It’s great to have Richmond Howard on the podcast this week.
Rich has found a way to successfully grow his niche sites all while working full time as a pastor, studying for a master’s degree, and being a husband and new dad!
3 or 4 years ago he was in a job that he hated and was looking for something new. He heard about blogging and affiliate marketing through listening to podcasts and decided to give it a go.
He started a finance blog and worked half-heartedly on that for a couple of years, but it didn’t really come to much. However, there were a couple of posts he’d put together on meal prepping that were ranking really well.
After investigating the meal prepping niche further he saw a lot of opportunities and decided to start a site dedicated to that instead. He moved those successful posts from the finance blog in August 2019 to his new site mealprepify.com.
He doubled down on content and links and now this site is making over $6K per month. In January 2021, traffic was at 140,000. Pretty incredible!
In mid-2020, Rich made a move that really helped to fuel this growth.
He bought a site from Motion Invest that was making around $600 per month. This site was in the same or similar niche as Meal Prepify and had about 150 articles on it.
Watch the Entire Interview
In the podcast we talk a lot about how he bought and fixed up this site, then 301 redirected half of these articles to the meal prep site.
Here’s more of what we cover in the interview:
- More of Rich’s story and background
- How to identify a good site to buy
- How much the sites are making after how long
- On-page SEO and site speed
- How he prepared articles for redirect
- Ad services (Ezoic, Adthrive)
- How to do 301 redirects correctly
- Why Rich didn’t move all of the articles
- Link building strategies
- Using link building agencies
- Core web vitals
- Plans for Meal Prepify
- Business strategy – where to focus
Rich also references my Oct 2020 podcast episode with Matt Diggity where we discuss EAT – Expertise, Authority, and Trust – and recommends you take a listen
Rich has different goals for his online work than a lot of us, which is cool to hear!
He intends for the online business to only ever be a part-time thing. He feels a unique calling to ministry and loves his vocation.
Online marketing is a way to replace his wife’s full-time income now that she’s looking after a baby, and possibly a way to do ministry in the future without taking a salary.
That’s one of the many reasons we love this work. It’s flexible and adaptable around everything else we have going on in our lives.
Read the Full Transcript
Spencer Haws: Hey, rich. Welcome to the niche pursuits podcast.
Richmond Howard: It’s been so good to be here.
Spencer Haws: Yeah, it’s a, it’s great to have you on the show. We connected, I think originally through the Facebook group, uh, there may have been a post in there just about, um, buying sites and selling sites. And, uh, you kind of posted that you had recently bought a site and had some success and, uh, we, we connected.
And so I wanted to jump into that story a little bit, but before we do, can you just give. Everybody, that’s listening a little bit of your background, kind of what a, at least your online business experience, like, how did you get started online? Yeah,
Richmond Howard: absolutely. Uh, yeah. Well, it’s through the Facebook group.
I got to share kind of a little case study on purchased from a motion invest site. Um, and how, honestly, just how well it went. Um, and so I that’s how we got connected originally, but I mean, I, I started out console, online business thing. About three and a half, four years ago. Now it was kind of, of, uh, 20, 20, 15, 2016.
And I was, um, honestly I was in a job that I, that I hated, like a lot of people kind of how they get their start. They started looking for other ways to make money, other sources of income. I. I knew I was about to be unemployed for several months and it was job searching. And kind of in that whole time, I, I think I came across me, Pat Flynn, like I think he was like my gateway drug into the online world of logging and, uh, start listening to his podcast and a bunch of others and eventually started a personal finance blog.
I called PF geeks, personal finance geeks, basically, um, where I shared a lot about budgeting, saving, investing ways to save money, really just kind of general personal finance. It wasn’t super niche down. Like a lot of personal finance blogs are today. Financial independence retire, early movement. I’m a huge fan of that.
And so start off with a finance blog. That was pretty terrible. The. It never took off. Really never got traffic. I didn’t know what I was doing, but it was a great way to learn. So I spent two years kind of halfway committedly blogging about, about money, about how to save money. And, um, about two years later, I’d had a couple of posts that did well in Google.
Um, and they were, they’re both related to meal prepping. So I had to post like. 50 cheat meal prep recipes. That was the only thing on my site that ranked for about a year on the finance side. And so I kind of had a theory, but I did a bunch of keyword research and really figured out that this meal prep niche was a great, it was a great niche.
It had a really, really high volume. They, most of the food blogging has incredibly high volume. And so it’s an abs play really. There’s not a ton of affiliates, but there are some, um, but they’re also really low difficulty. And so, uh, I did a bunch of research and was about to start putting a bunch of meals.
On my finance site and then decided that I should really consider just making a whole new site that was dedicated to meal prepping. That was relevant all about that, that Google would see, Hey, this is the, this is the best resource on meal prepping. It’s not just one part of a finance blog. And so I started, uh, meal prep, uh, really in August of 2019, launched it in September tad.
I moved over some of the content from meal prep, from PFD and meal prep, Shopify, um, and how that has become my main site. Um, I really don’t blog about money anymore. Maybe someday I’ll go back to that. Um, but for now I’m just loving writing about food and, um, Really that the site didn’t do much for about six months.
I was really building a ton of content. I was trying to build as many links as I could through friends and connections and guest posts and interview series and every tactic that you could. Um, and then really in March of 2020, uh, everyone went home because of COVID and, uh, I guess more people were searching online and Google.
Finally, I hit that six month Mark for the site and, uh, things just took off, um, within, basically right at the end of the first year I was making a thousand a month. So this is August of 2020, and then six months later, I’m making 6,000 a month. Wow. Um, besides just took off within the span of about six months and that’s, in that time, I did some other stuff.
I merged a site that I bought from motion, invest into my main site, um, which was a huge reason for kind of the growth that I saw. Um, The after here we are March, 2021. And, uh, the site is about to make six and a half thousand. This month. I started another site last month. That’s getting some good traction.
I’m starting another site next month that I’m excited about. And so, um, you know, a year, two years from now, uh, excited to see where this is, all this will all be. Yeah.
Spencer Haws: Uh, so congrats on being able to grow a meal prep certified to, you know, 6,000 a month, plus, you know, and we’re going to dive into some of what you mentioned, kind of how you, how you’ve got there, but about how much traffic is the site getting nowadays, like this month.
Richmond Howard: So, um, so January was a fun month because that’s when everyone wants to eat healthy
Spencer Haws: and exercise
Richmond Howard: and yeah, so I, uh, so January the site had. Over 140,000 just from Google. Um, wow. Just from Google. Yeah. And so, um, all pretty much 90, 95% of my traffic is organic. That’s all I focus on. Uh, someday I might try to do Pinterest.
I mean, it is a food niche. It should do well. Yeah. I just, I don’t know what I’m doing and I don’t have the eye for it. And I, so I focused on organic, but right now the site’s getting around a hundred thousand a month from, you know, from, from Google. Um, and it’s kind of Maine, they also around 150,000 page views or so.
Spencer Haws: And so where are you making the money from? Is it all display ads? Is it a mix of like Amazon and display that sort of thing?
Richmond Howard: Yeah. Yeah. It’s almost, it’s almost dead. Even between display ads and affiliate, maybe a little bit more affiliate. Um, my focus personally has been on building up more info content and, uh, and more of that, the ad play, but the site that I ended up buying, uh, that, uh, you know, best 10 Vitamix blenders.
To me, that’s really boring. I don’t like writing it. I don’t like finding images and doing check price button, but that’s what I bought, had all that. So I moved it all over. And so, um, really all of my, almost all my ad revenue comes from that. And then some content that I’ve done with a niche website builders, they’ve done a lot of affiliate content for me as well.
And I know you’ve recommended them in the past. I’m a huge fan of their work. Um, so right now it’s probably 60, 40.
Spencer Haws: And, um, so how much, uh, content total is on the site now?
Richmond Howard: That’s a good question. I would guess there’s probably about 300 or so articles, maybe three 50. I just put another 40 up last month.
And so, um, I’m doing 10 a month right now. So, um, the first year I was doing four to six articles a month. Um, and it was just all going back in the content and I’m still kind of doing the same thing. So I’m producing a lot of content every month. I’m really just trying to reinvest in the side to keep growing it.
Spencer Haws: Uh, no, very good. So I w I want to talk about, um, the site that you bought, why you bought it, uh, that sort of thing, but also just sort of an aside, uh, as well. What’s your current professional background? I mean, are you doing this full time? Do you have enough income online? Are you got, you know, full-time jobs?
Richmond Howard: Um, yeah, so, um, this is definitely a very much part-time thing for me, um, which has been cool. I, uh, So full-time, I’m actually a pastor. Um, and so I’m, I’m a full-time pastor. That’s what I love doing. Um, and I’m actually, I’m actually also in grad school, so I’m getting my master’s in theology. Um, and so I’m doing 40 to 50 hours a week of work, another 10 to 15 of grad school.
And then. As everything going into the site. And so, uh, yes, I’ve been doing this. Um, I’ve been working in doing grad school for about five years now. Um, and so honestly, I, I have no intent to ever do online business. Full-time I love what I do. I feel unique calling and passion for what I do day to day. Um, I’m, I’m getting a master’s degree for it.
And so I’m definitely not going to pull the plug now that this is doing well. Um, but for me, it’s just a way to supplement. Kind of my income to replace my wife’s full-time job. We just had a baby like two weeks ago, which is wild congrats by the way weeks ago now. Um, thank you. And so we, uh, really, this will hopefully replace her income and then over time, um, it may just give me the ability to do ministry and, uh, without having to take a salary, um, just to kind of like.
Provide for myself and, uh, not be a burden onto the church that I work for. Um, that might, it can be deployed in the missions or giving or other areas. And, um, that’s kinda my dream one day.
Spencer Haws: Yeah. That’s awesome. I liked that a lot. I mean, it sounds like you found, you know, what you’re, you’re sort of calling, you’re passionate about, you know, in, in ministry work and if you’re able to do that, and then, like you said, this is kind of on the side too, you know, really just for financial reasons almost.
Yeah. Um, that’s, that’s awesome. That’s, that’s what I love, you know, it’s like, for me, you know, this is sort of my full-time thing and a lot of other people, but it doesn’t have to be, I, the, I know a lot of people that are kind of doing this on the side and have a full-time job that they absolutely love and would never give up.
Richmond Howard: Yeah. Well, and I think for me, it’s also, it’s also forced me to be really strategic in how I spend the time, how I spend my time. On the, on the site. Cause I don’t have time to test a bunch of different things to try every different traffic source or every different strategy. Right. I found the works for me, it’s content and building links and um, and I just keep running that game and it’s working.
Spencer Haws: Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. And, uh, you know, now that you’ve got a newborn baby in the house, you definitely need to be focused. Right. You’re not going to have any more time. That’s for sure. I can speak from experience. I’ve got four kids. Um, they’re all beyond the newborn stage at this point. So there’s different challenges for sure.
But, um, but, uh, fam family’s important for sure. That’s right. So let’s go ahead and jump into buying a site on motion and best. Right? So first of all, you already had PFG X, you started meal prep. Why did you decide to buy another site?
Richmond Howard: Man? That’s a great question. So really about probably like middle of the year 2020, my kind of keyword strategy changed a little bit, uh, figuring out, you know, things that I thought I could rank for.
Um, but kind of late, really about August or so. I started to look for. Sites that were in my niche that were, had really low authority, but we’re, but we’re getting great traffic. Um, and my theory was that if I write an article on the same topic, then my higher authority site would outrank them assuming that my content is just as good if not better.
And so I started to kind of follow that strategy and that’s still something that I’m doing today. Um, but then. Then I came across best kitchen guides. It was listed on the notion of vest. Um, I’ve been kind of following all your listings for a while at the time. Um, it was kind of keeping an eye on that really for, for future niche ideas that I would start myself, but also some of the kitchen ones that would come up, I would plug them into an SEO tool.
See what they’re ranking for use that for keyword ad is. But then this side, I. I saw a really good opportunity because it was, it had lost so much value because the revenue has dropped really from like two, two and a half thousand a month down to 600 a month. So the revenue had crashed after the may update.
Um, my site had taken off after the may update. And so I, I had some theories on kind of what, what the may update was targeting. I’d read a lot of the stuff out there on what Google was trying to fix. And this site had terrible, terrible site speed. It was a Bismal just low. So. My theory was that I could really just, I was going to flip the site.
Initially. I was going to buy it, fix the site speed, fix the content, replace a lot of the links that were kind of outdated or no longer there, uh, spruce up some of the content and then just make a quick sale six months later and sell it. And then while I was in the kind of the purchase phase, I decided I should really just keep this for myself and integrate it into meal prep.
Put on the higher authority site and see if I can take this from 600 a month back to what it used to be. And, um, yeah, so I ended up buying the site. Um, it really, I wasn’t planning to, uh, but I like straight up, took out a loan against my, like our, one of our retirement accounts, um, which I don’t recommend.
For most people to do. Yeah. It’s a little risky for sure. Yeah. I was pretty confident in what I was doing and yeah. And we’ve, like I said, I’ve part of the fire space for a while. So we had a decent amount to kind of hedge against and I wasn’t too worried about it. And see, I said, honestly, it was, it was probably the best financial news I’ve made.
Spencer Haws: date. Yeah. And so at the time you said it was making about $600 a month when you bought it, right?
Richmond Howard: Yeah. Yeah. I think the last month that they had was like 600 or 600, my then my first month with the site, whenever I first bought it, it had gone down to like 500 or so I’d kept declining. Um, and then I was really starting to just fix it
Spencer Haws: up.
Yeah. Uh, and so I, your theory for buying it is really kind of why I’m interested in doing this interview because you said, okay, I could buy the site and grow it and then flip it. But no, I’ve got a related site. I’ve got meal prep. That’s related to, you know, the best kitchen guide content that you’re going to be buying.
So why don’t I take this site that maybe has a penalty or clearly has. Declined in Google. Google’s not liking, let’s take that content, put it on a site that Google is loving, right. That has had an increase in may. And let’s see what happens. Right. That, that was kind of the theory. Um, and so walk us through that process.
Like how quickly did you start moving over content and, and what was that process like? One
Richmond Howard: of the best piece of advice that I got after buying the site, or maybe as well as buying it was, Hey, if Google has devalued all this content, you may want to be careful about moving it over onto your site until you have fixed it up.
Yeah. And so, um, because what I learned to do was bring over a hundred articles that Google was not liking and have Google penalized my whole site because of it. And so I spent about three to four months, uh, leaving the site exactly how it was. Um, I, I didn’t didn’t move any content over. So I closed really in September of 2020, and I spent September, October, November, really just cleaning up the site.
I picked up some site speed issues. I had a virtual assistant who was updating content. So she updated about 75 articles over the span of two months. Um, it was a huge project. Um, I was paying her about 25 bucks an hour, which is a decent rate. Uh, really good. All in. She probably spent. You know, maybe 20 to 30 hours updating all those, all that content, um, excuse me, mostly updating it for SEO.
And so it wasn’t a ton of like editing for grammar and syntax. Although honestly, the content still needs it. Um, but it was really, you know, There’s headings that were, you know, they didn’t have H2O, they were jumped straight to age threes that have to which ones, you know, all kinds of, of header issues. Um, there’ll be articles that wouldn’t have, like the keyword would be mentioned one or two times.
And so I really, she did like an SEO audit for each article or an SEO update for each article. Um, And so really, as, as she would update those articles, then I would, I gave it some time. Um, and so the site went from about 6,000, uh, organic hits up to about 10,000, um, still on best kitchen guides, the con the gone from maybe 500 a month in revenue up to about 700.
So it was starting to improve
Spencer Haws: again and all yeah, done at that point was what you just explained, updating mostly the SEO on page. Um, No headers and minor editing of the content
Richmond Howard: is on-page and then the cycle is with Zubik. Um, and I like use though, I think as though, cause great. I’m with AdThrive now I’m with meal prep, but for sites under 50,000 sessions, I think is Oak is the best option.
Um, but you, I really think. Have to use their site speed accelerator, um, which is, it’s an that’s annoying, it’s like 20 bucks a month, but it takes care of a lot of the site speed issues. And so I turned that on the set, like the very first day I had access to the site. Um, so that was really the main site speed thing I w I did.
Um, and then, yeah, just a bunch of on-page work.
Spencer Haws: Yeah. And so that’s huge. You took it from $600 a month to what what’d you say? Or like $500 a month to, what was it, did you say? I’m sorry, after a few months, I
Richmond Howard: really it’s about it’s it’s making about 3000 a month now. So in December I. I pulled all the content off of best.
Really the top 75 articles is what I pulled over. Um, I kind of went through the content and identified articles that were getting traffic, um, articles that have lost traffic and then articles that I thought were most relevant to my site. And so there’s some articles that they weren’t necessarily. Well, they would fill out kind of my, the content that I cover on my site.
And so I moved over those 75 articles. The other 75 are still on best kitchen guides. I haven’t touched them. Uh, I might someday, but for now they’re just hanging out there. Um, so I, I moved them all over one by one, three Oh one redirects to double checking every single one to make sure that they were all set up correctly.
And I did all that the first week of December. And then. Or pick up then January, it just rocketed. Um, and my traffic on really in December, the two sites combined were, uh, or no November, sorry. The two sites combined were about 45,000 sessions. And Google. And then by January it was up to 140,000. Wow.
Spencer Haws: And that is such a huge jump.
Richmond Howard: It was fun to watch. So
Spencer Haws: have you been able to track, like how well, those 75 articles that you moved over are performing versus, you know, your site overall, like you able to say, okay, these articles are making me this much every month.
Richmond Howard: Yeah. Um, so I here, here’s what I did initially, whenever I pulled all the content over.
I, I just made a unique, um, Amazon tracking ID for all that content. And so that, um, so I could see a, Hey, an Amazon, this, you know, all the content of new Dover from best kitchen guides has the best kitchen guides tracking ID. So I can see exactly how much, uh, revenue those are bringing in. Um, I ended up making some edits last month with kind of conversion rate stuff.
And so, uh, my VA actually went in and, uh, It wasn’t a mistake on his part, but he ended up changing everything back to meal prep, defies tracking ID. And so I actually can’t tell that I could go back in and fix it all, but it’s not worth it to me, but I can tell you that in January, that content brought in, uh, I think 2000 in revenue and affiliate revenue.
Spencer Haws: affiliate revenue. And then there would have been more in display ad revenue.
Richmond Howard: Correct? Yeah. I had one article that, uh, it’s, uh, it’s actually the most popular article on my side, I think. And it went from 6,000 hits a month up to, or like 4,000 hits a month out to about 20,000 in January. Wow.
Spencer Haws: And so, um, you said your total site meal prep has make, and you know, just a little over $6,000, this one $6,500 this month.
Um, would you say that most of that revenue is now coming from those 75 articles that you moved over?
Richmond Howard: Yeah, at least half of it. Uh, I would guess probably probably half of. There’s ways to track every post and do all the work in that. Yeah. Knowing that data point is isn’t worth it to me to do all the effort.
Um, but it’s, it’s probably about half of the revenue if I had to guess. Yeah. It kind of depends on the month. So like November and December, they would have done more affiliate revenue because of, you know, uh, Black Friday and Christmas, whereas January and February is probably more weighted towards like the meal prepping content, bringing more of the income.
And so, um, kinda, but it’s kinda nice cause different seasons of the year we’ll have different kind of different emphases. And so people are really looking to meal prep and lose weight and eat healthy. All my meal prep content will do well, but during big shopping seasons, the best kitchen guys, content will do really well.
Spencer Haws: All right. No, that’s good enough. You know, I was just kind of curious, I’m sure listeners, you know, kind of would want to know, like, so you took, you know, essentially bet best kitchen guide.com from, you know, $500 a month to now $3,000 a month. Yeah, right. Um, even though it’s now merged into your main site, that’s, that’s huge.
I mean, that’s a huge win. Um, did you use any tools to like update your content? Were you using like surfer, SEO or anything like that or, um, you know, to kind of help your VA out? No,
Richmond Howard: I really wasn’t. Um, thankfully she, she knows what she’s doing. She has a side of her own, and she’s done some SEO kind of content updating for some, some really big personal finance sites.
So I trusted her that she knew what she was doing. The first couple of audits she would, she would kind of do it. Keep it as a draft, I’ll review it and then it would get, get published. Um, and then Apadaca that I just kinda let her go to the races. And so, uh, you know, she would, she would use kind of like the Yost check checkbox just to make sure things were kind of checking, checking, checking the boxes.
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But yeah, um, overall it was mostly just on-page work that she kind of knew what she was doing. Um, she added a lot of FAQ’s from kind of for, just from Google’s, you know, people also ask. Questions. Okay. Um, so you added a lot of those probably, probably at least three to 400 words in the article were added, just pulling from that con from those ideas.
Okay. So that was big time for sure. Yeah.
Spencer Haws: All right. So did a lot of content updates, you know, going through that process that you mentioned, uh, now the other technical aspect you did the three Oh one redirects. Um, maybe explain that process just a little bit for somebody. If they wanted to do something similar.
Richmond Howard: And moving content around from site to site. Um, if you, if you mess up the redirect you’re, you can lose all your rankings, you can lose all your traffic. Um, it can really not go well. And so I would basically, um, I did a couple different ways you could copy and paste all of, all the content from the backend of one website into a new post on the other website and to make sure it’s all copied incorrectly formatted correctly.
Um, and then I would, uh, You make sure that titles and keywords are all set up right. And then hit publish on, on meal prep fi and then on best kitchen guides I had to plug in, I think three Oh one redirects. There’s a couple of redirection plugins. Um, I’ve used a couple different ones. They all work pretty well.
Um, and so I would just do a three, one on best kitchen guides. You know, address one and then address two would be the new article on meal prep, a thigh. And so you’ve got to make sure you get the URLs exactly how they’re meant to be. Um, and then you, you would just save it and then I would always test it.
So I would then click on the article, the best kissing guys to make sure it went to meal prep. Um, and even, even though I was meticulous about it, there were still errors that I found a month later. I had to go back in and make sure, okay, this is actually not, and the way I could tell was the articles and best kitchen guys were still getting traffic in January.
It’s like, Oh, that doesn’t make sense. I bet over right. It’s right. For sure. The tricky part was the pre the owner of best kitchen guides had some tables and some shortcode kind of stuff. Um, so I had to import like all this table press tables, um, which that took some time to make sure that was all formatted correctly.
Um, I ended up removing all those because I didn’t like them. Um, but for the initial kind of content transfer, Um, that was also one more time consuming parts, just making sure all the tables were set up correctly. So that, that, that was definitely part of it. Um, yeah, as far as three Oh one redirects, it’s pretty simple.
It’s basically telling, telling Google that this article now is on this site instead. Um, I w I would always submit it to search console as well immediately, um, just to submit to index, um, So that was a big part of it.
Spencer Haws: So, uh, I know you didn’t move all the content. Uh, how many articles were left on best kitchen guides and why didn’t you move certain articles?
Richmond Howard: Yeah, so the site had around 150 articles when I bought it. Um, and I really just scraped the top half the top 50%. Um, so 50 of those were our clothes that were getting traffic and doing well, another 20 or so are ones that I thought could do well, they were on page three or four, maybe five, but relevant enough that I thought I could send some internal links to them, which I actually used linked lists before, which was nice.
Um, and so I, uh, I used that, um, and really set up a bunch of internal links. Um, and then the other 75 articles, I just, I just left them. So they’re still there. Um, I, I’m not sure the history of best kitchen guides, but. Uh, I can definitely tell that it had different site owners in the past. Um, one of which was probably not native English.
And so some of the articles, um, or, or maybe he was outsourcing to the people that, that weren’t native English speaking. Um, so kind of like a house, like you eat different layers of paint from every different owner. And so. Like some of the content was great and had been like newly updated and been fixed up other content you could tell hadn’t been touched and was never going to do well.
Or if it was going to do well, I’d have to pay a VA to basically rewrite the whole article. There’s a lot of that I did not bring over. Um, I also kind of broke it out into categories. And so, um, this may be helpful to your readers should ever, ever considering this, but. Know, I have a, I had a lot of air fryer and instant pot and kind of Vitamix content on my site and best catch guys have a lot of that as well.
And so if I had like a category, like air fryer, I moved over every single air fryer article, even though some of them were not getting traffic and didn’t necessarily need to be moved over. But I thought, because it was kind of this whole category, I should move all of it over. And so some of those articles that really didn’t do much before.
Are actually getting decent traffic now. And then I’ve been able to really do a lot of internal linking to where I’ve an article on like using foil in an air fryer that gets a lot of traffic. I can then point that article. And in the very first intro, uh, I referenced my, Hey, here’s 40, you know, 40 plus.
Air fryer recipes, you can try. And so I’ve actually seen that, um, kind of the internal linking work, both like to help both, both kind of chunks of content increase in rankings and increasing traffic. And so that my air fry recipes post really wasn’t doing well on my side at all, until I had a bunch of air fryer content now linking to it.
And then, uh, that our Cornell gets 3000 hits a month from Google. And so, wow. Really like the tide Rose for both kind of halves of the website. Yeah.
Spencer Haws: No, that makes a lot of sense. I mean, Google kind of sees the, Hey now you are becoming more of a topical authority on air fryers. You’ve got lots of articles and they’re kind of linking to each other.
Passing some link juice. Um, it makes, it makes a lot of sense, right? Why, why those may have improved. Um, so was some of the decision to not move certain articles based on like maybe bad links that, um, some of those articles had or anything like that.
Richmond Howard: Honestly, I probably should have checked that more closely.
Um, but I, I didn’t, um, I, my meal prep, ah, I’ve done a really good job building links. And so I’ve within the first year I had like a da of 30. Um, and now like Dr. 33, I think with HRS, um, I have a lot of really good links to that site. And so I wasn’t, I wasn’t super worried about, about some battling coming over.
Um, the biggest thing I did was not moving the, the whole domain, so I have not redirected. They’re the same links. We’re going to the home page for most docs. Most of the alums go to homepages. Um, right. You know, they’re in directories or coupon sites or whatever. Yeah.
Spencer Haws: So let’s talk about your link building strategies, just a little bit.
Um, you mentioned, you know, that you’ve done quite, quite a bit of link building. Um, you know, so what’s, what’s been your process for building links, you know, what’s your strategies.
Richmond Howard: Yeah. Yeah. I mean, as cheesy as it is, honestly, it’s probably just relationships with people online. Um, getting to know bloggers, being part of different kind of Slack groups, you know, Twitter conversations, Facebook groups, um, I’m in multiple that are kind of niche specifics.
I’m in some finance groups, some food blogger groups. I’m also in, you know, I’m in the niche pursuits group and a few others like that. And so, um, I mean, I probably talked to like 10 new people a week about, just about blogging and site building and, and all the above. And so, um, really just kind of making connections, seeing how we can help each other out.
Um, so he’s part of what I do. Um, I have, I also create a lot of content that is, um, Sort of built to get links from shoulder from other niches. And so, um, like my, my first article on meal prep defy was 50 cheap meal prep articles. That’s the one I pulled over from PFG. Um, and so, you know, I, I was a finance blog, so I had a bunch of friends in the finance space that I could say, Hey, I have this resource that, that actually would.
Benefit your readers, not like all the emails that we get on articles that wouldn’t actually help you really unrelated, but this one actually wouldn’t help their readers. And so, um, a lot of my friends really just, they helped me out. They linked to that content cause they thought it was good. They thought it was helpful.
Um, they didn’t have content like that on their site, I think is really key. So I’m not asking, you know, a finance blogger to link to my, how to budget article. That they also have a, how to budget article, but rather they can link to my best content. My, how to meal prep, my 50 cheat meal article, you know, the recipes.
Um, it’s not competitive with them. And so they don’t mind Lincoln to me to help me out. Cause it’s not going to hurt them. I’m not going to outrank them. We’re not competing. Really creating content that is marketed, that kind of, that, that shoulder niche kind of stuff. And so, you know, meal prep is good for finance bloggers.
It’s good for mom bloggers. It’s good for productivity and self-improvement, you know, optimize your life kind of people. Um, so I’ve been able to get a lot of links from other niches, um, and really that’s what I did for the first hundred links that I built. Um, it was great content that I can market to other niches that were not competing with me.
And so that’s really how I got my first hundred links. That’s how I got to da of 30 and about a year. And then now that I’m. Established, I’m trying to do more guests posts in the food space. And so know when you have a really low authority and you got 10 articles on the site, most people are not going to let you guest those for them.
But when I can say, Hey, I’ve got a da of 30, I get a hundred thousand organic a month. Um, I’ve. Guest posted on these four big sites and Hey, these guests posts are actually ranking in Google getting, giving those, the site on his traffic. Um, would you let me do the same? And I found that people are a lot more receptive to that.
Um, so that’s kind of, now what I’m doing is trying to get better links from bigger sites, um, that are in the food blog space.
Spencer Haws: Yeah. No. So that makes sense. You’ve got a lot of connections. You’ve been able to work with people that are in similar niches as you, and be able to, to get some links. Um, I’ll a lot of these connections that you made.
It sounded like, you know, you’re either in a Facebook group or a Slack group. So, so it was a lot of this. Connection’s not happening on like email. You’re not really cold outreach. It’s more like, Hey, I’m going to shoot you a message on Facebook. I see your do something. Cool. Let’s let’s
Richmond Howard: connect. As my, like number one piece of advice and it may not number one.
Uh, I have a lot of number, one pieces of advice, but, uh, don’t, don’t do outreach over email. Um, everyone one, no one, most people don’t like email. Um, most of the email that they get is trash and it’s not good. It’s terrible outreach. And so I think people who. People who get a lot of email outreach, they just kind of ride it all off.
Even, even if you get some good pitches here and there. Um, most of it just gets written off and, you know, they just ignore it. And so I think email is a lot less personal it’s coming from, you know, Richard pro profile.com. Whereas if I’m messaging them from my personal Facebook account, they can see the picture of me and my wife with our, you know, our, Hey, we’re expecting a child, you know, uh, Frank, you know, picture, frame and stuff, and they can see click my profile file and see that I’m a pastor know I work at a church, they can read some of the stuff I’ve posted before.
Not that most people probably do that, but it’s just way more personal. Um, yeah. And so I think. So my connections are not just me, cold DME and someone in the Facebook group, but they’re posting like, right, right now it’s lately it’s been a, it’s been a lot of like core web Bibles stuff. And so I’m in a few Facebook groups where everyone’s freaking out about CWV, I’ve made some really good changes to my site to fix that.
And so, um, I’ve optimized a bunch of content recently and to go from really to pass COVID vitals. And so. I see a lot of bloggers are struggling with that. They’re asking, Hey, what are you doing? What are the best tips? I’ll comment, a couple ideas. And I’ll say, Hey, if you want more help messaging me, some of your site, they’ll send me their site.
I’ll give them some tips and then I’ll ask them, Hey, in return, when you give me a link to my site here. Um, and so I’ve gotten a lot of links. I’ve got a few links that way. Um, but two, it gets, it’s helping them with whatever their problems are. Uh, and then trying to just message them somehow. Um, so it’s not, I’m not going through the niche pursuits Facebook group and just saying, Hey, 15 to members, let me go message them all.
Um, don’t record. But yeah, so really it’s just kind of getting to know people.
Spencer Haws: Yeah, that’s makes a lot of sense. I mean, I, I see the same thing. Right. We get all the same sort of outreach emails and they end up in junk folder or get deleted a lot. But yeah, when you see a personal message of somebody that maybe commented on a thread or.
Anyways, you notice it, you know, they’re a real person. Um, it is, it’s a lot easier to connect that way. Um, now you did mention that you’d done some other link building, like you had worked with niche website builders. Um, what have you done with those guys?
Richmond Howard: Well, they’ve mostly done content for me. Oh, okay.
Um, I actually have a new site that I’m, that I’m working on. Uh, I’m not ready to share the name of it yet. Um, but they’ve helped me with some links to that as well. Um, so they’ve done some sky skyscraper stuff for me. Um, but you know, with, with Google, any, any form of link building at all is, is a no-no.
And so, um, so I I’ve done some stuff that Google probably wouldn’t love, but overall it’s not a, it’s not a huge deal. Um, but with the new site, I’m trying some more. Kind of true outsource link building stuff. And so I’ve used a niche website builders. I’m actually using one little web who you interview.
Yeah. Founder about a month ago. John is his name. Yep. So I’m actually using them. Uh, okay. I’ve I’ve used them. I’ve used links to that rank. I’ve used niche website builders. Um, I’m testing out a HARO, uh, service. Um, and so that’s all for the new site. And so, um, overall it’s, it’s all going really well. I’ve actually, um, a shout out to one little web.
They’ve been the best one that I’ve used so far in terms of building, um, So, if you’re going to go the paved link building route, um, I wouldn’t do it on sites that you really want to own for forever. So I think, I think it can not go well, but this is more of a, Hey, buy, grow, flip it, sell it kind of site that I’m trying.
And so I don’t mind doing some paid link building, but the biggest risk is that you get bad domains and getting to pre-approve. The domains is in my opinion, the biggest way to eliminate risk. When it comes to buying to go into the page link building route,
Spencer Haws: right? Yeah. I agree. I do like that aspect of one little web, you know?
Well, they kind of see, okay. Here’s, you know, do, do you approve of these, um, links before we actually build them? It’s it’s kind of a cool thing there. Um, so any, any other strategies or SEO tips that we didn’t discuss that you think were important in growing meal? Prep, EFI. You know, after you kind of merged this content and any other sort of final tips there in that regard.
Richmond Howard: Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. I think, um, I think really a lot of it is kind of known what to focus on at the right time. And so. Um, I’ll kind of tell a quick story. I was in a I’m in a food blog, Facebook group, and I kind of posted, uh, kind of like I did an emotion invest. Um, one, this is kind of more of a meta thing.
Like a good way to make connections in Facebook groups is to share your own success. Um, cause people will reach out asking a bunch of questions and that’s an easy way to kind of meet a lot of people quickly. So I did this in the face, in a food blog, Facebook group that I’m in. Um, I shared how I went from, you know, 40,000 hits to 150,000 hits.
It’s in a couple of months. Um, it’s had a bunch in there, really the big thing of how I was link-building. Um, and so I had a bunch of people reaching out, asking how to build things, how to build links, but a lot of them have sites with 10 articles. Yeah. And like, you really need to build links. I needed to write more content.
Um, and so I think for me, it was knowing what to focus on the right time. I, I focused on content really for the first six months to a year. I was building links along the way for sure. But I wasn’t, it was not my main focus, but once I figured, Hey, I got a hundred articles on the site. Now, if I move my site authority up, all those move up in the rankings.
And so my best piece of advice when it comes to that is. Is focusing on the right thing at the right time with a new site, it’s probably content for a long time. Um, it’s writing content, writing more content going back and updating your old content. And along the way, trying to build links here, you know, here and there.
Um, That’s definitely my advice. The other thing is, um, you know, more, more site-wide stuff. So I’m doing a lot of like Google, like eat now. So I updated my about page, a contact page, a team page, really trying to make my site look like a legit business. Um, you interviewed someone about a month ago. I think it might’ve been in that dignity,
Spencer Haws: dignity.
We did. We talked about eat quite a bit.
Richmond Howard: So that, that, that if you haven’t listen, if your listener to this podcast, hasn’t listened to that, they need to go back and listen to it. But it’s making your site look like an actual business, um, like a legitimate site. And so I’ve really tried to. Go back kind of work.
Um, And it takes me about three minutes, three minutes per post now. And, um, cause I figured it had got a lot of content. Google has said spike site speed is important. It’s going to become more important. Um, I may not pass core of a vitals with, you know, with having a lot of ads on the site, but if I’m faster than the food blogger on page one or phase two, that I’m in good shape, like yeah.
Uh, and so I’ve really spent a lot of time on sitespeed, um, all that, like eat and speed, like it ma it’s important, but. Really the, the first year should just be content, um, for a lot, for a lot more people than I think, really realize that. Right.
Spencer Haws: Yeah. I agree. I think a lot of people you’re right. They, they have 10, 20 articles and you know, you’re not going to see huge results until you start getting that 5,000 articles plus.
Right. And so they can focus on that. It’s just so important to age that in Google, let it start ranking better. And hopefully start having these big jumps, like you did over a two, three month period, right? Where. You know, something just takes off and, and you know, that can happen once you put in the effort.
So, um, lot of great tips that you shared, what what’s sort of the plan now with meal prep, a fire. Are you going to just hang onto it longterm, sell it at some point. What’s your thoughts there,
Richmond Howard: man? Yeah, so I was, I was thinking about that last night at two in the morning when I was rocking my newborn, I was like the good old days.
That’s been all my, my, my site strategy sessions are now. Um, but man, I, uh, I think so my lawn, this is as of, as of last night, uh, my long-term plan is to keep meal prep if I keep growing it. Um, and really my, my goal is to go from five, 6,000 a month to 30,000 a month. Uh, I want to, I want to attend next to it.
I want to, I want to get there. I think it’s possible. Um, the food, the food space is, I mean, there are endless opportunities for content ideas for affiliate ideas. There’s tons of sites that are doing insane traffic numbers. Uh, I mean, truly I’m, I’m a really, really small fish, even, even with the success that I’ve had.
Um, cause I’m getting a hundred thousand hits a month from Google. My goal is to get to a million in the next couple of years, a month. And so. To get there. It’s going to be just a lot of content. And so I’m kind of going back to, uh, content production. Um, I didn’t share this, but whenever I was buying and doing all the best kitchen guidance stuff, I wasn’t producing any new content just cause I was so focused on updating content and merging it all and doing it.
Right. Um, but so then in January I hit the ground running again with new content. I did like 40 articles with niche website builders. Um, And then now I’m just building out a ton of like Roundup content, 30 ground beef ideas, 30 chicken meal, prep ideas. Um, so I’m doing 10 articles a month with those. Uh, I have a lot of roundups that are ranking already.
And so I’m having some recipes kind of created to put on my site that I can link to within my own site. And so, um, so I send about 30,000 outbound clicks a month to other recipes. Um, And so trying to keep some of that traffic inside of my own side to kind of get our PMs up. Um, but man really it’s just going to be content.
And so I’m doing about 10 to 15 articles a month now. Uh, I’d love to be doing an article a day here in a few months if I can get the budget to do it. Um, but then all along the way on growing meal prep, uh, um, so take everything I’ve learned and just buy and flip other sites. Um, and so you’ll probably find longterm.
Maybe along the way, buy and sell some sites, you know, that are getting 3000 a month, 5,000 a month. And just try to get some cash infusions, um, to pay off our house, to travel to. Be generous to give to our church to help friends. Um, we’ve all kinds of things we’d love to do with that money. Um, which we’re, we’re, we’re personally, we’re really passionate about adoption.
Um, so we, we have not adopted yet, but, um, we have family and friends who have, and adoption is expensive. And so we’d love to be able to really contribute to a lot of that. Um, one of our kind of big picture goals to help a hundred couples adopt. Um, wow. And so. Yeah. So if I can, if I can buy a site in the water bath niche and sell it and make 200 grand and pay off our house and give 20 grand away, like, I would love to love to do that.
Um, all, all the, while it kind of grow in meal prep, like kind of a long-term, you know, Project.
Spencer Haws: Yeah. So I L I like what you said there, um, maybe to just kind of restate, I was gonna maybe challenge you a little bit, but, you know, I think maybe your model is okay, but let’s, let’s talk it through. Well, my concern is, are you going to spread yourself too thin?
Right? Like if you’ve got, if you got meal prep, defy that you really want to get to a million visitors a month and you know, to $50,000 a month, Why not like go all in on that. Um, but at the same time, I can understand that, Hey, if you are just going to be reinvesting, everything that you’re making into re meal prep and, you know, you’re, you’re snowballing that.
And so, you know, down the road, it’s this huge thing. Um, you know, do you still have the time without taking away too much focus? To be flipping other sites. And I’m not saying you can’t right. It’s just, it requires a team. It requires being very organized and not spreading yourself too thin. Right. So that’s the only challenge.
Richmond Howard: And so I think there’s definitely, there’s a good caution there for sure. Um, I think fortunately I’m at the point where I’m outsourcing a lot of what I’m doing. Yep. It is fairly well, um, with the system that I have, the systems I’m putting in place, um, for, for riders, I’m, I’m actually hiring someone to help me, uh, really manage all my content production.
Um, and so if anyone listening to this is interested, um, I’ll pay probably 25 bucks an hour, um, to anyone, but, um, someone who will really manage things like keyword research, uh, I have a pretty specific way that I like to do that. Um, and then Ryan outlines given to us to writers, getting graphics made inputting into, into WordPress formatting at all.
If I can get all that off my plate, then. A, it will free me up big time, um, to then kind of just keep reproducing what I’m, what I already know how to do. Um, and particularly on the, the other websites, these in some more like paid services, like one little lab to boost authority, um, You know, I don’t, I definitely don’t have time to link bill to six different sites.
Um, because that is really time. I mean, but if I can outsource parts of that to sort of the, the more like buy, buy and flip projects, then I’d be happy to do that. Yeah, absolutely. We’ll see. Yeah. In six months, I say, no, I will tell you that you were right. And so,
Spencer Haws: Hey, you know, and who am I to talk? I’ve got tons of projects going on right now.
And, um, the only reason I brought it up is cause you know, sort of thrown into the last year. I was thinking, man, I got like seven or eight different projects I’m working on. I need to get rid of a few. Right. And so, so I have, I’ve sold a couple sites, done a few other things, but um, You know, it’s, as long as you’ve got the right people in place and the right systems in place, like you can absolutely make it happen.
Um, and so we’ll, we’ll maybe catch up in six months a year from now, see how things are going. Okay.
Richmond Howard: Yeah, sure. The goal for me by the end of this year is 10,000 a month. And, uh, I think I’ll hit that pretty easily with kind of Q3 Q4. Uh, ad revenue rates and stuff, but, uh, I let it be doing 15,000 a month this time, next year.
And so, um, I’ll come back on.
Spencer Haws: Yeah, absolutely. Man, when you hit that $10,000 a month, Mark, let me know. And uh, yeah, we’ll get you scheduled on we’ll we’ll we’ll talk it out again, but, uh, um, so for people that, um, want to get in touch with you or follow along with you, I mean, you kind of made a job offer here.
If anybody wants to accept that, how should people, you know, follow along or get in touch with you? Um,
Richmond Howard: if any listener is not one, they should join that and they can just search for me. Um, they’ll find me. And so, uh, so that that’s, that’s great. Um, you can also email me if you want at rich at dot com. Um, I I’ll definitely respond to email.
Um, but again, it’s less personal and so, uh, with much prefer just Facebook. It’s easier. I don’t mind it. Um, that’s the best way to get in touch. Yeah.
Spencer Haws: Perfect. Thank you rich so much for coming on the niche pursuits podcast. I love the story. It’s kind of something different, you know, being able to take a site that you bought and merged the content.
You’ve had huge growth and success there, and I wish you all the best in the future.
Richmond Howard: Thank you, man. I really enjoyed it. And, uh, my last kind of final plug for you, it’d be. Hey, if other people have authoritative sites and a niche looking notion of this, if you can find a site that’s in your niche, do what I did.
I’d love to cook love, to help out, give advice on how to do that. Well, and, um, I think motion invest is the best marketplace out there. It’s the only one I really look at. Um, every week. So I’m excited at that for whoever does that. I would love to see. I
Spencer Haws: appreciate it. Yeah. Thank you so much. Really great hearing your story again, and yeah.
W you know, over emotional best, we’re doing our best to try and make a really, uh, great marketplace with sites that we’ve done. The due diligence on that are moving in the right direction. And so glad you were able to find some success there and, um, yeah, just all the best really appreciate it.
Richmond Howard: Thanks.