Welcome to a new update of my case study, where I analyze the performance of a ready made blog that I have bought vs a brand new site that I built from scratch.
The two blogs are in two different niches (one is in the pet niche, the other is in the home appliance niche) and my main goal here is to find out which approach is better: spend the time and money to build up your own site or buy a ready made one to fast forward a bit.
The goal is to invest $1,500 in both blogs and see which one does better. The problem is that because of the current state of the world and everything that happened online (and offline, in my case), I had minimal time to care for either of the blogs.
They were both launched in November 2019 and vastly neglected. Still, there are some very interesting number and things to look at already, so let’s get this going! Let’s check out the part 3 of my experiment, 8 months after starting.
Third update (eight months in)
As I already said, both these blogs have been left to sit as they are since my previous update four months ago. This means that little or no work has been made on the site and no links were built. The natural aging process, though, seems to have helped in both cases.
Google Analytics error
I was very discouraged by my self-made blog. So much that I thought it was penalized by Google because Google Analytics was reporting ZERO visits. Just a visit every now and then – only when I checked out the site. Not good!
However, I decided to further investigate the problem and it was an error caused by me setting a wrong rule in GeneratePress: by mistake, I had set up the Analytics code to only show for logged in users.
As soon as I fixed that, I was shocked: the self-made blog was doing really well, getting a really nice amount of organic visitors. That was encouraging, even though I lack to data for the past few months.
Traffic & numbers
With these in mind, let’s check out the total numbers for each of the sites below, compared to the previous update. The numbers are total, and not averages:
1. Ready-made site
Published Articles: 13 (+1)
Sessions: 303 (+263)
Organic visits: 221 (+190)
Costs: $1,280 (+0)
Profit: – $1,280
2. Self-made site
Published articles: 11 (+0)
Sessions: 96 (+70)
Organic visits: 55 (+52)
Costs: $190.40 (+0)
Profit: – $190.40
Read below for my top things to note. The numbers for my self-made site are not accurate due to the Analytics problem. But judging from the past few days, my self-made site is already beating the Ready Made one in terms of traffic.
Interesting things to note
Ready Made Site
Traffic has been growing, despite publishing just one new article. However, I’m only getting traffic to the informational articles. Here are the numbers:
As it usually happens, there’s one article here that is doing very well and gets almost all traffic. The third ranked is a money article (best of list) but since there’s a 0 second time spent on site, I believe it’s actually bots and scrapers hitting it.
The article that gets most hits is actually written by me, and not part of the ready made package. Those articles are not getting much attention (but are money articles generally or reviews).
Interesting enough – even though the numbers are very low – most of my organic searches came from Bing. Yahoo and DuckDuckGo are doing really well too:
Interesting enough, people from DuckDuckGo spend 0 seconds on the site, followed by Google – just 5 seconds. These numbers don’t look good!
Self made blog
Due to the Analytics error that was totally my fault, we don’t have complete data for all these months, which is a shame. Here’s how the graph looks (with some really nice numbers after activating):
I looked at the Search Console for more accurate data, and traffic is growing. There was a ranking drop in June, but I guess that’s mostly caused by the fact that more keywords started to rank (120 total now).
But having in mind that the data is for the past three months only and just for Google (so no extras from Bing, Yahoo or DuckDuckGo) I think it’s very easy to say that the self made blog is doing much better than the ready made one (and cost me a LOT less).
Traffic, based on the little Analytics data that I have, is also mostly to a single article. But article #6 is a money article and it seems to be getting some real clicks as well. Very exciting stuff:
In terms of organic traffic, for the few days of data that I have, Google is king as we all know. Almost no traffic at all from Bing or other search engines.
Even though there is nothing to really write home about, there is some nice progress on both sites. I believe that the one that I made does a lot better than the ready made one in terms of traffic – but we have to wait and see when they start generating income.
It is obvious that as long as you have some high quality content, you will rank and get traffic. Infortmational articles (where competition is not as big) do better, so affiliate income for a new site requires a bit more work. Or luck.
Progress on goals since last update
I didn’t do anything, really, on these websites, so it’s almost a complete fail here:
- create a Facebook page and a Twitter page – FAIL
- start working on an email list – FAIL
- publish more articles (at least 2 on each site) – FAIL
- create a list of articles to be written based on existing keyword research – Partial success (I have a few article titles saved in draft on each site).
Plans until the next update:
- Create Facebook & Twitter pages for blogs
- Create Pinterest for both blogs
- Publish at least 1 article per month
- Create a list of articles to be written based on existing keyword research (at least 10 articles for each blog).
This would be it for today. I don’t have very high hopes for either blog, but hopefully I will now have a bit more time to give them some attention. I do have some low competition keywords that I found and that could end up doubling the traffic on each site.
Maybe we’ll get to a point, by the time the next update hits, when I’ll be able to place some banner ads and make some money from the blogs.