Jon Haver’s Success Story: $3k Per Month From 1 Site!

Jon Haver’s Success Story: $3k Per Month From 1 Site!

Today, I am very happy to share another niche site success story with you!  If you are interested in sending in your own success story, I’m still accepting them right here.

Over the past few weeks, I have shared several great success stories that you can read here.  However, this may be the best one yet…

Jon Haver is a mechanical engineer by day and web publisher whenever he can find the time (wife and new baby need attention too!).  What I love about Jon’s story is not just that he is making an AWESOME income of $3k per month from one of his sites; but also that he shares the URL with us and some excellent tips on how he is finding success.

Jon is also very goal oriented, which I love.  He has set a goal to be making $15k/mth by the time he turns 35 – at which point he will quit his job.  He’s obviously not quite there yet, but having one site at $3k per month is very motivating and certainly means he’s on the right path.

So, with that, I’m going to let Jon take it from here…

Jon Haver’s Success Story

1. What is your name and current job/profession?

My name is Jon Haver I am in my late 20’s, took mechanical engineering at
school and am now working as a project manager for an Oil and Gas company.
But my newest job which I love is as a new dad.

2. How did you get started building niche websites? How long
have you been building websites?

In 2008 I worked for a summer at a robotics company that was just starting
up and I built their website which introduced me to wordpress and
outsourcing. Once I realized it was relatively easy using wordpress and
outsourcing I started looking into ways to make money from websites.

I always knew I wanted to systematize whatever I did online so that
eventually led me to making niche sites. Over the last 3-4 years I have
built a variety of sites from micro-niche to larger “authority” sites.

3. Tell us about one (preferred) or multiple of your successful
websites. What is the URL and what niche are you targeting?

One site I started in September 2012 which has done well is PayMyStudentLoans.com.

I started this site shortly after I paid off my student loans and thought there was
some valuable information I could share. I had also had a smaller niche
site in the space and knew that it could be profitable.

My plan with the site all along was to build up a larger “authority” site
covering a broader range of topics than one specific target keyword.

It was initially built with the intention of using AdSense and an email
list for a monetization strategy. However, I tested several methods and the
Cost Per Action (CPA) offer for a very closely related product from a
highly reputable company has been performing far better than either my
email list or AdSense.

4. How much money do you make from this successful website(s) each
month?

The site has done really well and earned $3k net in June. Below shows the
gross income, expenses and cumulative net income. (Jon was also kind enough to send in a few more screenshots showing traffic, earnings, and more).

Website Income

Click to Enlarge

Daily Earnings from One of the CPA Offers

1-CPA-Offer-1-1024x316

Click to Enlarge

Traffic Since the Site Started

traffic-from-the-start

Click to Enlarge

Traffic Over the Past 90 Days

90 day traffic stats

Click to Enlarge

Past 90 Days

90 day traffic kpi

90 day traffic sources

5. What is the reason for this website’s success?

The reason for the sites success is the quality and volume of content
combined with a very hands on promotional (aka backlinking) effort. With
lots of outreach, guest posting and using some key expired domains.

6. Please briefly share your overall strategy for finding a niche,
getting traffic to your site, ranking in Google, and making money from
niche sites.

Content – Content is my
competitive advantage in this niche. My take on it is my competitors are
banks and universities. They have LOTS of advantages over me however; the
cost for them to get a single article published is probably over
$100/article. I write the same quality of article(or better) for far far
less. Written and uploaded to my site for around $5. This allows me to go
after lower traffic lower competition keywords that would not be profitable
for these larger sites to target.

Promotion – I don’t like
calling it link building since I care more about promotional benefit than
the links.

  1. Blog Commenting – On relevant sites, value added comments only. The
    focus here is relationship building.
  2. Guest Posting – Based on the blog commenting I will reach out to sites
    and ask for the opportunity to guest post.
  3. YouTube Videos – A VA will turn an article into a powerpoint and then I
    will do a voice over which they will then upload.
  4. Expired Domains – One of my favorites! Finding relevant expired
    domains can be very powerful.
  5. Epic Posts + Outreach – I will have a VA create a giant resource (100
    grants for ____ students) and then get an article written on that topic.
    The article plus list will be posted and then I will have the VA reach out
    to all the people listed plus others that may find the article useful.
  6. Web 2.0 Sites – I do this but only because some content I outsource is
    not good enough for guest posts, my site, expired domains so I get them
    posted on Web 2.0 sites.
  7. Social Media Interaction – I don’t do this very well but am working on
    getting better at outsourcing it.

Monetization – I tested
several methods and my initial strategy of AdSense and an email list did
not work. I landed on a CPA offer which has been performing well.

7. What link-building tips can you offer?

Whatever link building/promotion strategy you follow make sure to pass it
through a simple test.

Does this add value to a human?

Example of Adding Value:

  • Helpful articles
  • Blog commenting on related sites leaving quality comments that furthers
    the discussion
  • Forum interaction
  • Expired domains related to your niche where the visitor to the old
    domain gets the answer they are likely looking for
  • Building relationships on social media to use later for outreach
    efforts

Does Not Add Value:

  • Spun articles or crap no value articles
  • Blog commenting on unrelated sites for the purposes of the link
  • Forum spamming
  • Buying unrelated expired domains
  • Spamming social media

I have played in the “does not add value” world and it sucks, short term
wins. Whenever I have done the low value route it is due to me being lazy.
Adding value is more effective and more fun – When I stand up from work I
am far happier knowing I did something of value.

8. How has the success from this website impacted your life?

Three things (including this site) have all combined this year to have me
extremely excited about the potential my online work will have on my life….

First, After a few years
of “dabbling” online I buckled down to do the hard work and made a plan to
get me to $15k/month net before leaving my day job by the age of 35. Having
and publicizing this goal has been great.

Second, My first child was
born and I am now incredibly motivated to be able to provide for my family
through my online business. The opportunity for us to live and experience
incredible things with the added freedom online income offers I believe is
100% achievable.

Third, This student loan
site was the first site within that plan and it has exceeded my
expectations and I am now ahead of schedule to getting to my goal of
$15k/month by the age of 35. My plan was 15 sites making $1k/month each…my
first site is now at $3k/month.

I am not withdrawing any income from my business so there is no “material”
impact on my life…yet!

But I would trade any possession I have for my current belief that
financial/time freedom is achievable for my family.

7-15k-goal-progress

9. Do you have any additional tips or advice for others that would like
to replicate your success with their own websites?

It really depends on what stage people are at…

Starting Out:

  • Pick one person to follow and stay focused on their strategies.
    Obviously Niche Pursuits methods are great and I have based a lot of my
    strategies on things I have learned here. Others that I wouldn’t hesitate
    to recommend are Empire Flippers, Pat Flynn or Think Traffic.
  • Don’t go on blackhatworld or warriorforum – distracting and mostly
    crap. Wait until your BS detector improves before going into the murky
    waters of Make Money Online forums
  • You don’t need to buy any training, the people above all offer more
    than enough free information to get started.
  • Focus on one site for at least a few months to learn the ropes and see
    a little success.

Been online for a while and not having enough success:

  • Just one tip – Stop dabbling and start focusing on mastering one
    activity at a time then do the “hard” work (writing, outreach, system
    building, team management). Checking analytics and email doesn’t count. (I
    have to say this to myself everyday). This has been the biggest change in
    my online efforts.

10. Do you have a blog or other place that people can follow along
with what you are doing?

I started my student loan site publicly and created a site dedicated to
monthly updates on that one site.

They can be seen here – authoritywebsiteincome.com. I go
into more detail there about my strategies guest posting, finding/using
expired domains and a lot about outsourcing it all.

Let’s Discuss…

First, I just want to thank Jon for sharing his success story with us all!  I love how everyone has a slightly different approach; and I really like some of the tips that Jon has shared.

Overall, what did you think?  If you have any comments, questions, or thoughts that you would like to add, please do so below!  I’ve asked Jon to stop by and answer questions, so feel free to direct any to him.  I’ll also be around to add my own input.


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107 Comments for this entry

  1. Jon Haver says:

    Thanks for publishing Spencer – I am happy to answer any questions anyone may have.

    • Spencer Haws says:

      Absolutely! I always love reading about stories like this, and I know others do as well…so thanks again.

    • Tung Tran says:

      Congrats mate! I learned a lot from the way you do business :)

      My site is back so hopefully we will both have a great month ahead :D

      • Jon Haver says:

        Thanks Tung, congrats on getting your site back after the drop. That is not easy to do!

      • Iain says:

        That’s awesome to hear Tung. I can’t wait to read how you got it back up.

        Congrats Jon on the success you have gained as well.

        I’ve been following your progress. I think Tung actually pointed you out to me.

    • Armaan says:

      Really inspiring story Jon. I’ve been following your journey regularly and love the way you kept testing to finally come land on the right monetization strategy.

      Both you and Spencer have been my inspiration for my own niche site journey that I’m documenting on my blog :)

      Thanks!

      • Jon Haver says:

        Thanks Armaan, I am definitely happy with the monetization of the site. It took some time and testing but it is now doing a lot better than it would of had I just used AdSense.

    • Phuong Le says:

      I am caring about the content strategy, Helpful articles is always best approach to build authority and relationship with the audience, but how do you deal with the copy prolem? There are many copy cat out there to copy your quality content without leaving the source and detail author. The Internet is too huge to report all of them, especially autopilot content crawling sites.

      • Jon Haver says:

        There is no effective way to counter them that I am aware of so you have 3 choices.

        1. Stop posting content (quit)
        2. Ignore it and focus on adding more and more value
        3. Worry about it and spend time trying to get them taken down.

        #2 & #3 have the same effectiveness at stopping the scrapers but #2 is the route I choose to go.

        • Phuong Le says:

          Thanks for yr ideas to be against this copy behavior, i now use video blogging and infographic and image format post style, this way does stop the copying, If he copied, just let me me more popular :)

    • Hi Jon,

      Congratulations to your site I am sure you are very near with your target goal. Just keep it up.

      Cheers,
      Arwin

    • John Gibb says:

      hey Jon

      not sure why (or what’s happening with your anti-spam filters…) but last week I commented on your very last blog post and my comment is still not live.

      would you mind double checking?

      as I’ve posted at least 3 other comments on your site, on other posts (twice already, can you imagine) and none of them went live…

      what anti-spam plugin are you using if you don’t mind?

      hope Spencer is not upset of mentioning this on his site…

      I see this blog commenting/anti-spam issue happening on other blogs as well, and it’s sad to see how other readers spend 5 or 10 minutes commenting, in vain…

      Cheers!

  2. ray says:

    Man, I’m literally green with envy! Thanks for sharing this!

    • Jon Haver says:

      I am glad you enjoyed it…hopefully the envy doesn’t turn into paralysis…I know I have to fight it when reading some income reports!

      • ray says:

        Yeah, it’s like you mentioned, my big thing is checked the stats a billion times a day rather than working on content or other productive things. I’m putting mine together while working two jobs, so it’s hard to keep focused.

      • Norm says:

        You so right there about envy paralysis Jon.

        I have learnt not to compare myself to others.

        Love your thought on sticking to one strategy, thats the key.

        Once you familiar with one money making strategy then start branching out to new strategies and techniques.

  3. Rushin says:

    Hey thanks for sharing this inspires us a lot and I want to ask you one question that dont you using expired domains is like manipulating google or one day google will know it and it will get over?

    • Jon Haver says:

      Rushin, good question. The use of expired domains is definitely a potential black/grey hat tactic. However…my theory is this…

      If I buy an expired domain that used to be the location of a Grant that no longer exists. I then put on the site a useful piece of content saying this grant doesn’t exist but here are some that are similar and also include a relevant link back to my site have I helped that user yes/no? In my mind the answer is yes and therefore Google should not look down on this. However, the use of expired domains could be easily abused and Google could/should crack down on it.

      There is always the potential to abuse any promotion strategy but as long as it passes the does it add value to a human than I think the tactic should stand the test of time…but no one knows which makes this all kinda fun!

  4. John Shea says:

    This is awesome Jon, good to see Spencer published your success story. I plan on having your interview posted this weekend so hopefully others can use that to learn more about how you use expired domains.

  5. Alex B. says:

    Jon,

    Wonderful site my friend! I think you are taking the right approach, and producing GREAT quality.

    Keep up the great work!

    All the best,
    -Alex

    • Jon Haver says:

      Thanks Alex, I think the rate at which we will all need to continue to continue to improve the quality/usefulness of our sites beyond just good articles is going to continue to accelerate.

  6. Top story!! Well done! That’s a big dream for everyone here to hit 3k a month awesome!!

    Quick question about finding expired domains. Where is the best spot? And how do you go about setting up these domain once purchased.

    Many thanks for sharing.

    Jessica

  7. Hi Jon,

    Congrats to the success! Thanks for the inspiration!

    Thanks
    Victor Björklund

  8. Jon Haws says:

    Fantastic Jon. I look forward to reading your blog. I think you provide a lot of great tips to newbies and experienced readers alike. I agree that finding ONE mentor can be extremely helpful in the beginning as much of what is written online regarding making money online is CRAP.

    Thanks for the well thought out post! Would love to get more into how you found your CPA affiliate and how that process works. I have not gotten into that yet.

    • Jon Haver says:

      Hi Jon… for my CPA offer I looked at who the popular advertisers were on my site and then visited the site directly to see if they had a CPA offer. Another way is to look at competitors in your space and see who they are promoting…sometimes they are wrong but often if its a bigger competitor they have done a lot of testing to verify what the better monetization method is.

  9. Nick LeRoy says:

    Great stuff Jon. Been enjoying your posts over these past few months and have enjoyed seeing you around my blog too.

    As i’ve said the 3K a month in a competitive niche is even more impressive then the standard “niche site”. Looking forward to seeing the site grow and your upcoming projects as well.

    • Jon Haver says:

      Thanks Nick…I think any successful website is huge whether its $100/month or $100k/month but I have found the higher the income the more opportunity it opens up to further improve the site. I don’t like spending a couple hrs setting up split tests for a site making $100/month to increase the income to $125/month when I could do the same for a site going from $1000/month to $1,250/month for the same amount of effort.

      The problem with larger sites is you are exposed more to a single point of failure so my plan is to find a blend of diversified sites to make up the $15k

      Thanks for the comment and best of luck with your projects.

  10. Chris R Jensen says:

    Jon,
    Firstly and most importantly congratulations on becoming a dad!
    Secondly and also very important congrats on your success. How great to read about an authority site and that there actually is an opportunity for such still.
    I wish you the best on your journey towards the 15k a month and think that a great lesson here for all to see is the importance of setting such goals.

    /chris

    • Jon Haver says:

      Thanks Chris. Goal setting has been key to get me out of the playing online phase and actually start doing harder work which has resulted in far larger pay offs.

  11. Tuan says:

    Hi Jon,
    Thanks for sharing a great story. That’s great to learn more from successful niche sites.
    I have one with good traffic but the earnings from Adsense and Amazon are still too low. Could you share with us how you find CPA advertisers?

    • Jon Haver says:

      Hi Tuan

      Here was how I went about finding my CPA offers…

      “for my CPA offer I looked at who the popular advertisers were on my site and then visited the site directly to see if they had a CPA offer.

      Another way is to look at competitors in your space and see who they are promoting…sometimes they are wrong but often if its a bigger competitor they have done a lot of testing to verify what the better monetization method is.”

      Hope this helps.

  12. Lior says:

    Hi Jon,

    Can you share where you have those articles written for $5?

    Thanks!

    • Jon Haver says:

      Hi Lior

      I get the articles written at ODesk by native english speakers. It takes more management then other options but offering a job for people who are just starting out on ODesk for $30-$50 for 10 500 word articles I typically get 1-2 people who are interested. I go into more detail here – http://authoritywebsiteincome.com/cheap-article-writing/

      Let me know if you have any other questions.

      • AJ says:

        Jon,

        I used your exact process for the articles and it worked perfectly! You also detail how one should hire two people for the same job. At the time I thought it was crazy but I did it and I’m glad I followed your advice. One of the writers quit within three days and I still ended up with great content. Another great post you had was the listing of all the plug-ins you start with and how you assemble a site.

        My niche site is getting more and more traffic, but I am not seeing any revenue from adsense or amazon so I must be missing something. I’m so glad I have you and Spencer to learn from. Your right about taking action – even though I haven’t seen any income, I have learned so much and it will help me with the next time I start a new site.

        • Dale P says:

          AJ my experience is that different writing styles/techniques get better results when combined with certain monetization strategies.

          Review type blogs probably work better with affiliate offers.

          Adsense might work better with general information sites.

          CPA offers might work better with “specific and detailed” information sites where the reader has to have more info so they’re willing to provide their e-mail address and other contact into.

          Also having too many (adsense, CPA, affiliate links) strategies might hurt more than help.your site.

          Try testing individual one at a time for a month or two, then pick the one that works best.

          Just my 0.02, good luck :)

  13. Benji says:

    This is great stuff; thanks for sharing, Jon.

    Love the fact that everything you’ve done is white hat…and obviously you’ve been rewarded for it, as well as the hard work.

    Looking forward to following your progress.

  14. Matt says:

    Nice story Jon. I too have recently become a father and my main challenge now is finding time to work on niche sites on top of parenthood and my regular job. I’m always kicking myself that I didn’t stumble on this when I was a student with bags of time on my hands!

    Where do you usually go for your expired domains?
    Thanks

  15. Thomas Dupal says:

    Do you put Monetization methods on your site from day 1 or do you let it rank first then add stuff such as amazon links, cpa, adsense, etc?

    I started a site with a great keyword and several high quality articles, and after 2 months, I still have not been ranked in the top 300 for any of my keywords. But, I have a table with 5 affiliate Links to Amazon on the first page. 1800 words excluding the table with a kW density of 0.90%

    • Jon Haver says:

      Hi Thomas

      I start with monetization right away but not very aggressively. The volume of the traffic is only 1 part there is also the competition & promotion part.

      If you want me to have a look at it let me know.

  16. Jason Wilson says:

    Great Post Jon – and you’ve had a lot of great success! I too am just starting out and learning the ropes, but there’s a LOT of information out there and it’s easy to get stuck!

    Question for you on expired domains – are you only buying domains with PR’s greater than 0? Ever register an expired domain with good backlinks if it shows a -1 on expireddomains.net?

    Really like the design and layout of your student loans site – I’m guessing you paid someone for the custom theme?

    Adding your blog as a favorite along with Spencer’s and Pat’s!

    • Jon Haver says:

      Hi Jason – Thanks for the questions.

      Regarding expired domains – I would stay away from them if you are just starting out. They are not a magic bullet just a nice addition to your SEO efforts. But to answer your question I focus exclusively on Domain Authority (MOZ) Trust Flow and Citation Flow (Majestic SEO) and don’t worry about the PR.

      For the design of the site I used the Education Child theme for Genesis from StudioPress.com

      Thanks for the questions.

      • Jason Wilson says:

        Thanks Jon. Appreciate the feedback. I’m hoping to join you guys sometime soon!

  17. Josh Garrod says:

    Nice work Jon! It’s a real inspiration to see people doing this well off of just one site.

    Keep up the good work and you’ll make your goal early for sure!

  18. Jason says:

    Jon,

    It’s awesome to see your story on here. I’ve been following your blog for a month now and really wish I could’ve found you sooner.

    I’m glad other people will be introduced to your material as well. I especially like your advice on article writing, and I’ve used your cheap article strategy for the past month.

    Great stuff, and I’m looking forward to your income report come August!

    • Jon Haver says:

      Hi Jason, glad you found the article writing post useful. It is still a very effective strategy to get quality content created for relatively cheap.

  19. Garrick Dee says:

    Happy for your success Jon hope you break the 15K barrier soon, I’ll subscribe to your blog.

    I’ve also tried the automated stuff and didn’t work, I’ve also been doing this for almost two years and still haven’t found much success but what I’ve learned is that you need to really add value on both on site and your link building campaigns – no spun stuff.

    Cheers!

  20. Chitraparna says:

    Hi Jon, thank you for sharing your story. Its really inspiring.

    I had one question – you use CPA offers, right? How does one go about choosing products….most importantly, when there is a lot of competition?

    • Jon Haver says:

      CPA products are only a marginal improvement in some cases over AdSense. For example if you have a not very specific site then AdSense will out perform a CPA….however if you have a tightly related CPA offer to your websites audience you can get a 25%-100% bump in monetization.

      The way to choose a product is to understand what your audience could use and link to that.

    • Garrick Dee says:

      CTAs for CPA offers depend on the niche, Patt Flynn tried several on his security guard site but later removed them because it didn’t convert and it was affecting his income on adsense.

      So always test which one works that’s the only way to find out :).

  21. Perkins says:

    Great success story…
    CPA taken down adsense..
    Roxx… I hate adsense so much :D
    Adsense too greedy… And we should find another monetization..

    • Jon Haver says:

      AdSense can often be the best methods its just in my case it proved not to be. This is something that will be unique for every site and should be tested. But yes its always nice when you are in a more powerful position and with AdSense you don’t matter to them so its a tough spot to be in for your business.

  22. Hi Jon,

    Great stories. I sincerely hope you’ll achieve your dream soon. Do share the updates with us every quarter if possible. I want to follow your success to $15k/mth!

    Thanks
    SC

  23. Ka Chra says:

    Congrats! I’m just getting started and its great to read this post. What is the wordpress plugin you are using on top left to display all the social stuff (comments, twitter, G+, etc).

  24. Jared Romey says:

    Wow, awesome stuff here Jon (and Spencer), thanks!

    I didn’t know about two of the websites you suggested to follow either, so they’ll be on my reading list now.

    It’s good you have that goal of 15k at age 35. As you said, sharing it out loud is a great motivator.

    Jared

  25. Casey says:

    Good going, Jon! That websites has some nice looking metrics in Analytics.

  26. Miki Vicioso says:

    Jon did an amazing job with this site. Keep it up!

  27. Miguel says:

    Jon, awesome stuff.

    Cam u share a bit more about your VA? Which company is he ffom? What oind of work u give him and jow much u pay?

    Thanks!

    • Jon Haver says:

      Hi Miguel, I use a few VA’s all at 5-15hrs/week so that I have redundancy built into my system. All my outsourcing is done via ODesk (great platform for managing/monitoring). I give them almost all activities except content creation and strategy. The pay varies but can be anywhere from $1.5 – $3 / hr.

      • Miguel says:

        Jon, thanks so much. A couple of questions more if i may:
        – what do you mean by “redundancy”? Are you asking the same jon to more than 1 VA to see if they come up with the same result?
        – do you have them taming care of your website setup, maintenance and design?

        THANKS!

        • Jon Haver says:

          Hi Miguel, by redundancy I mean I have VA’s that can fill in for others. I don’t want to be in a situation where if 1 quits I will be in trouble. So at least 2 VA’s can perform every job. They take care of website setup, maintenance and some design along with other activities.

  28. Rina says:

    Get $ 3k/month from just one site, I think this is the type of authority site with a lot of articles in it. Your success can be an inspiration to a lot of bloggers, including me
    Thank you for sharing this Jon :)

  29. Brandon says:

    Jon,

    Where do you usually find your expired domains?

  30. Jon Haver says:

    Hi Brandon, I don’t do any auctions all mine are available for registration.

    I follow the method Hayden from nohatseo.com talks about.

    I go into more details here – http://authoritywebsiteincome.com/1-seo-tactic-of-3-successful-case-studies-expired-domains/

    The best tool I use for finding expired domains is domainspoon.com

    Hope this helps.

    • Brandon says:

      Jon,

      I would love for you to check out my site for expired domains. Hopefully it can help you in the future. Thanks for all the great information in the post!

      buyexpiredddomains.info

  31. xingfan says:

    Hey Jons, great and motivating story! Your site looks good overall. However, as I was checking your site, I found a typo in the Consolidation section, the sub section “best interest rate” is currently spelled as “best interst rate”. Just wanted to point that out and help improve your site! Best of luck in reaching your 15k per month goal!

  32. Steve Wyman says:

    Hi

    great example of a successful site. Thanks for sharing all that info it really helps to see the data.

    best of luck with getting to $15K/mth. How about doing it by the time your 31 ! :-)

    • Jon Haver says:

      Getting to $15k by 31 would be great.I am happy with my by 35 goal now but if things keep going the way they are then 31 may be achievable!

  33. Pramod says:

    You’ll achieve your Goal of 15k$ P/M very soon mate .. You story has inspired me to work as hard as you did/do.

    -Pramod

  34. Wow, It’s really a great sharing about $3k per month from 1 site. I appreciate it. Thanks again to Spencer for Jon Haver’s Success story sharing.

  35. umer hafeez says:

    Every problem comes with an opportunity – same in the case. You never know $22500 loan can make you earn $3k per month or even more.

    Best wishes Jon!

  36. Hi Jon & Spencer

    I have been following Jon’s success via being on his mailing list. I am very impressed with his ability to create a site and do the proper content and backlinking to get it to rank.

    Having attempted the aggressive back-linking that everyone did pre-panda/penguin, and getting all my sites wiped out… and then doing the “build it and they will come” approach (and no one came ;-) ) I am now taking the approach of Spencer’s link-building process.

    Jon & Spencer, thanks for the excellent information you two provide as without it I think many of us may have given up on building an online business.

    Thanks

    Chris

    • Jon Haver says:

      Christopher, thanks for the kind words. I am glad you are enjoying the content on my list (definitely trying to keep it all content).

      I am finding there is definitely a happy medium between full blown promotion and no promotion at all.

      Best of luck with your new strategy!

  37. JP says:

    Jon,

    Definitely impressed with the quality of your site and the honesty you put into it.

    One question, is all of your search engine traffic from long tail keywords? I’m assuming that you’re not targeting a specific phrase like Spencer’s “best survival knife”, considering your niche site doesn’t even seem to be on the front page of Google for “pay my student loans.” Seems to confirm a suspicion of mine that a great site with great content can make money in an ultra-competitive niche without ranking on the first page for something like “student loans.”

    • Jon Haver says:

      Hi JP…you are spot on…the long tail is where I live.

      My competitive advantage in this competitive niche is that I can produce content targetting lower value keywords that banks and other institutions cant because of their cost of producing content. Therefore I focus on a lot of these articles along with naturally just ranking for a lot of keywords.

      My most popular keyword accounts for between 2-3% of total search engine visitors.

      For that reason I do not track my SERP for a given keyword the same way that Spencer would for his more targeted sites.

      Great observation!

  38. Richard says:

    Well done on the success, this article will inspire many I’m sure and a great lesson in goal setting.

  39. Tj says:

    Hi Jon

    Super inspiring story. Well done.

    2 Questions after reading your post on creating content.

    1. Do your 500 word articles get ranked? I ask because ive been told articles with less than 1000 words dont get ranked as easily anymore.

    2. If they do, do you think its because you have so much content or would it still work for a micro niche site?

    • Jon Haver says:

      I go with 500 words because I find it to be the sweet spot for content creators. People seem to be able to produce 500 quality words on a given topic but then struggle to go longer efficiently…just my opinion.

      My articles do vary I have some shorter posts and some 1000 or 2000 word Pillar Posts.

      The 500 word posts do rank and I don’t have enough data to confirm whether or not longer does better…may be something interesting to dive into…rank all my content based on length and then all my content based on amount of traffic and see the correlation.

  40. Bill says:

    Hi Jon- great inspirational story! I am impressed with your success, most notably, because you are in the loan niche which is very hard to conquer. Truly inspiring.
    I am also very driven with the online market and have been recently taking it very seriously and have some of the same goals. I recently have placed a site in the foreign market for a search term of 60K per month with the same principles you applied in a competitive niche. Value and quality and relevant links and using expired domains as well. I am on page 1 of Google (took 2 months) in position 5. Have been there now for 3 weeks.
    I just need to learn how to monetize better to reap the rewards. Thank you again for sharing your wonderful success. It is very motivating for the rest of us. I will be following your success. BB

    • Jon Haver says:

      Hi Bill, monetizing isn’t always as straightforward as you initially think. At least it wasn’t for me. I struggled for a few months to really monetize. I hit my head against the wall for 7 months before I finally figured out the right lead gen tool. All I can say is test different things and see what works.

      Congrats on your success!

  41. Ophelie says:

    Great story, Jon. I’ve shared it with our users over at Flippa. I know lots of people who have a vague goal to eventually live off their niche sites, but for you to have both a time limit (2019) and a goal amount ($15k/month) sets you apart from most people.

    Can you talk a little bit about how you manage your time, with a full-time job and a family?

    • Jon Haver says:

      2019! when you say it like that it sounds so far away ;)

      Thanks for the compliment and sharing with your audience. Yes I have found once I have set this goal in concrete it made me work on the hard stuff that matters.

  42. Samuel says:

    Great work Jon. I like the fact that you put your head down and plowed away at your niche site goals. Building authority sites like this takes time and patience and I have notice this in your stats. It looks like you didn’t start making money until the end of the year. Most people would have given up by the 2nd month. Thanks for giving us a peek into your income portfolio. Continued success!

  43. Jon Haver says:

    Hi Samuel, thanks for the compliment. The site was profitable in its third month but it took until January to have a net profit. You are right though, sticking with a site that is not making money in the hopes it will turn itself around is a difficult proposition! Thanks for the comment.

  44. Brian says:

    Great post Jon!
    I love to read about these stories and it always stokes my fire to push harder at achieving my goals.

    Keep killin it … And keep sharing your stories with us.

  45. I set a lower but similar goal to reach $4000/month by my 40th birthday which is next July. I love reading stories proving that it can be done and viewing the various techniques in which it can be accomplished. This allows me to take what I need and leave what I don’t.

  46. Dale P says:

    Hey Jon may I ask a couple questions?

    Sorry if these seem too personal

    How many posts/pages do you have on your $3,000 website?

    Do you add fresh content and links to maintain the rankings? or is it self sustaining at this point?

    You have chosen to monetize the site by doing CPA offers. I assume this is a sign up form of some sort.

    So does this mean you have chosen not to pursue list building?

    Congrats on your success.

  47. Jeff says:

    Thanks for the post……I’ve started following Jon’s blog, he’s got some good ideas to think about.

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