How I Built A Blog That Paid For Itself

By Peter Nyiri | IM

Jan 27
Mostly Blogging No5 Guest post for 2017

How To Write Quality Content

In case you are wondering, the screenshot up there is from, and if you look at #5 on the list of top posts for 2017, that is a guest post that I submitted. It went viral, was shared over 300 times.

It was called "How to get your blog to the first page of Google Guaranteed".

The whole point was to write a blog post targeting a long-tail keyword and rank it to the front page of Google, which happened hours after it was published.

Not only that, but afterwards Janice wrote an entire follow-up post that explained why it was a success. It was called "How to Improve Blog Traffic for Free: Get 1,000+ Hits Quickly".

Type in "blog to the first page of Google guaranteed" and you will see it. You can play around with the phrase and you will see that if you omit "blog", the post will show up on the second page. If you omit "guaranteed", it is again a different position.

This is to show you that

  1. Targeting the right keywords makes a difference
  2. Whenever you hit the right thing that resonates with your readers, and you provide really awesome and deep actionable content, you will get a reaction
  3. When you can do both at the same time, you are a winner.

This is actually a very competitive keyword and I utilized the power of Janice's blog (high Domain Authority) to achieve my purpose.

I used long-form content (over 2,000 words) and I went into the details to provide advice that works.

If you want a blog that pays for itself, this is the first component.

My First WordPress Blog

My first WordPress blog was a complete failure in January 2017.

I had no clue. I signed up for Wealthy Affiliate, but it didn't work for me.

I am not saying that it is a bad program, however I had no idea what to expect when starting a blog - I understood the individual steps, like getting comments, but I didn't see the strategy. Also, I pick a bad niche and they didn't correct me. Even the domain name I picked was horrible -

It is too long and it is an exact match keyword that gets easily penalized.

I didn't know what was considered great content, I didn't know about the Google sandbox.

I was trying to rank for keywords, it didn't happen, and I didn't understand why. I concluded that SEO was not working any more.

And no one in the community corrected me on these points...

My Second Attempt

After this I signed up for an eBay coaching program. My wife paid $6,000 for it.

It was money down the drain. I became a bronze seller in 3 months, but that was only because I researched, Googled, and watched multiple YouTube videos.

They had an entire course on how to build an affiliate website. Looking back at it with the knowledge I have now, I know completely that their material wasn't up to the competition level of today's internet.

But one thing did help me - I saw how important it was to help the customer and give value.

I also saw how important pictures were and how your sales page looked made a difference in selling.

My Third Attempt

As you can see, I had my share of failures and I can totally see where you are coming from when you complain that you can't get traffic and you can't get sales.

Before I started for the third time, I did a lot of Googling.

I saved all the blog posts that contained another piece of the puzzle. Now I have all these pieces listed in my resources page.

It's an overwhelming amount of data and you may not appreciate it, but this is where I got most of my knowledge from - the rest came from from actually doing things and watching the reaction. Like the guest post on Janice's blog that I mentioned above...

Anyways, somehow I developed a passion for expired domains and domains in general, therefore I built a site.

How My Site Paid Back 10X

I paid a total of $15 to set up

I used NameSilo, where you can also get a .com domain for $7.99 if you use my coupon code yexpd0. (You also get lifetime free privacy.)

I used Scala Hosting as my host, I am totally happy with them. They had a special discount going on and I got 6 months of hosting for $5.86. Now that discount is over, but you can still get 6 months of hosting for almost $11.

The site has paid me back $260 and some pending commissions – more than 10 times my original investment. (It did take some hard work.)

And now I am getting daily sales from that domain coupon I just mentioned.

If I was able to do it, so can you... You can literally start your blog with $20-25, an you just make the money back by the end of the six moths...

HPD Commission

To be totally honest, some of those commissions I consider “beginners luck”. However now I am in the position when the site is producing consistent commissions, even if I don’t touch it, it earns me more than the price of the domain and the hosting.

Why did I choose this domain niche? When you pick your niche, there are two main things you need to consider:

  1. You need to have passion/knowledge for the subject. This helps to keep going.
  2. There needs to be a demand for products/services in that niche.
  3. You need to find a sub-niche where you can compete

There are 330 million registered domains in the internet, over 130,000 domains get registered every day… This is a huge demand, and all these people also need hosting, website building, etc, with a great earning potential. Also, the subject of domains has always intrigued me. I was always hunting for domains that the previous owners didn’t want any more…

I picked such a domain for my site. This way I didn’t need to invent a good domain name, someone already did it for me. Also, the domain I picked has a history going back to 2008 and already had some backlinks, which proved very useful when I was trying to rank it in Google. This is what my domain looked like when I registered it:

yexpd links

After settling on my domain, I needed a host. I had no job at the time, therefore I didn’t want to spend much money on hosting.

I paid for a cheap host, $11 for a year, however it didn’t work out…

I was experimenting, and I got some cheap traffic from a website, a few thousand visitors for a blog post in exchange. Unfortunately this was a horrible deal, none of the traffic converted, I believe most of it was bot traffic.

However it pinpointed something very important. 300 “visitors” a day completely used up the CPU and memory allocated to my website on that server, and my website went offline 20-30 times a day as a result.

As upgrading my hosting and paying $46 extra wasn’t in my budget, and because I was really upset about it, I asked for my money back and looked for a better host.

That was the point when I found Scala Hosting. They had a promotion, so I got my Mini hosting package for $5.66 for the first six months. My plan was to make enough money somehow in those 6 months to pay for the next period of hosting.

Currently they have a different promotion, but it is still very affordable.

I contacted Scala Hosting support before the sale and I got an immediate response. I found out with relief that the Mini hosting plan was enough to handle 3,000 daily visitors, in other words 90,000 visitors per month. I didn’t need to worry about my website going offline multiple times a day.

Please be aware that even though hosts offer 99.9% uptime guarantee, unfortunate things do happen. Sometimes the server needs to be rebooted and your site loses a few minutes, however this doesn’t really influence your overall results.

Sometimes things happen that the hosting company has no control over – the internet can be a vicious environment. It happened to me with another host that has a much bigger name than Scala Hosting… my website was down for 9 hours, because the server was undergoing an attack and they needed to take my site down to avoid loss of data. Bad guys also attack WordPress sites as well as servers – they need resources to send out spam emails or even for mining crypto-currency.

But don’t worry, Scala Hosting has powerful protection against different attacks and they also back up your websites daily without extra charge – one of the other hosts I use charges an extra $1.15 a month just to back up your data.

How I did it

I can’t go into great details in a short post like this, I will try to give you the big picture how my site gave me back 10 times what I paid for it.

First of all, I wrote a bunch of super-detailed high quality content. At that time I had no idea about keyword research – I just kept writing… but no one was reading the stuff I wrote. It was really frustrating.

Over the 7 months I ended up writing around 70 posts, however most of them are driving little traffic because of poor keyword research, and I actually wasted a lot of time writing ineffective blog posts. I want you to avoid that same mistake…

I will go back to those and correct the keyword targeting, and that should increase the traffic even more.

I implemented my keyword strategy in October 2017. I used keywords with less than 100 monthly searches that no one is targeting, because people think it is not worth their time... I only wrote 7 posts using this strategy and they are ranking on page #1 in Google for those keywords, driving me free traffic on autopilot.

As I had no clue about it, I didn’t use social media to drive traffic, what you see here is all organic traffic. The high traffic on the left of the graph is the bot traffic I mentioned earlier. These are page views per week.

Yexpd 26.1.18

As you can see, it is pretty consistent, and with the use of social media I could increase it even more.

I am including here a screenshot of my Google Search Console account on the next page, it shows the organic traffic for the last 4 weeks, some of the keywords that the site is ranking on page #1, and the number of clicks for that specific keyword.

I have about 100 keywords ranking on the first 3 pages of Google.

yexpd 27.1.18 Search Console

Each keyword has a low number of click-throughs, but they add up pretty fast…

Each blog post ranks for several keywords. There is no limit on the number of posts you can write, therefore if you put in the time to research and correctly write your posts, you can build up your traffic over time.

I did almost no link building. I had the backlinks from the “earlier life” of the domain, I did a guest post on another site, and I did less than 20 blog comments. By putting in some time creating backlinks, I could boost further keywords and get even more organic traffic to my site.

I hardly touched this site for the past two months, because I was working on FunnelXpert.

As you can see, this is not difficult at all, you just need to follow a simple strategy that works.

My Quora Strategy

I recently added Quora to my money-making strategy.

The more questions you answer, the more views and upvotes you get, the more authority your profile will collect.

I answered about 100 questions and I get thousands of views per month.

I get 2-3 people directly requesting my answer, meaning they pick my name from a list recommended by Quora.

Quora answers

You may not realize that you can add affiliate links to your Quora answers...

I answer a lot of questions on domains and I became an authority in this subject.

You can see below, it is January 20 when the activity suddenly increases...

That is when I started to add a domain offer to answers that are relevant.

And you can see the commissions:

NameSilo commissions

(There is an e-book I am writing that will explain in detail how to implement these strategies to drive traffic to your new site.)

What About FunnelXpert?

FunnelXpert just passed 2 months of age.

I used a similar SEO strategy, plus the power of social media.

This is what the traffic looks like:

55 organic visitors for the past 4 weeks, and it is increasing every day.

And I can't say that I am doing a lot of promotion...

My strategy is -

  1. write a detailed long blog post targeting long-tail keywords
  2. do some Facebook promotion
  3. get good user experience scores like this:

Time on Page 19.1.2018

You see that one of the posts has 11:39 average view time... But I have some posts that have 14 minutes, and one even with 20 minutes of view time.

Update Jan 31: Something Crazy Just Happened

This morning I opened my dashboard to see my stats... And this is what I found: screenshot

I haven't done any promotion the last couple of days... Still 68 page views.

I click on the last bar of the JetPack bar to see the referrers... There is this strange URL,

I Google search and this is what it says:

We approve and publish
~1% of suggested articles

The fact that the content is recommended and verified by pros makes Zest
wildly efficient for it’s purposes - it’s saving my time and provides
valuable categorized resources

Someone obviously submitted my post, WordPress Sales Funnel Training – How Bloggers Can Make Money to this site, and seems like it made into the 1 percent...

And also look at this:

FunnelXpert Majestic 28.1.18

And this:

Paypal Payments-received

Some of the affiliate payments are from

Janice from Mostly Blogging was promoting this site and first I thought this was weird.

But then I spent more time on it and it is really interesting... I will explain.

This is not a free site, like Quora. There are two plans, $50 and $100 plans. These are both monthly subscriptions. helps you make affiliate commissions in several ways.

  1. works as a community site. You can follow people, you can also mark them as friends. You can "king" their posts, which is basically a like, and you can submit comments. Since your comment signature contains affiliate links that they add, you get commission if someone buys. Therefore the more you comment, the more money you can make - that is two of the commissions you see on the screenshot
  2. You can submit your own unique posts and will promote them for you by putting it on the home page, in the widget area, advertising them on partner blogs - and you can add your own affiliate links to your posts if you are a paid member. (You can try the site for free without the promotional advantages.)
  3. If you don't make your investment back, they add you to their "fail-safe program", where they give your affiliate links extra exposure until you do make your investment back.

Kingged $100

Update: As of Feb 9, I made back $108 for the $100 I invested.

Note: This may not be the program for you, because it does require a lot of invested time on your part to get results.

Update Feb 25: FunnelXpert Paid For Itself

I paid $86 for 2 years of hosting and I got the domain and the SSL for free from Hostinger.

And these are my earnings:

Thrive affiliate earnings

To give you an idea about conversion rates, here is the summary:

Traffic Statistics
Visitors 248
Unique Visitors 34
Approved Sales 3
Sales Ratio 1.210%

This is without a mailing list, just with straight organic traffic to affiliate link conversion.

These numbers completely support the fact that without an email list the conversion rate is about 1 percent, and I am leaving money on the table.

However it is also true that I am not going to build a funnel for every single thing on my blog...

How did I do it? With this post on Thrive Themes & Plugins, 2473 words unique content.

I picked a few keywords from the Google Keyword Planner that are listed with 0-100 search volume.

I linked to the post with Quora.

And look at the rankings in Google:

sales funnel theme search results

And that's it!

Update April 3

Here's the most recent earnings update:

Thrive commissions


How you can build a blog that pays for itself. You CAN make money blogging.

Blog paid for itself - Pin it!

So this is my journey...

As you can see, it is possible to make progress and it is not that difficult.

I am not going to say that making money is easy...

But getting traffic to your site is very easy, and if you keep working on it, the affiliate commissions will come.

The only thing you need is hard work and correct information.



About the Author

I'm building my 5-figure blog and sales funnel and help other bloggers do the same. You are welcome to join and learn from my experience and mistakes! Are you ready for this?

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(6) comments

Stefan Alexander January 30, 2018

Hi Peter, very interesting write-up. I’m really interested in how you do your keyword research and how much organic traffic you are getting. I know the process on the surface looks super easy, but it is more complicated than it looks. The results you have shown are impressive for such a niche, especially for such a short period of time. Congratulations on that!

    Peter Nyiri February 6, 2018

    Hi Stefan,
    The method I have been using is very basic, I am working on one that gets more returns with less work…

Ina February 1, 2018

Amazing post. Thank you for sharing.

Tiani Wright February 2, 2018

Thank you for sharing this. Must say I am impressed 😊😊

Brett Zoinpfeph February 25, 2018

Wow, I am really impressed, most bloggers never get to the point where they make more than 100 dollars.
I am amazed by your strategy!
Thank you for writing this post!

Madeline Ursack February 25, 2018

Hey, it is really amazing how you got two blogs to pay for the expenses that you put into them.
I do need to mention though that it takes a lot of work, and your blogs paying for your expenses is just the first step, you are still not paid for all the work you put into them, which I consider an investment.

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