Ben Adler (Keyword Chef)
“Building a genuine helpful community before I launched a product has been a huuuuge factor in my success.”
published: June 4, 2022
1. Where do you live?
I live an hour north of Boston, USA.
2. When did you start creating content and your SaaS? What is the name of your SaaS?
I launched Keyword Chef in January 2021. I had an existing audience and spent 6 months programming the software before I launched it.
3. Are you working full-time on your SaaS?
Yes, Keyword Chef is my primary focus. I run a few niche sites as well, but I’ve been neglecting them to work on Keyword Chef. Right now it’s just me working on the business.
4. What was the “Click” that made you decide to start your SaaS?
I’ve always wanted to have a software company, even before I knew what SaaS was.
My first introduction to SaaS was years ago when I googled “how to start a software company” and discovered Dane Maxwell in an interview. The video was low quality and had barely any views, but he described how to build a SaaS business which completely blew my cranium to pieces. It was a huge eye-opening moment for me.
I tried a few other SaaS companies that failed, but once I discovered how to find low competition keywords, I thought the process could be automated and made into a business. I had an existing audience already, so I knew if I made a product that worked well, selling would be easy.
5. How many niche sites and/or online businesses have you created?
I’ve had a small handful of niche sites throughout the years. I started my first successful niche site over 7 years ago in 2015. It was a review website where I reviewed every single product in my niche. I didn’t really understand keywords back then but it worked.
Since then, I started shifting toward informational sites in various niches like camping and fitness, things I’m personally interested in. I’ve bought and sold a few sites, including the review site which is still running today.
Keyword Chef has been my most successful business so far.
6. How many are you still running now?
Right now I’m running 3 niche websites.
7. Have you sold any sites or online businesses? And what was the ROI like?
I’ve sold 2 websites, my first review website, and a camping website.
I maybe waited too long to sell the review website as it started going downhill. It had more competition, Amazon slashed rates, and then covid hit. I mostly wrote everything myself but did hire a few writers. I sold that site for mid 5 figures.
For the camping website, most of the articles were also written by me. I found a great buyer who I trusted and sold the website for low 5 figures.
8. How many sites or online businesses have failed or not gotten going?
My first two software companies failed. The first one was reporting software for private investigators. I was working with one PI who I made a prototype for who ended up ghosting me. I didn’t make a penny.
The 2nd company was making a website widget for car dealerships. I put a lot of effort in and did manage to get a couple of beta users and earn $900, but getting traction was quite difficult.
In both instances, I had no experience in the industry, no connections, and no sales experience. But those two failures taught me two important things – to avoid unfamiliar niches and to build a minimal viable product cheaply.
9. How much are you earning each month?
10. What are your current streams of revenue?
- Display Ads
- Software (SaaS)
11. For content, what are your Top 3 on-page SEO strategies?
1. Find low competition keywords: If you find forums ranking on the first-page search results for the keyword, that is an excellent sign. Forums and User Generated Content aren’t well optimized, meaning if these websites are ranking, then the keyword must be easy.
2. Write in-depth content: A lot of beginners might just copy other blogs, which is not a good way to do original research. To get original information, you need to get information from subject matter experts. These people can be found in forums and Facebook groups. Readers like to hear people’s experiences, so I often quote people in my articles. I also find studies and summarize them into tables.
3. I like to win snippets by writing my 2nd paragraph that directly answers the user’s query. This bolded paragraph is usually 280-310 words long and is filled with as much detailed information as possible. When doing this, avoid generic sentences and try to include exact numbers when possible.
12. For your SaaS What are your Top 3 USPs?
Keyword Chef is unique in a few different ways:
The best thing about Keyword Chef is that it automatically analyzes SERP results for you in bulk. For example, if you wanted to find all the keywords where Reddit was ranking in the top 1 or 3 positions, you can do that… or if you wanted to find all the keywords where a competitor was ranking, you can do that too.
Or if you wanted to know which keywords have other sites’ rankings like Pinterest, free blogging sites, or a combination of these, you can also do that. It saves a ton of time from having to constantly go to Google to analyze the SERPs manually.
The other thing Keyword Chef does well is that you can filter by search intent. It also removes junk keywords for you automatically like “near me” and dozens of others.
13. What’s the biggest issue(s) that you’re facing today?
Mostly getting in my own way when it comes to growing the business. I get caught up in things I enjoy doing like building products and communities rather than hiring people to do more tedious tasks that I’ve been avoiding.
14. What tool(s) do you rely on the most?
For graphics, I love Canva because of how simple it is to use and it’s free.
For organization, I like Trello. I can easily drag and drop tasks into different areas and it’s also free.
Google Docs is great too as I don’t need to worry about backups. Often I’ll also type right inside WordPress.
15. What has been the biggest mistake you’ve made in creating content / SaaS?
Probably the biggest thing was waiting to put ads on my site. I thought ads were spammy and didn’t realize how much money I could make from them, so I went years without ads. I missed out on thousands of dollars.
16. What has been the best decision you’ve made in creating content / SaaS?
Building a genuine helpful community before I launched a product has been a huuuuge factor in my success. Even if you don’t have anything to sell at the moment, you can still get started by building an audience. When you do have a product, selling will be much easier.
17. What’s one thing that you felt accelerated your journey the most?
I wouldn’t call my journey fast by any means. Learning to grow a Facebook group helped a lot. Every step of the way you just need to ask questions and find solutions to move on to the next hurdle.
18. What’s your 12 month goal?
I’m pretty bad with goals – as long as I’m growing I’m happy.
19. How do you stay up to date on SEO, affiliate marketing, display ad, and other news?
Mostly Facebook groups. Sometimes I’ll watch a few interesting YouTube videos or read some newsletters.
20. What do you eat or drink for fuel to keep going?
Haha, I have a french press at home where I make coffee a few days a week, but not every day.
21. Where can people follow you?
BONUS: Anything else you’d like to share that can help others?
There are a lot of tips and tricks out there, but in the long run, great content and persistence can get you far.
Editor’s Note: Be sure to check out Keyword Chef as a great tool to easily find low-competition keywords!