From 0 to $3802 per month blogging in 1 year (Affiliate marketing case study)

About 1 year ago (~14 months, to be fair) I started a simple fitness and health blog.

It was essentially a hobby site — a place where I could write about something I liked, completely free of any of the contraints I might have writing for Upworthy or digital marketing clients.

I knew I could write good articles and get traffic (after all, that's pretty much my job), and figured I'd make money off the site somewhere down the line if all went well.

Since I left my job in February of 2018, I've been able to pour quite a bit of time into this site and thought it'd be cool to show some of my affiliate marketing results as I've monetized the site using something called the Keyword Golden Ratio.

What is the Keyword Golden Ratio?

The keyword golden ratio is a really nifty keyword research tactic developed in part and made popular by Doug Cunnington of Niche Site Project.

Essentially, the KGR is a formula that helps you find underserved keywords on the Internet... meaning, any time someone's looking for information where it doesn't really exist, or at least hasn't been put together in a useful way yet.

For example: Instead of writing a 7,000 word guide to "the best ball point pens 2018" and trying to build backlinks to rank for such a competitive term (which is what most marketers are doing), you'd write several smaller pieces like "best ball point pen for lefties," "best ball point pen for journaling," or "best ball point pen for arthritis."

(Here's a great video that explains it in detail)

The majority of the content I've written on my site has targeted these low volume, hyperspecific searches, and the results have been awesome.

(It's not the only way to do affiliate content, or even necessarily the best way, but it gave me a scalable blueprint to follow when I sorely needed one)

I was recently on Doug's YouTube channel talking about some of the success I've seen using his ideas:

My Keyword Golden Ratio Results (snapshot)

In total, my site has probably close to 100 articles.

Since February 2018, I've written (or hired out) about 61 KGR compliant articles

Roughly half the content on my site is informational vs affiliate

Average article length: About 1500-1800 words*

My total earnings since I started following the KGR (a mix of Amazon affiliate commissions, Google ads, and a high-commission informational product I promote):

February: $660
March: $880
April: $1630
May: $2680
June: $3800

I've been grinding hard on my site since February 2018, but in reality the foundation for how it's performing right now was laid a year ago.

The truth is that you REALLY CAN make money online!

But the part no one wants to talk about is how long it's going to take and how much work goes into it. Most days I spend just hammering out more content or editing content from writers I've hired.

And then for all of that work, you might not really see the fruits of it for months.

It takes an incredible amount of perseverance and patience.

Just check out the steady growth of my site below (weekly traffic). It looks fast, but this is a snapshot of over a year's worth of work.

Screen-Shot-2018-07-05-at-3.26.47-PM

*Bonus: Project 500 results

After my interview with Doug, where I told him most of my content was coming in somewhere around 1200-1500 words, I went back and did a word count check on many of my posts.

I'm embarrassed to admit that way too many of them were only around 1200, if that.

I was still seeing great results! But I wanted to see what would happen if I added more content to some of my shorter pieces.

Project 500 was my codename for basically going through and adding about 500 words of extra content to the majority of articles on my site.

(I mostly used the FAQ method, or adding extra content to the end of each article in the form of a Q&A)

I started adding words on June 14. Here are the results (in an admittedly limited timeframe):

June 10-16: 15k pageviews
June 17-23: 16.2k pageviews
June 24-30: 17.5k pageviews

That's an increase of over 2000 pageviews per week.

Some of this is natural growth from new articles ranking, but I've seen a lot of articles I thought were dead rise from the grave and start bringing in traffic. And some of my high performers are doing even better with a longer word count, which adds relevancy, authority, and hits more longtail keywords.

The improvement is almost imperceptible to the naked eye, but when you talk about a few extra pageviews per day x 50 or 60 articles, it adds up fast and turns into a serious revenue increase before you know it.

Key takeaway: Make your content longer! Shoot for 1500 words as your floor, even for low competition keywords.

Next Steps

So that's what I've been up to!

If you're struggling with affiliate marketing or turning your blog into a profitable endeavor, I'd definitely encourage you to check out Niche Site Project on YouTube and give the keyword golden ratio a look-see.

Just having a plan that I could execute at scale helped me tremendously, and it got me to a point that I honestly never dreamed I could get to (making nearly $4,000 on my blog in one month).

Good luck to you and keep working!

Comments

comments powered by Disqus