How Switching To The Authority Site Model Allowed Perrin To Build a Stable $7,504/Month Income

Gael’s Notes: If you have been following us for a while, you may have noticed Perrin has been authoring most of the blog posts for a few months but hasn’t had a proper introduction.

He has been helping on the blog side while I have been focusing on growing the Business and member area side of Authority Hacker and growing our other authority sites.

I am far from giving up on blogging though and hope to have more time for it next year (I am still on the podcast though)

If you followed Niche Pursuits in the past, you’ve probably heard of Perrin, but if you have not, here is a quick introduction of how he went from someone just “dreaming” of making money online to making some, to losing everything and to rebuilding it all the right way.

Perrin’s one of those people who constantly innovates on ‘classic’ marketing tactics, which has made it really fun to work with him–and in many cases to coach him–as we grow our sites alongside each other, swapping strategies and creating new techniques along the way.

I’m happy to say his authority site is doing well and he is writing for us by choice and not because he needs the money anymore (not that we don’t pay him!).

He now makes around $8,000/month from a site he started just 20 months ago.​

Perrin's Earnings Overview
Perrin's Earnings Overview

Sit back and enjoy his story!

$97… that’s all I got for it.

It was basically my only form of entertainment: my Xbox 360.

But I needed a job. Bad. The problem was that my wardrobe was 100% t-shirts and jeans. I needed a job, but before I could even book interviews, I need something to wear.

And I was dead broke…

So I did the only thing I could: I sold my Xbox to a goofy 10-year-old kid on craigslist. It was my only option. I had $35 in my bank account, there was no way to pay rent next month, and I absolutely needed to buy a suit for job interviews.

I sold my baby for $97, took the bus downtown, walked two more miles to H&M, and bought the cheapest suit I could find.

perrin

Hi. I’m Perrin. It’s 2012, and I’ve just finished a graduate degree in perhaps the single most useless academic field: poetry.

I’ve been tossed into the real world, and I have no idea what I’m doing. I have a bit of writing experience, but that’s pretty much it.

And I’m embarrassed by how naive I’ve been, realizing now companies aren’t exactly rushing to hire poets.

Money’s getting tight.

I sell my Xbox 360 to buy a crappy suit for job interviews.

And then I start pounding pavement–sending out resumes by the dozen, applying to jobs for which I’m not even remotely qualified.

One of the few places to even call me back is a big, global consulting firm.

One interview. Two interviews. Five interviews and one massive writing test later…

…and I miraculously have a job. And not just any job.

A “good” job: something other than a barista. I’m a communications and change management consultant. I’ve got a salary. I’ve got benefits. I get to go on business trips. My clients are Fortune 500 companies.

Everyone is proud of me. My mom, meaning well but eternally tactless said, “I never thought you’d land such a good job!

I even remember getting stoked about staying in a fancy hotel on my first business trip.

Perrin FB post

I really should have been happy.

But I wasn’t.

It took about three months of trying to convince myself my job was awesome to realize that I needed to get out of there. Pronto.

I just… hated it.

I hated the “game” of corporate culture. I hated kissing ass. I hated pointless meetings. I hated crazy, out-of-touch, super-rich executive clients. I hated trying to figure out who was throwing me under the bus.

And it certainly didn’t help that most of the time the person throwing me under the bus was my boss.

If you’ve seen the devil wears Prada, she’s that kind of person.

We had this one client (I can’t share the company, but you’ve heard of them; they’re a Fortune 500 company and a major brand in the states). I spent months creating a presentation for their employees. I absolutely perfected it. It was simple, clear, elegant, professional. And it did exactly what they wanted.

I handed it in to my boss, and she transformed it into the biggest, most convoluted, typo-riddled, grammatically incorrect turd of a PowerPoint I’d ever seen go out the door.

I had a brief, shining moment of satisfaction when the clients edits came back: they took out everything she’d done and asked for the version I’d created.

That lasted about 30 seconds…

…before I was accidentally copied on an email from my boss to the client that said, “Sorry about that. Perrin wrote the parts you didn’t like, and he’s new here.”

In that moment, I realized why corporate culture was so toxic: people didn’t own their jobs, so to keep their jobs, folks who might have otherwise been nice behaved like complete sociopaths. I hated it.

Most of all, though, I hated having no stake in what I was creating.

So three months in, I started planning my escape.

I used my lunch breaks and commutes to pound through business books. I devoured everything I could on entrepreneurship. I was reading multiple books a week.

escape

When I ran out of books (at some point, you realize lots of the business books out there say pretty much the same stuff), I turned to blogs. And podcasts. And YouTube channels.

Somewhere along the way, I came across this funny little acronym: SEO.

Seeing the Power of SEO…

Up until then, I’d been thinking about entrepreneurship like a job. A better job–one that would give me the freedom to more or less do what I wanted instead of busting my ass to make faceless corporate executives even richer–but a job nonetheless.

The people who were winning at SEO, however, had something I’d honestly thought was a mirage: passive income.

And, really, when you stumble across the likes of, say, Pat Flynn’s (mostly passive) income reports when you’re grinding through 12 soul-sucking hours in a cubicle every day, it’s hard not to be intoxicated.

I was hooked.

So I narrowed my obsession for entrepreneurship into an obsession for SEO. I wanted to chase the unicorn of passive income.

Of course, I had no idea what I was doing.

So I failed pretty spectacularly.

Falling in Love with Failure…

I think I created four different websites over the course of about a year: a gaming website, a poetry website, a one-page dating website, and a nursing certification website.

I had no real direction. My sites were just a hodgepodge of different tactics I was reading about.

The dating website actually made $18.50 from two eBook sales, but everything else? Zero.

A year’s worth of work for a big fat donut.

zero results try again

In traditional terms, that’s a fairly significant negative ROI. I’d essentially put in hundreds (maybe even thousands) of hours of work for no compensation.

However..

…without tooting my own horn, here’s what I think sets me apart from a lot of people, and I’ve seen this quality in the best entrepreneurs I’ve come to call friends over the years: I just… love failing.

I have friends who hate it. Some of the most talented people I know hold themselves back because they can’t stand not succeeding.

For whatever reason, my brain operates differently.

In my head, if I know there are 100 possible ways to reach some goal, every failure represents a step closer to the finish line. In other words, if I try something and it doesn’t work, I now have only 99 steps to go instead of 100.

It’s not a strike against my character. It’s an investment.

So there I was, slave to my cubicle, happily throwing all kinds of sh*t at the proverbial wall, checking off the stuff that didn’t work, inch-by-inch digging my way toward something that would stick.

And I probably would have done that for another 5 years if I hadn’t met Spencer Haws.

The Multiplying Power of a Mentor…

Back in 2013, I was reading a bunch of blogs, but one of my favorites was Niche Pursuits, which was run by Spencer Haws, and one of the things that really drew me to Niche Pursuits was that Spencer was doing 100% transparent case studies.

He was starting sites from scratch, building them until they were profitable, and showing exactly what he was doing along the way.

So you can imagine my excitement when I saw this…

Niche Pursuit Student Application

I was so stoked. I applied immediately.

And through a combination of sheer luck and the will of the masses, I was chosen as the student for Spencer’s Niche Site Project #2.

Over the next couple of months, Spencer helped me build a site and corrected a lot of the little stuff I was doing wrong. The difference in learning speed between trial-and-error and having an actual mentor look over your shoulder and guide you through the process was… insane.

I ended up creating apennyshaved.com, a site that reviewed shaving gear.

A Penny Shaved screenshot

I wrote most of the content myself, and we used something that was all the rage back then: Private Blog Networks (PBNs).

PBNs, if you don’t know, are a way to trick Google. Instead of going out and actually marketing your site to other bloggers, you buy expired domains (sites that used to be alive and active), set up fake sites, and link back to your “money” site. It simulates popularity. It simulates marketing. And in the eyes of Google, it’s a gigantic no-no.

Of course, at that point, I was just learning, so I didn’t really understand the risk.

But honestly, it was easy. The site only had about 30 articles on it, and I didn’t do any link building. I just ordered links from a service that owned a massive PBN.

Learning SEO is pretty difficult, but with the basics under my belt, building the site really did seem rather… easy (…if this reminds you of some heavy-handed foreshadowing in a horror novel, you’re not imagining it).

Not too long after that, I earned what I consider to be my first real dollar online.

I really can’t explain the absolute emotional rollercoaster of owning a site that was finally making money after over a year and hundreds of hours of failing.

Traffic just kept going up…

apennyshaved.com Google Analytics Traffic Overview

I literally screamed and did a Tiger Woods-esque fist pump when I made my first dollar.

built a website earned a dollar

The next month, I broke $100. Then $600. Then I made something like $1,300 around Christmas time. Before I knew it, my dinky little shaving site was making $4,000+ per month.

Little did I know… it wouldn’t last for long…

How Grey Hat Techniques Cost Me My Business…

When I was building aPennyShaved, I really didn’t know how much I didn’t know.

I don’t really even think I knew I was a “grey hat.” All the “SEOs” I knew back then–and I mean everyone--were using PBNs. Of course, there was a whole community out there doing amazing white hat SEO (these guys have been around as long as the black hats and the grey hats).

But I wasn’t rubbing elbows with those folks and their tactics seemed to only work for big brands with large budgets and a household name.

Everyone in my circles was using PBNs. They were easy. They were links on demand. Google will never find them if you just hide them properly, bro. White hat is hard anyway. It’s not worth the time.

If you poke around the blog posts from Niche Site Project 2, you can even see me defending PBNs in a couple of places.

But when I woke up on the morning of September 18, 2014, I had to eat my words…

PBN site traffic after Penguin update

And mine wasn’t the only site that went down. Spencer and I had been building and buying a bunch of sites. I was managing a portfolio of web properties that was approaching the 5-figure/mo mark.

They were all using PBNs, so all of them tanked. Not just one, but two businesses destroyed overnight. Here’s Spencer’s epic rage-post about it.

I was devastated.

I couldn’t eat. Couldn’t sleep.

If making progress feels incredible, losing what you built feels 10x worst than that.​

The next few months are a bit of a blur. I tried to get the penalty removed. Didn’t work. I tried to buy a site in the beauty niche for $500 because the thought of rebuilding was just… painful. I figured if I bought an aged domain and added onto it, I could skip the whole building links thing.

But that didn’t work either. I honestly don’t know why it didn’t work. I bought an established site with what looked like a “clean” link profile and started adding great content targeting easy keywords. And… nada. That’s what was so frustrating. You just never know what’s been done to a site and/or what Google thinks of it.

I was in limbo…

It was around that time I started really becoming friends with Gael, who, in no uncertain terms (you know what I mean if you know him), encouraged me to grow a pair and start a new site. And by that, I mean he saw how frustrated I was and just started listing off niches.

  • …paintball…
  • …woodworking…
  • …gokarting…
  • …pets…

Pets?

Hey that didn’t sound half bad. In fact, I’d just gotten my very first dog. I could get into that.

Eventually, around the end of the year, I decided it was time to build something new. Only this time, I was going to do it the right way.

Because here’s the thing…

No matter how successful you are in the short-term, restarting from scratch sucks. I realized that if i hadn’t have had to waste all this time restarting, I’d be about $24,000 richer ($4,000/mo x 6 months).

I was ready to go.

Gael’s Notes: I don’t want to add too many notes in this post because it’s Perrin’s story.

BUT I’d like to take the opportunity of the last sentence to explain why even IF grey hat sites may grow a bit faster than white hat sites (although I challenge you to build 5 PBN sites daily, the rate at which we acquire links these days with minimal outreach)

It’s still a bad financial operation in most cases to ever have to start from scratch if you are considering doing this as your main income source and in the long run.

Let’s take a hypothetical example of a small grey hat site growing over time, hypothesise a traffic drop due to a penguin update, PBN deindex or any other reason for a drop and look at the total earnings over 21 months.

Month36912151821
Monthly Earnings$200$800$1,700$3,000$200$800$1,700
Total Earnings$600$3,000$8,100$17,100$17,700$20,100$25,200

Of course that site may drop at month 15 or 20 or 35 but usually, grey hat sites experience a drop at “some” point.

Now let’s imagine a white hat authority site growing at almost half the speed but experiencing no dropout.

Here is what the numbers look like after 21 months​:

Month36912151821
Monthly Earnings$100$400$1,000$1,500$2,2002,700$3,500
Total Earnings$300$1,500$4,500$9,000$15,600$23,700$34,200

The site is up $9,000 in earnings despite the much slower growth and the difference will grow exponentially if the growth curve is the same and the reset rate also stays the same on the grey hat side (and that’s not counting the MUCH higher costs of running grey hat, profit is probably double on the white hat site).

So if you want to get rich, don’t cut corners, even if the monthly numbers take a while to ramp up, you will be much better off 24 months in This what happened to Perrin.

Now, back to the story!​

Destroying My Limiting Beliefs & Accumulating Small Wins

I met Gael because we had him on the Niche Pursuits podcast.

And believe me, we would get dozens of people asking to be on that podcast every week. We turned almost everyone down–first, because Spencer just didn’t like podcasting, and second, because most people are just pseudo-experts peddling crappy products.

It was obvious to me even then that Gael and Mark were an entirely different breed of marketer.

They were among the few SEOs I’d ever met who were both independent site builders and doing white hat SEO at scale.

Up until that first conversation, I’d assumed this was impossible. Everyone said it was. White hat SEO was supposed to be something that required resources so immense only major brands could afford it.

Prospecting. Pitching guest posts. Skyscraper technique. It might as well have been in Russian.

Gael and Mark were the first people to show me–through their public case study, HealthAmbition.com–that you could be a highly successful white hat independent site builder.

And it was kind of a kick in the butt. Seeing these two guys actually doing it made me want to dedicate myself to completely mastering independent site building and all the skills that went along with it.

I wanted to become a true expert in my field. I wanted a new site. And I wanted something big.

Starting Anew…

Of course, I started with what I knew. And what I knew was building Amazon affiliate sites.

I researched markets that were:

  • Big and had high revenue ceilings
  • Had obvious “pockets” of low-competition keywords
  • Had plenty products to recommend
  • Would be fun for me

I found one I thought was big, fun, and in which I could reasonably compete.

In the following two months (January – February of 2015), I wrote articles for my new site basically every night and every weekend. It consumed almost 100% of my free time. In total, I wrote about 60,000 words before I finally decided I’d go insane if I didn’t outsource at least some of the writing.

Most of the articles were the standard “Best X…” articles, very similar to the kind of thing we now publish on Health Ambition (we publish lots of stuff, but this is one small article type).

HA review post

Who am I kidding.

All of the articles were in exactly that format (I’m going to tell you why this was bad and short-sighted in a second, but in the beginning of this site, I was extremely profit-driven).

At the end of two months, I had 76 articles on my site, and basically all of them were affiliate articles.

I figured it was finally time to do what I’d been putting off for the last two years: build some damn links.

A Small Win: Building My First White Hat Link

My primary limiting belief at that point was that white hat SEO was too much work.

And remember, I was essentially starting from zero, so before I worried about scaling or building systems or any of the other stuff the “big guys” were doing, I needed to prove to myself that white hat link building was possible.

And believe me: I needed that win. I needed to know that white hat link building was possible for my site.

I also had no idea where to start.

So, I essentially threw a dart at the map. I just picked a tactic and gave it a try.

For me, it was infographic marketing. I really chose this tactic because I personally like infographics, and I’ve personally accepted infographic pitches for my own sites. I felt like if I was saying yes to people, other folks would probably say yes to me.

So, first, I had a great infographic designed by my friend Suzy, and I wrote a killer 4,000-word blog post to go along with it (which, in hindsight, wasn’t strictly necessary, but I think it helped).

After that, I started “prospecting.”

I put that in quotes because it’s light years away from how I prospect now; it was essentially just Googling “[niche] blogs” and taking the first 50 sites I could find.

pet blogs Google search

I found them all by hand, and I researched the contact information manually. I even took the time to follow a few of them on Twitter (not sure if that helped much).

Then, I just reached out to them, letting them know I had an infographic I thought they would like and to ping me if they wanted to see it.

To my utter amazement, about 15 of them said they’d like to see it. And of those 15, eight people agreed to post it on their blog with a link to the original blog post.

I’d built a link. And not just one. Eight.

I had my win. A small win, but a win. Even though my process was really far from efficient, it was still only a couple days of work for eight fantastic–and truly white hat–links.

I still hadn’t tried any other tactics. And I did it all by hand. But it worked.

A Slightly Bigger Win: Turning My New Skill Into a System

So I’d built a link using infographic promotion.

Naturally, I wanted to replicate the process, so I made a few more infographics and launched a few more outreach campaigns. Some worked better than others, but I was slowly nailing down–and tweaking–my process for building white hat links.

For example, I picked up tips like these:

  • Short, impersonal emails tended to convert better (people are busy).
  • There are enterprise-level outreach tools available for $19 (BuzzStream) that could reduce my outreach time by 10 fold.
  • I could prospect twice as fast using advanced Google queries.

If you want more outreach tips I suggest you read this post.

I was picking up steam.

I tried that a few more campaigns with a few more tactics, like guest posting. And when I was confident I understood the processes for several good link building tactics, I started building systems that included a lot of the stuff we now teach in Authority Hacker Pro:

  • Creating and identifying link opportunities
  • Prospecting at scale
  • Outreaching at scale
  • Adding content at scale

And most importantly… outsourcing everything.

Of course, there was some failure. Hell, there was a lot of failure.

But this is where being friends with Gael and Mark really paid off.

Because one of the skills that makes Gael and Mark some of the best marketers out there is their ridiculous ability to build systems for literally everything.

And not just systems that work. They build insanely efficient systems that really, truly maximize ROIs. That is essentially what we do inside Authority Hacker PRO: build replicable systems and framework we call Blueprints and give them to the members to copy/paste into their business.

Create & Outsource Content

So with Gael’s help, I slowly started scaling up my little operation both in terms of links and content.

Pretty soon, my site was growing, the links were rolling in, and my traffic was picking up momentum.

The best part, though, was that I was getting more links and spending less money than I ever had for any site I’d ever touched, yes, even compared to using PBN’s.

It was incredible.

I was used to buying expired domains for $500 and spending hours setting them up (for one link!). Now, my system was generating multiple links every single day just by turning my system “on” and sending out a few emails.

No expired domains to buy and renew yearly, no hosting accounts to maintain and pay for, no sites to “rebuild” and monitor for up time. Just emailing strategically​.

This golden nugget may be the most important lesson of all: the systems I’d learned, tweaked and created cost less AND worked better AND were safer than the “easy” grey hat techniques I’d been using.

I was waking up to what people like Gael and Mark had known for years: white hat SEO is the most powerful version of SEO if you do it strategically and polish your skills.

It wasn’t long before my site looked like this (first 4 months after learning to build links and plugging those tactics into a working system).

Perrin's Pet Blog Traffic Overview

I finally had the beginnings of a link building system. I had a content system. And I was seeing growth.

But I was still… just an Amazon niche site.

Aside from being scary (all my revenue was completely dependent on one company), it really highlighted the difference between what I was doing and what real authority sites like Health Ambition were doing.

My Ongoing Win: Growing into an Authority Site

My site was doing well.

I sailed past the $1,000/mo barrier and was gaining momentum. Links were coming easily, and it didn’t take long before I had more traffic than I’d ever had before.

But my site was still just doing one thing: targeting low-competition keywords with strong buying intent so I could rank in Google and make money with Amazon.

It was the one thing I knew how to do. And as awesome as that is, it’s also severely limiting.

I started looking at true authority sites all over, but because we were becoming good friends and I could chat with them any time, I took a serious look at what Gael and Mark were doing with Health Ambition.

The difference was pretty extraordinary.

Whereas I was doing one thing, their business model had tons of strategic, moving parts.

They were getting traffic from:

And they were making money with:

My Site

Perrin Pet Blog Content

Health Ambition

Health Ambition content

In addition to organic traffic, they owned their social audiences and had an ever-growing email list that also made good money.

If one part of their machine broke, the whole ship didn’t sink. Health Ambition was a diversified, sustainable business and even if Google traffic vanished (unlikely), they could still generate thousands of hits/day to their website with their owned audiences.

My site… wasn’t. And this was a very important realization for me. I wasn’t an authority site.

I was a small, one-dimensional niche site.

Even worse, I realized I could reasonably be included in the ocean of crappy Amazon sites that have flooded the Web in the last few years.

And that lit a fire in my pants.

I didn’t–and still don’t–want to be a niche site builder. I want(ed) to be an entrepreneur.

So I put together a short- and long-term plan to start transitioning my site into a true authority.

Here’s what my short-term plan looked like:

  • Stop producing affiliate content
  • Write tons of informational content
  • Develop at least one other source of traffic
  • Add at least one other source of revenue.

And that’s exactly what I did.

I stopped affiliate content completely. Not because I’m against affiliate content or anything; obviously, I’m not. I love it. It makes good money.

But… I wanted to create content that

  1. Went after higher traffic numbers so I could test monetization tactics and build an email list.
  2. Actually helped people, and
  3. Established me as an authority.

So I turned my focus from affiliate content to 100% informational content.

This shift actually produced a lot of interesting experiments, including the discovery of the ROI of short content (read my findings here), and it’s helped my site generate some pretty impressive traffic numbers (more in a bit).

I also started monetizing with display ads by learning from people I met through Authority Hacker–namely, the amazingly skilled Jon Dykstra, who makes $30,000/mo with display ads alone (this was one of the coolest parts of joining the AH Pro community, by the way: it really is full highly, highly successful people).

At first, I was using Adsense, and I was tirelessly optimizing the crap out of everything. It was pretty un-rewarding. I think at its peak, AdSense was making me roughly $450 per month.

As I started talking to other successful webmasters in my market, I learned that most people had dumped AdSense in favor of Media.net.

So I slapped it on my site, started optimizing (with the help of my account manager), and… BOOM. More or less overnight, my Media.net revenue eclipsed my AdSense revenue by five fold.

Finally, I started dabbling in social media traffic.

It’s an experiment that’s not yet done, and I’ll report my findings soon, but suffice it to say that I tested almost 1,000 ads, spent $2,000 and built a Facebook page with 50,000 engaged fans.

WIll it make money? Who knows!

But that’s the fun part: experimenting as I diversify.

And that brings us to today…

Perrin Pet Blog Traffic

It’s pretty humbling to look at those numbers.

I see so much sweat equity in there. I never in my wildest dreams thought I’d have a site that would break a million visitors. Definitely makes me feel warm and fuzzy.

Plus it’s already VERY profitable. I spent just short of $20,000 to get to almost $8,000 of monthly earnings in just 20 months so far.

Of course, I reinvest a decent part of that money back into the business but the profit margins are huge.

But I’m not even close to being done.

I’ve got a growing site with some good, established authority and multiple revenue streams. More importantly, I’ve got systems than can drive growth almost–almost–autonomously.

But I certainly haven’t even approached the site’s potential.

I’m a massive market, and there are lots of lots of opportunities–for both traffic and revenue. From here on out, it’s about (1) investing and (2) personal and professional growth.

Personal growth? You bet.

Because the only way for my site to diversify is for me to develop new skills. Maybe it’s eCommerce. Maybe it’s a course. Maybe it’s paid traffic. Maybe it’s Pinterest. Who knows!

I don’t know what’s ahead.

The one thing that’s clear, however, is that the white hat authority model isn’t good because it’s easy. It’s not.

And it’s not good because anyone can do it. Not everyone can.

The white hat authority model is amazing because it’s gives real marketers a good framework to build a set of skills that can–with enough elbow grease, talent, guidance and a little bit of money–create big, sustainable, defensible, real online businesses.

In other words, the journey’s just beginning.

Do you want to learn how to build 6 figure authority sites?

Subscribe to join our FREE training and…

  • Learn how to build white hat links to your site without headaches
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158 Comments

  1. Hi Perrin,

    what an impressive development of your site! Gives me a huge motivational bump, as I am just at the beginning of my own “authority journey”.

    When is Authority Hacker Pro re-opening? Would love to join this community of great minds.

    Best, Dave

  2. Awesome story Perrin! It’s been great following your progress. We had a similar big mindset shift from PBN to white hat and I’m glad that we’re both doing okay.

    Big thanks to @Gael too. Without his motivation me and you wouldn’t have achieved our successes.

  3. Hey Perrin great post and very motivational. I’ve been following your journey since you were over at nichepursuits and it’s good to see you’re having some great success after losing a penny shaved.

    I love the tip about targeting informational keywords and not only focussing on “best of” type keywords.

    Spencer actually just posted a guest post I wrote for him detailing my early success/struggles and it follows a similar path to your story. If you check it out you’ll notice in my story I also only targeted “best of type” keywords. However, after reading this post I’m thinking I need to start targeting those informational keywords as you described above thanks for great post.

  4. Hi Perrin, excellent post. Have been following you for a few years now. Great to see your success.

    So I have an “Amazon niche site” that I started at the beginning of the year, and it’s doing ~$2,300 per month now with about 60 pages of content (“best x” type posts).

    All of my links are white hat, some even from the biggest sites in the niche, which I’m quite proud of.

    I have been thinking a lot lately about diversifying my revenue streams, so this post is quite timely.

    That second screenshot at the top of your post, the ~$2,100, is that from Media.net?

    I have always thought of doing display ads, I just wasn’t sure where to start and what kind of traffic was needed to pull in a few extra grand per month.

    For your informational style posts, what kind of traffic (outside of your Amazon posts) are you getting to pull in that $2k?

    Another revenue option I’m considering, and which you may want to look into, is direct ad sponsorships. Take a look at TheModestMan.com and some of his sponsored content, it’s tastefully done and earns him decent money. With your kind of monthly traffic, I think direct ads would be a good idea.

    1. There’s a traffic screenshot above :)

      And yea–diversifying your revenue is always a good idea. Media.net seems to be tough to get into these days, but it works for some niches for sure.

  5. Hi Perrin, Great story. Look great. Hope this will be inspiration for intermediate blogger like us. Really great post with wonderful ideas. Thanks for it.
    Regards,
    kathir.

  6. Hi Perrin and Gael !
    What a great article. This is a real and not fake journey and it’s why we like it.
    I have an affiliate website that brings 500$/mo with no work at all .. but I’ll follow Perrin’s steps to make this site a real income.
    Thanks for this share.

    Sylvain

  7. Whew, great post. Interesting to see the “napkin business plan” of Health Ambition versus your site initially.

    What’s your take (Gael/Perrin) on how large of a net to cast initially? What I mean by this is there are dozens of legitiment traffic sources on the web how many would you zero in on initially?

    Also any idea when you might be opening PRO again?

    Cheers
    Dan

    1. Hey Dan,

      Thanks for dropping by! For the “how wide” of a net to cast I’d go very narrow at the begining, what Perrin did was what I’d do as well. 1 Monetisation tactic and 1 traffic source. Then when it matures “stack” more traffic sources and business model on top to stabilise your business and diversify.

      As for AH Pro it’s opening up on September 12 so it won’t be too long anymore :)

  8. I enjoyed your story. I’ve been following you since your NP days and hadn’t heard about the XBox and the suit before.

    I’m curious that if you started another authority site from scratch what your system or process would be now? For example, step 1 – produce 20 product/affiliate pages; step 2 – begin link outreach; step 3 – produce 20 information pages; step 4 – additional link outreach; step 5 – monetize with media.net, etc.. Essentially how much earlier or later would you have started to focus on some of the tactics you mentioned in the post. For example, you’re getting into social media advertising now. Would you start that sooner if starting from scratch today, or do you think that the large body of content you’ve built up helps with social media traffic more than just having 20 posts would?

    Also, congratulations on the 1,000,000+ club!

    1. Really great question.

      I think my process for a new site would differ a bit now, since I have a bit of capital and more experience. Likely, I’d start with paid traffic and/or a product. That, or I’d buy a site.

      For newer folks, it’d be something like:

      Month 1

      1. Find a cool niche you want to write about
      2. Review the top 10-15 products
      3. Write 10-15 highly informational/educational posts

      Month 2-6

      1. Build links

      It really depends, though. I can’t stress enough that every market is different. For example, in the health market, social can be INSANELY profitable. In the heating-and-cool niche? Not so much. That’s where the strategy, creativity, and willingness to fail comes in. :)

  9. Hi Perrin,

    Thanks for all the details of your story. It’s just what I needed to look into expanding what I’m already doing. I’m going about white hat much like you were at first. I need to be able to scale that up and broaden my options pretty much at the same time.

  10. Thank you so much for this piece Perrin. I know it took a lot of time to write, but it was one of the better articles that I’ve read in 2016 as a whole.

    One thing that really struck me is how you mentioned that Mendia.net account eclipsed your Adsense account by five fold!

    This is HUGE to me because….well….I have my own really successful Authority Website. About 80k-100k traffic each month, but I’m only making around $80 a day with Adsense and I can’t help but think maybe I’m doing it wrong.

    Do you actually mean five fold when you say it….? Because if so, this could be a GIGANTIC opportunity for me.

      1. Thank you, Gael!

        And yes, nothing is ever guaranteed but…..I think it’s worth a test for sure. I only get around $0.17 per click so hopefully they can eclipse that and then it’s a no brainer.

        I’m thinking I’ll use DFP for this test and I want to let you both know I have that sinking feeling in stomach/heart racing thing going on right now because I’m so excited to try this, lol.

    1. Brother, $80/day is GOOD. You can definitely try Media.net, but you’re already making almost exactly what I am with ads (if not a bit more)–and with a bit less traffic.

      Definitely give them a shot, though, for sure. The key with Media.net is to ask for an account rep asap and get them testing. I started at $7/day and now make $70-$80, all because of their in-house optimization process. But you have to ask for it specifically.

      1. Perrin, one other thing.

        How did you test Media.net vs Adsense? Did you use something like OIO publisher or adrotate to test the ad placements? Or, did you simply hard code the ad code into your website?

        I’m asking because I have been accepted and am trying to test, but want to make it as streamlined as possible.

  11. I’m still in site building phase right now, but I noticed some of your articles say it’s hard to build links if you are using affiliate programs. My pages with affiliate links are highly informative, but they do have affiliate links or they will have links that go to a page to call a phone number, which will give me affiliate credit. Should I go ahead and build an information only page with a link to the money pages, so link juice will flow into that page? Or should I go ahead and get links to the affiliate pages anyway?

    1. I mean, your site needs to be balanced anyway, probably, just for the sake of user experience and to comply with Google’s ToS. And yea, while it’s possible to build links to affiliate pages, it’s usually much, much easier to build them to informational pages.

  12. Great piece Gael and Perrin.
    I just started getting serious with niche sites this year, and I am hoping to follow in your footsteps guys. I am motivated to give the white hat tactics a go and might be registering for AH Pro when it reopens in September.

      1. I couldn’t agree more with you Perrin! I have been building niche sites for the last 3 years but I always wanted to do something better than that. Something worthwhile that would really help people. Nowadays I am building the foundation for an awesome authority site and I am always happy to hear stories just like yours. I congratulate you for sticking with it and moving forward until you succeeded!

  13. Thank you Perrin. As per other posters I’ve been following you since your NP days and always enjoyed it. Learning new things the whole time. Keep up the good work.

    Best regards,

    Robin

  14. Perrin,
    Well that sounds like a overnight (20 month+) success. Good on you…..

    I think what is also interesting is building websites not only for a consistent monthly revenue income but building a business that has a capital value on the open business market.

    I have seen articles of sites that are selling 30-40x monthly revenues and that has increased from what was 15-20x a couple of years ago. It seems to be a market that is getting better for the seller.

    So Perrin in theory you have a site that has a estimated capital worth of ($7504x[25]) = $187,600. Lets just call it $200,000 for the romance of it all.

    Now this is a figure you have built up over 20 months, so in theory you have gained an additional $9380 per/month over that 20 month period. Now these are very rough figures and that capital worth is linked to revenue and will shift depending on the future revenues. My point is everyone is building for monthly revenues but bear in mind the capital worth of the process as well. You won’t find many businesses that you can start from as good as nothing and potentially sell it for $200,000 in 20 months. Love the digital landscape because of these opportunities.

    Crack on and keep building people…

    1. Big time. It’s also important to remember that as the digital asset markets mature, it’s mostly going to be the “safe” (i.e. white hat) sites that remain sellable. But yea–it’s digital real estate man; definitely makes it fun :)

  15. Hi Perrin,

    Awesome Story!

    I love the stuff you share here. It is a great mix of a little usefulness and a lot of motivation :)

    Something that sticks in my mind is this sentence: “More importantly, I’ve got systems that can drive growth almost–almost–autonomously.”

    I’ve followed you and the guys over at NP and your latest niche site building process. Is this your systems laid out or is there anywhere I can get my hands on your systems and how to use them in my own business?

    Also, I love what you say about wanting to be an entrepreneur and not a niche-site builder… It brings my mind to the Cashflow quadrant from Kiyosaki where he talks about four fields: Employed, self-employed, business owner and investor. Basically, you want to be a business owner and an investor :)

    Anyway, keep up the good work! Solid.

    1. I think it’s super–SUPER–important to always continuously tweak systems for your own business. If there’s a system out there that works for other people, modify it to work even better for your. Always remember: it’s not paint-by-number.

      That said, the core skills are on this blog and inside Authority Hacker Pro. :)

  16. Awesome post, Perrin — loved every bit.

    I did have one question/nitpick, however.

    You make the claim that simply creating “Amazon-only” content does not make one a true “authority” site (whatever that means).

    I would have to STRONGLY disagree.

    You’re well aware of The Wirecutter and The Sweethome, two of the most successful affiliate sites on the internet. 100% of their content are “Amazon affiliate” reviews.

    Are they not considered “authority” sites?

    Of course they are. Because they add a tremendous amount of value.

    If you are providing your readers with value, then your site is going to be successful. Getting caught up with “affiliate” vs “authority” content is a bit of a red herring.

    Anyway, congrats on the earnings.

    P.S. The figure in the image doesn’t match the figure from the headline :)

    1. Agreed :)

      TheWireCutter and TheSweetHome are, of course, “authority” sites.

      I mostly say that because people tend to build Amazon sites with half-assed reviews and then stop, never bothering to learn any of the real marketing skills. Really–the Internet is filling up with terrible, shoddy, ugly Amazon sites. it’s an epidemic. If you have a site Google likes, there are SO many other opportunities out there.

      More importantly, I think it’s important to think WAY beyond Amazon when you set out to build a site. Obviously, it can be good to start there, especially if you’re new, but it’s also important try to build something that has a higher ceiling.

      It’s just super tough to really become an authority, develop your own products, build an email list, etc. if you’re just reviewing products on Amazon.

  17. Great story and congrats on your successes Perrin!

    I appreciate you and Gael for sharing your hard earned lessons with all of us wanting the same success.

    Can you explain to me how it isn’t duplicate content to have 8 independent sites post your same infographic? Just curious.

    Thanks again! See you Sept 12 :)

    Rich

    1. Hey Rich,

      Thanks for dropping by! The infographic is not considered as duplicate content because images don’t count towards that. You just have to make sure the description that comes with it is unique and you’re good to go ;).

  18. You are a hero in affiliate marketing. I have done this for long a time but I have not received any in my pocket. You are great!

  19. Thanks Perrin for the update. It is truly amazing what you have achieved in such a short time :-)

    I really like the way you are continually improving what you are doing to a point where you have a solid business, that is for the most part indestructible and an income that you can count on, plus a sizable asset. The simple yet not easy road map you have followed is an eyeopener offering up a lot of food for thought for those of us “like myself” who are still simply building simple affiliate sites.

    1. 100%.

      To me, that’s the fun part! Taking a small site and leveraging it into something that grows bigger and bigger. Testing out new tactics and opportunities is just super exciting.

  20. Beautifully written and very inspiring. Been following your progress since NSP with Spencer and it truly is a wonderful journey. Good luck in the future.

  21. Hey Perrin,

    Awesome as always!

    Let me know if you ever think about taking in “Students” on your own :).

    I’m building my own Authority website right now, have not launched it yet, but coming up in two-three weeks with some awesome content.

    Would love to discuss and share with you, so feel free to reach out!

    Best regards,
    Klaus

  22. Perrin, one of my friend shared this post on Facebook while I was drinking and going through facebook feeds. It was a very wise decision that I clicked. I am so inspired and got so much motivation now. Well, I don’t have yet a good blog, but I will implement and test above mentioned tips. I am a language teacher online who does one to one skype session, but now I see, I can do a lot more than that and diversify my income. I know you are busy Perrin, but I will also keep sharing my journey with you. I have also similar story like you but just in other industry. Thanks again for the great article. Have a lovely day, Greetings from Nepal.

  23. Hey Perrin,

    Your story is one of real inspiration – I remember listening to the coaching calls you had with Spencer over at Niche Pursuits. Only seems like last week. So kudos to you – you have proved that the ‘regular guy’ can make it.

    I had an affiliate niche site that I sold last year and I regretted it as soon as I’d sold it – I miss the good monthly revenue so we’re building out a niche site on our local business website so we can create a brand on a national level here in the UK.

    I’ve had some quick success using PBN’s for some competitive terms in the insurance niche which is now producing some really good results financially.

    We’re in the process of re-investing that money to hire a professional, white hat link builder to go out and build strong, stable links that aren’t going to get slapped by the big G next time they release an update.

    I know you hate PBN’s but I hate link building! I think if used right and as a short term plan, they can be useful.

    Only as long as you own and control them though and actually keep them PRIVATE. I would NEVER go out and buy links from a PBN seller.

    Anyway, that’s my take!

    Keep on keeping on Perrin, I will continue to follow your journey!

    Thanks

    Ben

    1. Thanks man :)

      Even better — learn to build the links yourself! It’s honestly so much easier than it looks (believe me: I know how impossible it feels). But it’s super-duper fun and cheap when you get it rolling.

    2. Hi Ben, would you mind sharing with us the hiring of a professional, white hat link builder process you are going through, pitfalls to avoid, and successes etc.
      Jon

  24. Hi Perrin. Thanks for the article. I’m new at SEO however I’ve been reading up alot and it seems the general consensus is that white hat link building is best way to go.

    I did however come across many websites recommending also ‘The Hoth’. Have you ever tried this? Is this considered as PBN? The Hoth basically guarantees that we will not be penalised by Google when using their packages. I would appreciate your thoughts on this.

    Thanks

    1. Hey Vinny,

      We certainly don’t recommend the Hoth or any “web 2.0” link building service. This is against Google’s TOS and may get you penalised (low chance but still). Also, they can absolutely not guarantee you won’t be penalised, it’s merely a sales trick.

      I’ll let Perrin answer though :)

    2. Here’s a good rule of thumb: is it cheap and easy? If yes, stay away :)

      And honestly, man, when you start learning it, building links is pretty easy and (for nerds like me) a good bit of fun.

  25. Hey Perrin,

    I enjoyed every word. It is very personal story :) I think that I remember the industry you are in from NP. I wish you to at least double the traffic and revenue in the next 12 months.

    P.S Authorityhacker continues to be one of the blogs I really enjoy reading and which don’t treat my email just like a lead.

    Cheers,
    Danny

  26. Thanks for this Perrin it came at a good time for me, as I’m in the process of launching a site. I just found AH not too long ago, and wish I would have found it sooner. Thanks for all the good actionable info!

  27. Hi Perrin,

    awesome post!! Lot´s of helpful tips, thanks man :) Your story is very similar to mine. I´ve had a very big fitness blog and then Google Penguin hit me. Now, after 2-3 Years of testing with Amazon niche sites, I´ve just started to built my new authority site.

    Thanks for your insights and enjoy the journey to the next goals :)

  28. Epic post, brother.

    Quick question: what’s your post breakdown look like in terms of Amazon review posts, vs purely informational posts?

    I’m curious how many info posts it’s taking to get that $2k in display ad revenue?

    1. Great question.

      Affiliate posts make up less than 1/4 of my total posts now (I have roughly 500 posts on the site).

      Keep in mind, too, that I’m BAD at display ads still. As I get better it should go up.

      Also keep in mind — traffic ain’t just good for display ads. You can build lists, leverage it for partnerships, get push notification signups, etc. Traffic doesn’t make money on its own, but it’s certainly the foundation for some of the bigger plays you can make if you have that audience (lots of which I’m still learning).

  29. Hey Perrin,

    Amazing effort!

    Were you good at writing when you first started as I find that this is my weakest point is the writing side…

    Or did you just go all in with the (it doesn’t have to be perfect mentality?

    Huw

    p.s I am in AH PRO. :)

    1. Hey man :)

      Yea–I was pretty decent at writing. At that point, I’d be writing at a professional level for about a decade, and I’d be doing it full-time (between freelance writing, writing tutoring, teaching college writing classes, and my consulting job that was 80% writing) for about 5 years.

      It was definitely an advantage. You certainly don’t have to be a pro writer to do IM, but it certainly pays to be proficient.

      Really, you should just be able to write 15-20 good posts when you start your site; you should be able to edit content you get from writers; and you should be able to create quality article briefs.

      Lots of people find writing tough, and some folks might disagree with me, but I view it as one of the core competencies for IM.

  30. Hello Perrin;

    Like many others, I have followed you since your student days with NichePursuits and Spencer. I don’t know if anyone has mentioned this, but in my opinion, you are also a great speaker as well as writer/entrepreneur. When you speak on podcast or video, you educate with “alot of beef” rather than sales pitch.
    I, of course, was shocked when news came out that you are no longer with NP. However the picture is more clear to me now, as you are a grand talent, in your own right. I have since discovered AuthorityHacker because of your guest posts here. I, now, just learned, because of you, the new knowledge and expertise here aka , Gael Breton. I continue to pile up the white hat gurus to emulate as my knowledge continues to grow. Hopefully, the rewards are down the road with my beginning affiate site. Just all this learning is fun.
    I can go on and on, however, Brian Dean, the master at Backlinko recommends updating content on posts for good SEO.{LOL} I know you just recently published the great guest post comparing the KEYWORD TOOLS from LongTail Pro, Ahrefs, Moz etc. Since your post, LongTail Platinum has made some big changes from Moz to Majestic metrics. Enough subscribers have complained of bizarre, inaccurate KC figures in the transition. Since Spencer has sold the majority ownership of the software, there seems to be some upheaval here. Has “Long Tail Pro” gone downhill, or is this some growing pains going on here. Just wondering if you intend to update the great review article on “keyword tools” you guest posted here on AH?

  31. Hey Perrin, love this post. I really like your writing, I always find your posts easy and fun to read.

    If you don’t mind me asking, what are the primary ways you’ve monetized your site to achieve $7500+/month? Is it just Amazon and Media.net? or do you utilize other methods as well?

    -Lee

    1. It’s 90% Amazon and Media.net. However, I also earn smaller chunks from AdSense and other affiliate marketplaces.

      I raelly like “stacking” revenue, though, so I’ll be trying to add some more in the future.

  32. Hi, great post! How much of that million is organic traffic? Do you buy any traffic from Outbrain, Revcontent, or Facebook etc? How much do you earn from Amazon and how much from Media.net?

    1. Don’t buy traffic, although I’d love to develop that skill. That’s about 80% organic traffic. The rest is from social (mostly Pinterest, just from natural pins of my infographics–no effort on my part yet, although I’ll build it out eventually).

      Revenue from those sources is at the very beginning of the post :)

  33. Hi Perrin,
    awesome post as usual.

    I have huge respect for Spencer who I consider my biggest business mentor. I have been convinced that the best investment of my time right now will be to dip my toes into the FBA business.

    Having said that, I realize that the best long-term business play is the authority site model. And the time to build it is now. Say after 20 years, in 2036, the established authority sites might be so large and powerful that starting a new one might be impossible for a solopreneur. On the other hand owning one of these 20year old sites in 2036 might be a vast business you can pass down to your children and your grandchildren.

  34. Hello Perrin!

    Great Post, I really liked it. I’m just starting an authority site right now, so this post was jus at the perfect time :D

    I only have few questions:
    – What do you think about launching a Drop Shipping Store as an additional stream of passive income? You could sell T-Shirts, Mugs, Pillows, etc. If you use services like The Printful or Printaura this would be a fully automated business (exept for the initial design)

    – Would be great if you could include the costs you had to launch the site. I don’t mind the real number, of course. Would be more useful something like this:

    20% Content Writing
    5% Domain + Hosting
    10% Content Writing for guest posts
    10% Tools to Run the Site

    Keep the Good Work Perrin,
    I’m looking forward to your next posts :)

    Simone

    1. Dropshipping is an awesome idea. I’ve always loved it as a business model, and I’m actually thinking about including it on my site at some point. That said, it absolutely IS its own skill.

      But eComm sites can make tons of money, and it’s a very good way to stack your revenue for lots of folks, I think.

      My favorite eComm blogs are: http://www.ecommercefuel.com/ (good general blog, case studies, etc.) and https://storecoach.com/ (tons of free training, very cheap membership).

      Costs for me to start were:

      – Domain: $10
      – Hosting: $25 (Traffic Planet tier 1)
      – Stock images: $100 (ish)
      – One month of BuzzStream for outreach ($19, and I use Gmass now)
      – Content: $700 (about 15 articles, I wrote the first 50 myself)
      – Infographic: $250 (friend of mine gave me a discount)

      This is why I usually recommend a minimum starting budget of $1,000 :)

      1. Wow,

        thanks a lot for your reply, Perrin.

        You dropped so much value in 10 lines! Happy to see my drop shipping is wasn’t crap :D

        And thanks a lot for cracking down the numbers, really appreciate that.

        You Rock!

  35. When you do outreach infographics. Are these infographics on your site and you are offering them to other websites for a link back to your site. Or, are you just creating infographics and offer them to other websites for a link to your site.

    If you are doing both, which way works best.

    ALSO, do you find its better to have a wider niche website that include your interest, which all kind of go together. Or, do you think it would be better to divide theses interests into a few separate websites. You had mentioned about diversifying your business model, ie:not relying on all your traffic from google, not relying on amazon for all you revenue, etc.

    Wouldn’t it make more sense, from a conservative point of view. To have more then one website, say maybe 4. Work on one site for a week, then work on another for week, and so on.

    Let me know your thoughts

    Thanks!
    -Michael

    1. Infographic needs to be on your site first, since you ask people to include attribution to the original when they post it on their site. So it’s not two methods; it’s all part of infographic promotion.

      We recommend starting one site and building it to $10,000/mo before starting another. And to start that site, you generally want to pick a pretty specific niche (higher relevance scores tend to make it much, much easier to rank). After it’s rolling, you can expand by adding good, tight, silos in related categories.

      :)
      P

  36. By far one of the best post i´ve ever read on this blog. Congrats Perrin and Gael. A big fan of you from Venezuela living in Chile

  37. Perrin, with your writing experience – Have you considered making a blog post on how to write those epic 5000+ word blog posts you create?

    My writing skill is average at best, and I have difficulty writing a paragraph without rewriting it a dozen times. It takes me FOREVER to finish an article.

    I would love to know how I can improve my writing speed and efficiency, or if there is a resource you know of that can help me improve.

    Thank you again!
    Lee

    1. You’re not the first to express interest in this, and that means we should probably do a post on it at some point. We can put the idea into the hopper for discussion with ol’ Gael and Mark :)

  38. Hi Perrin,

    Do you ever think about selling your site for six figures and using that money to start a new site that makes more money ($25,000 to $50,000 per month?

    With that much money, you could hire an outreach team, write thousands of articles, build up social media profiles with millions of followers, etc.

    Am I being too unrealistic with this thought?

    Best,

    David

  39. Could you please tell me the minimum traffic to get accepted in media.net ? Currently getting thirty thousand page views per month. I applied, and they rejected me.

  40. Of course it’s always a possibility. It’s just a matter of making the smartest decision possible. We just did a recent webinar with Thomas Smale from FE International (a high-end website brokerage), where he talks about when and why to sell. Definitely recommend checking that out.

  41. Wow, I love hearing success stories that an average guy like me can relate to (the part about failing is i particularly relevant). I’m just starting a new blogging journey so this gives me a little boost! I also used PBNs and other “gray” types of links and it killed me. It’s so tempting to pay a little extra to build a few links, but this time I’m going to skip the shortcuts, and hope for a success story like yours in a few months. Thanks!

    1. White hat links should not cost you more, brother! For most of the good link builders I know, the cost of building a link is ~$5-$15. You just have to learn it and do it yourself instead of buying them :)

  42. So how do I get a real mentor and not a guru to really get me up to speed. Really new, with my own material to see, and do not have a clue what I am doing and it shows!

  43. Hey,

    Lovely piece of content, I was just about to give up on SEO in general because I hated black-hat. This has been the most enlightening post on white-hat that I have ever read. (I know there is more awesome content on this website, and I will view those).
    Anyway, I love writing content (have a knack for salesmanship) and also have a spirit of helping people, so maybe white-hat will be the way to go for me.
    I have a few questions, though –
    1. I have site (amazon affiliate) site for which I have built few PBNs and it is on the second page for the keyword I am targeting. Would it be okay If I switch to white-hat on this only even though the black-hat clearly exists or should I start once again?
    2. If you are strictly going white-hat (and willing to invest on social) what kind of niches should you choose (amazon affiliate) for a new site (the budget is low here)?

    I will be super pumped if you answer them, and if they have already been answered, just point me to those.

    Will be a part of this community :D

    1. Hey Jot,

      Thanks for dropping by, let me answer the questions for you:

      1- if you have grey hat links you take the risk to be penalised, you can disavow those links if you want and do white hat from now on or start fresh, it depends on how advanced your site is.

      2- I’d pick something people are passionate about. A sport, a hobby, something in that vein.

      1. Awesome, thanks for responding Gael, just a quick follow-up question, and that is purely affiliate. So, I have a “best XYZ” page on my website and I obviously want to rank it for the keyword “best XYZ”. But getting good links to such a post is clearly very difficult. So what I want to ask is, If I have a lot of other valuable content on my website and that has managed to get very good links (authority links), will those contribute to higher SERPs for that “best XYZ” keyword?

        I do understand that traffic to that other valuable content in itself is a huge asset, but I want to narrow this down to that “best XYZ” thing. Is it even practical to consider that you can rank for Best kind of keywords using white hat?

        Thanks in advance and I am super pumped for the reply.

        Cheers!

  44. Phenomenal post, Perrin.

    I know I’m late to the party, but I’m curious about one thing. I see that you use display ads on your Amazon posts. Considering the main objective of those posts is to get people to click over to Amazon, do you think it’s counter-productive to also include display ads? Have you tried testing it to see how it effects your CTR over to Amazon?

    Since a click to Amazon is worth much more than a Media.net page impression, I think you may be find it’s worth testing out.

    -Dak

    1. Hey Dak,

      We put very little ad on those types of post but they’re a test of commitment for us. If the person is willing to click on an ad rather than finding out the solution for their problem, they’re quite unlikely to buy. So we still make money from non-buyers this way.

  45. Nice post…BUT….it seems like almost EVERY marketer i have read about that is successful has had a mentor….the following is what you had to say about that:

    “Over the next couple of months, Spencer helped me build a site and corrected a lot of the little stuff I was doing wrong. The difference in learning speed between trial-and-error and having an actual mentor look over your shoulder and guide you through the process was… insane.”

    how fortunate to have Spencer as a mentor then to meet Jon Dykstra!!….that’s a blueprint for success…a very GOOD break doesn’t hurt anybody’s chances for success….I have said on several posts of other successful marketers why not do what lawyers do sometimes…do something pro bono…i’m not saying take on 100’s of students pro bono….but every now and then do it…

    i personally can’t wait to reach my financial goal because that’s exactly what I am going to do….being able to do something pro bono is actually more of a driving force for me than anything else…and I am going to do it….i promise…and I can’t even express emotionally in a post how determined i am….

    1. Hey Will,

      Trust me we do a lot of pro bono work, it’s just not advertised or shouted about on the roofs but I’d say I spend at least 2h per day helping people for free. I agree mentors can speed things up but the truth is, I didn’t have one and still did ok so it’s not mandatory.

  46. Well done sir. You’re definitely doing things the right way. And I just learned about 10 things I should be doing that I’m not. You’re a wizard.

  47. Hi Perrin/ Gael
    You inspired me. You have demonstrated that with hard work, dedication and commitment, anything is possible. Thank you for sharing this with us. I took more than an hour to read your post, reading it word by word including all the 105 comments. Am inspired!

    Perrin, I like your comment above says “Keep at it. Keep learning”. Also, a question about infographic from Michael, I have got the same question, thanks for the answers. By the way, more question:

    – Content: $700 (about 15 articles, I wrote the first 50 myself) – Do you used Word Agent Services?
    – Infographic: $250 (friend of mine gave me a discount) – $250 for one infographic? Any other infographic services you recommend?

    Again, just wanted to say this post was awesome and has given new-found inspiration. Thanks, guys!

    Imer

  48. Hi Perrin, this article was life changing. Sorry to be dramatic, but it has refocused my online business to match the authority model as opposed to just an Amazon niche site. How many people did you hire to manage your site? Also, what did you end up doing with all your content for APennyShaved, did you repurpose it on another site?

  49. Perrin,

    Are you structuring your site in any special way (Silo’s)?

    Do you publish your content on Post or Pages?

  50. Great information, Perrin – thank you! And even MORE thanks for giving hope to those of us with advanced poetry degrees ;-)

  51. Hi Perrin and Gael,

    You’re an inspiration to all, this is a goldmine post.

    I am having my authority site created by Authority Azon. What do you think of their service?

    Once I have the website running, I will be posting articles 6 times a month for the next 8 months and gradually lessen it to about 2 articles per month. On the 3rd month, I will start link building, all white hat with a budget of USD 300 per month. I will do some linking job, but the USD 300 will be used for outsourcing. With this, how do you think the website will perform given 9-12 months due time?

    Content will also be outsourced looking at USD 35-40 per 1000 words. Since I’m relatively new to this, how do you outsource content writing? Do you simply provide your keywords and give them what to write about, or do you give specific tasks such as keyword ratio, etc, formatting, etc. Once you have the article, do you simply post it or do you follow any specific practices?

    Thanks!

    1. Hey Ben,

      Thanks for dropping by!

      We usually don’t recommend those site building services mostly because 99% of the time the content is complete crap (and trust me we could make good money recommending them like others do but well, we have our integrity).

      In terms of sourcing content we usually use Textbroker or Wordagents lately and have very detailed briefs with breakdowns of what we exactly want in the content plus in house editors so it’s a bit of an operation :).

  52. Hi Perrin, this article was life changing. Sorry to be dramatic, but it has refocused my online business to match the authority model as opposed to just an Amazon niche site. How many people did you hire to manage your site? Also, what did you end up doing with all your content for APennyShaved, did you repurpose it on another site?

    Thanks,
    Nate

    1. Thanks man! Glad you liked it.

      I haven’t hired anyone to manage my sites. Don’t need it yet. Instead, I create systems that don’t require that much time from me and use freelancers and/or services to do everything. My main site only requires a couple hours per week from me at this point.

      As for APS content: sold it for like $1,500 to someone who wanted to try to get it going on a new domain.

  53. Thanks for this inspiring blog. I’m just getting started on this myself and trying to figure out how I can fit in and make some income this way. I’m a professional actor and have been for over 25 years and trying to find my niche. My website is www. trevorleigh.ca
    I’m thinking of using a service such as nichemasterly.com. Any thoughts?
    Cheers
    Trevor

  54. Its 2016 now and I stalk some of my competitors and some of the biggest amazon niche players are using pbn’s and still dominating. These guys are MASSIVE WHORES and by that I mean, LORD, they have amazon niche site in EVERY DARN NICHE everything from faucets to dehumidifiers to generators to epilators… I found some guy that probably has at least 50 amazon niche sites if not more and I think he ran out of household crap to promote so now he’s promoting plate guns and bean bags. Seriously, how are these people ranking with their pbn’s? All their sites rank btw; i check in ahrefs and every one of his sites have MASSIVE TRAFFIC… like one of his sites probably makes $10k a month.. im not kidding and he has like 5o siteS!!!

    I found a second guy like that; had craploads of niche sites in every niche you can think of and dominating with pbn’s still

    These guys have been on top for years… i dont see them getting banned at all… Buy the time they get banned they probably would have made 500k or more.

    If you got banned you may have bad luck but i seriously have seen these guys ranking for years and they haven’t gotten banned yet.

    1. Hey Jackie,

      We’re not saying PBN’s can’t work, they can, however we found ways to use white hat that are basically just as efficient as PBN’s so why take the risk?

  55. Hi Perrin, you are amazing and when I read your comment about corporate culture, I got my interest and digested whole article and visitors’ comments along with your response in one sitting. That’s awesome.I wish I have same fate now. One thing which we are facing is the link building. Yes viral content like infographics and other methods earn you white hat but there are people who are using grey hat techniques and PBN for link building.

    Need your input over this. Thanks

    1. Yep some people cheat taxes, and pretty much everything too, it doesn’t mean you have to to be successful. It’s just up to you to build a competitive advantage that will allow you to compete, even with cheaters :)

  56. True Gael. When are you guys opening Authority Hacker Pro? I really want to join; I know it will be quality since everything on AH is also quality and useful. I know it will be one of the few things online worth paying for and I generally don’t pay for anything.

    I have some small affiliate niche sites targeting and “best” and “review” keywords and I find outreach with guest posts easier than infographics as with infographics some sites are actually sending me a message saying they don’t want to link to my “low quality site” (it has DA of 20 and does get SEO traffic).

    I really want to learn how to make an authority website. I have a competitor in the skin care niche and he’s making 5k a month (Cloud Living) now and I know he’s doing everything you are teaching (outreach, gmass, infographic, skyscraper method, developing efficient systems). I used to be #1 for a skin care keyword until he came along and stole it. lol

    I didn’t realize he was using everything you were teaching until I combed over your blog recently and I noticed the similarities in tactics. Will you guys AH Pro so I can learn? I’m already on the email/waiting list.

  57. Very motivating stuff Perrin.

    I’ve failed multiple times and still failing, slowly progressing and I’m been in limbo myself, but after reading this blog I feel pumped!

    Thank you

  58. Thanks for your article. I am just wondering what link building system is Perrin talking about ? Is it infographic marketing ?

  59. Great story Perrin… I have come to the conclusion that you also have the ability to hook up with influencers in the SEO world, so far you have partnered with Spencer Haws, you were mentioned in Brian Dean’s blog and now you are working with the Authority Hacker guys… I would suggest that these relationships have helped you immensely build your authority site… Well done, that’s part of the story that you didn’t really touch on…

  60. Really Interesting with detailed information. intially we can drive the traffic from social media platforms like Fb, G+, Pintrest.
    Falling in Love with Failure is actully motivate us.

    Thank You For writing Nice Detailed Blog

  61. Perrin,

    Do you mind sharing if you had a job or were freelancing while building your site up plus how many hours per day or week you were putting into that? I am curious what your workload was besides the authority site. I’m like you and have to fit it around my job but it can get tiring.

  62. Perrin,

    Could you by chance give an update on your social media progress? Was the $2k worth it for the 50k followers? Is FB driving traffic?

  63. Perrin, I share the same story as you a bit. I did have some smaller niche websites that got hit. It is a terrible feeling losing that income, but it is nice seeing you make a nice comeback and I particularly enjoyed getting some alternative promotion tactics.

  64. Just wanted to say my main takeaway from this was the need for SYSTEMS. The difference (and key i’ve been missing) is creating replicable, scaleable systems designed to maximise effective investment in my websites.

    Killer story that really resonated with me, I hope someday I can get to where you are. That’s the dream!

    Regards,
    Dave

  65. “Most of all, though, I hated having no stake in what I was creating.”

    Damn, man. Rarely does one sentence stop me in my tracks like a complete record scratch moment and make me rethink my past 10 years.

    I totally understand what you mean by this. I’ve been working in awesome jobs with awesome people, but something never really clicked for me. I’ve always been… bored. I think having no STAKE is exactly the reason I never felt like I wanted to do “jobs”.

    Thanks for putting it into words.

    Now I’ll read the rest of the article. =D

    Jay

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