Initially, there was no 'grand plan' behind the site.
Ash struggled to find direct-to-consumer home and furniture brands when looking for himself and noticed that a lot of the brands were underinvesting in SEO.
So he created a directory, which started out with 50 home & furniture brands. After signs of initial success, he doubled down on his skills in content (Ash was the editorial director at Buffer for 6 years) to turn the directory into an expert review site using SEO to grow.
Ash started out writing about one article a week. He set himself a target of 50 articles, at which point he would better understand the opportunity in front of him.
“Whatever you're doing, like whether it's a website or starting an Instagram account, an email newsletter, I think just committing to a number gives you time for it to work. Because if you write one or two blog posts, you're not gonna see traffic and it's very easy to give up.”—Ash Read
It wasn’t until December 2020 (6 months later) that Living Cozy started generating meaningful traffic and he could tell it was going to become something profitable.
The publication now pulls in well north of £10,000 a month in revenue and 335,000 monthly page views.
In this case study:
- Living Cozy's initial content strategy and how it's evolved
- Three types of content and why they write them
- Why expertise is so important and how they get it for every article
- How Ash uses "layering" to ship more content quickly
- The ins and outs of Living Cozy's content operation
- Living Cozy's backlink strategy
- Start date: 3 years old (April 2020)
- Organic traffic: 335,000 page views in January 2023
- Blog posts: ~300
- Monetization: Ash stopped talking publicly about revenue when it passed £10K a month. This split is 90% affiliate (SkimLinks and partnerships with 35 brands) and 10% - Display ads (MediaVine)
How Did Ash Decide What to Write About? A Clever Gap Targeting Strategy
Ash looked for “throwaway” content in the SERPs.
This is the type of content that ranks because the website is highly authoritative (e.g. written by a large brand with tons of backlinks), but the content itself is not up to scratch.
You can find it by Googling a keyword and assessing the top 10 with these questions:
- Is the content old?
- Is it low word count?
- Have they spoken to experts?
- Is it written by someone quickly?
When starting out, Ash looked for gaps he knew he could create something significantly better than was already out there.
Did Ash Build Content in Topical Clusters?
We all know topical authority is a hot topic in SEO nowadays. So, did Ash think about that?