Niche Surfer is now Digital Surfer!

Zak Kann

Zak Kann


Chicago, IL, USA



“Learn by doing. Seriously, stop reading these things and go build something.”

published: August 27, 2022

The Interview

1. Where do you live?

Chicago, IL, USA
(Until I go digital nomad)

2. When did you start creating content?

I started doing content to market my last startup.

After that crashed in early 2020, I became a freelance writer.

Then I launched my first niche site in Dec 2020.

3. Are you a full-time Creator?

Yes, I dropped my last freelance client and went FT earlier this year.

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

For content sites, the big click was Black Friday 2021. I made almost $1k that week, which showed me just how big the online pie was.

But really, making money online has never been a separate category in my mind. I’m an entrepreneur, not an online entrepreneur.

So the real click was my first sale‚ a chicken at the county fair when I was a young teen. 

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

2 niche site, 1 SaaS, and some freelance writing

6. How many are you still running now?

Both of the niche sites, but my focus is 95% on the newer one.

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

Not yet, and I have no plans to in the foreseeable future.

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

The SaaS crashed and burned due to market conditions, COVID, and founder inexperience. That was rough for a while.

9. How much are you earning each month?

  • $1,001 – $5,000

10. What are your current streams of revenue?

  • Affiliate Sales
  • Display Ads

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

1. Shorter, more impactful everything. 50 words is enough for an intro. Most 2000-word articles could be 800.

2. More bullets, lists, tables, and other visuals. Text is a last resort.

3. Prioritize. Solving the reader’s problem comes first. Monetizing comes second. Pleasing Google comes a distant third. 

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

I want to build a real brand.

That means going beyond Google traffic and display/affiliate monetization.

I want to be part of my customer’s daily life and ongoing journey.

It means social, e-mail, video, courses, and eventually digital/physical products.

The issue is prioritizing that and setting it in motion without sacrificing content velocity.

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

My own internal tools, mostly.

I’ve built python scripts for keyword research and clustering, programmatic SEO, and using GSC to track progress and suggest new articles. 

14. What has been the biggest mistake you made?

My first online business (the SaaS) was in a field that I didn’t really understand.

Now, I never go into a niche that I don’t have significant passion for, experience in, or knowledge of.

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

Ignoring people that say my content needs to be evergreen.

The internet, SEO, and your competition move fast.

I’d rather have a highly-lucrative article with a 2-year shelf life than a low-RPM article that will still be valid in 10 years.

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

Freelancing. The feedback was immediate, and it came from companies that have devoted a lot more time and money into this than we have. 

17. What’s your 12 month goal?

By end of 2023 (just over 12 months):

  • Revenue: $20k/month
  • New traffic channels: 1 social + 1 video
  • Mailing list: +5000 people
  • Digital product/course: Outlined (launched as stretch goal)

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

Twitter, Discord, blogs, and YouTube.

All are productivity sucks, so beware.

99% of your effort is better spent testing things yourself.

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

Coffee in the morning, tea in the evening.

20. Where can people follow you?

Twitter: @zrkann
Or e-mail me: [email protected]

And coming soon: my entrepreneurship blog at

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

Learn by doing. Seriously, stop reading these things and go build something.

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