Search

How to Make a $65k Per Month Living Blogging About Informational Content

By Spencer Haws |

Interested in learning how to make a full-time income from blogging?  Today I’ve got some inspiration for you and perhaps someone that you can learn from.

Jon Dykstra is the founder of Fat Stacks, an online resource teaching others how to make a living blogging or building niche sites.

I’ve known Jon for a while now, and he is no stranger to us here at Niche Pursuits. Jon has been publishing niche sites as a professional blogger full time since 2012. 

As we all ride the Google wave, bracing ourselves for each new update, Jon has found ways to leverage other traffic sources with social media, Pinterest, paid advertising, and essentially no link building.

The best part? Jon is now making $65,000 a month from his blogging efforts!

So, I decided to ask Jon a few questions about how he got started, what strategies work well, and how others could follow in his foosteps as a full-time blogger.  You’ll find all his answers below.

Want to Learn from Jon?

Before I dive into the interview, I wanted to share that Jon actually does have a full collection of training material that teaches others how to make a living blogging.

Here are all the courses Jon is currently offering:

  1. Pinterest Magnate (Reg. $197): Learn precisely how Jon is driving massive (300,000 views +) with Pinterest each month!
  2. Long Tail Deep Dive (Reg. $97): How Jon makes a living blogging with long-tail keywords
  3. Content Site Autopilot (Reg. $147): A multi-module training program to show you how to create systems and processes for putting your content creation on autopilot.
  4. Natural Link Building Formula (Reg. $97): Learn how to attract links naturally with your blog post.
  5. Display Ads Deep Dive (Reg. $97): Your ultimate guide to monetizing niche sites and blogs with passive income display ads (i.e. AdSense and other ad networks).
  6. On-Site SEO Deep Dive (Reg. $147): Learn everything Jon does for on-site SEO (structure, schema, etc.) for ranking content. His search traffic isn’t an accident. It’s the result of setting up sites’ on-site SEO properly and publishing lots of killer content.
  7. Niche Exponential (Reg. $147): The ultimate guide to building specialty blogs such as recurring commission niche sites and others.
Get Access to the Fat Stacks Course Bundle Here

I recently caught up with Jon to find out what he is focused on, how his sites are performing, and some tips on making money blogging with niche sites. Here is what Jon had to say.

What are you working on right now with your sites?

Recently I streamlined my content publishing business by selling 6 sites with a 7th still on the chopping block with Motion Invest.  

That leaves me currently focusing on three sites. It’s looking like I’ll be scaling back even more and focus on only 3 sites. I’m once again merging content from one site to another.  

One of the three sites is Fat Stacks. Lately, I’ve been publishing quite a bit of long form content on that site to bolster search traffic.

My other two sites are run-of-the-mill content niche sites. They’re in different niches. One is quite large. The other is an up-and-comer recently hitting 150K monthly page views so it has real promise.

It’s been interesting expanding and then scaling back in a relatively short period of time. What I’ve learned is that I’m not a good fit for all niches.

I suspect that’s the case with many folks. My biggest niche site was an instant fit but other than Fat Stacks, finding another great fit took time. In fact, it tools launching a pile of sites to see what sticks.  

What makes a niche a good fit?

For me at this point a good niche is one where I can effortlessly find great topics to cover and then write killer content on those topics all the while enjoying the entire process. I’ve entered niches I thought would be fun but weren’t. They weren’t bad niches, just not quite as good of a fit as other niches.

How much are you currently making from your largest blog

For the past three months (September, October and November) it’s been around $65,000 per month.

The lion’s share of that revenue is from display ads courtesy of AdThrive. Another $9,000 or so is from the video ad network Ex.co. And the $5K to $7K is from affiliate marketing, including Amazon and other merchants.

jondykstra income report

How much traffic does your largest blog currently get? 

Traffic has grown to my biggest blog quite a bit over the last year. Over the last 30 days it topped 2 million sessions. About 1 million is from organic traffic. 336,000+/- is from Facebook. 218,000+/- is from Pinterest.

The rest is a smattering of sources.

Here’s a traffic screenshot for another niche site that I’m excited about:

And just so you know it’s not all fun and growth, here’s the traffic of one of my sites that took a beating from the very recent December 2020 Google algo update:

Why is informational content your go-to strategy to make money blogging?

I used to focus on affiliate marketing which requires focusing on a particular type of content that generates sales. It’s called pre-selling with buyer intent content. I still do some of this but it’s a very small percentage of my content strategy.

I love monetizing with ads because I can monetize any topic I want. I’m not stuck writing about products and commercial topics. I can write about how to find quartz crystals in North Vancouver and if that article gets traffic, I’ll make money.

A complementary benefit of that is I can seek out easy-to-rank keywords so that I can get decent traffic to content quickly without expensive or risky link building schemes.

Switching to focusing on display ads was a game-changer for my content publishing business.

Why are you focused on updating old content and what’s your strategy there?

When I first read about updating old content a couple years ago I scoffed. I was naive.

About 6 months after that I had the aha moment where I understood that updating old content, especially content with decent rankings but not number one rankings in Google could grow traffic considerably with little effort.

After all, if Google ranks an article in position 9, that means it’s not useless. Google kind of likes it which means it’s worthwhile to put more spit and polish into it to nudge it to the top.

In other words, updating content can be a very low cost, little time method to yield big traffic growth.

I also believe the stronger and better your content is overall, the better your site will do overall.

How do you choose what you’ll be writing about for your blogs? 

My niche sites (other than Fatstacksblog.com) are broad in that they cover quite a few related topics. I don’t restrict myself to just “basketball shoes” for example. I cover footwear or even broader yet, fashion or sports.

However, there is kind of a method to the madness.

When starting a niche site I’ll publish on many topics within the niche seeking out ridiculously low competition keywords. My aim is to get some content ranking in Google.

After 3 to 9 months I check to see which topics are ranking. I then hone in on those and publish more content on those already successful topics. This method takes the guesswork out of it. Google tells me what they like the site for so why not give Google more of it.

Since I monetize with display ads, I’m not so concerned about whether content will generate affiliate sales. I just need traffic.

Over time as a site attracts more links and gains authority, it can start ranking naturally for more competitive keywords. This is a great development because this is when traffic can grow considerably.

And then sometimes I just write about what I feel like writing about. Just today I wrote an article about jogging pants because I just bought some that I really like.

I also wrote an article on Fat Stacks today on whether incorporating a blogging business is worth doing and if so, when to do it. This topic arose as a result of my accountant calling me back about some questions I had.

When I dream up my own topics I always run them through Ahrefs to determine the best wording to match as closely as possible a decent keyword.

How do you choose when to monetize with affiliates vs display advertising? 

If an article could effectively sell something with affiliate links, I’ll plug them in. However, it has to stand a reasonable chance of actually generating affiliate links. I don’t pepper in affiliate links in everything.

Usually, I restrict affiliate links to the obvious articles such as reviews and comparisons.

When starting a new site, how long until the blog makes money?

It takes a while to start making money. If you aggressively build links you could probably make money inside 6 months. If not, it’ll take longer… 12 months to see any decent revenue at all. It’s a long process.

Are you making money from other channels Instagram, Pinterest, Youtube?

I generate about 200,000 monthly visitors from Pinterest and a tad more than that from Facebook. That’s about it.  

If someone was starting from scratch today, what would you have them focus on to generate traffic to their blog?

Choose a niche that interests you that also has some commercial viability to it as in there are products being sold. Once chosen, focus on very low competition keywords and start ranking some articles. You won’t get much traffic but the thing is traffic gets traffic. With traffic comes links. With links come more traffic.  

So, focus on finding easy-to-rank keywords. There are billions of them.

How long does it realistically take for someone to become a full-time blogger?

This is impossible to answer.

If you’re single with a part-time job and need almost nothing to live on, you could conceivably be a full time online in 12 months with a big effort.

If you have a family and a demanding job you probably have very little time to devote to this so it’ll take quite a bit longer.

It also depends on how well you choose keywords, whether you take on more risk and build links, etc.  

There are many variables involved. However, I know folks who managed to get to $5,000 per month inside 18 to 24 months.  

Do you have a strategy for managing your multiple websites? Do you find it better to focus on one or build multiple?

At this stage, I find it’s best to focus on a few sites.

I believe there’s merit in sticking with one site. I could easily devote my days to my biggest niche site. However, I really like the idea of being slightly diversified with another site or two performing well. None of us are immune to Google updates so I’d like to be in a position where I have more than one site pumping out a healthy revenue.

Do you ever get discouraged in blogging, and if so, what do you think or do to motivate yourself to continue?

I sure do.

Everything I do today won’t yield any results for a long time so sometimes it seems pointless. However, and I tell myself this often, consistency is critical. I can’t move the needle with one day of work but if I publish one to three articles every day for a year, that’s significant.

It’s amazing how fast a year goes by. You could sit and read about how to blog, or you could bang out one to three articles per day. I strongly encourage you to just write and publish. By the end of year one you could easily have 250 to 750 articles published. That could be a decent amount of traffic and revenue.

Whenever I procrastinate or am not sure what to do, I write an article. It’s my default activity because if I do nothing but publish one article per day, it’s a good day. If I spend the day looking at stats and reading about blogging, that’s not going to do me any good.

Can you give us a sneak peek of what someone may learn in your course bundle? 

My course, which is now a massive bundle of courses has grown like crazy over 18 months. It started with my course on how I find low competition keywords and grew from that to what it is now which is an A to Z program for growing fun niche sites on topics you love and earning good revenue from them with display ads.

You don’t have to chain yourself to writing product reviews. There’s a wide world of topics to cover that are fun to write about. Thanks to the mighty display ad, you can make money from any topic.

In addition to long tail keyword research, the course includes a huge module on writing, outlining and ordering content. I also cover everything I do for on-site SEO. I’m not an SEO tech but there are some things I’ve figured out over the years that’s made a big difference.

I also teach how to get decent traffic from Pinterest based on my getting more than 200,000 monthly visitors from Pinterest.

Finally, the course offers a unique approach to link building. I’m not anti-link building.

Instead, I’m all about publishing content that attracts links naturally. To date I’ve attracted links from over 10,000 referring domains. I did not do outreach or guest posts or anything. I just focused on publishing great content.

FatStacks Course Bundle

NichePursuits Rating

FatStacks Course Bundle

Includes All Courses!

  • Pinterest Magnate: Learn precisely how Jon is driving massive (300,000 views +) with Pinterest each month!
  • Long Tail Deep Dive: How Jon makes a living blogging with long-tail keywords
  • Content Site Autopilot: A multi-module training program to show you how to create systems and processes for putting your content creation on autopilot.
  • Natural Link Building Formula: Learn how to attract links naturally with your blog post.
  • Display Ads Deep Dive: Your ultimate guide to monetizing niche sites and blogs with passive income display ads (i.e. AdSense and other ad networks).
  • On-Site SEO Deep Dive: Learn everything Jon does for on-site SEO (structure, schema, etc.) for ranking content. His search traffic isn’t an accident. It’s the result of setting up sites’ on-site SEO properly and publishing lots of killer content.
  • Niche Exponential: The ultimate guide to building specialty blogs such as recurring commission niche sites and others.
GET THE COURSES

What makes your courses different from other how to make a living blogging courses?

I’ve carved my own way in this business and my course explains in minute detail exactly what I do. For example, I don’t build links. I attract them. I don’t try to rank for big keywords. I look for those obscure gems other sites missed or won’t target.  

Most of my growth is a result of trying different things and then focusing on what works.  

You recently sold a few sites on Motion Invest. Why did you decide to sell? What was your experience with Motion Invest?

There were a number of reasons. Here they are:

What’s one piece of advice you would give to a beginner blogger who wants to earn a living blogging?

You have to enjoy the process. If you don’t there’s an easier way to make a living. But if you do like it, it’s a terrific lifestyle business.

What’s next in your professional blogger career?

I’ll stick to what I’m doing which is growing a few niche sites. They aren’t nearly as big as they could be so I’ll just keep hammering away.

As with every conversation I have with Jon, he truly knows what it takes to be a successful blogger, and the proof is in his monthly income reports. 

If you want to learn how to make a living blogging, Jon is a great resource, and I highly recommend his courses. Read more about how you can get Niche Pursuits Fat Stacks deal here

FatStacks Course Bundle

NichePursuits Rating

FatStacks Course Bundle

Includes All Courses!

  • Pinterest Magnate: Learn precisely how Jon is driving massive (300,000 views +) with Pinterest each month!
  • Long Tail Deep Dive: How Jon makes a living blogging with long-tail keywords
  • Content Site Autopilot: A multi-module training program to show you how to create systems and processes for putting your content creation on autopilot.
  • Natural Link Building Formula: Learn how to attract links naturally with your blog post.
  • Display Ads Deep Dive: Your ultimate guide to monetizing niche sites and blogs with passive income display ads (i.e. AdSense and other ad networks).
  • On-Site SEO Deep Dive: Learn everything Jon does for on-site SEO (structure, schema, etc.) for ranking content. His search traffic isn’t an accident. It’s the result of setting up sites’ on-site SEO properly and publishing lots of killer content.
  • Niche Exponential: The ultimate guide to building specialty blogs such as recurring commission niche sites and others.
GET THE COURSES



Stories & Projects

By Spencer Haws

Spencer Haws is the founder of NichePursuits.com. After getting a degree in Business Finance from BYU (2002) and an MBA from ASU (2007) he worked for 8 years in Business Banking and Finance at both Merril Lynch and Wells Fargo Bank.

While consulting with other small business owners as a business banker, Spencer finally had the desire to start his own business. He successfully built a portfolio of niche sites using SEO and online marketing that allowed him to quit his job in 2011. Since then he's been involved in dozens of online business ventures including: creating and exiting Long Tail Pro, running an Amazon FBA business for over 3 years and selling that business, founding LinkWhisper.com, and co-founding MotionInvest.com. You can learn more about Spencer here.

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

Yes! I Love to Learn

You may also like

View all

Recent Posts

View all