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Time really does fly when you are doing what you love! We are now officially 60 days into our case studies, with one more week to close out month 2. If you are just now following along, I’ll give you a brief overview of what we are doing. But you can also jump in and look at some more detail on our posts below.
The Reader’s Digest version is that both Mark and I have picked a person (or people) to coach, with none of them having any type of online experience before.
This means they’ve never bought a domain or really even toyed with building a website. They knew nothing about affiliate marketing or WordPress, so they are truly all blank slates for Mark and I to corrupt! Mark and I are also working on our own case study site that we are building alongside our students.
The case study will span over 18 months, and we are officially wrapping up month 2. Nobody can spend more than $1,000 per month of their own money on content. Each person can reinvest the site’s earnings, and outside of that, the gloves are off.
Niche Selection Summary
If you’ve forgotten, the three of us are getting into three different niches. Mark is coaching Nathan, and I’m coaching Trent & Necole.
Nathan is building a site in the “home” niche. Trent & Necole are building a site in the “food” niche. Mark and I are building a site in the “caring for your home” niche. Even though Nathan is in “home,” it’s quite different from the site Mark and I are building out.
Once we picked our niches and got started, we had some very specific goals we wanted to hit in our first month (June). So did we hit them?
June’s Goals & Who Hit Them
For June, we had very specific goals for Trent, Necole and Nathan. We wanted each of them to learn and progress with the following:
- Each person needed to learn how to do keyword research with Ahrefs
- Perform keyword research
- Purchase domains
- Start with logo design
- Prioritize and produce the first 12 articles.
All of us hit each goal with the exception of article production. So who’s gonna have to play catchup? Let’s find out!
Trent & Necole: Yes, we hit each goal and produced 12 articles.
Nathan: Not yet. 10 articles have been produced between June and July (update later).
Mark & Jason: Yes, we hit each goal and produced 12 articles.
July Goals Summary
For July, we have additional goals. We’ve all been experiencing the pressure of getting content written, and getting our sites launched. Initially all of us had the goal of launching our sites this month. Here’s what we have until next week to do:
- Logo Complete
- Setup and Install WordPress
- Install Necessary Plugins
- Register Social Profiles
- Basic Website Design
- On-Page SEO & Article Setup
- Proper on-page for all first articles
- Produce 12 new pieces of content
This was a lot to chew off. Perhaps even too much. But we still committed to it, and are doing what we can to get it all done this week.
When all is said and done…
The single biggest thing that we do for our sites is produce content.
Since we have the next week or so to meet our goals, how are we looking so far? I’ll give you a quick update on the Progress Mark and I have made. Trent, Necole and Nathan have all provided you updates of their own.
Mark & Jason’s Update
We are feeling the heat. We hit our goal of 12 articles in June with the help of WordAgents (they wrote 6), but we are behind in July. They’ve written another 6 for us in July and we hope to have more finalized this week, putting us at a total of 20. We plan on making up the difference in August (16 articles produced in total).
July’s goals will all be hit this week minus content production.
Mark and I will knock out the logo this week, and get the basic WordPress install up. We will use Brandmark.io for logo design so we don’t have to wait on a graphic designer. When it comes to themes, we plan on using GeneratePress premium, which is what Trent & Necole are using as well on their site. We are considering Elementor for Home and Category pages, but Mark may convince me to just use Gutenberg blocks. Time will tell.
We also plan on using BigScoots to host. They can get a site up and running, will handle all of your nameserver changes, and even offer a first month’s discount for Digital Asset Builders subscribers (use coupon DigitalAssetBuilders during checkout) on their managed WordPress plan.
We can easily launch the site by the end of the week, but we definitely need to step it up on our content production. Time will still be needed to edit and post our content. By the end of August, we need at least 36 articles published, so there will definitely be a big content push over the next 5 weeks.
Trent & Necole’s Update
The last thirty days have been full of hard work with focus on two primary goals.
The first is to write content. We ordered some articles from WordAgents to get us going, but we are also writing as much of our own content as we can to minimize costs. We are going to continue utilizing WordAgents as well as some local writers we’ve found when our day jobs are too demanding. We’ve found they are great for when we need to spot fill when we can’t produce content on our own.
The second goal was to start building our site. Jason started us on nailing the branding of our site as the first priority. Now we are learning WordPress basics, and we are working on designing our home page, and getting our first articles posted.
We have learned how much hard work and sweat equity goes into producing a high volume of quality content! Here’s what we’ve done between June and so far in July:
- A Pillar article containing 8,000 + words
- 8 Supporting Articles, with 4 more on the way
- Aggregated a current inventory of 20 articles (includes outsourced content)
- This includes a total of approximately 43,000 words
With the help of Jason’s tutorial videos we have begun to create our digital asset. We really put in the time over the last 1.5 weeks and have done the following:
- Logo Design, Branding, and Colors
- Decisioning initial site design, aesthetic and navigation
- Begun design work on our home page and category pages
- Set up Big Scoots account to host our site
- Have begun site build-out using WordPress
- Started learning WordPress basics
- Installed the GeneratePress theme
- Learned how to use and customize GeneratePress
- Installed Elementor pro and we learned the plugin’s basic functions
- Purchased a Canva Pro subscription
- Currently learning how to use Canva to create quality images
Jason continues to be a knowledgeable and accessible coach. We feel very fortunate to be able to work with him weekly, his advice and education have been invaluable in building our first digital asset!
Will we hit July’s goals? It’s going to be tight, but we know we can get there.
In August, we will be focused on continuing to create a high volume of quality content. We will continue to focus on building out our site with the intention to go live with it as soon as possible. Our goal is to get the site fully live in the next 2 weeks, with at least our first 24 articles going live. We will continue to produce content to hit the goal of 36 articles by the end of August. We are looking forward to getting the site officially “launched.”
The last 30 days have mainly revolved around site design and hiring freelance writers. The site design is pretty much done with only a couple of the core pages to complete.
Mark and I took the decision that I should try and employ my own freelance writers directly rather than use a content agency. The idea is that I should be able to get higher quality content at a lower cost, although we’ll have to see how that works out.
I posted an ad online with a google application form for applicants to fill in. I got a total of 350 applications in just over a week. Although the application form made keeping track of all the applications really easy it still took almost an entire week to shortlist the applicants.
As a result of the time I’ve had to put into hiring writers I’m significantly behind with the content creation having only written one 5000 word multi product review myself. However now I have writer’s up and running I have 10 articles on the way so I should be in a position to go live with my site within a week and a half once I have them back, edited and published.
Again the hope now is that a combination of lower costs, and decent quality content that doesn’t require too much editing, will allow me to catch up on the content creation without exceeding the monthly budget.
Things I’ve Learned
I’ve learned a lot this month. The majority of it has been centered around researching articles in order to write really detailed writing briefs and communicating with writers. I got some great feedback from the writers on the level of professionalism and detail that I’ve (Mark’s) gone into. As a result of this I managed to negotiate down the rate per word pretty considerably in most cases.
The coaching is still going well with the main difference over the last 30 days being more face to face sessions with the easing of lockdown restrictions in the UK.
The target over the next 30 days is the following:
- Finish the design of all core pages of my site
- Upload the 10 articles that are in the pipeline
- Focus on catching up on content
- Push the site live
Once I’ve completed that, it’s going to be all about loading my writers up to capacity and writing myself in order to catch up with Trent & Necole and the commitment to posting 150 articles over the 18 months.
So Who’s in the Lead?
With Trent and Necole closing in on 24 articles in July, they are the early leaders.
Mark and I will be close behind with 20, and Nathan rounds us out with 10. With all that being said, it’s very early in this competition. August will be a critical month for all of us.
But the bottom line is that it’s still anyone’s game at this point and we will have a clearer picture at the end of August.
With us still having a week to hit our goals for July, let’s look ahead to the month of August. Because our sites will have launched, the next 30 days should be slightly more angled to maintenance mode. Here’s what we hope to accomplish in August.
- Produce 12 additional pieces of content (total of 36 articles on site)
- Sign up for Google Analytics and install tracking codes
- Sign up for Google Search Console
- Create sitemaps and submit to GSC
- Launch all websites
We will have another update 30 days or so from now with more progress! Things are moving along quite nicely, and I’m extremely excited to see how far Trent, Necole and Nathan have all come over the last 60 or so days!