Chris (Niche Safari)
“I put in 50 days straight, 12 hours a day, of writing Best X for Y articles in early 2020 and that Foundation still makes me good money to this day. That was probably the most productive 50 days of my life and it really accelerated my growth early on.“
published: February 19, 2022
1. Where do you live?
Vancouver, Canada. My partner is from here and when we moved back here from England I couldn’t bring myself to apply for any jobs – the idea of going back to a 9-5 and trying to get my foot in the door in my industry on the other side of the world seemed too depressing. That’s how this whole journey started.
2. When did you start creating content?
January 1, 2019, after bingeing the Niche Pursuits podcast catalogue for a month.
3. Are you a full-time Creator?
Yes. This job’s my ride or die. If this falls through, I have no idea what I’d do.
I went full-time in Mid 2020. Before then I was doing some part-time online teaching on the side while I built up the business. 2 days after quitting that teaching job, my biggest site got hit with a 40% drop due to an algorithmic update. That was my baptism of fire.
4. What was the “Click” that Made you Decide you can make full-time money online.
It was Niche Pursuits. I had the idea of an online course and was trying to learn the best way to get an audience. I learned I needed a blog to capture an audience, and so I fell down the SEO rabbit hole.
5. How many niche sites have you created?
I needed a minute to count. I think nine, with varying success. Three never made a cent (and looking back it’s because I wasn’t passionate about the projects so gave up after 20-30 articles). I sold one, and am still hanging onto 5.
6. How many are you still running now?
I currently have 5, three that are doing well and two sleepers just pulling in a few bucks a month on Ezoic (I probably haven’t logged into the backend of either of them in 6 months).
If I were to start over again I’d just focus on one. To do a site justice and make it a true authority, it needs to have your 100% focus.
7. Have you sold any sites or online businesses? And what was the ROI like?
I sold one in mid-2021. I started the project just to see what all the fuss was with Amazon affiliates. I made some tight silos around product categories in a focused niche and ended up ranking for some products I had no business being on the SERPs for. Probably a combination of strong interlinking and topical relevancy. For a while I was beating witecutter on a popular $600 product.
Six months before I sold, I also threw Ezoic on to increase the resale value. In all, it was a successful 18 month project that gave me a pillow of cash to make me feel comfortable taking some more risks in 2022.
8. How many sites or online businesses have failed or not gotten going?
Three completely failed sites, and two that are just pulling a few bucks a month. So, if we’re talking sites that got me to 4 figures a month, I’ve only done that with 4 out of the 9 domains I have registered. I put it down to effort. Most of my failed sites failed because I burned out on them, not because I ran out of ideas.
9. How much are you earning each month?
- $10,001 – $50,000
10. What are your current streams of revenue?
- Affiliate Sales
- Display Ads
11. What are your Top 3 on-page SEO strategies?
I don’t think I do anything out of the ordinary. Number 1 is always the page title. It’s what’s going to determine whether you get the click or not. An engaging title can shoot you up the SERPs. Listicles, power words, year in brackets all work a treat.
Number 2 is answering the question in the first paragraph. Again, nothing evolutionary but at the same time, if I find a blog post with a story designed to be an “engaging hook” in the first paragraph rather than the answer, I bounce. Blog posts are for information, not entertainment.
Number 3 would be to create topic clusters. Show Google you know a lot about the topic by writing 30 articles on it, not just one, and interlink them all.
Those are all basic things, but hey, you gotta get the foundations right.
12. What’s the biggest issue(s) that you’re facing today?
Diversification of traffic sources. My biggest fear is waking up to a 60% traffic drop. I’m always open to finding new ways to stay ahead of that. Be it newsletters, YouTube, or something else … most of my days are preoccupied with figuring out how I’d keep the party going if Google search disappeared tomorrow.
13. What tool(s) do you rely on the most?
Ahrefs is an addiction. Keywords Everywhere is always on. My best purchase last year was Jumpstory. It’s like if pixabay had a wordpress plugin that perfectly integrates into the Gutenberg image block. Searching for stock photos within WordPress has saved me so much time.
14. What has been the biggest mistake you made?
Hiring a cheap accountant. Cost me thousands last year to fix her mess. Sometimes you’ve got to pay good money to make sure your business is on solid foundations.
15. What has been the best decision you’ve made?
Moving my first site over to AdThrive. My revenue 3x’d overnight and suddenly a lot of doors were opened to me. It gave me the confidence to take risks and scale.
16. What’s one thing that you felt accelerated your journey the most?
I put in 50 days straight, 12 hours a day, of writing Best X for Y articles in early 2020 and that Foundation still makes me good money to this day. That was probably the most productive 50 days of my life and it really accelerated my growth early on.
17. What’s your 12 month goal?
I’d like to have a successful course launch for my largest site. I have a vision to have course sales alongside ad revenue to really push that site into the stratosphere. The learning curve is huge and I’ve got a long way to go.
18. How do you stay up to date on the SEO, affiliate marketing, display ad, and other news?
Podcasts. I take a walk for an hour before dinner every night to listen to podcasts. It’s partly to relax after a long day of work, partly for motivation, and partly education.
19. What do you eat or drink for fuel to keep going?
I can’t go without my morning smoothie, English muffin, and iced coffee while I check my emails. Breakfast of champions.
20. Where can people follow you?
YouTube Channel: Chris – Niche Safari
BONUS: Anything else you’d like to share that can help others?
We’re in a spammy industry, so I shout this from the rooftops whenever I can – try to be an ethical SEO.
Make content you can be proud of, that serves your audience, and that doesn’t make the internet more of a swamp. Be genuine in your product reviews and go into a niche where you have value to give to your audience beyond spinning an Amazon product description.