$1000 + A Month: 8 Things That Have Helped Grow My Success

Last Update: February 15, 2019

Hi everyone,

I don’t post very often for various reasons, but having done this for over 2 years now, I at last feel I’m starting to make real progress & a decent income (approx $1000 a month and growing, which is the important bit as I flatlined for ages (well, my income did, not ME obviously!)).

There are people making much more than $1000 a month, but it's a key milestone to get to.

Anyway, I’ve noticed a few key things that have, without a shadow of a doubt, helped me increase my income. Whilst I believe there are a myriad of things that influence success, I know these have made a POSITIVE difference for me. They're nothing new & most are taught in the training, but they are also easy things to miss (unless it was just me:))

It’s quite long, so have a scan and see what resonates with you. Hope it helps in some way.

1 - Hone down your niche

This is taught in the training and brought up many times, but it’s SO important and easy to get wrong, especially with your first site when there's so much to think about.

As an example, my first site was on water filters - it kind of worked and still makes a bit of money, but with what I know now, it was way too broad a niche and too competitive. I would have been better to pick something more targeted like 'alkaline' water filters, for example.

So when you pick a niche, make sure it’s specific and targeted enough towards a really defined, specific audience. A recent niche I picked, which is very focused (and not really picked up on yet as a niche) has started making good money within a few months.

For ideas, have a look on Google trends, what's trending on Pinterest or gaining traction on Amazon, then niche your idea down til it's sharp as a pin...

2 - Do research before you finalise your niche

The reason I picked water filters for my 1st site, was largely because I'm a bit of a health nut (apart from the red wine) and I found some great keywords (or so I thought!) with very low competition.

But... in reality they were still hard to rank for. I realise now that this was because I ended up competing with some huge generic brands such as Amazon, as well as established water filter brands.

So when you pick a niche, I recommend finding a few good keywords and then Googling them to see what kind of results come up. If the top 10 results are all popular brands or e-commerce sites, it’s probably going to be hard to beat them, (unless you are an expert on getting good backlinks, which is time consuming and not really taught here anyway).

Instead, look to see if there are any smaller sites in the results, such as other affiliate sites or blogs. If there are some (I usually look for at least 2-3 smaller fry sites) and they can rank for the keyword, you’ve got a good chance too. Especially if you can improve on their content.

3 - Think about commission

Whatever affiliate platform you use, choose your products wisely. (Like I didn’t!)

For example, the commission for toys in Amazon’s affiliate program is rubbish. So whilst I rank well for a number of baby and toy related stuff, the commission I get from sales is often v low and makes me sigh out loud (not in a good way). So all the work I’ve put in doesn’t give the return it could if I'd thought about it a bit more wisely.

My latest site though, has a key targeted product that offers around 8% and it makes a HUGE difference on what you earn cumulatively.

I also think it makes good sense to choose products that have a mid price point. Products with low price tags won't make you much money (obviously!), even cumulatively and products with huge price tags may take people a while to make the leap and actually buy it. My current site promotes something with an average price tag of around $100 +. You only need a few sales a day for 8% on $100 to add up, over a month.

4 - Think properly about blog structure

At first I pumped out articles willy nilly and did some internal linking in a very arbitrary way. This is ok, but it works much better in Googles eyes (and for your readers), if the interlinking is themed. For example I have a Mum blog which focuses a lot on non toxic stuff. Initially I rather randomly added internal links from one post to another, with not enough thought.

So what I do now is theme the internal linking. For example, I interlink all my articles on non toxic toys with one another, all my articles on non toxic 'whatever' with one another and so on. This adds more relevant link juice to your internal links. This may sound obvious, but it’s easy to forget at first, when the learning curve is steep.

5- Create post titles that get 'clicked'!

However well you rank for a given keyword, if people don’t click on your post, you won’t get traffic/make money. So look at other titles, in the top 10, for the keyword you want to rank for and think about the ones YOU would click on (for me it’s often not the number 1 or 2 spot, but the result which is most relevant/helpful/appealing.

If you go into Google Webmaster Tools (old version view), you can actually see your clickthrough rate for keywords you are ranking well for, by going to ‘Search Traffic > Search Analytics and then checking CTR box in top grey area of the page. If you are ranking well for a well searched for keyword, but getting a very low clickthrough rate, I’d recommend re-thinkimg your post title (not your url slug, just the post title), so it features your keyword, but is more appealing.

For example, if you are number 1 on Google with a post title of ‘Non toxic baby cribs’ but the number 2 ranking is ‘The top 5 non toxic baby cribs to get in 2019’ which would you click on? Maybe you’d choose the first one, but I wouldn’t.

Again, this is covered in the training, but my first blog titles were so yawn inducing, I’m surprised I got traffic at all. A good blog title isn’t always easy to write, so Google 'blog post title generator' and get some help. Also don’t force keywords in - people won’t click on a blog title it if it’s not appealing - there is just too much competition now (and good blog post title writers).

6 - Have a face to your site/update regularly

This is largely my opinion, but I think Google did an update last year where they cracked down on some fairly obvious, generic affiliate healthy type sites (my water filter site suffered) that didn’t really have a strong ‘face’ or personality to them.

My Mum blog actually improved in rankings as whilst it’s an affiliate site, it also has a strong theme and ‘face’ to it, where it’s clear I’m trying to add value/offer helpful, quality content to other mums. I.e. the intention of ‘helping’ within the site is stronger than a blatant pushing of affiliate links in people’s faces. And as we’ve all been told a thousand times, quality content above all else is what Google (and our audience) wants.

Also post regularly. It keeps things consistent with Google and your audience.

7 - Don’t obsess about SEO ...unless you want to!

I have obsessed and it’s exhausting. It can also detract from writing quality content, as you risk writing from a forced SEO pov rather than from the heart.

So follow something like Jay's Training and also maybe keep the LSI (latent semantic indexing), thing in mind, where you include related keywords to your main one within your post article (mentioned in a great post yesterday on LSI but I now can't find it). This gives you a blueprint to follow that keeps things consistent and straightforward.

Re backlinks, if you’re familiar with them (i.e a link to your site from another website), it's easy to get obsessed with them, which can be v time consuming, when you could spend the time writing good content. Plus if your content is good enough, backlinks do tend to happen quite naturally.

On a personal note, I get almost daily requests for links from other bloggers in return for a useless social media ‘shout out’. I now say no (unless they offer me a link back), so I think people are getting wiser to backlink requests anyway. Before anyone shouts at me I KNOW they work for Brian Dean ;) I’m not saying they don’t work, just that they can take over your life, sometimes to not much avail...

Some of the best ranking Mum blogger sites I follow have a very simple (but consistent) SEO approach coupled with bloody good content. (How annoying is it when people's content is better than yours, ha!)

8 - Leverage Pinterest (if your niche merits it)

I have a real love/hate relationship with social media (mostly I hate it!) and for me (personally), it’s been a mahoosive waste of time. FB - bleurgh. Twitter - bleurgh. Google + (well that died it's own death!) Instagram - yet to try it.

But I DO like Pinterest and a lot of my regular and repeat traffic comes from it. I also believe over time, its really pushed some of my rankings up. For example, one post I did went quite viral on Pinterest and I still get regular traffic daily from repeat pins. Over time, I’m sure this has pushed my rankings into the top 5 for quite a competitive keyword.

However, Pinterest is still very much female dominated, so depending on your niche, it may not be the best fit for you. Promoting water filters, for example, died a bit of a painful death on Pinterest, but mum/baby stuff does well. Check what’s trending/popular on Pinterest to see what people are searching for. People are often far into the buying cycle on Pinterest too, so often go on to make a purchase via a post. There’s a lot of good training on Pinterest within WA if you do a search.

Hope you found something above of help. They've worked for me. As ever, it shows this is so not an overnight thing - but if you can get to a point where you are reaching self sufficiency (my soul would die if I entered another office, I've worked in too many) it will feel priceless.

I 'know' I probably need to start thinking more about video, but I personally believe there are still lots of 'stone age' people like me, who still love a good old page of well written text and a decent image!


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TeamIceCream Premium
Hi Sarah

Thank you for this post - you've touched on a few important points. You are right, it is taught here, but so often overlooked in the process of trying to get it all together.

Thanks for sharing your failures and your successes - one learn equally from both (and sometimes even more from what NOT to do)! ;-)

And CONGRATULATIONS [big eHug) on reaching the $1000 per month milestone - that is awesome!

Wishing you much more success, Sarah!
Sharlee (Chocolate IceCream)
mrschippy Premium
Thank you Sharlee. I agree, I know its a cliche, but getting things wrong teaches you an awful lot I think (although would be great if we could all just fast track to success but lol)
cloudsiah Premium
Hi Sarah, yes, it does really helpful. I have yet to start a real website, or i only start with only about post. These questions was in my head for many days, and have not has a conclusion.

I've done a bit on internet marketing before and i don't want to stop halfway just because i lack of interest or competitive issue found at later stage. It happens to me before, is a waste of time. So initial planning, strategy and information gathering is very important.

Thank you for sharing your experience. I shall keep this as a reference.
Helen123 Premium
I like your suggestions .. you recommend a few that I have recognised recently as being important.. Pinterest for one, amazon oh boy ... makes me cross.. The thing I’ve found is that I am a long way down the road with website 1, website 2 is much more tuned, but no where near web1. And I struggle for enough hours in the day!
mrschippy Premium
it's easy to have a love/hate relationship with Amazon I think!
LadyLou Premium
As I am the beginning stage of building my 1st website this post made for very interesting reading...lots of info about potential pit falls and time wasting. I aim to take note and try to avoid them.
Thank you so much for all this invaluable advice.

Congrats and best wishes
Roybretton Premium
Hello Sarah,

Thank you for your very informative blog post, it makes for a great read.

I particularly like point number seven regarding SEO, I think far too many of us overcomplicate search engine optimisation, sometimes just writing quality content and focusing on writing seems to work well! Some people may disagree with me!

Have a great weekend.

herinnelson Premium
This is a very timely and intelligent post, Sarah! It added a lot to my perception of TO DOs and what exactly I need to implement. I took a lot of your information to heart---some reminders, some reviews and some things learned! Here's my Pinterest training if you're interested and haven't seen it yet. I Pin daily as I write content. All my photos from all my posts are pinned with pertinent information and my link. A wonderful source of traffic! Thanks so much and enjoy your weekend! XOXO!

Erin :)!
mrschippy Premium
Thank you Erin. I shall definitely take a look at your training - whilst I do pin I still don't feel I have fully cracked the Pinterest nut to full effect...!
Kerjackie Premium
Wow! such wonderful information you're sharing, I think I just needed to read something like that, especially when you're pointing out about narrowing down your niche. you are giving so awesome advice I will bookmark your post
Thank you for taking the time to write about your experience after two years, it gives me hope.
ElizabethCu1 Premium
Great post. I found the info very useful as it was very experiencial. I am also not a big fan of sicial media but understand the necessity of it!
I'm glad you explained about the drilling down...I think this is my problem at present as i try to work out traffic...my niche is too broad and my titles are boring... so back to the drawings board...lol
Barbara49 Premium
I really needed to read this, I have come to a point where I keep staring at my blog and i feel something is missing but i don't know what. I guess I ma trying to make it perfect if there is such a thing as perfect, but reading your article reminded me that it can't be forced, it has to be natural and maybe I have been stressing too much about the wrong thing and kind of getting a little bit down...
Thank you so much for reminding me why I am here
mrschippy Premium
I've been there Barbara. I once spent 3 days choosing a theme!

I'm a ridiculous perfectionist and often it's when I let go of 'perfection' that things flow better. When I feel like you possibly are, I try looking at my blog from the pov of a reader with a problem that I'm trying to solve. Would I want to read what I've just written. Sometimes my answer has been 'GOOD GRIEF NO' but other times it's been, ok yes that would really help me out...

It puts a bit of perspective on things.
TDomena Premium
Congratulations on meeting new milestones! I'm sure after persisting for two years, seeing the results feels great. It speaks volumes about your discipline as well because it looks like you have a little one (in your profile picture). Balancing little people and persisting to grow a blog takes quite a bit of discipline. I think you're right about how easy it is to overlook the points you've written on, and at times it's anomalies that seem to make the gray areas on these points work. Thanks for reiterating the importance of these things!
ColleenLVSJC Premium
Hi Sarah! Thank you for sharing about your niche and WA journey. I found the information helpful. Right now, I'm digging deeper into my niche to decide how I want to narrow it down and what I can best monetize. So your post is timely for me. It's great that you have persevered and achieved some of your online business goals and that you have you have taken time to share what you've learned with us. :)

I wish you much success!
Swangirl Premium
Wow! You are doing great. I think this is awesome advice and I agree about the videos. I should do them but haven't yet and I am ok with that for now. I will get to it eventually.

I have realized my niche products are on the low end so I don't get high commissions even though I am in the 8% bracket on Amazon for one of my sites. I have been rethinking things.

I need to try Pinterest too since my first site is a pet health site and pictures of pets certainly lend themselves to the Pinterest world I would imagine.

Great tips!
mrschippy Premium
I know. I did 'try' a video review and posted it on Youtube and my only comment was '*&^*, you sound like you work in marketing'.

I guess I got off lightly compared to some comments on there though ;). Thanks for your comments.
emarketingguy Premium
SEO is the only way to rank and get traffic organically on search engines, obsessing is all I have to look forward to on a daily basis, so I'm fine with that and I do want to obsess over it, but the rest is exactly what I needed to hear to confirm my own advice I give to others. hone down that niche and think about commissions. Even if you hone down a niche to something super tight-knit, if there are only $20 products to promote, you won't be making a lot of money, no matter what you do. I find it a lot easier to find the product first, then hone down the keywords to a tight niche audience and then do SEO and content to get it ranked, drive traffic and convert.

Very nice tips and advice and well done on 1000+ per month!
mrschippy Premium
yes, i know SEO is something some people love. and that's how it should be or how would the rest of us have a clue!

for me though, it took over though to the detriment of other stuff.

It's a fine balance at times isn't it. Nice to hear how you do things. Thanks for your input.
Stella2 Premium

Congrats on your success, and thanks for your generous sharing of tips!

I agree about the SEO with keywords. I do the research a lot, but sometimes I just write to provide info. Those posts I especially share on Pinterest because they can get traction there without worrying about SEO.

You mention having multiple sites, but how do you find that in terms of focus? Do you feel your resources of time and attention are divided too much?

I work one site now. I tried two before, but it was too hard to get good consistent content on both, without outsourcing.

Thanks again, and all the best!
Stella :-)
mrschippy Premium
Hi Stella, I've struggled a bit with the multiple site thing. It's v easy to panic, think a site isn't working and start a new one. Then before you know it, you've got a whole brood on the go and nothing seems to be working!

I've started a number of blogs(not loads!) and a couple HAVE failed for whatever reason. Others haven't though and I now have 2 sites, which are making regular money. And one that makes a bit but which I no longer work on.

I also (possibly foolishly) started the Super Affiliate Challenge last year!

3 sites is way too much for 1 person to focus on properly, so I made the decision to put my main focus on building out the site that's performing best, whilst keeping the 2nd one ticking over and putting the Super Affiliate Challenge site on hold.

And NOT starting any more lol.

It's frustrating, but I've learned to be tougher on myself, identify what's working, focus on that and if need be, leave everything else. Otherwise, yes, your attention gets divided and everything gets diluted. As soon as you focus on what's making money/working and focus on that it becomes easier to prioritise where you spend your time (sounds obvious but I didn't always do that at all).

So, yes, unless you outsource (I don't), I personally think multiple sites can be tricky to manage effectively. Not sure if that helps, I seem to have written an essay :)
dirtdevil Premium
I have to agree with SondraM as well. I definitely had to bookmark this post as it is very unbiased and to-the-point (refreshing to read because of that...) which all to many times is needed when your struggling through the process. With out a doubt some valuable takeaways from your post...thank you.
Much luck and success in your endeavors. I know with the experience and knowledge your obtaining from your sites after two years that monthly figure will definitely be going up! I look forward in reading more from you in the future...
mrschippy Premium
thank you! You too.
SondraM Premium
Congratulations on your success. I've book marked your post for future reference. You have done an incredible job of summarizing the valuable things that you have done to improve your ranking and profitability.

I discovered that I had a tendency to not comprehend the value of some of the things I learned here at WA. Many of the items you suggested are things that I have only recently started paying more attention to. It is nice to see them summarized in one place.
Thank you!!!

I hope that your $1,000 plus a month will soon have an extra zero added to the end each month. It is just a matter of time...
mrschippy Premium
Thank you Sondra. I know, it's easy not to comprehend the importance of some stuff you learn in the training (such as honing down niche properly). Seems so obvious in hindsight, but I guess that's where experience of getting it 'wrong' plays a part.

Thanks for your comments. Re the extra '0'. lol. Me too ;)
keishalina9 Premium
hi again Sarah -- would this be the post on LSI that you're referring to -- Kaju has presented it in one of his WA blogs ... here it is for you -- ..... :)
mrschippy Premium
aha! that's the one... Thank you!
keishalina9 Premium
you're most welcome -- same as you, i found his post very interesting & informative also ... keep well, keep happy !
mrschippy Premium
you too!
keishalina9 Premium
hey hi Sarah ! .... hey hey -- what a terrific blog post with great pointers all-in-one place! ... truly appreciate you sharing helpful tips on what's gone well for your success! .... 'LiKe!' ...

all the best to you for every success, cheerio ....

and if I can locate the LSI post, i'll send it to you ... :)
kimwolfe Premium
Super tips! Congrats on your monthly success! And thanks for sharing!
Freisia Premium
Wow thank you for all this inciteful information and advice. I have bookmarked it for further reference. Well done on your achievements too.
bunyige Premium
Thank for the advice and information.
Crazyhaggis Premium
Thanks for this Sarah, some great reminders here. Well done on your results.
cgroesbeck Premium
Thanks for writing this up! I appreciate it! Do you ever have a hard time coming up with articles to write about when your niche is so specific? That is always my concern and why I have a more broad website. I think if I were to only write about dog gear, specifically dog boots I would have one article and then that's it.

mrschippy Premium
I think this is a common worry. but honestly, if you choose a subject that you enjoy and has some interest the opportunities are actually endless. I thought same thing at first with my new site, but now I've started creating content, I almost can't keep up with the article opportunities that are actually there.

Put 'dog boots' into google - you've already got 'working dog boots', 'dog boots for injuries', 'dog boot reviews' etc etc.

Good luck
midhunvm Premium
Sarah, $1000+ a month is a good side income,
in fact it is full-time income for some people.

Congratulations on your amazing achievement :)

Have you got this results by following the
"Online Entrepreneur Certification" course?

How long did this blog took to hit the $1000/month mark?

Thank you, Sarah
mrschippy Premium
I've followed the training you mention, yes.

It's taken me over 2 years to reach this point, which is why I've shared some things which have made a positive impact recently, as honestly, I don't think it 'needs' to take over 2 years. but it will be different for everyone, of course...
midhunvm Premium
Yes it may not take 2 years for everyone-depends
on the niche, competition, how consistent one is...

Really appreciate your comment, thank you Sarah.
davehayes Premium
Good post and one I agree with very much because I have done the same myself

Thanks for sharing
jkGst Premium
zzHi: From one stone age member to another: Thank you so much, I will try to implement your suggestions!
mrschippy Premium
SnazzyIT Premium
Thank you for such detailed info I definitely have learned quite a bit and like you I am not into using social media. May you have great success :)
mrschippy Premium
ha! the conundrum of social media...;)
dalwhu Premium
congratulations on your results and also sharing your strategies for success!
mrschippy Premium
thank you!