Niche Surfer is now Digital Surfer!




Midwest, USA




“Working full-time in SEO. There is no substitute for doing this stuff all day…If you do that you will be learning more than most of your competition.

published: July 9, 2022

The Interview

1. Where do you live?

Midwest but want to move to Florida or Texas

2. When did you start creating content?

My Twitter account is about a year old. Didn’t really start posting anything until December of 2021 though. 

3. Are you a full-time Creator?

Nope still work a 9-5. 

4. What was the “Click” that made you decide you can make full-time money online?

I’ve worked in SEO for several years and know several people who have some sort of e-com/affiliate business that they work on full-time. I’ve been working on different side hustles since I was ~21. Now I’m 25.

Working on my portfolio of sites full-time is the ultimate goal but it is still a long way off. Plus I work full-time in SEO and learn a lot in my day job.

If my portfolio of Sites was making 2.5x my normal income I would probably quit and focus on it full time. But I definitely don’t feel rushed I work remote and get paid well. Also the skills I am getting in my 9-5 are directly applicable to my site portfolio. 

5. How many niche sites or online businesses have you created?

I think in total I’ve started 4 LLCs. Probably 15 or so different business ideas under those. Only 3 of them made real money. The site I am publishing case studies on in my substack is definitely the best business I’ve owned.

I made more money private labeling on Amazon but eventually all products get flooded with sellers and its not really sustainable unless you have steady traffic outside of Amazon or a giant ads budget (neither of which I had when I was doing it).

6. How many are you still running now?

Right now I am just doing consulting work and working on the site in my substack case study. Have a few aged domains with some content but they make $0. Have a few more domains with ideas attached to them but they do not make any money.

7. Have you sold any sites or online businesses? And what was the ROI like?

I’ve sold three sites. All under $10k. An absurd amount of work went into all of them so if you added my “hourly rate” they were probably a loss. But all of them taught me a ton and wouldn’t change a thing about working on them. With each one I made valuable connections and made mistakes that I’ve learned from in previous businesses. 

8. How many sites or online businesses have failed or not gotten going?

Failure is relative. I learned something from all of them. But probably built 8 sites that made $0 and another 3-4 that were a “financial loss”. With the exception of an Amazon store all the losses were under $500 per idea. 

9. How much are you earning each month?

  • $1,001 – $5,000

10. What are your current streams of revenue?

  • Affiliate Sale
  • Books and eBooks
  • Digital Products & Courses
  • Consulting

11. What are your Top 3 on-page SEO strategies?

1. Use schema markup whenever possible. Google rewards those who make it easy for Google to understand the page.

2. Try to write clusters not stand-alone articles. Interlink the clusters.

3. Make sure you are compliant with core web vitals. 

12. What’s the biggest issue(s) that you’re facing today?

Finding good affiliates. We have dozens of posts we can’t monetize well because we still have trouble getting into affiliate programs. Affiliates we have outside of Amazon frequently deal with out-of-stock issues so its tough to rationalize making more content for them when they can’t stay in stock. I feel like this is most industries

13. What tool(s) do you rely on the most?

I use Semrush, search console, and Google analytics the most. I also use Supermetrics to pull in data from multiple sources and create dashboards that auto-update and detect anomalies. 

14. What has been the biggest mistake you made?

On the site I currently have we accidentally added a trailing slash to all the URLs when switching it over. Killed traffic for about a week.

Biggest ever was buying wholesale from a guy who took the money and ran. $6k loss. 

15. What has been the best decision you’ve made?

The first business I had was selling on Amazon. Surprisingly I killed it on day one and made over $10k in about two weeks. Turns out the product had a patent and I got threatened with a lawsuit. I went to a free legal clinic looking for advice and one of the people I met there got me my first job in SEO. 

16. What’s one thing that you felt accelerated your journey the most?

Working full-time in SEO. There is no substitute for doing this stuff all day. Whether you want to do social media, ads, etc, you should try to get a full-time job in it. If you do that you will be learning more than most of your competition. You will also probably get free access to tools you can’t afford to pay for when just starting out. 

17. What’s your 12 month goal?

We would like our site to make $3k a month. We also have plans for launching a plugin for WordPress affiliate websites. That will definitely be next year though. 

18. How do you stay up to date on SEO, affiliate marketing, display ad, and other news?

Mainly Twitter. But also read search engine journal. There is a newsletter called SEO Weekly which is pretty good. But mainly my “SEO” Twitter list. 

19. What do you eat or drink for fuel to keep going?

I’m really boring with that kind of stuff. I don’t drink alcohol or coffee. I feel like cutting out those two things actually gives you more energy than taking anything else haha. I follow a pretty strict paleo diet for breakfast and lunch. Dinner is a crap shoot. Sometimes it’s good sometimes its total junk food. 

20. Where can people follow you?

BONUS: Anything else you’d like to share that can help others?

My partner and I purchased a content site in October and are doing a public case study via Substack. I think there is a lot of good info in there. We share failures and successes so I think its a pretty accurate picture of what you are getting into if you want to run a content site. 

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