In this post I am going to show you how I built two blogs that paid for themselves.
First I am going to give you my latest income report, 1 Oct 2019:
Thrive Themes: $282.00
September Total: $600.00
Link Building: $80.00
3 years of VPS: $137.00
In case you are wondering, the screenshot up there is from MostlyBlogging.com. A guest post that I submitted made it to #5 on the list of top posts for 2017. 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 the owner 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 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 actually a very competitive keyword and I utilized the power of Janice’s blog (high Domain Authority) and long-tail keywords to achieve my purpose.
I used long-form content (over 2,000 words) and I went into the details to provide advice that works.
(Note: After a year passed by, it’s still on page 1, but not in position #1 any more, things do change on the internet.)
This is to show you that
If you want a blog that pays for itself, this is the first component.
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 out 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 picked a bad niche (very competitive) and nobody corrected me. Even the domain name I picked was horrible – StartAnInternetBusiness.net.
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 work, and I didn’t understand why – the keywords I was going after were too competitive. I concluded that SEO was not working any more.
And no one in the community corrected me on these points…
After this I signed up for an eBay coaching program. My ex-wife paid $6,000 for it.
It was money down the drain. We became a bronze seller in 3 months, but that was not because of the coaching, but 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.
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 to your blog 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 in my Firefox browser that contained pieces of the puzzle.
I went through an overwhelming amount of data and and 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…
Somehow I developed a passion for expired domains and domains in general, therefore I built a site.
I paid a total of $15 to set up YourExpiredDomains.com.
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 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…like this
To be totally honest, I consider those commissions “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.
Despite this result I consider this site a failure, as this income isn’t enough to reach any goal, except for the fact that it pays for my domain and hosting.
Why did I choose this domain niche? When you pick your niche, there are two main things you need to consider:
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…
However the niche was a bad choice, because you can only make a small commission from selling domain names.
FunnelXpert just passed 2 months of age.
I used an 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 –
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.
This morning I opened my dashboard to see my stats… And this is what I found:
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, Zest.is.
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:
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:
To give you an idea about conversion rates, here is the summary:
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:
And that’s it!
Here’s the most recent earnings update:
It’s been a long time and I gave up on this blog. I didn’t log into my WordPress dashboard for 4 months.
I happened to log into my affiliate account and found this:
Needless to say, I started working on the blog again and I updated the post that brought all these affiliate commissions to make it even better.
As you can see, my blog more than paid for itself.
I paid off my $1,500 debt from my PayPal credit account and $400 of Capital One credit card from the earnings of this blog.
These are the earnings I received on February 1:
This money came from this much traffic (1,500 visitors in the past 30 days):
It is a given that you can’t predict how much affiliate commissions you will make a month.
These are the earnings I received on February 1:
And I am about to start selling my courses.
I haven’t posted an income report in a while.
Here is the screenshot of Thrive Themes affiliate commissions.
Cost: $80 on link building
Only 2,672 page views. It doesn’t take a lot of traffic to make money.
I spent two weeks in Greece on vacation, therefore I haven’t done a lot of work on the blog. But this is not the reason for the decreased income – affiliate commissions are delayed. This is the result of server problems – I had moved to a cloud server and it was regularly going over the 1 GB 1 CPU limit, which caused the site to go offline regularly.
NONE of the content I wrote recently has generated any money. Only a few successful old post. Make Money niche SEO is not easy. That’s why I am getting links built.
Content is NOT king any more. It’s just one component that you need to get right.
And affiliate income is unpredictable, as you can see on these pending commissions here (the big number is lifetime commission for that account since March 2018):
The plan for September is to start selling my courses, get the webinar funnel set up for this. More importantly, after writing a lot of content in term of blog posts and courses, I want to look outside and do promotion.
Just wrote a new post on Free Plus Shipping funnels, I want to give that a try in a foreign language.
I wrote another one on how to target People Also Ask listings. I want to do a round on that too, to improve my SEO.
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.