Final Report for Build a NEW Site with AI Challenge!

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    • #15780
      Spencer Haws
      Keymaster

      The 6 month challenge is officially completed and I have the final results to share.

      You can see the final spreadsheet with the OFFICIAL RESULTS RIGHT HERE!

      Congrats to Victoria Cornell for winning the “Build a NEW Site with AI Challenge!”

      And a HUGE thank you to all the participants. Thank you SO much for competing!

      This was fun!

    • #15782
      J Paul Hendricks
      Participant

      That’s a wrap! This was a really fun and fruitful undertaking. Thanks, Spencer!
      We definitely were hit by the algo changes (but later than many others have been). However, as planned and expected, I could take away interesting test results, process improvements and knowledge wins.

      Traffic metrics were… not good… Users 153 (-10%), Total Organic 167 (+16%) and GSC Clicks 84 (-10%) respectively. Total posts are at 149, up from 121. A mixed picture. BUT… March 14th… was Hammer Day.

      We had been trending up into the last month. I was really pleased with the progress. We were still not on pace to win, but we were doing some of our best numbers into the start of the month. Then Ggl traffic fell off a cliff on March 14. Everything was still indexed but we just got seriously deranked. So, that was that.

      I would be interested to hear what dates you saw big changes (bc it does not seem to line up with their public announcements).

      I talk about some other details and takeaways in the video but a big one is: I am now launching a second saas app based on an idea I came across in this challenge! And would never have considered it if it were not for this AI site challenge. So… a different sort of WIN.

      1. How well did your website perform during this 6 month challenge?
      For a brand new site, getting treated to a mixed bag of writing apps, untried SOPs, new team members, etc I’d say it was ok. Not great or even really good.

      2. What strategies worked well? What strategies didn’t work well?
      Good: Mixed formats (info + story/bio + quote lists yielded some nice surprises).
      Bad: Waiting to initiate certain tactics was NG. No reward for waiting… Go fast and break things!!

      3. What will you do with your website now that the challenge is over?
      I’ll keep using it as a test site and to trial new talent and tools.

      4. What additional thoughts or opinions would you like to share as it relates to this AI project?
      AI remains incredibly powerful. We have only just started to know how big the impact can be for marketers . And I mean that in a (mostly) positive way!

      Good luck to everyone! Feel free to reach out to me (I am J Paul Hendricks on most platforms). Let’s keep in touch!

    • #15783
      Jen
      Participant

      Totally not the way I wanted to end this challenge……Google killed my site!

      But because of the all the work with AI and really pushing what it could do, it’s actually made me want to use it less. I now really see the value in authentic content.

      • #15801
        Mike B
        Participant

        I think a lot of people are starting to question the use of AI. I did some tests with Originality.ai recently and it’s almost impossible to get it to say the content isn’t AI unless is has all kinds of crazy synonyms in it.

        At the end of the day…all we can do is try different things I guess.

    • #15786
      Seb
      Participant

      28 articles, 1517 organic sessions

    • #15787
      Holly
      Participant

      Well, despite having not published anything since maybe early Feb and ending with a mere 27 published posts, I managed over 1000 organic sessions in March and the HCU apparently likes this site. Crazy!

      • #15802
        Mike B
        Participant

        Maybe proof Google doesn’t really know what it’s doing…

    • #15788
      Ashley
      Participant

      Not the results I’d hoped for but I’m still pleased overall… steady growth even without being able to invest as much time as I would have liked.

      • #15824
        Tom Seest
        Participant

        On an unrelated note, I want to check out the highland cows. I’ve been partial to Dexters due to their size. We have 6 acres of mostly woods, and if my heart ever recovers, I’m going to look into that more.

    • #15794
      Bec
      Participant

      Hey all! Congrats on sticking out the 6 month challenge 🙂 What a turbulent time with the Google updates to be trying such a thing! Was so interesting to try and test, it really helped me to stick with something for 6 months (lol) but I did wish I changed my idea from the get go. Thanks for putting the challenge together Spencer.

      My POD Site is growing in terms of impressions (800 for March) but only 9 clicks. I’m happy to see some kind of trend and growth though – even if it’s so tiny! I did buy some backlinks but never saw a huge uptick from that (I don’t think) and could definitely be doing more to get links and the brand name out there. I did some Pinterest, but nothing came from that at all. AI was really great for some ideas, but think I’ll stick to using it mainly for blog ideas and that first level thinking in future. I agree with Jen above, I’m kind of put off the content now and really see the value in human-written articles.

      Well done to whoever wins, looking forward to seeing the outcome!

    • #15796
      Victoria
      Participant

      This was so fun and I learned a lot! Looking forward to keeping in touch with this community.

    • #15798
      David
      Participant

      As the deadline is tomorrow, I have not had time to record a video (I will try, though), but I want to get a final update added here.

      Thank you for this wonderful challenge. Even with only 13 articles, I have seen steady organic growth. Each article took me a long time, even with AI, as it required imagery and editing. I think that’s why I have not been hit with the Google updates

      It’s great to get a notification from Google Insights each month saying, “Congratulations for reaching X number of organic clicks this month.” I’m up to 150 now. It’s small but proud!

      Now it’s over I want to keep growing this site. It’s just my day job and client work has been so busy the last few months, I wish I could stop work to work on this lol! But we have to pay the bills

      If only I could win a lump of money to live on for a year and work on these projects! (dream) so I will continue as and when I can in my spare time
      THANK YOU SPENCER!!

    • #15799
      Ian
      Participant

      Final update:

      Total articles: 174
      Total traffic for March: 657
      Organic sessions in March: 567
      GSC total clicks: 251

      My site was really starting to take off in early March, but got badly hit on the 7th. The site even had a forum, but that didn’t seem to help haha (granted, it only had one thread).

      Thanks for the great contest Spencer, I had a lot of fun with this!

      And congratulations to whoever ends up winning!

    • #15800
      Mike B
      Participant

      Thanks Spencer.

      I kind of lost momentum after starting off well. I was hoping for some traffic but it never materialized. I probably chose the wrong niche…

      1. How well did your website perform during this 6 month challenge? Terrible…21 clicks and 330 impressions over six months. What was frustrating is thing seemed to be moving upwards until the end of Jan. when Google stopped helping people find my site.
      2. What strategies worked well? What strategies didn’t work well? The best was that I had kind of a big hit on one day from a social post for some reason. But that was it.
      3. What will you do with your website now that the challenge is over? I’m going to leave it up. I still have some ideas if I can find the time. I have another site that I find a little more interesting that I want to focus on. Of course, Google hates that site right now too. But it is getting some visitors – Bing likes it.
      4. What additional thoughts or opinions would you like to share as it relates to this AI project? I think it was a great test and if you picked the right niche, you had a chance. But I think moving forward, everyone will have to find a subject they can build multiple sources of traffic from – Youtube and Socials moving forward. And have some way to monetize the site with a product. (What Spencer and Jared are saying)

    • #15806
      Ryan
      Participant

      Hey everyone! I had fun with this challenge and hope to see more in the future. Google doesn’t like my site, but the other search engines do.
      Posts: 860
      Organic Search Traffic: 1380 (nearly all non-Google)

      Who knows, maybe Google will become a source of traffic again, but if not, Bing, Duck Duck Go, and Yahoo show potential. I’m going to continue with the site, even though Google killed it on their end. It has potential to become a local service business site with a huge blog, or a lead gen site.

    • #15809
      Edvard
      Participant

      It’s been a fun challenge everyone! I’ve learnt a lot and will continue to build these kinds of sites.

      Site #1:
      – Articles: 251
      – Total traffic: 260
      – Organic traffic: 218
      – GSC Clicks: 11

      Site #2:
      – Articles: ~7,000,000
      – Total traffic: 2,814
      – Organic traffic: 2,347
      – GCS Clicks: 2,058

      Site #3:
      – Articles: 6,232
      – Total traffic: 9,347
      – Organic traffic: 10,103
      – GSC Clicks: 8,791

      https://youtu.be/cXsCOvhIg2U

      • This reply was modified 1 month, 1 week ago by Edvard.
    • #15811
      Selma
      Participant

      GA4
      Users 11k
      Sessions 13k
      Views 15K

      Organic Sessions: 22

      Although I did not win this challenge, this site has become a real side hustle that I intend to continue growing. I have grown an email list of almost 10k and I consider that a win!

      Thank you Niche Pursuits.

      Congrats to the winner!

      • #15853
        Spencer Haws
        Keymaster

        Looks like you forgot to submit your final report! I don’t see any submission from you on the Google form.

      • #15856
        Selma
        Participant

        oh strange! doing it now.

      • #15857
        Spencer Haws
        Keymaster

        I got it, thank you!

    • #15821
      Tom Seest
      Participant

      HowDoYouGame.com
      Total Articles Published 675
      March Users 193
      Sessions 39
      Clicks 20

      I continue to learn…I plan on continuing to keep my blinders on and use, automate, leverage, and produce with AI…Not sure what I care what Google, Bing, Medium, or anyone else thinks. I don’t think they really say or know what they want, and they waste everyone’s valuable resources. Happy to answer any questions, if anyone has any.

    • #15822
      Tom Seest
      Participant

      HowDoYouLose.com

      Total Articles Published 675
      Users 119
      Sessions 7
      Clicks 2

      I continue to learn…I plan on continuing to keep my blinders on and use, automate, leverage, and produce with AI…Not sure what I care what Google, Bing, Medium, or anyone else thinks. I don’t think they really say or know what they want, and they waste everyone’s valuable resources. Happy to answer any questions if anyone has any.

    • #15823
      Tonja Gasperlin
      Participant

      342 Articles all together
      10,505 traffic in March.

      Like I said in the video…

      Branding is important. Build a brand, not just a website. Through visuals, style, messaging. Start with whatever you are good at. Most of us use AI applications for writing articles with basic information, so it is important to have all of the other somehow *unique*. Have a simple-to-pronounce domain. My motto is – EDUCATE and ENTERTAIN.

      Ask me anything!

      I have just submitted the form with my details. To the win!

      • #15854
        Spencer Haws
        Keymaster

        Looks like you forgot to submit your final report! I don’t see any submission from you on the Google form.

      • #15855
        Tonja Gasperlin
        Participant

        Thats weird, cos I was sure I pressed the button : ) Ok, I just resubmitted, let me know if you got it.

      • #15858
        Spencer Haws
        Keymaster

        I got it, thank you!

    • #15829
      Tom
      Participant

      Hey folks,

      Sorry It’s a little late. Here are the results:

      Articles: 183
      Organic GSC clicks: 4664

      Thanks for organising Spencer. Great to meet everyone too.

      Good luck!

    • #15863
      J Paul Hendricks
      Participant

      Thanks, Spencer!! Great learning opp! And thanks, everyone, for the healthy competition!

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