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$400 a month to over $7000 a month

How I did it in 2 years

     
2:05 pm on Apr 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I haven't made a million dollars(yet) but I think I'm doing pretty well. When I made $400 my first month with Adsense in May 2004 I knew I had potential. I had just slapped some ads on my existing hobby site which I started in 1999. After reading through Google's tips for ad placement, I over doubled my Adsense income in the second month. Then, I figured I could live off $800 a month and decided to quit my other business. Before I proceed I will post my monthly earnings for May 2004 and May 2006.
$421.04 - May 31, 2004
$7,760.05 - March 2006

First, I wrote out a business plan. Where did I see myself in 10 years and how could I get there? My path to fame and fortune on the Internet ended up in a 180 page typed business plan, yes, 180 pages. You won't get anywhere without a goal and a plan on how to get there.

The only way I saw to reach my goals was to recruit help from my visitors. A good rule of thumb, you get back what you give. If you give your visitors garbage, that's what you'll get back. If you give them good quality content, that is what you will get back (if you ask for it, that is).

One of the first steps was figuring out how to communicate on a one-on-one basis with my visitors. Who are they? Where are they from? What are their interests? What are THEIR goals? If you can help them reach their goals, they will help you reach yours.

With all of my days free to do nothing but cater to my visitors, my sites experienced and are still experiencing a rapid growth. When I got to $4000 a month I hired someone to maintain what I had built so far so I could continue to have time to expand. By that time, visitors were asking for all sorts of things and I was busy trying to give them what they wanted.

What I like about Adsense as opposed to direct sales, affliates, etc. is that it's so simple and gives me time to devote to my visitors. To me, Adsense is a way to totally devote my time to my hobby and get paid for it. I'm having a blast and can't think of anything else I'd rather be doing for a living. Without Adsense, there is so much I wouldn't know about my hobby because I wouldn't have had time to learn. I'd still be doing the same thing over and over expecting different results.

When I started out, I said to myself, I will end up with the best site on the Internet in this niche because I'm willing to work harder than anyone else is willing to work. I could sit back and take it easy now, but instead myself and my help are pouring about 100 hours a week into the sites. When I get to 9,000 a month, I'll take on an extra guy so we can pour 140 hours a week into the sites... and so on. I can easily see making a million dollars from the sites if we keep going like this, either from Adsense if it stays around, or through another revenue source.

[edited by: martinibuster at 10:51 pm (utc) on April 6, 2006]
[edit reason] Fixed typo. ;) [/edit]

2:16 pm on Apr 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Wow...thats nuts! Congradulations! In your 2 years have you ever had Google question you about your clicks or anything?
2:19 pm on Apr 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Congrats! I wish i was only 50% as sucsessful as you!

I dont understand though, how one can make a business 'plan' when so many things are out of your direct control - i.e.; you could drop out of the Google index, Adsense CPC could drop, Adsense could be canceled, people just might stop clicking (God forbid), and many more
it seems hard to make a *real* plan when so much is out of your (or my)direct control.
that being said, please sticky your 180 page plan to me.. :-)

2:20 pm on Apr 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

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$7,760.05 - May 2006

Have I slept through April?

2:24 pm on Apr 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Oops, sorry, I put May when I meant to put March.

My business plan didn't have anything to do with Google rankings or anything like that, it had to do with where I wanted to go with the sites regardless of what outside forces are doing.

2:25 pm on Apr 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Congrats spaceylacie!

I think you were pretty brave to quit your other business while only making $800 a month from your website. I'm also amazed about your business plan, 180 pages is a hell of a lot. I don't think I would be able to write more than 10-15 pages lol.

[edited by: Zygoot at 2:25 pm (utc) on April 6, 2006]

2:25 pm on Apr 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

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that happens when your tooooo busy counting all the money! lol
2:26 pm on Apr 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

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One of the first steps was figuring out how to communicate on a one-on-one basis with my visitors. Who are they? Where are they from? What are their interests? What are THEIR goals? If you can help them reach their goals, they will help you reach yours.

Would you be willing to expand on this? What ways did you find that worked best to learn about your visitors?
2:51 pm on Apr 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Congrats! can you let us know how many sites, visitors you have? Do you use advertising or only SEO, links?
2:51 pm on Apr 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

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"Would you be willing to expand on this? What ways did you find that worked best to learn about your visitors?"

First, by adding a link and invitation to contact me. I also started mailings lists that visitors could sign up for and receive new content as it was published. By receiving that fresh content in their inbox, they are more likely to respond to you about it. They say these like "this is great, but I'd really like to see more of this..." I saved all their comments and suggestions to a folder and that's where I look before adding new content.

Once the mailing lists were popular and had a good number of subscribers, I started a forum on the site and emailed all subscribers inviting them to join. After that is was easy to get to know them. I can see what their goals are by simply reading what they are saying. I know what they want and I plan on helping them get there.

Yes, 180 pages is long, but I plan to take this niche in an entirely new direction on the Internet. I still have a long way to go, I've only gotten to about page 5.

Added: 2 main sites, about 25k visitors a day, and only word-of-mouth advertising.

3:26 pm on Apr 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Great job Spaceylacie!

Can you give us any insight as to how you develop traffic outside of G and other SEs?

3:31 pm on Apr 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Is the 7k a month from AdSense the only revenue, or do you have other things on the site making money?
3:43 pm on Apr 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Congrats Lacie! It's great to hear that a well-thought out plan succeeded.

180 pages... hmmmm.... have you ever thought about posting the plan online (making it somewhat general enough for public consumption) as an e-book or perhaps an AdSense enabled web site?

It would be ironic to actually make money from AdSense on your business plan - to make money from AdSense :)

3:58 pm on Apr 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

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"Can you give us any insight as to how you develop traffic outside of G and other SEs?"
Tell-a-friend links, mailing lists(encourage them to pass the email along), natural linking(build something worth linking to), visitors talking about your site on forums, give visitors material to print and give away(with your site info on it), allow other sites to post versions of your content in exchange for a link to your site- let it be known that your site info is available for distribution by request so people can contact you if they are interested. These are some ways to get traffic without SEs.

"do you have other things on the site making money?"
No, just one regular unit and one link unit on each page(except the main pages and forum which contain no ads).

"have you ever thought about posting the plan online"
Maybe when I'm finished with it and ready to move on from there. Until then it is kept hidden under lock and key.

4:10 pm on Apr 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

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have you ever thought about posting the plan online

Here's a plan..
[webmasterworld.com...]

There really is no secret to what spaceylacie has done. Her site(s) were developed for vistors, not adsense. It's a subject matter that she is very knowledgeable in.

Not every site will be successful. Hopefully your area of expertise is something that monetizes well. A site about "French Basket Weaving of the 16th Century" may not be the best subject matter.

10:42 pm on Apr 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I agree that every site will not be successful, but I believe that every PERSON can be successful. Just be willing to learn, and pass along your knowledge, that's the real secret.

If your interest is "French Basket Weaving of the 16th Century", you are probably also interested in the history of France, 16th century artisan wares, and basket weaving in general. I see potential. Write a site about how it all started and where it is today. Learn as you go by asking visitors what else they want to know about related to your site, and keep building.

10:52 pm on Apr 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Fantastic SpaceyLacie! Great thread too.

That 180 page business plan is amazing too. Wow! One day I would love to read it because for someone to be passionate enough to produce a 180 page 5 year road map deserves all the success that comes their way.

11:04 pm on Apr 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Way to Go Lacie! The most important point in your success that I can see is that you put your visitor first! No "what keywords pay highest", "how many quickie sites can I crank out" bs. You saw the key element from the beginning and the profit followed naturally. If I were you, I would send your story to Google for the profile page. CONGRATS
11:11 pm on Apr 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

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SpaceyLacie - thats GREEEAT!

Honestly its threads like these that inspire me to get up and work on my site after working 10 hours on my regular sucky day job :)

180 pages PLAN! I guess thats what I dont have. I have a goal but I dont have a plan.

Thanks for sharing ur success story. I just started about 3 months back and I made around 1200$ in march and april seems to be heading the same way.

Hopefully in two years, I'll be close to where you are now :)

Congrats again

11:21 pm on Apr 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Sarah;
please tell me that's supposed to be $120.. and NOT $1200
11:42 pm on Apr 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

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:) i'm sorry tearabite - it was not a typo

first month i made a 100$
second month close to 700$
third month 1200$

and now i have run out of ideas on how to increase it more :(

12:27 am on Apr 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

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SpaceyLacie, congratulations on your success! Stories like yours are really inspiring.

Sarah, to increase your adsense income you could possibly start another website. There's evolving niches and ignored markets that need love and attention.

It's been 3 months and counting and I haven't made anything from my adsense units, but that's only because I have been focusing only on blogging and didn't learn until niche marketing until a week ago.

12:30 am on Apr 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Reading your story was very identical to mine over the past two years. I started with about $200 Adsence my first month. I was already earning allot of $$ online outside of Adsence so I did not pay it much attention. But evertime I check my adsence stats and make an adjustment I would see more $$ the the folling week. I too wrote a business plan that included changing my life so I could invest more and time to provide content for my visitors. Eventually I got to $1500 a month for the past 8 months and this month will be my first $4000 month becsue I started using adwords last month to buy traffic.

I have a travel content web site that was previouly members only monthly subscription. I had 3 years worth of content and a few months ago I cancelled all the recurring subscriptions and made the content free with Adsense. Now we get paid to do what we love.. travel, have fun, and blog the experience online.

Craig

12:44 am on Apr 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

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//I said to myself, I will end up with the best site on the Internet in this niche because I'm willing to work harder than anyone else is willing to work. //

That's been my attitude as well from day one.
Thanks so much for a GREAT discussion.
Many of us will come away with a renewed enthusiasm from it.

12:52 am on Apr 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I have a travel content web site that was previouly members only monthly subscription. I had 3 years worth of content and a few months ago I cancelled all the recurring subscriptions and made the content free with Adsense. Now we get paid to do what we love.. travel, have fun, and blog the experience online.

That is a great idea and I have thought of doing somethimg similar. I live pretty close to NYC and it would be cool to travel there once a week to review and take pictures of tourist spots and the hotels and restaurants near them.

Whenever I try to do reseach like this all there is out there is crap.

12:55 am on Apr 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

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please tell me that's supposed to be $120.. and NOT $1200

Don't worry about what other people are making. Remember: the race is long and in the end it's only with yourself.

3:46 pm on Apr 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

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This is a great success story. Thanks very much for sharing it. Are you able to make this adsense income from just one site? Or do you have several sites?
8:53 pm on Apr 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Spacey - bet your family doesn't think your crazy for shutting your shop doors now! good job!
12:57 am on Apr 8, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Great inspiration Spacie. I read your posts a lot when I first joined WW, as you posted quite often then with good insights.
1:19 am on Apr 8, 2006 (gmt 0)

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SPECTACULAR...keep it going...there's a lot more where it came from...
This 46 message thread spans 2 pages: 46