[JOURNEY] From Nothing to Long Term Business. Launching an Authority Website from Scratch.


May 12, 2017
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Hi there. Hope you and yours are all doing well.

I have been a lurker for the past 4-5 years and, first of all, want to thank you all for your valuable contributions to this website. I am a true procrastinator and tend to review way too many articles, websites and guides before taking actual action. I know not everybody is very keen on r/juststart, but between there and here, I have learned a ton and am finally pulling the trigger on starting my (real) first affiliate marketing business. Throughout the years, I have been collecting information and now want to put my knowledge to the test. I figured that if I could not find the courage and time to start in the Year of The Corona, I probably never will.

Fully aware that I will hit the wall quite often and probably sooner than I'd expect, I am very much looking forward to starting my journey of launching a both succesful and sustainable business. The goal is to ultimately turn an authority site into a business I can be proud of and public about. It is not at all my intent to sell, which I probably will be doing with a few other niche projects down the line. For now, I am focused on making something to be recognized for and identified with.

So, who am I and why am I writing this?

I am a 26 year old guy from Belgium and work a technical office job. Back in high school, I "studied" website design, typography and multimedia. Probably TMI,- but growing up I have had extreme difficulties with my dad, feeling neglected, underappreciated and emotionally fucked. As soon as I had the money, I moved out and have not spoken to him since. Why is this relevant? It has shaped me in ways I am glad about, but it also gave me the hook or angle I need to write in the niche I have selected. It's all I am going to say, but I feel very strongly about this and am confident that, what I have to say, combined with my native writing skills, will be extremely valuable for both the audience and myself. There are probably better, more marketable and profitable niches out there, but I honestly don't care. This is how I want to make it work, and this is what will keep me motivated to keep pumping out content. This thread will serve as a motivator and give me the why. It will keep me accountable and hopefully connect me with the right people that have been in this game a lot longer than I have. God knows I will need the help to improve.

B-but you need to make money.

While I guess that's true, my early focus will lie on pleasing the shit out of every visitor. I am quite the decent writer in my native language, the market is huge, and in my opinion, most first page articles in the topics I am targetting do not at all entice me. The biggest issue I am facing is that these are, in itself, not very monetary topics. There are quite a lot of products that can be promoted so I am not worried. I will need to find the right mindset, research search intent and plan accordingly. Long term, I see opportunities to sell courses, print on demand or write books. About Ads, which should be a big part of the revenue, I don't actually know a whole lot about. I have read about the different options, but if any of you can recommend me some great sources or give me your personal experiences, that would be greatly appreciated. To summarize, I will be monetizing through -

  • Affiliate products
    Not necesarily Amazon. My country has a similar platform, but it has a cap of 8% in commissions compared to Amazon's 12. Not sure how I feel about this, but I have a good while ahead of me before I start making money anyway. I will figure this out.

  • Advertisements
    Through what channel I will go, I am also not sure yet. I need to do more research on this. My plan is to launch a Youtube channel as well. There are quite a few well performing creators in this niche, but very few good ones seem to do it in my language.

  • Digital products
    I see a lot of untapped potential in courses, books and print on demand. These I am looking forward to the most and I cannot wait to be big enough to get started on these.

The Man With a Content Plan

Everything I write can be brought in under one of five categories. Short term, I will be tackling the lower volume short and -longtail keywords of these five and focus on beating the poor answers that are currently showcased in the rich snippets. These will keep me busy the first few months, but the plan is to have a mixture of what the Income School's Project 24 suggests.

  • Response posts (1,250 words minimum)
    In-depth, understandable and actionable answers to low competition-KW-questions. Targetting the poor present answers on snippets and formuling better answers in a nicely formatted paragraph that can stand out to Google.

  • Pillar Posts (4,000 words minimum)
    Establishing myself as an experienced, authoritative and trustworthy writer, talking about these five categories and tackling everything that search intent might want me to. These, I am most looking forward to.

  • Staple Posts or Listicles (2,500 words minimum)
    Not much explanation needed here, they are necessary to rank / sell and will hopefully help my silo structure as much as the response posts will. I remember to always use uneven numbers, but other than that I do not foresee many problems here.

  • Case Studies (TBD words minimum)
    Not originally in the Income School's plan, but it is a personal favorite of mine. This will be an experiment and more than anything, serve to give me a break from fluff writing. I love some hard data and it will help to give me the EAT or reputation that Google requires.
Since I will not be writing in English, it gives me great opportunity to (ab)use great reddit posts, definitive guides, youtube videos and even podcasts to gather information, have a structured story and not commit plagiarism. I will be using the Skyscraper technique to determine the user's search intent and abuse the very poor quality of articles that are already ranked on page one for the same. My background in design will allow me to create unique post banners, visuals and infographics wherever I need them (and I will be needing them a lot). I will not be actively backlinking for the first few months. Since this is my first real project, I want it to be as organically as possible at the start and adjust my course if necessary. This might be a huge mistake and it probably is, but it is the way I want to go forward for now. Of course I will be linking to authorities and influencers where necessary, I will be reaching out to them and mention that I have used their article, insight or quote,- but my time will be focused on pumping out content and creating a following, not on sending e-mails until I have something that is genuinely impressive.

I will obviously be using WordPress but have not decided on a theme yet. I know myself and I hate to be this way, but designing and perfecting will probably keep me busy for at least a week or two. I wish I could just pick a theme and roll with it. Anyway, this is going to be a long term project, so I might as well do what sits right with me and take the extra time. For now, I have decided on the following tools and aids -

  • Google Search Console
  • Google Analytics
  • Yoast SEO
  • Google Keyword Planner
  • Google Suggest
  • WP-Rocket
  • Google Page Speed
  • Google Mobile Friendly Test
*This seems very compact to me,- so what else do you guys usually go for? Are there any musthaves that I'm missing? Are there any paid apps that are definitely worth using? Let me know.

I realize my on-site/page SEO needs to be crisp, but honestly I have never really written and focused on making something so technically correct. It is one of my fears and I usually cannot stand a forced word or something that seems out of place. Let us hope that I can fight that urge and do what is best. What I take away, is that I seriously need to make sure I incorporate the following rules into my arsenal. I will use this as a checklist for every article I write.
  • Check Google Analytics
  • Ahrefs Keyword Performance
  • 200+ Crawlability on RankSider
  • Google the URL and check indexation
  • KD < 50 on Ahrefs' Keyword Explorer
  • One primary keyword per intent, per page

  • Match writing to search intent (info, buy, compare, navigate)
  • Primary KW in title with a total max. of 65 characters
  • Use variatons of the primary keyword to avoid KW dense paragraphs
  • Solve all questions based on searcher's intent
  • Add social proof, stories, quotes and testimonials to est. authority
  • Use a lot of bullet points, lists and visuals
  • Subheadings should already tell the story

  • Edit file names, ALT-tags, descriptions
  • Make sure the first link is extremely relevant
  • Pagespeed should be well under 3 seconds
  • No agressive ad placements
  • Have a CTA or goal completion

The website has now launched and I expect to have my first couple of articles live in a week or two. It will take me some time to design, structure and format the site and articles in a way that makes me satisifed. I have no idea how often I will be updating this, especially since I do not expect any cashflow any time soon.. but I am very glad that I was able to put it all down. Let me stress that I am a noob and am very appreciative of anything you can teach me, so please feel free to help me reach my goals.

Until the next, stay safe.