Am I at the tipping point?

I think my niche websites are at a tipping point. They must be.

A tipping point of doing well. Maaaybe?

Why do I think that?

Because I want to quit. It’s a paradox. They are starting to do OK and I want to be free of them.

I carry them around with me every day, yet I do very little work on them. I am not inspired to work on them because they are not making enough money.

My goal was to be making $A3000 per month with my sites. I’m not even making that in a year. It’s harder than I thought. A lot harder.

In typical San fashion, I’m feeling frustrated with how slow progress has been – from making time to write fresh, SEO optimised content to promoting the content and building backlinks. And I’ve done hardly any of that in the past 12 months. I’m not passionate about my niche site topic, so writing about it can be a slog.

The rollercoaster ride of niche site building
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But then I looked at my Google Analytics stats for my main niche site that has been earning some money and compared January 2018 when my main earning site was about 7 months old to January 2019. And I am heartened by the growth in traffic.

Google Analytics – January 2019 vs January 2018

But who cares about traffic stats? That’s a vanity metric. Does it result in an increase in earnings?

I knew I had earned more, but I wasn’t sure how much more. So I took a look at my Amazon Associates account. Here are the report details for January 2018 where I earned $US6.40 for the month.

Amazon Associates affiliate account report for January 2018

And here is my report for January 2019. As you can see, this report shows a significant improvement in clicks from my niche site to Amazon, orders, my conversion rate and of course, my income. I earned $US75.92.

Amazon Associates affiliate account report for January 2019

It would be crazy to ditch this beast now, right? A new buying guide or two, some more review posts, a refresh of existing pages, and some more shareable blog posts to help build backlinks is what it needs.

Is it worth it? Is it worth my time?

Keep going or ditch it?

I keep flip-flopping between keeping it and giving it some love and selling it for what would be peanuts.

Realistically, I don’t think this niche could earn much more than $US500 in affiliate income from Amazon Associates.

Last November, my site earned $US650 via the US Black Friday deals on Amazon. I ranked in the top position for any keyword related to my niche site product + the keyword ‘black Friday’. It was amazing to watch the volume of traffic hit my site, the sales roll in, and to see my affiliate income increase. But Black Friday sales happen only once per year. It’s an anomoly.

There’s a part of me that will never be satisfied if I ditch the site before it’s reached a level of success that I’d be happy with.

I could just leave it and let the pocket money trickle in over the next year or two before competitors gain a better position in Google’s search results.

And while I’m not passionate about my niche site topics, I love earning money.

And I have loved working on them and learning so much about SEO, affiliate marketing and building an online profile.

Last chance?

This is our last year in Korea, our last year with low overheads where I don’t have to fill every hour of my available schedule with paid project work to meet the insane cost of living in Australia. I’m going to miss this place. Look where we visited today – a 25 minute drive from home. Gorgeous!

Donghaksa – a temple in Gyeryongsan National Park, South Korea

The main reason I want successful niche sites is for the income. I am far more realistic now than when I built my first niche site. Back then I thought I’d be earning $A3.5 to $A4K per month within 12 months. Ha! How naive I was.

The closer I can get to $A2K per month will go a long way towards paying for our increased overheads in Australia. And if I can get them earning even more, I will have more time to spend on other creative pursuits.

Writing this out in this post has been super helpful. I went through this same questioning late last year when I started planning my goals for 2019. And now I’m STILL wavering and flip-flopping.

I need to prioritise my time well this year. Paid project work is my number #1 priority. What’s next? My eCommerce store? My niche sites? Or my creative writing?

What do you think I should do? Ditch or ramp up?


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