“Starting From Scratch” Case Study – Income Report December 2016


Welcome to the tenth 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 nine months old – I took delivery of the site from Human Proof Designs during March and posted links during April. I added 5 more links by purchasing extra domains for the network in June and posting links during July, and four more links by adding domains to my network in November. There’s one more domain that I’ll use in January, which will bring my total up to 25 links.

Traffic & Visitors – December 2016

Unique Visitors: 386
Bounce Rate: 29%
Unique Visitors Sent To Amazon: 141
Conversion Rate to Amazon: 37%

Our visitors have doubled from November to December, which is an encouraging sign.

I expect traffic in January to continue pick up more, as the site gets first page rankings for more terms as a result of the additional links.

Amazon Earnings – December 2016

Items Sold: 52
Items Shipped: 63
Total Amount Shipped: $2,320.87
Commission Earned: $138.75
Average Visitor Value: $0.36
Average Item Commission: $2.20


The site still isn’t on the first page of Google for enough of its target terms, but we’re doing a lot better than last month.

I’m hoping this upward trend continues into January.

Rankings – December 2016

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


We’ve had another trial for two of the keywords in the top 10, but still nothing has remained there steadily yet.

In November, I built more links and hopefully we’ll start to see the site remain on the first page more steadily during the coming months.

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

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

Lifetime Expenses: $1561.47
Lifetime Earnings: $311.89
Profit/Loss: $1249.58 loss

What’s Next?

At the end of January, 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 sharing your progress, things are looking up! What sort of links are you building to the site, I’m finding this the most difficult part (of course!)

  2. Khalid Zitouni : January 22, 2017 at 10:57 pm

    Great stuff man. How do manage the whois. Do you pay for your privacy, do you keep it public or do you fake it?
    Do you do that for all your PBNs?
    Do you think google can find out thru whois that sm1 is running a PBN?

    • I use Whois privacy from the registrar. Some offer it for free (eg NameSilo and InternetBS) and others offer it cheaply (NameCheap). I’ll even pay the ~$8-$10 per year for it from GoDaddy if needed.

      For some TLDs, you can get away with using fake information in the Whois, but it is riskier in terms of potentially losing that domain.

      It’s all public information, so Google could connect the dots and work out your network – or your competitors could also do that and report your sites using some of the public reverse whois tools.

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