Justin Cooke

August 30, 2011

We’ve had quite a few questions regarding how we’re able to keep up with tracking and organizing hundreds of sites.  While we do play to go with a more traditional CRM in the future (SalesForce, vTiger, etc.) we’re currently keeping track of all of our sites through a shared Google Doc.  One of our readers asked a few months ago if we’d share it with him and we agreed and since then we’ve received additional requests to check out what we use for tracking, so we thought it might be helpful if we provided our tracking spreadsheet and made it available to everyone.

You can download the tracking spreadsheet here.

It’s turned into a bit of a monster, so I wanted to go over each section individually so that we can hopefully answer any questions you might have about how we use the spreadsheet.  Each header below will be covering each individual tab at the bottom of the spreadsheet.

Login Info

This tab is primarily for our site creation guys to keep track of all the various logins and passwords associated with each individual website.

  • URL – Self Explanatory
  • Homepage Title – The exact title of the blog.  It’s important that this is included, because with some keyword phrases it’s hard to tell where the word breaks begin and end.  (i.e. is breakdancemoves.net “break dance moves” or “breakdance moves”?)
  • WP Login/Password – This will be their access to the sites, not the administrative access.
  • Analytics Code – After the agent has setup the analytics for the site, they’ll place the code here so that they can swap it into the site later.
  • OnlyWire Login/Password – We used to have multiple OnlyWire accounts so it was important to track which site was with what account.  We’ve since gone with the premium version and haven’t looked back.
  • Gmail Account/Password – We create a new gmail account for each site for other account creation, setup, and site contact.  We then forward all emails to our main account and use filters so we’re not bombarded by email.
  • Article Submission User/Password – We’ve been using SubmitYourArticle, so this will track the username and password for the account that was used.
  • GoArticles User/Password/Link – Very early on we were submitting to GoArticles directory and so we were tracking that information here.  This is no longer used by us.
  • Column O-CX – Early on we were creating profile links for our linkbuilding and i wanted to have the URLs available so I could go back and see if the links stuck or not.  We’re no longer creating profile links for sites, but we’ve kept the data from early on.

Task Overview

This tab will give you a great overview as to exactly where each site is at.  Unfortunately, we’re not able to track who did what, portions that were only partially complete, etc…there is only a date field when the task has been completed.

  • URL – Self Explanatory
  • URL Researched – The date the URL was selected for purchase
  • URL Purchased – The date the URL was purchased from GoDaddy
  • Hosting Setup – The date the site was attached to our GoDaddy hosting account
  • Keyword Research – The date the secondary keyword research was completed
  • Primary Content – The date the Primary content was ready to go including edits and uploaded to dropbox
  • Secondary Content – The date the Secondary content was ready to go including edits and uploaded to dropbox
  • Site Setup – The date the Primary content was added, optimized, and the site pages (not including secondary content) were created
  • Secondary Content Setup – The date the secondary content was added and optimized for the site
  • Header Images Up – With CTR Theme, we decided to add header images to make the sites look a bit more unique and the agent that completes this task marks it in the spreadsheet
  • Webmaster Tool – The date the site was added to Google Webmaster Tools
  • SM And Bookmarking – Originally, we’d planned to create Facebook and Twitter accounts for each, integrate them with the site, etc. but we never got around to it with these sites.  For now, we write in the date the site was boomarked using OnlyWire
  • Link Building – Originally, we would mark this complete when the profile links had been completed, but we’re not using this currently
  • Article Directory Submission 1/2 – Each of the sites is on two articles submitted through SubmitYourArticle and distributed to hundreds of article directories.  This is marked complete when those articles with the site links are submitted
  • QA Complete – Marked completed when a manual review of the sites has been completed, following a checklist of items that are more easily missed, forgotten, or overlooked
  • Additional SEO – Sometimes we can’t find related categories for a SubmitYourArticle submission or we feel a particular site could benefit from a third article and if this is completed, it’s marked here
  • 20+ DoFollow Blog Comments – We have an agent look for related DoFollow blog entries, read the articles, and post related comments with links back to the sites
  • 5 BMR Posts – This is a more recent column, but we’ve been testing 5 150 word articles submitted to BuildMyRank with links back to the site.  The test is promising so far and we’ve continued with BuildMyRank for all newly created sites

Stage Roll Up

This tab uses formulas and checks for dates in the “Task Overview” tab.  It will give you a running total as to how many sites have had each step completed.  It was an early idea, but I rarely look at this, to be honest.

Content

The content tab is for tracking where we are in ordering or completing various pieces of content that’s been ordered for the site.  If the content is not yet ordered, the cell will be blank.  If the content has been ordered, you’ll see either the Fiverr order number or the name and order number from the “Contract Writers” tab.  Once the article has been received, edited, and uploaded to dropbox, you’ll see the name of the article as saved in dropbox.

  • First – Primary Content
  • Second – Fifth – Secondary Content
  • Article Sub 1/2 and Additional SEO – General Content used for submission to SubmitYourArticles

Contract Writers

For any content we order that’s not through Fiverr and through an individual, we track their work and payment history here.  This spreadsheet was added as we expanded our contract writers outside of Fiverr and tracking via email was simply not cutting it.

  • Order Number – Arbitrary number we assign to a particular order from a writer
  • Contractor Name/Email – Primary name and email to communicate with the writer or group of writers
  • # Of Pieces – The number of articles ordered with this order
  • Editor – The Content Manager on our team that’s working with the contract writer on that order
  • Date Ordered/Received – The date the content was ordered and received.  This gives us an idea as to the contract writer’s ability to deliver on time.  The “received” box is only filled in once the Content Manager has determined it’s completed and contract writer can be paid.
  • Date Paid – Self Explanatory
  • Payment Method – If via PayPal, it states paypal and the email address payment was sent to…otherwise it would say credit card or whatever payment was used
  • Comments – Whether it’s Primary or Secondary content that was ordered, along with any additional comments about the writer’s work

Keyword Research

This tab is pretty data-intensive and contains all of the primary and secondary keywords, long tail keywords, and their associated statistics as researched in Market Samurai.  All of the data is automatically generated and downloaded via Market Samurai and then simply copy/pasted into the spreadsheet.  When we’re determining which URL’s to buy we do that on a separate spreadsheet…this only contains those we’ve actually purchased (although the data is the same).  It’s debatable as to whether all of the numbers here need to be tracked or not, but it’s useful being able to go back and look at the numbers for the sites before you purchased to compare to how they’ve actually done.

  • URL – Self explanatory…only included for “Primary” KW Type
  • KW Type – Whether the keyword is for a Primary or Secondary article
  • Longtails – This includes 3 or more long tail keywords that were looked up via Google Keyword Tool that are closely related to the Primary or Secondary keyword that have a low search volume and a decent CPC.
  • Keyword – The keyword the article will be based around, whether it’s a Primary or Secondary article.
  • Column E – S – The data that’s automatically pulled from Market Samurai.  The most important columns for us here are “Searches Exact”, “Phrase to Broad”, “SEO Competition”, “AdWords CPC Exact”, and “SEO Value Exact”.
  • Country – Looked up via the Google Keyword Tool, this will either be USA, Mixed, or Other, depending on how the Local Exact Searches related to the Global Exact Searches.  Click here for more regarding Our Keyword Research Strategy.
  • AdWords Competition – Looked up via the Google Keyword Tool, this is a numerical rating for the bar graph showing the advertiser competition for that keyword.  1 is the lowest, 5 is the highest.
  • Chance To Rank – Our estimate, based on first page analysis, as to our chances on getting the site ranked on the first page.  Click here for more regarding our first page analysis.

Revenue Tracking

This is the tab you’ll see us include on our Monthly Income Reports, showing how our average sites are doing, month after month, and showing our projections based on those previous averages.  For those of you who are familiar with Excel, you won’t find anything groundbreaking here.  For those of you who are not as familiar, here’s the explanation:

Note: Do NOT mark anything in the cells that are highlighted in gray.  Those include formulas and will change, based on the other information you put in.  Anything marked Green can be changed by you.

The first section is for inputting the data you’re able to pull out of AdSense.  For example, you’ll see that I’ve marked 44 sites created in December with an average revenue per site of $0.50.  This means we made a total of $22.00 in December for sites CREATED in December.  Those sites went on to earn an average of $3.42 per site ($150.48 total) in January.  We do these averages for each site, for each month, so that we get a running total of our OVERALL averages per site to the right in Column O.  (This average is a BIT flawed…because it takes each month and weighs them equally, no matter how many sites were created in that month.  You can change this if you’re familiar with Excel, by taking into account the number of sites created that month, but I just haven’t gone back to do that yet)

The second section will give you your projections.  The COLUMNS are by month and you should put the number of sites from each month that you currently still own or are projecting to create for the month.  the ROWS are your projected income for each month, from each monthly group of sites.  These projections are based on the average earnings per site, per month, as reflected in the first section in Column O.  If your site continue to earn, on average, what all your sites have earned previously AND your projections on the sites you’ll create each month are correct, this should give you a fairly decent idea as to what you’ll be able to make per month and when you’ll be able to make it.

Final Thoughts

So that’s it…that’s what we use to currently track our sites.  It’s getting a bit ridiculous with the amount of data we have in the Google Doc.  Also, with so many fingers in the pie we’re finding that errors are being made (copying/pasting to the wrong places, overwriting data, etc.) but it’s done a pretty good job overall of getting us to where we are today.  We’re talking about actually sitting down and mapping our a CRM migration, but we’ve been talking about that for weeks now, hehe.  It’s such a large project and we have so much going on that we keep putting it off, but it is something we’re going to have to do at some point.

Click here to download tracking spreadsheet.

Did you like this post?  We’d like to ask for your help.  There are a ton of people out there that are looking for tools and things they can do within internet marketing and we’d like to be able to share our successes, failures, and strategies with them.  They shouldn’t have to pay an arm and a leg from wanna-be gurus who only want to sell them regurgitated information they read about somewhere else.  Please share this post on Twitter, Facebook, the WarriorForum, etc. so that we can help spread the word.  In addition to helping them, we’ll get others that know quite a bit more about certain aspects of what we do than WE do that can help share more information with all of us!  Thanks in advance!


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Discussion
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  1. Jeff says:

    How do you pull the revenue information for the “Revenue Tracking” tab by Month Started? Do you use channels for this? For example using the above info how do you know how the 44 sites created in December performed 6 months from now?

    Thank you so much!

  2. Jeff says:

    How do you track expenses and integrate them to your overall forecast? I see your revenue is broken out by month but expenses (Contract Writers Tab) is more of a ledger. A nice tweak would be to have an expenses field added to the projection field (similar to the revenue breakout) to capture the expenses that occur each month (Content, Buying a site from Flippa and whatever else). Just a improvement suggestion, thank you so much for the spreadsheet.

    I will give it a try and let you know how it goes.

  3. Sebastian says:

    great spreadsheet guys. 1 question, does the tab in Keyword research columns E-S still pull data from Market Samurai? Or did I understand it wrong and I need to grab that data from Long Tail Pro which is what I’m using and pop it in manually?

  4. Truseller says:

    Thanks for spreadspheet, this is very helpful

  5. Aleshia Green says:

    I think this is a great post and answers a lot of questions that were starting to boil as I thought about the entire adsense niche website building. I just knew there had to be more than just me involved to get to a point that creates good income. I just wonder how long I can produce my own work until I get enough income flowing to pay others. Definitely a lot of time consumption.

    One quick question, after watching Obama’s state of the union last week about bringing the work back to the US, have you had any thoughts on this? I think is sounds very reasonable to hire local US people who could use the money in this tight economy.

    • Aleshia, while I am a big Obama supporter, there is no way we could cost effectively run AdSenseFlippers.com in the US. Even if we paid just minimum wage to our workers, we would be way under water. Throw in payroll taxes, insurance, and overhead on top and we would be down right bankrupt.

      We have 8-9 agents working on building and maintaining our sites. We pay about $1.50 an hour to these folks, a good wage here. Not many Americans would work for that and no amount of government subsidies could really make it work.

      I think it’s better Americans workers learn to compete on the new world stage. The Earth is flat, to steal a line from Thomas Friedman, and it’s time to start changing the way we approach the international labor market.

  6. Kevin Perry says:

    This is an amazing resource that you’ve provided here. Organization is one of my weak points and i’m sure that a document like this will help me tremendously. Take care. Kevin.

    • JustinWCooke says:

      Yes, it’s hard to do many sites unless you remain pretty organized. The spreadsheet helps us keep everything together so we know what’s being worked on, when, etc.

  7. Chris says:

    That excel template is really helpful. Thanks for sharing this! And keep on going. Heard about you guys at the LBP podcast.

  8. Cmwebempire says:

    There is a new wordpress plugin called wp blog maximizer that creates checklists within your wordpress blog so that your outsourcers can keep track of which tasks have been completed. It sounds like it would integrate perfectly into your workflow. I actually just got a refund because I thought it was a Broader Project Management thing – but it seems perfect for your business model

    • Thanks for the suggestion, but I fail to see how this would allow us to track tasks over our more than 800 (and growing) sites. After watching the video and reviewing marketing material, it seems like we would have to log on to each blog individually to check if everything was done. We need a centralized place for tasks that at a glance allows us to easily see what has been done and, more importantly, what has not been done. Only a spreadsheet roll up or CRM can do that. Although a plugin is a good idea, perhaps we should get on that!

  9. Brad Shepherd says:

    Do you use your unique gmail account to set up a new analytics account for each site? Or just adding that in to your main account?

    • JustinWCooke says:

      Hey Brad,

      Why do you ask? We have them all tracked under the same gmail accounts…50 sites per Analytics account.

      • Brad Shepherd says:

        From reading the post and looking at the spreadsheet, I was under the impression that you setup a new analytics acct for each one. Seemed excessive. Wasn’t sure why you’d track the UA code, but I also didn’t know there was a 50 site max, so that helps explain it as well. Really appreciate the spreadsheet. Super helpful.

  10. john says:

    That is real great info, I will apply this and I feel this will help me greatly with the sites I have. I can’t wait to get enough money to buy some of your sites. The only site I have built myself is going good, but yours would take a lot less time to produce results. John bestplacetobuybeads.org

  11. Gautam says:

    Thanks Justin for the spreadsheet…
    I am new to your blog and see lots of good info on niche site.
    I also opt-in to your Niche Site Blueprint!
    Will digg in later.

  12. Ben says:

    Thanks for sharing the spreadsheet man. This is going to help me in managing my soon to be niche site empire, haha!

  13. Gera says:

    Hi,

    Really excellent information and spreadsheet. More data is more time to analyze or to backup but worth the effort.
    If it’s possible to have costs to the minimum in business is better, but if this spreadsheet is getting bigger and bigger, you’d jump to other solution. I’ll study a full to adapt it to my needs – thanks!

    I know you’re recommending Market Samurai, I’ve a question related to it.
    Market Samurai deleted or will be deleting the AdWords modules. Also they’ll be adding a monthly subscription but I don’t know if it is an extra product or the program itself.

    Which are your thoughts, for keywords research, about the new Market Samurai coming compared to Micro Niche Finder and Long Tail Pro software? I wonder this point, in the keyword research stage, when it’s essential to check CPC for each keyword for adsense sites.

    Just added to my Twitter buffer this post and I’ll share it with my followers in few hours :)

    Cheers,

    Gera

    • Justin says:

      Gera – No problem…thank you!

      I’m a little confused about what you were saying in the first few sentences, but i think you were referring to keeping costs down? Yes, a CRM is a huge time/cost involvement, but Joe and I have done data migrations before in a previous life and this is a pretty simple one we can handle ourselves, thank God. The consultants for a full-scale data migration are INSANELY (unaffordably) priced for us, heh.

      We LOVE Market Samurai, but have become a bit disappointed with the speed, the crashes, etc. in recent weeks. Still, overall it’s an amazing tool and one we still suggest. If you’re just starting out, LTP might be a better starter tool though, honestly. I’ve never tried MNF, so I can’t speak to that.

      Deleting the AdWords modules? Do you mean the beta section that never came out, or are you saying deleting the CPC checks for keywords in MS? If it’s the AdWords module, i don’t really care…but if they stopped listing CPC for keywords, I would dump the software and go somewhere else, for sure.

      I really, really, really wish Market Samurai WOULD charge me a monthly fee. I’d pay it, happily. I think it’s ridiculous they don’t or haven’t, actually. The reason I’d be happy to pay is that (let’s just say) if they’ve sold 10,000 units of the software and charged $10/month…that would be $100,000 per month in recurring revenue. They would work TOOTH AND NAIL to make sure the software was up, running, and smooth for their customers. I think it would be a great motivator for them, hehe.

      Thanks for the social love! The more the merrier!

      • Gera says:

        Hi Justin,

        Yes I was talking about keeping costs down and the option you have now is the best for this moment, more if other solutions are pricey.

        About Market Samurai you check by yourself on the Market Samurai blog on the entry on 1st July 2011.
        I don’t understand clearly which will be the changes, apparently, only the AdWords module will not be added and they are not touching CPC for keywords. About their subscription model isn’t clear also because they are not disclosing the new product and the motive for the monthly subscription in the near future. I’m seeing several software producers that are changing their business model recently to add new fresh-income via monthly subscriptions.

        Thanks for your opinion about MS and LTP and sorry if my English isn’t very clear (my original language is Spanish).

        All the best,

        Gera

        • Justin says:

          Cool, Gera. No problem with the English…yours is MUCH better than my Spanish…if we tried it in your language we wouldn’t get very far at all! lol

          I’ll check out their blog. I knew they were coming out with a new product, which had me worried about their upkeep with MS…hope it does have a (low) monthly fee though so that it encourages them to keep it updated/running/working.

  14. aldo says:

    Well at the time i used BMR i wasnt using it to the max. since i just was using one site…

    • Justin says:

      Did the training with our agent that’s taking this over tonight and will wrap up the training with her tomorrow. Went well…ready to see this launched full-scale. Will probably do a post about this in the not-too-distant future.

  15. aldo says:

    OMG… You guys are crazy ;)

    Well very detailed and organized process.

    I still working on that.

    Still i would like to know how much are you guys paying for each 150 words article for your BMR writers?

    I Also would like to share that i have tested BMR and from my point of view is very important to build some backlinks to those backlinks. or submit them to Linkcious a time before they get indexed and the main reason is because if you check your backlinks.

    You will see that they first go to the main page and after they gone from that first page you will loose the anchor text backlink.

    So to make google reindex the anchor text from the correct page its needed some help…

    • Justin says:

      Hey Aldo,

      We’re currently paying $1 per BuildMyRank article from one vendor and like $1.25 from another. We’re finishing testing right now with both and are going to roll it out with full-scale production in the next few days, once I get a chance to sit down and train the new girl. (And go over the process with Joe, who’s mainly been left out of my research there so far)

  16. Great post and thanks so much for the spreadsheet. I’ve actually kind of re done it a little (I like to design things, so, it’s really more just adding colors and borders here and there), but I also added a domain name research section. It helps me keep up with what keywords I’ve researched and are available as EMDs and which I’ve already purchased. I’d be happy to share it, or just send it to you guys and you can add it to the current spreadsheet (I just have it as a sheet within the spreadsheet).

    Let me know and I’ll send it your way so you can have a look at it. This has been such a big help for me to get everything organized. Thanks!

    • Justin says:

      Kenny,

      Definitely email it to us…we’d love to take a look!

      We have a separate spreadsheet that we use for keyword research BEFORE we actually choose the domains. That spreadsheet is full of EMD’s that are available, but that we didn’t choose for one reason or another. Normally what we do is have around 150-170 available and choose the 35-45 that we like the BEST bast on first page analysis.

      After several weeks, we’ll group those leftovers together to see if we missed any gems and pick those up too…but we’re a little careful, knowing that we passed on those sites the first time around…

      • That sounds awesome. Some people would sell all those unbought EMDs as a Special Offer on the Warrior Forum… haha!

        I’ll send the spreadsheet over your way.

        • Justin says:

          Bleh…no info sales on the WF! hehe Nothing wrong with it, just not really our style I guess. I WAS actually thinking of offering a WSO…but was going to make it free or sign-up based, I think…just for the additional exposure.

          If we DID charge anything in a WSO, I think it would be for promotion purposes on our part…and the $$ would go to affiliates to drive the traffic, only.

          • Good idea. I’m not big on WSOs. I’ve bought too many that were pretty useless. I can’t say all of them have been, but most of them.

            I sent you guys the spreadsheet and some questions in an email… not sure if you got it or not. I know you guys are busy, but if you didn’t, or if I sent it to the wrong email, let me know…

          • Justin says:

            Thanks for the email Kenny. We did get it, but I’ve been BURIED the last couple of days…digging myself out now! Will get back to you.

            We’re not huge fans of WSO’s either. Not interested in selling them at all. If someone were making great money online, it would DEFINITELY not be worth it to start selling WSO’s.

            For example:

            Let’s say product’s $20 approximately. Let’s say it was fairly successful and (I’m guessing) sold 200 units. That’s $2,000…not too bad right? Still, that will include (guessing):
            – 40 miserable customers out of that bunch
            – hundreds and hundreds of pre-purchase emails, contact, etc.
            – The actual time putting the info product together (even if you didn’t write, you took time to get it up and running!)
            – Consistently checking up on the WSO

            WAY too much time and hassle…and that’s if it’s WORKS!

  17. Ed says:

    Thanks for another valuable contents,I had always wonder if there are any software out there to manage all my site, I need not look further, as this spreadsheet combine with your previous tips “Manage wp”, will do all the task free for me.

    • Justin says:

      No problem, Ed…can’t beat free!

      Although I think we’re coming close to the end regarding our ability to manage this way. The more fingers you have in the pie the more chances there are for things to start getting messed up, heh.

      We’re going to try to avoid an expensive solution like SalesForce right now, although we know it’s an excellent choice for a CRM. Going to go with vTiger I think…

  18. Moruf says:

    Thanks Guys for sharing this, you just made my business much easier to manage.

    • Justin says:

      No problem, Moruf.

      If you liked it, please feel free to share on Twitter, Facebook, etc. to get the word out. Let us know if you have any questions!

  19. steve says:

    Hi

    Truely usefull information. I have a similar system but not quite so deatiled as im a one man band.

    Thanks for the insights and sharing as much as you do. its great

    regards

    • Justin says:

      No problem Steve!

      Yes, it might be a bit much for a solo site creator, but when you start to outsource and add other people to the mix it can get a bit complicated, heh.

  20. Rian says:

    Thanks for spreadspheet, it will really help me so much. Anyway how about keyword rank tracker, are you track all of them? because I don’t see any sheet for it or maybe you guys have other method to track all keywords performance, I think it’s important when we build our site and see our site performance in search engine result.

    Cheers

    Rian

    • Justin says:

      Good question, Rian.

      We use Market Samurai’s Rank Tracker function to track our sites. We put 25 sites in per account and have an agent update the tracking once per month. Any more than that and it would be quite a nightmare. Too be honest, we don’t look all that closely at ranking…it’s a big time waster and keeps us from looking forward.

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