LowFruits Case Study Site, Month 2
Warren Buffet and niche websites ?
If you buy a farm, do you go up every couple of weeks and look to see how far the corn is up?Warren Buffet
This is what Warren Buffet, one of the greatest investors of all time, told Andy Serwer when asked about how closely he followed Apple in a 2019 interview for Yahoo! Finance.
At the time, his company, Berkshire Hathaway, owned $45 billion worth of Apple stock.
In his company’s most recent filing of Form 13F, a required disclosure form for institutional investors by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the market value of that stake had grown to just over $125 billion—and that excludes the dividend that Berkshire Hathaway receives from Apple each quarter.
“No, you buy a farm! It doesn’t grow faster if I go and stare at it. I can’t cheer for it, you know. More effort! More effort. It just doesn’t…”
We who build websites have much to learn from Warren Buffet.
For starters, Buffet has an unmatched ability to allocate capital to the right investments.
And what is our business but the allocation of time, money, and opportunity cost to a portfolio of assets we call blogs, niche websites, and the products and/or services that we sell on them?
Second, he is patient but decisive.
Tucked away in his family home in Omaha, Nebraska, far from the noise of Wall Street, Buffet is notorious for hoarding piles of cash at Berkshire Hathaway and putting it to use only when an opportunity presents itself. When it does, he puts that money to good use, buying up private companies or acquiring significant stakes in publicly traded companies.
Why am I telling you all of this?
Because, all too often, we get distracted by the noise.
Not from Wall Street, but from the World Wide Web. (Or is it the Metaverse now?! For anyone who remembers Second Life, a failed attempt at building a metaverse from the Web 2.0 days, probably not.)
As website owners, we are tempted to focus on everything but the work that moves the needle.
So we end up thinking and acting more like the hyperactive day traders on TikTok, and less like our grandfatherly shark Warren Buffet.
We obsessively and far too frequently check traffic trends in Google Analytics, search queries and clicks in Google Search Console, and rankings in whatever SEO tool is in our bookmarks.
We have an urge to find out, to observe, to know… But should we? Can we?
Was it checking stats daily that got you to where you are today?
Or was it good old keyword research, content creation, conversion rate optimization, and quality link building?
When the noise gets loud, filter it out and focus on the things that will get you results in three to five years from now. And, boy, with Google’s November 2021 broad core algorithm update and the early December 2021 product review update, is it as noisy as it gets!
Filter. Out. The noise.
Do your work, then step back. Recharge, then repeat. If you do this a few years in a row—learning new and better ways to move forward and getting rid of bad habits that keep you stuck—and you are guaranteed to get somewhere.
That, my friend, is how you play the long game.
Use analytics as a source of insight when you are making strategic decisions about your website and your portfolio as a whole.
Don’t use them as an excuse to slack off and distract yourself from the work that gets you ahead.
Avoid falling victim to your FOMO when things get volatile out there, as they inevitably and cyclically will. You won’t be doing yourself any favors.
|Total Posts Published||13|
|Posts Published in Year 1, Month 1||6 (October, 2021)|
|Posts Published in Year 1, Month 2||7 (November, 2021)|
|Posts Published in Year 1, Month 3||–|
|Posts Published in Year 1, Month 4||–|
|Posts Published in Year 1, Month 5||–|
|Posts Published in Year 1, Month 6||–|
|Posts Published in Year 1, Month 7||–|
|Posts Published in Year 1, Month 8||–|
|Posts Published in Year 1, Month 9||–|
|Posts Published in Year 1, Month 10||–|
|Posts Published in Year 1, Month 11||–|
|Posts Published in Year 1, Month 12||–|
In November, I published a total of 7 posts, all of which I wrote myself. Now that I have been writing posts on this topic for two months, I have gotten a feel for the niche. I finally found the time to create a one-pager with editorial guidelines for my team.
Starting in December, I will be assigning some of my freelance writers to do the work as I gradually delegate more and more of the research and writing to them, shifting my focus to outlining and editing. (If this blog becomes successful, I’ll delegate those streams of work to someone else, too.)
|Date Checked||November 30, 2021|
|Avg. Position (Google, USA, Mobile)||15.5|
|Avg. Position (Google, USA, Desktop)||16.64|
|Positions in Top 3 on SERPs||0|
|Positions in Top 10 on SERPs||5 (+5 Month-over-Month)|
|Positions in Top 100 on SERPs||3 (+3 Month-over-Month)|
|Time Period||November 1, 2021 – November 30, 2021|
|Avg. Engagement Time||6m 34s|
|Engaged Sessions / User||2.6|
|Pageviews / Published Post (PPP)||75.46|
The blog doesn’t have enough traffic. Google Analytics is tracking mostly my time spent on the website, so the statistics are not reliable yet. (Excluding that traffic in Google Analytics is a challenge as I have a dynamic IP at home and I occasionally work from cafés.)
|Time Period||November 1, 2021 – November 30, 2021|
|Total Revenue Since Start of Site||$0|
|Total Revenue YTD (2021)||$0|
Of which $0 from display adsOf which $0 from affiliate commissions
|Revenue / Published Post (RPP)||$0|
Not much to see here, and there won’t be much to see for at least another few months. And that is the optimistic scenario 🙂
Month 2 Write-Up
I took a quick look at the crops, and they seemed to be growing—with or without my cheering.
On Sunday, November 7th, Google had indexed 12 out of 12 posts on the blog, only a few days after I had tested them for errors/crawlability in Google Search Console and manually requested indexing for each.
Later in November, I posted a 13-th article. It got picked up like clockwork:
I’m using Yoast SEO, and I’ve configured it to add a no-index meta tag to all of my WordPress-powered website’s Archive pages. In this case, it’s the Author Archives and the Category Archives. (For reference, I have also disabled Date Archives and, at least for the time being, I don’t use Tags.)
In November 2021, the website had a total of 868 impressions in Google search and 13 organic clicks at an average position of 18.6 and an average CTR of 1.5%:
According to Google Search Console, the site had shown up in a total of 72 searches, 90% of which I had covered with my previous 13 posts, and the rest of which gave me ideas for more seed keywords in LowFruits (which then led me to discover some low-hanging fruit for the coming months).
In Bing Webmaster Tools—a good way to get early feedback on the quality of your keyword research and content creation before things start moving in Google—the site also did well: 4 clicks and 30 impressions, with an average position of 2.6 and CTR of 13.3%.
If you haven’t read Month 1’s write-up, which I strongly encourage you to do, keep in mind that this is a brand new domain name. I bought it from Namecheap on October 12th, 2021.
At the time of writing, that was a little over a month and a half ago. To prevent copycats from skewing the results, and to allow some time to build a moat around my site, I will announce the niche in my month 6 write-up, and the domain name in month 9.
Two of the posts, which belong to the same silo, took off shortly after being published.
It’s early to draw conclusions, but there seems to be some truth to the hypothesis that certain corners of my site’s niche are underserved.
I am adjusting my content strategy to make sure I can cover more of this silo in the coming months. (I opened LowFruits and, after playing around with seed keywords and wildcards, found another 25 keywords to target.)
This is also telling you and me two things:
First, am I lucky or what!
Seriously, it’s about time I coined the term “case-study luck” (unless someone else has already done so).
I have built websites and had to wait MONTHS before they showed the faintest sign of life. And it took them well over a year to start getting a decent amount of traffic.
Yet I do a case study, and the posts on it get indexed straight away and show up in the SERPs in no time.
I really want you to keep this in mind as you read this: there’s always a certain amount of chance (or call it luck, or call it circumstance) involved in our business. To increase the likelihood of being on the right side of it, do good research and create good content.
But never forget that it’s an ocean and the tides are there; they can turn at any time. Even if you get lucky early on as I did, never get overly confident.
As Greek mythology goes, when Icarus flew too close to the sun, he fell into the sea and drowned. For similar reasons, there’s also the saying to never keep all of your eggs in one basket.
To protect yourself against changes in circumstance, your personal blind spots, and a little bit of overconfidence, build a diversified portfolio of digital assets (I’m talking websites, YouTube channels, courses, and such) and spread out the capital you reinvest into them wisely.
(P.S. This is not investment advice, just common sense.)
The Top 3 Filter and Early Signs of Life
Second, LowFruits works.
Especially if you familiarize yourself with the tutorials and, through trial and error for your website/s, learn how to make the most of it.
Here’s this brand new case study website, not on an aged or an expired domain, slowly starting to defy gravity.
This is largely thanks to LowFruits’ Top 3 filter, a.k.a. one of my favorite features of the tool. It looks for keywords with weak spots, such as threads on forums, questions on Quora, posts on Reddit, as well as low-DA websites, in the first three results of Google’s SERPs.
Now, allow me to temper your expectations here:
We DON’T KNOW if this site will continue to grow at this pace or if it will stay where it is for months, quarters, maybe even a year. I’ve seen it go both ways on sites that show signs of life so early.
Google giveth, Google taketh away.
Don’t put too much faith in our little experiment just yet. It’s good that we’re seeing these signs early on, that’s for sure, but the site has a long, long way to go. This is a case study, and my crystal ball is broken (in truth, I never got it to work).
I can only predict—and plan—what I have a measurable impact on:
What to Expect Next
If I do good keyword research with LowFruits and publish at least 6 well-written, well-edited posts each month, I know I will have a 72-post website in Year 1.
By then, about ⅓ of these posts will have aged enough for me to see if my experiment is working or not.
If the answer is “yes,” then the site will have some traffic, and that traffic should ideally be trending upward in a hockey-stick growth curve. In such a case, I will continue to evolve it until I stabilize it, so that I can decide whether to sell it to the highest bidder or keep it and continue to capitalize on its monthly revenue.
If the answer is “no,” I will have to think hard about my initial hypothesis for this niche, as well as whether I misjudged search intent on most of the posts or failed, for one reason or another, to create good content (no matter if I wrote it, edited it, or had it written and edited for me).
How much traffic can I expect by October 12th, 2022, some of you are probably wondering?
It’s impossible to predict. Still, nothing is stopping me from making an educated guess.
For any post that’s between 6 and 9 months old (I know that’s quite a range, but I have not gotten a feel for the niche yet, and I have yet to see how much Google likes my site), I can come up with an average of:
- Pessimistically, 0-250 monthly page views;
- Realistically, 500 monthly page views;
- Optimistically, 750-1,000 monthly page views.
This average number is the traffic from the search query itself, with or without a featured snippet, and the People Also Ask boxes.
Once I’ve “guesstimated” the traffic by Month 12, I can then divide by 1,000 and multiply by an RPM (Revenue per Mille) in the range of $15 to $30 to get the expected monthly earnings from display ads.
Then, assuming that 20% of my content will be commercially-focused (Best This for That, This vs. That, Review, etc.), I can take that number and multiply it again by a factor of 1.2 for Amazon Associates affiliate earnings that could make up 20%, give or take, of my revenue.
Letting you do the math from here.
And remember, this is just the revenues. The expenses will add up over time as I assess the cards, my hand, and my chances of winning the pot (hats off to all my fellow poker players out there).
Those who work 1-1 with me know the rate I value my time at. So far, I’ve written 12 posts myself. Some are 850-1,250 (+/-) words long; others 1,500-2,000 words long; each takes a good few hours to research, write, edit, format, and publish, including selection of high-quality premium stock photography.
After doing in-depth keyword research over the past two months and speed-reading 7 books on the subject—which, by the way, I am already knowledgeable of and passionate about—I feel like I am starting to get a feel for the niche and am beginning to find a good editorial tone and voice for my blog.
Over the next month, I will slowly but surely be contracting some of my best freelance writers (all native English speakers, all based in the US) for this project. I will be delegating content creation step by step, as I want to re-focus on higher-value tasks for this website and my portfolio in general.
I’m not telling you this to brag, but to show you that it takes time and effort to come up with a good strategy for your website.
Don’t expect to start one, do a few searches on Google, jot down a dozen ideas that come to mind, and be done with it: dig deep.
Read the “101,” “For Dummies,” and “The Guide To” books that none of your competitors read; they are a goldmine of underserved topics to explore and, subsequently, seed keywords to look up in LowFruits.
Do not spend too much time on Quora or Reddit, where the tip of the iceberg is, but on the forums where die-hard practitioners of the topic you are blogging about discuss their real-world problems and how they deal with them.
A blog is a collection of articles aimed at an audience.
Understand the audience. Put yourself in their shoes, see things through their eyes, and get in their minds. You master search intent not by reverse-engineering the search term, but by getting to know the searcher.
Then set out to create the best resource for them.
Pro Tip : Become a search engine whisperer
When your new website starts to rank and it gets its first impressions in the SERPs, take a close look at the queries on the bottom of Google Search Console’s Queries report.
Chances are you’ll see queries you have not thought about yet, and these queries can give you a number of ideas for additional LowFruits reports, especially if you use wildcards.
At least that was the case with the case study website, which, despite having a 1½ month old domain name with no backlinks to it whatsoever, was already showing up for more than 50 queries by November end.
The queries at the bottom gave me ideas for a few reports in LowFruits, which turned out to be… fruitful
Who I Am
Thank you for reading (or scrolling?) this far.
Since 2007, I have been building, buying, investing in, and selling websites. I’ve been in and out of this business, sometimes full-time, other times as a side hustle. Wherever life takes me, I somehow seem to find my way back to this game.
How do you know you can trust me?
I have experienced pandas and penguins. I owned Facebook pages with millions of likes back when Facebook pages brought traffic, and earned passive income from niche sites before it was cool (back then we called ourselves “webmasters”).
More recently, I started a website under a new domain name in August 2020 that reached 88,000 monthly page views and a DR of 10 in Ahrefs in August 2021. Here’s a screenshot of that hockey-stick growth, with a few bumps along the way, that everyone likes to tell you about:
Since, monthly traffic has increased by 15-20% and revenue (display ads and affiliate programs) has grown at about the same rate.
Even more recently, I graduated from the first cohort of Ezoic’s Level-Up Learning Program for publishers, and was the recipient of an Ezoic Content Grant in October 2021.
I am not the most public person on earth, and I prefer privacy to the spotlight. However, if you like what I have to say and want to get in touch with me, you can do so on my website AskDim.com (ask as in “ask me a question”).