September 2018

By: 
Tom Qiao
 | 
Updated: 
October 1, 2018

September was an exciting month for my business.

In this post, I'll share an update on my activities and what's next for this venture.

Read on!

Update on Business Strategy

Last month, I published a step-by-step plan to generate traffic by targeting low-competition keywords in my niche (acne scars).

This month, I started the writing process with a few "ultimate guide" posts using my principles of content creation (keep it relevant, simple, comprehensive, sharable, and worth sharing).

However, I realize that the more I learn about online marketing, the more I feel like this...

You Know Nothing Jon Snow GIF

AuthorityHacker

Luckily, I came across a website called AuthorityHacker by two guys with real experience building online businesses.

I liked their logical approach to online marketing.

For example, they use a "stacked" approach to break down an online business into 3 main stages:

  • Stage 1: Organic Search Traffic + Affiliate Revenue
  • Stage 2: Social Media Traffic + Ad Revenue
  • Stage 3: Paid Traffic + Product Revenue

In each stage, you work solely on building 1 traffic source and 1 revenue source.

Once you've mastered these skills, the next step is to create systems to automate or outsource the workload to free up your time for the next stage.

This is known as "stacking" because you learn one thing at a time, master it, and then stack the next stage on top of it.

I love the simplicity and elegance of this approach.

Previously, I was trying to learn multiple things at once, like:

  • How to write content that ranks well in Google (SEO)
  • How to build a social following on Pinterest and Facebook (Social Media)
  • How to comply with anti-spam privacy laws like GDPR (Email Marketing)

In short, I didn't know what skills or information I needed, so I resorted to a "shotgun" approach of trying to learn everything.

Using the AuthorityHacker framework, I've redefined my goal to building a profitable stage 1 site, sometimes known as an Amazon affiliate site.

In a nutshell, a stage 1 site combines SEO traffic with affiliate marketing.

There are plently of successful stage 1 sites, from massive ones like The Wire Cutter to niche sites like Best Crossbow Source.

The Authority Site System (TASS 1.0)

I understand the high level concepts of building a stage 1 site. You need good content and quality backlinks. And, of course, lots of patience.

But I wished I had a template to follow from successful online entrepreneurs.

The guys at AuthorityHacker realized this as well and created an online course for beginners.

It's called The Authority Site System (TASS) and it walks through building a stage 1 site.

UPDATE: as of 2021, this course has been upgraded again (TASS 3.0)

TASS is fairly expensive (US$599). However, I was convinced by two main reasons:

  1. Brand: I was impressed with the quality of AuthorityHacker's content and I think their approach to online marketing makes a lot of sense.
  2. Opportunity Cost: trying to "do it yourself" (DIY) in online marketing is extremely difficult. The biggest challenge is the long lead time between what you do now and when you'll actually see results. I'd rather use a proven template than try to do it myself at the risk of waiting many months to find out I've been doing it all wrong.

Tools of the Trade

Lastly, I'd like to highlight some of the tools I've started using.

Ahrefs Lite ($990 per year)

Ahrefs Homepage

Ahrefs is a top-notch all-in-one SEO tool for professional online marketers that includes keyword research, competitor profiles, backlink reports, and other features.

It's almost 3x as expensive than KWFinder ($360 per year), however, Ahrefs supposedly has better data and more features.

By investing in a professional SEO tool like Ahrefs, I'll hopefully find keywords in the sweet spot with good search volume, low competition, and high purchase intent.

GeneratePress Premium ($50)

GeneratePress

GeneratePress is a WordPress theme.

Themes allow you to customize your website design (like a phone case for a phone).

I chose GeneratePress for its fast performance, mobile optimization, and solid reviews.

The basic theme is free but premium unlocks additional customization options.

I've read that GeneratePress is especially powerful when combined with Elementor.

Elementor Pro ($49 per year)

Elementor Homepage

Elementor Pro is a popular Wordpress page builder.

In a nutshell, Elementor Pro allows someone with no coding experience, like myself, to completely design a website from scratch using drag-and-drop elements.

I've started to tinker with this plugin and I know there's a LOT of potential here.

I'll be using Elementor Pro to design my webpages without touching the backend code.

For the price, I think it's a bargain compared to hiring freelance developers or designers.

What's Next?

If you've read all the way here, thanks for sticking with me! 🙂

Next month, I'll be completing my website design using GeneratePress and Elementor Pro.

My goal is to create a modern website that conveys professionalism and trustworthiness.

Then, I'll start writing my first series of product reviews with Amazon affiliate links.

To Flexibility and Freedom,

Tom

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