Authority Website Income

Month 2 Update – Making Some Money and Lots of Mistakes

It has been a busy month and I have enjoyed a lot of the outreach work I have been doing in my niche.

The focus for month 2 of my authority site was to continue to produce a lot of content along with my main promotion strategy of guest posting.

I also started monetization of my site and have made some ok money for just starting out under 2 months ago.

Key Successes

  1. Guest posting outreach has been going really well with making 20 real connections and getting opportunities to guest post on a couple of the top 100 personal finance sites
  2. Expired Domains – I have spent some time to find a couple HIGHLY relevant expired domains with a NATURAL link profile to supplement my SEO. These 2 domains haven’t given my site a substantial sustained boost that is clearly detected but from the analytics image below it is something I will cautiously continue.
  3. Making money – more on that later for the site being less than 2 months old I am happy!


Key Mistakes/Failures

  • Website Re-Design – Mistakes Already!

Sometimes a theme looks great but then just doesn’t deliver the way I want it to. After using the StudioPress Generate Theme I was disappointed in how the site looked.

I really like the Genesis Framework and the StudioPress themes so I decided to try the Education Theme and have been happy with the results.

What do you think?

Student Loan

(Note – links above are affiliate links)

  • Chasing Bright Shiny Objects (I am a dumb-@&* again)

With the limited amount of time I have, evenings and weekends, I can’t stray from my priorities which for at least the next few months is (My Case Study Website URL is Now Hidden).

However, for almost 3 days this month I ended up getting distracted and trying another stupid internet marketing tactic using Craigslist ads to capture leads. I knew it was a waste of time but the concept sounded interesting and I thought it would be a “fun” test.  The idea came from this MikeFromMaine’s Podcast, entertaining but not exactly a value added strategy.  The idea is now dead and I am back to being focused on adding real value.


Authority Website Stats for October


Income = $105.39

I started monetizing my website on Oct 8 and outlined my strategy here. Overall it was a good start with the results shown below…



Adsense – $21.39


My clickthrough rate is lower than I would like to see (but that may be a good indication of the site providing value) and the cost per click is much lower than I would like to see.

Overall I am disappointed with how AdSense is currently performing but that is ok because ideally it would not be the primary source of income from an authority site.

I will modify the ad to test how it will impact the CTR and CPC.

Edvisors CPA – $84.00


The CPA offer is well aligned with my sites objective. The affiliate offer is $3 per completed form for a student to sign up to see possible loan consolidation rates. The tight website to offer match has certainly helped with a high clicks to conversion.

The other advantage to this offer over AdSense is I have it set up so that it opens in a new tab thus helping keep people on my site for a longer period of time.

The next step for this CPA offer is to “move up the foodchain”. I would like to join an affiliate program with fewer levels between (My Case Study Website URL is Now Hidden) and a loan broker that can provide consolidation options to interested students/graduates.


Costs = 142.85

Month 1 had a startup costs totalling $192.38 (see details in month 1 update). In month 2 I had a couple assistants helping me with my outreach efforts and some link building work while my content manager continued to effectively get quality content created for cheap!

  • VA’s = $45.13 @ ODesk
  • Content Creation (30 articles) = $78.00 @ ODesk
  • Content Creation Management = $12.56 @ ODesk
  • Hosting = $7.16 @ HostGator

Running Net Income/Loss


Traffic = 906 Unique Visitors

Traffic has not been mind-blowing but it has shown steady growth with a couple spikes due to some promotion strategies (guest posting and expired domain redirects)


The on page metrics for (My Case Study Website URL is Now Hidden) have improved over last months, there are now decent stats for pages/visit, time on site, bounce rate and visit duration.


Email Opt-Ins

Definitely one of the biggest disappointments’ to date!

I have a centrally located call to action on the homepage for email opt ins. My sidebar opt-in form is located in a prominent location and I believe hits on student pain points. The comment section provides another opportunity for people to opt in.

With all these forms how many opt-ins have I received?



(yes you can and should laugh!)


I use Aweber (aff link)

I will test different forms and different locations but maybe capturing the lead and then offering solutions to their problems via email will not be the optimal solution to monetize this site.


On Page Content = 26 Posts

Over the month of October 26 posts were published.

Now that I have got a solid base of content on the site I will be looking to set up an editorial calendar which will provide some structure to posting and help me systematize content creation.

My content creation system has been working well and cranking out some really good quality articles I know add a lot of value to people facing the problem each article is to solve.

Off Page Promotion & Backlink Profile = Citation Flow – 31 & Trust Flow 15

My off page promotion has continued to consist of primarily personal outreach via blog commenting which may naturally lead to guest posting.

In addition I have been having my VA create a PPT presentation for several of the posts which I then provide the voice over for and upload to YouTube.

In addition over the last week I have started creating some Web 2.0 properties using my lower quality articles that were created. The plan is that I will use LinkAuthority to build links to my original content Web 2.0 properties.

My focus is going to continue to be on getting high quality links via guest posting over the next month.


Next Month Goals

I achieved all of last months goals except I do not have a new logo

–          Continue Guest  Posting – (guest post on 5 high quality sites)

–          On Page Content – (20 posts with editorial calendar in place)

–          Monetize – (Rev 1 monetization strategy created and implemented)

–          Income – Be profitable in month 3

This format changed from month 1’s let me know your thoughts. As I plan on creating many of these I would like to find a format that can stay consistent from month to month.

About the Author Jon

I am a 33 year old husband, father of 3, engineer and a huge fan of developing systems to build useful and profitable websites. The reason I build online businesses is to provide financial independence for my family and yours AND so I can spend time outside skiing and biking with my family.
Jon Gillham, Online Entrepreneur

Leave a Comment:

Kristy says November 4, 2012

Wow! what a great start to a site! Making over $100 in the second month is very impressive.

How did you find the expired domain and 301 redirect it(not entirely sure what that means). Can you share more information it sounds like something I might want to try.

    Jon says November 4, 2012

    Thanks Kristy. Regarding the 301 redirect of an expired domain it is not something that is right for many people and it has some risk to it but what I do is follow the method shown by Haden at to generate a list of potentially expired domains and then use a great tool at (aff link) to find domains.

    It is extremely important (in my theory – not according to any data I have) that the domain be…
    1. Highly Highly relevant (that the redirection makes sense to do – someone coming to the old page will most likely get the problem solved they are looking to have solved by visiting my site)
    2. Natural backlink profile (no spam)

    If more people have questions on this topic I will definitely do a post explaining it in more detail but for starting out its a nice to have not a required tactic.

Mike From Maine says November 4, 2012


I was wondering how your test with Craiglist ads worked. What did you do?

Thanks for watching!


    Jon says November 4, 2012


    The test with Craigslist did not work very well, I didn’t put much effort into it and in hind sight was a mistake to start if I wasn’t going to do it 100%. Overall it sounds like an interesting strategy but not exactly sustainable or value added.

    Thanks for the podcasts, some of your late ones have been great, I really enjoyed the James Clear podcast episode –

    Thanks for stopping bye.


      Mike From Maine says November 5, 2012


      I’m glad you liked that one with James Clear. He’s a smart guy and it was a pleasure to have him on my show.

      Thanks for watching!

Jeff S says November 4, 2012

Great start Jon, I am enjoying following along on your progress! After some of my sites got hammered by google over the last few months I had mostly walked away from internet marketing but it looks like you are showing its still possible to make money online!

    Jon says November 4, 2012

    Jeff, thanks for stopping bye. Dont give up on making money with websites. My theory on the latest updates is pretty straightforward…

    What Google has done is raise the barrier to entry and whenever that occurs in a market the results are predictable – a greater share of the pie(which hasn’t changed) will go to fewer entities.

    My theory that is the basis for this site/project is that by focusing on one website and developing it into a true authority will provide me with a share of the online pie.

    Best of luck if you do decide to re-enter the market!


Theodore Nwangene says November 4, 2012

A very good start Brother,
If the site continue performing like this, then the sky will be your starting point. Keep it up.

    Jon says November 4, 2012

    Thank Theodore hopefully the trajectory of the site will continue for months to come!

Daryl Mander says November 5, 2012

Hi Jon,

I’m interested to hear that you set your CPA offer links to open in a new window. I usually do the opposite, because my thinking is that some people’s browsers will block websites from opening new windows or tabs. This could cause a small %age drop off of clicks, and I’d rather maximise valid clicks to CPA advertisers than maximise time on site. What do you think – a valid concern or do you reckon users are smart enough to turn off browser pop up blocking?



    Jon says November 5, 2012


    Very very interesting! I may owe you an Amazon Gift Card!!

    So your point is valid and today I received an email from someone on a Mac saying they couldn’t open the link, I have been trying to figure out the problem and then there was your comment!

    Digging into my stats here is what I see…

    1. # of clicks via Pretty Links = 221
    2. # of clicks via CPA program = 173
    21.3% difference

    How many visitors to my website are on a Mac? 21.26% via Analytics…

    Not conclusive but it looks like my link is not working for people on a mac and I have lost out on $25 because it is set to open in a new tab.

    Changed and I will see the results – if Pretty Links and CPA program click line up. Right now I cant say forsure the problem is fixed for everyone.

    Thanks for your comment Daryl!


      Daryl Mander says November 10, 2012

      No problem at all Jon, my pleasure.

      Will be interested to hear if this helps fix your click discrepancy – do keep me posted 🙂


Financial Samurai says November 11, 2012

Hi Jon,
I’m discovering this world of authority sites. Is my site considered an authority site? What is the definition? Is it more about building smaller sites, and lots to earn income?



    Jon says November 11, 2012

    Hi Sam, I would say your site is definitely an Authority Site. The definition is different for everyone but the way I look at it is this…

    Micro Niche Site – Focuses on solving one specific narrow problem(aka one specific keyword) and the amount of content that can adequately cover that topic is 5-20 posts
    Authority Site or Authority Niche Site – Focuses on a specific visitor(in my case its students who have to payback loans) and provides them with all the resources required to deal with a set of related problems.

    There are more ways to define authority vs niche but I like to think of it as a niche sites focus is on a keyword where as an authority sites focus is on a real person. Because of the amount of work required it is much easier to build out lots of niche sites vs a few true authority sites.

    Thanks for stopping by and commenting Sam, I have been a long time reader of your personal finance blog and a big fan of your story.

      Financial Samurai says November 12, 2012

      Thanks Jon. Good to know you’ve been a reader of my site.

      I’m thinking of branching out with other websites, however, I’m afraid I’ll stretch myself too thin.

      Makes sense on the good word specific ranking goal. Just afraid Google will change things randomly.

        Jon says November 12, 2012

        Google changing things randomly is definitely a concern! What is motivating you to start a new site? Obviously is a massive success has your site with 28k visitors per month! If you set up the right systems then managing several websites is doable but it would be tough to have the level of engagement you have on financalsamurai.

          Sam says November 13, 2012

          I never understood Compete actually. According to Gooey Analytics, I got 205,000 visitors over the past 30 days and around 300k pageviews. I wonder what’s missing from compete bc a couple of my banners are based of these numbers and CPM.

          I’m interested in further diversifying my revenue online and exploring all options. If $100 can be made a month after just the second month, that seems pretty good!


Joe @ How I Got Rich says November 12, 2012

Great progress. My authority site is getting similar amounts of traffic but has only made one amazon sale bringing me $3.

I am tempted to put adsense on now, just to see what happens.

How many adsesne ads have you got on your pages?

I have been split testing the lightbox form in Aweber against a side bar one and the lightbox performed better (although still only 3 signups in total).

I see you are paying $2.6 per article – are you happy with the quality? I’ve been writing mine myself but need to speed things up a bit. So far everyone I’ve tried on odesk has been sub-standard in terms of written content.

Good luck for November!

    Financial Samurai says November 12, 2012

    Wow, we can pay $2.6 for content? How long are these posts, and what can they write about?

    I might have to create a site just to see if this works, while throwing in a deep article once a week.

      Jon says November 12, 2012

      Hi Sam, I wrote about how I get my “cheap” articles created here –

      The posts are 500+ words, unique, written by a native English speaker but I only end up with about a 50% success rate for articles I can use on the website.

      If you do plan on setting up additional sites and have any questions I would be happy to help.

        Sam says November 13, 2012

        Cool, will check the article out! Tx

    Jon says November 12, 2012

    Hi Joe, depending on your niche I think its never really a bad idea to put adsense on as a test if nothing else.

    I see you have been struggling as well with opt-ins, I want to stay away from a pop-up or splash page right now because I think it negatively affects the user experience.

    The content for $2.6/article provides me with about a 50% success rate with an article I can use on my main sites, when I get a poorer article I don’t think provides enough value I use it on a feeder site.

    How many people have you tried on ODesk and have you had 0 success?

    Thanks for visiting and best of luck with your authority site – will you be revealing the niche?


stalyn says November 17, 2012

From now on, things can only get better. What is your strategy for backlinks besides guess post?

PozhebnTv says January 31, 2014

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