Today we are sharing with you a case study from Jon Dykstra, a webmaster, and blogger who built and grew a niche site from 0 to $3 879/ month in less than 12 months.
In this case study, we are going through the strategies he used to attain this growth and also how he structured and monetized this website in a way that is scalable.
Jon’s website is a midsize site which makes it a great site for a case study because it’s at a level that's fairly attainable for a lot of people who are getting started in this business. Here are the details of the site:
Proof of Revenue
As you may notice, Jon makes more money from Adthrive ads than affiliate links on his site because most of the content he publishes is in form of informational articles and not promoting products or services. Below is his Adthrive revenue trajectory since the site’s launch.
The green line represents the growth in revenue and the blue line represents the page views. The website has had a fairly steep traffic growth and currently, it has about 120 and 140 page views/ day.
The site received about 168 000 visitors in the last 30 days which is pretty good. However, the revenue is much lower than expected in comparison to the traffic received which shows that there is room for improvement to monetize the traffic further.
The traffic is mostly from mobile devices and the top GEOs are USA, India, UK, Canada, and the Philippines. The presence of India and the Philippines among the top sources of traffic by country, and mobile being the biggest source of traffic by device clearly explains why Jonah’s revenue is lower compared to the amount of traffic he receives.
Traffic and Main Events Timeline
Below is the breakdown of the traffic timeline explaining events that took place at each stage of the site’s growth.
The website was freshly registered in June 2020. It's also when Jon started adding content Jon had one big advantage when he launched this site because he immediately published 79 articles from one of his old sites that was breaking down. He also made a 301 redirect from the site that was breaking down, which helped get traffic on this new site from the get-go.
In November 2020, Jon identified 25 articles that were performing well and they were on topics that would serve as good cornerstones for a number of articles that were in the subtopics. Jon hired an in-house writer who went through these cornerstone topics and rewrote them. These articles became the pivot points in the entire site’s structure.
Several months later, this strategy paid off and he started getting excellent results. So Jon and his writer kept on doing that from November 2020 to the end of June 2021.
In January 2021, Jon merged about 50 new articles from another site of his that wasn’t working and was in a similar niche as this one.
From March 2021, Jon started with outreach because he had some cool articles with cool link bait. He did this to get more inbound links from domains of good sites.
On this site, Jon focused on publishing evergreen content with a lot of obscure long-tail keywords. By August 2021, the site had 582 published posts with a total of 1 344 898 words, averaging about 2 300 words per article.
The average would be a lot lower but it's the 25 cornerstone articles that spike this number up because some of them have about 12 000 words.
They are really epic articles that will serve the site well for a long time.
Apart from these. Jon created short obscure long-tail keywords articles that range between 750 to 1 300 words.
Content Sources and Cost
Jon has an in-house writer that knows a lot about his niche and makes the best content for the big cornerstone articles. For the shorter articles, he’s been working with Writer Access. Jon also hires designers to create custom illustrations and charts that are used in his articles. These help to enhance his content and also to receive backlinks from sites that use them.
Here is the breakdown of the costs he pays for the content:
Jon structured this site in a way that he started with a broad niche and he made both the big cornerstone articles and the short articles targeting obscure keywords on the best topics in the niche.
Afterward, he started to interlink the articles using the format below.
Future Opportunities with the Site
Jon says that he can increase the site’s revenue by putting in more diligent work on the affiliate side. He also plans to improve his articles every 12 months after their publishing date. His idea is to keep doing this over and over because it has worked for him with other sites.
Jon’s initial goal was to sell the site when it reaches the $200-$300 revenue/ day mark but currently, he believes he can push it further in order to get a higher valuation. He also has a great writer who is really interested in this niche and has the capability to grow the site by writing more articles that target obscure keywords. His plan is to stick with it until when he feels like he’s ready for a big 6 - figure exit.