“Starting From Scratch” Case Study – Income Report April 2017


Welcome to the fourteenth of the monthly income reports for the “Starting From Scratch” niche site case study. In these monthly reports, I’ll go through the income, traffic and rankings of the case study site. Monthly reports are important, not only to let you see how the site is doing, but it helps me to improve the site by analyzing the results. If you’re looking for more posts on what I’ve built and how, you can find them here.

The site is now just over thirteen months old – I took delivery of the site from Human Proof Designs during March 2016 and posted links during April 2016. I added 5 more links by purchasing extra domains for the network in June 2016 and posting links during July 2016, and four more links by adding domains to my network in November 2016.

Traffic & Visitors – April 2017

Unique Visitors: 506
Bounce Rate: 23%
Unique Visitors Sent To Amazon: 221
Conversion Rate to Amazon: 44%


Our visitors have stayed steady over the last few months, which led to me decide to try and grow it further during the month of April. I started by heading back to Hammerhead Domains to find a few more domains for this site’s PBN to help grow the rankings and earnings further. I’ve found three so far, and still need to add two more. I then registered them with Domain Octopus to get them spread out across several registrars. I also ordered a Press Release and Citations from PBN Butler to diversify the site’s backlink profile further.

I expect traffic in May to continue to stay steady, although it slowly start to pick up as the links start to take effect.

Amazon Earnings – April 2017

Items Shipped: 94
Total Amount Shipped: $3,692.24
Commission Earned: $151.59
Average Visitor Value: $0.23
Average Item Commission: $1.61

The site still isn’t on the first page of Google for enough of its target terms, and while the site just had its largest month ever in February, which is generally a slow month, it’s still quite a way short of my initial goal.

Rankings – April 2017

Top 3: 0
Top 10: 2
Top 100: 14
Not in Top 100: 0

The rankings still aren’t quite where I’d like them to be, so I’m going to try and find a few more domains to expand the PBN that we’re using for this site. Some of the domains that I’ve picked up don’t have many backlinks, which is some of the reason that it’s not ranking as well as it could. If we’d used auction domains or domains that had more backlinks pointing to them, then the rankings would have likely been a little better than they are right now.

Overall Spend & Earnings

Build Cost: $952

Earnings March: $5.71
Earnings April: $4.84
Earnings May: $1.59
Earnings June: $0.00
Earnings July: $9.90
Earnings August: $16.89
Earnings September: $44.46
Earnings October: $44.23
Earnings November: $45.52
Earnings December: $138.75
Earnings Jan 2017: $97.14
Earnings Feb 2017: $159.91
Earnings Mar 2017: $151.59
Earnings Apr 2017: $159.54

Expenses March: $0 ($36.90 for first month’s hosting on Bulk Buy Hosting and Vultr were included in initial case study expenses)
Expenses April: $36.90 – Bulk Buy Hosting 15 Accounts Plan & Vultr VPS server.
Expenses May: $36.90 – Bulk Buy Hosting 15 Accounts Plan & Vultr VPS server.
Expenses June: $44.90 – Bulk Buy Hosting 20 Accounts Plan & Vultr VPS server, $55 to PBN HQ for domains, $45 for Domain Registrations, $92.50 to HireWriters.
Expenses July: $44.90 – Bulk Buy Hosting 20 Accounts Plan & Vultr VPS server.
Expenses August: $44.90 – Bulk Buy Hosting 20 Accounts Plan & Vultr VPS server.
Expenses September: $44.90 – Bulk Buy Hosting 20 Accounts Plan & Vultr VPS server.
Expenses October: $44.90 – Bulk Buy Hosting 20 Accounts Plan & Vultr VPS Server, $67.87 for Domain Registrations.
Expenses November: $52.90 – Bulk Buy Hosting 25 Accounts Plan & Vultr VPS Server
Expenses December: $52.90 – Bulk Buy Hosting 25 Accounts Plan & Vultr VPS Server
Expenses Jan 2017: $52.90 – Bulk Buy Hosting 25 Accounts Plan & Vultr VPS Server
Expenses Feb 2017: $52.90 – Bulk Buy Hosting 25 Accounts Plan & Vultr VPS Server
Expenses Mar 2017: $52.90 – Bulk Buy Hosting 25 Accounts Plan & Vultr VPS Server
Expenses Apr 2017: $65 – Bulk Buy Hosting 30 Accounts Plan & Vultr VPS Server, $42.47 for Domain Registrations, $54 to HireWriters, $105 to PBN Butler for Press Release and Citations

Lifetime Expenses: $1,986.64
Lifetime Earnings: $880.07
Profit/Loss: $1,106.57 loss

What’s Next?

I’m in the process of finding some more domains that I can use to link to this site and improve the rankings and therefore earnings of this site. I need to wait a little while before linking from those domains and then it will take some time for those links to take effect. At the end of May, once I have the Amazon reports for the full month, I’ll share my next post showing the traffic and earnings for this site.

If you have any questions about what I’ve covered so far, or feel that I haven’t covered any specific component in enough detail, please leave a comment on this post – I’ll been answering reader questions in the comments.

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  1. Thanks for writing this case study Kevin, it’s really helpful to see how it’s going, and how long it takes to build traffic to a site. Just got to hang in there! 🙂

    Do you have a number in mind for the final amount of PBN links? I see you are up to 30 hosts from bulk buy hosting now.
    Have you thought about doing white-hat link building or is that outside the case study?

    • Hey Tim
      I was purely interested in testing Private Blog Networks from expired/scraped domains for this case study. Unfortunately the site hasn’t done as well as I would have liked so far, which is why I’m adding a few more PBN domains to the network as some of the domains that I picked up for this case study had rather low metrics and only a small number of backlinks.

  2. andrew jacoby : May 10, 2017 at 4:59 am

    Thanks for the continued case study! When you mentioned the site is not hitting the numbers you want right now you did not mention that goal. Where would you have hoped this site to be by now in terms of month revenue? How common is it that a site underperforms your expectation(ie of ever 5 sites 1 performs better than expected 1 performs as well as expected and 3 underperform?) thanks again

    • The goal for this site was for it to be earning $500 per month at the 12 month mark, which it has not achieved. Because this site was purchased as a “Done for You” site, it didn’t go through the same keyword research process that I’d normally use. I’d say that on average, 80% do what are expected, 10% hit it out of the park and 10% underperform.

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