10 Publishers Reveal How To Grow Your Blog Today (Skip from 1,000 To 1M Visitors!)

How to Grow Your Blog

Today, we'd like to do something special.

In the world of affiliate marketing and content publishing, we're often surrounded by only a few familiar faces yet successful faces.

Today, we've got to opportunity to speak to 10 individuals who run medium to large sized blogs and I've asked them to spill the beans...

What's been working for them?

How did they make their first dollar with their site?

How did they get traffic?

You know... The good stuff.

These guys have sites ranging from 1,300 visitors a month to 1.2M!

And probably more because Ahrefs and SEMrush are always lower since they only measure organic traffic.

All of these bloggers have diverse backgrounds, unique reasons for working so hard and most importantly, they're all serving different audiences.

Along with those differentials, they also have some similarities too...

  • They have all mastered one traffic channel first (either SEO or social media)
  • Almost all of them earned their first slice of income for the site via affiliate marketing
  • Many of them now focus on producing quality content vs rushed quantities

Recently, with Google's core algorithm update on August 1st, that third point has probably helped many of these sites.

In any case, I don't want to hold you guys back any longer.

Let's get ready to meet our guests for today.

Michael Satterfield - The Gentleman Racer






Starting in the early 2000's, Michaels blog started as a place to share stories and photos of his personal automotive adventures and now many years later...

It's grown to become a lifestyle brand revolving around cars, motorcycles, travel and more.

Mike is certainly an enthusiast and an expert in the field. Which is usually a deadly combination for anyone trying to start a niche site.

A quick look at what Micheal's been up to lately tells us how he's been growing his blog.

Here are some current tactics he's employing:

We've grabbed an interview with Michael, along with 9 other guests, but let's check out his traffic stats first. We're using our go-to SEO tools, Ahrefs and SEMrush, for this:

Organic Traffic Estimates
Ahrefs - 1,300/mo
Semrush - 1,000/mo

How did you start getting traffic to your site?

Social Media is a major driver for my site, but really learning how search works and making some tweaks to the site to optimize for search have had a big impact in the last 12 months.

How did your site get its first income streams? and what were they?

Originally I had basic banner ads on the site, but I didn't like that I couldn't control the types of ads that would be seen on my site.

So I started reaching out to brands to create branded content and fixed ads on the site.

What do you think has made the biggest impact on your blogging business?

The industry has evolved a lot, I have had my site since the early 2000's but even today there are brands who don't seem to understand the value and ROI of non-traditional media.

Thankfully a lot of PR companies and brands have seen that blogs and social media are the new media and are really expanding their programs with bloggers and influencers.

Where did you learn to build your online business? Did you have a mentor?

I have pretty much winged it for the first several years, but networking with other bloggers like James Hills from ManTripping.com a few years ago has really helped. 

Not only did he have a background in PR before launching out on his own, he is constantly learning and willing to teach others what he has learned.

Just a few years ago I never thought I would be a speaker at blogger conferences like Dad 2.0 or The Western Summit on the subject of blogging and influencer marketing.

Do you have any words of advice to new content publishers?

Sticking to a theme is important, that doesn't mean you can't expand and explore other subjects, but it should relate somehow to your core website theme. 

Also keep pushing forward, it takes years in most cases to gain an audience, but once you do start to grow all that content will only help you reach even more people.

Trina Fitzpatrick - Mom Smart Not Hard





This site is run by two people, Trina and Alli. Two mothers who write all about pregnancy, newborns, and raising children.

These are two smart women to say the least, Trina is a PHD with a chemical engineering background and Alli was an elementary school teacher who's life changed after her first born.

One thing that is very noticeable from the start is their homepage setup. The duo wants visitors to self categorize themselves as either: pregnant, getting ready to give birth, or with an already existing baby.

It's clear that they know their audience well enough that they want to make sure people are seeing the relevant content straight away.

Which brings me to my next point...

Let's dive into their recent posts and formulate what sorts of content they're employing:

Here's what their blog traffic looks like along with our interview with them:

Organic Traffic Estimates
Ahrefs - 4,300/mo
Semrush - 2,800/mo

How did you start getting traffic to your site?

In the beginning, nearly 100% of our traffic came from Pinterest.

Now, just over a year later, about 90% of our traffic comes from Pinterest with the rest coming from search, Facebook, and email.

Editors note: If you'd like more info on how Pinterest works, check out our podcast with Kate Ahl.

How did your site get its first income streams? and what were they?

Our first income streams were from Amazon Associates.

Later, we qualified for Mediavine and now display ads make up a sizable portion of our revenue, along with other affiliates.

What do you think has made the biggest impact on your blogging business?

A/B testing has made the biggest impact. I don't mean necessarily using a plugin, but if something doesn't work, try something new. 

If a pin isn't generating clicks, make a new pin. If a paragraph about an affiliate isn't converting, rewrite it.

Editors note: For in-depth A/B testing tips, we have a post from affiliate conversion expert Kurt Philip here.

Where did you learn to build your online business? Did you have a mentor?

We didn't have any direct mentors but rather we studied blogs that we love and saw what worked for them.

We then adapted that to our own style for our own audience.

Do you have any words of advice to new content publishers?

Find your avatar. More specifically, who is your target reader, what are their issues? What are they googling? What sort of products would make their life easier?

If you don't know your readers, you can't write content that is useful to them.

R.J. Weiss - The Ways to Wealth




This blog falls mostly in the category of "wealth building" and financial planning.

The owner of the site, RJ, is in fact a Certified Financial Planner (CFP). Which means he falls into the same category as Michael (From The Gentleman Racer) for being an expert plus an enthusiast.

This is RJs second personal finance blog, so we can only assume that whatever happened with his first one, this one was built a lot faster!

If we take a look at RJ's recent posts, we can see where his content strategy is at:

Michaels blog has garnered the highest organic traffic thus far, so let's see what he's done to get it to that point...

Organic Traffic Estimates
Ahrefs - 22,300/mo
Semrush - 14,600/mo

How did you start getting traffic to your site?

I started slowly with the goal to drive traffic via SEO. It then picked up when I started to understand Pinterest.

Then, took off once I started to advertise on Facebook.

How did your site get its first income streams? and what were they?

My first income stream was through affiliate marketing. As a blog within the personal finance niche, I was able to earn revenue through different money saving CPA offers.

What do you think has made the biggest impact on your blogging business?

Started to pay for traffic via Facebook.

Where did you learn to build your online business? Did you have a mentor?

I tried to soak up all the information I possibly could. For SEO, Brian Dean's website has been a huge help. The Simple Pin Media Podcast has some great tips on using Pinterest to drive traffic. 

I then learned from advertising from Monica Louie of Flourish with Facebook Ads.

Do you have any words of advice to new content publishers?

It's rare to have a blog take off right away. Expect to get a slow start. But build your foundation by learning all you can during that time.

Eventually that learning will compound and provides you with the strategies to get to that next level.

Sarah Stromsdorfer - My OT Spot



Earlier in another blog post, we talked all about Niching down with affiliate ideas (see the post here)

In there, we go over a slightly risque and controversial site, but still served as an excellent example.

I think Sarah's blog is equally relevant since I think not many people would be able to replace her in it.

She writes all about the trials and tribulations that come along with becoming an occupational therapist (OT).

There just aren't enough people that would be able to tackle the keywords like she has. Which adds a moat around her business.

Here's what we can see for her recent content strategy:

We can tell that the people who really know their audience are kindly directing them to the right areas.

In Sarah's case, she's separating her audience by: brand new, in school, transitioning to practice, and practicing OTs.

Below is our interview with Sarah and the stats that we grabbed of her site:

Organic Traffic Estimates
Ahrefs - 5,100/mo
Semrush - 2,400/mo

How did you start getting traffic to your site?

I started getting traffic to my website, My OT Spot (an educational resource for occupational therapists and students) by utilizing Google SEO practices as well as marketing my blog posts to relevant Facebook groups in the Occupational Therapy space.

I also started an email list very early on after I built my website which still brings me the most traffic. Second to Google.

How did your site get its first income streams? and what were they?

My first income streams came from Amazon affiliate earnings and affiliate earnings from MedBridge Continuing Education.

What do you think has made the biggest impact on your blogging business?

Now that I utilize Mediavine ads, the revenue that I see from Mediavine has really helped propel my business from a low-earning side project to a legitimate part-time (soon to be full-time) job.

Where did you learn to build your online business? Did you have a mentor?

I learned to build my business solely through free podcasts which mainly included Smart Passive Income with Pat Flynn, and the Niche Pursuits podcast with Spencer Haws. 

I now include additional podcasts as my "mentors" such as Authority Hacker and the RV Entrepreneur. I never had an actual mentor.

Do you have any words of advice to new content publishers?

While it is not easy building and growing your website, if you have the perseverance, you will see success.

You have to realize that it may take you quite a bit of time and effort, but don't give up just because you don't see success right away.

So many online businesses fail because they simply give up. If you keep at it, you will learn and achieve success in time.

Keep it up and don't quit!

Jeff Proctor - Dollar Sprout





Jeff Proctor and Ben Huber are the owners of this spectacular finance site. They've got a solid set of team members all producing high quality content that's SEO keyword focused.

From an initial look, their main menu at the top is generally how we build our own sites too.

A few weeks back we talked about SEO clusters and how we keep our sites organized with them. See the full post here.

When we look at DollarSprout, we see distinct sections on making money, saving money, reviews and ultimate guides.

Let's dig a bit deeper on what's ticking inside their content strategy:

We've collected stats on the site but also included our interview with Jeff below:

Organic Traffic Estimates
Ahrefs - 86,700/mo
Semrush - 102,000/mo

How did you start getting traffic to your site?

We initially started building an audience on Pinterest, as it's one of the lowest barrier to entry traffic sources for new bloggers.

Once we had decent traffic there, we shifted our focus to SEO. 

The search intent and targeted nature of Google traffic makes it some of the most valuable traffic out there for bloggers!

How did your site get its first income streams? and what were they?

Our first income stream (and currently our largest income stream) is through affiliate marketing.

We make money by promoting relevant products and services to our readers that help them solve a problem.

For instance, if someone is reading an article on DollarSprout about how to save extra money, we may promote an affiliate offer for a high yield savings account.

If they open a new account, we will get a small commission from that bank; a win-win.

What do you think has made the biggest impact on your blogging business?

When we made the realization that everything needs to be done with a clear intention, that's when everything started to change for our blog.

We no longer write posts to fit to an arbitrary publishing schedule -- we only hit publish when we have created the best possible version of work that we can produce.

We no longer focus on the activities that have no ROI.

Everything we do can directly trace back to one of 3 key areas for us: Content, Traffic, or Sales.

Where did you learn to build your online business? Did you have a mentor?

Lots of trial and error!

One of the biggest mistakes we made early on was not finding a mentor -- or even modeling after and drawing inspiration from other successful players in our niche.

By operating in a vacuum, we had virtually zero growth for our first year.

Fast forward to now (3 years after starting) and we are averaging over $25,000 per month in revenue.

Do you have any words of advice to new content publishers?

Study others who are successfully doing what you want to do, then work like hell to beat them 🙂

Want to build an income-generating content machine?

Take part in our new content publishers training. Join us & hundreds of like-minded entrepreneurs as we build our online empires!

Nicholas Christensen - Lottery Critic



Nick is a prime example of a niche site entrepreneur. (Just like the many in our private FB group)

With this niche site being about a year and a half old, Nick's been putting his head down absolutely crushing the niche. This isn't the usual Amazon niche either.

From looking at the sites progress, we can see that it's ranking fairly well for some high competition keywords.

There are likely a few reasons for this, but one appears to be because his site is very very focused on lotteries.

A quick look at the blog's sitemap shows us some interesting tactics being employed:

Organic Traffic Estimates
Ahrefs - 6,300/mo
Semrush - 2,900/mo

How did you start getting traffic to your site?

All of our traffic comes purely from organic. We write high quality articles and get them ranked in SERPs.

Our entire process revolves around organic optimization.

As a side note, Lottery Critic is our primary focus and monetization right now but we have multiple websites generating revenue.

How did your site get its first income streams? and what were they?

We also solely monetize through affiliate marketing.

We prefer to keep our sites as clean from ads as possible since we think that provides the highest possible user experience.

A few years back we noticed that this niche was filled with some very spammy websites, so we decided to invest in the vertical.

A few Google updates later and we were starting to rank very well and flipped the affiliate marketing switch.

What do you think has made the biggest impact on your blogging business?

The team.

We hire remotely from all over the world which is really fun for me (I get to travel a lot), but more importantly, they are all of the highest caliber. 

We used to hire the cheapest that we could find with the intention of fixing things later. Now we try and get things right on the first try which is much more efficient.

On top of that, each of our writers have a deep understanding of SEO and it's implications so that we do not need a large team of SEOs to make sure that content and pages are optimized effectively.

Where did you learn to build your online business? Did you have a mentor?

I have had a lot of mentors.

Last year, I had 1 website and 1 mentor.

Now I have 5 websites and 1 investor (See what I did there?). 

For the most part, the mentor was more for moral support and about helping me to think properly about the business and it's future.

However, I started working on my own websites about 5 years ago. It's taken a lot of time to learn how to be a jack of all trades.

In those years I've taught myself how to be a full stack web developer, excellent UI/UX designer, SEO guru, CFO, and a lot of other skills which I always thought I would just hire someone else for.

But the internet is a beautiful place for learning anything that you want (or more frankly will need) to know.

Do you have any words of advice to new content publishers?

1. Focus on mastering one thing at a time - Make sure you are always growing as a publisher. There is always more to learn.

2. Be extremely goal-oriented with deadlines - When working on your own project it is very easy to let yourself procrastinate or lag on a project or task. 

That is the most dangerous hole to fall into. I remember spending nearly an entire day designing a single CTA button only to realize a week later that it had nearly zero impact.

3. Learn your market - Don't be a passive site owner, be super proactive about learning as much as you can about your niche.

4. Organization is efficiency - Don't wait until you have time to be organized or reorganize. Start from the beginning. It will also show in your website when you have well structured pages, titles, and just a general good hierarchy.

5. Learn about website hierarchy as soon as possible - This was always our biggest time sink, having to restructure an entire site is a huge pain.

Scott Perry - Catchers Home




Batters up! It looks like we've got our first husband and wife duo here.

Scott and Jennifer look to be both avid Baseball fans, with Scott possibly being a tad more obsessed. In a good way!

On the other side of the spectrum, Jennifer is a practicing physical therapist so she's contributing where she can to the site.

Let's see what kind of tactics they're utilizing right now:

Beyond these three tactics, we can also see that they've separated their audience into specific buckets: baseball, fast pitch, kids and youth.

I want to take you over to the interview now and see what stats are behind their site currently:

Organic Traffic Estimates
Ahrefs - 1,100/mo
Semrush - 1,400/mo

How did you start getting traffic to your site?

Organically, primarily via google. Secondarily via social media (Instagram and Pinterest)

How did your site get its first income streams? and what were they?

Affiliate marketing! Through both Amazon and small retail sites focused on my niche.

What do you think has made the biggest impact on your blogging business?


My niche is seasonal, so having the right content delivered at the right time can make a world of difference. If you're a few weeks late, you can miss sales.

Where did you learn to build your online business? Did you have a mentor?

I did not have a mentor.

I self learned 100%.

Sidehustlenation.com influenced me greatly in this regard.

It has been hard work since I've had to teach myself, but I've learned a lot so it has been rewarding. If I'm ever really stuck on something I can't (quickly) resolve then I usually outsource that task or activity via Fiverr.

Editors note: To hear more about Side Hustle Nation, we interview the founder, Nick Loper, on his affiliate site portfolio here.

Do you have any words of advice to new content publishers?

Making money online by creating websites or blogs is not necessarily easy but requires hard work.

However, it's well worth it, not only for the potential income but for the fact that you can often create something that can be of use to people for a long time.

And there is great satisfaction in that - at least there is to me! 🙂

Nathan Gotch - Gotch SEO





If you've been in the SEO world any amount of time, then you should know the name "Nathan Gotch".

If you haven't...

Just head over to Google and search for "backlinks"...

His site is ranked #2 on my end. How about your end?

What's interesting about Nathan's site is that it's completely SEO keyword focused and to compete for SEO keywords...

You need to be really really good at it, duh!

Earlier this year, we wrote about an urging issue in our community where people were running out of keywords to go for... (see post here)

I have a funny feeling that Nathan has come into this problem before. Mostly because he's covered every topic in SEO and wouldn't want to cannibalize his site.

So let's see what he's doing currently to stay relevant:

You can see that his strategy remains the same, but it's more elegant because he doesn't want to mess up a good thing (his rankings) but also needs to produce content continuously.

So let's look at Nathan's stats and hear from his own words what's working:

Organic Traffic Estimates
Ahrefs - 164,000/mo
Semrush - 10,500/mo

How did you start getting traffic to your site?

I created keyword-targeted content assets and then acquired backlinks to the assets (and my site in general).

I also focused on growing my email list, which is now my #1 channel for content promotion.

It's truly a powerful way to get traction out of the gate with any new content asset you create.

How did your site get its first income streams? and what were they?

I focused on acquiring SEO clients for the first 2-3 years of my business and then transitioning into an information product (Gotch SEO Academy).

Clients are great for initial cash flow, which you can then reinvest into more profitable and scalable revenue streams such as info products.

What do you think has made the biggest impact on your blogging business?

Changing my focus from quantity to quality content creation.

I stopped worry about publishing just to be "consistent" and instead focusing on publishing to be more effective.

I would rather spend two months creating an single asset than creating 20 sub-par assets.

Where did you learn to build your online business? Did you have a mentor?

Reading books and following proven experts in my field have acted as mentors from the beginning (and continue to be).

I know that I wouldn't be where I am today without learning from others.

As a side note, the ROI of reading and taking action on what you learn in books (or on blogs) is unmatched.

Do you have any words of advice to new content publishers?

Invest in your content and don't be afraid to promote it.

I've never felt nervous about promoting content assets that I've invested countless hours and capital into creating.

You shouldn't either 🙂

Kim Smith - Good Firms



Goodfirms is a research firm that is supplemented with a customer verified review website where customers can review certain products and companies.

From what we can tell, the team makes research available to it's users in order bring about traffic back to the site.

This isn't the usual content sites that many of us build, but is really trying to take on the "high end research" market.

At least in this current iteration of their business.

With 9000 reviews on their platform from verified customers, this site has the ability to earn more SEO traffic with each review left on the pages.

So what sorts of content are helping them grow right now? Let's see...

Organic Traffic Estimates
Ahrefs - 44,000/mo
Semrush - 9,700/mo

How did you start getting traffic to your site?

Back when we started our website, we concentrated on organic reach and visitors.

So we concentrated on SEO and Social Media.

With well-planned SEO strategies, search engine optimized keywords were used to form web content as well as blogs.

Tools like Google Keyword Planner were/are used to discover keywords and phrases related to topics and services to be included into title, content and page links to increase the visibility of the blog on search engines.

To maximize the optimization of the website, XML sitemaps, title, images, meta tags and much more was assimilated into the efforts.

With constant Social Media campaigns in the form of web-updates and blog posts, traffic on our blog sites started growing steadily.

How did your site get its first income streams? and what were they?

As our blog-sites developed, we started to receive a significant number of unique, regular and loyal visitors in search of IT consultancy for their business needs.

And these numbers were increasing day by day in the multiples of tens to hundreds consistently.

This increasing utility and popularity of the blogs appealed to mass IT companies and agencies from around the world; to make their presence felt on the platform. 

We started to place paid advertisements on our blogs. This would be our first stream of income. With time and user demand, we started publishing promotional content.

What do you think has made the biggest impact on your blogging business?

There would be two for us: SEO and Bilateral Content Sharing.

Search Engine Optimization: 
Since the beginning, we concentrated on organic visitors. There were two main reasons for this - First, organic visitors are genuine and prove to be potential leads. Second, attracting organic visitors is cheaper, while a lot of skills and technical knowledge is needed. And our knowledge of SEO, skillful application, and staggering patience paid off.

Bilateral Content Sharing: We consistently provide key researches on surveys as well as blog consultancy on key IT services. Not to mention reviews, PR publications, and research for listed companies on our sites which serves for their online reputation management. With increasing quality of content and tools, the listed companies started to use our wisdom arsenal as a source for their web content.

Both of these reasons were the biggest impacts on our site, in terms of increased traffic, decreased bouncing rate, and web engagement, building us our own large loyal audience.

Where did you learn to build your online business? Did you have a mentor?

We are a team of SEO experts, digital marketers and content writers among other technical professionals.

And we learned to build an online business online.

There would be no singular mentor, but internet learning has been our biggest tool and source of knowledge. 

Do you have any words of advice to new content publishers?

Develop knowledge and have patience.

We believe and advice to build an organic audience steadily, which can be trusted to convert.

Also, a steady rate allows you to analyze and provide user needs and thus enabling to generate an income out of your efforts.

On the other hand, Viral content will build you a larger audience but the conversion ratio is too varied to trust upon.

And interestingly in this digital world, Virals are created and forgotten the same day. Sooner or later bubble is to burst.

Andrei Vasilescu - Don't Pay Full




Originally starting as a forum and blog, this site has transformed itself to a full-blown coupon affiliate site.

Starting from an attic, Andrei and his co-founder Adrian worked for 2 years before moving into the customary office space.

Now they have a 14+ team ranging from graphic designers, developers, and project managers.

The coupon space is highly competitive so let's see what Andrei is doing to compete in such a difficult environment:

Sometimes when you have a site that has a wide array of audience members, you have step up your ninja marketing skills to create content that speaks to them individually.

Rather than sounding like a big brand, these guys are defining a more personal relationship with their audience.

Now let's head over to our final interview and see what Andrei has to say about growing his site:

Organic Traffic Estimates
Ahrefs - 1,200,000/mo
Semrush - 491,000/mo

How did you start getting traffic to your site?

At the initial phase I kept publishing different content about how people are facing financial problems when they desire to purchase something, especially the products of international brands.

In the next stage I started publishing how online discount coupons can help people in two ways – paying less while purchasing top brands and saving their money at the same time.

At the same time, I was intent to inform that “DontPayFull” is providing the best online coupons which can help anyone to save money while purchasing international brands and people started to visit my business website regularly to get online coupons from “DontPayFull”.

How did your site get its first income streams? and what were they?

When people started to visit our website regularly, they came to know how our online coupons work.

Some people directly contacted with us through emails or over phone.

We explained the effective usefulness of using our coupons which can help them to pay less and save money while purchasing products of popular international brands.

Then people started to purchase our coupons and we got our first wave of return of investment.

What do you think has made the biggest impact on your blogging business?

Today modern people have become very much cautious before spending a single penny for anything and they always look for any means to save a few bucks from any purchase.

In my blog, I show the way to save money while purchasing things that exactly most people are looking for.

This everyday increasing tendency of people to find a way to save money when purchasing has made the most positive impact on my coupon providing business.

Where did you learn to build your online business? Did you have a mentor?

Concept of online business had arrived decades ago and this mode of business has exploded when mobile internet service has become easily available at any part of the globe.

It has been proved as the easiest and fastest way to let infinite number of people know about your business.

There are so many efficient online business consultants who can help you to build your online business and guide you as your business mentor. 

I build my online business in the same way without any physical business mentor.

Do you have any words of advice to new content publishers?

Blogs are published in order to get the attention and following of online readers who find your blog contents are somehow useful or entertaining to them and eventually make them convinced to visit your website for more information about your business.

Therefore, the most important advice to any content publisher is whatever you write in your blog, it must be able to engage your readers enough to drive them to your business website.

Take help of various online tutorials of how to construct engaging blog contents.

Editors note: This might be a good example of an online tutorial for writing engaging content. We've disseminated how to create the perfect review roundup, without purchasing the product here.

Want to build an income-generating content machine?

Take part in our new content publishers training. Join us & hundreds of like-minded entrepreneurs as we build our online empires!

I'd like to turn the tables over to you now. 

From what you've read above, what can you tell us about your journey?

What's made the biggest impact on your website so far?


  1. This is indeed a great round-up of successful bloggers who have the Midas-touch to transform a simple site to a money spinner. Lots to learn from them!

  2. Really love the post. I am curious about what things we need to start a firm review site like kim smith did? is there any legal issue when posting reviews about companies? I see lot of sites doing it these days. but i was not aware that it can be a major money maker.

  3. I found your blog on Facebook, and I’m so glad I clicked the link and read this! What a great round up! Helps me to get ideas on building traffic to my blog.

  4. Nice one

    Looks like a challenge for newbie bloggers like me

  5. Thanks for the great round-up of successful bloggers’ experiences and advice.
    Gives us, newbies, hope and the new energy to persist at working hard.

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