This email isn’t going to resonate with everyone, but it sure does for me.
It occurred to me this morning, once again, that it’s astonishing how we can build up a great business simply by creating content out of thin air.
It’s not unique to those of us who write fun content and monetize with display ads and affiliate offers.
Influencers do it.
Digital product sellers do it.
Many e-commerce companies do it as well. They set up their offer and then create content to sell it.
SEO agencies do it.
In fact, creating content in some form or another is the foundation for most online businesses.
Why did this thought come to mind?
This morning while enjoying my coffee looking out the window at all the snow falling (glad I got a truck recently) I was thinking about how offering ads in this newsletter has worked out so well. It was a spur of the moment idea that’s resulted in a good, almost passive income stream.
I followed that with imagining how well the ads could perform if I had 5X or 10X the email subscribers that I do have. I started brainstorming ways to attract more subscribers and before I knew I was seriously considering methods that I do NOT enjoy doing.
I snapped back to reality and told myself to just focus on doing what I’m doing because I enjoy it and it works.
It’s working because I enjoy writing the newsletters (content) which is the vehicle to sell ads. If I loathed writing emails, I wouldn’t do it (or I’d do what many others do and write a quick snippet and link out to the blog or elsewhere).
I focus on putting out half-decent content. That’s it. It’s not the fastest method. It’s probably not the most effective method. But it’s something I enjoy which makes it easy to do.
And then it occurred to me that’s exactly what my niche sites are as well. They’re fun, creative content websites that earn passive income.
Again, I could do more to them to earn more money such as launch e-commerce, hustle to sell sponsored ads, waste time on additional social media channels that would have mediocre results at best, try my hand at less-than-stellar videos, etc.
But none of that would be all that fun.
I enjoy my simple content process. It works very well.
The operative phrase is “what I’m doing is fun.” And because it’s fun, I’ve stuck with it for years day-in and day-out.
Why introduce stuff that isn’t so fun?
While I love publishing content, another aspect of this business I REALLY enjoy is experimenting to squeeze more money from existing traffic.
It’s a balancing act. I could plaster MORE ads on my sites but that results in diminishing returns. In fact, I’ve eased back a tad on the number of ads on my sites in favor of user experience.
In its place I’m investing time into some quick-win affiliate promotions on my sites. Not every article, but many of them where there is some buyer intent. I tend not to delve too much into pure buyer intent content on niche sites (reviews and best of articles) but instead publish on the fringes of buyer intent. While conversions aren’t epic, they’re okay… good enough to warrant the effort.
Here’s a recent decent win with one of my smaller niche sites (3,000 to 4,000 daily visitors).
Check it out:
I know those aren’t huge numbers but given the monthly ad revenue is $1,200 to $1,300 per month, those commissions added a sizeable revenue stream to the site.
And it was easy to do.
In fact, I followed the solid affiliate marketing conversion rate optimization (CRO) tips in this course (big discount).
Thanks to that course that I went through almost entirely I have higher hopes for my smaller niche site than I did.
I started it with display ads in mind. Display ads will be the primary revenue channel, but if I can beef up revenue 30%+ with affiliate commissions, that’s all the better.
It’s not just affiliate CRO
The course also taught me quite about site structure and on-site SEO generally. I’ve incorporated some of those changes as well although it’s too early to proclaim traffic changes just yet.
Have an open mind
Before I bought the course, I had a great system in place for traffic and niche site monetization. It works great. I have no plans to change my strategy.
But I also operate with an open mind always looking for ways to improve things.
Display ads will continue to be my primary revenue model. I love it.
But affiliate gravy is definitely a nice topper to ad revenue particularly since it’s merely leveraging existing traffic.
I’m not changing any part of my strategy. I’m just improving it thanks to what I learned in the course.
I’ve bought a lot of courses over the years.
This one is definitely one of the best. No fluff.
In fact, I bought it thinking I’d just rip ahead looking for the affiliate CRO and on-site stuff and leave it at that.
However, it was so good I went through nearly every lesson. In some cases, I went through lessons twice.
It’s that good.
It’s one of those courses all niche site publishers could benefit from. You don’t necessarily need to do everything set out in it. I don’t. But there’s definitely something for all content publishers.
Jon runs the place around here. He pontificates about launching and growing online publishing businesses, aka blogs that make a few bucks. His pride and joy is the email newsletter he publishes.
In all seriousness, Jon is the founder and owner of a digital media company that publishes a variety of web properties visited and beloved by millions of readers monthly. Fatstacks is where he shares a glimpse into his digital publishing business.