During the last year, I invested five hours of my time and $3,600 to get my site up and running. Today, it brings in $500 a month in passive income, even after Google’s helpful content update.
How did I get started?
Well, I love passive income, and my guess is, you do too. Since I already run several sites, I decided to outsource one entirely to see if I could turn it into a money-making machine on autopilot.
I used Ahrefs to find a niche. If you’re interested, the process is as follows:
- Type a very broad, generic keyword into the search bar. If you’re looking to build an affiliate site, then something like “best” is a good choice.
- Turn on the “Filter explicit search results” option.
- Next, press “add filter” and select “domain rating.” Leave the ‘from’ box empty and put a low number (around 10) in the ‘to’ box.
- Then add a “page traffic” filter and go for a fairly high number, up to 50,000.
You’ll now see a list of pages that receive more than 50,000 sessions a month on sites with a domain rating of less than 10. While not all of these articles are ones you’d want to build a site around, you’re sure to find a few gems that prove you can build high-traffic sites without having to spend countless hours and dollars on link-building or Pinterest.
The next thing I did was pull a list of keywords. Since I found a really accessible niche, it didn’t take me more than a couple of hours to compile a list of over 300 keywords. The task was simplified because many of these keywords were just different combinations of numbers.
How did I grow this website?
Setting it up was a breeze; it took me just half an hour. I already host several sites on BigScoots, so adding this one was just an add-on without any extra payment. I also had a premium GeneratePress theme and WP Rocket ready to go, so there was no additional monetary investment needed.
For the content, I outsourced article writing to a content agency at $12 a piece. We’ve had a long-standing relationship, so I gave them full access to the site to handle all the posting according to my specific instructions—how to interlink articles, what images to use, and so on.
In the first month, I posted 20 articles and then let the site sit idle to get out of Google’s sandbox. Come November, the site was finally free to play in the big leagues. We resumed posting, and as you can see from the screenshot below, it hit 50,000 pageviews in April and peaked at 100,000 pageviews in July.
I had a hunch that the site would be affected by one of Google’s updates, and sure enough, it got hit by the HCU update in September 2023. Traffic took a dip, going down to around 1,500-2,000 pageviews a day. But guess what? That’s still enough to earn me $500 a month.
Are websites still a viable option?
Absolutely, they are. The recent Google HCU update may have changed the landscape, but it’s just the latest in a long line of shake-ups—think of how Panda and Penguin switched things up 10 years ago. The trick is to pivot your strategy to meet current trends.
Gone are the days of long-form content brimming with fluff, much like how lengthy YouTube videos are no longer the rage. Today’s audience craves short, straight-to-the-point information, whether it’s in the form of a video or an article. Adapt to this, and you’re golden.