How My Blog Went From ZERO to ONE Million Page Views in 13 months with NO Backlinking

This is a 10,000 word article case study on how we developed an authority site from nearly ZERO visitors and pageviews a day to over a million page views in just over a year.

In the process, I show you exactly how I did it and how you can do it too. So grab an extra large size cup of coffee or three, because, yes, you are going to need them!

I know internet marketers are used to hyped-up sales pitches that promise gold but deliver dirt, but I assure you that it’s possible to create websites that get millions of visitors a year and make you thousands of dollars a month without building a single backlink.

How do I know this?

Because both me and my brother Steve did it this the past year with a single website. An authority site. And I’ve done this multiple times with other websites too.

See the proof:

proof

Here is a 13 month period, starting from the sites nascent stage of getting 0-5 page views a day to, by 13 months later, roughly 4000-5000 people a day. More stats: the website did roughly 500,000 visitors in this period.

And here’s a look at our site’s history the past 18 months (under a year and a half old) which shows you traffic didn’t just sharply rise, then drop back to nothing, but continued to increase.

proof2

We’ve had nearly 800,000 visitors since Feb 2014, with almost half a million of that traffic from Google. Even more, the site now generates roughly $2000 USD a month income and is regarded as one of THE authority sites for the topic. We get anywhere from 2000 to 7000 visitors a day with nearly 2,000 visitors from Google daily and the rest social.

Not too bad for about a year and some change of work, right?

Even better, this is a solid authority site with a lot of potential to grow in traffic and with a number of awesome revenue opportunities — we’ve only tapped into about 10 percent of what the site can do since we’ve been busy building it up for a year.

This is how to generate an Authority Income, the name of our blog here and the name of the strategy that now guides every effort I make online for every and any project I do: creating absolute authority about a topic (‘owning a niche’ content wise) and making a STABLE income from that authority.

Offer VALUE to your readers and those readers can provide YOU with value too (an income).

Let’s talk about how we did it with this website in the case study…

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This is my biggest case study yet at 10,000 words, so sit down, grab that coffee, and get ready for a long, long read.

But I promise you, it will be worth your time and you’ll learn a thing or ten along the way.

Some folks here would try and package this together as a digital product course and sell you a $30 eBook. But, frankly, I hate that money-grabbing tactic found on most internet marketing blogs. Maybe I’m old fashioned here, but I like to imagine you can provide some serious value for free to your readers without having to be directly compensated for it. After all, I learned everything I know from free information provided by people who wrote free stuff and it makes sense I pass along most of what I know for free too.

So, like all the stuff I write here, it’s FREE.

pick a niche you love

Step 1: We Picked a Hobby Niche

When we first started the site, it was in a hobby niche. That is a niche that people are very passionate about.

Even better, the site was about a serious passion both me and my brother had (sports & fitness related).

This was a topic that had the following criteria:

  • A lot of passionate people who love this topic (and spend money on it)
  • Lots of topics people are interested in learning about
  • Commercial Potential (people are willing to spend money on products and services related to the topic)

Now, I’m a key believer now that you should create website that are about passion topics you personally

1) have an interest in

OR

2) involved directly in as an expert or at least have hands-on-knowledge of  /real world expertise.

You can certainly create websites without being an expert about the topic (I have a few of these myself, I will confess).

BUT…

It makes it a whole hell of a lot easier if you are, in fact, somewhat qualified to write about the topic.

WHY?

Having a passion for the subject will fuel your early efforts when the site is not established and no one knows who you are when you are pretty much writing for NO audience but yourself.

Every NEW blog encounters a period where there are no readers and no reward for effort put into that blog — not until the blog reaches a certain critical mass in readership from social authority and / or search engine authority.

During this period, you must continue to keep writing content and building the best site you can. And loving the topic you are writing about will help you keep the momentum to push your way through this difficult time.

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Step 2: We Looked at Best Sites in the Niche

First off, my brother and I did the following:

We found the 3 top websites in the niche for the following two categories:

  • The website that had the most social presence (the most Facebook fans and the content with the most shares)
  • The website that had the most search engine authority for keywords in the niche
  • The website that had the deepest content about the topic

For the website that had the most social presence, we looked at the type of content being written and realized that the content wasn’t that deep. We knew we could do better.

We also looked at the content by the top ranking site in google and noticed that the content, while not bad, wasn’t anything outstanding. We knew right away we could write much better, more detailed articles that would blow whatever was currently out there, away.

This research was easy to do.

We simply did the following:

  1. Did google searches for the core keyword in the niche, looking at the main sites that ranked highest for those terms — i.e. finding the website with the most general search authority
  2. Used SEMRUSH (affiliate link) to analyze the top competitors for the core keywords we wanted to rank — finding the website with the most search authority for terms we wanted to rank
  3. Used BuzzSumo to check out the top shared content in the core niche and made note of that content — finding the most social website / topics in the niche

Once we had an idea what types of sites were ranking in the top 5 for the keywords, and we knew the TYPE of content (and the website with that content) that was getting the most social traction, we had a pretty good idea what to write and what style of content we needed to produce…and better.

Then we began writing.

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Step 3: We Started Writing BETTER Content Than The Top Sites

Once we began writing, we really began in earnest.

Every post we created was designed to blow people away. We know that in order to jump into a niche that was somewhat crowded, we needed to stand out in a big way.

And our method of standing out was to deliver the most detailed, in-depth content available. We wrote huge articles about topics that the other sites were selling mini-ebooks on as regular posts on our site — freely accessible.

The key here is that you need to pick some method of standing out and really maximize that.

If you do the same as everyone else, you won’t stand out. To stand out and make a name, you need to do something BETTER than everyone else. Otherwise, people will forget about you. You can define the ‘BETTER’ as whatever you component of your site you want to impress with. In our case, we choose content because, at the core, content is what brings people to your site and what keeps them coming back. The quality of your content also determines if people will share and link to your posts.

But you don’t necessarily have to focus only on content. You can look at offering free services or tools that other sites simply don’t have and use this as a way to deliver value and stand out from the competition.

In our case, we decided that our focus would be simply to provide the best content on the topic you could possibly find. And that’s what we did.

For our content strategy, this meant the following:

  • Our articles were much longer (the target site had many article about 500-1500 words). We started writing posts that were 2000 to 7000 words (most of the competition were writing articles that were 500 to 1000 or 1500 words in length)
  • Our articles were much more detailed (the target site had many articles that were introductory in nature and not very deep). We made every effort to write more comprehensive articles by every measurement available.
  • We went out of our way to create custom infographics, custom graphics, gifs showcasing the topics we were discussing

If you guys want to know what kind of content we wrote for our site and the level of depth that we dug down into for each major post, then you may want to read this whole post from top to bottom (hint, hint, wink, wink). That’s how you make content that stands out from everyone else.

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Step 4: We Started Writing LOTS of Content

After we started creating some really good posts on our new blog, we kept on going with the content.

We didn’t just write a couple key posts. We wrote a whole wack of them. Enough to fill out our new site nicely.

In fact, we kept on writing for an empty audience for nearly six months (we created roughly 30 or so posts after about six months).

Understand too, these were not just fluffy 500 word posts, but in depth 2000-5000 word posts, full of as much information and detailed content as we could make them. They were, in all honestly, the best articles about each topic on the internet without a doubt.

Part of why it took six months just to get the site first filled out is that we both spent all day every day pretty much just writing content for this period of time — and because the topic was something my brother and I both knew a lot about and something so specific that it would be impossible (or very difficult) to find outsourcers who could do a better job — or would do a better job — than we could. So this made outsourcing any of the content a no go.

This was to be a personal blog about a topic we both participated in and loved.

Because of the personal nature of the topic, we didn’t feel anyone else could really do justice to the topic.

Also realize that many of our potential readers  are quite knowledgeable about the topic. This means we can’t really ‘fake’ knowledge about the topic. People need to believe you actually know what we were talking about.

As such, both me and my brother had to spend our own time (and significant time at that) to write these comprehensive articles. The time required took a day or three just to cook up a single post. And frankly, after writing one post, I often needed a good week or so before I could force myself back into writing another one.

Ben’s Content Tips: When you are an expert on the topic, you are really not going to find some generic $10-dollars-per-1000-word freelancer who is  going to do real justice to the topic, at least not enough to impress readers enough. From what I found on OTHER projects, you are going to have to pay 50-100 bucks at least per article from an actual expert — and even then, if you want an article that blows people away, more than that because you’ll need a huge article to really teach anyone anything.

Note: doing this strategy again, we could have significantly saved at least 3 to 6 months of time on our site, achieving the same or BETTER results, HAD we pushed out more content faster while upping the social promotional strategies right from the very beginning.

Besides writing content for the first few months and since we didn’t promote the site at all, our new ‘authority site’ had 0 visitors for the first 3 or 4 months.

Not an auspicious start.

After three or so months of languishing in search engine hell, our site only was getting about 5 or so visitors every other day from the search engine. And of course, absolutely NO referral visitors or social traffic.

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Step 5: We Made Our Site Look Like an Authority Site

Now around the fourth month (about January 2014), we decided we would do a makeover on our site so it looked like a true authority site.

Why the emphasis on making our website look ‘pretty’?

Well, having a quality looking site that’s attractive is very important if you want to start Building Social Authority and rake in lots of social traffic.

I’ll give you two reasons right now:

  1. A well-designed, attractive-looking site garners more TRUST with the readers who will make a snap judgement about how trustworthy your site is.  And because of this, your content may be better appreciated and viewed with more trust.
  2. And because readers find your site more attractive and trustworthy, their site-behavior will reflect this: you averages for reader time on site,  bounce rates, and page views will all improve.  These stats are part of what we call the User Experience Rating and may in fact increase your overall search engine RANKING.

We’ll talk about this specifically about user experience and how it relates to your rankings in the next section.

But know now that having a site that looks AWESOME is a key part of an effective Social Authority Building campaign.

Previous to this, we only had a rather plain, free theme on.

Remember, we were essentially busy only writing content and NOT promoting the site in any way. Since we did not have any visitors to our site, there was no reason to spend time (and money) on prettifying the site.

But once we had about 30 or so really good posts, we felt it was about time to get ready to promote the site.

Again, we could have started promoting the site from day one, but we really felt we needed a site – and enough content – to be proud of. Remember, we both had to write all the content ourselves and many of the posts took 1-4 days just to write, so there was significant time required to get enough content to fill the site.

Here’s what we did to make the site LOOK authoritative.

We Bought a Premium Theme

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When coming up with our site design, we wanted to focus on a magazine style layout.

Since we were dealing with a sports / fitness /nutrition type of niche, it made sense to have a magazine style layout as the topics we covered varied widely from post to post, from nutrition and weight training, specific sports training guides, to reviewing products associated with the sport.

Why a Magazine style?

Because the Magazine style of layout efficiently presents a wide variety of topics to the readers right from the homepage.  Specifically, we wanted a theme that:

  • Had a clean presentation on both homepage and post pages
  • Had a featured slider page section on the homepage to showcase new posts and posts we wanted to bring attention to and a blog magazine style
  • Had a page builder editor to easily customize page layouts
  • Loads fast
  • Had review functionality built in (posts can show review scores)
  • Had native support for WooCommerce

As such, a Magazine style theme suits this style of blog since you can easily display a wide variety of different topics from the homepage.

Note that the actual post pages look pretty clean and simple yet attractive — a style that’s well suited for affiliate product promotion, digital product promotion (such as selling your own eBooks) or even AdSense.

We choose to use SmartMag (affiliate link) — one of the top selling themes on ThemeForest.com.

Here’s a picture (with the actual content and exact information about our site – we don’t want to share the specifics at this time with our readers just yet) of our site layout after we put the theme on:

blog_theme

We Commissioned a Logo from 99Designs

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After we had the appropriate theme (SmartMag), we decided we needed a proper logo to really finish the site look.

There are various ways to get a logo made, some cheap, some not cheap, but we opted to go to 99designs.com and get a custom one done right. This logo (we used the Bronze option – the cheapest one) costed us $199, but it was worth the effort in the end, and we got a clever logo that really complemented the look of the site and represented our brand while also visually associating itself with the niche.

Why pay $199 for a logo?

Remember: YOU are trying to BRAND your site and having a logo as your brand is part of this. Don’t underestimate the psychological power of your logo.

There are some things you can be a cheap charlie about.

Your site layout and your LOGO are not one of those things.

So don’t be one.

I really suggest, if you can afford it, you just pony out and get the logo done right first time around.

If you can’t afford that, then you can look at some cheaper options on freelancer.com or you can see what you can get from Fiver.com for a few dollars.

Where to Get Logos Done:

99designs.com (the best option, outside of paying a specialized company a lot of money)

Fiverr.com (a cheap option, but what you get can really range from horrible to great)

Tip: If you are still too cheap to outsource a custom logo, then go here to onlinelogomaker.com and use the FREE logo maker tool they offer on their website and cook up a decent looking logo in 20 minutes yourself. It’s not the best option, but it’s better than NOT having a logo.

We Used Lots of Images in Every Post

Plain posts without an image look boring. If you to make your site attractive to social visitors, you need a site that screams “LOOK AT ME”.

One effective way is to throw in some tasteful images into your posts.

Even more important though, something that’s critical for gaining social tracking on posts you share on Facebook, is that you have an interesting FEATURED image for every post (in addition to a liberal amount of images under each subsection in your articles).

The reason why you need a featured image is that when you SHARE your post on Facebook and other social platforms, the featured image is what appears next to your posts.

There is a DRAMATIC difference between how many clicks and shares you get for a post WITH a featured image vs a post with NO featured image when you share it on Facebook (and other places). Your share gets even MORE attention if you use an interesting picture as well.

So bottom line, it’s key that your posts have a lot of images in them.

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Step 6: We Built Huge Social Authority, Fast

This is the most important step and the critical step in this process.,

If you do this one right guys, it will transform how you promote your sites. I’ve talked quite a bit about this in my article how to build high traffic to an authority site in months with no backlinks.

The only ‘cost’ with this method is, well, the actual cost.

It’s not free.

At least, not if you want to avoid the following three cases:

a) having to wait a long time (years) to build social traction just by ranking in the search engine

b) busting your ass trying to promote your site directly through whitehat linkbuilding methods

c) relying on luck by having influential bloggers share your site with readers and building instant social cred

If you are willing to PAY, you can potentially skip a) and b) and rapidly achieve c) but without the luck part.

So this (a paid promotion) is the strategy I personally use on my best sites now, sites that I want to make money generating social sharing machines. Once you try this out and tinker with it (remember, I’m only given some strategies here, you can take it and make it more effective for YOU).

I’ve given the exact details of what me and my brother did for our authority site to build social authority.

I call this method the Paid Social Authority Strategy because it does involve spending money on your part.

But then, this is what turned our little new site from ‘just another site in the niche’ to one of the top authoritative sites with a huge social presence in less than six months.

Without this strategy, our site would never have taken off or gotten the social reach it did. Not without years of effort on our part anyways.

Our Social Footprint

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First let’s look at some social stats our site has accumulated to show you that yes, we are not bullshitting you or making stuff up, something that’s all too common when it comes to making claims online.

How to Look at a Sites Social Footprint

When you look at a social profile in a niche, you need to really look at the other top sites in the niche and see where you stack. Some niches (especially for really big ones with some big players in them) can have websites and Facebook Pages with huge social footprints. We are talking millions of Facebook fans, millions of likes to a website, and so on.

While this is impressive, you have to also consider the power of big name Brands or websites that have been around for 5 or 10 years – it’s much easier to get social traction when you’ve been around from the start of the Web, you are a corporate brand, and / or you are shelling out thousands or hundreds of thousands of dollars a month in social advisements to build your social presence.

How much social presence also is very niche dependent. For a small topic like…yarn knitting, you wouldn’t’ expect the top site in the niche and the associated Facebook Page to have 1 million fans and thousands of likes on each post would you? On the other hand, taking something like a corporate sports website like the bleacher report, you wouldn’t be surprised to see a site like that has millions of Facebook fans and posts have thousands of likes.

So when you look at a site’s social footprint, you need to take all of the above into consideration. This means that if you create a site and build up say 10,000 or 20,000 likes to your Facebook Page, in your niche, this could be fantastic and a huge social footprint.

For other niches with lots of competition and social movement, this could just be a drop in the bucket.

Here’s a picture of our Facebook page with the site information blurred out:

facebook_page

Here’s a picture of our social share box on our site:

social_share_box

Here’s a picture of one of our posts we write then we share on our page:

post

Here’s a picture of a typical week. Collectively, our content has had almost 100,000 likes on all the posts.  

shares

Note, these social stats above are all compiled  from within wordpress with the excellent Easy Social Metrics Pro WordPress Plugin that I use on all my sites.

About Our Website Stats

Our Facebook page has more than 81,000 likes. With a little bit of money and a few more months, we probably could get that up to 200,000 but we haven’t bothered right now just yet.

Just to put this in perspective, the top social site in our niche, a website that’s 2 years older than our site, has about 400,000 likes. But this website paid for all those likes, spending 3,000 – 5,000 dollars by our estimate over two years. The site also opted to buy cheap likes from international countries rather than likes from North America, which are always more expensive.

A few other sites in the niche have something like 100k, 200k, 300k from Facebook Advertising to get likes. So our site stands as one of the bigger sites with 80,000 like, but not the biggest or in the Top 5 for likes in the niche. Again, we could fix this if we wanted to increase advertising but we scaled down our advertising about six or seven months ago to a fraction of what it was.

How Our Social Footprint Compares to the Top in the Niche

Here’s the top website by social presence (the most Facebook Page likes) in our niche:

top

And again, here is our facebook page:

facebook_page

Here is our competitor’s top posts by Facebook likes:

comp

And here is our top posts by facebook likes:

facebook_shar3e

What’s the deal with showing all this?

What I’m trying to say is our competitor who’s been in the niche at least 2 or 3 years longer than we have been, who’s spent triple or quintuple the amount we have spent on building a Social Presence on Facebook, doesn’t get as much social traction as we do on specific posts shares.

We can share a post with our 81,000 readers and get MORE likes than our competitor when they share a post to their 400,000 readers.

The key takeaway here is that the QUALITY of your content plays a huge role AS do the they type of likers to your page. People who are from North America (as most of our fans are) may interact with your English posts more than people outside of key countries. This is not always the case of course. And of course, if you have a good reputation and people really love your stuff, they will like it AND other Facebook pages and sites will share you stuff, so you access more fans than your actual Facebook Page count.

The BuzzSumo share count is actually inaccurate. Looking at our own stats, the number of shares is much higher.

Our content has received almost 100,000 Facebook likes to the posts and pages. Our site has a bit over 200 very big posts.

summary

Our top shared post has nearly 7,000 Facebook likes. Note that we have never advertised a single post on Facebook or paid for post likes. Every actual like to the page is a real one and given FREE (no Facebook sponsored posts).

A Summary of Our Social Authority

The only thing we advertised on Facebook was our FACEBOOK PAGE itself, never our actual website.

Note that every time we share a new post on our Facebook page, we get anywhere from 25k to 100k views to the Facebook Page post on Facebook.

This translates anywhere from 2000-4000 visitors from Facebook to our post / site. We’ve had days where we’ve even breached over 10,000 visitors just from Facebook referral traffic.

Also look at the share and likes. That’s ALL free promotion — with each post new people are seeing our site, and coming back later. Other sites end up seeing our posts in the Facebook newsfeed and linking to us on a semi regular basis.

All from Facebook.

Ok, I’ve given you a VERY detailed look out our website’s social profile without actually giving our site name away. The reason why we want to keep it secret is that people in the Internet Marketing niche tend to be a bit slimy (not you guys, but some people). If someone knows your site makes money, they often go out of their way to piss all over you.

We will likely share this site in the future so you guys can follow along, but for now, we will be keeping the exact nature of (some) of our core sites secret for now. But we’ll share everything else about what we are doing.

The Importance of Being Social

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I hope that it’s pretty clear how powerful social authority is in 2015.

It’s far superior to any sort of link building method I’ve found especially since it takes away the effort of having to become a sleazy marketer and spend all your time trying to promote your site directly.

Now, I’m not saying that assisting your site development with whitehat links is not helpful, it is and you should if you have the time. But I want it to be very clear that there is another approach to creating an authority site that doesn’t require any direct ‘backlinking’ effort.

Think about what getting all this ‘social’ traffic really means for a site.

1. Social Traffic Brings Builds Your Brand and Reputation

If enough people see your content, you develop some social authority. A percentage of those people may return to your site at a future date. And your site ‘brand’ gets out there to more people. More eyeballs is a good thing at the end of the day.

Of course, the key to making sure you stand out to the people who visit your site is having fucking awesome content. If you site is filled with averagely mediocre content, your site won’t stand out from all the other sites, EVEN if you pay for traffic.

2. Social Traffic Puts Your Content in Front of Thousands of People

With a social authority strategy, we can bypass google completely and get our post seen by thousands (between 10,000 and 50,000 visitors) in only a couple days by simply SHARING it on our Facebook page.

Look here.

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In October, one of the articles from our site that we shared on our Facebook page, really picked up some steam. We had 19,000 visitors from Facebook alone in a single day.

Now in this image below I show this single article averages about 70 or so search engine visitors a day. Since October, that article has received 1,399 visitors from search engines in 11 months!

But with a single share, we received 19,000 visitors. If the site has averaged 1399 visits from google in 11 months, that’s something close to 15 YEARS worth of search traffic we had a in single day.

That’s a HECK of a lot more exposure for our site and brand then is possible with simple search. Now, maybe quite a few of those 19,000 viewers simply came looked at the article then left. But more than a few become regular readers, the site name sticks with the readers, and more importantly, some key website in the niche saw the site and LINKED TO IT because of this article.

Don’t discount the power for social authority to bring in actual links and regular readers to your site.

Compared to simply churning out backlinks to your site trying to build up heavy search engine traffic only, getting social traffic is far quicker and, as you’ll see in the next section, leads to SEARCH ENGINE RANKINGS.

3. Social Authority Leads to Search Authority

Now look, here’s what’s interesting about gaining social authority. Look at our google analytics covering the past 18 months (year and half) back from February 2014 which is BEFORE we started promoting the site socially.

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If you look at our google analytics traffic, you’ll see back in February 2014 we were getting a handful of google searches a day — between 7 to 20 searches from GOOGLE. At this point, we were NOT promoting the site on Facebook, but only writing content. The site was, at this time, about 4 months old (we started writing content October 17th, 2013 about)

By the start of March 2014, we were getting 25-50 or so searches from google. If you take a look at March and look at the RED line (the referral traffic which means FACEBOOK) you’ll also see this is when we started our work on promoting the site through Facebook. Note that we were getting roughly 50-100 referrals to our site from Facebook.

Keep in mind, me and my brother did NOT build any links.

  • I did not contact anyone in the niche and ask for guest posts
  • I did no hit up anyone for links

I simply focused on writing STELLAR content to a hungry audience, ONCE we had established that audience through our Social Authority Outreach on Facebook.

You’ll also notice HOW much social tracking we started getting for the month of March — the first month we actually started working on our site’s Facebook page.

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You’ll also see in the graph above that there is a steady increase in search engine visitors that follow along with our increase in social activity.

Now let’s look at the first graph again with all the search numbers annotated so you know at what point how much traffic we have.

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Following along with our graph above:

  • within a month and a half, we went from 10 or so google searches a day to about 300 or so.
  • within two and a half months, we were getting about 500 or so organic searches.
  • by August 2014 (6 months after we started working on building social authority), we were getting a steady 700 or so visitors.
  • we finally broke 900 or so visitors about September and 1000 visitors a day with Google by October.

To summarize: by focusing ONLY on social promotion which involved writing awesome posts and sharing these on our Facebook page (which was steadily increasing in likes — about 1000 likes a week), the site also started to get steadily increasing ORGANIC traffic.

Breaking 1000 search visitors a day took about 8 months in total. But by the time we reached 1000 visitors a day, we had about 45-50,000 Facebook likes and HUGE social presence in the niche.

Following along with our social authority, our search traffic steadily increased from trickle traffic of 5-10 visitors a day to several hundred after only a couple months, to 500 a month or so later, to 1000 google search visitors a day by the 8th month.

That social presence is what brought organic traffic eventually since related sites started linking to our blog.

Now, if I went back and did things over with this site, I’m sure I probably could have gotten the same results in HALF the time with a bit of a more targeted effort and some optimization. Adding in some networking and whitehat link building would have speeded things up too. In the strategy we employed we were really lax on any sort of actual networking or relationship building and we did NO whitehat link building efforts. The only thing we focused on was writing content, building up our Facebook page with new likes (paid advertisements of the Facebook page) and daily posts to the Facebook page.

However, since we didn’t opt to do any link building or networking and still achieved success, it can show you that you don’t need to build a single backlink to create an authority site.

I’d say our site went from brand spanking new to a ‘Social’ Authority in about 5 months, maybe 6 months – with the 5th and 6th month when we FIRST started promoting it on Facebook.

Keep in mind that we did spend 2 or 3 months promoting another Facebook page from December to February before we started building up our Site Facebook page.

We’ll explain this in the next section.

The Building of a Facebook Page

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Why Build a Facebook Page?

People who like the page essentially become ‘fans’ and whatever you post in that page appears to a portion of the ‘likers’ in their Facebook feed. This means you can use your facebook page to gain instant social traffic and attention, thus increase your social presence and social reach of every single post you share on it.

How We Built Our Facebook Page to Capture Massive Traffic and Gain Authority

We built a killer facebook page which we leveraged to exponentially increase our website’s social footprint.

There are two strategies we employed to accomplish this:

  1. Created a Community Facebook Page in a Related Niche
  2. Created a Facebook Page for our website

Note,
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to get our free mini ebook that details exactly how you should build your facebook page so it can get social traction. I give the steps for what we did on our own Facebook page.

We used a community facebook page, because it was about a related sub topic that people would be highly willing to become a facebook fan of (i.e. click like on the facebook page). This made it easy to attract likes — both organic ones and paid ones. Once we had enough facebook likes to develop some social momentum (about 20,000 to 30,000 likes), we used this community facebook page to start sharing our actual website facebook page, website posts, and website. This started driving traffic to our actual site and site facebook page.

How long did we build up the community facebook page for?

About 2-3 months.

Now for some niches where it may be hard to develop a Facebook page about your site, you can employ this strategy too.

I call this the ‘bait and switch’ Facebook Page strategy. 

This works by looking at your niche then coming up with a cool Facebook page that’s either directly about the niche or somewhat related. That is, you want to create a Facebook page that you can easily dovetail to funnel visitors to your website from (by posting your content on it).

For example, if your website is about ‘Running Shoes’, you could create a Facebook page about ‘Hot Women in Running Shoes’ or a page about ‘Sexy Runners’ or a passion Facebook page called ‘Running Motivational’.

The whole point is you need to create a Facebook page that has the potential to easily pick up a lot of likes — even if you advertise to get those likes.

Once you build up enough likes AND provided that Facebook page is about a topic that’s pretty closely related to your website content, you can then funnel visitors to your site from the Facebook page.

Bingo!

You don’t always have use this strategy — it depends on your niche and if your website topic is about a topic that is not easy to get viral traction.

Continuing On…Building Up Our Website Facebook Page

Once we reached about 23,000 Facebook likes for our Bait and Switch Facebook Page, we stopped and switched our Facebook advertising campaign to our OWN website Facebook page, building up thousands of likes over the next few months.

Now on our original Bait and Switch Facebook page, we were mostly sharing videos and short clips related to the sport.

We then started sharing our own website Facebook page and various posts on it – the best posts we had written and key posts that were more related to the Bait and Switch Facebook Page audience then some of our more general posts on our website.

A few weeks after we did this, our site got noticed by one of the biggest social sites in the niche (remember, at the beginning of the post I said we looked at the TOP Social Website in the Niche – yes, THIS GUY) who then shared our site and our Facebook page on their own Facebook page — a Facebook page that had something like 280,000 Facebook fans.

This little act jump started our own site’s Facebook page and got us the audience we needed right away.

Our site went from 4000 Facebook likes to about 16,000 Facebook likes (Free) in just 2 days because of this share.

From this point on, we steadily advertised our own Facebook page (upping the budget – we were spending about 30USD a day) all the while writing more and more awesome posts.

With our Advertising Campaign, we were getting about 10,000 likes per month to our Facebook page and we were spending about 30 USD a day — or 900 USD a month.

Because we had a readership now and every post we made was getting Facebook likes and shares (on our own Facebook and other Facebook pages by other sites), we basically developed social ‘cred’ in the niche. With every post, that cred grew and over a year and a half we’ve continued to build it up and up.

At this point, the build of our ‘promotional work’ was done.  We just continued to spend our time writing more and more posts, sharing them on our page, and continuing to advertise our Facebook Page.

Once we got around 20,000 likes for our Bait and Switch Facebook Page, we started to use this page to share some of our website’s posts. If you look at our graph, you’ll see this was at the beginning of March 2014, the START of our Social Authority campaign.

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The first few weeks of our Social Promotion was ONLY using the Bait and Switch Facebook Page to share our Website’s Facebook Page (the page we ultimately wanted to build likes for) and our actual website.

This in fact brought in a bit of attention to the site itself and started building some social authority. If you look at the graph I posted above, you’ll notice there is a between 50-100 Facebook referrals a day coming to our site. These referrals were from our Bait and Switch Facebook Page sharing our posts.

Keep in mind BECAUSE the Bait and Switch Facebook Page was not exactly the same focus as our Facebook Page, with the overall topic in the same general niche but NOT the same focus. As such, sharing our general posts did NOT yield as high a click and view rate on that page, for the same Facebook Fan count as it did on our own site.

There is common sense to this if you think about it. People who like a Facebook Page about ‘Sexy Toyota Cars’ may be interested in Toyota cars. But if you start sharing a website and posts from your ‘4 Wheel Drive Toyota Car Guide’ website, you are bound to get LESS response from that crowd that liked Sexy Toyota Cars than the crowd the likes your Facebook Page about ‘4 Wheel Drive Toyota Car Guide’

This may be a horrible example, but I think you probably get the gist.

Total Cost of Facebook Promotion

We spend about $2000 USD to build our Bait and Switch Facebook Page to about 23,000 likes

We spent about $2000 USD to build our website Facebook Page from 0 to 40,000 likes. Keep in mind this page started getting a LOT of free likes on its own from people and websites sharing the page around on the web and on Facebook. Over the year and a half we’ve had the site, we’ve spent about $2600 USD on Facebook promotion. After we reached about 40,000 likes, we cut back advertising from 30 USD to 5 USD a day, which resulted in about 3500 likes a month instead of the 10,000-12,000 likes we were getting.

As noted, if we wanted to spend a few thousand dollars quickly, we could bring our likes from 81,000 to 120,000 or more. Keep in mind, your cost for like varies widely depending on WHERE your audience is. We choose only US audience. However, if we are willing to look at international audiences, the cost per like falls significantly. It could be possible to get 100,000 or more likes for as little as 1 or 2 thousand dollars.

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Step 7: We Increased Social Momentum with Targeted Content and Advertising

Once you start getting consistent social traffic from your Facebook Page, consistent LIKES to every post from your site you share on your Facebook Page and your site gets a readership (people leave comments, your articles are shared without you doing anything to promote them), the focus now should be on creating more and more content. Not just lots of content, but quality content.

I recommend you continue to promote your Facebook Page with the minimum 5USD a day Facebook budget. This will ensure your Facebook Page gets a steady stream of likes every day. And this will, little by little, increase your Facebook reach when you post articles.

Note that Facebook is cutting down on how many people see your Facebook Page posts unless you PAY money to share them. There are theories that the share reach could go down to 0 eventually. Already in 2015, you get between 1-10 percent of your Facebook fans seeing your page. Several years ago, it was between 20 and 30 percent.

So this strategy could end up requiring MORE money later on. You may need to first pay for Facebook likes to your page, THEN pay more money to share your posts with more of the people who liked your page.

Remember the whole ‘link building’ thing. Well don’t forget about it. Yes, you can certainly build up a solid site with lots of traffic WITHOUT promoting it or building any links, but you’ll have even BETTER results if you look at trying to build links to the site through white hat promotional strategies.

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Step 8: We Monetized the Site (and how we did it)

The ultimate goal of building up an authority site, of course, is how to make money with it at the end of the day.

All this work (and there was a LOT of work involved with creating our website. We had spent hundreds and hundreds of hours writing content and managing the Facebook page) required some recompense to make it worth the effort.

Both me and my brother were willing to work on the site to build it into the best authority on the topic and to get a serious readership of True Fans.

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This was not necessarily a niche that’s easy to extract money from. People DO spend money on this hobby – sometimes a significant amount – but unlike other verticals, it is not one of those niches where making money is the easy part. You really have to WORK in this niche to extract money.

However, since this niche is actually a real life passion for both of us, we were willing to see HOW we could make a PASSION into an income source, which really is the ultimate goal when it comes to career.

We ‘officially’ started the website October 2014, but we had absolutely no traction on the site in regards to readers or visitors until we Initialized our Build Social Authority strategy in March 2014.

It wasn’t until September 2014 that we tried testing out monetization strategies. And for this, we have tried THREE different monetization methods and we are aiming to launch a fourth test (this one we thing is the real money making potential – and eCommerce store).

AdSense

make-money-with-youtube-and-adsense

The first method we tried was AdSense, which turned out to be a complete failure.

The site, even with 2000 search visits a day and (sometimes) 1000-4000 Facebook referrals, would only make between $5 to $50 a day.

So $50 a day in AdSense isn’t bad right? That’s nearly 2,000 USD a month and certainly a workable part time income at least.

Unfortunately, these higher AdSense days ONLY occurred when an article we posted on our Facebook Page went somewhat ‘viral’ for this niche. And by viral, I mean garnering about 50k+ views on Facebook which would bring in 4000 + visitors a day from Facebook referral traffic.  And this amount was also dependent on the topic of the article.  Some articles, even with all the social traffic, made only an extra couple dollars for every 1000 or 2000 more social visitors.  So on average, the site made about $3-6 USD a day from AdSense. A pretty pathetic take when you consider how much work we put into the site.

Alternate Strategy: Make Money from Social Traffic

Note: Now there is a strategy here we can discuss in future articles. As we found out in a few cases, you CAN indeed make MONEY from Facebook traffic ON ADSENSE if you target it specifically. This involves two things 1) Getting a lot of Facebook traffic at once, which means you need your Facebook share to go viral and 2) Having the RIGHT article topic which can give you the right ads to get those clicks. Not every article will do well with AdSense, even given a huge burst of traffic. But if you set this up, you can PAY for traffic via SPONSORED POSTS and make more MONEY then you pay for your advertisements. A win win. If you scale this up, you can make a lot of money. We will talk about this strategy and how to use it to make money in future articles.

So AdSense turned out to be a bust overall, however.

This lead to the second try:

Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate-Marketing-The-Ins-and-Outs

Now, we didn’t really make a huge go with trying to turn the site into an Affiliate site.

Promoting Digital Affiliate Products

We tested how well some affiliate promotions went by promoting a couple digital products in the niche.

The number one Social website in the niche (you know, our former rival who ended up promoting our site at the very beginning on his site’s Facebook Page) had a couple digital products he released – a video course as well as an eBook. We helped promote these by writing reviews and posting the articles on our Facebook page.

However, since our site and his site have a lot of overlap on Facebook (many of our own Facebook fans are also his Facebook fans), he had already milked the same crowd when he released the product. We only ended up with a couple affiliate sales in total – nothing major.

We also tried promoting someone else’s product, but this brought in one or two sales. Again, nothing major there.

It was pretty clear to use that the ONLY way to promote something to this crowd, at least the Facebook Social Traffic, was to come up with a UNIQUE product on our own, one that we could sell directly on our site. This would give us total control and provide something we could promote from every direction (newsletter, to search visitors, from our articles leading into the product).

Amazon Affiliate

amazon-associates

This is one area we did not try tapping into.

It’s also probably the one affiliate method that would generate a decent income in our niche IF we directed our content to cover many of the products. However, we have not gone this route because we have plans to open an eCommerce store directly, not just promote with Amazon. As such, we have not pursued Amazon.

If I wasn’t looking at the eCommerce angle, then I would definitely try to make money with Amazon – it’s been one of my major income strategies in the past.

Make sure you see my article on How I Made 150,000 USD in a Couple Years as an Amazon Affiliate for a guide on how to use Amazon to make cash as an Affiliate.

Digital Product Creation

ebook

Back in September when it was clear that AdSense was a complete and utter failure as a reasonable monetization strategy, we knew the best way to make money in this niche was to have our own product and sell it.

The reason here is that our site had leveraged our expertise on the subject over the past months and we were regarded online as actual authorities on the subject matter. Because we had a reputation and real world authority on the topic, we knew that we could capitalize on this and create and sell a useful product to our readers.

It was a no brainer really.

However, the work required to create a GOOD digital product is significant. I can fully see why most people don’t have their own product to sell – it can take you months and month of effort to put something together.

Since our own reputations as experts were at risk here, we didn’t want to cook up a hasty digital product. We wanted something that would stand out, something we could be proud of.

My brother, we decided, would be the one to come up with the product this time around. After this product, I would come up with the next product, for a slightly different topic, but one that had more mass market appeal.

So, my brother spent about a year creating his own digital eBook product for the site. And finally, a couple months ago he launched it.

I highly recommend you read his case study article which explains it: Launching My First Digital Product: How I Made $2600 In My First Month of Sales

This turned out to be a decent move as the product has been generating about 2000 USD a month – MORE if he really pushes sales by posting new articles on Facebook and promoting it to the newsletter readers.

See proof of what the product earned the first month:

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As things go, this product is a pretty passive revenue stream. Adding MORE eBooks to sell will likely increase passive earnings, though an eBook is a LOT of work to write, especially in this niche.

It’s a lot easier and potentially lucrative to create a Video series course. There is also potential to create a pay per month online membership where we post tips, guides, and videos. This can work because one of the other sites in the niche has launched one and is making money with it. However, the work to run such a membership really is significant and we don’t know if we want to put in the regular commitment and time into this.

Future Monetization Plans

Ecommerce Store

Our next monetization effort will be to create a large e-commerce store. We will buy products wholesale, put them on an ecommerce store, take advantage of our site’s broad authority for search engine keywords related to this product (i.e. we set up the content for the store now and in a couple months we have traffic to all those store pages right away), then open up a store and start selling our products right away.

There’s a great deal of effort involved here with setting up the store, getting the content and most of all, securing a stable supply of goods to ship out. We also have to deal with shipping from an international country to people in the US which is tricky.

But the fact that our site is a reputable brand now in the niche and quite well known and trusted AND the fact we have some very serious search ranking authority for ANY term in this niche now, means we pretty much just need to have the products in hand, create the store pages for each product, and start taking orders.

More EBooks

I will also be creating my own Digital eBook. My brother’s eBook is great, but the focus of the book topic is so narrow that there is a low ceiling for how much it can make. The reason why is that it’s a topic he wrote extensively about, but a topic that likely appeals to only 10 percent of the niche – the hardcore people who participate in the sport. As the hobby itself is still somewhat niche and definitely not a huge market yet as some of the other similar hobbies, it’s limiting to target 10 percent of an already smaller niche.

My product will focus on the entire niche segment – a product that ANYONE from the niche would be really interested in learning about. In fact, it’s a target segment that’s even outside of the niche. This means many more people who are not even interested in the niche would STILL be interested in the product.

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Putting It All Together

I’ve gone to great lengths here in this case study / guide to give you a solid strategy on how to jump your website from a midget to a giant, both with social authority and eventually, organic search authority.

This is how you build an authority income.

The goal is not just to become a search authority but to actually build up some real world credit through social authority. By leaving a large social footprint and increasing the size of that footprint with time, that social footprint spreads into the search rankings as well, though it does still take time.

Based on what I’ve seen, it’s fully possible to go from 0 search visitors to thousands of visitors a day from search traffic in less than a year, if you build quick social authority.

It’s my hope that you do use these methods and try them out. They work – I’ve used them multiple times on a number of different website projects – with outstanding results.

The real beauty here is that you can shortcut the whole ‘wait 1-3 years thing’ and start becoming a recognized authority about your topic in only a couple months IF you do it right and you are LUCKY.

There are no guarantees here though. I can’t promise you that you can take any website that’s getting 5 searches a day and in only 6 months get 2000-3000 organic searches a day and thousands of shares.

There’s a lot at play and your choice of NICHE is key.

To Pay or Not to Pay, Now That is the Question

There’s also the issue – a very very important one – of paying for Facebook advertisements. If you’ve been following along, this whole strategy I’ve given and the speed of achieving authority both socially and in search depends upon you spending hundreds, or even thousands of dollars in Facebook advertisements over the course of a couple months to a year to develop the social movement and readership needed to platform your site to authority status.

If you don’t want to spend the money, you certainly can build up a site WITHOUT paying for Facebook advertisements. But, this means you are going to have to — on top of creating really awesome content — spend a lot more time trying to promote your site directly in an effort to get LINKS.

And this too can be very effective. Many people achieve social authority the old way – by marketing their site and doing a lot of outreach for whitehat links.

But you are going to have to really bust your ass if you want to get fast results using this method.

And unless you get lucky right at the start (i.e. you get some sweet links or a SOCIAL authority promotes your site for you, giving you instant readership in the right circles), this method will take a lot longer to produce results – likely 2 to 5 years.

It’s a slow grind.

So if you are willing to do the work promoting your site and don’t mind spending years at it, then you don’t need to pursue a PAID social strategy to get results, though you can certainly supplement your efforts (and increase results faster) if you do.

I’ve personally had a couple other sites where I’ve pursued a NO backlink, NO social promotion strategy. I just focused on creating fantastic content without promote the site on social networks though any sort of advertising, nor did I spend any time link building.

The results are that after 2 years, one site is getting about 3000 visitors a day with google and the other site, after 7 years, is getting 7000 visitors a day.

But it took hundreds – even thousands – of hours of content creation, lots of money spent developing the sites, and YEARS AND YEARS of waiting around to see tangible results and to actually make DECENT money from these sites.

Would you rather build substantial social authority and a good platform for getting solid organic traffic in 6 months to a year and pay 1000-5000 USD’s do to so.

Or would you rather not spend any money and wait 2,3,4,5 years to get the same results?

Exactly. I’d spend the money.

Spending $5000 or even $10,000 to create a site that can, in 1 year or 2 years, generate 1k, 2k, 3k, or 5k USD a month is a worthy trade I think.

And with that I leave you.  In future posts on authorityincome.com, I’ll detail some of the new projects related to this website covered in this eBook and how much money it makes in the future with some of these other monetization methods (like the ecommerce store).

Now, go make money online…and thanks for reading!

If you have any comments or questions, I’d love to hear from you in the comment section!

Ben

Comments 10

  1. Louisa September 25, 2015
    • BenK September 26, 2015
      • Louisa October 2, 2015
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    • BenK December 8, 2015
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  5. Luis Rosario October 15, 2017
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