September 2018

September was an exciting month for my business.

In this post, I’ll share an update on my niche site 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 (make it relevant, simple, comprehensive, sharable, and worth sharing).

However, I’ve realized that the more I learn about online marketing, the more I feel like this…

You Know Nothing Jon Snow


Luckily, I came across a site called AuthorityHacker. It’s written 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
Source: Authority Hacker

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 framework from AuthorityHacker, I narrowed down my goal to building a profitable stage 1 site, also known in this industry 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 Nov 2018, this course has been completely rewritten (TASS 2.0)

TASS is fairly expensive (regular price is US$997, I paid the promotional price of US$599).

However, I was convinced by two main reasons:

  1. Brand: I was impressed with the overall quality of AuthorityHacker’s content (for example, their guide to Amazon Associates). I also 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 that I’ve been doing it all wrong.

Update: I’ve completed TASS 1.0 and TASS 2.0. The overall quality of the course has been superb!

Tools of the Trade (and their costs)

Lastly, I’d like to highlight some of the tools that I’ve been using.

Ahrefs Lite ($990 per year)

Image result for ahrefs logo

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

Although it’s much more expensive than tools like KWFinder ($360 per year for Basic), I chose Ahrefs for its acclaimed data accuracy, enhanced features (it provides far more keyword suggestions), and overall ease-of-use.

By investing more in a solid keyword research tool like Ahrefs, I can hopefully find keywords in the sweet spot – good search volume, low competition, and high purchase intent.

GeneratePress Premium ($50)

Image result for generatepress

GeneratePress is a WordPress theme.

Themes allow you to customize your site 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)

Image result for elementor

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 all of my site pages without touching the backend code in HTML and CSS.

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 site design using GeneratePress and Elementor Pro.

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

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

Until next month!



September 2018 Income Report
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