Undercover Success Series#2 – How Robert Botha Built An $8,500 Per Month Authority Site in 9 Months!

What you will learn

  • How you can cut short the length of time it takes for your site to be successful
  • How to prioritize tasks that make money
  • How to stay motivated when it seems like you are not gaining traction
Robert Botha

In today’s episode, Gael is joined by AH Pro member Robert Botha. This is the second podcast in the 5 part “Undercover Success Series”.

Currently living in Vietnam, Robert is the typical traveller turned digital nomad.

Originally from South Africa, Robert was a pro gamer. He travelled the world playing competitions and found himself in South Korea – cause, you know, gaming.

Back home in South Africa, his Mom owned and operated a small business. So, he thought it was a good idea to build her a website. This was his first real introduction to building sites on WordPress.

This ignited a passion for internet marketing in Robert. From there, he started listening to podcasts about software and apps, Tropcial MBA, etc.

Tropical MBA
Tropical MBA

At the time, the blogs were talking about building PBNs and all these other crazy techniques to build links to Amazon Associates sites. It sounded like a lot of work to Robert and kind of put him off the idea a bit.

Eventually, he worked through the marketing podcasts, stumbled upon Authority Hacker and started listening to the podcasts and reading the blog posts.

Through the podcast, he heard about AH Pro. In the November 2016 launch, Robert signed up and got started with his site.

Fast forward 9 or 10 months (at the time of recording), how is he getting on?

How is your site doing?

After 9 months, it’s going pretty well. In August, Robert’s site made $8,500.

This is impressive after only 9 months. Usually, after this amount of time, you can expect to making around $2,000 if you are doing pretty well.

You Joined AH Pro Right Before TASS Launched, How Did This Affect You?

Robert signed up around November ‘16 and TASS (The Authority Site System) went live just after that.

AH Pro is more aimed at people who already have sites and are looking to grow them. This left Robert a bit lost originally.

However, he got started and a couple of weeks later, TASS launched.

TASS is a step by step guide to launching a site. This allowed Robert to follow the lessons and really nail down the basics. It gave him a great idea of where to start and how to do it.

Was this your first time paying for a course? Was It Worth it? Could you not find the information yourself?

Robert admits that he was a bit skeptical going into it.

But, in the end, it was totally worth it. There is something to be said about having everything in one place in an easy to follow format.

It’s not even only the time that you save, you also need to go from site to site and arrange all the information in a logical sequence.

Having one process to follow really helped.

How Hard Have You Been Working out of Ten?

To be making $8,500 per month after 9 months is a really great results. It does, however, begs the question: “just how hard have you been working?”

Out of ten, Robert reckons he’s probably been about 9.5.

He was in a position where he knew that he wanted the site to be his full-time job. He treated it just like that – a job.

Roberts probably works 8-10 hours per day, 7 days per week. He takes it seriously and tries to be as accountable as he would be if he was working for someone else.

This probably explains why he is in a position after 9 months that it would usually take someone a year and a half or two years to get to.

Most people still have a full-time job when they start a site. This only gives them evenings and weekends to work on it.

Authority sites are really about doing the basics well and putting the work in. So, it makes sense if you have more time to put the work in, you can expect to see results sooner.

What Was or Is the Most Difficult Part About Launching A Site?

There were two things for Robert – self doubt and link building.

You know when you launch a site that you won’t get results immediately. This doesn’t make it any less difficult though.

Even if you are doing all the right things, you begin to doubt the process, whether it will work, if you have picked the right niche? All these things.

There were times when Robert was checking Google Analytics everyday. He was get no love from Google, there was no traffic coming in from organic search. At this point, he had already invested $5k in his site. He was beginning to wonder if he would ever see it again.

That’s where being part of the AH Pro community helps. You can posts messages in the Facebook group or read them from others. It’s the same thing over and over again. It’s just a case of working hard, doing the right things, trusting in the process and waiting for the results to come.

When it comes to link building, it’s just hard, takes a lot of time and effort.

Why Did You Start to See Results?

For the first few months there was nothing, the all of a sudden, after 6 months, there was an explosion in terms of traffic from organic search and affiliate sales.

Since then, it has been growing exponentially month by month.

In May, Robert made $700.

This jumped to $3,500 by June and jumped again to $7,000 by July (although Prime day did help here).

Gael’s Note

Growth works like this. It is not linear, you will often see a hockey to stick where it jumps month by month.

Then you will hit a plateau and, hopefully, another hockey stick will follow.

What tactics work best for you? For Monetization, Content and Link Building?

For Monetization, Robert uses Amazon Associates. It converts really well for him. He definitely isn’t complaining after making $8,500 per month after only 9 months.

For content, the “best x for y” is working well. Robert had tried some individual reviews but he really finds the best x for y content is working well and converting well.

For link building, pretty much everything works well. It’s just a case of choosing a strategy, sticking with it and working on it to optimize things.

In TASS, we teach you the skyscraper technique, guest posting and building links from resource pages. Each of these work in their own right. It’s just a case of learning how to do it. You don’t need a hundred different techniques to build links, you just need a few and you need to do them well.

How Is Your Workload Split Between Research, Content Creation and Link Building?

Having started the site before TASS went live, Robert didn’t spend as much time on research as he would have knowing what he knows now.

In terms of content creation, it is probably around 30-40%. This time is mainly spent on creating a few epic resources that it’s easy to build links to.

Link building takes up the most time. For Robert, it is probably around 50-60% of his time.

If you Started Again, What Would You Do Differently?

Having already answered it partly, Robert says that he would do more research up front. He would get more of a feel for products and different affiliate programs.

It would also let him have a more thought through site structure and layout.

The other thing he would do is to spend less time on things that are not important. He was making beautiful pictures for Facebook and Pinterest but the Facebook page didn’t have any followers.

It’s not that these things aren’t important, it’s just that they didn’t have an impact at this stage. Robert would spend his time focusing on the things that move the needle, less time on the fluffy stuff that’s nice to have.

Gael’s Note

Look at Runner Click for example. It’s now a beautiful site with flashy design.

Runner Click Homepage
Runner Click Today

But if you put it in the wayback machine, you will see that it’s a basic WordPress template. Only when they had the money to pay the bills, was it worth it to hire the designers to pimp up the site.

Runner Click Homepage in 2015
Runner Click in 2015

What are You Plans For the Future?

Now that Robert is making good money, he plans to reinvest the profits into the site.

For the rest of the calendar year, his plans are to double down on the content creation, hire new writers and basically do more of the same thing.

Come the new year, the plans are to dig deeper into the other tactics on AH Pro with the aim of stacking business models to diversify the revenue generation of the site.

He also wants to take the site to stage 2 where he is building an audience for the site rather than relying on one-time purchases through on-page sales. This can be done through push notifications, email or re-targeting.

Finally, after nailing down the processes, Robert is interested in applying what he has learned from this site into developing new sites.