If you’ve been following my blog, you know that I took a little break for a little while. During that break, I didn’t publish any new content here, while I tried to figure out what direction I wanted to go in for the future. You can read my last post here for more information about that if you’re interested.
This post is the first of the case study I mentioned in that post. I’m going to tell you a little bit about the site, what I’ve done so far and what my plans are for the future. It’s going to be a fun experiment and a pretty awesome way to rock 2016.
What’s The Site?
A lot of you are going to be disappointed here, but I have some bad news. As of right now, I’ve decided not to release the name/URL of the site yet. This is for a couple different reasons.
For one, I’ve seen case studies that were sabotaged once the bloggers unveiled the domain name. Two of the Niche Pursuits’ case study sites (here and here) were attacked with negative SEO, and it basically ruined the results. Also, a bunch of people tried to clone the sites too, which complicates things. It sucks, but that’s the way the internet works unfortunately.
The second reason I’m not announcing what the site is yet is because it’ll affect the results. I’ve seen it first hand with Neil Patel’s $100K Challenge case study. Quicksprout gets A LOT of traffic, and has loyal readers. By constantly mentioning the name of the site involved in the case study, it kind of taints the process in my opinion. Even though I’m nowhere near as big as Neil Patel, I feel like letting the cat out of the bag right now would alter my results a bit.
All that being said, I will say that the blog is in a niche/industry completely unrelated to marketing, blogging and other things I have experience with. It falls under the health umbrella.
Since I didn’t have any authority or much knowledge of the subject, I used a couple of the techniques I mentioned in my post about how to become an expert in your niche. Namely, I bought a couple of the top books on the subject through Amazon and started reading a bunch of blogs on the subject. The books alone have given me more than enough info to create content on, and have helped me learn more about the topic than the general public.
I do plan on revealing the site eventually, but not quite yet.
Since I’m not releasing the name of the site, I chose to refer to the site and this whole case study as the Cosmo Project. So whenever you see me mention the Cosmo Project, this is what I’m referring to.
Why I Chose This Niche
The health industry is one of the most competitive areas for blogging. It’s probably one of the most saturated niches there is aside from blogging/making money online. But within the health niche, there are a ton of sub-niches that are also pretty competitive and saturated. So I dug one level deeper and chose a sub-sub-niche that’s also pretty competitive but I noticed some big opportunities that I wanted to take advantage of:
- Marketers haven’t completely spammed the niche yet
- There is no “main authority” site that dominates it (think Moz or Quicksprout for SEO)
- There is a seemingly limitless amount of content ideas
- Other bloggers in the niche don’t seem to know what SEO is, so it’s easier for me to outrank them
- There are A LOT of people I can network with
In addition to all of that, it’s also a topic that I’ve been interested in for a while, which was why I initially started it in the first place. It’s also worth noting that I first started this site over a year ago but stopped updating it.
My Approach To The Site
Originally, this was going to be a blog case study. But as I started to work on the site and think about what I wanted to do with it, I decided to make it a case study about content marketing. This case study is interesting because it’s not a personal blog that revolves around me or my expertise. In fact, my name doesn’t even appear anywhere on the site. Instead, I’m building it up to be an authority site for the topic that’s more about the content than a person. This is a setback, since it’s much easier to market a blog when there’s a face behind it. But I’m confident I’ll still be successful.
Up until the point that I decided I was going to use this site for a case study, I wrote all of the content myself. It was over 20 posts, all pretty in depth (not a bunch of 500 word generic pieces). Now that I want to focus more on the marketing side of things, I’ve hired writers to create some of the newer posts. I chose this route because:
- The pages on this site are very in depth and require a lot of research. Since I’m writing for my personal site, freelancing and occasional guest posts, I don’t have the time I need to write all of the content I need for this one.
- By far, the biggest struggle people have told me they have is growing their sites and getting traffic. I want to focus this case study on showing you techniques and strategies that work, not that I know how to create great content.
- I plan on allowing guest bloggers for this site eventually.
- The content is mainly informational, not opinion based.
I’ll still be writing some content for the site and the guest posts I plan on doing for the site, but I need a lot of informational/resource pages that I’ll outsource to other people.
This site won’t just be a bunch of written articles either, which is pretty cool, and one of the things that’s going to separate it from other my competitors. I’ve already created or plan to create:
- Audio (thinking of doing a Podcast!)
- Interactive content like quizzes
I’m going to go into more detail on the content strategy and structure for this site in a separate post. But here’s a teaser. I’m using a Silo Structure for it. Trust me, you’ll want to stay tuned if you’re unfamiliar with that.
My approach to marketing this site is going to be just like it would be for any other blog I’ve created. I’ll be using a variety of strategies, but the focus is on creating awesome content and getting it in front of the right people. A majority of the traffic is going to come from search engines. But I’m also going to be using social media and other outlets as well. Right now, the main social media profile I have for the site is Twitter, but I’ll also be dabbling in Facebook (with FB Ads).
I’ll breakdown the exact strategies I use, so you can replicate them.
I’d be lying if I said my only purpose with this site is to teach you content marketing. I do plan on making it a profitable site, which will be a result of the content marketing I do. So far, the only monetization method is affiliate marketing with Amazon. But as I build the site, I’ll be expanding to offer digital products and maybe courses as well. For right now, my priority is adding a TON of great content to the site so that it can be the go-to resource on the topic/niche.
Site Stats for 2015
I decided to pull a few reports from the site for 2015. This will show you where I’m starting at for 2016 and what kind of growth I got in 2016. These are all traffic stats from Google Analytics. I highly suggest reading through my Google Analytics Beginner’s Guide if any of the info below seems weird. It’s an extremely helpful tool and something anyone who has a site needs to be using. On to the stats!
This first image is the total traffic for the site in 2015, month by month. Right underneath it is the comparison of 2015 vs. 2014 so you can see how much it’s grown.
2014 vs. 2015. Them GAINS!!!
Next, here’s a picture of the site’s traffic sources. Like I said, this site gets most of its traffic from organic search. Over time I’ll be trying to diversify it a bit, but search engines are going to always be the top traffic source for it.
Here’s a breakdown of some of the top pages on the site for the year. The page I highlighted in green is the home page. That shows you that a majority of the traffic is coming from organic traffic to inner pages. I left out the page names for obvious reasons.
Lastly, here’s a chart of what geographic locations traffic came from in 2015 so you know this isn’t a bunch of garbage, low quality traffic 🙂
The Next Step
I’ve already added over 20 new pages to the site, and I have a lot more to go. For January, my goal is to finish adding my resource pages. The next post for this case study is going to be about the content strategy. I apologize ahead of time for the sporadic posting right now, but I’ll work out a regular schedule for these updates so you know when to check back. Of course, you could always subscribe to my email list to get notified whenever I post a new article (which is what I would recommend).
Thanks for reading and let’s CRUSH 2016!
P.S. If there’s anything specific you’d like covered or tested during the Cosmo Project, let me know. The goal is for you all to learn as much as possible.