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How a Professor Makes $18,000 Per Month From a Single Website

Quick note from Spencer:  I’m excited to introduce you to Ron Stefanski from OneHourProfessor.com today!  Ron shares his story below about how he’s built a website that is now making over $18,000 a month.  

I wanted to point out that even though Ron doesn’t reveal the website, he has shared his website with me privately.  I was able to verify that he owns the site and that the traffic and income stats are accurate.  As a result, I want you to feel comfortable knowing that Ron’s experience is real and the strategies he shares below do indeed work.

I hope you enjoy reading the success story below!  Here’s Ron…

First off, I want to state that it’s an honor to be featured on the Niche Pursuits blog. Like many of you reading this, when I first started out with my online business journey, I found Spencer and have followed him for years.

My name is Ron Stefanski and you can find me over at OneHourProfessor.com

My background prior to being an entrepreneur is the one of a typical office drone. 

I worked in sales for seven years at various companies and couldn’t stand my job. But, at the time, I didn’t know what else I wanted to do. 

My true journey to online business began when I was laid off from a medical device sales position in 2008.  I was a pretty confident 24 yr old salesperson because I always hit my numbers and even though I didn’t like sales, I figured it would be easy to jump right into another sales position.

Unfortunately, for those of you that remember, 2008 was the year of the recession in the USA and it was very difficult for me to get a job. Because of this, I spent eight months on unemployment and though that was a really tough time, it led me down my current path.  During my unemployment tenure, I remember creating a website named UnemploymentUnderground.com

The purpose of the website? 

Help people who are unemployed find work.  (Ironic…considering I was one of those people)

I built the website, I wrote the content, and I completely failed.

Looking back there are so many different reasons why this failed. But the one thing that this website did when I created it was force me to try to find ways to get traffic to the website.

And for some reason, I really liked the idea of getting people to read all the content that I created.  Because I found a passion in this, I ended up making a career change from sales into digital marketing.

The first job I took was a “Internet Marketing Coordinator” at a Vitamin/Supplement company located in Hobart, Indiana making $30,000/year.  Funny story, and I don’t tell many people this, but I actually lied on my resume to get the position by saying that I worked in my dad’s company in digital marketing.

Once employed there, I spent about a year learning more about digital marketing and then was able to transition to a digital marketing agency because I earned my MBA.  At the agency, I focused a lot on paid search and was pretty good at my job.  But, of course, I wanted more and ended up leaving for a marketing manager position at a startup. 

Stayed at the marketing manager position for a year, then left that job and ended up as a Digital Marketing Manager at the corporate level of a large private education company and had a pretty cushy job.  Solid salary, good benefits, great colleagues.  I actually talk a lot about this journey and what I learned on this area of my website.

While the job was okay, the one thing I really couldn’t stand was my boss (I had three while I was there) and the commute to and from work. It was a two hour of commute time each day and frankly, was the bane of my existence.

It was at this time that I stumbled on Smart Passive Income from Pat Flynn and Niche Pursuits from Spencer.   

I ended up becoming obsessed with both blogs and their podcasts and spent a solid three to four months absorbing information on those long commutes.  I remember that I would listen to podcasts so often that eventually I realized every time somebody asked a question, I gave a very similar answer that the podcast host would.

It was then that I decided to take action and create a website that is the cornerstone of my online business portfolio that I have today.

I currently have 7 websites that I own and I manage and a team of five people (3 writers, 1 editor, and 1 full-time virtual assistant) who help me create content and manage the sites.  I also still teach as an online adjunct professor at three different schools and frankly, haven’t stopped doing that because I enjoy it.

For the sake of this post, I’ll be focusing on the largest and most successful website that I own. 

Earnings

I know if I were you right now I’d be thinking, “Why should I listen to this guy?”

Aside from having Spencer’s blessing to write the post, everything I said above doesn’t indicate success.

So, in this area I’m going to prove to you that I’m not so bad at this stuff by showing you my earnings. It’s important to note that I don’t focus on affiliate marketing as much as many other people do.

In fact, I actually prefer creating websites that work with Google AdSense as the primary revenue driver and affiliate income/partnerships as secondary income.

Why do I like to do this?  It’s simple. 

Because for me, this is what works. There’s nothing wrong with doing it the other way, but in my experience, this has been the most successful business model.  And once you find something that works, it’s best to stick with it.

First up, is a screenshot from my Adsense account.  As you’ll notice, many of the areas are blocked out as I can’t share this information because it’s against Adsense policies.

   

In a trailing 12 month period from September 2018 to September 2019, I made $114,254.89 which averages $9,521.24 per month for this website.

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Beyond Adsense, I do have multiple other partners and affiliates in place that generate income.  For the sake of showing income, I choose my largest partner.

I tried to get a tally of the last 12 months of income, but their reporting mechanism is proprietary and frankly, pretty bad.  That all said, the numbers are real and the checks come every month, so they do the most important things correctly.

For these screenshots I choose August and September of 2019, which is the last two months.

 

 

As you can see from the screenshots, I average $8541.52 per month from this partner.  (Ignore the second line item, that’s a different website)

I would include other earnings screenshots, but it’s pretty scattered beyond this. 

I have random partnerships in place, some articles that generate affiliate income for specific providers, and other revenue generating components, but what I included above accounts for about 90% of the income each month.   

If you’re really interested in learning more about my income numbers, I’ve been creating income reports every month since I started in September 2014.  You can view all of them here.

Traffic

With all of these earnings, my website obviously has some significant traffic as well.  Below is a screenshot showing you what the traffic has been from September 2018 to September 2019 (the same timeline as the Adsense screenshot).

In total I had 3,803,617 pageviews on the website in the last year, which averages out to 361,968 pageviews per month.  

Content and Keyword Strategy

Obviously with all of this traffic, I’ve discovered a thing or two about both keyword research and a content strategy.

Below I’ll attempt to break down how I structured the website and what I did to earn traffic at the start, and what I’m doing now to maintain and increase traffic numbers. 

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My future strategy will be focused on writing new content and once a quarter, reviewing the 15 highest traffic lost pages/posts and revising them to try to win the traffic back.  This helps maintain current traffic, and will allow me to add new traffic through articles.

Link Building Strategy

Link building with this particular website was actually pretty easy because nearly all of the content is informational and a lot of those posts lead to links.  Like I did with the content creation piece, I’ll discuss some of the link building strategies I implemented from the start to be successful. 

In the beginning, I leveraged a few of the informational databases I created to build links by simply telling those listed that I had included them on my website.  For this particular website, that worked reasonably well and I got roughly 20 links which led to more rankings in the SERPS, which ended up creating more links. 

***Something to note, I later did this similar strategy on two other websites.  One of the websites it worked, the other website it failed miserably.  I never quite figured out why that is, but I want to caution anyone who considers this strategy to not abuse it.  It’s reciprocal linking and though I’ve had success at times, I’ve also had significant failure using it.  Unfortunately I don’t have a rule of thumb to follow, but it’s important to note too much of a good thing can hurt you.

Next, I tried my hand at guest posting.  I can’t recall exactly how many links I got this way, but I believe it was in the range of 10-20.  They were in the range of 20-30 domain authority via Ahrefs and these links eventually increased my rankings just a little bit more.

At this point, traffic was pretty good so I began to get somewhere between 20-30 email list signups a day.  Then, I tried something that I’ve never heard of anyone doing before for link building.  Every month, I would export and scrub my email list to find all emails that were part of a third-party website.  It took some excel magic to make this happen, but it resulted in a couple hundred link targets each month. 

I would then reach out and see if they were willing to link to us and support our website and this worked reasonably well.  Many times they didn’t reply, sometimes they weren’t able to link because they were part of a big organization, but it did result in a lot of links from small/medium sized websites because people already knew who we were and had visited the website/been getting emails from us.

At this point in the lifecycle of the website, I was starting to rank pretty well because (at the time) my niche wasn’t overly competitive and I had high-quality content and enough links to push me to the top of the SERPS.  Because I noticed this positive trend, I stopped focusing on link building and just focused on creating high quality content at scale.  Since then, all of the links have been received organically.

Other strategies that have lead to success

Here I’ll just list a few rambling thoughts that I think could help anyone who’s starting a new website or is a few years in with limited success.  These aren’t in a particular order, but I consider them some good nuggets to review and follow.

Final Thoughts

Creating an online business seems like the fantasy, until you’ve actually tasted success.  I still remember in the beginning of my online journey when I was trying to make $500 a month. It seemed impossible at the time, but now I’m able to make that and more every single day. The only way that you’re going to ever get a taste of success is to take a risk and make the leap.

Then, once you start to see a website getting positive momentum, dig in and push even harder.  Continue to reinvest and make sacrifices to grow. Eventually, assuming you picked a niche that’s large enough, it’s very possible that you’ll be able to make job replacing income from that “little hobby” website you had.

I think one of the best parts about this industry is that my earnings are related to how hard I (or others I hire) work.  While I had a nice salary and a good job in the corporate world, I’m making more than ever before and have total freedom to work on all projects that I want to. 

Even more important, I no longer have to deal with a commute 😊

I have no doubt that this is the best “job” anyone could ever ask for, and I hope all of you reading this are able to find success as well.  Again, if you learn more about me you can visit OneHourProfessor.com.  Thanks so much for reading!




Projects & Case Studies

By Ron Stefanski
October 17, 2019 | 33 Comments

Want to learn step-by-step how I built my Niche Site Empire up to a full-time income?

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33 Comments

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Deepika Sam

Help us also to earn. Is this happening in real?

Ron Stefanski

Hey Deepika,

Hopefully the insights I wrote for you will do exactly that 🙂 It’s all real…there is no photoshop involved.

Theodore Nwangene

Hi Rob,

Great to have you here. I don’t need to border about your credibility in the industry as you’ve proven yourself over and over again.

You’re truly one of the guys I respect a lot in this industry, and you earned it. And yes, I’m also not surprise for the height you’ve attained so far, you truly deserve it. I mean, why not? You’ve got a good heart, and you work hard and smart.

Remember that my site you checked out sometime ago? Well, I’m still working very hard to grow it. So far, the traffic is increasing again as well as the earning. Although, not even close to where I’m headed yet, but I’m happy with the result so far.

I later changed the design, and I’ve been updating the content too.

Maybe one of these days, I’ll chat you up again.

Thanks a bunch for the tips as always Ron.

Ron Stefanski

I do remember and I’m glad to hear it’s still growing. Albeit, not up to expectations, but growth is a good thing. Thanks for the kind word Theodore!

Tim D

Thanks for the post, it was informative! I really liked the reminder to view each page as it’s own business, and really squeeze every drop of success/monetization out.

How long are your articles Ron?

Ron Stefanski

Depends… I’d put most in the 1000-1500 words but remember, they are mostly informational and not affiliate.

Kabir

Thanks Ron
What’s about the rest of 6 sites? Are they earning and how much traffic?

Ron Stefanski

They are all earning, yes, but the one I wrote about here is the most successful. You can see a lot of those numbers and specifics here: http://www.onehourprofessor.com/september-2019-monthly-income-report/

Sharing in this comment thread would be too much.

Hamza Khurshid

I can relate to EACH AND EVERY word of your story.

Thanks a lot for sharing it honestly.

Ron Stefanski

Great Hamza, glad you enjoyed.

Kiril Valtchev

Wow, this was an awesome post. Just reading through it all it’s interesting to see you started literally 5 years ago until you got to the point you are at now.

I love the simple buildout of your site and how clean it looks. Crazy to think that you have roughly 500 articles which is what I would expect from a site getting roughly 500k visitors per month. Give me a great idea of how many articles I need to have before I actually start seeing the results of this scale.

Thank you for sharing this

Ron Stefanski

Thanks Kiril, appreciate the kind words!

I don’t think I can necessarily tell you how many pages are needed. Depends on the website is monetized, what the topic is, and probably a dozen more factors. I think the quality of the pages you create is more important than the quantity. There are some sites out there that probably have around 20-30 pages that make more than I do. It just depends on the niche really.

I would say look at your earnings per 1000 visitors and then just keep writing content to cater to them. But I can’t give you a hard number of article to write to make X amount of dollars.

mike

Hi, first of all, congrats to your success!

I was wondering if you could tell us a bit more about the Adsense usage.

Do you use Ezoic or some other Adsense provider or you use the Adsense auto ads? Did ou apply for Google Ad exchange?

Thanks for the answers!

Ron Stefanski

Hey Mike!

I personally have only used Adsense and Media.net. I am testing Ezoic on a few of my websites right now and it’s too early to tell if it’s going well. We’ll see if they can beat my EPM’s on certain pages or not. But, for the most part, just Adsense/Media.net.

Patrick

Hi Ron,

That’s amazing reaching that amount of income with Adsense.

Can you tell us your Adsense setup?

If I look on your website I can only see 3 ads for every post.

1 at the beginning, 1 at the end and 1 somewhere after the start.

Is that all the ads you place for every post or is there more to it?

What form of Adsense are you using? Auto-ads or a certain height and width?

Hope to hear from you.

Ron Stefanski

Hey Patrick!

My adsense setup on the authority site making this income depends on the amount of words I have on the page for the blog posts.

I know I have an ad after the first paragraph and I believe I have another add after every 7 paragraphs after that up to a maximum of 5 ads on the page.

Keeping in mind, most of my paragraphs are around 2-3 sentences to make the website easier to browse.

I do not use Auto-ads because I’ve done quite a bit of testing and I’m not confident that the AI setup would beat me at this point. Maybe I’m wrong, but I’ve been doing it for so long that I’m hesitant to test.

A big part of the income comes from specific pages I build that rank for more searched terms. I think one of the keys with this website is that context matters. The ad offerings that are served on my website are EXTREMELY relevant to why the user is on the site, so they tend to have a high CTR and a decent EPC.

For ads, 80% of the time I use responsive display ads and 20% of the time I use link units. I tested both and on certain pages, link units perform better. I also tested Media.net and it didn’t pay as much.

Leo

Can you give any tip about creating this informational database? don’t get it what it is about and how to auto generate content, probably you use some script right?

Kiril Valtchev

A good site you can use to help you come up with the content is called “answer the public”. They are pretty much a database full of question that people are querying into search engines.

Ron Stefanski

Leo,

None of it is programmatic. As an example, let’s say you had a website about boxing. You could create a database that had all of the boxing gyms in the most populated 50 cities of the United States. You could then find a way to rank them using data from places like Yelp/Google and reach out to owners. Not the best example, but explains the general idea.

If we’re talking about an example of all 50 states. Maybe answering the question “What is the best boxing gym in STATE NAME?”

Then, doing similar to what I said above. Again, not the best example, but explains what I mean. None of it is programmatic, it’s all unique content written for that area.

Peter

Hi Ron, I found your story truly inspiring. mean, who wouldn’t get excited at the idea of raking in $18,000 every single month? I’m pumped, and I’ll keep pushing until I start seeing the kind of results I crave. I know you are busy, but would you spare about 5 minutes to look at my little affiliate site and give me an insight or two? I’d really appreciate that. But if you are too busy for that, no worries. Here’s the site: dustfreerooms.com. 25 posts so far.

Ron Stefanski

Hey Peter!

This is more affiliate site related, which isn’t really where I focus. I do have a few websites doing okay here, both earning around $200-$500 a month.

I honestly think that you should pay very close attention to Spencer’s case study and check out OwnTheYard.com on this one. Don’t copy exactly what he does, but look closely at how he builds pages/templates and focus on that.

Also, make sure you have a diverse set of pages. Doing only affiliate content isn’t really advisable. I recommend a 50/50 or 40/60 split of informational vs. affiliate content.

Jon

Superb Ron, thanks for sharing! How are you doing the informational databases from a technical standpoint? Are they actually separate databases or just part of the main WordPress database as posts / pages etc, with a front end page to access? Are you using something like ACF for the templates? Any particular plugins you use to do this? Many thanks

kriscent techno hub

great article
thanks for the information

Ron Stefanski

Thanks for appreciating, Kriscent!

Fred Mshimba

Hello Ron. I saw your website a long time ago and now i know your site is successful. Good work.

Ron Stefanski

That’s great, Fred. Thank you!

Bhuboy

Thank you so much for sharing this, I have just started my website, and as you said, I will focus and continue working on it for a year, and evaluate its progress.

Ron Stefanski

That’s a good approach to take! I think by doing this it’ll allow you enough time to see success and get really excited 🙂

shady younes

Thanks Ron for this great information

I want to ask you about partners and affiliates networks you are using on your site?

and any suggestions for affiliate networks for Project Management Jobs niches and where we can find the best platforms for affiliates?

I really appreciate your help

Fahad Safdar

This is very special article for us, now we can make links for our sites and get easy fast rank.

Sajan Kota

Hi Ron,

I can relate to your story. being unemployed and trying to make the ends meet is tough. For me depending completely on adsense for income is too risky. I would prefer to diversify my income sources. In 2019 they key to achieving success is traffic, only way to get more traffic to you website/blog is through link building. Guest blogging is definitely a great way to build relationships and reach wider audience.

Rarely do we see someone sharing in depth look at how they have achieved success. thanks a lot for sharing your amazing journey with us. Congratulations to Ron for the success you have achieved. Your story is really inspirational and good luck to you.

Santiago Leon

Question, when you said to post those geo location articles, like “the best boxing gyms in Florida”, did you mean to post them as pages or blog posts? Would love your feedback

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