Authority Business Traffic and Income Report #1 [AIB]

Welcome to the first installment of the Authority Internet Business Traffic and Income Report.

In these series of posts, I’ll show what it’s like to build an authority business from scratch.  Each update will describe the actions I take to grow and the lessons I learn along the way.

Specifically, we’ll cover six major sections:

  • Successes
  • Failures
  • Traffic Results
  • Income Results
  • Total Expenditures
  • Future Strategies

Like most folks, I love when bloggers show specific numbers from their business.  With the Traffic and Income Report, I hope to show what works with an Internet business. Rather than talk about different strategies, I’ll let you know if it actually helps grow my business.

This post is a long one, so let’s get to it.

[title color=”green-vibrant” align=”scmgccenter” font=”verdana” style=”normal” size=”scmgc-2em”]First…A Little Background [/title]

Before we jump into the meat-and-potatoes of this post, I think a brief introduction is in order.

Since 2005, I’ve earned a full-time income from an authority business that specialized in affiliate marketing.  While I didn’t mind talking about the techniques I implemented, I wasn’t comfortable with being fully transparent about my websites.  This I feel, was a disservice to my readers because it’s easier to apply information when you see how it’s used in a real-world setting.

So to become more transparent, I decided to start this case study in January 2013.  My goal here is to show what it’s like to build a long-term asset from scratch.  Unlike the “niche site model” that’s popular with many marketers, I wanted to show readers what can happen when you’re willing to spend years working on something great.

Honestly, the project took awhile to get going.  I started working on (DGH) around April 2013, but it has been a slow-going process, including a three-month break during the summertime.  Now I’ve made the decision to work on it full-time, with the hopes of turning it into a legitimate business.

It has been six months since this project was started.

How is it doing?

Let’s find out…

[title color=”green-vibrant” align=”scmgccenter” font=”verdana” style=”normal” size=”scmgc-2em”]Successes of Develop Good Habits[/title]

#1: Kindle Books

As you probably know, I’m a huge fan of Kindle publishing.  With this platform, bloggers now have an easy way to monetize their website.  In the past, you had to spend months building an audience before you could make money.  Now, it’s possible to publish a book in conjunction with a blog and use both to grow your site.  And yes, this is the strategy I used to launch my blog.

So far, the Kindle books are doing well.  I’ve published four in the habits market and hope to complete three more by the end of 2013.

Not only are these books responsible for most of my revenue, they also generate traffic back to DGH.  I’m already seeing book readers turn into blog readers and email subscribers.   Both are important because my primary goal is to cross-pollinate followers/readers on multiple platforms:

Overall, I’m happy that there is traction with the Kindle books.  This shows there is an audience in this market.  All I have to do now is get better at finding out what type of information people want.

#2: Amazon Associates Program

As you’ll see in the “failures” section, I’m mad at myself for not doing a good job during the niche research phase of this case study.  Specifically, I didn’t identify a quality affiliate offer before getting started.  This has now become a problem because I don’t have a legitimate second source of income.

With that said, I think there might be some potential with the Amazon Associates program.  While the commission rates aren’t great, I like this platform because you can promote offers that you actually use.  In the long-term, I picture creating a series of physical product recommendations that help people with habit development.

(To learn more about what I’m doing with Associates program, check out this article.)

#3: Web Traffic

In September DGH generated 1,660 visitors.  I’ll admit this isn’t a huge amount of traffic, but I feel it’s a decent start considering I haven’t actively promoted the site.

Primarily I get traffic from these sources:

  • Kindle eBooks
  • Search Engines
  • Twitter
  • Direct linking

You can’t build a business from 1,660 visitors.  However, it’s a good starting point for where I hope to take DGH.

[title color=”green-vibrant” align=”scmgccenter” font=”verdana” style=”normal” size=”scmgc-2em”]Failures of Develop Good Habits[/title]

#1: Laziness

I’ll admit it… I have been very lazy with DGH. I started it in April and then promptly took a two week vacation to Puerto Rico.  After that, I did some work, which included publishing two Kindle books and 20 blog posts.  However, this momentum was lost when I took a bunch of vacations in the summertime:

  • Greece (1 month)
  • Cape Cod, MA (10 days)
  • Biloxi, MS (3 weeks)

It’s impossible to build momentum if you keep starting and stopping work on a project.  While I did a “little” work between vacations, I didn’t make any significant progress for about three months.

From this experience, I learned one important lesson:

[quote type=”medium” align=”left”] To build an authority business, you need to work like an authority.  [/quote] (Click to ReTweet!)

An authority site isn’t a niche site.  You can’t outsource the process and live the “4-Hour Workweek.”  Instead, you need to spend time developing great content, creating useful products and networking with bloggers in your niche.  All of these things require a whole lot of dedication.

I’m mad at myself because I know DGH has potential—yet I haven’t done the work to make things happen.

That’s why I made a recent decision:

For the rest of 2013 and the first part of 2014, I’ll only work on projects related to the authority business case study. 

Basically this means doing a few core activities:

  • Writing blog posts (on related to this case study
  • Writing blog posts on DGH
  • Creating Kindle books for the habits market
  • Networking with bloggers and other thought leaders
  • Building additional traffic channels

What this also means is I’m taking time off from publishing IM/KDP related eBooks. I feel this is the right choice because I’ll learn a lot of practical techniques that can be used to make stronger books in the latter part of 2014.

Okay, I went on a bit of tangent there…

My point is simple—if you want to build a successful authority business, then be prepared to focus on it exclusively.

#2: Niche Research

One of the first articles in this case study detailed seven steps for finding a profitable niche.  Here, I described my step-by-step plan for choosing “habits” as my niche.  Unfortunately, I made a huge mistake with step #3 (“Locate Affiliate Products.”)  Instead of finding a good affiliate product, I assumed I’d come across something eventually.  The problem?  I haven’t found a single offer that meshes well with this niche.

Honestly, this was a huge mistake on my part.  I was sooooo convinced that the habits market was perfect that I didn’t take the time do good niche research.  And now all I can find are offers that I refuse to promote:

  • Law of attraction
  • How to be more happy
  • Secret “success formulas”
  • Binaural audio and subliminal messages

In the long-term, this won’t be a big deal because I’ll create my own offers.  However, this mistake is costly in the short-term because I’m relying solely on Amazon for income.  Potentially, this could be disastrous if the “Big A” changes a policy or rule.

The lesson here?

When researching a niche, make absolutely sure you find at least three different income opportunities.  That way, you’ll have a backup plan if something happens to one source of revenue.

#3: App Development

One of my worst qualities is impatience.  When I start something, I want things to happen right away.  This causes problems because I’ll often start projects before they’re ready.  In regards to the DGH case study, this impatience cost me $1,682.21.

Let me explain…

When I described my initial monetization strategy, I mentioned how app development would be focal part of my business strategy.  While I’ve made a bit of money with apps in the past ($11.415.53 so far), I didn’t take time to research the mobile market for habits.  Instead, I broke the cardinal rule of business:

[quote type=”medium” align=”left”] Create products that people WANT! [/quote] (Click to ReTweet!)

You see, when I started DGH, I learned about the importance of “triggers” and how they relate to bad habits.  In the iTunes app store, I couldn’t find an app that tracked triggers, so I decided to build one myself—for a total cost of $1,682.21.  The end result is an app called Trigger Tracker.

While I believe Trigger Tracker is useful, my mistake was to build it before talking to my audience.  What I should have done instead was build up a following and then talk to people about what they want.  From there, I could have built an app that users would love.

I still feel Trigger Tracker has potential.  It generates a few email subscribers a day and some people regularly use it.  In the future, I might talk to my audience and then create an update with more advanced features.

Mistakes Happen!

Before we move on, I want talk about the nature of mistakes.  As you’ve seen, I’ve made three huge ones with this case study so far.  Does mean DGH is a failed project?  Absolutely not!

Expect mistakes to happen.  If you’re not pushing boundaries or trying new things then your business won’t go anywhere.  Sure, I screwed up a few times and lost money, but that doesn’t mean the authority concept is flawed.

To quote Thomas Edison:

[quote type=”medium” align=”left”] I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work. [/quote] (Click to ReTweet!)

Sure, the affiliate and app strategies haven’t panned out.  But maybe these failures will open the door to a whole new opportunity.

Alright, that’s it for the rah-rah section of the report.

Let’s talk numbers…

[title color=”green-vibrant” align=”scmgccenter” font=”verdana” style=”normal” size=”scmgc-2em”]Traffic Results of Develop Good Habits[/title]

As you’ll see, DGH hasn’t generated much web traffic.  That’s a direct result from my current area of focus.  Instead of promoting the site, I’ve been concerned with:

  1. Creating good content
  2. Publishing Kindle books
  3. Networking with others

While these activities won’t bring immediate traffic, they will have a positive long-term impact on the success of DGH.

Here is a screenshot from the past six months:

(Click to Enlarge)

These are the stats for the six-month span (April through September):

  • 6,177 Visitors
  • 4,086 Unique Visitors
  • 02:49 Average Visitor Duration
  • 43.14% Bounce Rate

Now, let’s break down traffic into specific sources:

  • 3,700 Direct
  • 1,271 Search Engine
  • 1,091 Other
  • 115 Twitter

The “Direct Traffic” stat is hard to decipher because it comes from a variety of places:, Kindle books and autoresponder emails.  Unfortunately, it’s hard to know exactly where these visitors come from.  But, in the future, I might set up individual tracking codes to get a more accurate measurement.

Also, I’m using these traffic numbers as a baseline for future promotions.  Down the road, I’d like to compare stats on a month-to-month basis.  So let’s look at the numbers from the past month (September):

  • 1,660 Visitors
  • 1,218 Unique Visitors
  • 02:22 Average Visitor Duration
  • 28.19% Bounce Rate

And here are the individual traffic sources:

  • 742 Direct
  • 630 Search Engine
  • 234 Other
  • 54 Twitter

One stat that stands out is the search engine traffic.  DGH has generated 1,271 search engine visitors since its inception, but over half of it happened in the past month.  That means my minimal backlinking efforts are starting to pay off.  (More on this in a future post.)

Now, a metric that’s equally important is the number of email subscribers.  As I mentioned in the post about monetization, the Most Wanted Response (MWR) for DGH is to build an email list.

How many subscribers did I generate in this six-month span?

Here they are (broken down by their subscription path):

  • Kindle books: 487 subscribers
  • Mobile apps: 172 subscribers
  • Splash page: 181 subscribers
  • Sidebar widget: 95 subscribers
  • Other (no tracking link): 5 subscribers
  • Total: 940 subscribers

(Read this post to learn more about email marketing and how I’m building a list.)

Overall, I’m happy with the traffic and subscriber numbers.  I’m most excited about the 440 email subscribers and 1,660 visitors in September.  Both show that the business is gaining momentum.  Now all I have to do is work hard and really start to promote the website.

[title color=”green-vibrant” align=”scmgccenter” font=”verdana” style=”normal” size=”scmgc-2em”]Income Results of Develop Good Habits[/title]

Okay, here is where the rubber meets the road.  While it’s nice to talk about successes, failures and traffic; most people want to know one thing—how much money have you made?

Well, right now my income comes from three places:

  1. Habit Kindle Books70 Healthy Habits, Wake Up Successful, and Writing Habit Mastery
  2. Amazon Associates: Physical product and book recommendations on DGH.
  3. RevMob: An advertisement platform for the app Trigger Tracker.

To give you an idea of what it’s like to build an authority business, here is the five-month progression of DGH:

May 2013

  • Amazon Kindle: $9.08

June 2013

  • Amazon Kindle: $757.13
  • Amazon Associates: $0.24
  • RevMob $0.36

July 2013

  • Amazon Kindle: $354.04
  • Amazon Associates: $6.70
  • RevMob: $13.99

August 2013

  • Amazon Kindle: $256.02
  • Amazon Associates: $8.33
  • RevMob: $9.11

September 2013

  • Amazon Kindle: $2,190.59
  • Amazon Associates: $127.26
  • RevMob: $9.57

Total Income Generated: $3,741.92

When looking at these numbers, two things stand out.

First off, my “three month hiatus” killed the momentum of the Kindle books.  June was a strong month where I generated $757.13.  If I was smart, I should have followed up with a book in July and another in early August.  Instead, I waited until the end of August to publish the third book (Writing Habits Mastery).  Only then did my income go back up.

Second, I rely way too much on Kindle publishing.  This shouldn’t be a big deal in the short-term; but a lack of income diversity is dangerous place to be in.  At the very least, I should increase the Amazon Associates income.  Beyond that, I think it’s important to focus on affiliate marketing (if possible) and creating information products.

Full Disclosure: Before we move on, I want to mention something…

When I launched Writing Habit Mastery I received a few message from a few “Steve Scott readers” who were annoyed that I didn’t post an update on this blog.  They said it wasn’t fair that they had to track down this book and potentially pay $2.99 since I didn’t let subscribers know about the discounted priced.  So I made the judgment call to run a $.99 promotion and send one email to my IM/Kindle business list.

I feel this promotion did generate revenue and help with the rankings of Writing Habit Mastery.  Consequently, the results from September are somewhat skewed.  The purpose of this case study is to provide a realistic look at building a business from scratch.  And most people won’t start out with an email list like I used to promote the $.99 discount.

With that said…

Yes, the email promotion absolutely helped with short-term visibility.  However, its long-term “stickiness” is determined by reader demand.  Right now, people are buying this book because they want to “develop the writing habit,” not because it had a lot of visibility six weeks ago.

Moving forward, I’m not going to promote habit-related books on this blog or on my IM/Kindle email list.  If you want to grab free or discounted copies, then you’ll have to check out the DGH blog.  Really, that’s the only way I can make sure this is a 100% legitimate case study.

[title color=”green-vibrant” align=”scmgccenter” font=”verdana” style=”normal” size=”scmgc-2em”]Total Expenditures of DGH[/title]

Every online business requires a financial investment.  The trick is to know what’s worth buying and what can be skipped.  So another point of this case study is to provide a financial breakdown of what I spend on DGH.

There are five categories of expenditures for Develop Good Habits:

  1. Web Development: Domain registration, hosting (with Host Gator), WordPress theme (Canvas theme) and web design tweaks.
  2. Content: Blog posts, editing, web articles, lead magnet creation and a few eBook sections.
  3. Graphics: Stock photography, logo design and eBook covers.
  4. Mobile Apps: Graphic design, wireframing, programming and app store submission.
  5. Marketing: Press releases, Fiverr gigs, paid advertising and various experiments.

Here is the financial breakdown during the six-month span:

  1. Web Development: $405.32
  2. Content: $1,325.00
  3. Graphics: $894.60
  4. Mobile Apps: $1,682.21
  5. Marketing: $209.00

Total: $4,515.53

Now, compare expenditures to my gross income and you’ll get the net income for Develop Good Habits: Gross Income: $3,741.92 – Total Expenditures: $4,515.53 =

Net Income: – $773.61

Obviously, the first thing that jumps out is the fact that my authority business is operating at a loss.  To be honest I’m not that worried about this.  Some of the expenditures come from content-creation tasks I wanted to test.  Plus, 1/3rd comes from the failed “mobile app experiment.”  I think most people starting out would only spend money on web development, graphics and marketing.  So if you only looked at those numbers, DGH would already be a profitable site.

Also, remember how I stressed the importance of taking a long-term approach to building an authority business?  In fact, in a post that I wrote six-months back, I wrote the following:

[quote type=”medium” align=”left”] Realistically I won’t see any profits till the six-month mark.  That should be enough time to create a few offers and build a baseline of traffic.  From there, I’ll explore different options for how to scale this business. [/quote]

After looking at my current Kindle book sales (for October), I’m pretty confident I’ll earn enough to make DGH a profitable venture.  Sure, I didn’t hit the six month goal, but seven months is pretty damn close.  And to paraphrase that Edison quote, “I spent a few thousand dollars to find ways that won’t work for my authority business.”   

Overall, I’m excited because I feel that the “authority model” is working.  While it’s not as profitable as I’d hope it would be at this point, the business is gaining momentum.  Really, all I have to do now is tweak what’s working and implement a few additional strategies.

Which brings us to…

[title color=”green-vibrant” align=”scmgccenter” font=”verdana” style=”normal” size=”scmgc-2em”]Future Strategies of Develop Good Habits[/title]

There are three strategies I’m implementing for the final quarter of 2013 (October through December):

#1: More Kindle Books

It’s the old 80/20 rule in action—if one strategy is responsible for the bulk of your income, focus on that strategy.

By January 1st, I plan on having seven published Kindle books in the habits market.  On Monday I uploaded the fourth (10,000 Steps Blueprint.)  That gives me 10 weeks to get three more books on Amazon.  Difficult, but definitely doable.

#2: Networking

Establishing relationships with related bloggers is a great way to spread the word about your site.  There are many benefits of networking that I’ll get cover in a future post.  For now, I’m focused on a few things:

  • Find blogs where I like their content
  • Share their post through Twitter
  • Comment on intriguing blog posts
  • Send outreach emails to start a conversation
  • Look for a way to help the blogger

The key point here is I’m not asking for anything upfront.  Instead, I’m focused on getting to know the person.  Remember, building an authority business is a long-term strategy.  So it’s important to connect with people now and start establishing those relationships.

#3: YouTube/Udemy

Throughout this case study, you’ve seen me talk about the importance of traffic and income diversity.  While DGH is gaining traction from Kindle and Google, these sources could easily disappear overnight.  That’s why I’m using the fourth quarter to try video marketing.

As of now, I’m following a simple three-step process:

Step 1: Get comfortable with video.  Presenting information through video has never been my strength.  So I’m going work on this skill by creating a number of short (1 to 2 minute) videos that each cover a specific habit change.  These will be posted to a new YouTube channel.

Step 2: Free Course on Udemy. After building up a catalog of videos (at least 20), I’ll turn them into a free course on the Udemy platform.  I love the potential of Udemy, but I’m not sure how it works.  I figure the best way to learn is to give away content and start connecting with Udemy users.

Step 3: Paid Course on Udemy.  Finally, I’ll launch my first paid information product on Udemy.  Perhaps I’ll turn one of my Kindle books into a step-by-step course or maybe I’ll create something brand new.  The important step is to get something on this platform that has the potential to generate income.

To be honest, I’ve had “start YouTube/Udemy marketing” on my to-do list for way too long.  Now is the time to take action on this idea and grow my authority presence.

[title color=”green-vibrant” align=”scmgccenter” font=”verdana” style=”normal” size=”scmgc-2em”]Comments/Questions/Ideas[/title]

Well, that’s it for the inaugural traffic and income report!

It’s been over six months since this case study has started.  I’ve had some successes and some failures.  Moving forward, these lessons will help take DGH to the next level.


I feel an authority business takes time to build.  This means it’ll often be months before I see the results from the different strategies I’ve implemented.  That means I’ll only publish a “Traffic and Income Report” every 2 to 3 months.

I feel it’s more helpful to you to create content that covers specific strategies I’m testing instead of publishing a T&I report each month.  By spacing them out a few months apart, I’ll have more information to add to each update.

Okay, it’s your turn.

While this case study focuses on my experiences with growing an authority business, I’d love your feedback.

Post your comments in the section below.

Have a question about the case study?  Want to see a specific type of content?  Have feedback about what’s happened so far?  Got a great idea for me?

If so, let me know your thoughts…

Take Action. Get Results.

65 thoughts on “Authority Business Traffic and Income Report #1 [AIB]”

  1. Outstanding post Steve, very informative. I would say your experiences mirror many of mine in trying to do something similar. I completely agree about figuring out if there is an audience. It is so hard to do this and we get impatient with trying to wait to build a product to see if anyone cares. As I launch my first online course it would have been way better to really spend a year trying to see if there was a market.

    One recommendation I have would be to take the Kindle books and turn them into paperback books with CreateSpace. I have had great success publishing physical bookd on Amazon. The work is all done, it wouldn’t take you much and you would double your products.

    I am also looking at Udemy to expand my products. Great article and a lot of great lessons going on.

    • Thanks for the comment. I do find there has to be a balance while building an authority site. You should take action, yet it’s equally important to take a little time and find out what people want. That’s why blogging is a great vehicle because you get to talk to people and use their responses to gauge interest in a particular topic.

      I do like (and agree with) your CreateSpace recommendations. CS has been on my list forever, but I’ve heard it only comprises 5 to 10% of sales when compared to the digital stuff. So I’ll probably table this idea, until I have a pretty reliable stream of traffic and income from other sources.

      Let me know how Udemy works for you. I’d be interested to see how this platform works out for other authority marketers.

  2. This is the most inspiring, useful and helpful post for me. Thanks for sharing your experience and thoughts.


  3. Thanks for this Steve – very timely! I have purchased a new domain that is in the area of spiritual business/mindset, etc. and this looks like a really good blueprint.

  4. Scott, thanks for this helpful post. It convinced me to finally start a new habit: create kindle books. Thanks for opening my eyes

    • Tom: That’s a great habit to develop. What I do every day is spend the first 1 to 2 hours writing and nothing else. That has made a huge difference on my ability to get things done. Highly recommend doing it.

  5. Thanks Steve – great stuff as always. I love the idea of creating a Udemy course – I’m definitely going to check that out. I have a question wondering what you would do.

    I had planned on following your strategy for writing more kindle books but I have a dilemma. The one kindle book I’ve been selling is doing better than I thought. I’ve also been getting a lot of request for an expanded paperback version. Is it worth creating an updated version for paperback using a service like CreateSpace or would you just stick with Amazon eBooks? I’m just not sure where to put my time and energy. If I have something that already exist and can be enhanced to make more money or start another book from scratch and leave the current one alone.

    • Joe–

      Honestly, I feel a better use of your time is to write that next Kindle book. I’ve heard from other authors that CS books only comprise 5 to 10% of their earnings. Whereas another eBook means a whole new stream of revenue. Whenever I get a request for a physical book, I’ll simply send them a PDF version that can be printed out.

      To be honest, I think there is a lot of merit to publishing CreateSpace books–especially since it adds more authenticity to your brand. But, it often comes down to the 80/20 rule where you should focus on the high leverage activities that bring the best results.

  6. Hey Steve,

    Congrats on the progress so far. Once you’ve published your future books I bet your income will skyrocket.

    As your blog becomes bigger are you still going to hire writers as opposed to writing most articles on your own? If not, it’s great that you can step away from something instead of treating it like your baby. Like a real business I suppose lol

    I do like the way some bigger blogs run where they have staff writers. Copyblogger comes to mind. I’d love to get into a position where I could do that in a few years. Maybe just post once every few weeks and do everything else behind the scenes.

    • Jamie— I did do some hiring of writers for various pieces of content (hence, the $1,325 expenditure). What I realized from these projects is the need to “find my voice.” Right now, I love talking about habits, but I haven’t quite landed on a good “hook” for the website. I think through the sheer act of writing a lot of content, I’ll find the best angle for my site.

      Long-term though, I agree that it would be awesome to be like CopyBlogger and other sites where I’d have a staff of writers. But, I’m now thinking it might be a 2nd or 3rd years strategy to get to that point. Maybe then I can focus on managing the process, instead of doing the day-to-day stuff.

  7. Great post Steve. Could you provide more information on your marketing strategies? You mentioned, “Press releases, Fiverr gigs, paid advertising and various experiments.” What worked? What your ROI?

    Thanks. Great site and awesome products. I’m reading your Is $.99 the New Free right now.

    • Nabs– To be perfectly honest, almost all of my marketing efforts were duds. The only ones that were good were the three Fiverr gigs I used to promote my free ebooks. Here is where I describe what I used:

      My current thinking is I need an offer to really make paid advertising ROI. While I earn $2 per Kindle book, it’s hard to pay for exposure to them. My six-month goal is to come out with an offer and then use it to test out different paid advertising platforms. And I’ll definitely post the results here.

  8. I purchased your Writing Habit Mastery and How To Discover Best-Selling eBook Ideas The Bulletproof Strategy. I have read through each and plan to read Writing Habit Mastery a couple more times. I recently started a new blog to get me in the habit of writing regularly. I find that I really enjoy writing my blog. However, I have no idea how to fund my blog. My blog is about making an international move to Panama and basically all about Panama and its people.

    Your post showing your traffic stats gives me an idea where I am with my following. However I am at a standstill and I do not know how to increase my readers. My traffic at five months mimics close to what your demo traffic is. I am working full time and do not get to post as often as I like.

    I have several books that I want to write but they are completely off the topic.

    Please keep up your helpful posts.
    I would really like to hear from you with any suggestions or further insight you might have.

    • Darla— Have you explored the idea of publishing Kindle books related to Panama on Amazon? I’m not sure if there’s a market there, but that would be my first suggestion. Beyond that, you could up one level and write books that talk about the “Expat Lifestlye”. Perhaps talk about the process of what it’s like to move away from your country and all the processes that people have to complete. Then you can present Panama as a viable option. I visited Panama two years back and I know for a fact, they have a lot to offer people who want to live somewhere different. Beautiful country!

  9. I am so grateful I found your site three years ago Steve.
    The amount of value I have received from you is priceless. After four months of searching for sustainable online business models, you were the first person I came across that really helped me to start to understand direct response marketing as applied online.

    I took my time to fully learn everything I could so I would (ideally) make fewer mistakes.

    I have now come to taking action, and it is the same direction you are now taking. Honestly, I didn’t really understand the difference between a “niche” site & an “authority” site until this post. Now that I get it, I see that I have absorbed far more knowledge than I thought. That’s because now that I’m taking action to build my site, I realize I’m pursuing an “authority” approach.

    I just want to let you know I appreciate all the value you share, Steve. These case study reports are awesome, because it gives me numbers to compare to my site’s progress.

    I’ve told you since I first bought Affiliate Marketing Without the B.S., that I intend to catch up to you because of the bloggers I want to network with, you are #1 on that list.

    I will be heading back to one of the Buddhist monasteries I visited last winter during my bike tour from Denver to San Diego last winter in a couple weeks. At that time I am going to start sharing your stuff on my social media, and the other networking idea you shared here.

    Thank you again, Steve.
    May you be happy, well, and live at ease,

    • Thanks Omar! Glad these posts are inspiring you to take action. In the past, I also found it hard to differentiate between the two models… Really, it comes down to how much effort you’re willing to put into one site. It sounds like you have a lot going on your end…keep me posted. (I haven’t forgotten about my promise–just have too many tasks to handle this week.)

  10. Hi Steve

    Thanks for an interesting insight to a part of your business, It’s good to see you’ve got your plans put down on paper, I’ve come to the same conclusion as you, I’m writing my Kindle books to go hand in hand with my blog.
    Keep up the good work buddy


    • Definitely! I feel the best long-term approach is to run both a blog and book business. That way you’re supporting the Amazon platform, which feeds back into your website. It’s all circular.

  11. Hi Steve,
    Anthony here, I sent you that link to the podcast on the philosophy of exercise. Hey, how many pages do you make your Kindle books? 50-ish? You put links to your blog and other Kindle books at the back of the book? Cheers

    • I’m actually not sure about the book lengths. Basically, I aim for 15,000 to 20,000 words per book. The important thing is to do a deep-dive where you cover one topic in exhaustive detail. I do put an advertisement at the start of my book, which promotes my lead magnet. Plus, I will occasionally link to blog posts and Kindle books within the content when I feel there is a direct correlation to what’s being taught. That said, I make sure to only promote only one or two books, to keep the risk of seeing overly self-promotional to a minimum.

    • Hey Mitz— it includes a number of freelance writing jobs I’ve tested: Lead magnet, an eBook (that I ultimately re-wrote), 4 blog posts and one really long blog post. Also it includes three Kindle book editing jobs (about $120 apiece). Overall, I realized through these jobs, that I wanted to do most of the writing myself and stick with just hiring an editor for the books.

      • Hi Steve,

        You mentioned that you are getting editing done at $120 a piece for your books. That’s a really good deal – my last book was edited for $300 for 15K words. Can you elaborate how you find quality editors at that price?

        I’ve read your “How to Hire a Top-Notch Freelance Writer” so I’m guessing you follow a similar process for hiring editors through elance?

        • Wow…$300 seems a bit steep, but you might have hired a professional level editor. Yes, the process to hire my editor was the exact one I followed in that post. I test a few different people and found the one I liked. If you want, email me and I’ll give his name. I’m sure he’d love the work.

  12. Keep up the great work Scott!…with this plan I’m sure in 2014 your authority site is going to sky rocket…thanks for the reminder, I also want to increase my youtube presence and make a Udemy course….hope all is well…take care…

  13. Hi Steve what a great post. I have gained so much from your insights. You have A very organized brain, something I sadly lack and have to work very hard on.

    I am interested to know why you refuse to promote any of the habit affiliate products you mention.

    • Thanks Janet.

      With all due respect to owners of this type of information, I find most it be “pseudo-science” that’s not grounded in reality. While I believe setting goals and some forms of visualization, I don’t think you get anywhere in the world by “thinking about money”. Really, it comes down to habits and taking actions on a daily basis. If I promote products that say otherwise, that would come in direct conflict with my core message.

      • Steve – I understand what you mean but I don’t think that is what things like the Law of Attraction actually teach. I know they say “you get what you think about” – but that is just for starters. Most of the information I have read has been very thorough and very clear that thinking is only a very small part of the process. The goal setting, the actions and the allowing are all major parts of this. I think the core message is really that you have to believe you can have money (or whatever) for it to work. Constantly believing that money will forever elude you will probably result in you never having any money

        I don’t have any vested interest in this, I have just seen it work for my son. He uses the Law of Attraction everyday. He fought his way out of depression using it and has improved his life 100% – he believes in it and has taken the necessary actions to ensure that it works for him

        I do know what you mean though about products that promise the earth for little effort

        • Hey Janet– I do think it can be helpful to some folks. If the LOA inspires people to take action in their lives, then I think it’s a good thing. For me (and the habits site), I want to avoid any theories/concepts that could be perceived as scammy. I do think the LOA can help, but I also see a lot of parasites (ie: LOA Gurus) who couch their nonsense beliefs and make people think that the secret to life is to dream about money and it’ll show up. I’ve gone through a few of their products and it’s pretty scary about what’s being taught. Overall though, it’s not my intention to give offense to believers of LOA. To each their own, I say. Just for me, I have a vision of where I want to DGH to go, and it’s not to promote products that talk about these concepts.

          • I understand what you are saying Steve, though I have to admit I haven’t seen or read anything that implies that you just dream about money and it shows up!!

            Unfortunately with any of these things finding information that is trustworthy can be very difficult and so your cautionary note about promoting them is very sensible

            I look forward to following the journey of your DGH site

  14. Hi Steve,

    I am regular reader of your blog, because I get helpful content on your site.
    And here again, I am inspired by your post.

    I would like to know how you are doing on backlink.
    What is your strategy to find helpful blogs?

    thanks again

    • I’ll go into detail about what sites I use for backlinking in a future post. Basically I target one or two web 2.0 sites a week to get a backlink. But what I primarily do now is I’ll find the top personal development blogs (there are a couple of roundup posts if you search Google) and literally go from site to site, checking them out. From there, I’ll identify the ones where I like their content and contact them. Also, I look at the blogs that comment on these sites and add them to spreadsheet. It’s not a very fun strategy, but you can learn a lot about a niche by studying the major players in the blogosphere.

  15. Very informative post Steve.
    If I were you, I would check out the possibility to start your own group on Lift. It’s a megatool used by your audience.
    As to the income reports my advice is to make them regularly. Decide 2 or 3 months and stick to it. Comparision will be easier. Besides, people just love them (me included), they drive traffic and attention.

    • Michal — that’s an excellent idea! I just checked the site and saw their link about starting a group. Now, I have to find the right angle.

      I’m definitely going to do a report every two months, but I don’t think writing a monthly post would have that much value besides showing income and expenditures. I feel the lessons I learned are more important to detail.

  16. Steve,

    It was eye-opening to see what kind of income your Kindle books are bringing in. I’m caught in between a dilemma of whether I should be publishing on Kindle OR releasing products through the affiliate market (Warrior forum, self-hosted).

    With Kindle there’s internal traffic that seems to be more of a constant, but with the affiliate launch model there seems to be more of an INSTANT influx of commissions. I think I’ll be doing a combo of both.

    Keep up the great work!


    • Hey Mike— That reminds me that it was YOU who came up with the hook of “Warrior Forum Books on Kindle” during our interview. Since then, that’s the model I’ve followed. Yeah, it’s been a pretty good run so far…I’m just hoping the habit books match what I’ve done with the IM stuff.

      Honestly, I’d recommend doing a combination of both (obviously if you’re sticking to the IM market.) Kindle books are a long-term strategy, whereas WF promos can generate an influx of cash. Perhaps you can double-dip and create products that will be sold on both platforms. Start with a WF promo, then create a condensed Kindle book. Your thoughts?

  17. Hi Steve,
    Great post Steve. I was wondered why I didn’t see any new publications on the IM field on your kindle store.

    But now I understand. And agree. I have a lot of experience with self sabotage regarding not completing projects and losing momentum because of “life happens”. Many of my successes have come exactly being able to build momentum through consistent and constant repetition of an activity, or in one word, habits.

    Now, I am starting to read your new book on “writing habits”. Definitely something I need to develop.

    I would like to finish sharing a tip I’ve been using successfully when reading ebooks. I use the kindle app for reading on my iPad. But since I’ve been a long time fan of audiobooks, I found a simple way to make Siri read my ebooks. I just enable the voice feature on the accessibility menu and then let her read to me.

    It is great, and even if she sounds a bit robotic at times (and some names sound funny like fiverr (she says fiber)) it is a great substitute for “producing” an audiobook on the fly.

    Anyway, keep up the good work.


    • Patricio — Yeah, I wish I had time to do both. But sometimes you have to sacrifice one project in order to build something great. I guess the only consolation is I’ll have a little more time to post updates here.

      Thanks for the great tip! I’ll have to try that out myself…I do listen to TONS of podcasts and read TONS of Kindle books…now I can combine both habits 🙂

  18. This is the Best post you’ve written Steve, I loved the openness in which you shared. I am following along with great interest and learning from your mistakes.
    You mentioned somewhere on facebook that you think Amazon Kindle will become tougher to compete in. I didn’t find any reference to that in the post…

    Thanks so much

    • Sophia — thanks glad you got use from the post…took awhile to put together. I mentioned that part about the Kindle book only on the FB group because it’s specifically for authors. Basically I wanted to emphasize the importance of building an authority business instead of just focusing on writing Kindle books.

  19. This may seem weird to say, but I’m glad to see your failures and low-ish traffic numbers. It’s just refreshing and actually encouraging. I keep reading other case studies where traffic numbers skyrocket and their making $1,000s just after 2 months with a niche like best basket handles. Looking forward to your updates on this authority business. Thanks for your honesty.

    • Glad to hear it’s encouraging. I do think it’s important to show both the good and bad about building a site. Sometimes things don’t work out like you planned and feel readers should know that building an authority site isn’t always sunshine and rainbows. It takes hard work and dedication. Thanks for comment…hopefully the case study is helping you build up your site.

  20. Hi Steve,
    I’m only a recent reader of your blog but am very impressed. Thanks for this great post. I love that you’re going to be focusing on the development of the DGH site. I’m sure all your readers will gain from this…I know I will. I’d love to see you cover your techniques and step-by-step advice for determining and developing quality products that are in demand by your target audience. If this is something that you’ve covered previously (Kindle books?), could you please show me the links.
    Thank you and all the best.

  21. hej steve,

    thanks again for this great post.
    It reminds me to concentrade and to focus.
    ohtherwise: I have a authority-site which runs great with adsense and about 1500 visitors per day. Sure I have to work on this thing.. But I have the great dilemma, that I can’t find a way to put this content in a kindleBook.
    So I have a list of other ideas, which will be fine for kindle. I even published an own ebook on one of my websites, but with very poor success.
    As I am on the german market I am scared, that all the effort in a new book will be for nothing.
    Would do you think? Is the german market ready for kindle-Products? I use kindle very often, but most of my people do not or won’t buy an e-product.

    • Hey Philipp,

      Thanks for your comment! To be honest, I’m not sure if there is a huge German market for Kindle books. I only get a handful of sales each month, but that might also be due to the fact that I write in English. Would you mind sharing the topic of the book you’re thinking of publishing? Perhaps I can help with determining its profitability…


      • Hey Steve,

        thanks so much for Your answer.
        I am a teacher for photoshop for more than 10 years now and I have written an ebook with photoshop as topic (it is a compendium of misstakes a beginner in photoshop will make), but with nearly no success. Maybe because of the bad marketing I do 😉
        No, I think about an ebook for amazon with content about digital images independent of any software. Just to list and explain ALL the things you have to keep in mind, when you handle with jpgs, tifs or so on. ALL things about why do my prints are so bad, but on the screen it looks fine?

        I worry about the images in the ebook – they won’t look good on the normal kindle – maybe iBooks Author from Apple will be better?

        Thanks for any suggestions!

        Best regards

        • Philipp,

          Thanks for writing — didn’t quite get what you were asking. Are you having trouble with the formatting/displaying images on Kindle books? To be honest, Kindle books with images can be tricky. Have you tried one of those formatting guides?


          • Hi Steve,

            thanks for Your answer – to make it short:
            Do You think there is a (kindle-)market for handling digital-images?

            I’ll discover the technical-things – that’s no problem..


  22. Hey Steve,

    I like the breakdown of your report and the journey you are taking us on. We really get to see how long it takes to turn a profit on an authority site. There is a lot “Magic and push button” products out there misguiding people into thinking you can make money over night with niche blogging. I always hear it takes about a good 6 mos to a yr to get a site going from scratch to turning a profit. I’m sure it is different for everyone but it seems the general consensus is that it will take some time.

    Do you plan on letting the site grow organically or are there plans to use paid traffic sources like FB ads or media buys on related authority sites?



    • Thanks Sam! Glad you like it when compared to the “Magic push button” stuff…it’s my intention to write these posts as an antithesis of what these people create.

      To answer your question…

      I’m definitely looking into paid traffic and FB ads. But, what I’ve learned is you need a paid product to get a ROI on these platforms. So I’m going to focus on building an audience and creating products first. Then once I feel comfortable with that, I’ll start to experiment with the paid stuff.

  23. Steve! As a fella that’s used video and blogs together to sell over a million dollars worth of one info-product, I gots two words for ya:


    First, REPURPOSING. To date I’ve read six of your Kindle books… more in the pipeline… but am familiar enough to say with authority that you have hundreds of YouTube vids already scripted.

    Simply take one of your chapters… read thru the subheads and main points… then think of images that illustrate the key words.

    Put those images into a PowerPoint.

    Get a free trial to Camtasia Studio.

    Read your chapter and click thru the images. Camtasia records the sound and whatever shows on your screen. You can make it select any portion of your screen, or optimize for PowerPoint presentations.

    Presto, video. 😉 End each video with a call to action to join your list. You can edit that out for the Udemy version.

    Second word: SYNERGY. Make videos and you will begin to have a following on YouTube. Write books and you will begin to have a following on Kindle.

    Do BOTH… it’s like using one hand to wash and feed the other. You get new followers on YouTube interested in your stuff and wanting to take it on the go; new sale on Kindle. You get Kindle readers clicking on your links in your books to your videos, soon they share with others and grow your list.

    Email your list, promote books in some emails and videos in others. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

    Shucks, I didn’t even do this process RIGHT and still managed to sell over a million dollars worth of a stock market investment course I created. You have a bigger market and I think you could kick serious bootay with repurposing and synergy.

    My $.02.

    LOVING the books Steve!

    Keep Stepping,


    • Kurt — You read my mind (re: YouTube). One of the habits I’m developing for 2014 is to improve my public speaking. The best way to do this (and produce at the same time) is to talk about topics where I have a ton of knowledge. So I’ve already put into a works a Kindle channel that focuses on what you described. The hard part is balancing it with the habits stuff.

      Bottom line…totally agree. Re-purposing content is an excellent way to go. 🙂

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