Project Phoenix Week 1 Update (or making it rain on Facebook)

by | Sep 12, 2023 | Blog | 0 comments

Welcome back Project Phoenix followers. As promised in this week’s email I will be giving you a bit more insight into the Project Phoenix website well as an update on the weekly stats for the site.

Would you like to know the answers to the following questions?

  1. Can you really see movement in stats after just 1 week?
  2. Why would you walk away from a site you loved building?
  3. Wouldn’t it be better to buy $300 worth of chocolate rather than Facebook ads?

Well lucky for you, here’s what I have packed into today’s email.

  1. An update on the website stats from last week.
  2. A bit of background history about the site.
  3. More details about my Facebook strategy.

Stay tuned while I grab a Coke and let’s dive in.

Week 1 Stats

If you remember from last week’s email, I shared the stats for August as a baseline to measure how well the site does in September.

Don’t worry if you didn’t get the email (or you didn’t open my email … booooo), here’s refresher of the stats.

August Stats

  • Sessions : 921
  • Page views : 1,020
  • Revenue : $2.31
  • Pinterest views : 84,980
  • Facebook reach : 4
  • Facebook Followers : 17

Not a whole lot going on, which is how I like it because it sets the bar low. For September I will be sharing the stats every week and they will accumulate week over week. Hopefully by the end of the month we will beat the above numbers.

Don’t forget you can play along at home with the handy dandy Project Phoenix Google sheet I have put together.

As the 1st week of Project Phoenix ended on the 10th of September, we are technically one third of the way through the month. Therefore if we want to compare with the August numbers, we should compare the current stats with one third of the August stats. (I wonder if I was an accountant in a previous life).

Here is where we are as of September 10th for this months stats.

  • Sessions : 441
  • Page views : 518
  • Revenue : $1.15
  • Pinterest views : 30,550
  • Facebook reach : 8,239
  • Facebook Followers : 304

As you can see we are up over August in all of the metrics for the first 10 days of the month. Not a lot, but enough to make me feel good about myself.

Facebook is the big winner there, but more on that in the last part of this email.

Work on the website this week has been focusing on re-engaging with the social media platforms. Specifically Pinterest and Facebook.

Pinterest already has a good foundation with over 80,000 pin impressions a month but Facebook was brand new with nothing going on.

A bulk of this week was spend performing an inventory of everything I had already posted to Pinterest. Pinterest awards original content so I didn’t want to repost anything I had shared before from the website.

This was a lot more work than originally planned, but was worth it.

I then spent a lot of time scheduling pins for Pinterest and posting on Facebook.

As of the end of the week, here is how I am tracking towards the original goals.

Goal 1 : Add 8 new posts to the website

Current new posts written … 0. But, thats actually on target. I was hadn’t planned on any new content until week 2.

Goal 2 : Add 150 new pins to Pinterest

New Pinterest Pins : 31. A little behind on this goal, but now that the inventory is out of the way, this should catch up next week.

Goal 3 : Share 30 posts to the Facebook page

Posts shared on Facebook Page : 19. I’m knocking this goal out of the park. In honestly, I way underestimated how much I would be posting. The need to post more is as of a first result of the success of my Facebook strategy. I have a fast growing, engaged audience and posting more keeps it that way.

Goal 4 : Share 100 posts to Facebook groups

Posts shared to Facebook Groups : 14. I’m a behind a lot on this but ramping up fast. I’m not to worried about this however as the effort to do this is a lot less than some of other steps above.

So tell me a story about a website…

The Project Phoenix website is 8 years old (I originally said 7, but I went back and checked and it’s actually 8). The first post was September 2nd 2015.

In the first year I added 45 posts to the site. And then I quit. I added a handful of posts every year since then (less than 5 a year) to the site but never made it back into the groove of picking the site back up again.

The site never died through. It dropped in traffic but still always got a bit of traffic.

Here is the graph of Google traffic for the last 8 years.

And here is the graph of the Pinterest traffic for the last 8 years.

When I look at these graphs I can’t help but ask myself, what would these look like now if I had kept the site going full force for the last 7 years?

Well I’m pretty sure it would be huge.

Would it be in Mediavine? Probably.

Would it be earning more than 4 figures a month? Definitely.

Am I a fool for giving it up? No.

No? Are you sure?

I am sure. I gave it up because I had another site I wanted to work on that from all of my analysis would be a better investment of my time.

There are a number of elements I look for these days when picking a project/site to work on.

The site has to tick most/all of the following boxes.

  1. Can the niche start small and expand?
  2. Is there a big enough existing social media community to market to?
  3. Can this site content be built programmatically (I’m not a writer)?
  4. Can this site support a newsletter?
  5. Can this site support a digital product or membership site?

Project Phoenix only checked 2 of these boxes where as the new project checked all 5.

The other problem with the site is that the niche is too broad. Or so I thought.

It is broad and ever expanding. I thought this would hurt the site growth. The reality is in hind sight, it’s actually a bonus for it.

We are talking an audience size of hundreds of millions of people and an almost infinite, constantly renewing content pool.

The competition is vast but there is more than enough room for a new player on the block.

Was I right? Well it’s hard to say how the Project Phoenix site would have turned out, but the site I gave it up for earns over 5 figures a month now with over 1.3 million page views a month.

I would not have achieved that trying to focus on 2 sites at the same time.

Let me repeat that. I would not have achieved that trying to focus on 2 sites at the same time.

If you are new to the blogging/niche site world, this advice is some of the best you will get. Don’t try and start multiple sites. I worked on 1 site for 5 years to grow it to the successful level it is at now. Most successful site owners out there did the same thing. Only focus on one site.

So yes, I made the right choice.

Facebook, Facebook and more Facebook

So why am I going big with Facebook and even dropping some cold hard cash on it ($300 is my budget this month for Project Phoenix).

Well, word on the street is, you can actually get good traffic from Facebook.

And this is true. I have a couple of other sites that I have been going big with Facebook on and both get good traffic from Facebook.

They are even to the point where they are now in the Facebook Page Performance Bonus Program. This means that Facebook is now paying me just to post content on Facebook.

The Project Phoenix niche is perfect for Facebook. The content is 100x more viral than my other sites and the audience is 100x larger (these are not exaggerated numbers).

But growing on Facebook takes time and effort. So to jump start things, i’m throwing a bit of money at it.

There are 2 main benefits I get out of growing the sites Facebook page.

  1. Traffic back to the website
  2. Brand Recognition

Traffic back to the website is a no brainer, thats what we all want after all.

Brand recognition is a bit more tricky. It’s something that all of my sites focus on heavily and I have a lot of success with. If you can build a strong brand, it helps to build strong long term return visitors.

Growing on Facebook has multiple layers with tips and tricks for different approaches. I will go more in depth another time. To keep things simple for this email, this is the breakdown of the high level strategy for Project Phoenix.

  1. Paid ads to boost Page Followers (Budget $150)
  2. Organic posts on Facebook page to test content.
  3. Paid ads to boost page posts that perform well (high engagement rates) (Budget $150)
  4. Organic posts to Facebook Groups to build brand awareness, page followers and in some cases website traffic.

I run paid ads for well performing posts for 1 day with a $5 budget. This keeps the risk low. If an ad out performs the others, I can extend it to more days and more money.

Advertising on Facebook doesn’t have to be expensive.

The other plus to spending a few dollars on Facebook ads, you get to understand the demographic of your user pretty quickly.

Here is the overview of the Project Phoenix website user. The US aspect is a factor of the ad targeting i’m doing, but the age and gender are accurate and in line with what I expected from the site.

How well is this strategy going?

Well remember those August stats in the Google sheet? Here are the Facebook ones.

August 2023

Facebook Followers : 17

Facebook Reach : 4

And how is September doing so far? Here are the stats for the last 10 days.

Facebook Followers : 304

Facebook Reach : 8,239

Current spend is $58 which is $42 less than expected.

Why am I spending less? Well it’s not from trying.

I had several ads rejected stating they were against ad policy. They were not, it was just their faulty AI mis-flagging the posts. Unfortunately the appeal process typically takes up to 24 hours which by that time, the ad has expired.

I have been able to get around this by keeping the budget for the ad the same but extending the time its runs to 2 days.

Do I expect this strategy to pay off this month?

Not at all. This is a long term play. It will pay off in the long run. (1 year+). If I decide to give up on Project Phoenix after this month then I do loose all the benefit of this investment.

It’s a risk I’m willing to take. And it’s fun to see just how well this niche does on social media with a bit of juice.

That’s it for this week. As always I will be tweeting/posting other snippets of updates throughout the week on X/Twitter so make sure you follow me there (@aoakudotcom).

Look for another update email next week where I will dive into the content research and content generation process as I start to add more content.