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


Welcome to the eleventh 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 ten months old – I took delivery of the site from Human Proof Designs during March 2016 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 2016.

Traffic & Visitors – January 2017

Unique Visitors: 643
Bounce Rate: 21%
Unique Visitors Sent To Amazon: 287
Conversion Rate to Amazon: 44.6%


Our visitors have increased significantly again from December, which is an encouraging sign.

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

Amazon Earnings – January 2017

Items Sold: 49
Items Shipped: 46
Total Amount Shipped: $1997.71
Commission Earned: $97.14
Average Visitor Value: $0.15
Average Item Commission: $2.11


The site still isn’t on the first page of Google for enough of its target terms, and while the earnings are slightly down from the Christmas bump, they’re still doing well.

Rankings – January 2017

Top 3: 0
Top 10: 3
Top 100: 13
Not in Top 100: 0


We’re starting to pick up some page 1 rankings for some of the smaller terms on the site. We should hopefully continue to see the site’s rankings improve as it begins to age.

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

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
Expensed Jan 2017: $52.90 – Bulk Buy Hosting 25 Accounts Plan & Vultr VPS Server

Lifetime Expenses: $1614.37
Lifetime Earnings: $409.03
Profit/Loss: $1205.34 loss

What’s Next?

At the end of February, 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. This has been fun to follow – if only to see that a niche site can still do *something* in 2017. However I would think that adding more content would probably make it perform even better.

    I’m curious why your expansion content is doing so much better than the content that came with the site. Is the content from Human Proof really that poor? What did you do differently with the expansion content that makes it convert better?

    • The expansion content is targeting smaller, more long tail keywords than the content that came with the site from HPD, which makes it easier to rank the expansion content and rankings translate to earnings.

  2. Is a site like this doable for a “regular person”. Someone who isn’t working in tech and has very basic content and SEO knowledge?

    • Yes, I believe so. In the first posts in the case study, I share how I went about doing everything from picking the domains to buying a site to link to, in order to make it as beginner friendly as possible.

  3. How do you feel about this case study so far? Do you feel like your on pace or should you be making more by now? I would expect a little more earnings from 25 PBN links. Are they good domains?

    Not trying to be critical, just trying to figure out how you feel about your progress.

    • The domains were reasonably, but less powerful than ones that I would normally use. That being said, I would have expected it to be enough with only 1 outbound link to the target/money site. I’m rather disappointed in the lacklustre results so far, but the site is finally starting to take off now. Hopefully we’ll still hit the $500/month target, albeit a little later than initially expected.

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