Moving forward with my site while I'm sick

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Hi there!

Unfortunately I have been hit by a rare CNS disease and I dont know if/when I will recover. I suffer from cognitive symptoms as well as chronic fatigue which make it hard for me to keep working a regular job or go to uni for now.

I still have my 3 year old amazon affiliate website project, which I don't want to give up entirely.

Stats:
  • 3 years old domain
  • in german language, but broad, growing niche
  • Revenue in 2018: 12 446€
  • Revenue in 2019: estimated ~14 000€ (it's 12 343€ as of Nov 29th)
  • monetized entirely through Amazon Affiliate
  • traffic is over 90% from search engines
  • I started out writing content and doing outreach myself, but later outsourced that
  • A lot of content is still from 2016 which needs to be updated
A few months ago I was pretty lucky to find someone who is both interested and experienced in my niche, and also has SEO + Wordpress experience. He now does keyword research, updates existing content, writes new content and does all that SEO optimized and with my affiliate links. His hourly rate is €60, and for now I gave him a Budget of 1000€ per month. He reports monthly to me now. Organic Traffic already grew by 7% from September -> October.

For link building, I found a agency which has access to big german sites, also in my niche. To add to my existing link profile, I bought 3 big links this year (about €1000 each).

My financial situation looks like this: I have around 14000€ in my bank account, and another 9k in a savings account. No properties, only a car. I'm back to living with my parents now so I don't even have to pay rent.

I read the post Scared Money Don't Make Money and thought I can't just let that site sit there, because it has very good potential it seems.

On the one hand, I have a good financial situation right now and can technically afford to invest more into the site. On the other hand, the site is my only source of income right now and its only monetized by amazon, and the traffic only comes from search engines.

I thought of increasing the budget of my writer, aswell as investing into new links for the site. I just don't know about the numbers yet. My job would be mainly managing the writer and identifying top earning pages and focusing on those.

Let me know if you have any advice in this situation.

I forgot to add, lets say I increase my budget for the site. In term of splitting between content and backlinks, what would a good percentage be? 50% content, 50% backlinks maybe?
 
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His hourly rate is €60
That's an insane hourly rate to pay for content writing & keyword research. With those numbers, he'll burn through your site's monthly earnings in just 2 full workdays - 16 hours. Then what about the rest of the month?

I'd be looking to lower that expense ASAP. I don't know what your options are here, and it's gonna be complicated, but I'm sure that it can be done.
 
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That's an insane hourly rate to pay for content writing & keyword research. With those numbers, he'll burn through your site's monthly earnings in just 2 full workdays - 16 hours. Then what about the rest of the month?

I'd be looking to lower that expense ASAP. I don't know what your options are here, and it's gonna be complicated, but I'm sure that it can be done.
Good idea, I will try to find a compromise, I will give him a higher Budget per month but also request to lower his hourly rate. The thing is, he does everything from keyword research, to writing articles to SEO optimizing them and plugging them into WordPress with my affiliate links. Hes also focused on high quality content. What do you think can I charge per hour for that?

Thank you
 
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Good idea, I will try to find a compromise, I will give him a higher Budget per month but also request to lower his hourly rate. The thing is, he does everything from keyword research, to writing articles to SEO optimizing them and plugging them into WordPress with my affiliate links. Hes also focused on high quality content. What do you think can I charge per hour for that?
Basically, it's cheaper to have 4 people doing 4 different tasks, than 1 person doing all 4 tasks. So you could take it apart step by step.

Keyword research can be a one-off job, and you can do it in advance. Maybe you could do it yourself when you're capable of working. I'd pull a huge list of keywords to have a bird's eye overview of your niche (100K - 500K depending on the size) and choose the main topics from there. Then create templated article outlines based on those topics (Best X, X review, etc.). You can use something like SurferSEO to check how many words the top articles have - and aim for something similar. Create a process for researching & working in secondary keywords & longtails.

Just think through the entire process and see what can be automated.

But really I don't know how capable you are of working / thinking right now. I'm totally unfamiliar with CNS stuff, and the advice above assumes that you can put in at least some amount of work into this. If not... well, then it's complicated.

Most importantly, you also need a solid strategy/gameplan for growing your site past the €1K/mo. And from what you've written, it seems that you haven't done the research. You have someone else finding the keywords for you, which means that you don't personally know where the best opportunities are in your niche. So, I would start by setting a revenue goal and working out a gameplan for reaching it (if you haven't done that yet).
 
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Hi there!

Unfortunately I have been hit by a rare CNS disease and I dont know if/when I will recover. I suffer from cognitive symptoms as well as chronic fatigue which make it hard for me to keep working a regular job or go to uni for now.
Hey man,

This is me as well. Exactly like that.

Unlike you, when I started out, I had zero money.

The best advice, to cite fans of the Dark Souls game series: "Git Gud"

Get really good at this stuff.

I do not recommend you outsource until you're really good at some of the aspects of running a site.

Here is my suggested plan for your site:

1. Research keywords with Google Search Console
2. Write the best content in the niche
3. Linkbuild with Guest Posts only

Go look in Google Search Console at those keywords that have impressions but no, or few, clicks. Those are keywords that Google wants you to rank for.

Then write really good content. Rewrite it every few months. Keep tweaking.

Also think about graphics (Fiverr) and all the little stuff. Make those pages look real good (I recommedn Elementor).

As for linkbuilding, just start googling for "guest post" etc in German find a long list and hit them up. Think about their needs and their website and their audience and offer something that matches.

That method above can easily double and triple your income in a year, without any major moves and buying links.

How do I know?

Cause I did it. You can read my story from the beginning to end in my journal: Part 1 and Part 2

I recommend the above method, simple as it is, because it doesn't require urgency. It's based on just slowly making a better and better, bigger and bigger, more user friendly website. Just work on it when you can and you feel good about it.

Spend the money on things that make the website easy to use and look good and "big brand": plugins (Elementor etc), graphics (Fiverr), animation etc.

You can buy a few links here and there, but I wouldn't make it a habit. Go for sponsorships, charity, certifications etc. Things that also serve to build social proof and has a "good feeling" about them.
 
Joined
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Basically, it's cheaper to have 4 people doing 4 different tasks, than 1 person doing all 4 tasks. So you could take it apart step by step.

Keyword research can be a one-off job, and you can do it in advance. Maybe you could do it yourself when you're capable of working. I'd pull a huge list of keywords to have a bird's eye overview of your niche (100K - 500K depending on the size) and choose the main topics from there. Then create templated article outlines based on those topics (Best X, X review, etc.). You can use something like SurferSEO to check how many words the top articles have - and aim for something similar. Create a process for researching & working in secondary keywords & longtails.

Just think through the entire process and see what can be automated.

But really I don't know how capable you are of working / thinking right now. I'm totally unfamiliar with CNS stuff, and the advice above assumes that you can put in at least some amount of work into this. If not... well, then it's complicated.

Most importantly, you also need a solid strategy/gameplan for growing your site past the €1K/mo. And from what you've written, it seems that you haven't done the research. You have someone else finding the keywords for you, which means that you don't personally know where the best opportunities are in your niche. So, I would start by setting a revenue goal and working out a gameplan for reaching it (if you haven't done that yet).
You are right. I can do the keyword research myself and identify the best keywords to target. About the "Best XYZ" type of articles, I am doing those already and they are my "money making" pages. I will fire up old tools like semrush, and get going.

I will let my writer focus on writing, + actually plugging the content into wordpress for the best "Best XYZ" type of pages for the keywords I research. I am going to give him amount of words to target which is above the competition.

I will prioritize my old, working content first. I have many "Best XYZ"-type pages already, which are ranking and can be optimized.

My part will be keyword research + guest posting/link building. Just like when starting out the with the website, I will manually contact sites in my niche and offer them a guest post. I will find another writer for the guest posts, and focus on the contacting part only. The guest posts will go straight to my identified top money pages, some also to the root site.

I will also find link opportunities through tools like semrush, and try to replicate them.

So my first goal is to scale the site to a steady 2000€ per month. I will reach this by letting my writer focus on creating the best "Best XYZ" pages, while I focus on building links to them.


Hey man,

This is me as well. Exactly like that.

Unlike you, when I started out, I had zero money.

The best advice, to cite fans of the Dark Souls game series: "Git Gud"

Get really good at this stuff.

I do not recommend you outsource until you're really good at some of the aspects of running a site.

Here is my suggested plan for your site:

1. Research keywords with Google Search Console
2. Write the best content in the niche
3. Linkbuild with Guest Posts only

Go look in Google Search Console at those keywords that have impressions but no, or few, clicks. Those are keywords that Google wants you to rank for.

Then write really good content. Rewrite it every few months. Keep tweaking.

Also think about graphics (Fiverr) and all the little stuff. Make those pages look real good (I recommedn Elementor).

As for linkbuilding, just start googling for "guest post" etc in German find a long list and hit them up. Think about their needs and their website and their audience and offer something that matches.

That method above can easily double and triple your income in a year, without any major moves and buying links.

How do I know?

Cause I did it. You can read my story from the beginning to end in my journal: Part 1 and Part 2

I recommend the above method, simple as it is, because it doesn't require urgency. It's based on just slowly making a better and better, bigger and bigger, more user friendly website. Just work on it when you can and you feel good about it.

Spend the money on things that make the website easy to use and look good and "big brand": plugins (Elementor etc), graphics (Fiverr), animation etc.

You can buy a few links here and there, but I wouldn't make it a habit. Go for sponsorships, charity, certifications etc. Things that also serve to build social proof and has a "good feeling" about them.
Hey man! I also reacted to your PM.

Thank you, your story is an inspiration for me. Can't believe what you did.

Your suggested plan is so simple. But thats exactly what I need to do to move forward with my site. This is where all my efforts will go. My writer will be focusing on making the best content, while I will focus on building links to those pages through guest posting.

I will not "waste" any more money by outsourcing guest posts to link building agencies, I can save alot by doing it on my own. Also I will negotiate a new deal with my writer. He will be focusing on SEO optimized Content only.

You said you created your site from 0. I did so aswell in the beginning. I saw your project is making good amounts now - did you outsource anything or still do everything on your own?
 
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You said you created your site from 0. I did so aswell in the beginning. I saw your project is making good amounts now - did you outsource anything or still do everything on your own?
I outsource a bunch of stuff, but not writing, because I consider myself a top 10% writer (and researcher) in my native language. That means it's something difficult to replicate. I thought all along I should be moving to outsource writing, but that was wrong, because that's something where I am legit better than most.

You should consider writing your text by yourself as well, judging from your fluent english, that should mean you're even better in german (if you're actually german speaking?). Also spend some time testing and getting to know your products deeply. Talk to vendors, talk to producers, talk in facebook group and lobby organisations. Really get to know that niche.

I outsource a lot like explanation graphics, which are smaller "infographic style" articles, like how Wikihow does it and others. I also outsource stuff like speed optimization. I buy premium plugins as well and I'd say that has made a difference: Elementor Pro, FacetWP, WP All Import, can really do a lot and take your site to the next level in functionality and aesthetics. I am now looking into something like https://www.riddle.com/, for those oh so enticing, "what Game of Throne character are you" quiz/survey types.
 
Joined
Oct 17, 2014
Messages
29
Likes
19
Degree
0
I outsource a bunch of stuff, but not writing, because I consider myself a top 10% writer (and researcher) in my native language. That means it's something difficult to replicate. I thought all along I should be moving to outsource writing, but that was wrong, because that's something where I am legit better than most.

You should consider writing your text by yourself as well, judging from your fluent english, that should mean you're even better in german (if you're actually german speaking?). Also spend some time testing and getting to know your products deeply. Talk to vendors, talk to producers, talk in facebook group and lobby organisations. Really get to know that niche.

I outsource a lot like explanation graphics, which are smaller "infographic style" articles, like how Wikihow does it and others. I also outsource stuff like speed optimization. I buy premium plugins as well and I'd say that has made a difference: Elementor Pro, FacetWP, WP All Import, can really do a lot and take your site to the next level in functionality and aesthetics. I am now looking into something like https://www.riddle.com/, for those oh so enticing, "what Game of Throne character are you" quiz/survey types.
I see. I can theoretically write content for the site, but the writer which is doing the job at the moment is better than me. I am not up-to-date, he is because its his current hobby aswell. My creativity was pretty much destroyed from the illness, my short term memory is affected, I have severe anhedonia, I can barely watch TV some times.

I can definitely see myself publishing the one or other blog post though. I will let my writer focus on the big money pages though.

I'm still using a Theme from Thrive, but I think it's a bit overkill and a simpler theme would have been easier. Like siteorigin. But I don't want to fall into the trap of "redesigning the website again".

Something I will have to optimize aswell are product tables, product boxes, and their mobile version which is currently not 100% working.