Ep 26: Doug Cunnington (Plus Our Update)

  
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In this episode of the Website Investing podcast, Richard speaks with Doug Cunnington from Niche Site Project. Doug features all over the web as an expert on niche affiliate sites.

Quick update: We are transitioning to a platform play with investing.io (yesterday’s announcement email). From now on, we’ll publish these podcasts as complete episodes. The talented Avi is taking over as our podcast host.


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📝Show Notes

What Doug’s Been Up To?

Staying Busy

Doug has a blog, a podcast, and a YouTube channel where he talks about niche websites and affiliate marketing. A while ago, people started asking Doug to create some courses on these subjects. He did, and they've now been added to his website, NicheSiteProject.com. He’s also been marketing these courses, while keeping up with his podcast and YouTube channel.

Taking Time Off

Doug tends to stay busy, and he has long spells of around 4 to 8 weeks where he completely focuses on his work. But, he always makes sure to take some time off as well. To do this, he basically unplugs, unwinds, and totally relaxes for about a month. This month-long period of rest happens a few times a year, especially during the holiday season. Richard has only done something like this once: 7 years ago. Since Doug brought it up, Richard is now thinking of doing something similar in order to de-stress. 

De-Stressing

Richard usually takes an hour off every night to calm down and relax, especially after a long day taking care of his young child and working. Despite his hard work, Richard’s stress levels aren’t as high as expected, and are actually really low. He gets around 8 to 9 hours of uninterrupted sleep at night. 

Driving Traffic

For audience building and selling products, Doug has seen that his blog and YouTube channel are the ones driving the most traffic, followed by his podcast. People often find Doug and his blog through Google searches on how to make money online, or affiliate marketing questions. Cross-pollination also takes place. Because of this, Doug isn’t able to determine where people originate, or how people move from one of his platforms to another. 

With regard to sales, Doug saw his conversion rate improve after he started doing extra YouTube videos and livestreams. These help to show viewers how you speak and respond to questions. These methods create a little more trust for the viewer, leading to a possible sale. 

Recently, email marketing is something that has been big for Doug, as this helps build relationships with his users. It also helps to keep people's attention on Doug and his work, as well as encourage them to buy. 

As for his podcast, Doug has noticed that listeners are really engaged, and listen to most of the episodes, in comparison to YouTube where there are a lot of distractions. Despite podcasts typically having smaller audiences when compared to other platforms, they definitely help build a stronger relationship with listeners. Doug notices a lot more engagement and emails from his podcast listeners. 

Podcast

Doug has completed 190 episodes of his podcast since 2019, and has been doing two per week. Most of Doug’s podcast listeners come from Apple and iTunes, though Doug recently stopped focusing on the analytics because checking these stats would have him worrying about how to grow his podcast even more. In order to lessen the worry, he decided to stop looking at his analytics around 6 months ago, but he is considering going back to them in the future. In terms of publishing, Doug uses castos.com, which has no limits on episode length or file size. Richard also noted that Spotify has been a great platform for podcasts.

doug.show

This is Doug’s website for his podcast, and Richard thinks the domain is perfect. It’s really difficult to get a 4-letter domain (much more so when it's a first name) for any extension, so Doug was really lucky to secure this one for his podcast. 

YouTube

Doug has strongly promoted his YouTube channel, and now has over 20,000 subscribers. He also wishes that he'd started with YouTube earlier. Initially, Doug was really nervous about being on camera, but his channel has grown consistently with over 500 new subscribers per month in the past few years. YouTube’s recommendations are also very helpful in distributing videos to non-subscribers.

Doug has focused more on YouTube in recent years after seeing his email list and conversions grow. His YouTube conversion rate has been 5x that of other platforms, and so he concentrates on his channel to drive more traffic and cross-pollination to his email list. A part of this conversion is due to the keyword golden ratio, and also because he always links some spreadsheets and templates in his video descriptions. The increased number of videos have helped drive a lot of traffic, especially newcomers. 

Websites

Courses

The main monetization of this website are the small courses that Doug has developed over the past few months. Though Doug has dabbled in promoting affiliate products, he found this very difficult. The reason for this is that people aren’t really interested in the offers unless they solve a problem for them. These days, he usually rejects any offers to become an affiliate. Instead, he occasionally does sponsored videos, if it's something he likes.

The main course offering is called Multi-Profit Site. This is the newest iteration of a previous course called 5-Figure Niche Site. The new course is more future-proof: taking into consideration Amazon’s commission structure change. The course teaches you alternate ways to monetize and create income on your website. To put this together, Doug had the help of a bunch of SEO experts who wanted to build an affiliate course themselves. They partnered up and helped Doug focus more on the content production, while the rest of the team concentrated on the marketing aspects. It also relieved Doug from doing everything by himself. 

Kajabi

Doug puts his courses on Kajabi, where you can basically set up your own website. You can add a blog and get basic analytics, and also manage affiliate products and even coupon codes. Richard has also used Kajabi in the past for the more technical stuff he’s offered.

Substack

These days, Richard has opted for Substack because of the simplicity of the platform and its use for newsletters, email lists, and podcasts. Substack has grown in popularity, and has been a great platform for Richard. However, Substack isn’t exactly a complete service platform and so he’s keen to try additional features available outside of Substack in the future. 

Developing New Courses

Doug has been developing courses aimed at solving specific problems, as opposed to creating flagship courses that cover a wide range of topics. The first course he developed this year is called Side Growth Plan, which is meant for people who want to grow their site with more traffic and revenue, but are currently seeing stagnancy. Doug has thought about bundling courses that complement and fit well with each other. He’s also busy creating new courses that aren’t necessarily what users want, but are what Doug himself is interested in.

Selling NicheSiteProject.com?

Doug hasn’t seriously thought about selling his website, NicheSiteProject.com, but says that it is of interest to him and could be a possibility in the future. One thing to consider, though, is that a lot of the content and marketing on the site (and even on the YouTube channel) is tied to him personally. It could be difficult to let go of the site as that would create some issues. To address the problem, Doug has been trying to remove himself a bit from the newer content. Richard believes that it isn’t too hard to sell personally-tied websites and projects, based on his experience selling his old websites in which he featured prominently.

Portfolio

Diversifying His Portfolio

Doug has kept his portfolio number low, and has sought to diversify as well. There are a few businesses which he's ignored because they weren’t doing as well or weren’t interesting to him, but he has opted to keep these in his portfolio. He says that it is perfectly okay to do this, and not to just keep pushing them in the hope of achieving some success. This allows you to focus on other areas and projects which are easier to grow and develop, and keeps the stress levels down. But, the sites you ignore may potentially be of better use to someone else so it wouldn’t hurt to exit from those businesses.

A Tool in the Toolbox

Doug has been pushing the Keyword Golden Ratio (KGR), and uses it himself as one of his many keyword tools. People often believe that Doug uses KGR and nothing else. In truth, Doug uses many other tools and reference points alongside KGR. Richard highly recommends this to anyone who wants quick results, or is new to the game. 

Financial Freedom

Growing

People continually seek financial independence. Quite a number have found this freedom in the website investing space since it allows you to earn while taking time off for yourself too. Education is key for this space since there are many aspects that are a little difficult to learn and put into practice. Thanks to Doug’s website and courses, this gap in information has been bridged for many people wanting to invest in websites. 


Enjoyed this episode or have any questions? You can leave a comment at the bottom of the web version of this post.

Cheers,

Juliet