Today, we have another very cool success story.
I’m jealous of this guy, too.
He just quit his full time day job to do SEO full time & work on niche sites.
I met Eric Carrell a while back through his brother. He seemed like a sharp guy and was just getting started with his niche site.
Fast forward a few months…Eric’s site is doing really well!
Unfortunately, Eric didn’t want to share his exact earnings but the fact that he quit his job tells us something.
Let’s hear the story from Eric…
1. What is your name and current job/profession?
My name is Eric Carrell, and I do SEO full-time.
2. How did you get started building niche websites? How long have you been building websites?
My brother actually won a contest held by a well-known niche site builder who helped him create a niche site. I followed the site-building process as it went public, but I really got interested when I found out it wasn’t some sort of get rich quick scheme. It took real work, real testing. The site turned out to be successful and my brother saw pretty significant profit; I was immediately hooked, I fired up a site a month later, and I haven’t looked back. That was one year ago.
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 tend to target outdoor niche sites; my main site is about kayaks. That’s what I enjoy, so I knew it wouldn’t be a problem for me to stay invested in it. I’ve started a few others in the outdoor market as well. Also, I recently launched www.keywordsolutions.net, which is a service that performs high-quality keyword research for small businesses and SEOs. This is an exciting new step for me because I always wanted to be in a position where I could offer a service; this seemed like something that people could benefit from as a stand-alone service without the hassle of having to go through an SEO agency.
4. How much money do you make from this successful website(s) each month?
Without getting too specific, it was enough to quit my job and live comfortably doing SEO full-time. Although I have other sites, the kayak website is my anchor.
5. What is the reason for this website’s success?
I have treated my niche site like a business from day one. I think this is why it’s important (to me at least) to pick a niche that you’re interested in. I love this site; I am proud to promote it. Since I enjoy the subject, and the site is brandable, the rest sort of came naturally. Sure it was a lot of work, but it’s easier to build relationships (and get links) when you have those two elements. I also test a lot, and it’s still not as much as I should. I’m always trying to figure out ways to increase the click through rate.
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 tend to stick around the same niche because I continue to find opportunities in it. However, I initially found the niche by making a list of things I am interested in or I thought I could be interested in. I started doing a bunch of keyword research until I found a good market.
From there I started adding content. I think the more I learn the more I see that the evolution of SEO has led to search engines putting more value in content than anything else. It’s important to create original, compelling, and well-written content. After I get a good amount of articles (enough that the site doesn’t appear “thin”) I start doing outreach and link-building. At the same time, I continue to add content on a weekly or bi-weekly basis. In my experience, the more links I build and the more content I add, the more I move up in the SERPs.
I monetize my sites with affiliate links; this is where click rate optimization comes in. I’m always trying to test different things; I want to figure out what people are more likely to click on when visiting my site, and make it look as appealing as possible.
7. What link-building tips can you offer?
I have seen so many friends get penalized from trying to use black hat links that I just stay away from them. Everyone has a different strategy, but my goal is to create a long-term web property. I like to stick to clean, powerful links. I usually start by finding my competitors and running their URL in Open Site Explorer. This will show me their link profile and who is giving them links. From there I attempt to poach their attractive links; and get links for my site as well. I also target manufacturers of products I am promoting on my site. If you’re a blogger who writes about their products, and you’re providing a good, valuable resource, they seem pretty eager to give you a link.
8. How has the success from this website impacted your life?
It was an entire career move for me. I majored in political science, and if you asked me a year and a half ago what I was doing with my life, I’d tell you that I was going into government. I decided, however, that I didn’t want to work 90 hour weeks. I wanted opportunities to increase my wealth and still do things that I enjoy like traveling, hiking, kayaking, etc. Building niche sites has given me a foundation to supplement different projects and still have an income. I get to work from home and I really enjoy the freedom.
9. Do you have any additional tips or advice for others that would like to replicate your success with their own websites?
Yes; ABT: Always. Be. Testing. Test constantly. Tests should last at least a week and a maximum of two months, in my opinion. If it’s not working, try something else until it does work. Also, keyword research is not something to skimp out on. A lot of people don’t understand how inclusive keyword research is. You really have to analyze the top results of each keyword thoroughly. I have seen people build excellent looking sites, but they were ultimately a flop because they did poor keyword research. To me, it’s all about finding vulnerabilities in the market and exploiting them.
Lastly, stay focused on the long term prize. I’m guilty of impatience and I like to think of myself as someone who gets results. So, it was really tough for me to go through the sandbox but that’s just part of it, and it’s important to stay focused throughout the entire process.
10. Do you have a blog or other place that people can following along with what you are doing?
You can follow me over at Keyword Solutions. And, I am starting to become more active on Google +, so readers can feel free to follow me on there!
Thanks for sharing your story, Eric. I really appreciate it. Congrats on this new path for you.
Good luck with Keyword Solutions!