How to Grow a Passive Income Niche Website in FOUR Hours Per Month (Assumes you have funds for content)

4 hour clock

Before you scoff and suggest my title is clickbait garbage and that I’m totally out to lunch, I’ll qualify this entire article by saying it’s only possible if you have the funds to pay for content.  If not, there’s no way. If you’re writing everything, be prepared to write a lot to get some website lift off; definitely more than four hours per month.  If you do have the funds and are willing to put a little time in, you can create a decent cash flow out of thin air with not much time each month.  On the flip side, the monthly investment isn’t insignificant.

Who starts in this business with the funds to pay for content?

It’s true many who get the blogging bug don’t have funds to pay for writers.  I was in that camp for years.  However, it’s now established that content sites are a viable investment and when done right, can generate an excellent return on investment.  The model is attracting folks who wish to invest in niche sites for a cash flow and profitable exit.  I’ve had Fat Stacks readers email me saying they have pockets full of cash wanting to invest thousands into a niche site. It’s not unheard of.

Who else?

It applies to the folks who have a profitable blog already and are considering launching a second site.  They have the money and the infrastructure, now it’s just a matter of executing but doing so in a way that doesn’t hoover too much of their time.

Here are the steps to launching and growing a niche website in only one hour per month.

Step 1: Do keyword research

Time: 2 hours

Keyword research is the critical step.  This is the lion’s share of your monthly work.  If done right, the rest takes care of itself.  1.5 to 2 hours should be enough to come up with 30 to 100 articles.  The more you do keyword research, the faster and better you get.  A good approach is to start with very, very easy-to-rank keywords.  They won’t get you much traffic but if they rank, you’ll get some traffic and that’s important to get the ball rolling. As your traffic grows along with natural inbound links, so to will your site’s ability to rank for more keywords and better keywords.  A website is like building a city. Start with one structure and go from there… building on top of what you have.

Step 2: Order content

Time: 30 minutes

Whether you work directly with freelance writers, use a platform like WriterAccess or a content service, get your order placed.  Send your list of topics to your content source. If you use a self-serve platform like WriterAccess, it takes a bit to get all the orders submitted.  The plus side is they can all be done for you in 7 days. I sure love that 7-day turn-around. Just today I ordered another 120 articles that’ll be done in 7 to 10 days.

Step 3: Review delivered content

Time: 1 hour

It’s a good idea, unless you have a good editor, to review the delivered content to ensure it’s good enough.  I don’t read every word but I read enough of each article to know whether it needs to be sent back or not.  Generally, if the intro is well done the rest of the article is well done. If the intro reads badly, then I comb through carefully (often sending it back because I’m a stickler for good intros).

At this point, I assume you have a VA to get your content formatted on your site.  If not, you might consider going with a quality content service that includes publishing your articles on your site for you to save you this very time-consuming, boring job.  If you’re publishing 20 articles per month it’s not so bad but if publishing 100, that’s a lot of work

Step 4: Interlink and review

30 minutes

If you have someone else format and publish, it’s a really good idea to check the published work on your website. I check newly published content on my sites routinely (daily actually). I find I can spot mistakes pretty fast when I’m reviewing the published version on the front end of the site.  Again, the more you do this the faster you’ll get.

Also, take a little time to interlink your published articles.  You don’t have to go nuts with this but it helps to interlink if you have a hierarchical content configuration (i.e. cornerstone with subordinate articles) or just a smattering of articles on a variety topics (in which case interlink the most closely related).

Total time: 4 hours per month

Output: 30 to 100+ published articles

Cost: $1,500 to $7,500 per month (it really depends on how many articles, how long the articles are and how much you pay per article).

Is this realistic?

Yeah, it is.  I publish 20 to 50 articles on smaller sites all the time spending less than 4 hours per month on each site.  That said, I’ve done this for years and have systems in place to do it fast.  But that’s the point.  You might be slow initially but the key is creating systems and doing this as efficiently as possible.

What about social media, link building and email marketing?

Ignore all that in the beginning. It’s a waste of time. Certainly don’t pay anyone to do any of it for you.  It’s small potatoes stuff in the beginning.  If you have more than four hours per month but no more money, write more content.  In the early stages, the best thing you can do is get as much good content targeting low competition keywords as possible.  I’m biased though. I don’t build links. I have a little here and there but it’s not something I do.  I focus 95% on publishing content.

Once you start getting traffic, you can test social media (usually a waste of time) and/or email marketing.  But wait until you have traffic coming in.

What about making money?

The most passive method to earn from websites is with display ads.  Once the ads are on your site, you do nothing to earn money.  Ads earn on autopilot.  That doesn’t mean you have nothing to do. You need to grow traffic.  But you don’t have to do anything to ensure the ads themselves earn.  Today’s top ad networks handle all the optimization and placement for you.

You can take one of two approaches with display ads, depending on how badly you want to start earning.

One approach is as soon as you have a few dozen visitors per day, apply to Ezoic.  Ezoic has a low or no traffic threshold so you can get ads on your site fast. In the past, I’ve liked this option because it’s motivating to get revenue coming in even if it’s just a tiny bit.

The other approach is wait until you have 50,000 monthly visitors and apply to Mediavine.  Mediavine will handle everything for you and you can be pretty confident you can’t earn more elsewhere.

Isn’t affiliate marketing passive?

It’s pretty passive and I like affiliate marketing but it’s not quite as passive as display ads. With affiliate marketing you need to get the links and spend a bit of time on conversion rate optimization.  If you have content that will convert visitors to sales, it’s definitely worth it.  But most content that meets the extremely low competition threshold is not the type of content that generates affiliate commissions.  Which leaves display ads as your best bet.


Perhaps a bit but if you stick with it month after month and get good at it, it’s a pretty realistic timeline necessary to grow a passive income niche site.  It’s a process that eliminates all the unnecessary stuff we can get derailed with.  When you have a very limited time to get something done, you’ll do the most important stuff.

How long will it take to make money?

That’s a tough question to answer. What I can tell you is how long it’s taken me to grow some of my newer sites. I have one site that is currently a tad over 1.5 years old (launched in June 2020) and earns $5,500 to $8,000 per month. It has about 800 published articles.  It’s valued at around $300K.  I’ve spent around $75K on it.  It’s turned out to be an excellent investment.  While I’ve written for it, if you subtract that time, I really haven’t done much more to that site than what I’ve set out above.

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