A brief introduction for those who don’t know me: My name is Matthew Allen and I blog over at Dumb Passive Income about all the things I’ve been doing to try to create online passive income. Creating sites and systems that will earn money passively has become an absolute obsession of mine. Admittedly, there is nothing passive about the amount of time I have spent and continue to spend to build up these sources of income. But, I am finally beginning to reap some of the rewards for all of my hard work. The coolest thing about building sites or systems to earn money passively is that once the work is done – you can just let it sit and earn while you work on something else. I’ve experimented with several different strategies, trying to find which works best for me. This is how I got to where I am today…
Experimenting with Niche Sites:
Early on in my quest to create online income, I started a personal finance blog. I joined the Yakezie challenge, wrote 3 to 4 times per week, and believed the myth that advertisers would start dumping money into my accounts as soon as my Alexa ranking dropped below 200k. That didn’t happen. The only income that blog created was a few dollars from Adsense and a couple hundred dollars from a few of those spammy looking sponsored posts (where the buyer is basically just paying for a link). There was nothing passive at all about running that blog.
I had heard about niche sites, but never gave them much thought. I could barely keep up with my blogging commitments, let alone try to build another site. So one day I decided to just quit the blog and pursue a more passive income generated from niche websites which I thought I could build. I researched everything I could about niche sites. I started reading blogs by others who have had success with niche sites, including:
- Pat Flynn – Smart Passive Income
- Justin & Joe – Adsense Flippers (recently re-branded to Empire Flippers)
- Spencer Haws – Niche Pursuits
- Chris Guthrie – Make Money on the Internet
- Mike Thomas – Mike from Maine (no longer builds niche sites)
After thinking that I had it figured out, I bought a domain and built my first niche site. I produced only 4 pages of content and within the first month, it climbed to #1 in Google! I started making $10 to $15 per month from it. I thought, this is sweet and so easy to do. I immediately started looking for more keywords that I could target and build sites around. This was before I purchased Long Tail Pro and I was still doing basic keyword research with the free Google Adwords keyword research tool. I really didn’t know what I was doing, but the luck I had with the first niche site gave me a boost of confidence. Before I knew it, I had purchased 10 more domains to build niche sites on. Long story short… my next few sites were a total flop.
The Pay Off Credit Card Site:
One of the domains I had purchased was (payoffcreditcard.net). I now own Long Tail Pro and have a much better understanding of how to do proper keyword research. If I had owned Long Tail Pro at the time, I never would have bought this domain. The keyword pay off credit card only gets 720 (U.S.) searches per month and has very high competition – meaning it would be nearly impossible for me to get this site to rank on the first page of Google quickly.
I wasn’t having any luck with my recent niche site efforts and I already owned this domain – so I decided to build out the site as something I called a niche blog. I knew I couldn’t get it to rank in the search engines for the primary keyword, so my plan was to build traffic the only way I knew how – by blogging and interacting with other bloggers. I also planned to use my new keyword research tool to find and target some low competition long tail keywords that I thought I could rank for. The site got off to a great start. After I had only my first 7 posts up, Google came out with a PR update and this site was already at PR1! Three month later (most recently) with only 22 posts on the site, I got upgraded to a PR2! But, traffic still wasn’t great, and likewise, neither was the income.
Around this time, I discovered a few of the popular affiliate networks that I had never previously looked in to. Searching through the advertisers on FlexOffers and Commission Junction – I found that some of the commissions paid for products in my niche were pretty sweet. Before long, I replaced all of the Adsense blocks on my site with affiliate banners. Some of my posts started to promote these affiliates. I did make a few sales and have already received some of those sweet commissions, but… Now I was back to running a blog and it was becoming less and less passive.
Taking my Niche Blog to the Next Level:
I had heard a lot about e-mail marketing. Everybody says, “The money is in the list,” meaning the list of e-mail subscribers. I have always been skeptical about this because I myself don’t sign up for very many of these lists. I never bothered to start my own e-mail newsletter or any other kind of e-mail marketing campaign on any of my sites. I figured, why waste my time – if people want the information, I can give it to them for free on the site.
As I learned more about it, I realized why this method actually works. Not everybody who has visited my site previously is guaranteed to come back. But, everybody who signs up for my e-mail list is almost guaranteed to see the e-mails I send to them. Everybody checks their e-mail. It’s the world we live in. Once I am in their e-mail inbox, I have gained a certain degree of trust with them. Especially since they purposely signed up to receive those e-mails from me. Needless to say, I decided to jump in to the e-mail marketing game.
So, how am I going to get people to subscribe to my mailing list and what am I going to send to them? I didn’t want to create just some useless newsletter with a bunch of re-hashed credit card advice stuffed with ads and affiliate offers. I wanted to create a useful resource that wouldn’t annoy people and that I could send out in a series of e-mails. I also needed to create something enticing to offer as a free bonus to make people really want to sign up. I think I have accomplished all of this!
The 7-Step Plan to Pay Off Credit Cards:
I ended up creating an entire 7-step series that will not only teach people how to pay off their credit cards, but more importantly, will show them how to stay motivated. Within the plan, I have specific instructions and systems in place that will help people stay focused and motivated while they work towards paying off their credit cards. My plan is very unique. I partly based some of the aspects within it around the 12-step plan used by alcoholics anonymous. I believe that I have provided a ton of value within this plan and subscribers will not be disappointed.
What about that free bonus to entice people to sign up? Yes, I’ve created that too. Totally separate from the 7-step series, I created a free report called, How to Get Revenge on Credit Card Companies for Unwanted Junk Mail. Anybody who signs up and confirms their e-mail address gets immediate access to this report. I also created a few extra bonuses that get delivered as part of the 7-Step Plan, including a handy spreadsheet/calculator that shows you exactly how long it will take to pay off each credit card based on the numbers that you input.
Want to check out that spreadsheet/calculator today? I’ve decided to give readers of My Money Design early access to this bonus. Regular subscribers don’t see this bonus until after they get to Step 5 in the plan.. On top of this early bonus, you will receive the regular bonus today as well, How to Get Revenge on Credit Card Companies… After only 7 days, you will have access to all of the steps in the plan, plus another bonus and some exclusive tips and tricks.
Still curious as to what this 7-Step Plan entails? My Welcome to The Pay Off Credit Card Network post on my homepage gives a brief preview. It explains that you will learn how to:
- Identify and admit your credit card problem
- Seek help and hold yourself accountable
- Develop a tagline to keep you motivated
- Make a commitment that can’t be broken
- Lower your interest rates and create a custom plan
- Effectively and systematically pay off the debt
- Pay it forward and build wealth
Monetizing an E-mail Marketing Campaign:
How do I make money by offering this extensive 7-Step Plan for FREE? If you are a fellow internet marketer, you probably already know. It has to do with those affiliate offers that I mentioned above. If you’re not an internet marketer, I’ll just tell you that I clearly explain how I make money from this website and plan within two of the e-mails in the plan (the first one comes with the e-mail for Step 4). How’s that for openness and transparency? An e-mail marketer actually telling his market how he makes money from them!
To be clear, the #1 focus of this plan is not for me to make money. That is one of the goals – yes. But, the focus is on the user/subscriber and helping them get on a plan to pay off their credit cards. I’ve heard it said a hundred times, if you provide value for your user/customer, the money will take care of itself. I provide a TON of value up front and then explain to subscribers how they can pay me back ONLY if they want to. In most cases, the way they can pay me back doesn’t cost them anything extra and will actually help them save money as part of the plan! Win-win. The subscriber gets a benefit and I receive a small commission.
Again, here is the link for if you wish to sign up today and get all of the normal bonuses, as well as the early bonus just for readers of My Money Design:
Thank you for reading my story. I hope you enjoyed my explanation of the progression of my site – from its original plan to be a small niche site, to a niche blog, to what it is today. The 7-Step Plan was only recently launched (mid-March 2013) and only has a few subscribers so far. I would love it if readers of this post would sign up and give me feedback. Whether or not this becomes a good source of passive income for me remains to be seen. If you wish to follow along with my successes and failures of this site and others, I report all of it over on my Dumb Passive Income blog.
This post was written by Matthew Allen from Dumb Passive Income and The Pay Off Credit Card Network.