We’ve shared a few case studies and customer stories recently, and they’ve been some of our most popular articles. As such, we’re always on the look out for more success stories to share with you. The more you read, the more you’ll be able to replicate this success for yourself.
In that vein, today we’re sharing with you one of our best stories yet. Gary Evans, someone I’ve known for a while, bought a site from us in late August and had it online in September 2016. In the short time since then (4 months at the time of publishing this post), he’s already more than doubled his initial investment, and has earned a solid $1,080 at the time of writing.
Here’s a quick summary of how his site is doing:
Total Earned In 4 Months
Keyword In Semrush
Page 1 Keywords
Total Profit (As of 4 Months)
When Gary shared his results with me, I asked him to answer a few questions about how he achieved it, and he was glad to share his experiences with the HPD audience. While these are absolutely fantastic results, I do want to point out that these are at the higher end of the spectrum.
By all means let this inspire you and demonstrate what is possible with our sites and training, but remember that your own results may vary.
Over to him!
Q. How much experience did you have with affiliate marketing prior to starting with an HPD site?
I have been building sites for quite some time. My first being about 5 years ago that did really well for quite a while but then got hammered by one of the many Google updates.
Back then I really didn’t have a clue what was going on, just published average content, used PBN’s and spammed the hell out of it with rubbish links - worked well for a while but Google caught up eventually. That site pretty much dropped off the radar after that.
I tried again several times and failed miserably. Picked all the wrong niches and went after the most competitive terms online.
I then built another site after spending far too long researching and buying every piece of software there was (shiny object syndrome) to try and get that all important break through.
That site still does ok but I sort of left it there for months because I was not earning the millions I had hoped for… (still don’t have the Lambo in the drive.) It’s a broad enough niche but most of the products I was promoting were cheap and the commissions were very low.
Q. What attracted you to HPD in the first place?
I run a very busy business as my full-time job so while I still wanted to work on niche sites I didn’t have the time to invest to build yet another one from scratch in the hope that it would take off.
The thought of getting a new site, including content and keyword research as a package delivered to me on a silver platter was too much to pass up.
If I added up the cost of the time and effort to do this myself it would be many multiples of what I payed HPD for the site.
Q. What attracted you to the niche you started with?
I have watched the new sites you list every month and waited for something I was really interested in, knew I could research and produce decent content that would rank.
I also intended to build out an authority site and the niche I picked has plenty of scope to grow plus there are plenty of high priced products that can be promoted down the line when the site really takes off.
There were a few other niches sites ranking in the top positions which were of average quality.
This was a good sign that there was money to be made so I went for it.
Q. After receiving your site, what did you do first? How did you decide this?
Even before the site was delivered I started doing some research. I tested out a few writers as this has always been a time consuming pain point for me. Most of the content I got back was average enough but useable if I added to it.
I started looking at the SERPS and did some high level keyword research to see what low hanging targets I could pick off first.
Once the site was online I did the usual housekeeping:
- Added the site to the usual Google tools - Analytics and Webmaster tools.
- Setup Social Media accounts and customized each profile to suit the branding of the site and started posting relevant content to grown my followers.
- Added the site into Semrush and Ahrefs to start tracking progress.
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Q. What did you struggle with the most at first? How did you resolve this?
Probably the biggest struggle was staying focussed. As mentioned above I run my own business so time is very limited.
It’s hard to justify the time required early on when the site is not earning any money - especially when you have clients expecting work delivered constantly.
I put together some templates and links to examples and off they went. This is probably the only cost associated with the site but it’s definitely worth it if you want to expand.
Q. What are your thoughts on the support you got from HPD?
Technical support, Facebook Community etc?
How important do you think these things are to any affiliate marketer, whether they use HPD or not?
The support team at HPD were perfect all through the process. I was probably a bit impatient at the start because I kept on asking when the site would be ready.
The afternoon I ordered the site I went and sourced new hosting, a new logo and started researching keywords etc… Once the site was ready I gave the team my hosting details and an hour or so later I was online.
I watched the videos a few times to make sure I stayed on track. You may think you know it all but every so often reality kicks in and it’s great to have a source of knowledge you can tap into.
The HPD Facebook community is a great source of knowledge and the mods manage to keep all the spam out of the feed - which is great.
The majority of the posts and questions are by fellow niche site builders and the answers are a goldmine of valuable information. Everybody is in the same boat which really helps a lot when you are stuck.
Q. You mentioned that you had tried affiliate marketing before and not had much success, but now you’re having some decent success. What, in your opinion, led to the change?
Yep. Tried and failed many times before. Mostly down to picking the wrong niches, not paying attention to the keyword data and just writing what I thought people would like to read.
Not having enough time to dedicate to doing things properly has caught me out a few times.
What changed - getting somebody else to build a quality site for me and having the right setup and content to work with has been huge.
Having a much greater understanding of how Google works helps too. Understanding how to get pages to rank in featured snippets etc works wonders for your site traffic over time.
Outsourcing some of the content to others has really helped as well. I still add to it or rewrite some of it but it definitely worth it. If I had the time I would do it myself.
Q. Can you tell us some details about your current stats? Monthly traffic, monthly sales and income, monthly expenses, total income, how long has your site been going, anything else to include.
The site has been online since September 2016 and was more than paid for with affiliate earnings by the end of the year. (4 months)
Site hits last 3 months
Traffic started off slow which was to be expected - this was a brand new domain so it had a holiday in the Google Sandbox.
I ran a few ads early on to drive some traffic to the site and see if the content was working. I was also quite active on social media and contributed to some good groups on Facebook etc..
I made a few sales in the second month and the numbers have grown ever since.
- October - $30
- November - $200
- December - $600+ (was expecting this due to the holiday season)
- January so far this year is $250 and there are a quite a few orders not shipped yet so this will grow.
Name any other legal business where you can get a ROI in under 4 months for a fully functional business…
When you look at the site in Semrush I have 1300 keywords ranking within the top 100 - this is already more that my other site that has been running for a year or more with one page alone responsible for 200 keywords.
It’s early days yet but I have some nice volume keywords on page one and some really good high volume keywords on page two which are moving in the right direction.
I put this down to the keyword research the HPD guys did for the original content and by now knowing what to look for when I write new content for the site. Tools like Semrush and Ahrefs have been instrumental in this working.
From a cost point of view I have spent very little on the site after the initial purchase of 499.
A couple of Fiverr gigs for comments and social shares and a hoth package to get a few decent inbound links.
I spent about $100 on content that was good enough to publish with a few tweaks and bought a Hoth mini ($60) to get some backlinks to the site. The key with these types of links is to expand on the Web 2.0 sites and turn them into reasonably good looking sites. Add in all the required pages to make it look professional.
I promoted a Hosting company a few times during Black Friday / Cyber Monday on Twitter and landed quite a few sales - this balance sits in Paypal and covers the content writers…
I also spent a few quid on Advertising to get things going but had an Adwords voucher so that helped keep the cost down.
I am trying to make this a self sufficient site so my next plan is reinvest more on content when the Affiliate cheques come in.
Q. How do you plan to increase these numbers?
More high quality content for the site - 5000+ word posts covering every angle for a product group plus well written reviews.
Expand the site to cover additional product groups - plenty of scope for this
I really need to focus on link building for the site as this should improve existing rankings and lift the site overall.
One thing I have changed with the site is I have migrated over to HTTPS to see if that has any impact on rankings. Only time will tell and I expect to see a drop off in rankings until things balance out but reckon it’s worth the gamble.
So far things are looking good.
An issue that has come up since this migration is I have lost all Social Share numbers.
I am using SumoMe so if anybody knows how to reinstate this it would be awesome. Social proof while not directly related to ranking does help when visitors come to your site.
Overall the site and theme have been superb. I have only made some minor changes like color scheme and some widgets. I also become a big fan of Thrive since the site was delivered.
Last week I did some CSS customization of the site and installed the Q3 fixed widget. This needed some customization to get it to look right. I then used an Amazon Custom Ad section to fill this.
It looks similar to sites where you see the CTA scrolling down the page when you do. This area is usually reserved for a sign-up form and I may add one in if the traffic volumes get to the point where building a list is worth the effort.
This should help with conversions as well but only time will tell.
Q. What’s the number one thing that you think most people will struggle with when following in your footsteps?
To be honest they shouldn’t struggle that much really. Follow along with the videos provided and make sure your keyword research is up to speed.
Write or pay for content that resonates with your target audience. Don’t publish rubbish and hope you will rank. Those days are gone…
Don’t ignore Social media either. This can give a great boost to a new site especially when it’s new. It doesn’t have to even show up in the SERPS to earn you money.
Research is key. I’m lucky that I have access to some of the tools I use but there are trial options available and there are alternatives that will get you by.
A manual review of the main sites that rank for your target keywords is critical - don’t let the tools dictate what you should or shouldn’t target. It might look like a great site by the numbers but when you actually review it - there may be huge opportunity to beat it.
Q. What kind of strategy have you employed to get your site ranking and earning? What kind of things will you do in the future?
Don’t just focus on Google as your only source of traffic - especially when the site is new.
Make sure you understand how keyword research works before you write loads on content.
I use a few different tools for this - two I have mentioned already and a site called LSIGraph which is great for generating all the additional LSI keywords you would never think of when writing on a particular topic.
Don’t always focus on keywords with high searches per month for every piece of content. Get enough low search keywords to rank and the result is the same with a lot less effort.
Understanding keywords with buyer intent helps with content strategy. No point in writing 1000’s of words for people performing research unless it ends in a sale.
Don’t just focus on ‘Best blah blah blah’ keywords either. There are many ways to look for the same result so do your research.
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Q. What else would you like to add about your experience?
RIght now the site is fully paid for and everything from here on in (minus content costs) is pure profit.
An ROI of 4 months is very hard to get no matter what business you are in and this has delivered on everything promised on the Sales page.
As somebody who has been building sites for a long time and spent far too much money on useless products this site has been a game changer for me.
I now have a site that is actually earning money every month, is all above board with no spammy tactics and has the potential to grow onto a very valuable asset.
Plus I have the added advantage of now having a blueprint that I can repeat over and over again so maybe someday I’ll have that Lambo in the Drive...