Case studies are a great way of illustrating a process and showing others what can be done. Today I would like to share with you all a detailed breakdown of my relaunch of my website Martial Arts Videos. Those of you who are launching a new blog, or relaunching an old one, should find the process interesting.
I touched upon relaunching this website recently in my Facebook promoted posts article. The website has unfortunately not had my attention since launching the website last year. That recently changed. I am going to give more time to the project and make it profitable.
Before looking at what I have done to relaunch the website, let me show you why I created the website and my original aims for the project.
Martial Arts Videos: My Original Plans for the Website
For as long as I can remember, I have loved martial arts. I did not start training in martial arts until I was 20 however my love affair started long before. I can still remember going to the VHS video shop with my Dad when I was 6 or 7 years old and renting out Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan and Chuck Norris films in VHS. I would regularly record television late at night too, recording weird Chinese Kung Fu films, Japanese Godzilla films and Casey Kasem's American Top 10.
I have heard before that you do not choose your passion, your passion chooses you. I strongly believe this to be true. We are all drawn to different sports, hobbies and interests. As many times as I have played Golf, I will never have the love for it that my friend Michael has. Likewise, my friend McCormick growing up would play football every chance he could whereas I could take it or leave it.
When it came to films, I always loved martial arts films. To this day I have not seen films such as E.T., even though most people in my generation loved those types of films growing up. I was just never interested in the typical movies aimed at kids. I created MartialArtsVideos.com as I still love watching martial arts. It is not uncommon for me to take a break from working and watch a fighting clip on YouTube, only to find myself wasting an hour or so watching some poorly dubbed Chinese film from the 70's.
Due to me spending so much time watching martial arts clips, I was curious as to whether I could make a website about the subject. I am obviously not the only person who loves martial arts and I have always had more success with websites when I enjoyed running them. At the end of March 2012 I registered the domain martialartsvidz.com and shortly afterwards created a website for it. From the start, I was trying to secure the more brandable domain name martialartsvideos.com, however it would not come cheap. In the end I got the martialartsvideos.com domain for around $7,100 in May 2012 and secured martialartsvideo.com the following month for around $1,000.
I initially looked at YouTube type video scripts that would allow people to upload their own clips. I had concerns over the bandwidth which such a site would use. I was confident that people would submit videos to a video website once it was established, however it could have been difficult to encourage people to upload videos initially. I decided against creating that type of website as I felt a magazine style would prove better.
For years my blog content was ripped off by scrapers and I purposely never reviewed any autoposting scripts because of it. I am therefore strongly against autoposting scripts, however I put these reservations to the side for the autoposting plugin WP Robot as it was one of the few scripts out there that successfully pulled videos from YouTube and created blog posts with them. I had initially wanted all content on the site to be unique, though after testing the script out, it seemed that visitors did not mind where the videos were coming from. Bizarely, most visitors assumed that I uploaded the videos and I even got a few requests for me to take a video down (even though I was simply publishing a video hosted on YouTube).
I had a membership at Theme Junkie so I was able to create the design using their VideoPlus video theme quickly. The design was optimised for Google Adsense with advertisements placed at key positions around the site. I made no attempts to monetise the site using any other services or methods.
I had invested over $12,000 building up the website's Facebook page. This brought my total investment on the site to just over $20,000. I was not too concerned about this expense as I knew the site had the potential to make it back.
The site performed well over the first few months. Traffic had been growing since April 2012 under the martialartsvidz.com domain and continued to rise once I had moved the site to the martialartsvideos.com domain. The site mainly remained on traffic from Facebook. I don't believe in putting all my eggs in one basket, however there was nothing to suggest that the way Facebook worked would change. I was wrong. Facebook implemented many changes in 2012 that reduced page reach. This greatly reduced the traffic that I was receiving from Facebook.
Even though the content on the site was not unique, my traffic from Google continued to rise every day. This changed as well, drying up another source of traffic. Since day one, the site had a reliable conversion rate for ads. So when traffic dropped, income dropped with it.
It was not just Facebook and Google that affected traffic. During the same time, I returned to Scotland. I was not working many hours and when I did, I mainly worked on the new discussion forums that I had created (such as Black Belt Forums). My work on Martial Arts Videos decreased even more when I headed back to South America in September 2012. All I would do is pull related videos from YouTube and then review them, ensuring that only relevant videos were published. I probably worked on the website less than 30 minutes every month.
Traffic has been very low in 2013, rarely exceeding 400 unique visitors per day. This is incredibly low compared to the thousands of visitors it was getting every day one year ago.
Since launching the website it has earned me £1694.82; which is $2,556.42 at the time of writing. I have therefore earned back 12.5% (an eighth) of my my initial investment within the first year. This does not even taken into account the time I spent developing the website and maintaining the website (which admittedly, was not very much).
I made the mistake of creating too many websites at the one time, thereby reducing the time I could spend developing Martial Arts Videos. By automating the content on the site I ensured that it kept a little traffic but nothing more. This was necessary as I did not have the time required to work on the site regularly. It was a conscious decision I made. If I had changed the site and started adding unique content every day, I would be giving myself more work to do; something which I did not want whilst travelling.
So it would be easy for me to view this whole project as an unmitigated disaster, however I do not. When I started seeing income drop I knew I had to do something to rectify that. My idea was to simply leave the website on standby until the time came when I could develop the website properly. That time is now. I have more free time to develop the website and make it profitable.
In my opinion, the website has huge potential. It has a A+ brandable domain name and a large following of around 50,000 fans on Facebook. All I need to do now is develop the website in the way I originally planned.
I am continued to be inspired by how popular Martial Arts Videos is on Facebook. My girlfriend managed the Facebook page of Martial Arts Videos for a few months, regularly posting videos and photos to stay engaged with the audience. This helped the page grow, however we later found that even when we didn't post updates regularly, new people kept subscribing.
So MartialArtsVideos.com is being relaunched, however I am not starting from square one. I have a good idea, a great domain name and a loyal readership. Add in the fact that I love martial arts and I'm stubborn as hell; and I have a potential monster on my hands :)
Choosing a New Design
My idea was to create unique content for the site at least three times a week initially, though I will probably be publishing content once or twice a day once I have brought in some good writers writers. Previously, there was several videos published today, however nothing more than the video was published (which is why SEO traffic was non-existent). In order to ensure the quality of content that writers submitted was good, I made a point of publishing a few articles myself that illustrated the standard I expect.
The design of the new site is something that could play a big factor in how successful the new version of the website is. I wanted a good looking design that had a similar style to websites such as Cracked. These types of websites keep readers on their websites for hours. Social media will play a big part in the website's success too, therefore I wanted a WordPress design that had great social media integration built-in. Advertising integration was important and I needed a responsive design that looks great on any device.
Most of my research was done on ThemeForest. I did check out some other theme stores however the best magazine designs are being released on ThemeForest at the moment. There are hundreds to choose from and they are all priced between $40 and $55. Plus the marketplace is so competitive that many designers are updating their themes every month.
I did a huge amount of research. Over several days I checked over 100 designs. In addition to checking every part of the design, I checked all support comments of the themes I was interested in to get an idea of how buggy the theme was and how good support was. I emailed over a dozen designers questions about themes too. The ones that did not respond were immediately cut off the list. One designer even replied to my question about an error on his theme that he only provided support to people who purchased his design. That was a strange response, considering it was a valid pre-sale question and not a post-support question. That theme was also crossed off the list
I eventually got my list down to about a dozen designs and then got that down to around five. I couldn't decide which one to use as they all had good features that others didn't. For example, one had great social media integration but the design was more suitable for a gaming website. Another had better options for advertising but it had a boxy design that was more suitable for corporate websites.
In the end, I decided on a new design called Magazinly. It has a lot of great features that I was looking for such as responsive Google Adsense ads that reduces the size of the ad when someone is viewing my website using a mobile device. It is also configured to add advertisements directly into posts.
The theme has a drag and drop builder, which allows me to create exactly the home page I want. Before installing the new theme, I had to do a number of things beforehand.
Preparing the Website for the Change of Design
It was not a matter of just uploading the new theme and clicking “Activate”. There were a number of things I had to do before I even uploaded the new design.
1. Backed Up Everything
The website is always backed up through Vaultpress. This allows me to download backups at any time and restore the site with only one click (restoring the site was an option if something went wrong during preparation). I saved a copy of the themes and plugins to my computer so that I could restore them at any time if something went wrong. This was not something I had to do as I could download a backup at any time. In the event of me having to restore an older version of a plugin or copy some code from the old design, it would have saved me a lot of time having this already backed up on my computer.
2. Set Up an Email Newsletter
Over the last six months I have changed my newsletter emailing service from Aweber to FeedBlitz to GetResponse. In addition to offering a great app for iPad, GetResponse has one of the best RSS to Email options of any service I have tried.
Setting up a weekly newsletter for subscribers only took a few minutes to set up. Unfortunately, GetResponse has an annoying error in its RSS to Email service. They use the first image within a post as the thumbnail in the newsletter. The problem is that when you use a smiley near the start of one of your articles, GetResponse will use that. This results in a 5×5 pixel smiley image being expanded to 300×300 pixels. I brought this issue up with them on many occasions and they advised that their technicians are not looking to fix this. It is really bizarre that they wouldn't want to at least try to fix a problem with one of their best features. All they need to do is specify that any image used for a featured image is a minimum size of say 50×50 pixels. Currently, they are not generating a thumbnail for the Martial Arts Videos newsletter either, though this is something they should be able to resolve.
Having a large email following will allow me to market feature articles to subscribers and advise them of competitions. Therefore, it will play a huge part in the sites success.
3. Created a Google+ Page
Google+ has grown in popularity in 2013 so it is important to accommodate those who use the service regularly. It is now possible to update Google+ pages automatically so that followers are updated of new articles. My Google+ page for Martial Arts Videos only took a minute to set up. Then all I had to do was set it up so that new articles are automatically published on the page.
After setting the page up, I then configured Hootsuite to automatically post new articles to my page. Easy :)
4. Created a YouTube Page
At the heart of Martial Arts Videos is ….you guessed it…videos. Therefore, it is vital that the site has a YouTube channel. In the short term, I will be using the channel to share videos and save playlists. Once I have time, I plan on uploading unique videos and compilation clips of classic videos.
Unfortunately, Google does not make it easy for people to create a second YouTube page. Therefore, I had to create a completely different Google account and then create a new page from that. They seem to be aware of this issue as there is an option to switch account at the top of each page.
5. Activated a Coming Soon Plugin
WordPress is not set up for you to configure a theme properly when another one is activated. All they let you do is preview your website using the design. I always do my best to prepare everything so that a change of design does not take too long, however you never know long how long it will take. It could take a few minutes, it could take hours or even days to get your website right. Regardless of the time it takes, you do not want to be making these kind of changes on a live website. That is why a coming soon plugin is so important during this process.
Coming soon themes are not practical in this situation as they do not allow you to configure your new design. As such, a plugin has to be used. I decided to use Ultimate Coming Soon Page, which is one of the most popular options available. I didn't spend much time creating a fancy page. A simple message was sufficient as the site was going to be offline for less than 24 hours (the actual time the site was offline was actually only 7 or 8 hours).
6. Removed Old Posts
The old site posted new videos several times per day. Due to this, the site had over ten thousand published posts. So I had to reduce the total number of posts from 10,300 to only 18. All the posts that were going to be kept belonged to a category entitled “Blog”, therefore I did not have to spend time filtering posts that had to be kept.
There is no practical way of deleting so many posts through the core version of WordPress. Doing it through the post area could take you hours. Therefore I installed the WordPress plugin Bulk Delete, a great plugin that can be used to delete large volumes of posts quickly and easily.
7. Removed Unattached Images
Unfortunately, WordPress does not automatically delete the images that are attached to posts. After deleting over 10,000 posts, I was left with 17,331 images. Thankfully, WordPress made it easy for me to see which images had to be deleted. In total, 17,318 images were not attached to posts. So all I had to do was delete all unattached images.
8. Removed Old Comments
The site had around 16,500 approved comments and over 25,000 pending comments. They were a mixture of real and spam comments. Regardless of the quality of comments, they were all attached to posts that had been deleted. When I deleted all posts, the corresponding comments were deleted too, however the few posts that remained still had lots of spam comments. So I went ahead and deleted those. As a result, the site was starting again with zero comments.
9. Reviewed Activated Plugins
I did a complete review of the plugins that were installed on the site and removed everything that was not necessary. I then deactivated every single plugin except Ultimate Coming Soon. They would all be reactivated one by one after the new theme had been uploaded and configured. This ensured that I did not run into any plugin/theme conflictions when I was setting the theme up.
10. Cleaned Up Database
WordPress plugins sometimes leave a lot of tables after they are uninstalled, therefore I installed Plugins Garbage Collector and scanned my database. Through that I found a few tables that in the database that were not necessary any more.
11. Reviewed the Best Solution for Comments
The new site should generate a lot of comments in the future. With such a large following on Facebook, there would have been many positives to using Facebook comments exclusively, however I was not keen on this as it excludes people who do not use Facebook. This means that I would have to use two commenting systems, which is something I did not want to do as it would have divided conversations into two groups. For the same reason, I did not want to use Google+ for commenting.
Livefyre was a third-party commenting system that I used in the past. I stopped using the service for a number of reasons. It has since been improved in many ways, however it still is not a perfect solution with sites such as WP Beginner reporting an increase in spam after using it. The most popular alternative to Livefyre is Disqus. Like Livefyre, it is used by many of the top websites on the internet such as the gaming behemoth IGN.
Both services offer great analytical reports and moderation tools though in the end, I decided that using the default WordPress commenting system with JetPack was the best solution. It is something I may review in the future but I always feel that using an external commenting system is limiting in many ways.
12. Got a New Logo Designed…..Well, I Attempted To
The previous logo was pretty terrible. It was something I should have addressed from the start of the website's life.
I looked at various logo templates on Graphic River and considered running a contest on 99Designs. I was swaying towards running a logo contest on 99Designs but decided to check the designers on Fiverr out of curiousity.
I was surprised that many of the designs being provided were really good. One of the top members was a guy called logodesign_mou on. He had a 100% feedback rating but what really grabbed my attention was that he had 116 orders queued up. This suggested that a design would take weeks to complete, however I sent him a message and he confirmed that by paying $20 extra I would be guaranteed a design within 24 hours. I also paid $20 extra for the source files (300 dpi) delivered to me.
In total, I paid $45 for the order. I was pretty confident that I would get something I liked as he had great feedback and I liked his previous designs. Plus the whole thing only cost me $45, so I was not going to lose much if I really hated his design.
Unfortunately, the whole thing was a disaster. First he did not provide the logo within 24 hours. When I later said that I was disappointed in him recommending me pay for the 24 hour upgrade and not delivering, he kept saying that he had sent the logo 10 hours ago. This was despite the fact I checked my inbox before I emailed him and the logo wasn't there, plus the time stamps on Fiverr confirmed he was lying.
Secondly, the logo he designed was terrible. I'm a really bad designer though even I would have been disappointed with what he provided. He had just uploaded a simple Taekwondo symbol and wrote “Martialarts Videos”. I had to point out to him that martial arts is in fact two words, not one.
The following day he sent me another draft. Again, the logo was terrible. What was really irritating about all of this was that I told him exactly what I wanted. Every little detail was missed. I showed him the black and red design I was going to use and both images he designed were in light blue. I specified that the logo had to be in uppercase, yet he provided the logo in lowercase.
His previous work was great so I knew that he was simply rushing the job for me. A quick look at his logo listing confirmed this. In less than two days he had reduced his outstanding orders from 116 to 15. That's over 100 logo designs in two days. I believe he spent less than 5 minutes on my logo design.
That is one of the problems with Fiverr. The pay is so low that providers need to make money by selling in volume. When that happens, quality is thrown out the window.
I went into the whole logo design thing at Fiverr with my eyes open. I didn't think I had much to lose. I was wrong. Whilst I wasn't risking anything financially, I did waste a lot of my time. To the credit of Fiverr, they processed a full refund to me.
The whole thing was stopping me from relaunching the website, therefore I went back to my own poor designed skills and designed a basic model that fit in with the colour scheme of my new theme.
The logo is something I need to resolve later. For now, I'm content (but not happy) with the quick logo I designed for the site.
13. Checked Webmaster Tools
One of the last checks I did was to log in to Webmaster Tools on Google and have a quick check to see if there were any oustanding problems with the site I hadn't noticed before. Thankfully, everything seemed to be ticking over nicely :)
14. Added Additional Pages
On the old website, users could submit videos they loved using a unique form. This page was no longer needed as I was not accepting video submissions any more. The website already had a contact page set up (using Gravity), but I needed to add a few additional information pages including an about page, a write or us page and an author guidelines page.
I added all of these pages before uploading the new design. Technically, they could have been added later, however I wanted to have as many things set up correctly from the minute the site relaunched.
15. Preparing Articles in Advance
Whenever I launch a new blog, I always try and write about 2-4 weeks of articles in advance (how much I write in advance largely depends on what my upcoming schedule is like). Doing this allows me to focus on other things such as marketing during the first few weeks and gives me more time to plan ahead.
For the relaunch of Martial Arts Videos, I wrote down more than a dozen article ideas. Writing these would have taken me at least one week to complete. I then remembered that the site still had 18 articles left, all of which written by my good friend SifuPhil. He's a fantastic writer. His articles are sometimes bizarre and surreal but they are always entertaining. It's not uncommon for me to read one of his articles and start laughing out loud.
So rather than spend a lot of time writing week's worth of articles, I took about a dozen of SifiPhil's existing articles offline and scheduled them over the following next week. I then spent time formatting his articles for the new design, making sure images and videos were displayed better in the new wider content area that the new design has.
16. Tested the New Design on My Test Blog
WordPress themes with lots of features tend to take 30 minutes to an hour to fully understand them. Therefore I uploaded the new design to my test blog first in to help me get an understanding of how the theme works. Again, doing this reduces the time that the live website is down and ensures that I do not run into any surprises once the new theme is uploaded to the main site.
My test blog has numerous posts published to allow me to see how content is displayed. Most posts do not have featured images defined, however this was not a major problem. The important thing was for me to see how everything worked.
I messed around with the design with a few hours and tried out a lot of different things. I added a dummy logo and banner to make sure I could visualise how everything would look on the main website. The theme has the popular plugin Visual Composer built into the theme. This allows you to create unique pages by simply dragging and dropping one of 40 elements into a user interface.
Thankfully, I reviewed this plugin thoroughly for a review around a year or so. Therefore I was comfortable using the drag and drop features right away.
Once I felt comfortable with how the theme worked, I then started working on configuring the new theme on MartialArtsVideos.com
The New MartialArtsVideos.com
It did not take me long to use the Magazinly working correctly. It has some amazing features such as a built-in social media icon widget and responsive ads for Google Adsense and banners.
The home page of Martial Arts Videos can have a wide variety of different layouts. The visual composer, which is built directly into the theme, allows me to create sliders, galleries, small thumbnails, large thumbnails etc. It is a true magazine WordPress theme in that respect.
For the time being, I have stuck with a blog style layout until the website has more articles published (as I write this, only 19 articles are published). I will change the layout in the future.
The article page looks amazing. The developers of the theme, TagDiv, have done an amazing job of showcasing content. I really love how they have integrated blocks and modules into widget areas so that other articles are promoted. This really helps visitors stay on the site longer.
Unfortunately, the theme has a lot of issues that need addressed. I found a lot of problems with it when I first installed the theme. The theme is still usable however these issues will need to be fixed. For example, due to the use of the visual composer, the post navigation is terrible. The blocks of content only have tiny arrow icons at the top of each block for navigation. This means that someone who is viewing the bottom of a page needs to scroll to the top of the page and views more posts by clicking on one of these tiny arrow icons (that's if they even notice they are there).
A bigger concern at the moment is how videos are displayed in portrait mode. The theme has a beautiful responsive layout though videos that display perfectly on desktops and landscape mode do not display properly in portrait mode. The videos break the design and flow over into the sidebar. I would rather disable portrait mode altogether than show this terrible look to visitors.
I remain optimistic about this design as the main developer of the theme (a man named Radu) is very responsive to bug reports and suggestions. He is releasing an update to the theme every few days. There are still lots of little things that need to be fixed though he does seem to be eliminating these with each new release of the design. So I'm confident that all of the problems that I have raised to him will be addressed at some point (fingers crossed).
One thing I did install was the Video SEO for WordPress plugin by Yoast (retails at $69 for a single website). The plugin adds thumbnails to search engine rankings to any articles that have videos attached. I will write a small review about this on here shortly :)
There are a number of things I do still want to change. In addition to the issue of a new logo needing to be designed, I also want to change the way social media is integrated into the site and I need to make the newsletter sign up box more prominent. Little things like this can be addressed later. At the moment, the most important thing for me is to add more content to the site, increase traffic and develop a loyal readership.
Bringing in Good Writers
Whereas previously the website was simply a video directory of good martial arts videos, it is now a blog. It may take on a more magazine layout at a later date though in its truest form it is a blog that will have new content added every day. Good content will be at the heart of the new website. I want every article to be something that people will enjoy so much that they will share the article with others.
I am keen for list type articles to be published on the site frequently. People have short attention spans and few people will actually sit down and read a long article (you guys are different!). To illustrate to authors the kind of standard I expect them to write, I published a few articles of my own including 15 Amazing Tony Jaa Fight Scenes and 25 Amazing Taekwondo Knockouts.
When the website was first relaunched the other week, I asked the followers on Facebook whether they would be interested in writing for the site. I got around a dozen emails and set up contributing author accounts for several of them. Sadly, only one of those writers has submitted an article so far. The others all seemed enthusiastic at first, but have yet to submit any article. I have not emailed them back as I really do not want to be chasing authors for articles all the time. There are plenty of people out there who do want to write for the site.
I therefore placed an advertisement on the Problogger Job Board asking for martial arts enthusiasts to get in touch. I noted in my job listing that authors must have an interest in martial arts. Despite noting this, I got over a dozen applications from people who have no interest in martial arts whatsoever.
Some tried to give me the impression that they did have a passion for martial arts, however it was easy to see they didn't as they got things wrong that someone who loves martial arts would not (such as referring to Jet Li as Jet Lee or failing to name one martial arts star other than Bruce Lee or Jackie Chan). Others were very insistent that they could write about any subject. Forgetting the fact that I stressed that authors had to have a passion for martial arts, I got dozens of applications so I did not have to settle for any author that was not suitable for the position.
One aspiring writer was a bit of a pest. He sent me links to generic articles about dentistry and credit cards; all of which were written like a press release or as if the article was spinned. The sort of generic cookie-clutter crap that I don't want the website to have. After thanking him for his application, saying he was not suitable for this position and wishing him the best; he proceeded to send me several more emails with more generic articles for me to read.
After his initial email application to me had such basic mistakes as using “right” instead of “write”, he emailed me this:
I love martial arts and in addition, my writing skills are phenomenal. It does not matter how much you love martial arts, if you cannot formulate a sentence that is not going to do you any good.
Up to you though. You know how to reach me. I can be contacted any day of the week.
I found it hilarious that he was suggesting that others would write terrible articles when his own email to me had mistakes in it. Note: Normally I wouldn't share anyone's response to me, but after wishing him well and explaining why he wasn't suitable, he then proceeded to send me email after email after email. I do respect bloggers who are hungry for work though this was bordering on being spam.
Sadly, when you place an advertisement for a blogging position, you get a lot of applications from people that are just not suitable for the position. Therefore a large part of this process is advising people that they are not suitable (which isn't fun). One or two authors have submitted articles already and a few more are in the process of submitting articles. This gives me optimism that I will be able to get good content published without writing all articles myself (which I do not have the time to do).
I do not want to work with dozens of articles. Ideally, several authors will be able to contribute articles on a regular basis. I am keen to increase the post frequency to two articles per day within the next month or so. This is around 60 new articles per month. If I use the average of 30.42 days per month and assume that most articles will cost me $15, writing expenses will be around $912 per month. I fully expect the site to be running at a loss for the first few months, however I hope that income from the site will help me break even on a monthly basis within six months.
Monetising Martial Arts Videos
Let's not forget that Martial Arts Videos is not a new website, it has been online for a year. During this whole time it was monetised through Google Adsense. This gives me an accurate estimate as to how much I will make at certain traffic levels.
I still need to optimise the placement of ads and may add more Google Adsense ad positions (e.g. within content). I also plan on monetising the website using additional methods and may even sell key banner positions to an advertising network and sell ad space on a CPM basis. Let's disregard all of this for now and say that I am only going to monetise the website using Google Adsense.
Since the start of 2013, Martial Arts Videos has had a page RPM of £3 every single month from Google Adsense. This consistency helps me work out how much the site can make at different traffic levels. Since relaunching the website, I have actually seen a page RPM of around £6.50.
For the benefit of those of you who have never heard of the term before, page RPM is a simple metric that tells you how much you can make every one thousand impressions. All of my websites have different page RPM levels. A page RPM of £3 means that for every one thousand impressions on Martial Arts Videos, I should make an average of of £3. Some days it will be less, some days it will be more, but over time I should see a rate close to £3 per one thousand impressions.
Since my expenses are priced in USA dollars, it makes sense to explain my income in dollars too. £3 works out at around $4.72 at today's rates.
Let's look at how much money I will make at certain traffic levels at a page RPM of £3 ($4.72). I will once again assume an average of 30.42 days per month:
- 500 Daily Page Impressions – $71.79 Income per Month ($2.36 Income per Day)
- 1,000 Daily Page Impressions – $143.58 Income per Month ($4.72 Income per Day)
- 2,500 Daily Page Impressions – $358.96 Income per Month ($11.80 Income per Day)
- 5,000 Daily Page Impressions – $717.91 Income per Month ($23.60 Income per Day)
- 10,000 Daily Page Impressions – $1,435.82 Income per Month ($47.20 Income per Day)
- 25,000 Daily Page Impressions – $3589.56 Income per Month ($118 Income per Day)
- 50,000 Daily Page Impressions – $7,179.12 Income per Month ($236 Income per Day)
You can see that if I maintain a posting frequency of two articles per day, which would cost me $912.60 per month; I would break even between 5,000 and 10,000 page impressions per day. To be specific, I need 6,356 page impressions per day to cover my writing expenses.
This seems like a lot for a website that is only currently getting around 200 page impressions per day, but when you factor in search engine traffic, returning visitors and the consistent publication of high quality articles, it does not seem that bad. Over the last month, Martial Arts Videos has generated 1.92 page impressions per visit. This means that to break even, I need to reach 3,310 visits per day. That is not that bad is it?
The above calculations assume that the website will continue to make an RPM of $4.72. It is prudent for me to use that figure as that is what the site got consistently for five months in 2013. However, that figure was generated using the old website. The old website simply published videos from YouTube. It did not try to engage readers in any way. The new website has long in-depth articles, a completely new website design and the ad positions are in different places. As I write this, I only have around a week or so of data, but perhaps this is a better indication of what the website will earn as it takes into effect how visitors are interacting with advertising on the new design.
The average page RPM since launching the new design is around £6.50. This works out at around $10.21 in USA dollars. On Saturday the page RPM was actually £10.37, which is a healthy $16.29 per 1,000 impressions. I later saw a page RPM of £24.27, which is $38.11 per 1,000 impressions. I would love to get that every day!!!
For arguments sake, let's say that the page RPM of £6.50 ($10.21) that I am getting just now will continue in the future. This completely changes the break even point for the website. That page RPM would generate:
- 500 Daily Page Impressions – $155.29 Income per Month ($5.11 Income per Day)
- 1,000 Daily Page Impressions – $310.59 Income per Month ($10.21 Income per Day)
- 2,500 Daily Page Impressions – $776.47 Income per Month ($25.53 Income per Day)
- 5,000 Daily Page Impressions – $1,552.94 Income per Month ($51.05 Income per Day)
- 10,000 Daily Page Impressions – $3,105.88 Income per Month ($102.10 Income per Day)
- 25,000 Daily Page Impressions – $7,764.71 Income per Month ($255.25 Income per Day)
- 50,000 Daily Page Impressions – $15,529.41 Income per Month ($510.50 Income per Day)
You can see that with a consistent page RPM of £6.50 ($10.21) and writing expenses of $912.60 per month, I would break even between 2,500 and 5,000 page impressions per month. The exact break even point would be 2,938 page impressions per day. With 1.92 page impressions being generated with every visit, I only need to reach 1,530 visits per day. That is a very achievable target.
Again, it is worth remembering that the above income predictions do not take into effect me using different methods to monetise the website. I could promote other offers on the website and link to related martial arts products such as weapons, DVDs, books etc. I may find that selling advertising directly using a website such as BuySellAds is worthwhile too. Nor does it take into account me sometimes writing for the website myself (thereby reducing my writing expenses) and indirectly making more money due to Martial Arts Videos sending traffic to my discussion forums, particularly Black Belt Forums as its latest posts are displayed in the sidebar.
My page RPM may increase once the site gets search engine traffic as well. Most visitors currently are returning visitors to the website whereas search engine visitors may not have seen one of my website sponsors before. They will be more inclined to click on an advertisement in comparison to someone who logs in every day and see the same promoted every day.
If I am being prudent, I believe that over the next month my page RPM will be somewhere in between the two estimates noted above. Perhaps a page RPM of around £4 to £5. This would give me a break even point of around 2,200 visits per day (this figure may be different as the number of impressions per visitor is likely to change).
Whilst none of my figures were pulled out of thin air, I need to keep my feet on the ground and remember that the above calculations are estimates and nothing more. My exact revenue may be less. Google Adsense always seems to increase in line with traffic so I do not believe these figures will be way off target, though the most important thing about this exercise is to give me something to aim for. I need to know what potential the website has.
Promoting Martial Arts Videos
Social media is going to play a big part in how the website succeeds. As noted earlier, the website has around 50,000 followers on Facebook, therefore it should continue to get traffic traffic through Facebook every day. I will be engaging with followers regularly with images and videos, which helps drive increase fans too.
There are two ways to get more traffic from Facebook: Acquiring more followers and/or sharing more content from your website. At the moment I am publishing one article per day. Once I start publishing two articles per day, I should see traffic from Facebook double. Publishing more content should also encourage more shares on Facebook and more likes, which in turn increases traffic from Facebook. I am keen to increase traffic from other social media services such as Reddit and Twitter too. I have submitted a few articles to reddit and it seems like a great place to get traffic.
Outside of social media, I am hoping to host a few competitions to try and increase readership and get more followers on the website. Services such as RaffleCopter are useful for this, however I may look into what other options are available.
Promoting Martial Arts Videos is not something I want to cover too much in this article as I feel it would be best to revisit this issue in the future once I have tried a few different things. I can then review what worked and what didn't.
One thing's for sure, Martial Arts Videos will not be as successful as I want it to be through word of mouth alone. I need to be proactive and find ways to market the site to martial arts enthusiasts.
I hope you have enjoyed this case study of the relaunch of Martial Arts Videos. Case studies are a great teaching tool so I plan on bringing you more case studies in the future.
I am sure that many of you are wondering why I am devoting so much energy to this project. Most internet marketers are focusing on releasing products and websites that can be used as a platform to push products to followers. Obviously, that is one way to make money on the internet. I have published a few books myself this year and hope to release more before the end of the year, though I am keen to develop a popular high traffic blog as well. If you look at most profitable blogs outside the internet marketing niche, most are content based and make all of their money through advertising (e.g. Engadget, Mashable, IGN etc). I have built profitable blogs in the past so I know that I can make this work.
Without doubt, the hard work is just beginning. I have relaunched the website in the format that I originally intended, though it is clear that I am still at the bottom of the hill, not the top. There are a number of issues I will need to tackle in the future such as promotion, managing authors effectively, increasing search engine traffic and monetising the website.
Another issue I will need to be wary of is the legality of videos. As all videos hosted on the website will be hosted on services such as YouTube, I do not have to worry about being sued for publishing content illegally. However, I do need to bear in mind that many of the videos that we link to will occasionally be taken down. This is more likely to happy with clips from movies than it is for technique videos that were uploaded by the person performing in the video. If the main content of articles is videos, it could be a big concern if a percentage of videos are taken down.
If you have any questions about the process detailed in this article, please leave a comment and I'll do my best to answer you :)