$5,818 Last Month!? How My Website About Squirrels and Other Backyard Stuff Makes Money

$5,818 Last Month!? How My Website About Squirrels and Other Backyard Stuff Makes Money

Last month, OwnTheYard.com made $5,818, and this month it’s on track to make more than that. Today, I’m going to show you exactly how it’s making money and where the traffic is coming from.

Overall, this is the most recent update for Niche Site Project 4!  This is a public case study site that I started in late 2018 and the site continues to do well.

Enjoy the full report by watching the video below!

Read the Full Transcript

Hey everyone, Spencer here. So. Last month, which was May, 2021 own the yard.com made $5,818 in earnings. And this month it’s actually on track to do more than that. And so really, I just wanted to sit down here today and explain exactly how it’s earning its money and share the strategies behind that, where it’s getting its traffic.

And everything. And so I’m going to dive in to Google analytics. I’m going to dive into the content published and of course their earnings and exactly where that’s coming from. So let’s go ahead and jump right into it. So first let’s take a look at earnings. The site actually makes money in two different ways, Ezoic display ad. And then Amazon associates earnings.

And so if I jump into my egoic dashboard here for on the yard.com, you can see how much it’s making, right. And this is even showing June. So today’s actually June 16th. But if I go back here, And take a look at if I go monthly. All right. So if we, after clicking monthly, if we scroll down here and look at may.

We can see that the total earnings was $3,351 and 45 cents. Right? That’s how much the site made in display ad revenue. And then if we come over here to Amazon associates, I’ve already got Mae selected and the proper tracking IDs you can see that it made $2,467 and 21 cents for a total of. $5,818 and 66 cents.

Right? So that’s where that’s coming almost $6,000 last month. And so let’s look at his Zohak again, this is the display ad revenue. So if you come over to my site, you know, my site has ads on the site, which of course, it’s not going to be showing up because I’m logged in. But if you go over to own the yard.com, you’ll see that that is pulling.

One thing that I do kind of like about ease Zohak is that you can see the in-depth analytics. All right. So if I come over to big data analytics and click content, right. I can see which pages are earning the most display ad revenue, which I think is kind of interesting. Huh? Okay. And so as I pull this up, it shows that right now, I believe it’s sorted by page views.

I actually want to sort it by earnings. If I can, it looks like I need to add a column here. Okay. So now I’ve got the revenue column over here. And if I sort by the revenue, I can see which page actually earned me the most money. And that one was walkway ideas. There you go. It made me $176, which is interesting because the best water garden ideas, which actually got more page views.

Almost $50 over $50, less $122. Right. And so there’s lots of data here. I just thought it would be interesting to show you some of my top pages and then certainly some of my lowest pages there that made nothing right. And then if I go over to Amazon associates, we can see which products I’m actually making money from.

Right. If I just click on one of these tracking IDs, just to give you an idea, you can see that I’ve got a. Lego dots, magic forest bracelet. I don’t even know shipped nine of those camping chair, camping chairs, right? That’s what actually shipped the most items. What actually made me the most money.

Interestingly, really not nothing big. You know, I made 73 bucks on, on one of these, but it’s a lot of individual items. Now I thought it might actually be interesting to also see what the earnings are like for this month as well. So in Amazon, I’ve made a total of $659 and 95 cents. And if we add that to my ear, Zohak, you can see that this month, so far, I’ve made 2000.

$69 and 91 cents, right? For a total of $3,729 and 86 cents. And it is a, I’m recording this on the 16th, but Amazon’s a day late. So if I divide that by 15 days and then which is anyways, it’s that number of times 30 days. It says that I’m on pace for $7,459. Right. So I should make more in the month of June than I did last year.

All right now, let’s go ahead and take a look at Google analytics. Where’s the traffic coming from, what pages are getting traffic, et cetera. I just thought it might be interesting to show you what is actually working and getting traffic. Right? So the site’s getting, if I go to, let’s just, I like to look at sessions, right?

It’s getting anywhere from. You know, about 5,000 to six for F anyways, 4,500 to 6,200 sessions a day. Something like that. About 100 and well, it’s 169,000, almost 170,000 page views in the last 30 days. Right. So if we just look at the site content, you can see what my top pages are. Right. Best post hole Digger, apparently a coy pond ideas, walkway ideas, best water, garden ideas, tree stump, ideas, how to get rid of mushrooms.

These are some of my top pages and what’s the breakdown of where that traffic’s coming from. If I take a look at the overview, you can see that about 62% is coming from organic search. That’s Google. 23% is coming from social sources. Primarily Pinterest and 14% is direct. And so if I click on the social just so you can see the bulk of that, you know, 99% is from Pinterest.

All right. All right now, let’s, let’s take a look at the site itself. So this is what the site looks like. And if I look at the back end, you can start to see, I know a lot of people are always curious how many posts are published on the site. And so right now there are 625 posts published. I’ve got 16 drafts and some of the more recent articles that have been published, like best pressurized, water, guns, best putting mats and on down the line.

And if you want to see the plugins that I have installed, I’ll show this backend. I’ve got a AWP that I use a lot, Emily pro and the Amazon link engine, which is genius links, all for managing Amazon associates links. Right. And then of course I’ve got link whisper, which I use to manage my internal links.

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If you’re not aware, I’m the creator of that plugin. And so if we look at LinkedIn, I really do use this a lot. My writers come in here and it’s part of the process that they add an internal link to one of my other articles. Every time they write an article. And if I look at my links report, I can quickly come in here and see.

You know, for example, this best waterproof outdoor string lights article has 11 outbound internal links that are pointing to other articles on my site. And it actually has four internal links pointing to this particular article. Right. And so I can quickly see are my writers actually adding inbound internal links.

Which is definitely one of what I want to see. I want to see at least one inbound internal links. So I’ve got a couple of these that probably could use an internal link. And if I want to do that, I just click add link. Whisper will go out that and go out there. Find a link suggestions for me. And it makes it very easy for me to just click and click add.

If I liked those, I’m not going to go through that process now on this video. But I just thought it would be interesting. You can see that coming up. I’ve got lots of squirrel articles being published here. Where do squirrels sleep? What do squirrels eat? Then I’ve got some deer articles. What do a deer eat, et cetera.

So those are. Soon to be published on, on the yard.com. Now, just as a reminder, I actually don’t do any of the writing or editing or really much of any of the work anymore on this site. It’s all outsourced. I have an editor that gets all of the content from the content writers and the editor then formats them, ads, images adds the Amazon affiliate link.

And make sure they’re following my process, which I have a spreadsheet that they follow with my entire process. And they hit publish. I don’t even review it before it’s published. And so the amount of time I spend on this site is almost zero. I get a weekly email from my editor and I basically say, sounds good.

If it doesn’t sound good, I say, Hey, let’s tweak this process a little. And change it. So maybe, you know, some months I do spend a couple hours looking for new keywords, but that at this point that’s basically all, all the work that I do early on building the site. I did put a lot of time and energy into it, but the sites, you know, over two years old and it’s now outsourced and managed and I’ll go into how much I’m spending here and just see.

The other thing that maybe you might find interesting is a trust. Let’s look at the link building. I haven’t done a ton of link building, but certainly there are links. And so if we just look at the overview, you can see that the organic search traffic, it had this massive spike last year, which I called the COVID spike, even though my site is now ranking for more keywords than it did, you know, back then, There was just this massive spike.

So many more people were home searching for outdoor stuff and buying outdoor stuff. It was just a very unique time. So if then if I look at backlinks, you can just see where some of the links are coming from. You know, I have linked to it from niche pursuits, but a lot of these others, right. Are.

Just sort of natural links that have come in anyways. This is nature.org. That’s cool. I didn’t even know about that one. You know, I’ve got some Wiki, how anyways, bee keeping club. Oh, that’s cool. So I share a lot on Pinterest and I do believe a lot of the links actually have come from people then using those pins or those images from Pinterest, they put them on their own blog and then they, then they linked to me a lot of times they use the images and don’t link to me.

But other times they. Right. And so the site does have, you know, lots of links and it’s getting new links every day. Now let’s look at the top pages here. Okay. So top pages, you know, you can see that according to AA, my page is bringing in the most traffic, how to level your backyard, koi pond ideas.

That’s not accurate. Right. You know, if we compare this little side note, don’t always trust everything that you see in AHS, right? It does a decent job at just the best that it can. But. You know, so koi pond ideas, walkway ideas. Those are really my, so I don’t know where the walkway ideas is. Okay. It’s down here.

Right. So everything’s not in the exact order, right. You know, dance, how to make a dance floor. It says is one of my top pages. It’s not even one of my top 10 pages really in analysts. Right. So take things that AHF says with a grain of salt, salt, but it’s an amazing tool. Now let’s take a [email protected]

All right, I’ve already got lots of content and I’ve taken a break for a few months of really publishing a lot of new content. I’m going to go ahead and double down and start doing about 20 articles a month. That’s the plan. I’m going to continue doing about five pins a day. I have somebody doing Pinterest for me, and then updating about one or two old pieces of content using market muse or surfer SEO per week.

So that’s really just the plan going forward. I don’t have any big link building plans or anything like that. Just continue publishing new content on low competition keywords, keep doing Pinterest and updating some old content. And again, this is going to be all outsourced, right? I, I’m not doing most of the work here.

The site is managed by my editor and I have writers and people doing everything for me. How much do I pay for this editor that is managing the site for me? I’m actually going to show here in Upwork is where I have them hired them from $1,400 or sorry, $18,000 total. That’s over about two years.

And a lot of that was upfront. The last 30 days I’ve spent $245. So. Usually now on average, I pay her, you know, depending on how much she gets done that month between 200 and $500 a month, and then to publish 20 new articles a month. Right. I spend anywhere from, depending on the length, 50 to a hundred dollars per article.

So that’s anywhere from a thousand to $2,000 per article. So maybe I’m spending 1500, $2,000 on average. So the site is profiting well, and it’s pretty hands-off for me. So overall that’s owned the yard.com. I just wanted to jump in, share how the site has made about $5,800 last month, and that it’s on track to do even more than that.

Most of the traffic’s coming from Google and you can go check out the site to see exactly how it’s laid out, but hopefully you found. What I’ve explained helpful and overall, just an update on the site and how it’s doing. Thanks again for watching.

How to Successfully Migrate a Website Without Harming SEO [Checklist]

How to Successfully Migrate a Website Without Harming SEO [Checklist]

An outdated website won’t represent your brand well.

Web design experts recommend a site redesign every 2-3 years to keep up with web standards and design trends. This can often be accomplished with a simple facelift or re-skin. However, in some cases, you may be up against a site migration.

Access Now: 21 SEO Myths to Leave Behind in 2021

The end result of a site migration may include a cleaner interface, a new or improved user experience, an easier editing experience, and more. However, the choice to migrate your website should not be taken lightly. If executed poorly, you could end up with status code errors, negatively impacted SEO performance, and even irritated website visitors.

Why might you migrate a website?

Here are the circumstances in which you might need a site migration over a simple redesign:

  • You need to move your site’s location from one server to another.
  • You are changing the CMS platform your site operates on.
  • You are changing your domain name or URLs.
  • You need to make major changes to your site’s architecture (not just aesthetics).

Website migrations can be done on your own or professionally. (For example, HubSpot offers migration services to customers switching to HubSpot’s CMS.)

If you’re considering a website migration, keep in mind that you must leave yourself time to prepare and execute. Migration specialists usually take about three weeks, so plan accordingly. Now, let’s get into the details of migrating a website.

Pre-Migration

1. Crawl the existing site.

A website crawler retrieves the URLs and markup on your site, “seeing” this information similarly to how Google would.

Performing a crawl gives you a starting point for your URL mapping (more on that later) as well as a list to refer to in case something gets lost in translation. You can crawl your website yourself with a third-party tool such as Screaming Frog.

2. Record your benchmarks.

In some cases, analytics data can get erased during a site migration, and this historical benchmarks can be valuable, so it’s best to retain it.

You should also take the time to review your analytics and ensure you know how visitors currently navigate the site and which pages are your most valuable. This context can help inform your redesign and site architecture decisions.

3. Map your URLs.

If you’re making major changes to the URLs on your site, you’ll need redirections in place to guide Google and your website users from your old URLs to your new URLs. 

  • From a usability standpoint, if a page no longer exists, you don’t want your users to get a 404 status code error. Instead, they should be guided to the page that has taken the old page’s place. 
  • Improper redirects can mean a big hit against your SEO. They tell search engines and visitors of your website that a page has changed, whether it’s been removed, or no longer exists. They also tell search engines what new pages have replaced old ones.
  • From an SEO perspective, you don’t want to lose all of the history, backlinks, and (in essence) “authority” that the old page built up. A redirect tells Google where to attribute those signals instead. 

To get redirects implemented, you must first strategize by mapping your URLs. This involves building a spreadsheet with two columns: one for the old URL and one for the corresponding new URL. 

Don’t be concerned if there aren’t “perfect” replacements for every piece of content. Just do the best you can to direct your users based on their original intent.

If you have tons of pages, manual mapping probably isn’t in the cards for you, so to save time, look for patterns in your URLs that can be redirected in groups or sections.

Existing redirects should be migrated as well. Try to keep as many existing redirects as possible to lessen the workload, and make sure your URLs are mapped before you test redirects, to make sure you have backups if you lose them.

For more information on how to update URLs, check out this article.

4. Make sure you’re retaining titles, meta descriptions, and HTML markup.

Recall that website migrations help with website organization. As such, pages should be uniform and contain the same information as they did before. To illustrate, if the HubSpot Marketing Blog underwent a site migration, the content and descriptions for each blog post would be the same, just look different.

You can always update or rewrite titles, meta descriptions, and HTML markup, but you should still ensure that each page includes the proper information. 

5. Try out the new build on a test server (aka sandbox).

Seeing mockups or testing in a local environment will not give you a full picture of the new site’s functionality and implementation. For a seamless transition, take it online for a test drive before the official migration.

6. Choose the right date for the migration.

Hiccups will happen no matter what, but you can minimize them by avoiding peak hours.

Day of Migration

7. Prepare to update your site’s DNS settings.

If you’re moving your site to a new server, part of the process will include “pointing” to the site’s new location. Coordinate with your web/IT team and/or your hosting providers (new and old) to accomplish this.

8. Launch.

Set up your forwarding redirects, unpublish, and implement.

If DNS changes were involved, the site may be down momentarily.

If you’re not switching servers or platforms, the migration should be nearly instantaneous.

9. Crawl the new site.

Once the new site is live, you can do a crawl to see if it has been migrated how you expected it to. One thing you want to look for is proper indexability and crawlability.

10. Identify and resolve missing and duplicate content.

Using the crawl report, see if you find any anomalies, including duplicate content or 404 errors and broken links. In addition, you should click around the new site and look for issues.

11. Check for redirect chains.

Now that your site has been migrated, you have a lot of new redirects on your hands. If redirects already existed, chains may have been created.

Here’s what I mean:

If you were already redirecting A to B, your migration may have added a redirect from B to C.

This creates a chain of redirects: A to B to C.

Redirect chains can slow your site down and impact performance. You can avoid this by breaking the chains, redirecting A to C and B to C.

12. Ensure Google Analytics and Google Search Console are implemented.

To avoid any gaps in data and reporting, these should be up and running the same day.

13. Mark the date in Analytics.

Google Analytics allows you to make “Annotations” of important dates or events. This can help you contextualize the data and measure performance pre-and post-migration (unless you opted for a new Analytics setup).

14. Submit sitemaps.

Once everything is up and running, ensure your XML site map has no errors. Then, you can submit the sitemap in Google Search Console to invite Google to crawl the new implementation.

Post-Migration

15. Monitor performance.

While temporary dips in traffic are common after a migration, you should still be keeping a pulse on your analytics to ensure nothing big was missed that could be affecting performance.

16. Run site audits.

Sometimes, third-party tools can find issues you didn’t know about. SEMrush’s site auditor is excellent in situations like this.

17. Update your platforms.

If you have ads running or other platforms that may be using old URLs, be sure to add fresh links.

18. Have publishers update backlinks.

If your redirects have been implemented correctly, you’ll still get traffic and authority from your backlinks. However, it’s still best practice to use the freshest URLs possible. With that in mind, reach out to the publishers of your highest value links to notify them of the swap.

Website migration can be a lengthy process, but it’s not impossible. With preparation, you can have a migration that’s successful and friendly with your existing SEO efforts. 

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in December 2019 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

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How to Find & Add Nofollow Links to Your Website [Step by Step]

How to Find & Add Nofollow Links to Your Website [Step by Step]

Ever watch those game shows where contestants have to find the designer product in a sea of knockoffs?

Watching the contestants squint to examine the products is my favorite part. One, because I love game shows, but also because upon first glance, you really can’t tell the difference.

Well, nofollow links are kind of like that. You can’t tell them apart from regular links just by looking at them.

Access 4 Essential Link-Building Tips

As Google continues to prioritize links in its ranking criteria, keeping track of them should be on your SEO to-do list.

So, how do you check for nofollow links and add them to your webpages? All those answers, and more, below.

This matters because links greatly impact your search engine ranking. And whether you’re linking internally or externally, doing so tells Google the destination page is valuable. This, in turn, may increase the page’s ranking — it’s called “link juice.”

The better your link building, the better your chances of ranking higher.

So, when you tell Google to ignore a link, the destination page will not get any link juice. For instance, let’s say a food blogger uploads a blog post. The blogger can add a nofollow attribute to the comment section to tell Google, “Hey, any link included here isn’t associated with me and I don’t vouch for it.”

With Google tightening up its linking requirements, it’s important that brands understand how they work.

How To Tell if a Link Is Nofollow

To find a nofollow link, you can follow one of two routes: Use a tool that will do it for you (jump to that section here) or check it yourself. For the DIY option, here are the steps:

1. While you’re on the page, right-click and select the “Inspect” option.
Right click inspect tool

2. Hold Command + F or Ctrl + F to search for “nofollow” in the code.

Search "nofollow" in the code

3. Scroll to find the highlighted nofollow attributes. It should look something like this:

Nofollow Link Example

How To Make a Nofollow Link

Making a nofollow link is as simple as adding rel=”nofollow” to the anchor tag within the HTML code. If that made no sense, no worries. Here’s the breakdown:

The code for a regular hyperlink looks like this:

 
The linked text goes here

When you’re adding a nofollow link attribute, the attribute will go between the destination URL and the linked text, like this:

 
The linked text goes here

Here’s an example using the HubSpot Blog:

 
Head to the HubSpot Blog

Once you have the link, you can add it to the appropriate section of the source code on your content management system (CMS).

How To Make a Nofollow Link in WordPress

When making a nofollow link in WordPress, you have two options: manually inputting one into the HTML code or using a plugin. Find the steps for each below.

Making a Nofollow Link in WordPress Manually

1. Select the anchor text you want to add a link to.

2. Click the link symbol to add a link into the field.

Red arrow pointing to link symbol

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3. Click on the three dots and select “Edit HTML.”

Red arrow pointing to "Edit as HTML"

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4. Add the rel=”nofollow” attribute and you’re all set.

Nofollow attribute within HTML tag

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If you’re using an older version of WordPress, you may have to access the source code through the “Text” tab.

WordPress text tab

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Then, manually add the nofollow attribute.

WordPress source code

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Once that’s done, go back to the “Virtual” tab and continue editing the post.

Making a Nofollow Link in WordPress With a Plugin

When making a nofollow link with a plugin, the steps will vary depending on the plugin you install. However, here’s an example of how it works using the “All in One SEO for WordPress” plugin.

1. Start by downloading the plugin and making it active.

2. Create or edit a post or page.

3. In your editing text box, select the anchor text and click on the link symbol.

Add link symbol in WordPress

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4. Paste the destination link into the field.

Field to paste destination URL

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5. In the same box, you’ll also see additional options for the link, including the “Add ‘nofollow’ to link” option.

Adding Nofollow links in WordPress

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6. Make sure this option is selected, and you’re done.

Pro-tip: A lot of SEO plugins have the nofollow link feature included. So, if you’re looking to optimize your site, you can install a plugin with multiple SEO features.

1. MozBar

This free Google Chrome extension, created by the SEO software company Moz, highlights all of the nofollow links on a page in one click.

MozBar NoFollow Link Tool

It also tracks followed, internal, and external links as well as keywords on the page. MozBar identifies each link type by color, making it easy to quickly scan the page and find what you’re looking for.

One thing to keep in mind while using the extension is that nofollow links under dropdown menus will not appear as you scroll down. You’ll have to click the menu to reveal the nofollow links. Confused? See the GIF below.

MozBar NoFollow Tool

2. Varvy

With Varvy’s free nofollow tool, finding nofollow links is as simple as entering the page’s URL and clicking “Test.” It doesn’t offer a visual for where the nofollow links are located on the page, but it does tell you how many there are.

Varvy NoFollow Link ToolThis is one of the simplest ways to get an idea of how many nofollow links you have. From there, you’ll have to find other tools to accomplish your next steps.

3. NoFollow

NoFollow is a free extension available on Chrome and Firefox. Similar to MozBar, it identifies the nofollow links on the page and highlights them using a red dotted box.

NoFollow Chrome/Firefox Extension

As long as the extension is active, it will work on every page you visit without prompting. Just as with the MozBar, if a link under a dropdown menu has a nofollow attribute, you won’t see it until you click the dropdown menu.

So, think of yourself like a game show contestant. To win the SEO game, you have to take a closer look at your website links. This will keep you on Google’s good side and increase your odds of landing (and staying) on the first page of the SERP.

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