I am very excited about sharing Dan Thompson's story today.
The title you see above is impressive but the real deal is that Dan sold his site for over $20,000.
I've been talking to Dan for over a year now and we used to chat once a week about our niche sites.
Dan is doing a lot these days including some physical products but things weren't looking so rosy a couple years ago. Dan was laid off from his job and was literally collecting unemployment insurance, referred to as E.I. in Canada.
Dan talks about how he first started selling Diablo 2 items for pennies...(see question #8)...
He's definitely moved on to some bigger and better things now.
Alright, let's hear Dan's story...
What is your name and current job/profession?
Daniel Thompson. I work full time online, I suppose I’m an online marketer.
2. How did you get started building niche websites? How long have you been building websites?
I started building niche sties when I was still employed. I was making pretty good money a few years out of school, living in one of the most economically productive cities on earth. I did the right things, I earned a degree in engineering and in Calgary that meant a great job. I imagine it’s similar to having a software engineering degree and living in Silicon Valley.
Fast forward a year, the small startup I had been working at decided to lay me off. I was the fifth hire in this particular role and to this day, I still hold the record for holding that position for the longest. My first site that I had built was earning OK money so I took the time that E.I. afforded me and began building more sites. [Note from Doug: E.I. = Employment Insurance]
A full year has passed and oil prices are in the sewer. My friends are being forced to take mandatory days off without pay. Lots of people are losing their jobs and I’m probably one of the few people in this city that oil doesn’t directly impact their line of work.
3. Tell us about one (preferred) or multiple of your successful websites. What is the URL and what niche are you targeting? If you are not willing to publicly share your domain or niche, that’s just fine.
I actually just sold the very first site I built for low 5 figures. I don’t want to share the URL since I literally just sold it and that wouldn’t be fair. It was in the health and wellness niche.
4. How much money do you make from this successful website(s) each month?
I have to laugh, I remember talking to my brother while waiting on some parts when I still had my job. I was telling him about this site I was going to build. He’s the dreamer and he told me I needed to think bigger than just earning affiliate commissions and it wouldn’t amount to much. He suggested selling the physical product. I told him it was too big of a gamble.
That was two years ago. The product today is highly competitive but one of the highest sellers on Amazon. I don’t even like to think where I might be if I had dove into selling the physical product. I currently sell a few physical products on Amazon so I’ve seen the potential.
It turned out we were both wrong, including the sale the site made over $20k, which isn’t “small” by any stretch of the imagination. But I probably would’ve made $50k if I had gotten into selling the physical product.
5. What is the reason for this website’s success?
I worked at it. I grinded. Most people who fail don’t work at it.
I almost gave up on the site, there was a period when I had just gotten back from vacation and the site wasn’t doing much. My motivation was junk, I had a job that paid well.
It’s important to remember effort and determination ebb and flow. If you build a schedule or a routine it’ll pull you through the times when the tide is low.
6. Please briefly share your overall strategy for finding a niche, getting traffic to your site, ranking in Google, and making money from niche sites.
I still use PBNs. I still use Amazon as my primary income source. I make a little bit of money from Adsense every month. It was an after thought to be honest, I accidently renewed a site that I thought had no potential. I added adwords and now it makes a few hundred dollars a month.
7. What link-building tips can you offer?
Don’t over think it. Build links.
If you don’t want to go down the road of using shady tactics to rank then you better pick a topic you can get passionate about. On my local SEO website I’ve had zero problems getting links from guest posting. Newspapers, blogs, opportunities like this one. It’s because I’m involved in the industry and not some hack trying to scrape together an Amazon site.
There is nothing wrong with being a hack trying to scrape together an amazon site, just don’t expect people to link to your content.
I’ve done a bit of white hat link building for two of my niche sites. They’re a cut above the others one. People won’t link to garbage, however they also won’t link if you don’t ask.
I endorse both roads, grey hat and white hat. I just think it’s a different mindset and most people don’t have the patience to white hat link build. Look at Spencer & Perrin they just posted their earnings and their authority site made over $2k in December. 95% of that was a kindle book, there link building efforts are still a long ways from paying off, but I’m certain that it will pay off for them.
8. How has the success from this website impacted your life?
It’s allowed me to launch a career online. The first dollars I ever made was online selling Diablo II items. My earnings per hour was probably a nickel haha. I didn’t care, I would’ve been playing anyways. My old man traded stocks for a living, placing orders over the phone in our basement and eventually getting on dial up. I think I was meant to work online.
I’m earning substantially less than I would be if I had continued to work 9-5. That said, the upside is way bigger and the flexibility it affords me is incredible.
9. Do you have any additional tips or advice for others that would like to replicate your success with their own websites?
Grind. Jon Haver is the best example of a guy that just grinds. He’s got kids, he’s got a fulltime job, he’s got a wife and yet he manages to pull in $15k/month. What’s your excuse?
Not everyone is going to be as successful as him at it, but $15k per month is way more then you need.
10. Do you have a blog or other place that people can following along with what you are doing?
Today I’m more focused on local SEO than niche sites (I still build niche sites but I outsource the majority of it). We’re currently re-developing the site, but you can find us over at mylocalseo.ca
Secret to Success: I worked at it. I grinded. Most people who fail don’t work at it.
Dan, Unbelievable! Congratulations on selling your site. That's fantastic and super inspiring that you sold your site.
I really like that Dan just kept grinding away, iterating on smaller successes, over and over.
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