Could 82 pages of content change your life?
For my guest this week, Samantha North, it did.
In 2 years, with no prior SEO knowledge, she built her blog to 75,000 monthly visitors.
And...it replaced her full-time income.
What I love about this story is that almost anybody can do it.
Samantha started off with just one blog post a week and over time it became a profitable business (although, in hindsight, she recommends that you frontload content creation to speed up the traffic growth.)
In this episode/guide, we deep dive into Samantha's story, including everything from choosing your niche to how to turn traffic into money.
Expect to learn:
⚡How to choose a niche: What you should write about is personal to you, but it also must be able to make you money.
⚡How to choose keywords: Why you should target long-tail keywords at the start. And why topic clusters are a critical framework.
⚡How to monetize your site: Different ways to monetize your blog and their pros/cons. Including a step-by-step on how to set up a consultation service.
⚡Secret sauce: Sam shares three key things she would do differently next time to accelerate this success.
Case Study Details
Samantha started writing Digital Émigré post-Brexit, to help investors and remote workers get EU citizenship.
Her blog targets keywords like "Easiest Countries to Get EU Citizenship" with strategies and advice for those wanting to emigrate.
In just two years, her traffic began to boom. In this case study, we focus in on Samantha's exact process and how you can get the same results in a shorter amount of time.
Start date: Brand new website launched in late summer 2020 - 0 traffic, 0 authority, 0 income
Current results (December 2022):
- 3k visitors per day, around 75,000 visitors per month
- Average £7,000 per month
- 25% ad revenue (Around $1500 passive income per month from advertisers like Ezoic)
- 50% referral partnerships (resulting in the occasional 5-figure payout)
- 20% consulting (more on that below)
- 5% affiliate programs
Here’s a breakdown of how Samantha achieved these exceptional results:
How to choose a website niche
There are three questions you need to answer when choosing a niche:
- Is this niche monetizable?
- Am I interested in this niche?
- How competitive is it?
Does the niche have monetization potential?
The best way to check whether a niche has monetization potential is to examine the websites of the existing blogs and websites in that niche.
Look for signs that your future competitors are earning money off of their websites.
- Do they have display ads?
- Do they have affiliate links?
- Do they offer coaching?
- Do they offer subscription-based communities?
- Do they offer digital products?
If the answer is yes to some or all of these questions, then congrats! 🎉 You’ve discovered a monetizable niche.
Another pro-trick here is to start with monetization and back it into traffic. For example, is there a product you absolutely love that's recently come out with an affiliate program?
Trying to look for keywords that would drive sign-ups to that product.
Are you passionate about the topic?
“Are you going to be interested in this long enough to maintain the pace of all the writing you’ll need to do to make this a success, to make this rank?” - Samantha North
If you're doing it yourself, growing a blog requires a lot of time, patience, and focus.
If you choose a niche with high monetization potential but one that doesn’t interest you much, you might get bored before finishing the first 20 blog posts.
The key is finding a balance between your passion and interest and the monetization potential.
If you're passionate about the topic, you'll have fun expanding your content offering to include a video series or online course—both great ways to make money from traffic.
How competitive is the niche?
Like all good businesses, there's a balance to be had been demand and existing competition.
Choosing "personal finance" may seem like a great idea. For one, it's easily monetizable because there's a whole ecosystem of personal finance businesses wanting to sell to your audience.
However, because of this, the search results (SERPs) are dominated by huge companies that have invested years and $millions in winning.
Your goal when choosing a niche is to find untapped opportunities. Where there's a significant search volume that you can keep writing about the topic for a long time. But, the SERPs are not yet dominated by high-authority websites.
When assessing competition it's important to bear in mind that tools like Ahrefs don't paint the full picture with their DR score:
Developing your early content strategy
Once you have a (monetizable) niche you’d like to explore, it’s time to come up with a content strategy.
That means first answering the questions:
- Who am I writing for?
- What am I writing about?
- Which keywords should I tackle first?
- What quality, word count, and visual experience will help me win?
- How will it all fit together?