my lifestyle pinterest account, to avoid clogging up my niche pinterest with irrelevant pins.

That's it. I have no real idea if the tailwind tribes, tailwind smartloops, or facebook repin chores are actually helping or not? I've just sort of been in the habit of doing those for years for my other blogs and have seen some general pinterest success on my other blogs. But it's ot based on any particular knowledge of how pinterest works.

I remember reading a while back that pinterest now prefers 'refresh pins' so most bloggers are making several pinterest graphics per blog post but that just seems like such a burden to me? i haven't tried that out.

It seems like around Christmas something shifted with my Pinterest, I've been seeing noticeably more traffic from Pinterest. Not sure if it just takes time to settle into ranking on Pinterest searches or what has caused the increase. Here is my pinterest traffic since September, certainly headed in the right direction. But yeah I'm largely just winging it and should look into having a more intentional pinterest strategy, probably.

If you have any specific recommendations for techniques or any resources you've read or watched that helped you a lot i'd be all ears. :)
 

Attachments

  • pinterestjan10.png
    pinterestjan10.png
    53.2 KB · Views: 126

Plastic Bowl

Jr. VIP
Jr. VIP
Joined
Jul 11, 2019
Messages
145
Reaction score
83
I haven't, really. I knew from my first two blogs (this niche blog is my third) that Pinterest is a better use of time than Twitter or Facebook. So I have put a little bit of effort into Pinterest for this blog, but I really should research more about what makes the pinterest algorithm happy these days. Here's what I'm currently doing with Pinterest for my niche blog:
Making graphics that are ideal size for Pinterest, with text overlays and such, to put in each of my posts. Or at least 95% of them, I do have a few posts that I am pretty sure wouldn't get searched on Pinterest so I did skip a couple. Though I also have other posts where they cover multiple questions so I also have a few posts that have multiple pinterest graphics.

I have a pinterest account that is specific to this blog and I have only been pinning content specific to my niche on it.
I save all of my own pins to this account.
Then from my other account (For my main blog which is basically a lifestyle blog so it has some appropriate boards for thesepins) I have been repinning the ones from my niche blog.
I have tailwind for the pinterest account for my main lifestyle blog. So from the lifestyle pinterest account, I have been adding my niche blog pins to tailwind "tribes" and "smartloops".
I am a member of some Facebook blogging groups (mostly lifestyle or mommy blogs) that have "repin chores'. This is basically where everyone leaves a link to a pin, and then everyone repins everyone else's repins. I'm able to submit a pink from my niche blog, but then repin content from others on my lifestyle pinterest account, to avoid clogging up my niche pinterest with irrelevant pins.

That's it. I have no real idea if the tailwind tribes, tailwind smartloops, or facebook repin chores are actually helping or not? I've just sort of been in the habit of doing those for years for my other blogs and have seen some general pinterest success on my other blogs. But it's ot based on any particular knowledge of how pinterest works.

I remember reading a while back that pinterest now prefers 'refresh pins' so most bloggers are making several pinterest graphics per blog post but that just seems like such a burden to me? i haven't tried that out.

It seems like around Christmas something shifted with my Pinterest, I've been seeing noticeably more traffic from Pinterest. Not sure if it just takes time to settle into ranking on Pinterest searches or what has caused the increase. Here is my pinterest traffic since September, certainly headed in the right direction. But yeah I'm largely just winging it and should look into having a more intentional pinterest strategy, probably.

If you have any specific recommendations for techniques or any resources you've read or watched that helped you a lot i'd be all ears. :)

I haven't been in the pinterest game for a while sadly, not sure how relavent my advice would be. My pintertest grew a lot from people pinning things from my blog.

For stuff on Pinterest itself, I basically automated postings from my blog onto relavent boards and it worked. I was honestly kind of doing it blind too!
 

Anon9109

Junior Member
Joined
Aug 31, 2020
Messages
197
Reaction score
317
Quick update:
Traffic is ooking up the last few days. I saw discussion on reddit where people were suspecting that there may be a small google update going on because the SERP rankings have been fluctuating more than usual the last 2 days? Not sure if that is true or not, but I did gain at least one new #1 search result though maybe that was just a coincidence. But my traffic in general and organic traffic is climbing up, whatever the cause. It's really nice to see it climbing back closer to where I was before the core update hit me.
This view is my organic traffic only, and it includes today's date which is why it seems to go back down a bit. It's only 6pm here and it's always 3-4 hours behind so it's only showing data from about 3pm. I assume today should end close to where yesterday ended, given that.
organicjan10.png
And this second shot is simply all of my traffic, which looks even better. I am getting more traffic from Pinterest as well as more "direct" traffic. I don't imagine it's truly direct traffic as in people typing in my URL. I've seen that Google will consider traffic 'direct' if they aren't sure of the source. But I wish I knew what it was coming from. Prior to the google core update hitting me, I was getting google discover traffic that was making up almost 1/3 of my overall traffic. So when I saw my direct traffic ic climbing, I checked google console but I am not getting traffic via google discover. So, not sure what the real source is but, I'll take it.
alltrafficjan10.png
 

Camper321

Regular Member
Joined
Jul 31, 2018
Messages
232
Reaction score
122
You are doing extremely well for only having 40 posts published. Perhaps you are better at KW research than you initially thought?
 

Anon9109

Junior Member
Joined
Aug 31, 2020
Messages
197
Reaction score
317
You are doing extremely well for only having 40 posts published. Perhaps you are better at KW research than you initially thought?
Thank you. Maybe so? I am just using google predictive search and trying to gauge competition on my own, based on the top results for the query. So far I've mainly attempted words that I thought were between no competition and mid level competition. I suspect that my niche in general is not particularly competitive.
 

Anon9109

Junior Member
Joined
Aug 31, 2020
Messages
197
Reaction score
317
Back during the core update I lost several #1 rankings but only about 5 of my #1 spots had brought in decent traffic. I regained most of my #1 spots within a few weeks. I had 1 post though that had been like my 3rd most popular post pre-update, that I thought I wasn't going to regain #1 on. When the update first happened, I wasn't even on the first page anymore. Then after a few weeks, it crept up to #8. So I thought getting back to #1 just wouldn't happen. This week, it jumped straight from #8 to #1. So that's giving me an extra 50ish pageviews a day. In terms of search ranking, I now feel like I have basically fully recovered from the core update.
The traffic isn't quite on par, but that's largely because I am not getting Google discover traffic anymore. Prior to the core update, about 1/3 of my traffic was from Google discover. I'd love to be picked back up by google discover but I know it's mostly just luck.

Tonight I tried putting together a 'google story'. I did it really basic a 10-tips for (my niche) type of a thing. So it has 10 slides and I think I linked about 4 of the sides to blog posts. Not sure what to expect from it but I thought it was worth trying. My guess is that nobody in my niche is making google stories so if Google recognizes my niche as an interest people have, I think it should get referred to people just because there isn't really competition. I just don't know if it will result in visits to my blog or not.
 

Anon9109

Junior Member
Joined
Aug 31, 2020
Messages
197
Reaction score
317
How did you get google stories involved
I downloaded the google stories plugin for Wordpress and made a 10-slide "story" using that. It's fairly simple, lets you drag and drop photos from your blogs media library, a text button to type, etc. I did a "10 tips for.." type theme and just made 1 page per slide. I think stories can range from 5 to 30 slides? They only want you to have 180 characters per slide so they have to be somewhat surface level.

I went with basic tips for someone new to my topic, basically. The stories are supposed to be "complete content" so they don't want you to say 'click here for more' or anything like that. So I made each tip complete in the sense that at least a short & sweet explanation of each tip was on each slide, so hopefully nobody would leave a slide confused. But I still linked a few of the tips to blog posts that I have that go into more depth related to that particular tip. Then I just published. You can embed them into your blog posts but I'm not really interested in that. I am more hoping Google will pick it up to show it to other people on the google search page from their phone.
 
Top