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How I Built a Blog That Earned $10,000 in 5 Months

This is a guest post by Jason Acidre.

I’ve been working as an SEO for 2 years now. I started working for an Australian-based SEO Agency in early 2010, before I was hired by Affilorama and Traffic Travis to be their in-house consultant.

Working on these websites compelled me to do extensive research on my own, and that’s when I decided to start my own blog “Kaiserthesage” (late June of 2010), to test things that are related to my work, which is mostly on generating traffic and converting them.

When I first started blogging, I didn’t really intend to make profit from it using any form of online money making tactics, especially through affiliate marketing – since I don’t really find it that challenging, given that I work for one of the world’s biggest affiliate marketing training portal, which I first felt to be unfair. All that really mattered to me back then was to do massive experiments using my personal blog.

So how I did manage to earn without the intention to earn? Well, the reason is quite simple, it’s because I had a plan on how I will drive specifically targeted visitors to my blog. And because there’s a demand for the information that I was willing to share to my readers, monetizing the traffic at some point is inevitable.

I eventually offered consultation services and outsourced work.

The First Step

My initial investment for my blog’s business model was $30 (for the domain name and 3-month worth of web hosting) as well as my time and effort to write and promote the blog.

The first blog post(s) that I’ve published was a 2-part case study, depicting my first hands-on experience working as an SEO, including the methods I used, the problems I’ve encountered for the first website that I have ever optimized (when I was still working for an agency) as well as the results of the campaign.

After that launch, I didn’t really expect those posts to be a hit, but I did receive some awesome feedbacks from a few readers (and emails asking for the other methods I’ve used in the latter part of that particular campaign). I can say that it wasn’t that bad for a start.

It took me 2 months of hard work (not really) writing and building relationships with other bloggers in the field of SEO, social media and blogging before I really got my target audience’s attention.

I remember writing filler content just to have more posts on my blog (which is something that I wouldn’t advice for people to do now).

I spent 2-4 hours every day (even on weekends) in developing my blog (writing posts, commenting on my link targets’ blogs and building relationships through social networks/emails) within the first 2 months and the time I invested on the project paid off in a short period of time (and I didn’t expect it as well).

How?

The 2-Month Online Marketing Strategy

These are some of the components of my initial content and online marketing strategy that generated me clients on my blog’s 3rd to its 7th month of being live.

Unique Content

Before launching my blog, I already have a content plan in place, where I’ve listed the topics (using excel) that I would want to write. The main focus and principle of my content development/generation strategy was to provide content that I don’t see often discussed on the SEO blogging community, to create unique content and to have the “rarity of information” as the key to hook readers and for them to have high probability of sharing the content.

I tried publishing 2 posts each week, back then, with each post having its own designated keyword to target and rank for in search engines.

List of Link Targets

I created a list of my campaign’s target link prospects, but the list is not intended for SEO purposes. The main objective that I had for this list is to help me identify the people/bloggers that I should be connecting with and to try to absorb their readers back to my blog.

Build Relationships, Not Links

The list that I’ve created served as a guide for my external marketing processes. I chose 20 – 50 blogs to focus on engaging with by regularly reading their updated posts, leaving sensible and useful comments, sharing their works on Twitter (and mentioning them), sending emails (if I had to) and basically everything that I can do to be in their radar.

The best thing about establishing connections with people who have the readers that you want is that it is an ROI-focused link building, wherein you are able to improve your domain’s authority in SEO perspective (which can eventually help your site’s pages/posts rank better on search engines) and you’re also able to absorb readership, as the goal is to entice influencers back to your blog and hope they’ll share your unique content to their networks/followers.

I had the chance to establish great connections along the process and that benefited my campaign very well, especially through the people who are sending referred traffic to my blog, like from Kristi Hines, Sean Si of SEO Hacker, Gail Gardner of Growmap, Ana Hoffman of Traffic Generation Cafe, and many more.

Relationship building is one of the most powerful marketing tools of this age, you should use it wisely. But in case you’re looking for more tips on marketing your blog right after launching it, you can check out my list of posts on link building strategies.

Things I Realized I Should’ve Done When I Started

There are two things that I wish I have done earlier, as I think that these would’ve only speed up the process of gaining more readers, traffic and clients to my business if I had these 2 in my initial approach.

Thorough Posts

If I’ve focused on creating comprehensive guides (ebook-like blog posts), like what I’ve been mostly doing this past year, I could’ve easily built attract stronger links back then, as it’s always easier to get links when people will have reasons to link to a certain piece of content.

Social Media Outreach

Given that I’ll be pushing out good and link-worthy content, reaching out to bloggers for a social media boost could have been easy. The more social shares that my content gets, the more followers, readers and possible clients could see my work.

But in the end, I still got everything in place.

The Results – Inbound Client Acquisition

After 2 months of continuously creating decent content and getting into my link targets’ radar, business offers started pouring in.

I didn’t get clients because of search rankings. I got them through my blog posts. It gave the first impression for my business, and the principle of not just bringing traffic, but rather to bring traffic that will be fascinated with what they see and be influenced by what they’ll learn from it made the approach more robust.

On the 3rd month and onwards, I got at least 4 steady clients paying me $500 per month to mostly do their sites’ link building processes. Affilorama also retained me as their consultant, since the act of sustaining my blog enhances my own skills as an online marketing strategist.

Of course, I didn’t do all the tasks for my clients. I hired people to implement the strategies I propose for the campaign. And with those small steps, from starting a blog, building relationships and continuously providing useful information to my target market, I was able to transform my blog into a business and eventually allowed me to establish my own online marketing agency.

Being an authority allows you to sell anything easily, because your audience will trust you.

By Jason Acidre

Jason Acidre is a marketing consultant for Affilorama, a leading provider of affiliate marketing tools and online training materials. You can follow him on Twitter @jasonacidre and on Google+.

29 replies on “How I Built a Blog That Earned $10,000 in 5 Months”

I like your advice to “build relationships, not links”. I am pretty good at on page SEO and I am trying to learn all I can about search engine optimization and internet marketing. I am also trying to learn how to use Traffic Travis to help me effectively market my clients websites. Thank you for sharing this. I have visited your blog and joined your newsletter.

Inspiring story….
It’s probably not within the context of this but just wanted to ask since it’s fairly related to “Build Relationships, Not Links”
Are there any actionable steps you can recommend to build blogging relationships. How does one go about and approach so called total strangers?

Hey Shamelle,

It usually takes time to build blogging relationships, but the actionable steps that you can start to take are:

– contribute to their community (regularly visit their blogs, engage and communicate through the discussions/comment threads)
– follow them on Twitter, and communicate with them. You can share their content and mention them, or interact with them if they are posting questions through the social platform.
– once you’re on their radar, try to send them an email and pitch to write a guest post

Did you really make $10,000 in 5 months? Its fascinating at all.

Well this story is so nice and inspiring.

I think unique content and list building & Email marketing helped me to reach such big amount. Am I right?

I like that you emphasized the 2-4 hours of work you put in every day when you first started. You can be focused on the cash flow, but you also have to realize that it comes at price… namely the time to do it right. Great posts are born in 5 minutes!

Good luck with your future endeavors!

Do you think that by going back through and editing your older posts you might be able to add stronger links and refocus some of your posts? I’ve done that with a lot of my posts (mind you, they only go back for about a year or so) and it’s been helpful. Thanks!

Hey Jason,

I think being an authority is key for building trust and relationships and once you have that you can make sales. A lot of people tend to focus on building hundreds of tiny mini-sites, but I tend to opt for the other alternative…fewer sites with more authority.

I suppose there’s more than one way to skin a cat, but I prefer your strategy.

Thanks for sharing the Story – The strategy that you’ve used does sound compelling and not to complicated, But with the recent update Google has made (The new Penguin and updating Panda) I think a lot of The Link-building Strategies to get increased traffic to ones site should be monitored closely to avoid future penalties with Google. If it doesn’t look natural to the Search Engine Algorithm, it could have dire consequences for ones website.

Yeah, taking a much closer look to your link building strategy is the best solution to be prepared for any update that Google will release. Jason Acidre is one of the best guy here in the Philippines on that – Scalable and Rock Solid, that is Kaiserthesage 🙂 Now in terms of avoiding penalties, as long as you focus on improving the usability of your website, deliver the best content to your traffic, establish your authorshit, build relationships and do good stuffs to promote your website – You will be fine. Now if you are someone who chase after search engine algo’s, then be warned! Panda & Penguin is out there and hunting you.

This is a sound and constructive post. Best I’ve read on the subject! I have recently begun to focus on my own commenting strategy overall (creating them as mini blog posts related to content on my blog) so your advive and experience is timely. I think this is a resource all bloggers need to read, especially those people new to blogging. I shall be sharing it, that’s for sure. A good reminder from Anton regarding keeping Google’s shepherding strikes in mind too. Cheers, Jason.

Hi Jason,
Thankyou so much for sharing your story, It gives encouragement to many bloggers especially newbies. Earning $500 with each client is a great achievement and it reflects your hardwork and sincerity with your work.

Hey Jason,

Great tips! Thanks for sharing your startup journey. I appreciate the way you broke it down into actionable steps. Start a blog, write quality content, engage with bloggers in your field, keep writing quality content! I will definitely check out your articles on link building strategies. Good stuff!

Wow – what a great success! When I started my first blog, I did some filler content at the beginning to. I think knowing that there’s going to be someone actually reading your blog deters that. At first though, I didn’t think anybody would actually read what I was writing.

I’ve spent a lot of time visiting blogs and leaving comments and I make sure that I always reply to comments left on my blog but I’ve never really bothered to try to build relationships with people online. I can see where this would be a great boon.

Whatever your intentions, doing the right thing works. Whether you blog for links, visitors, or SEO position; if you do it well, you will get all three. When that happens, monetization is easy.

You stated that you wish that you had developed relationships with other bloggers. That is certainly a goal of mine. Why? Cross promotion, guest blogging, and interviews create links and increase traffic.

Jason,

I really like how you focused on building relationships with other bloggers. This obviously worked in two ways for you.

It’s something that I need to do to grow my audience and I’ll be doing that very same thing.

Thanks for your guide.

An inspiring personal story Jason and I have been reading your blog for some time..I believe I landed on your blog some time back for Panda or link building related query and since then I’m subscribe to your content..I believe Email marketing is something which you have extensively started using recently and you have pointed out some of the basic and essential element of successful blogging:
Goal
Planning
Scheduling
Networking/Promotion
And money will automatically flows… 🙂

An inspiring story Jason for those of us struggling along making a couple of dollars. Maybe I will concentrate more on relationships than links after reading the article 😉

Thanks again

Nice Jason,
I really like your all SEO tips, all are useful for me too, whole post was interesting and full of knowledge, I eagerly waiting for your next post to get some other useful tips..
thanks for sharing with us…

Wow! $10K in as short as 5 months. Good job! Making a lot of preparations really pays off. And so true that: “Being an authority allows you to sell anything easily, because your audience will trust you.”

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