Monday, February 27, 2017

Podcast 116: How Dave Fox Built His $5,000 Per Month Niche Site Business

In today’s episode, I bring Dave Fox as a guest on the podcast to discuss his growing niche site business!

Dave has been a long time follower of, and although he has the background of a musician, he decided to dive into the niche site business.  Over the past couple of years he’s done very well.  His sites are now bringing in about $5,000 a month!

In the podcast today, we discuss Dave’s background, how he got started online, and the strategies that are working best for him right now.

We dive into one of his sites that is making about $3,000 a month and the keyword research and link building strategies that he employs. Dave shares how he uses scholarships to link build.

He also shares things he learned about using Google Search Console to help improve his site.

Overall, I really enjoyed doing the interview and I think Dave shares some great tips for niche site builders.  If you would like to read the full transcript rather than just listening, please expand the transcript below.

If you enjoyed this episode, please consider subscribing and leaving a rating on itunes right here.

Read the Full Transcript

Click Here to Expand the Full Podcast Transcript

Spencer:Hey everyone! Welcome back to the Niche Pursuits podcast. I’m your host Spencer Haws from and today I’ve got another guest to interview for you. This is actually a regular niche pursuits reader and podcast listener that has had some success with his niche sites. His name is Dave Fox. He doesn’t have a blog that you can go and check out. He’s just one of those guys kind of under the radar if you will building his own niche websites and has built up a decent little business.

His sites bring in about $5,000 per month that he shared with us and along the way he shares a lot of the specific tactics that he employs to enjoy some of the success that he is, some of the link building strategies, keyword research strategies and other things. He has an interesting story because of his background and how he got started building niche websites and of course it’s always just great to hear from a reader that is finding some success in their own niche website business. With that, I hope you enjoy the interview. Alright, Dave, welcome to The Niche Pursuits podcast. How are you doing?

Dave:Not too bad Spencer, how are you?

Spencer:Doing very well! Thank you! I’m excited to have you on the podcast because you shared a little bit of the success that you’re having with some of your niche sites and so I do want to dive into that and what’s working well for you in particular. But before we do, can you give us a brief idea of your background, business, and work experience previous to building websites?

Dave:Sure. I’m still a music teacher but I’ve been teaching music like guitar and singing for about 15 years so that’s what I’ve been doing around my area here locally and that’s been my job for the last little while. Before that, I did those fairly crappy jobs that nobody likes or maybe some people like them like factory, temporary work, just sort of like milling about trying to make some money before I figured out the music teaching thing. That’s about it.

Spencer:Do you teach just private lessons or do you teach like at a school or something like that?

Dave:Yeah, there’s this school that I taught at for about 5 years around, here then it closed down. I just went to private lessons and kept growing my student base. That went ok for a while. I also paint so I sell my own paintings. It’s all the kind of artsy kind of thing, but at the same time that wasn’t. After a while, that didn’t bring enough income, I realized. I tried to make it work and started to look for something new after 10 years.

Spencer:Give us an idea then of how you went from the shift of being a music teacher and an artist to having your first sort of online business venture and what was that?

Dave:It’s a good story but maybe wasn’t so fun for me to actually live it but I had this girl who lived in Turkey and I met her on Facebook, sort of a lot of information but I met this girl. I was kind of planning to marry her and going to move to Turkey and teach English there, this was like 3 years ago, and then it all fell apart. I was sort of sitting around kind of depressed and trying to generate some ideas. I was fairly depressed actually so I had this music thing and wasn’t doing that great. I just broke up with this girl. Things kind of sucked at that moment and that’s when I started digging around online, I stumbled on some videos and started watching and learning stuff so that’s how I got into it.

Spencer:Right, quite the adventure like you said. Maybe not fun for you but it is an interesting story. Maybe you were at a low point looking for something else, can you give us an idea what sort of, not what videos you were watching but what business ventures were you looking into at the time?

Dave:I wasn’t actually looking for anything. I was just literally just spitting in the basement, came across it was a lazy ass stoner guy. I don’t know if you know who that is.

Spencer:I don’t.

Dave:He’s actually kind of cool. He helped me out a little bit. His videos are pretty funny. They’re very enthusiastic and it’s just like, “Yo! You want to master Pinterest? This is how you do it, it’s easy, bam, bam!” That sort of a high energy. Yeah, he’s a stoner so I guess that’s his theme and it’s a little laid back too. I was like, “What is this guy talking about?”

He still has his YouTube channel up, but he hasn’t posted anything in a while and he was one of the first guys that I watched his videos and he was like, “What’s he talking about?” And then started to get into it slowly and thinking like, “Is this a real thing? Can you actually do this?” That was the first thing that I looked at down in the dumps there. But then yeah, it started to slowly catch on and I sort of started to see more and learn more about it.

Spencer:That makes sense, I think a lot of people have a unique way of how the light bulb moment goes on when okay, you can actually make money using the internet. This is a real thing. Can you take us from that leap of you’re watching these videos of whatever, how to get traffic to Pinterest, etc. to where your business is today. Maybe you can give us an idea of where is your business right now.

Dave:First year was kind of like pretty much, I’ve listened a lot of your podcasts and a lot of podcasts in general.  There is a certain thing where it’s like there is going to be sort of a lot of failure at the beginning and your first few sites might not do that well kind of thing. That was the case for me too. The first year I got into it, I just thought, “Wow, this is amazing. I got to try this.” I started making websites that were based on things I was more interested in, I’m interested in comics, I did a cellulite site, a how to domain that was “” type of thing.

Spencer:Good old exact match domain era.

Dave:None of that works really because I kept those domains around for like a year and a half or maybe two years. Last year, I got rid of them, all of them basically because they weren’t getting anything and I realized at one point jeez! I really did these backwards, I didn’t do them properly according to the way that I do things now. I really had to get rid of them at a certain point.

It came from the fact that I was with Hostgator and Hostgator was telling me that I had an overage on my eye nodes, you have too many eye nodes, 20,000 too many eye nodes and I was like, “What’s an eye node?” They tried to explain it to me and I’m like okay, I just have too many files so which files should I get rid of? They’re like, “We don’t know.” I’m like maybe I would just tap off these three or four websites that aren’t doing anything and that’s what I did. I bailed on Hostgator because I didn’t really like their service. That’s when things actually picked up because I had a couple sites that I was doing properly at that point. This is a year and a half later and then those sites are the ones that I focused on so I’m glad that I got rid of the ones that were kind of not working because they weren’t doing anything.

Spencer:You’ve built some new sites, things have started to work a little bit better. How many sites do you have right now and are they mainly Amazon affiliate type sites?

Dave:Yeah, I have eight sites and they’re all Amazon. Pretty much if they aren’t, they’re becoming more Amazon based. I have this one music site that’s sort of my oldest site and it had nothing to do with Amazon at first but then I’m like I’d like to monetize it so I switched it over to being Amazon based. They’re all pretty much Amazon based and so there’s a few that are more new that are just coming up this year, in the past eight months, and then there’s four other ones that I had for a year or two and they’re basically already sort of going along so yeah, that’s where I’m at.

Spencer:Awesome! That sounds good. I’d like to give people an idea of how much or how well your business is doing so if you’re willing, can you give us an idea of how much revenue your sites are making right now or whatever you’re willing to share?

Dave:Yeah, basically right about now they’re about at the 5k mark for all of them all together. Because our dollar in Canada is not doing so great, it actually makes it out to be 7,000 by the time the money comes in America and then if I convert it to Canadian, it’s 7,000.

Spencer:That’s $5,000 a month or so. That’s a solid business. That’s more than a lot of people make at a full time job for sure.

Dave:Yeah, it’s decent for sure.

Spencer:Now that we kind of know how well your business is doing, I would like to dive into how you got there. Can you give us an idea of the process you used for building a successful website?  And of course, this could be a really long discussion, you know, sort of what’s the general strategies that you employ?

Dave:Yeah, as you know, the learning curve can be pretty steep. If you’re just stacking in all the information, then there is quite a bit you can look at. I guess I’m still learning a lot of things, right now there are certain strategies that are working in the past two months for instance. In general, it’s just a process of kind of keeping it simple.

If you made a few mistakes in regards to you make a site that is too broad, I don’t think Google necessarily likes it when you make a site that is, like you make an authority site and you are not willing to back that up, then that’s going to be pretty slow going I guess because it’s actually very broad, the topics and what not. The sites that are working better are basically just one specific type of thing. It still can be a little bit broad but it’s about one topic, say it’s about boots. It’s all about boots and you just keep writing about boots and you keep doing the typical top ten or the best review type stuff, just the typical niche stuff, right?

Spencer:You’re doing nothing out of the ordinary as far as keyword research, you’re just looking for low competition keywords then you’re writing a review article or a comparison article where you’ve got your comparison chart that has affiliate links in it.

Dave:I met this guy a little while ago. He was one of the guys that mentored me. He’s a British guy and he was doing well with the UK program with Amazon and he had a different outlook on it to what I was doing at that time. When I started making some of the sites, he was saying to me, “Just do it. Don’t look any of the stuff up, just do it.” I’m like, “What do you mean don’t look it up? There’s rules.” He was like, “I don’t follow these rules. Just do what you think is going to work.” I’m like, “I don’t understand.”

Anyway, that actually kind of helpful because I find it sort of limiting to just follow all the rules all the time. The way I do it now for instance, if I have an idea, I just go with it. I think you probably have to have a solid core of the keyword research and all that stuff, that stuff has to be internalized. Beyond that, once you internalize it I guess, you’re not supposed to overthink it too much right? Just kind of roll with it a little bit.

Spencer:When you say don’t follow the rules, do you mean like you don’t worry too much about finding specific keywords that are above a certain search volume that meet certain criteria? If a topic seems to make sense for your website, you go ahead and write about that?

Dave:Yeah, for sure. If it seems like it should be part of the website, I don’t want to ignore it. I want to actually write about it and have it on there. It seems like a very natural. The best policy is the website should actually be good and it should actually be helpful.

There’s something kind of counterintuitive where I think a lot of niche people overthink it. I was overthinking it and just sort of ignoring the fact that you do actually want to help people. For a while, it think I had a guilt complex about it maybe, I was thinking this is a low brow thing that I’m tricking people into doing this. I’m writing fake reviews about things. And then at some point, I’m like I don’t have to write fake reviews about things, I can just make it as helpful as I can and that kind of thing.

Because of the way people reacted to it when I got into it, they were like, “What are you doing? This is not a real thing.” I don’t know if you ever experienced this at all but certain people look at this sort of business and they don’t understand it so they just think that it’s sort of under the radar kind of thing, right?

Spencer:Right, I totally understand. How much is your biggest, you have about eight or so. Do you have one that’s bringing in the bulk of that income?

Dave:Yeah, pretty much. I have one that’s doing about $3,000 a month.

Spencer:We don’t want to reveal that domain but let’s sort of think about that one website that’s the most successful. Is that one a large website, how many articles are on there? Is that part of the reason for the success of that one?

Dave:I think so yeah, it’s large and I just kept cranking out articles. It was kind of hell or high water for me. I’m like I’m going to just keep cranking articles until I just drop. This site, I’m going to make it work. It’s got at least 200 or 250 posts on it right now which is a lot, right?

Spencer:Yeah, it is. 250?

Dave:Yeah, at this point. It’s a 2 year old site, it’s got 250-ish post. I’ve slowed done a lot recently because I literally did fry my brain trying to keep going with it. I feel like there’s still lots to write about on this site, the topic is very something that everybody loves, you can just talk about it forever but.

At the same time, there is a lot of content creation and not only that, but I did all these posts and then I had to go back and re-do a lot of them because I just realized how weak the content was. It was just driving me nuts so I have been over that state with a fine tooth comb and just going like, “This site cannot suck, it has to be good, it has to be perfect.” I go through it and go, “Oh my God! Why did I put that?” I put like five different colors, like color of the header is purple for no reason and things like that.

Spencer:You’re still writing all of the content yourself or you did in the past, pretty much all those articles you wrote?

Dave:I did a lot of them I guess but at a certain point I was able to hire some people to keep it going. That’s another big part of it too is that I put a lot of money back into the business and I don’t even really think about it like it’s a real money maker for me right now, it’s more just I want to reinvest and I want to be doing better down the road, I guess. I’m not so hung up on wow, I’m making like $5,000 or whatever. I I make $5,000 and right away I pay people, that pretty much eats lot of that out. That’s my choice, it’s something I like to do.

Spencer:Right, you’re investing in growth of the site so there are some on-going expenses. How important is link building in your niche website strategy?

Dave:It’s gotten to be a lot more important because I think that was my weakest point for a long time. You have that one podcast, I forget what her name is but the no links lady.

Spencer:Yup, Claire Smith.

Dave:Yeah, Claire Smith. For a while I’m like Claire Smith, she did it, that kind of thing. That’s sort of inspiring in a way because if you don’t get the whole link building thing, that’s sort of what I did, I kept writing content and I was getting better at watching how it’s ranking and sort of learning about search console and analytics and that stuff. Eventually, I was like you can only get so far without–maybe it was parents said something at some point like in one of the things where it’s like, I don’t know what he said actually but he said something along the lines of link building, it really helps to get on board with that. I’m like “Yeah, maybe he’s right.”

Spencer:You started doing more link building and you’ve seen that that’s helped your sites. Can you give us an idea of one or two of your best link building strategies that you’re willing to share?

Dave:Okay, The scholarship one, right? That one is working well for me right now.

Spencer:Maybe just give a brief 30 seconds summary of that, just for any new listeners that are not familiar with that.

Dave:The scholarship one is not that old, it’s not that new anymore, I don’t know. It’s sort of in the past year I guess. I’ve seen a lot of stuff about trying the scholarship method, right? Basically, Universities offer scholarships, Universities like EDU domains and the domain authority on them and the page authority is usually really high so it’s quite beneficial to get them and it’s actually not that hard to get them because you just have to basically make a scholarship and then offer it and email them and they’ll link to you. On the one hand, it seems like it’s super easy. On the other hand, you might actually have to give someone a scholarship.

Spencer:Right, yes. I would say you would definitely need to give them the scholarship if somebody does apply, right?

Dave:That’s the idea but the thing is like I only started doing this maybe a month ago. I have a little team of people that I work with here that we do have some people that I pay for outreach. Those guys, we’re all kind of working together and the scholarship thing is something that we’ve been working on lately. It’s just been in the past month that I’ve tried it but we got a few links back and then also got a few submissions for content because you say submit your content on x-topic and then we’ll post it and we’ll give you credit. You’ll be entered into the contest and on deadline, we’ll let you know if you won or not.

Spencer:I see, so it’s part of the scholarship, you actually of course ask them to submit an essay application or submit a writing sample or whatever you’re calling it, right? You’re actually using that content on your website?

Dave:Yeah, that’s also cool. I think if you’re just totally legit about it and you’re willing to front the money for the scholarship and you’re not doing this as a scholarship scam. The thing is a lot of these scholarships, some of the universities seem like they’re desperate for money, right? They accept any scholarship which works in the favor of people like me but then I think you have to not just front on that whole thing, you just have to actually do it.

My intention is there’s going to be winners and that would come up in the next four months or something, we’ll have to pick a winner for certain because I’m doing it for a couple of sites so there’s two sites that are going to have winners and that’s cool. When you think about it, your students need money and schools want to help students. That makes sense.

Spencer:Yeah, I mean at the end of the day it’s a win-win. Somebody really does got a scholarship. They get some funds that they can use for their education. Great strategy, do you have another one that you’d like to share?

Dave:Before that, we were doing some kind of spotlight. In terms of content plan, a lot of the times with these sites, it reviews the yang yang kind of thing then you try to mix it up with some information. One thing you can do is basically you can write a spotlight on someone else in the industry and just let them know that you wrote it and they can share it and you can also connect with those people too. That’s one I have been doing lately as well.

Spencer:Yup, I’ve seen that work before as well. That’s a good one.

Dave:It’s not bad. When you compare the scholarship one to whatever you want to call it, the spotlight article or something, they both sort of have different function. I guess the EDU back when it started, you’re getting a huge link versus if you’re just talking to a blogger. It might even take more effort to hook up with that blogger. You got to weigh the pros and the cons of all that stuff. If you’re spending a lot time trying to hook up with a blogger who’s on Blogspot so you can get a DA1 or 2 like you know, a non-existent kind of authority thing, you gotta figure out your strategy there. I hope that makes sense.

Spencer:It makes sense. There are pros and cons to that. Very good. I love sort of picking people’s brains on what’s working well for them building their website, link building strategies can be a big part of that, it kind of depends on whether people want to go the Claire Smith route of just writing great content and getting traffic which quite frankly can work and does work, but link building can certainly speed up the process sometimes. In general, it doesn’t have to be related to keyword research or link building. Are there any other tips on building niche websites that you’d like to share today?

Dave:I would say the stuff that I learned about using Search Console and analytics in the past six months has been very helpful because if you think about it, you’re trying to make friends with Google here. You’re trying to work with Google and Google is your best friend. If you’re paying attention to Search Console for instance, Search Console has a lot of data to give you in regards to keywords, where you’re ranking. You really should use Search Console because there’s so much in there and to ignore it just seems, I couldn’t possibly do without it now because I think a lot of my keyword ideas comes from Search Console itself. Do you know what I mean? There’s a lot of stuff in there.

Spencer:Yeah, there is. Let’s maybe flash this out a little bit for listeners. Go into Search Console, you can see the queries that are coming to your website, I assume that’s what you’re looking at. How are you generating the keyword ideas? I’m sort of unfamiliar with that. What specifically are you doing to get those new keyword ideas?

Dave:The thing about Search Console is instead of giving you an idea on what you could do, it’s giving you information of what you have done so it’s a different kind of way of looking at the data. Say you post, you do a blitz of 20 or 30 posts, and then you sit back and you wait for a month or something and then Search Console starts collecting data because you hooked up properly, that’s another thing too. There’s a few things you want to go in there and make sure you’ve got Search Console working properly. If it’s not working properly then it’s not working properly and you need to fix it.

Anyway, you’re in there and it’s working properly and it starts giving you data back. You’re looking at the queries, you’re also looking at the page. The thing that I do that’s super helpful that my buddy told me about is you basically look at the page. Instead of looking at the query view, you go to the page view and you see what pages are ranking and then you flip over to the query view in the page view which I didn’t get that for a while, I’m like what are you talking about? What does that mean?

But you’re in the page, you have the page, selected the post specifically. Pick one specific post and then you switch over to query and then it shows you the queries that are bringing traffic to that page. You’re looking at those keywords and half the time, depending on how good you are with your on page stuff, it might just be a completely predictable list of exactly what you think it would be.

Often there’s at least one or two things in our world that would say let’s say you’re doing something where it’s somewhat mechanical and there’s instructions on how to fix this thing and it will suggest something else in there. You could either throw that into the post because it’s not there or you can make a whole other post about that topic because it’s sort of suggesting that people are searching and finding you in relation to that query but you’re not necessarily properly like SEOd for it because you don’t have it in the header tags or haven’t really included it in the content. I’ll just get ideas for specific products straight from Search Consoles and they’re like, “Oh, we thought you meant this.” I’m like “No, that’s not what I’m talking about here, but that’s a good idea, thanks.” And then I’ll go on and look that thing up.

Spencer:Great. That’s exactly right, I find that Google, you start ranking for certain themes, if you will. Sometimes, your post targets that keyword or that theme exactly. But sometimes like you said, there’s things that aren’t quite right that aren’t necessarily in your article that you’re ranking for and that’s a great opportunity to either put it in your article or write a whole other article to start driving traffic to a new page.

Dave:Yeah, totally. I have some friends that maybe know a little more than me or they’ve been around doing this longer. One thing that someone pointed out was that maybe you haven’t even put the main keyword in. I’m the kind of person that will just, I’ll have this post and it will be like “something versus something,” but that wouldn’t be the title for some reason. I’ll be like, “Wait a minute, that should be the title, in fact that should be the permalink, in fact that should be the main header.” That’s the top keyword and it’s not even the topic necessarily. It is the topic but I have found a way to not phrase it that way and then I’ll be like oh shit, how did I miss that? I have this one site that I’m going through a bunch of posts and looking at Search Console and going like ,“okay did I do this right? I’ve looked at this before but I guess I have to look at it again now.”

Spencer:Search Console really is a goldmine for a data. I do recommend that people check that out. Overall, Dave, I appreciate you coming on, we’ve covered a lot of stuff here. I’m sure there’s a lot more that we could, obviously, but sounds like you’ve got a nice little business going there. If people wanted to reach out to you and somehow get in touch with you, how would they do that?

Dave:I guess just find me on Facebook, I’m on there. Cambridge is where I live, I don’t have a website that’s like my business or anything. You gotta find me on Facebook I guess or skype. I think Facebook is fine, just drop me a line. I like it actually when talking to people about this stuff, it’s very interesting to me.

Spencer:Sounds good. People might take a little extra work to get in touch with you but that’s fine. If they want to do that, they can. I know you do pop in over on the Facebook group for Niche Sites project three. Maybe people can catch you there as well.

Dave:Oh yeah totally, that’s one of my favorites. I’m there a lot too and few other little Facebook groups that are kicking around. That’s the main one that I chime in on, I guess.

Spencer:No, very good. Like I said, I appreciate you coming on, I think you’ve given a lot of great advice here. Any final motivational words or any additional thing you wanted to share before we sign off?

Dave:No, but I just would like to say thanks to you because you were very influential to helping me figure some of these stuff as well. I’m a dedicated fan of the podcast and all that good stuff. Thanks.

Spencer:Absolutely, I appreciate the kind words so thank you Dave for coming on again, and thanks everybody for listening.

The post Podcast 116: How Dave Fox Built His $5,000 Per Month Niche Site Business appeared first on Niche Pursuits.

from Niche Pursuits

Want to Know How to Make Influencer Marketing Work?

The Internet is a noisy, overcrowded place.

Building momentum for your brand is often an uphill battle, and getting your audience to buy in can be daunting.

So, how do you get people to take you seriously?

How can you go from being just a little fish in a vast ocean to becoming a recognizable brand or even a household name?

One strategy that’s proven to be effective is influencer marketing.

The number of brands using this strategy has grown exponentially over the past few years.

In fact, “interest in influencer marketing has risen more than 90x from 2013 to the present.”


Here are some other stats to give you a better idea of the state of this strategy at the moment:

  • “Influencer marketing content delivers 11x higher ROI than traditional forms of digital marketing.”
  • “Twitter users report a 5.2x increase in purchase intent when exposed to promotional content from influencers.”
  • “40 percent of people say they’ve purchased an item online after seeing it used by an influencer on Instagram, Twitter, Vine or YouTube.”


The list goes on and on.

I think we can all agree that influencer marketing gets results.

But when you get right down to it, the term “influencer marketing” can be a little nebulous.

There’s a lot of confusion about how exactly to implement it and take advantage of it.

How can you get an influencer to link to your website, share your content, promote your product, etc.?

I’m going to be brutally honest with you. It’s not easy.

There’s a lot more involved than simply cold-emailing an influencer and saying, “Hey, please give my brand a shout out.”

It doesn’t work like that.

However, like with most forms of marketing, there is a formula. It’s worked for me, and it can work for you too.

Let’s get right down to it.

A three-step process

Of course, there’s a lot involved with influencer marketing.

But when you really break it all down, it involves three basic steps:

  1. Finding a suitable influencer
  2. Reaching out to them
  3. Getting them to share your content

That’s how I approach it anyway.

Let’s begin with step one.

Finding a suitable influencer

This is probably the easiest step, but it does require a fair amount of research.

How exactly do you zero in on an influencer?

Well, for starters, you’re probably already aware of at least a handful of influencers in your industry.

For example:

  • Bloggers with sizable followings
  • Popular YouTubers
  • Industry experts
  • Writers who regularly contribute to popular publications
  • Celebrities

But if you need a little help or want to know how likely a particular person is to share, I recommend using BuzzSumo.

One of the features I love there is “View Sharers.”

Let me show you how it works.

First, I enter a subject relevant to my industry/niche. In my case, it’s “content marketing.”

Here’s what pops up:


Next, I choose an article and click on “View Sharers.”


Here’s what pops up now:


Just like that, I get a list of people and companies that shared that particular article.

I can also tell:

  • How many Twitter followers they have
  • Their retweet ratio
  • Reply ratio
  • Average retweets

These metrics are important because I can determine if they could potentially be an influencer that I would like to connect with.

I also know what the likelihood of getting a response from them would be. And I can easily follow them or tweet to them for instant interaction.

Other tools worth considering, besides BuzzSumo, include Traacker and Little Bird.

I also suggest checking out this post from Kissmetrics for other ideas.

I’m not saying you have to use a tool for finding influencers, but it does streamline the process substantially.

How big of an influencer should l target?

A common question marketers new to this concept have is whether they should target a macro-influencer (e.g., Tim Ferris or Seth Godin) with hundreds of thousands, or even millions, of followers or a micro-influencer with say 15,000 followers.

I’m a proponent of starting small and working your way up.

From my experience, micro-influencers tend to be more receptive and much easier to get in touch with than major players who may get bombarded with thousands of emails every day.

But feel free to take the path that makes the most sense to you.

Reaching out to influencers

This is hands down the most difficult part of the process.

You have to somehow figure out a way to:

a) get in touch with an influencer and

b) build rapport with them.

You can accomplish this in several ways, but I’m a fan of simply sending an email or using the contact box on their website.

Most influencers (unless they’re huge celebrities) will have some means of contacting them. Do your research until you find an efficient means of doing so.

If you absolutely can’t find their contact info, move on to the next potential influencer on your list.

How should I approach them?

The specific request you have will dictate the template you use.

For instance, there’s a:

  • curation template
  • influencer mention template
  • guest blog template

and others.

I recommend checking out this article from Entrepreneur. It will provide you with five basic templates so you’ll know what to say when making contact.

Here’s their initial outreach template:


The key to getting a response is to be authentic, personable, and honest.

Just remember that you need to make them an offer they can’t refuse (using my best Vito Corleone voice).


You may want to give them a shout out on your blog, send them a sample of your product, or maybe even compensate them if the situation calls for it—whatever you think would tickle their fancy.

However, I would tread lightly with compensation because it can make you come across as being insincere. But it’s definitely an option to keep in mind.

Now let me say this.

It’s ideal if you interact with an influencer on at least some level before hitting them up out of the blue.

For example, you might regularly comment on their blog for a month prior to asking them for a favor.

I know that I’m more receptive to requests from loyal blog readers than to someone “off the street.”

Have thick skin

There are a couple of other little pearls of wisdom I would like to share with you.

First, you should be prepared for rejection.

It’s not realistic to expect the first influencer you contact to immediately respond and cater to your every whim.

Most of these people are busy and already have their inboxes flooded with similar requests.

No matter how charming or charismatic you may think you come off, you’re probably not going to get many responses.

Don’t take it personally. It’s a numbers game.

That’s why I recommend creating a list of at least 10 potential influencers to get going. However, the more, the merrier.

If you expect to have success, it’s going to take perseverance and patience.

Just keep at it until you finally make a breakthrough.

And here’s another tip.

Use a free email tracker, like this one from HubSpot, so you’ll know who opened your emails and who didn’t.

It’s a simple way to see what type of activity has happened after you hit “send.”

If you don’t get a response from someone who most definitely opened your email, I recommend sending them a follow-up email after a few days or so.

Don’t be a pest about it, but a polite follow-up may get an influencer to take notice of you and get you the response you’re looking for.

Getting them to share your content

Finally, you need to ensure that what you’re delivering is genuinely providing them (and their audience) with value.

For instance, if you’re asking an influencer to share a blog post you’ve written, you’d better make sure that it’s top quality and highly relevant to their audience.

If they’re willing to let you guest-post on their blog, it needs to be A+ content. Nothing less will suffice.

In other words, you need to follow through and prove to them that they’re making a good decision by helping you out.

This is obviously integral to building a solid relationship and could potentially lead to other opportunities down the road. You never know.


Influencer marketing seems simple enough on paper.

Get in touch with someone influential, get them to promote your brand in some fashion, and boost your exposure.

Of course, it’s never this easy, and there are a lot of twists and turns along the way.

I’ll be the first to admit that influencer marketing is a tricky process.

But it’s definitely something you can do successfully, provided you take the right approach and have enough persistence.

And once you actually get it to work, it will boost your confidence, and you’ll feel much more comfortable with the process.

At that point, you can rinse and repeat to grow your brand even more.

Have you ever experimented with influencer marketing? What are your results?

from Quick Sprout

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Content Marketing for Software Businesses: Bootstrap Series Part IV

Over a year ago, I started a 5 part blog series on how to bootstrap a software company.  After a long break, I am finally releasing part IV of the series!

Here are previous parts:

Something interesting has also happened since my last update in this series…I sold my software company!  Now, this doesn’t mean I’m an expert in everything, but it is nice to see that the strategies I’m sharing in this series really do work.

I was able to exit Long Tail Pro, my bootstrapped software company, for over 7 figures.  Below you will find some of the content marketing strategies that I used to grow that business and how you can implement some of these ideas into your own company.

Why Content is the Ideal Marketing Strategy for Bootstrappers

For startups, the problem is not whether you can get traffic to your sales-page.  You can always pay for as much traffic as you want.  The problem is whether or not spending large amounts of money is a good idea to grow a profitable business.

Many startups (particularly those funded by VCs or other outside sources) are often more concerned with capturing market share and growth, as opposed to whether the business is making money today.

As a solopreneur or bootstrapped company, you have to take a more conservative approach.  If you break the bank, it’s your account…not someone elses.

So, one of the ideal ways to get traffic and sales for your new business is content marketing, as opposed to spending lots of money on advertisements. shared some interesting stats on how effective content marketing can be.  Here’s just a couple of points that they made and I completely agree with:

  1. While content marketing costs 62% less than outbound marketing, it generates more than three times as many leads
  2. Content marketing drives higher conversion rates. (Nearly 6 times higher)

So, the bottom line is this – content marketing costs less, generates more leads, and drives higher conversion rates (sales), when compared to paid advertising.

For bootstrapped companies, I feel like it’s a no-brainer and it’s exactly what I used to grow Long Tail Pro.

What Type of Content Marketing Works Well for Software Companies?

Effective content marketing can be accomplished in many more ways than just blog posts and infographics.  In fact, a list of 105 types of content ideas was provided by right here.

Their list of content ideas includes things like:

  • Emails
  • White Papers
  • Videos
  • Pictures
  • Micro Sites
  • Polls
  • Mobile Apps
  • Plugins
  • Contests
  • Podcasts
  • and a bunch more…

Quick frankly, there are SO many different ways or ideas that you can tackle content marketing, that it can become overwhelming.  I don’t have the magic answer for what will work best for your software business.  So, it’s critical that you do your own analysis to determine what avenue you should take.

However, I will share the ideas that worked best for me to grow Long Tail Pro.

Consistent Blogging

I started back in 2010.  Much of what I have blogged about over the years has been sharing my results from building niche websites. I would share my failures and successes as I discovered what was working with keyword research and SEO.

These very real blog posts help me build a core audience of people also building niche websites.  So, when I would mention that I use Long Tail Pro for keyword research in my blog posts, it was very natural and real.

This consistent blogging did 4 big things for me:

  1. It allowed me to build trust with my audience
  2. It allowed me to mention Long Tail Pro is lots of blog posts without sounding “salesy”.
  3. It helped me get more traffic to my site.
  4. It gave me a platform I could point to as I reached out to influencers and connected with them.  (Many of which I now consider good friends).

The benefits of blogging have been discussed over and over again.

I like this strategy so much, that I really had 2 blogs generating traffic.  First, was my blog here on  Second, I also started a blog on to drive additional traffic.

The result was lots of free traffic from Google to both of my blogs consistently generating both leads and sales.  The only cost was my own time to write the blog posts.  (And later in the business, I had an employee (Jake) doing the blogging on

Case Studies

Case studies are really just a series of blog posts, but they can be very powerful.  I’ve conducted MANY smaller case studies where I share what is working in my business.

However, for generating sales, nothing was more powerful that Niche Site Projects 1, 2, and 3.  These projects took a reader along the journey of building a niche site from scratch and fully sharing the income and results over a series of months.

This engaged readers to an extremely high level.  A private FB group started at the beginning of the 3rd project now has nearly 15,000 members.

These case studies ignited blog posts on other sites, forum discussions, YouTube videos, Reddit mentions, and much more all without my direct involvement.  So, not only did the case study provide great ongoing content for my own blog, it also excited readers enough to share and discuss off of my blog.

This of course sent even more traffic and links to my blog…which every so often would mention Long Tail Pro.

The key to doing a case study though is to make sure it is sincere.  I didn’t do these case studies just so I could sell Long Tail Pro.  I would have done these case studies even if I didn’t own the software product.  I genuinely cared about building niche websites and enjoyed it (still do!).

So, sharing my results was very natural for me and my audience.


As much as I hate podcasting, I can’t deny that it still is one of the number one things that people mention whenever I meet them in person.  “Hey, I love your podcast!”  or “Hey, I discovered you on the Smart Passive Income Podcast!”

There is no easy way to track conversions or sales from a podcast.  Unlike blog posts, where I know exactly where people came from and what links they clicked, a podcast listener might not take any action for several days.

However, I’ve come to grips with the fact that someone that sits for an hour and listens to one or multiple episodes of the Niche Pursuits Podcast is likely to trust me more than someone who doesn’t.

Podcasting is a different platform than blogging and attracts different people.  So, if you are not podcasting or being a guest on podcast, you are likely missing a portion of your audience that perhaps doesn’t like to read blog posts.

Again, I have no idea how many leads the Niche Pursuit Podcast has generated or sales of Long Tail Pro it brought in.  I also don’t know how much being a guest on other podcasts helped.  However, I know it helped, because I DO still hear from people that found me through guest podcasts.

I was on the Smart Passive Income Podcast a few years ago, and people still come out of the woodwork saying they discovered me there.

I was on the podcast.  I’ve been on Chris Guthrie’s 2 shows: Up Fuel and Seller Cast.

I didn’t mean to, but I even had Cliff Ravenscraft mostly rant about me for nearly 2 hours on his podcast without me even being a guest.  He really didn’t like that I said people should NOT start a podcast.

I’ve been on several other podcasts as well.

I certainly didn’t try as hard as I could have to get on other podcasts, but if you are boostrapping a software company, I definitely think you could be missing a big opportunity if this is not part of your content strategy.


Email has always been one of the most direct ways that I’ve used to drive traffic to sales pages and to build trust with my audience.  However, you need to walk a fine line between emailing your list too much and building trust.

Here’s the few different ways that you should be using emails as part of your content marketing strategies:

  • Auto-responder series to educate your audience and then eventually sell your product.
  • Email blasts to announce recent blog posts (education) or special offers (sales).
  • Have others email for you.

The last one of getting other influencers to email their list for you is a huge one. The ability to ask someone to email their list for you can come through paying an affiliate commission and building a good working relationship.

Since I was able to build a relationships with lots of people throughout the years through blogging and podcasting, I was more likely to get a mention on someone’s email blast.  This can work great when you do a discounted offer for a short period of time.

This gives people with large email lists a good reason to shoot an email out.  As I’ve documented in the past, a short term special offer can have huge results.

Content Lives Forever

One of the great things about content is that is often lasts forever.  Unlike an advertisement that you create and pay for each click, your content might generate “free” clicks for years.  I still have lots of blog posts that I wrote years ago that continue to send traffic to Long Tail Pro…even though I sold the company.

The amount of money I’ve saved by consistent blogging, case studies, podcasts, and email is a tremendous amount.  A single click on an advertisement in Google Adwords for related terms is often over $2.

Between referral traffic and natural traffic, there are often multiple thousands of visitors a day coming to…most of it thanks to the content marketing efforts I’ve put in over the years.

So, rather than spending thousands of dollars a day on ads to get traffic to your site, you should really consider the long term benefits of content marketing.

As always, I would love to hear your thoughts!  If you have anything to add to the discussion, please leave a comment below.

The post Content Marketing for Software Businesses: Bootstrap Series Part IV appeared first on Niche Pursuits.

from Niche Pursuits

Monday, February 20, 2017

How To Build A Web 2.0 Private Blog Network To Increase Rankings

We’ve seen it time and time again, epic content ranking for awesome search terms.

How does it get there?

Great content and promotion play a big part when trying to bring in the top spots now. Social sharing, natural backlinks. After all, this is what google wants to see right?

What about those of us who want to rank Amazon, Adsense or any type of affiliate website for that matter?

The natural backlinks don’t come easy and in most cases they don’t come at all. Would you link to a site like that?

Probably not because chances are you haven’t even heard of it. The truth is sites like that are made to collect commissions and that’s it… Rank and Bank.

This is one of the methods I use to make an income, the 3 step income method involves keyword research, a website and backlink building.

The 3rd step can be the hardest, building links and ranking on the first page.

So let me introduce you to a simple link building method that’s perfect for these little sites.

What You Will Learn

  • How to build a strong private blog network with web 2.0 sites
  • How to setup expired Tumblrs within minutes
  • How to scrape expired web 2.0 sites
  • How to create as many powerful web 2.0 backlinks as you want
  • Why this works so well and gets results

ALERT: Steal My #1 Personal SEO Strategy & Increase Your Search Traffic

My Web 2.0 Sites Private Blog Network Results

After many late nights and energy drinks, I’ve pumped out some great results by using web 2.0 sites to build a private blog network.

This all came down to testing and tweaking this method until I found my own sweet spot. I was shown this strategy from a buddy of mine and it works really well for both of us.

This one here is a fresh two week old page that I used for a recent test (more on that test soon).

I’ve already seen some great results considering the competition is pretty strong.

web 2.0 sites private blog network ranking improvements

keyword research

Some more current stable rankings from the same website I’m working on at the moment-

building high power web 2.0 backlinks

the tumblr redirect

What about some bigger search terms?

This is an old keyword I no longer track, it now sits pretty at 3rd. Here is my last recording from last year, ranked with nothing more than expired web 2.0s.

ranking report

So What’s This All About?

I’m talking about building a high authority expired web 2.0 network to your money site.

high pr backlinks

I buy or scrape expired sites like the ones in the image then point them to my main websites.

Sounds good right?… juiced up web 2.0s ready to go.

We have some great advantages when doing this…

  • They already have natural backlinks
  • They are aged
  • Have good page authority, usually 30+
  • Ready to drop links and send juice

If I was to build a fresh network it would take some time before the power started to kick in. I would have to use something like this gsa search engine ranker tutorial to power them up.

You can expect an increase in rankings within 24 hours sometimes. It really is instant clean juice right to your website.

Although not as strong, this is just like a private blog network but with web 2.0 blogs that are free to use with full control over your links.

How To Build Your Deadly Web 2.0 Private Blog Network

When starting a new network I base my start point on a standard number of expired blogs. I start with 24 then let it sit for two weeks once finished to see the full impact.

Sometimes more is needed or that could be enough to get me what I want. I use loads of Tumblr blogs and that’s because I can set up so many in a short amount of time.

You should be able to get yourself stable on the second page with ease. The first page is also very possible depending on the competition.

Let’s get this bad boy started.

Step One: Finding The Expired Blogs

This really comes down to how much time you have. When I first started I would purchase them but of course, there are some advantages to this and some disadvantages.

Buying them can be good to save time, you can pay the seller extra to get them all signed up for you ready to go. The disadvantage is you don’t really have control over what you get sent…. The quality isn’t always the best.

When buying you can use websites likes Source Market or Fiverr. Something like this works great.

expired tumblr

Not many people sell Weebly or

However, if you ask them to do a custom scrape for you, they usually will.

There is also a seller on Affiliate Hustle who sells all 3 if you ask him.

Scraping Them Yourself

This is by far the best way however, it takes the longest. If you don’t have time to sort through them when done this might not be the best option.

But you can expect to find gems like this….

tumblr links


What You Need To Scrape Them Yourself

I use Scrapebox so I’ll give you a rundown on the process I go through to find nice juicy expired blogs.

Just use the default settings to start with, they work fine when starting out.

First you need to gather some proxies, it’s important to use private proxies to get the best results. Go with 10 and load them into the proxy section. Click “Use Proxies” if it’s not checked already.

You will need to upload some keywords. You can find some general large keyword list online by doing a Google search or give this old 100k list a try. Scrapebox also has an in-house scraper if you want to scrape some keywords right from the software.

In the top custom footprint bar is where you enter the site you want to scrape, For example, I’ve entered “”

Next Click “Start Harvesting”.


When the harvester pops up choose the engines you would like to use from the left. The ones I’ve ticked below work great.

At the bottom double check that you are using server proxies, you want to save your own proxies for the next steps.


Now start harvesting, I leave mine going for 24 hours and that’s enough time to collect a large amount of URLs.

Once the harvest is done you should have millions of URLs, it’s time to trim things down.

First you want to click “Trim” and a drop down menu will show up then click “Trim To Root”

The same goes for removing duplicates, click “Remove\Filter” then “Remove Duplicates”.

Now in the top menu click “Addons” Then “Show Available Addons”. You want to install “Scrapebox Alive Check” then open it up.


You should now see the alive checker window popup.

You can then import the URLs from the harvester in the bottom left corner. Also, make sure you tick “Use Proxies” because now we need our private proxies to keep things running smooth.

The last thing to do is click “Setup” and delete whatever’s in there then enter “404”. Now click “Ok” then “Start”

easy vps 4

Once finished click “Export” on the bottom right then “Save All Alive To Harvester”.

easy vps 2

You should have a list of expired web 2.0s you can use as backlinks to your websites. There is one more step and that’s finding the most powerful ones. I do this by checking the Page Rank.

As we know Page Rank is dead now but it’s still a good filtering system. The higher the page rank the older they are and the chance of finding ones with awesome backlinks is higher.

Click “Check Pagerank” then “Check URL Pagerank”

Once you have done that you can then export them to a text file by clicking “Export URL List”

checking tumblrs urls

You should have a decent list of URLs to go through once done. It’s time to sort through them and find the available ones.

Bonus Method To Find Expired Web 2.0 Domains Easily

I want to share with you a new method I have been using to find expired web 2.0 domains.

Matthew wrote a huge guide on how to find expired domains recently.

In that guide he shows you how to find normal expired domains and web 2.0 expired domains using the awesome DomainHunterGatherer tool.

Take a look at his video tutorial below-

As you can see DomainHunterGatherer makes it really easy to find relevant, powerful expired web 2.0 domains!

Step Two: Claiming Those Gems

Before we get into this, not every Tumblr is going to be free. Scrapebox checks for 404s however, most of the time Tumblr still won’t let you sign up to them.

There is really no way around this unless you create or find a bot that checks real 404s. Scrapebox is good but it does lack in this department.

Find yourself a website that checks Page Authority. I go with 99Webtools, because it can check 50 at a time for us.

You might need to grab yourself some extra e-mail addresses to register the blog if you don’t have any already. I purchased 1000 from these guys about 6 months ago and I still have plenty left.

This next step is very important!

You should use a different IP each time you sign up a new account.

You can stretch it out to 3 accounts per IP max, if you use the same IP to sign up a large amount of Tumblr blogs they will soon start banning them.

I’ve made this mistake before, I got lazy made 10+ accounts then when I checked them a month later they were all gone.

You can use a program called IP Vanish for VPN access, so you can change IP with the click of a button.

Once you have a VPN setup, open up Tumblr and have your URLs ready in the page authority checker. All you need to do now is take the username and try to sign up with it.

Keep doing this until you find the free accounts.

tumblr 2


Step Three: Dropping The Web 2.0 Backlinks

This is by far the easiest part, this is why expired web 2.0 network builders like to use Tumblr to drop links to their money sites.

You don’t need fancy articles, all you need is a picture and a few lines of text. Tumblr is an image platform so it makes sense just to roll with it.

expired tumblr blog

Easy right?

Just like that, web 2.0 backlinks are created in seconds, sure it takes a while to scrape them but it’s worth it!

If you want to buy them then that’s fine they work just as well, you will usually need more of them to get more juice that’s all.

The only other thing I do is upload an avatar and I might change the themes on some of them every now and then.

When it comes to the Weebly or blogs you will need to upload an article, this is why I don’t do as many when starting out. I want to see what the Tumblr’s will do first.

Step Four: Keyword Ratios

Branding plays a decent part in ranking now so getting the right ratios can make or break your rankings. I’ve had rankings drop off the radar within 24 hours just because I used my exact match keyword 1 to many times.

I use the expired web 2.0 networks for branding and keyword variations. I save the big pushes with exact match keywords for my private blog network with strong domains if I need to.

What I typically do is sort my expired web2.0s from weakest to strongest. I’ll use the weak ones for naked URLs and branding anchor text, with the stronger ones I’ll use keyword variations.

I head over to LSI Graph to get some variations to use.

To finish it off for good measure I’ll add a few exact match anchor text on my strongest web 2.0s just in case Google wants to give it that extra push for me.

And that’s how you create an epic web 2.0 network…. It’s not over yet though, there are some issues to address.

What Have Tumblr And Weebly Changed Recently?

Nothing really…..

They have changed a few things over the last few months or so but it hasn’t had any negative effects. In reality, it become a blessing in disguise making it easier to find better blogs

Let’s start with Weebly and the “we won’t index you saga”.

weebly index

As you could imagine this became a problem, Weebly is telling us our free account won’t index the blog.

This is really just a good business move on their part forcing free users onto a paid account, well……

We can force things as well!

All we need to do is run a force index with the Google Url Submitter, this ignores the robots.txt and crawls the site anyway.

add url

Tumblr’s Sneaky Little Redirects

This recently just happened over a month ago and now a lot of network builders have come to the conclusion that Tumblr is useless for link building.

Instead of just linking out to your money site link, Tumblr has a new redirect in place like this href=”” + your URL.

I just had to test this for myself to see if the juice still flowed, after all Tumblr plays a big part in this strategy.

Two weeks ago I ran a test with 42 expired Tumblr blogs and these are the results…


This was a fresh page so these jumps are very good especially the bottom one.

Then a week later the rankings have increased even more. You might notice these from the start of this article, the bottom keyword is sitting at 16 with a keyword competition of 41… not bad at all.

new ranks

So, Tumblr still passes juice and Weebly will still index. Everything is all good!

Why Do These Work So Well?

This really comes down to age and the backlinks they have.

You build private blog networks with expired domains because they’re aged with backlinks, It’s the same concept.

In most SEO campaigns you will find web 2.0s being used and for good reasons. They work for all types of scenarios like diversity or pushing ranks.

The difference when using new ones is they’re fresh and take time to power up with the other tiered links you need to build to them.

Using expired web 2.0s to get me stable on the second page for my keywords then pushing them the rest of the way with my own personal private blog network works really well.

web 2.0 backlink strategy

Remember, Google want’s to see that Authority.

ALERT: Steal My #1 Personal SEO Strategy & Increase Your Search Traffic

2017 Progress Update

Well, it’s been some time since this was posted and my ranking are still going strong so it’s time for an update!

Now the question everyone wants to know… Does this still work in 2017?

Yeap sure does!

I want to show you the results from two sites I’ve been working on since this post and explain to you how I got the sites to the first page of Google.

There are only two things ranking these sites, good long informative content and the super strong expired web 2.0s we talked about above.

Website Number 1

Alright so this site is one of my favorites right now and has the potential to earn 5 figures a month.

The website ranking first in this niche just sold recently and was making just over $10,000 a month.

My site is literally 2-4 spots behind it on some of the terms.

This site is a Clickbank lead generation website, I collect emails with the site then I have an email marketing campaign setup to promote a specific niche related product.

The content length on this particular page is 3700 words, my onpage optimization is spot on so all I needed to do was add links.

website 1 rankings

As you can see from the results above all my target keywords are on the front page and that’s exactly where I want them.

I’m not worried about the 1st position right now, the site makes money at this point so I can rest for a while before hitting it again with more links.

You will see the ranks have dropped a bit, this is normal with this method. Google will push the site up high then let it settle into it’s position, this indicated to me that I’m ready for another round of links soon.


It’s already collected me over 600 leads so thats a great effort!

Right now I get 2-3 sales a day and on a good day with a nice spike I’ll hit 5+ and I’m not even at the top yet.

So how did I get this to where it is now?

The combination of good content and expired web 2.0s sent this site to the front page like a rocket going to space.

The content was good enough to get me dancing on the 4th page then using the expired web 2.0s I got it pushed up.

Oh…. and the competition in this niche is quite hard with some decent authority editorials to compete with.

On this particular site I used tumblrs and a mix of blogs aswell. I had to pull out the big guns for this site though, I used only the best expired Tumblrs I could find.

Most of the tumblrs I used had good backlinks from editorial sites like Huffington post.

With this site there was a specific anchor text ratio I used, most of the anchors are url and branded only.

I did this because every other site in the top 10 had branded anchors so it makes sense to replicate that. Exact match anchors were used but only once or twice each.

Since most of the sites in the top 10 are editorial all the links are natural so I have to make my anchors looks natural.

There are 2 other affiliate sites I’m competing with but they both have natural looking anchors as well.

At this point I’m going to work on this site hard once it’s settled a bit longer to get it to the top. I’ll have a break and work on other projects until then.

Website Number 2

This site has lower competition to the first one and won’t make anything close to the income it will be producing.

This site could be about $1300-1600 a month once ranked higher. At the end of the day money is money and I’m happy with that.

This site is once again a lead generation site for a Clickbank offer but I only just started collecting leads on this one before Christmas.

This one is a little different I actually get most of the sales from the links within the content and not so much within the email campaign.

This just shows me that testing with affiliate websites is important to see what works.

On this website I also used less content, just over 2300 words. The competition wasn’t very hard and the topic was hard to write about so I stopped at 2300 to see how It went.

Safe to say that it worked out fine with that amount of content. Here are the current rankings.

website 2 rankings

The best part about this site is I could use my “rubbish expired web 2.0s”

What do I mean?

Well when I do a scrape I set my expired web 2.0s out into sections. Those 2 sections are.

  1. Good quality powerful web 2.0s
  2. Scraps/rubbish web 2.0s

So, I use the Good web 2.0s on my hard niche websites then I save up all the average or low quality ones for an easier site like this one.

The only difference really is the amount I use.

Although I’m using so called rubbish links as I like to call them they still work, I just need a lot more of them.

Remember when we scrape? We usually scrape a lot so it’s always a good idea to save those average ones for a rainy day.

Some people will think that’s a waste of time but I’ve seen the proof in my testing.

We even had a member in our Online Marketing Facebook Group post his rankings today using just Tumblrs.

He held the 1st position for most of his search terms.

I have no idea what kind of competition his niche is but that’s still impressive with just a bunch of expired tumblrs!

So, is this still a viable way to rank websites? Absolutely.

If we come into a super duper hard niche we use the web 2.0s to get us to the 3rd or 2nd page then usually hit them with stronger links like guest posting or private blog network links.

In most cases you can sneak onto the first page with these expired web 2.0 links.

This web 2.0s method is still a great way to rank those easy to medium and even better on those hard niches to get them ready for even stronger links.

Wrapping It Up

If you want a quick and easy way to grab some good web 2.0 backlinks then buying Tumblr’s and throwing up those links is a fast way to do it.

You can build massive private blog networks with web 2.0 sites ready for links to existing or new websites you might create.

It’s up to you if you want to use these web 2.0s for one site or multiple sites. I link out to 2-4 websites max so I don’t have too many outbound links spreading the juice around.

When scraping the sub domains this video from Dillon who has helped me a lot in the past with this will explain the scraping if you have trouble or you prefer videos.

You don’t need to limit yourself to the web 2.0 sites mentioned above, that’s just what I prefer to use. There are many footprints you can input into the scraper to build your own private blog network.

Feel free to leave any questions in the comments below and I’ll see you at the top of Google!

How To Build A Web 2.0 Private Blog Network To Increase Rankings was originally published on Matthew Woodward

from Matthew Woodward

Podcast 115: How Khalid Farhan Went From Freelancer Working for $1 Per Article to Full-time Online Business Owner

Today, I’ve got a great guest on the show. It’s Khalid Farhan from, that’s his blog over there and he also offers SEO services.

What’s interesting about Khalid is his journey from being a student in Bangladesh and working for just $1 per article as a freelancer on Upwork and other freelance services, to going to owning his own business.

He’s built out a number of niche websites (as he shared on a guest post here), a couple of which he has sold in 2016, one for $12,000 and another for $26,000. We’ll also talk about the current income he makes from his niche websites that he still owns as well. He’s doing very well building out and ranking websites and then selling a lot of those and then he also does quite well with his SEO services that we’ll touch on just a little bit as well.

The majority of this interview will focus on how Khalid is building out his niche websites. We even reveal one of those niche websites that he sold recently so you can look at that as a template if you’d like to. Then we dive into some really cool link building strategies, a couple of very interesting ones that I have not tackled myself. These are new ideas to me that I actually do think could work pretty well. It’s a unique approach. Listen for that.

But overall, I hope that you enjoy the interview.

Read the Full Transcript

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Spencer:Hey everyone! Welcome back to the Niche Pursuits Podcast. I’m your host Spencer Haws from Today, I’ve got a great guest on the show. It’s Khalid Farhan from, that’s his blog over there and he also offers SEO services.

What’s interesting about Khalid is his journey from being a student in Bangladesh and working for just $1 per article as a freelancer on Upwork and other freelance services to going to owning his own business. He’s built out a number of niche websites, a couple of which he has sold in 2016, one for $12,000 and another for $26,000. We’ll also talk about the current income he makes from his niche websites that he still owns as well. He’s doing very well building out and ranking websites and then selling a lot of those and then he also does quite well with his SEO services that we’ll touch on just a little bit as well.

The majority of this interview will focus on how Khalid is building out his niche websites. We even reveal one of those niche websites that he sold recently so you can look at that as a template if you’d like to. Then we dive into some really cool link building strategies, a couple of very interesting ones that I have not tackled myself. These are new ideas to me that I actually do think could work pretty well. It’s a unique approach. Listen for that. But overall, I hope that you enjoy the interview.

Alright, Khalid, welcome to the Niche Pursuits Podcast. How are you doing today?

Khalid:I’m doing well. Hello, Spencer. Hello everyone who’s listening. It actually feels great to be in your podcast. Achievement unlocked, for sure.

Spencer:Absolutely, as we were just chatting a minute ago, I’m excited to have listeners actually come on and be guests on the podcast. This is something a little bit new that I’m trying, I’m excited for this especially because we’ve been able to find a few successful entrepreneurs such as yourself and now I want to bring you on and give you a chance to tell your stories.

With that, why don’t you go ahead and give us a brief explanation of your background and how you got started online and maybe what your first business venture was.

Khalid:Yeah, sure. Thank you. I’m Khalid from the beautiful country Bangladesh, located in Southeast Asia, in case you don’t know. I just completed my undergrad last December. Working full time now from my home on passive income projects. Basically, I started as a freelancer back in 2011. I was in my 11th standard, I guess. The education system is a bit different here. You work your way up to college and then there’s university. It’s complex.

I started as a writer in market places like Freelancer and Upwork which was ODesk back then. I used to write 500 words for $1 back then. I was 16, 17 years old maybe. I wasn’t allowed to have my own bank accounts or pioneer cards, PayPal is not allowed in Bangladesh. I used my mom’s name in all those market places, I used her bank details to get paid. It was fun.

I didn’t actually start freelancing to make money. The idea of being able to earn your own living was fascinating and that’s actually what got me started. I didn’t actually need money back then. I was a kid and didn’t have to spend a lot, I guess.

I actually wrote articles for a long time. The internet marketers didn’t need long articles back then so it was more like 500 words or maybe 1000 words. Then, I moved into writing non-fiction ebooks for clients who were probably publishing those on Amazon and then very quickly I got into SEO.

Meanwhile, I think I started my first blog targeting Google Ads in 2013 or late ‘12. It was not a big hit. The income was pretty poor. I don’t think I made any money, maybe $1 or $2 but I worked a lot on those blogs. It was sad. I was more interested into quick liquid money, I again moved back to freelancing. This transition continued for around 2-3 years. I tried different things, created a few more blogs but the bulk of my income was actually from freelancing. I worked as a virtual manager for a company for around six months. I did a lot of stuff back then.

Then in 2015 actually, I started getting into niche sites. I think I first heard about Amazon Affiliate Marketing from Niche Pursuits, but I’m not sure. I think it can be Smart Passive Income too from Pat Flynn’s. But from then it was all about building a passive income stream for me.

I worked from my first Horse Niche back in 2015. Actually, I wrote about this in your blog, I think in last year August. It was again a failure then I started my next site which actually I sold for around $12,000. That was the moment. Then I kept on building website and selling them and yeah.

Spencer:That’s awesome. Maybe some people can relate. I know some people certainly started out as a freelancer and then maybe learned about the business from there but it sound like it’s been quite a journey going from freelancer on and off and then eventually going into okay, how can I actually build a business, build some websites and as you mentioned, you’ve now sold a couple. We’ll dive into that here in a second. But maybe you can give people an idea of your business right now. What does it look like today? What type of sites are you building? What activities are you doing and what’s bringing in the money right now?

Khalid:Okay. There are two major income streams for me right now. I have my own personal niche sites which are separated from my business, I mean my formal business which is is pretty much everything for me right now. I started Passive Journal last year in June so it’s very new. That’s around 7 months from now, I think. The blog was initially started to talk about my journey and then I quickly started offering some services. The bulk of my income now comes from Passive Journal and my personal niche sites. I only have three now, the third one is very new.

I keep on building and selling my personal niche sites as well, apart Passive Journal. Passive Journal has its own journey. Apart from these two major income streams, I also occasionally go back to my freelancing clients. Actually, I often get bored with the Passive Income streams, niche sites. Actually, I do weird stuff in market places even now. Last month, I did a freelancing project on Upwork. Not many people know about this because I just do it for fun. It’s cheap money. It’s not about money, it’s just fun. I built up a five site PBN for a client.

Spencer:Yup. Listeners are very familiar with PBNs and how that works. I’m not a big fan of PBNs but lots of people are still doing that. That’s no problem at all.

I’d like to give people a little bit of a sense of how well your business is doing overall. Of course, you don’t have to share all of your income but whatever you’re comfortable sharing. Can you give people an idea of what type of success that you’re having?

Khalid:Sure, sure. As I mentioned just now that there are three different income streams for me right now. The freelancing option is pretty much fun, I hardly make around $1000 to $2000 maybe. The more serious ones are my niche sites and Passive Journal. My personal niche sites bring around $3000 to $5000 a month, from month to month, December was big and January was pretty low. I also sell my personal niche sites as I mentioned. For example, I sold websites for $12,000 and $26,000 and also some small ones in 2016. Apart from that, Passive Journal is what makes the most amount of money, we make a big amount, I mean it’s certainly bigger than my personal niche site incomes.

Spencer:That’s awesome.

Khalid:In Passive Journal, we deal with niche sites building, SEO and local business SEOs. That’s about it. These are the income streams for me right now.

Spencer:That’s perfect. I think that gives people a good picture of what you’re doing. Like you said, you’re certainly having success with your niche sites and I love that you’ve been able to sell a couple of those and I think we’re going to talk about one here just a little bit. Let’s jump into that now that people know how well your business is doing as far as both niche sites and of course you have a great business with as well. I want to dive into really how you go there with the niche sites though. Can you give us an idea of what your process is for building a successful website and maybe we can use one of the sites that you sold as an example.

Khalid:Yeah. I will actually be sharing one of my [00:07:49] today as I told you earlier. I sold this website back in 2016, I forgot the month, it was early, I think it was March or April. I sold this site for $12,000 and the selling process was interesting too. I initially listed this site on Flipper because this was one of my initial sale site, I didn’t know how Empire transfers money to other country, so Flipper was the easier option. I didn’t sell on Flippa but I got a few clients who were interested and they contacted me privately next and that’s how I ended up selling this website to a Canadian company. The website is called, you guys can have a look. I think the rankings have fallen since I sold the site but it still makes a good amount I guess. This was one of my big sells. The site might not be perfect but I’m super proud of the site. That was the big money moment for me. I’ve got it pulled up here. About how much was it making per month when you sold the site?

Khalid:When I sold the site, it was I think making around $1200 to $1600 maybe per month.

Spencer:Okay, awesome.

Khalid:This was a White Hat Project. I actually do both White and Black Hat, not as white as you. This was actually one of the White Hat Projects that I did and I actually ended up knowing that if you build your links in the straight White Hat Methods, you get better multiples. When you build sites using PBN, I actually myself build sites PBNs even now and the multiple varies from $18 to $25 but when you’re building White Hat links, it gets up to 30%.

Spencer:Right. And that makes absolute sense because there is a little bit more risk involved when there is a PBN that is used to build a site. It’s good that places like Empire, Flippers, they always disclose that so people that are going to buy a website, they know whether or not there is a PBN hopefully involved. So that makes absolute sense. Give us an idea of the process for building as far as just start with keyword research. Take us to the journey there.

Khalid:Alright. Maybe it’s not rocket science to bill and rank websites. All you need is the ability and determination of working hard, that’s basically it and everything else comes in place when you are ready to work hard or when you are determined to work hard. My process is very similar to the projects that you ran except the fact that I often used Black Hat techniques too. It’s 50-50, I sell 50% of my sites maybe in the White Hat but it also depends on the competition of the projects. It is exactly the same like your projects, it starts with keyword research. For, I used Long Tail Pro, now I use another keyword research tool which is also a Cloud Keyword Research tool, it’s called Are you familiar with that?

Spencer:I have heard of it. I haven’t really used it much.

Khalid:It’s pretty simple. Though I don’t build the specific niche sites as of now, I have gone into the alternative model but Keyword Revealer is good. Either Long Tail Pro or Keyword Revealer, then when you are done with the keyword research process, I start building the content. After I’m done with around 10,000-15,000 words, then I actually go and build and design the site. I’m not a great designer of WordPress websites. I have a theory, maybe the theory is wrong and maybe the theory is manipulated because I am not a good designer. I think that if you have a website on Google’s first page, even if the design is bad, people will actually go ahead and look at your site if the information on the site is good enough. The design for it is actually an add on. As long as you’re satisfying Google with page speed, site speed and those sort of stuff, I think you’re fine even with simple designs.

Spencer:I agree. I’m looking at the site, I don’t know if it’s changed since you sold it.

Khalid:The design is pretty much the same.

Spencer:It looks like just a simple WordPress theme, and it is. It’s very clean, nothing super exciting but it is something that people came to. I think the key is not to scare people away, right? That it’s so ugly that they go away. This is simple and clean and that’s just fine.

Khalid:I see people invest so much time and money on designing their website’s themes, flash and pictures come from left and right. It’s weird.

Spencer:You do 10,000-15,000 words. About how many articles is that? Are you doing a thousand words per article?

Khalid:For the Niche Model, for the type models, I do a big article. That’s the traditional model that has been going on for a long time now that there is a big static article on the homepage and then you have articles in your other menus and categories. I try to at least go up to 1500 words now, previously it was around 700-1000 word with some big ones. But now, for my recent alternative sites I have change the plan.

Now, I have two types of articles in almost all of my websites. One is the informative category, one is what I call the money articles. The money articles are big. They are around 3000 to 5000 words, they carry a lot of information that are money keyword and they have the charts and tables. And then I have the informative articles which are around 700 to 1200 maybe at max that are that Long Tail keywords and mostly informative one.

Spencer:I think that’s a pretty good model that I do think is very similar, right? I’m writing longer articles because they tend to rank better in Google. I’m looking at the drone site and you’re definitely doing the sort of classic comparison charts with the different Amazon products so that people can click over and go buy those products.

Excellent. If people have followed along with niche site project three, it’s a very similar process. You’ve got the comparison charts and affiliate links and making money from Amazon. Good job on that site.

Khalid:Thank you.

Spencer:Anything else you want to talk about before we jump into maybe link building strategies?

Khalid:Let’s just jump into link building. I have an interesting one to share.

Spencer:Yeah, absolutely. Because you did a guest post on Niche Pursuits, I am familiar with some of the strategies that you have followed. Maybe you can give us an idea of what one of the top one or two link building strategies that you use right now?

Khalid:When I did the Niche Pursuits guest post, I talked about my scholarship SEO strategy but listeners can read that. Let me talk about another interesting one.

Currently, my most favorite one link building strategy is actually pretty weird one, it is a bit shady I think but listeners can decide what to do. I come from a freelancing background so writing is actually one of the most popular categories in every freelance marketplaces no matter which one we are talking about here. What I do is I actually search and find writer groups on Facebook and then there are some other forums who are actually working as a freelance writer right now. I search on different forums and Facebook groups and try to contact them.

When I find them, I just tell them that if you are working on this niche for example, try to put my website’s link in your next article naturally as a reference if you can. When the article goes live, I’ll be paying you this much. The writers are already getting paid from their clients, their clients are getting the links naturally and I’m getting a back link.

Spencer:That’s really interesting. What success rate do you have with that?

Khalid:As long as your website is good, as long as your website looks like an operating website and not like a penny for example, the writers are happy to give your link as a resource, they don’t mind because they are getting extra money and the clients that the writers are working for don’t mind either because it is good to share links in your website of resources because that is natural.

Spencer:I like that.

Khalid:It’s a win-win.

Spencer:That’s a great idea. Can you give us any idea of how you’re finding these groups on Facebook? Do you just search for any particular type? Any keywords? Or anything that you use to find those?

Khalid:My strategy might not work for all of the listeners because what I do is mostly based on my country communities. We have a few Facebook groups mostly where the freelancers hang out and these are big Facebook groups with a lot of members but they all are from Bangladesh, they all are Bangladeshi writers, they are Bangladeshi designers and all that. I try to contact them but I think listeners can find their own country’s freelancers who are also working as writers. It shouldn’t be tough. It is pretty easy, actually.

Spencer:Like you said, it doesn’t have to be Facebook, it could be forums or it could be Twitter or any other place you can figure out where maybe writers are hanging out using creativity to do that and then reach out from there.

Khalid:In fact, if you’re a good writer, you can actually create a profile on Upwork and be done writing related tasks that falls under your Niche. You can write articles for the freelancing clients and then you can actually embed your link inside the article. I mean if you have the time.

Spencer:Now that’s interesting.

Khalid:You should try it.

Spencer:You got some great ideas. I like that a lot. Hopefully people caught up on that one. And again this is up to every individual to determine whether or not that is something that they would want to do and if they do that, for example it maybe would be a good idea if you were an Upwork writer and you decided hey I’m going to have somebody pay me to write this article and then I’m going to link to my own website in that article. I think you should probably disclose that to the person that you’re writing the article for, “Hey, I do have a vested interest in this website but I think it make sense in this articles anyways, is that okay?” Maybe that’s the more upfront way to do it.

Khalid:Unless it’s a direct competition, I mean, the client that you are working for is a direct competition of the niche site that you are getting backlinked to. It should not be a problem, but yes.

Spencer:Right, exactly. Can you give us an idea of how much you might offer to pay per link? Once you contact these writers, how much might you offer to insert your link into one of those articles?

Khalid:I don’t really look at the domain authority or page authority anymore. I’m just happy to get the backlinks. I pay from $5 to $15 and I have paid up to $20, I think. Not more than that.

Spencer:Okay. Really not very much. That’s a great strategy, I like it. Do you have any others that you’re willing to share or want to discuss?

Khalid:I think the basic strategy is the basic link building strategy, the ones that you have used on your projects, the ones that everyone knows about are good enough to rank niche sites if you are ready to work hard basically. It’s not tough and if you can be creative even with the basic ones that like, for example the backlink readers already know about this when you are trying to do a guest post, maybe don’t just tell people that you want to write a guest post. Maybe find a few flaws on their websites, talk about them and then offer a guest post. It’s all about trying to be unique.

Spencer:Right, absolutely. Anyway, you can stand out because certainly when you’re reaching out for guest posts, a lot of times these people have been contacts all the time. If you can do something a little bit different to stand out from all these requests, you might have a little bit higher success rate.

Khalid:Exactly. Another one is when I talk you talked about this one with Samara. The back link that you’re getting doesn’t have to be from the same niche or industry. Here’s an interesting example. For example let’s say we’re working on a website which is about dog travel, maybe some travelling bags or cages for dogs. It is not important to always contact with the websites, I mean contact the websites that also work on the similar industry, you can also contact websites that are on travel industry. For example there is a website about travelling, you can go ahead and tell them that you have a website related to dogs and you talk about dog travelling related products and you want to write an article about how to travel with your dog. You can post that on that travel website. They’re not a direct competitor so they don’t mind, they get a good article. It’s again a win-win.

Spencer:Yup. Absolutely. A great example. I think that there is a lot of opportunity outside of your regular Niche that people maybe aren’t looking at, certainly can reach out to other people. Look for those link building opportunities.

Excellent examples, I think we’ve given people a fairly brief blueprint here of how you went out or do go out and build websites. Do you have any other specific tips for building niche sites? It doesn’t have to be link building or keyword research. Just any other strategies in general that you’d like to share?

Khalid:I’d like to tell people who are listening that there is no point in planning for six or seven months before you start your first site. Fail a couple time if you want. I’ve seen people who have been planning for even two years for now and they’re not doing anything other than just planning, don’t just plan, do something about it, you might fail and that’s alright. You can fail, it is a business, you will fail sometime and you will win too. Planning is important but working is actually even more important and it is often tough to see the long term picture unless you start doing. The tips are all out there, there is no secret. If you just decide to work from today, you’ll make it.

Spencer:Absolutely. Great advice. I love it.  I do want to talk just briefly about because as you mentioned that is a big part of your business and certainly you got a blog there and you’ve got clients there. Why don’t you give us an idea of what type of services you offer at Passive Journal?

Khalid:We have two different departments for clients in Passive Journal right now. We have our own web client department and then last month we launched our local client department. We offer services like new site building, SEO, infographic, and for some premium clients you also have services like portfolio management where you basically manage a bunch sites for our clients.

For the local SEO, I don’t know many of your listeners are local SEO or they’re interested in local SEO, we target brick and mortar websites, we target actual businesses with physical locations and we offer them our SEO services, it’s pretty interesting because you get a monthly deal with these companies. For example, let’s say pool services in Austin, Texas, that’s the keyword and many companies will love to be ranked for that keyword in page one. There is not a lot of competition out there. For this pool industry there is, but there is not for a lot of industries. We were targeting local SEO, we were trying to do something in the local SEO industry and we’re very new. It just has been seven months now, the journey has been amazing and let’s see where it goes.

Spencer:Absolutely. Just to follow up on that, how do you find clients for local brick and mortar company like the Austin, Texas local company. How are you finding those clients?

Khalid:Step one is deciding which industry are you going to work in. Try to avoid pool service or dentist or law because these are very competitive among local SEO, I mean local Search Engine Optimizers and these companies. They always target these companies because these are big ones and for example medical, maybe some restaurants, they are big. You’ll have to find your niche share which is low competitive, so go ahead and find the industry that you think you will do well then you just go ahead and do a search.

Do a search for example, let’s say, pool service in Austin, Texas, you will see a bunch of ads, you will see the PPC ads in first page and second page even at the bottom and these are very popular keywords for advertisement and you just look at the ads and you’ll see the companies that are paying for the ads and they’ll find their actual organic search position.

You just mail them and tell them that look, you are paying this much for every click. Your organic rank is at the fifth page, for example. I can help you be at the first page and you will get this much impression possibly so why not give it a try? Sometimes they agree, sometimes you have to call. Cold emailing is our process because we live very far, we are in Bangladesh and they are probably in the US. Our option is only cold emailing but I’ve seen local SEOs who actually send gifts, who send little monkeys, little toys to these companies and with a letter that says if you’re interested in SEO, contact us, or something. It’s pretty interesting.

Spencer:Very cool. Any particular strategies that work well for ranking local SEO?

Khalid:The local SEO keywords, the keywords that local companies want to rank for, these are extremely low competitive keywords. At times, you just do the on pages SEO and you’ll automatically see them rank. The beauty of this method is that you are charging them monthly so if you can keep that ranking for their websites, you get a monthly payment, you don’t have to do anything about it. You just make them stay there, you’re not doing anything. They don’t have to know that and you’re getting your monthly checks.

Spencer:That sounds like a pretty good business. Probably a lot of growth opportunity there as well and local SEOs are very fast growing part of search as businesses finally, and they have for the last few years. They started to get more and more aware of online marketing and ranking in Google but that’s just going to continue to grow.

Khalid:Universities didn’t have digital marketing masters programs back then, now they do. In fact, I’m actually going for my masters probably in September in Ireland in digital marketing. It’s interesting, the opportunities are growing, hopefully we’ll be able to bear future.

Spencer:Absolutely. It’s an exciting time to be a digital marketer. There’s individuals such as yourself. Doesn’t matter where we live in the world, you really can grow a business online whether that’s building niche sites like you are or getting services for clients. Whatever that might be, there really is a lot of opportunities.

Overall, I’ve enjoyed having you on the podcast. Any final parting words of wisdom?

Khalid:I think I did talk enough. I just want to say thank you for having me on your podcast. I have been listening to your podcast since 2015, I think, and I have listened to your podcast multiple times. I didn’t have Passive Journal back then. Your podcast is a great source of motivation for me and I hope you continue doing that and don’t give a big break.

Spencer:Absolutely. Thank you for the motivation, I’ll try to do that. Thank you Khalid for being on the podcast and thanks everybody for listening.

The post Podcast 115: How Khalid Farhan Went From Freelancer Working for $1 Per Article to Full-time Online Business Owner appeared first on Niche Pursuits.

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