ScubaOtter: Niche Site Case Study

What is ScubaOtter?

ScubaOtter is an educational affiliate marketing website in the scuba diving, snorkeling, and travel niche.

Starting from December 2019, I’ll be tracking the website views, earnings, and more all on this page.

Check back every month to see how the sites doing. When the site crosses the $1,000 mark, monthly updates will only be on my newsletter, so be sure to join that. 

October 2020 Update: We reached $1000/m, so future updates will be on my newsletter!

October 2020

Another record month in terms of traffic and earnings. We made $1001.16 off of 12,621 page views.

Number of Backlinks Built: 4

Continuing to build backlinks from the products and services we mention. No other link building efforts going on besides HARO which we haven’t had much luck with.

New Articles Published: 3

We built 2 new calculators this month, a scuba diving weight calculator, and a SAC rate calculator. Both tools are acting as link magnets that should attract many links as time goes on.

Instagram Account: 

Growth continuing, although I’m not sure how to monetize it and it’s not sending much site traffic.

Earnings: $1001.16

Added several new affiliate programs since the last update. After some testing, I believe I’ve found the most profitable setup.

For higher ticket items I send to LeisurePro where they pay a 5% commission.

Lower ticket items go to Amazon and get 1.5%-2.5% commission. We send this traffic to Amazon because of the shared cart feature and how much better they convert. I received many spam clicks on my affiliate programs this month so EPCs aren’t accurate.

Amazon Affiliate: 228.83

Still a great program for smaller sales that can sometimes pick up massive purchases in the shared cart.

LeisurePro: $92.52

This is where I am sending all dive computer clicks assuming it’s in stock as they pay 5%.

WorldNomads: $91.3

My blog post is #1 for best diving insurance, scuba diving insurance, etc. We mention them first in the blog post and DiveAssure (below) second in the post.

DiveAssure: $78.51

Liveaboards: $499

Joined a company-specific affiliate program that pays 10% not 7% like Liveaboard.com. This is a 42.85% increase in commission.

Orcatorch: $11

I rank #1 for best dive light so I joined Orcatorch’s affiliate program who pays 10% on sales. Moved all links there toward the end of the month.

Traffic

Another ATH in traffic although with seasonality coming into play I’m not sure this trend will continue.

September 2020

Number of Backlinks Built: 4

Most backlinks this month were built from messaging companies we affiliate for. 2 were built by sliding into Instagram DMs.

New Articles Published: 7

Instagram Account: 7093 followers

 

Earnings: $638.24

Record-setting earnings month and by over 286.9%. Hope to see this trend continue as scuba diving and travel niches recover from the effects of Corona virus.

Amazon Affiliate: $321.04

Had a much better month on Amazon Affiliate doing $.22 per click. It’s strange how niche dependant Amazon affiliate is considering you earn commission on the entire cart. I switched some of the most viewed pages to some other affiliate programs like LeisurePro or HouseofScuba and haven’t earned a cent. Amazon is still king apparently.

WorldNomads: $81.18

DiveAssure: $33.92

Liveaboard: $202.10

Traffic

We had another record month, with 11,240 page views. Not bad! This month marks around a 17.21% increase in traffic.

August 2020

Number of Backlinks Built: 0

New Articles Published: 5

Instagram Account:6,645

I’m updating this a bit late so it’s not quite the start of the month, but we’re up to 6,645 IG followers.

Earnings: $164.95

Very similar earnings to last month with 16% higher traffic.

Amazon Affiliate: $90.53

Lower than the previous month, still not a huge sample size of clicks. There was also a $1200 item returned this month.

WorldNomads: $25.98

DiveAssure: $48.44

Traffic

Another record-setting month, with a 16% increase in traffic. Between our rankings increasing, and more people around the world slowly getting in the water again, I expect this trend to continue.

July 2020

Summary

When I made a comment about there being a traffic uptrend from June into July, I didn’t know it would be that large an increase. We recorded a 94% increase in traffic in one month. In terms of earnings, we saw a 24.21% increase.

Number of Backlinks Built: 0

Public tools will say a lot of links were built, these are all spam and have been disavowed.

New Articles Published: 2

Many more revised.

Instagram Account: 

Last month we ran a contest on Instagram to help name the site mascot (the Otter). The winning name was Echo, and the person who won was rewarded $100 in Scuba gear! I plan to do many more contests and events on the account as it grows.

We are nearing the 10k follower marker where Instagram allows you to do swipe up links in stories. As of now, only bio links are available.

As far as traffic sent to the site, IG sent 52 visitors to the site. Hope to increase this much higher.

Pinterest Account:

I paused the Pinterest account last month, although it still sends traffic. According to analytics it sent 164 users.

Earnings: $163.64

Amazon Affiliate: $134.55 on 1,149 clicks.

$0.117 cents per click. Not amazing. Testing other programs this month. Some high ticket sales this month, and a much higher frequency of sales.

WorldNomads: $29.09

Sales picked up toward the end of the month. The niche was hit hard by Corona but is definitely picking up.

Traffic

The uptrend continued into this month where we saw a massive increase in traffic for another record month.

June 2020

Improvements

Revised old posts, created link bait articles, utilizing Instagram account for a contest.

Number of Backlinks Built: 2

One from HARO, the other from a guest post that’s been in the making for a while. Slowly pivoting to only passive backlink building as it’s the most efficient source.

New Articles Published: 2

New link bait articles that should be able to build some passive backlinks and decent search traffic.

Instagram Account: 

Passed the 3k landmark! Using the account and other marketing channels to run a contest this month. Tune into July’s update to see how it goes!

Instagram Acc

Pinterest Account:

Pinterest account continuing to top itself. It sent around 130 clicks to the website in June, which in my opinion is not enough in order to justify running the account (given the cost).

Earnings: $131.74

Amazon Affiliate: $126.74

Killer month on Amazon affiliate, and we’re just getting started. Much higher volume of items sold, and even managed to sell two $1400 dive computers. A lot of my dive computer pages are ranking well, nice to see some sales coming through.

 

Dive Insurance: $5

Sold 1 DAN insurance for $5.

No Liveaboards or sold this month. Once again, likely due to Corona.

Traffic

Another all-time high traffic month, with a nice uptrend into July 🙂

May 2020

Improvements

Not too much went on this month besides revising old content and growing the social media accounts. Until the niche picks up again I don’t see any crazy changes happening.

Number of Backlinks Built: 3

Haven’t gone out of the way too much for backlinks.

New Articles Published: 1

Only 1 new article, many were revised though.

Instagram Account:

I’m updating this mid-June so I don’t have the follower account for the start of the month.

Pinterest Account:

Earnings: $15.48

Amazon Affiliate

Liveaboard.com

No ones buying Liveaboards during Corona haha.

Diving Insurance Affiliate

2 DAN insurance policies. $10 total.

Traffic

The traffic this month was another all-time high which is an encouraging thing to see.

April 2020

Improvements

Revising old content, built some backlinks, 7 new articles including a Bar to PSI calculator. Hopefully attracts some backlinks and if lots of views ads on just that page.

Number of Backlinks Built: 4

New Articles Published: 7

Instagram Account:

Pinterest Account:

Earnings: $24.57

Amazon Affiliate

Made $24.57 on Amazon Affiliate this month.

Liveaboard.com

391 link clicks 0 sales. Likely bot traffic.

Diving Insurance Affiliate

Lot’s of clicks across 3 programs, 0 sales. Until people begin traveling again I don’t see this doing very well. It’s ranking very high for dive insurance-related keywords.

Traffic

2,273 users this month, very similar to previous. Rankings have never been higher, search volume is likely down from Corona.

March 2020

Improvements

Lots of backlinks and revising old content. Created some new pages that should get some natural backlinks over time.

Number of Backlinks Built: 8

Mix of HARO links and guest posts. The goal is to start building some naturally so a lot of my new content is going to be linkable assets.

New Articles Published: 3

My writers are still upgrading new content for the most part. I went diving in Costa Rica so I created a scuba diving Costa Rica guide.

Instagram Account:

Growing pretty quickly. Over 500 new followers.

Pinterest Account:

Earnings: $64.48

As expected, one of the most promising months so far. The sales are more spread out and we’re on pace to be much higher until Corona happened.

Amazon Affiliate

Did $19.38 on Amazon this month. Not too many people thinking about scuba diving these days. Selling some hand sanitizer through the links as well.

Liveaboard.com

Nothing this month, some clicks. Don’t expect anyone to book a liveaboard until the Corona situation settles down.

Diving Insurance Affiliate

WorldNomads affiliate is doing pretty well with $45.1 in commission. The diving insurance page ranks pretty well so we’ve been getting some sales.

As Corona become more widespread the search interest pretty much died out. One person refunded their policy as well.

Traffic

Similar traffic as last month with 2,288 views. Was on pace to more than break last month’s traffic but the search volume is really down due to Corona.

February 2020

Improvements

Moved the site to WordPress completely. Much easier for the team and I to work with. Revising old content, building links through guest posts, and HARO.

Number of Backlinks Built: 5

A few from guest posts and some from HARO. HARO’s been going really well, around a 10-15% conversion rate.

New Articles Published: 0

Working on improving old guides at the moment. We revised 5 old articles bring them up to a much higher standard.

Instagram Account:

Pinterest Account:

Earnings: $5.98

Amazon Affiliate

We made a whole $5.98! Not worried at all about the low numbers, traffic is picking up more and more.

Liveaboard.com

Nothing this month. A few clicks here and there. Ignore that spike, was probably from a bot.

Diving Insurance Affiliate

My “best diving insurance” page is ranking higher and higher everyday. No sales yet, but here are the programs I’m working with.

Insurance Affiliate Programs:

WorldNomads

DiveAssure

Divers Alert Network

Should start selling some soon.

Traffic

Did 2,283 unique page views in February. Traffics really starting to pick up and hitting new ATHs almost every day.

January 2020

Improvements

Pumped out higher quality content and working toward getting social media accounts (Instagram and Pinterest) rolling.

Number of Backlinks Built: 5

New Articles Published: 5

Earnings: $141.98

Amazon Affiliate

Liveaboard.com

Booked our first Liveaboard for a nice 125 Euro commission!

Traffic

Had some issues with Google Analytics tracking this month. We’ll have to use Ahrefs Data.

December 2019

Improvements

In December, I focused on automating the content creation process and hiring additional writers that scuba dive.

Number of Backlinks Built: 2

New Articles Published: 6

Earnings: $5.49

ScubaOtter made $5.49 in December 2019. Can easily increase this over the next few months to be a few hundred.

Traffic

No general trend, consistent with previous months.