Recently, Perrin and I were able to sit down with Matt Paulson of MattPaulson.com for a podcast interview to discuss his amazing business. Matt is an unassuming guy and you would have no idea how extraordinarily well his business is doing unless you asked him.
Well, we had the chance to ask about his business and the numbers he shares will blow your mind (at least it did for Perrin and I). Matt owns a financial network of sites including AmericanBankingNews.com, AnalystRatings.net, and a few others that combined get over 2.5 MILLION pageviews per month!
The earnings from those sites is even more impressive than the pageviews in my opinion. You’ll have to listen to the podcast to hear the income numbers (Matt didn’t want me publishing them on the blog, but was happy to discuss on the podcast). We discuss the income starting around minute 8.
What is also interesting is the fact that Matt is not concerned with Google. He gets most of his traffic outside of Google and never builds links or try to optimize specifically for Google. As a result, only about 20% of his traffic comes from natural search engine traffic (its still a ton of traffic); and the rest comes from places like Twitter, Stocktwits, and news engines.
So, if you are interested in hearing how one guy built a huge online business without Google (for the most part), then you should definitely listen to the podcast interview.
In addition, Matt just published his very first book: 40 Rules for Internet Business Success: Escape the 9 to 5, Do Work You Love, and Build a Profitable Online Business. I’ve had a chance to read the book (Matt sent me an early release copy) and it’s a great one for those looking to get started with an online business. You can get the book on Amazon right here.
What We Covered in the Podcast
I hope you enjoy the podcast as much as Perrin and I did. We have discussed how to apply the principles that Matt shared in our own business, and its definitely produced some great ideas.
I tried to outline in depth what we discussed on the podcast. So, if you don’t have a chance to listen, this outline should give you most of what was covered.
What is your background and story? How did you become an entrepreneur?
Matt started out early on with lots of little entrepreneurial ventures, so business is in his blood. He graduated in computer science and then got a master’s degree as well.
He started a website that was making around $50k a year after putting a couple of years of work. It was a nice business, but he decided that his skillset where he could really stand out was in the investment space. He had lots of knowledge there and also had some great data analysis and reporting abilities along with his programming.
Matt has been full time online now for about 2 years.
Matt now has 3 main businesses:
- Analyst Ratings Network: AmericanBankingnews.com along with a few other related websites. The financial news network websites get about 2.5 million pageviews per month, so the advertising revenue ads up well. He currently has 94k subscribers on the free newsletter. And 2k on the premium newsletter.
- LightningReleases.com. Press Release business.
- GoGoPhotoContest.com. They’ve done about 80 contests and raised $350k.
Most of the revenue from his business is definitely coming from AmericanBankingNews.com and AnalystRatings.net. The monthly revenue of is HUGE! Matt didn’t want the number written here on the blog, but they ARE shared on the podcast in detail, so be sure to listen in. (The income numbers are shared around minutes 8 to 11).
Why did Matt Create AmericanBankingNews.com?
Matt was able to harness a ton of traffic from stock ticker SEO pretty early on. And because they were able to maximize the traffic, they knew they could grow with additional sites.
Matt also wanted to capture more than just ad revenue. This is where his newsletter really played a part. People were willing and wanted to pay for more in-depth analysis and data on the premium newsletter.
What really helped to increase opt in rates and conversions?
- Use a popup
- Request as little information as possible
- Test layouts and text
- The plain layout works very well for Matt’s websites
The interesting thing about StockTwits, Twitter, Google News, Yahoo Finance, and other places; there is no Matt Cutt’s out there to prevent you from getting traffic from these locations. There are so many other “playgrounds” besides Google that website owners can play in.
What percentage of traffic comes from Google natural traffic?
Less than 20% for Matt’s sites. He doesn’t focus on Google at all.
His focus is much more on other sources of traffic. For example, with StockTwits and Twitter there are “cashtags” that work very similar to a hashtag; but for stock ticker symbols. Matt has created a feed of stock ratings changes and then he’s able to automate tweets about this stock information. This custom programming and posting has added a ton of traffic to his sites.
How many people are involved in Matt’s business?
- 3 full time writers
- 1 customer service person
- 1 Accounting person
- A couple of people that help with software updates
Matt found one of his writers on the ProBlogger.net job board. The other 2 writers came from a website he purchased.
Matt has also purchased other sites in order to add traffic and more email opt-ins to his site. The most he has ever paid for his site was still only low 5 figures.
He doesn’t have just one main source of traffic. The traffic to his sites is pretty balanced and diversified. He really doesn’t want to be too dependent on any one source of traffic.
How often is Matt producing content for his sites?
All of his sites get daily content. Some of the sites are getting 3 or 4 articles per day.
For someone just getting started out, is it feasible for someone to find success in a similar fashion?
Yes, its definitely still possible. However, people need to realize that its taken Matt several years to get where he is today and the strategies are still valid, but it takes a ton of work.
What other Marketing methods are you using?
Email marketing has been huge; especially for his Gogophoto Contests. He’s been able to compile email lists, and find a lot of success with email marketing. He’s been able to find emails directly online for animal shelters, etc and this usually connects pretty well with the person actually doing the fund raising.
Matt’s SEO best practices?
He doesn’t worry about SEO. He doesn’t like getting too involved where the rules of the game could change (Google). He focused more on other sources of traffic; including Twitter, paid traffic, and more. When he finds any sort of traffic strategy that works, he adds it to their arsenal. But Matt has never done any sort of link building or other specific tactics to try to rank better in Google. However, they do attract links pretty naturally.
SEO has not and probably never will be a big focus for their business
Are you targeting specific keywords?
For his business, they do think about what companies are bigger or what companies will get the most traction. But they are not looking specifically at Google traffic and number of searches per month.
What’s the benefit of having a network of sites?
The purpose is really just to attract as much traffic as possible. The ad revenue is nice; but ultimately all the sites funnel back through the same free email list and then hopefully on to paid subscribers.
He decided to write a book because he went to an entrepreneurial event and everyone he met that was writing a book, he felt like he knew as much or more than they did!
The book is available on Amazon right now: Go to 40RulesBook.com
Matt’s favorite lesson in the book is to not be a franchisee of someone elses business. Try not to copy someone else and follow their business. You need to develop your own strategy and bring your own strengths to your business. Its important to have a defensible business that’s not as easy to copy.
Where can you follow along with Matt Paulson?
Matt blogs at MattPaulson.com