My Niche Blog Project – Offering a Valuable and Useful Free Resource

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My Niche Blog Project - Creating Passive Income with a Free Resource
Totally relevant image from Flickr by Stuck in Customs

It’s been a little while since I’ve updated what is going on with what I am calling, my niche blog project. This project was born out of my frustrations and failures with trying to create small niches sites that rank well in Google and earn passive income with Google Adsense. One of my original posts about this project talks about how I decided to combine my blogging know-how with my niche site knowledge to create something bigger – a niche blog. It started off slow, as I knew it would. But what I had envisioned for the site is finally starting to come to fruition. I’m not 100% there yet – but one of the main aspects for what I wanted to do with the site is finally in place. I’ve created that free resource and have plans and forms in place for getting people to sign up for it. Now all I have to do is build traffic and everything else will take care of itself. By everything else, I mean that I hope to get to that goal of attaining 100% completion for everything that I envisioned for this site. This includes, but is not limited to, monetization and the possibility of creating a good passive income stream. Since this blog is about my efforts to create passive income, I will focus on telling you about that. Bear in mind though that me making money isn’t the only goal with this site. Keep reading to learn more…

Early Successes with My Niche Blog

The niche blog website address is payoffcreditcard.net. From the very beginning, I planned to utilize a curated content strategy (explained in detail here). I executed the strategy and it worked beautifully right from the start. I launched the site with an introductory post on October 22, 2012. When Google came out with a PageRank update the next month, in mid November, I had already obtained a PR1 with only 7 posts published on the site! Fast forward to February 2013, when the latest PR update occurred, and my site has already been upgraded to a PR2 with only 22 published posts. I consider both of these as early successes and I totally attribute them to the social shares and links that I obtained using my curated content strategy.

Another early success that I’ve had is monetization through affiliate sales. I haven’t made a staggering amount of sales yet, but, some of the affiliates in this niche happen to have some incredible payout rates. This year (2013) alone, I’ve earned $430 in affiliate commissions from this site so far. And this is with hardly any traffic coming to the site yet (you’ll see why below).

This early success with very little traffic has proven to me that the potential for this site to be a huge money maker is absolutely viable. The trick, or goal, is to get people to sign up or buy from these affiliates without sounding too pushy or sales-y. I think I’ve found a way. The stated goal, combined with the monster earning potential from these affiliates, is partly what prompted me to come up with the following plan…

The 7-Step Plan to Pay Off Credit Cards

I stopped producing blog posts for payoffcreditcard.net for most of the months of February and March, 2013. I wasn’t getting very much traffic anyway and I wanted to develop what I had envisioned for the site. I redirected my focus towards creating content for this free resource that I wanted to offer for readers. I spent as much of my spare time as I could on coming up with this plan and writing it all out.

My focused intentions within the plan are mainly to help subscribers get out of credit card debt. I do this by showing them exactly how to come up with their own personalized plan and then implement it. I show them how to hold themselves accountable and I give some specific tips and strategies to help keep them motivated. I offer tools and products within the plan that could help them in one or more of several different aspects of their financial life. I encourage participants to share the plan and pay it forward to help somebody else get on a plan to pay off their stupid credit cards.

If you would like to check out the plan for yourself, please feel free to click through via any of the links that I am about to show you below. Likewise, if you know anybody who is struggling with credit card debt, please forward the site to them.

So, while I was working on developing this plan, traffic dwindled on the site. I finally had the plan in place, but on a blog that gets very little traffic. Now I needed to promote the plan and build traffic back up to the site. Which brings us up to the current time (end of March 2013).

Jumping into the E-mail Marketing Game

I decided to deliver the 7-Step Plan in a series of e-mails. In order to do this, I need to collect e-mail addresses of people who are interested in the plan. This is something I have never done before, so it’s a whole new game for me. As published in a recent guest post I wrote for My Money Design, here is how my thought process changed pertaining to e-mail marketing:

I had heard a lot about e-mail marketing. Everybody says, “The money is in the list,” meaning the list of e-mail subscribers. I have always been skeptical about this because I myself don’t sign up for very many of these lists. I never bothered to start my own e-mail newsletter or any other kind of e-mail marketing campaign on any of my sites. I figured, why waste my time – if people want the information, I can give it to them for free on the site.

As I learned more about it, I realized why this method actually works. Not everybody who has visited my site previously is guaranteed to come back. But, everybody who signs up for my e-mail list is almost guaranteed to see the e-mails I send to them. Everybody checks their e-mail. It’s the world we live in. Once I am in their e-mail inbox, I have gained a certain degree of trust with them. Especially since they purposely signed up to receive those e-mails from me. Needless to say, I decided to jump in to the e-mail marketing game.

I decided to go with Aweber (affiliate link) to manage my e-mail list and e-mail marketing campaign. There is too much to say about Aweber here and I should probably dedicate another entire blog post to reviewing their site and service. I’ll try to get to that one of these days. For now though, let me just tell you that it was extremely easy to set up my very first e-mail marketing campaign with their site. It is very user friendly and even included a wizard-type tutorial that walked me through the entire process step-by-step! I knew nothing about this stuff only a few short weeks ago, and now I have a complete auto-responder series all set up to deliver my 7-Step Plan to Pay Off Credit Cards.

I’ve also purchased and/or obtained some other tools recently to improve the performance as well as improve the overall look and feel of the site. Again, each of these deserve their own entire blog posts, but I will just summarize each for now…

Welcome Gate by LeadBrite

Quick explanation of what a Welcome Gate is: a lead generation page that opens ONLY the first time a user is directed to your homepage. Every time this user visits your site thereafter, this page does not appear. If a user is directed to your site via one of the internal pages (like a specific blog post), they will not see the Welcome Gate. Here is what my Welcome Gate looks like for payoffcreditcard.net.

The coolest thing about Welcome Gate is that I got it 100% completely FREE! And by the way, you can too (for a limited time)! Learn more about it and get your free copy of Welcome Gate by clicking here.

Lead Pages

From the makers of Welcome Gate comes a product called LeadPages (affiliate link). The best way to learn all about LeadPages is to click on the link and watch the short intro video. It explains exactly what LeadPages is, what you can do with it, and how powerful it can be. Here is one screenshot from the video showing many of the different types of templates that are available within LeadPages for lead generation pages that you can create.

LeadPages Template types - Dumb Passive Income

 

All of these templates are fully customizeable and extremely easy to implement into any type of website. I am publishing mine via their WordPress plugin. Here is an example of a squeeze page I created for the Pay Off Credit Card site. The obvious intention of this page is to get people to sign up for the plan, which gets them onto my e-mail list.

Opt-in Skin

I tried to get by without purchasing the Opt-in Skin (affiliate link) WordPress plugin – but the forms I created for free within Aweber didn’t even come close to comparing what I could do with Opt-in Skin. I spent far too much time trying to customize my own forms in Aweber and implementing them onto my site. Not only did I waste a lot of time, but they looked like crap!! I purchased Opt-in Skin and in less than an hour had two (different) beautiful opt-in forms that automatically display at the top and bottom of every single post on the Pay Off Credit Card site. All forms within Opt-in Skin are totally customizeable and the settings for where and when they are displayed can be easily changed as well. You can see both of these forms in action by viewing this random post from the site. There is one form at the top of the post just below the title and another one at the bottom which includes sharing buttons.

Genesis Framework and the Generate Theme

Until recently, I’ve only used free WordPress themes. Since the main goal of the credit card site is to get people to sign up for the 7-Step Plan, I started searching for a theme that would support and increase lead generation. I came across this Generate Theme which is built on the Genesis Framework. There was a bit of a learning curve for me, as this was my first experience with any kind of paid theme. All-in-all, it was pretty easy to figure out. Genesis has all kinds of online tutorials to help you get everything set up properly.

One of the main features of the Generate Theme is the giant “generate box,” which I currently have set up to display only on the home page. I suppose this feature is mostly irrelevant now that I am using Opt-in Skin and Welcome Gate – but nevertheless, I am happy to have my site on the Genesis Framework. I’ve heard nothing but good things about their back-end SEO and support services. Eventually, I might purchase a different theme which runs on my Genesis Framework. Note: you only have to pay for the Genesis Framework once. All themes that run on Genesis are purchased separately afterwards and are very reasonably priced (cheap)!

Conclusion

I find it to be humorous that I started this blog, Dumb Passive Income, almost a year ago with the intention of showing how I do things the dumb way to create passive income online. Meaning I was dead set on using only free tools and resources to build up my passive income streams. Now that I have a little bit of decent money rolling in, I can’t resist the temptation to buy all of these incredible tools that make my life so much easier. Not only do they make it easier, but they greatly increase my chances for success.

Now that I’ve purchased all of these tools and implemented them into my credit card site – I now have to work on building traffic back up to the site. I am going to do this by re-implementing my curated content strategy and also submitting guest posts to other popular sites whenever I can. I also plan to try to comment on other blogs as much as can, but my time is very limited to be able to do this.

As of the time that I published this post, I currently have 11 subscribers to my 7-Step Plan. 4 of these 11 are actual random people who signed up via one of my opt-in forms. The other 7 are people that I actually know and who signed up pretty much just to give me feedback. As readers of this blog, I would love it if you would sign up, even if you don’t need to get out of credit card debt, just to give me feedback on the plan and how I am delivering it, as well as check out the free bonus! Again, if you know anybody who struggles with credit card debt, please forward a link to the site to them! Thanks!

Remember that there are several dumb ways to create passive income online, but only one site that is blogging about it! Dumb Passive Income… dot com.

-Matt

Many of the links within this income report are indeed affiliate links. I will receive a commission if you choose to purchase after clicking through via any of these links. Thank You if you do! To your success and mine – may we all be profitable online. Good Day!