The Content Plan That Grows Your Income Without Backlinks

UPDATE: Jan 30, 2017. If you want to see the results of expanding the content on an existing site, then keep reading. I’ll present results from 2 sites where I added content and the traffic went up, and most importantly the revenue went up.

Additionally, the revenue didn’t just go up – The ROI is dramatic.

Get the Content Management templates here for free. You can start expanding your site today!

Content is the cornerstone of the growth in revenue and the traffic that drives it. Across the 2 sites over 250 posts were added over the past several months, leading to massive growth in traffic and revenue and without backlinks.

Check out these 2 graphics for the site that earned almost $15,000 in Dec 2016:

The content added is built around the Keyword Golden Ratio (explanation of KGR – opens in YouTube) and that’s content is monetized with the Amazon Affiliate tracking code in Yellow. The chart covers Jan – Dec 2016. You’ll notice that the long tail tail, i.e. KGR compliant, content makes about the same as the large search volume content. The KGR content can rank and get organic search traffic without the help of backlinks.

This post will answer most of the questions about content that I added.

Ready? Let’s get to it! In the video, I’ll tell you:

  1. What the team looks like. {org chart template}
  2. How I hire people from Upwork.
  3. The job posting {template} so you can use it.
  4. What to do if it doesn’t work out {template}.
  5. What my content manager does, i.e. the roles and responsibilities. {template}, for the rate of about $8 – $10 per hour.
  6. The content management tracking sheet {template}.
  7. Get the templates here. Just enter your email address and you’ll get access. **If you’re on the Niche Site Project email list already, go check your email because you should have a link to the templates already.

How Much Does Content Cost?

I invested about $4,000 in content for the site that made about $15,000 in December. $3,200 in content and $800 for editing. Then, the other site $14,670 (it hit $32,000 in Dec) had about $1,200 of content added.

Get the Content Management templates here for free. You can start expanding your site today!

Content isn’t necessarily cheap, but it’s not risky if you know the system works. When you think about starting a business, a niche site business is a VERY cheap way to do it. Imagine opening up a brick and mortar store – It’d cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.

If you wondering if I could have gotten the content for a cheaper price…

Then you’re missing the point. If it makes you feel better, then, YES, one could get the content for cheaper.

But the point is to make an investment (content in this case) and get a positive ROI (Amazon Affiliate commissions in this case). In both of these cases, adding content paid for the investment very fast and had a long lasting positive impact on the earnings. If you get too caught up on trying to get the best deal, you’re doing yourself a disservice.

If you have questions, ask in the comments below.

About the Author: Doug Cunnington is the founder of Niche Site Project. He shows people how to create Affiliate Sites using project management and a proven, repeatable framework. Doug loves creating systems, using templates, and brewing beer (but usually not at the same time).

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76 comments… add one
  • Hi Doug,

    I love your posts and I’m a really fan of your projects.

    Please tell me how long should be a good post be? How many words let you wrote? Are all posts same long?

    Best regards from Germany 🙂

    • Christian, Thanks! I appreciate the compliment.

      It depends on the content – as long as it needs to be. I have content that’s 400 words and some that’s 13,000 words.

      In general, longer is better. You’ll have more of a chance for long tail keywords.

      If you force me to pick a number I’d say make sure it’s 1,200 words.

      Does that help?

  • Hansie

    How do you pay for the content? Do you pay per hour/per word/per article?

    Read another post from a blog that said high quality content is the future seo, this from one of the biggest black hat seoers I know.

  • Leo

    Hey Doug,

    Love the site, and it is super helpful. Have you ever had an issue with a writer decided to go rouge and make a clone of your site using their own affiliate codes? I don’t mean someone directly plagarizing your site, but rather a writer creating something in your same niche and using your own KW research as a basis for the articles he would write.

    Thanks for sharing your info with us beginners.


    • Hey Leo, Thanks for reading NSP and for the compliment.
      No, at least not to my knowledge.
      Most of the time people are too busy with their own lives to learn something totally new.

      I did have a guy that went a little nuts and tried to demand more pay after finding this blog. I fired him, but I guess he felt cheated. The content alone isn’t worth much – it’s the culmination of KWs, content, on page SEO, and links.

  • kanishka

    Hello Doug ,

    Another great post Doug. Thanks for your hard work . Are you hiring SEO peoples ? like SEO managers , link builders etc ?

    and also thanks for that KGR video .It is awesome works 🙂

    • Hey Kanishka, Thanks for reading NSP! No, I’m not openly hiring folks, but thanks for asking.
      The KGR is pretty crazy on how well it works. Have you had good success with it? If so, let me know!

  • Hey Doug,

    This is really great motivation 🙂 .. I am sure you have actually cleared doubts of lot of people… Generating more content or building backlinks these are 2 question which contradict always ..

    Thanks for the awesome post

    • Hey Shahnawaz, thanks. I’m glad it’s motivational.

      I think a blend of content and backlinks is important, though you could pick one and go with it.
      Good luck!

  • Great video! It’s super helpful. I have a couple of niche sites that make $300-500 now. I have dropped the ball on content creation and have let the sites run on autopilot. Looks like I definitely need to get back on the content creation.

    • Hi Carlin, I’m really glad it was helpful!

      $300-500 is great and an awesome platform to grow from. It was just earlier this year when the $4,200 site was making about that much.

      Content or backlinks will be the ticket for growth.

  • Gabi

    Hey Doug

    Nice inside look into the management side of generating content.

    I’ve planned to get started on outsourcing content pieces in a few weeks. It’ll be my first time, so these templates will come in handy.

    • Gabi, thanks for checking it out. I appreciate it.

      Let me know how the templates work out for you.

  • I agree with you totally.I have done some KW queries with Moz bar to try and analyse page authority of search resulta appearing on top three positions.

    To my suprise,a page with authority of 27 ranks number one beating those with more than 40 PA.

    But a closer look at the page with PA of 27,I realised it had High quality loong and I realy mean long content compared to the 47 PA site.

    I agree,Content is the next frontier in SEO.

    Good analysis.Kudos.

    • Hi njoroge, Thanks for checking out the post. And it’s interesting about the length of the content in your case.

      I haven’t researched it on a wide scale, but I bet you’d see a trend if you looked into it.

      Also, the DA & PA is just an estimate from MOZ, the worst of the backlink crawlers in my opinion. (They have the smallest index and less innovative tools.)

  • Doug,
    I love being on your list and I love your post. Thank you for your honest no BS approach to all of this internet marketing stuff.

    This industry is swimming with “GURUs” and Spammy Marketers.

    You, sir, are not one of those.

    I look up to your success and follow your projects.

    I like that when you email me, it brings me to your case studies and post with solid, helpful information that is without fluff.

    I believe when I previewed your Five Figure Niche Site I realized it was a bit gray hat and used PBNs which turned me away, although I like your keyword research style and efficient, systematic project management.

    I just try to stick to white hat based on how history has played out.

    It is cool to see you working on a project like this.

    I can relate because I am currently doing a similar case study.

    I have a website that is three years old.

    Long before I knew anything about SEO I bought traffic that ended up being dirty PBNs which brought me spammy traffic.

    This website was never monetized with affiliate marketing or even making more than a $1 a month on ads.

    But I plan to restart the project (as I no longer have the server but still the domain) and will try to use the new online marketing knowledge that I have learned to attempt to breathe some new life into the website sticking to completely White Hat tactics.

    Keep up the great content.

    Content is the key which is why I need to get back to planning it.


    • Gabi

      Hey Todd,

      The color of SEO hats are really subjective in opinion. I don’t think there’s any SEO strategy that’s 100% white hat. Unless you’re waiting for links to come naturally, and not doing anything else. Which I did for a long time. But it’s really not scale-able if you want to grow your business.

      There’s only gray hat and black hat in my opinion.

      Depending on who you ask, pitching and landing a guest post could be gray or black. Guest posts with useful information that helps readers and you didn’t pay to have it posted is about as white hat as you can be in a gray hat world.

      I’m currently a student of Doug’s Five Figure Niche site and I can tell you that the link building strategies are solid and clean. Sure, anyone can choose to go black hat. I feel PBN’s fall in this category – but others might not.

      Before FFNS I was planning on going with PBN’s but it’s clear from my site’s performance in the SERPS that those aren’t necessary.

      Just my 2 cents.

    • Hey Todd, Thanks! That’s really kind of you.

      So to be clear, Five Figure Niche Site teaches a White Hat Approach. There are bonuses that cover Gray Hat…why? Well, I know that material and people want to learn it. Me – I don’t use Gray Hat link building anymore, not because it doesn’t work, but because I’m a baby! I can’t stomach the risk after being burned in the past.

      Good luck with your project! Give me a shout when you get some results.

  • Hi
    Great post. I invested $500 to a niche site, but it did not make money yet. After read your post, I will research and outsource more articles. Thanks for sharing.

    • Hey Joseph, thank you! Glad you found it helpful.

      What did you invest the $500 in? I expect content, but I wanted to check.

      Good luck and let me know how the research goes.

  • Hi Doug, I have subscribed to your news.I am already in your list. Can you email me free templates? I have not received them.
    Thank you.

    • Also, I have seen you KGR video. The idea is great. I have not tested it yet.
      What do you think, is this method better, then finding low competitive keys with LTP or

    • I’ll send you an email, Roman…

  • Dennis

    Hi Doug,

    First time reader/commenter, really liking what I’m reading and so different from the rest of the “gurus.” I like the idea of producing excellent/quality content and seeing the ROI on that verse “getting” backlinks which is hard to determine the actual ROI (if any).

    I do have a question regarding the KGR tip, how do you go about getting the exact search volume now that GKP now just shows a range of search volume?

  • Doug, you are superb (Y) But why arent my articles getting the traffic they deserve? On my website, I created quality articles after much research but when they dint get enough attention, I left writing for it. I had plans to hire people to write for that website but then I dint.

    what do you suggest

    • Hi Dania, Thanks! I appreciate that.

      Are you targeting KWs that are really competitive, moderately competitive, or not competitive at all?

      How long is your content? Is your content as long or longer than your competition?

      Are you building backlinks? If so, what kind of links? How many? How many backlinks does your competition have?

      Do you have better clarity about your problem after answering the questions?

      Let me know!

  • Craig

    Hi Doug,

    I came across your site years ago when I was looking to start a niche site. You have come a long way. Congrats on all your success.

    I failed tremendously in the content creation part. I hired cheap writers from the Phillipines and did not have the time to check thier work so my site ended up filled with a bunch of awful writing that google decided not to rank.

    I am picking myself back up for another stab at it. Couple of quick questions:

    1) Do you set a price beforehand for your Amazon articles. For example, they need to be over 1000 and for $15? Or are you paying per word and let the writer determine how long the content needs to be to to be the most useful.

    2) Do you teach your editor wordpress or have some clear training documents on how to publish the content?


    • Hey Craig, thank you! Glad you’re still reading NSP.
      Look, it’s okay you had that failure – I did the same exact thing. You hear about VAs and think paying less is always better…but it is only one part of it.

      Yep, I set the price ahead of time for new writers. If I have a long term gig, then I may pay by the word.

      I have a job aid for the editor and normally they’ve used WordPress before, but not always. The job aid is really detailed and continually improved.

  • Kevin

    Hi Doug,
    This post so useful for me. I have some question:
    If I use KGR for information article, do i have link building for it?or Will it rank auto?
    And can i use KGR for buying article? Or I have to check KD, competitive, etc…?

  • Hey Doug,

    I can’t agree more with you. I’m following the same approach ” Building a website with 0 Backlinks , Nada” it works if you choose easy keywords to rank quickly.



  • MD Hossain

    Hey Doug, I had a question.
    How do you go about ranking these kws? Guest post for each content would be a massive headache. Wouldn’t it?

    Have a great day :).

    • These pages ranked without any external link building. 🙂 There was some internal link building, though.
      And guest posting would be a lot of work, BUT if other people are not able to do that much guest posting then I’m happy to do it.

  • Hey Doug,

    Thanks a lot for sharing this very helpful article. Last month I published my new site. I published more than 50 articles and total 60000+ words. But I don’t get enough traffic from search engine.

    What is your suggestions to get more traffic from search engines?

    • Hi Thomas, Great job publishing that much content!
      I would make sure the on page SEO is solid.
      Then, go out and get lots of guest posts targeting a select number of posts.

      That all assumes the KW research is excellent.

  • What type of content we should post. Informative or review type content?

  • Hi Doug,
    I am learning a lot from you.
    Just a little sharing.
    After finding a Keyword using the KGR method, is my job to provide a better content than the competitors on the first pages? Nothing for backlinks? In that case, will some internal backlinks boost the page more in the rank?
    Best regards
    Kawser Ahmed
    P.S. I subscribed for the Content Template, but no email has been sent to my address. I’ve used the same address that I am using for this comment.

    • Hi Kassel, thanks!
      I’m not sure I understand all your questions, but yeah, provide great info and add internal linking for new pages and posts. Exactly.

      Are you a new subscriber?

      • Kawser Ahmed

        No, I am already a subscriber to your blog!

  • Hi Doug,
    Thank you for the great post. I have a question, you stated the you publish 250 post for several month. I like to know do you post bulk post at a time or post everyday? I actually asking what was the schedule of posting.

  • Brian

    I find I spend a ton of time trying to format a post(tables/graphics) after its been written. Do you just publish it without lots of formatting and then improve any post that start getting traffing later on?

  • Brian

    Hi Doug
    I read thru everything but confused on types of keywords…are all your new golden keyword targeted posts for product based keywords like “best x for y” and other review related or just lots of non-competitive informational keywords that you somehow funnel to your produxt review posts? Like “how to attach a rainshower head” and link to best rainshower heads

    • Hey Brian, thanks for checking out the post!
      So, both kinds of keywords…mostly affiliate based review products. It can be the “best x for y” but can be anything. I have a few very highly trafficked pages that have a moderate search volume, but a MASSIVE long tail set of keywords. I don’t even know what they are…

      Anyway, any kind of keyword will do…

  • Doug:

    Great post and video! Really intersting topic.

    I have downloaded a copy of the templates that you provided (thank you) but I see that in the hiring a writer section you mention a style guide.

    Can you send me a link to that as I have absolutely no idea what a style guide is and what it should contain.


    • Hey Ken, thanks for checking out the post!
      You’re better off creating your own… but here is what’s in mine (which is super simple):
      Style guide

      • Use Arial, 12 pt
      • Single spaces after periods at the end of sentences
      • Don’t use semicolons.
      • Paragraphs should be short (2-3 sentences) for a blog audience
      • Sentence case title headings (only capitalize the first letter in the first word)
      • Use Heading 2 subheadings (not bold)
      • Use those Heading 2 often to break up the text – every few paragraphs
      • Place your references as hyperlinks in the text (i.e. the URLs of sites that you reference)
  • Hi Doug,
    This is very helpful info, am building a list of keywords to try out this method.
    Q: When determining the allintitle count, do you set your Google search settings to 100> ‘Never Show Instant Results’ then set ‘Results per page to 100; or do you just leave it to 10 instant results?
    When I search the allintitle with search settings at 10; I get a huge number which drastically reduces when using the 100 results settings.

  • Hey Doug, nice info and helpful when I outsource.

    You may also want to fix the typo:
    #7 – “Just enter you’re email address ” Should be “your”

    • Ross, thanks!
      And awesome catch on the typo. 🙂 It happens – no excuse for a silly typo.

  • Rom

    Hi Doug,
    I am already a member on you list and I would like to know if you could send me the templates as it doesn’t seem to work when I try your link (it ask to register again , when I o so I don’t get any emails).
    Thanks by the way, great post.

  • Joshua Davis

    Hi Doug,

    Could you manually add me to your list and send the templates? No matter what I do it won’t let me sign up. It just says Aweber error email blocked. I tried several different emails.

  • Hi Doug.
    Thank you for your amazing post.
    I have started a nichesite for 2 months and had almost 200 posts so far. The site’s ranking has been increasing gradually according to ahrefs. However, I haven’t got any order from amazon yet. Can you please tell me how long it would take (roughly) to get the first order and income from amazon? I think I need to be more patient. Thanks heaps.

  • Hi Doug,
    This is very helpful info, I also have website and Building list of keywords to apply this.


  • Hi Doug. Thank you for sharing this post. It was really helpful when I build up content for my site.
    Cheers, Danny

  • Artem

    Great article, Doug – thank you!
    One question. You’ve mentioned: “Then, the other site $14,670 (it hit $32,000 in Dec) had about $1,200 of content added.”
    Did you mean that $14,670 was the amount you invested at that moment in this second site? If yes, then what kind of expenses they were (guest posts writing, outreach services, paid links, etc.)?

    • Thanks!
      I think that was a typo – sorry. The site MADE $14,670 in a month.

      The expenses were cheap…virtually nothing aside from hosting. The costs are outlined…$1200 in content. It was the project go white site so you can learn more about the details there.

      • Artem

        Thanks for your reply! Got it – I’ve already read your article about Project White Hat 😉

        I have two more questions, if you don’t mind:
        1) have you seen any significant changing in rankings of your KGR-based posts due to the Google Rankbrain algorithm? (in short – it’s an AI that looks for the best results that are not based on article’s titles, but that are in general have the best information about the search query. There is a detailed guide about Rankbrain at Backlinko, if someone is interested)
        2) When you decide on keywords that have monthly searches >250, how do you judge them via your KGR formula? For example, if some keyword have 900 monthly searches and there are 57 “allintitle” results – would you still use 0.25 ratio as your baseline?

        Thank you in advance!

  • Jeff

    Hi Doug,

    I’ve tried and tried to find those templates or your email sign up list. Could you send those templates to my email please? And definitely enroll me in your email list. Also, how much do you typically pay your editor to edit those articles to WP? From your videos if you published 200 articles and the editing cost you around $800, that would be around $4 per article. Am I on the right track? That seems pretty cheap to edit each article, but that would be nice to be able to hire someone to do that for me.

    • Jeff, there is a link to the templates in the first email you received. Did you get that email?

      That’s roughly about right…but I was paying by the hour. I paid about $9-10/hr initially and gave my content manager a raise after some time.

  • Coop Pillow

    Hi Doug.
    Thank you for your amazing post.
    I have started a nichesite for 2 months and had almost 200 posts so far. The site’s ranking has been increasing gradually according to ahrefs. Thanks heaps.

  • Sina

    Hi Doug,

    your link to “behind the scenes” webinar is broken and does not work

  • Jay

    Love your content Doug, but my account at Upwork got permanently deactivated! I revised slightly from your referenced template but didn’t deviate nowhere near drastically enough for Upwork to claim my job request was a “scheme” or “scam.” Any idea what went wrong for me?

    • Jay, sorry to hear it.
      It may have been that you mentioned the word “review” — let me know.

      They don’t like the words “Amazon” or “Review” in there because product suppliers used to pay for fake reviews. So that may have been the problem.

      I basically just post listings for blog content and then give instructions later.

  • Vishal Gupta

    Hey Doug,
    I love your content!
    Some Questions here..
    A.I want to start our Amazon affiliates niche site but I have no idea for content writing so you can suggest me any writer from Fiverr under $5( please send me link that ) because Upwork is so costly for me!
    B. I have a health website. Can I use this for Amazon affiliate niche site? And please review the site!
    Thank you
    Love from India🇮🇳

  • Crystal

    Hey Doug! Love your site and all of your content. If you’re willing to share – how much do you normally set your fixed bid for per 1,000 words? I’ve paid for $10 articles on Fiverr and got what I paid for (not much). I’m curious as to how much on average a decently written post goes for these days! Is upwork better quality?

  • Rudy

    Hi Doug,
    Thanks for providing such valuable content. I and many others appreciate your generosity and willingness to help others in the affiliate marketing niche.

    I do have a question about your Content Management Templates article. In it, you mentioned the following:

    “Follow the supplied style guide (I will send when I hire you)”

    Is this guide available or is it a trade secret?



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