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An empire building journey - Belfort Enterprises - Year 1. To $15k/mo with SEO

Discussion in 'My Journey Discussions' started by splishsplash, Apr 13, 2015.

  1. splishsplash

    splishsplash Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    Hey all,

    My name's Tom Belfort.

    I'm not going to go into my background as it's not relevant or exciting. You can get to know me through my journey. All that's important is that I've learned some key lessons about happiness and success that have lead me to where I am now. I'll share my insights here to begin with as they're fundamental to this journey.


    1. Happiness is the starting point, not the goal.This isn't really something people can be told. You have to experience it for yourself. Money and possessions don't lead to happiness. Happiness is a state of being that comes from within and results in fountains of creative energy that you can use to build your business, get fit, excel in a sport, learn science or do almost anything you'd like to do. To be happy just decide to be happy. Let go of wants, needs and musts and just feel alive in the moment, then when you feel good, get to work.
    2. Adding value and being of service to others and the world leads to success.The feeling of having added something useful to the world is wonderful. The point of business isn't to just get stuff for yourself, but to create things that make the world a little better. This is is often very misunderstood. It doesn't mean you have to set out to save the world. If you build an adsense site about the best acne products and put time and energy into your research so that you produce information that's helpful then you've added value to the world. If your 3 hours of research allows someone to find a product that's helpful in 10 minutes then the world is a better place. What you promote doesn't have to be super-beneficial. As long as it's not harmful and provides at least a slightly positive benefit then you've been of service to the world. Simple.
    3. Intelligence and knowledge mean very little. Focusing on these things tends to lead to frustration, perfectionism, lack of productivity, procrastination and a host of other failure-based activities.
    4. Persistence, resilience and confidence mean everything.These qualities are what's important. Act now. 80/20 rule. Make mistakes. Don't worry about something being wrong. Just dive into the river and see where it takes you and keep swimming no matter what.
    5. Passion, enthusiasm and excitement.Don't do X to get Y. Do X because you enjoy X. Doing something you hate to get something you love doesn't work, or in cases where it does it takes years of suffering and hard work. Do something you at least enjoy a little, preferably something you really get a buzz from.


    For most, if you can only take one thing from all that it's to be confident and persistent. Those 2 things alone will lead you to success.


    I'd like to say hello and thanks to royserpa too. His journey served as inspiration for my own. It's not his success that's inspired me, but the fact he went through 18 months of what he personally described as 'hell' before finally achieving financial success. I've never seen anyone in online marketing endure that many failures and letdowns continue and not only succeed, but have his profits literally explode. Watching the change in him from start to finish is very cool. It shows us that someone can go from a failing noob to an online marketing superstar very quickly if they keep persisting. Here he is in early august, http://www.blackhatworld.com/blackh...0-day-yt-ppd-more-methods-15.html#post7089748 after working for a year. "Earnings: $0 Profit: $0" for his youtube video, crap rankings for his silo site he created in feb of that year, "It seems getting to page 1 is truly hard lol."pretty much failures across the board on everything he's tried at this point. Fast forward 5 months to 10th Jan '15 and he's on his second journey to $350/day,"Update #5: Hit first $350+ day! ".

    Awesome stuff. If anyone's ever feeling like giving up just go and read his journey. Best journey I've seen in years.

    So.. Now that's my philosophy on life and business out the way. I'll discuss what it is I'd like to do here.

    I'd like to do something quite unique. I'd like to document my entire journey of building an empire.

    My empire isn't about getting personally rich, although I love money, experiences and luxury of course. It's simply about having fun and doing something with my energy each day. To add a little bit of value to the world and maybe solve some problems for people.

    Other than that one of my personal passions is to help others achieve financial freedom. That's why I'm doing this journey. In 10 years people will be able to follow it and see the struggles I went through and how I never gave up.

    This blackhatworld journal is the first, but I'll continue it on my blog over the years and perhaps one day write a book about the entire journey, referring back to this first journal.

    Thanks for reading and welcome to the start of the journey. I hope you have fun following me. :)

    In the next post I'll outline phase 1 of my plan and what I intend to achieve over the next 10 months.


    [​IMG]
     

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  2. supervitallica

    supervitallica Registered Member

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    Cool introduction, you don't see that every day. I like the way you think about making money online. The best of luck to you!
     
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  3. splishsplash

    splishsplash Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    Phase 1 Goals


    Financial goal: Achieve a $15,000 month. (Income/Turnover, not profit)

    Sub-Goals: To help at least one person who's currently making under $100/mo reach $1000/mo


    Hows:

    1) SEO and amazon review sites.
    2) My own blog which will have a focus on SEO case studies and experiments. I'm actually going to fully disclose everything on my blog once my sites reach peak profitability. This is potentially risky, but my goal is to create a very high quality blog that becomes the place to find useful SEO case studies and experiments. I believe I'll be able to make more money from the blog than I'd lose by disclosing my own sites. Worst case scenario I'll just keep my most profitable sites secret and do case studies on other niches.
    3) I'm also going to create a personal general business/life/marketing blog, but that one is more about having a place to write about stuff I enjoy writing about and making myself visible and transparent for business networking.
    4) I'm also building a list based article site to promote on social media. This is a longer term project that will require investment into facebook ads to kickstart, but I'm going to start building it because I enjoy writing those sort of articles. Lots of image based articles, content curation, fun uplifting content. My demographic is females 20-50. Fairly simple premise. Write amazing content. Get initial facebook shares from media buys with the goal of the article going viral. Monetized with revcontent and content.ad.

    Updates:

    I'll update periodically, sometimes daily, sometimes weekly but always at least once a week. I'll have 2 sections. One with comments/analysis where I can share things I've learned and discuss things with others. The second will be my stats. Earnings, rankings etc.


    The first website I have planned is a medium to high competition amazon review niche. Out of 10 I would rate it 7/10 in terms of difficulty. My rankings are 0 = super easy, 1-3 = easy, 4-6 = medium, 7-9 = hard, 10 = crazy.


    Competition for it is about another 15 amazon review sites, 1-2 huge authority reviewsites and some manufacturer sites.

    Earning potential is $7k to $12k/mo for good rankings. Potentially up to about $20k/mo if some really crazy keywords are ranked for. I'll be happy with $1k/mo from this, but $2k-$5k/mo would be nice and if I get my SEO right on this first one there's no reason I can't hit $7k-$10k/mo.

    Main competition is from 2 amazon review sites who are dominating page 1 with a lot of top 3 listings across the 1500 or so keywords ranging from 30 searches per month up to 20k searches per month.

    They both have 50-60 articles. I'm going to have 50-90 articles. Similar reviews, but more supporting content.

    They're powered by PBNs. Nothing insane. a handful of 15-30 DA's. Very low quality sites with 4-5 articles and a huge footprint.

    As for the sites themselves, which from this point I'll refer to as compX and compY(Competitor)

    OSE seems to be down. I'll have to post the stats later.

    From memory they each have about 100-200 backlinks from 30 domains with a DA of about 30-40.

    Their main strength comes from good on-site SEO, especially the site architecture. There's sites with similar DA and backlinks that have terrible rankings and I can see that they have really terrible on-page. Flat architecture, no structure.

    I'm not going to do strict siloing personally. I'm going to have a silo structure setup, but where appropriate I'll link from one silo to the other. With a strict silo you would only link from an article in silo A to silo B's category page, but I'll link from silo A's article to silo B's article where I deem it appropriate. I believe it's enough to just have the good silo architecture setup without worrying too much about theme leaking. Having good internal links is more important in 2015 than strict silos. Google has definitely gotten smarter. Perhaps in past years theme leaking would have been detrimental because google wasn't as smart then, but they are good at working out what your site is about now providing your site still has a good structure and lots of keyword rich internal links.

    An example of what I mean by keyword rich internal links would be :-

    Let's say I'm my seo experiments blog. I'm in 1 case study and I want to link to another one called case study 2. In case study 2 I discovered that backlinks from blogs active on social media are better than inactive blogs. I might do this in case study 1. (The anchor text is in <>)

    "This is important to know because if you remember in another case study we <discovered that active, popular blogs make great backlinks>"

    When your blog is packed full of internal links like this it really helps google build a picture of exactly what your content is about. "Discovered" might tell it that it's some sort of study, case study, experiment, trial. "active", "popular" as adjectives applied to "blogs" in the context of "backlinks". So it'll now know that we're talking about backlinks, popular blogs and it's a discovery.

    If you build more and more like that it'll build up more of a picture. Take a look at blogs like kissmetrics blog and
    hobo-web.co.uk to see examples of this in action. Both those blogs have a flat architecture, but are full of rich keyword phrases and both rank for a HUGE amount of keywords and longtails especially.

    I'll still go for a bit of a silo architecture rather than being flat, but I will be heavy on the good internal links.


    ========================================================

    Other potential amazon review sites.

    I've got another 3 in mind.

    One has the potential for $2k-$5k/mo and has a competition of 5/10 to 6/10.
    The second is similar.
    The 3rd is a low competition one. $300-$600/mo, but fairly low competition. About 3/10 to 4/10. I'm going to do this one next. It's important to attempt different difficulties with the same plan to compare and contrast with the goal of seeing what's possible with the current plan and what needs evolving.



     
  4. splishsplash

    splishsplash Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    My Toolkit


    This is what I have available at my disposal.


    Time
    --------


    I have unlimited time. I've set out a time of 10 months for this first phase of the journey. I like the idea of writing down the days left every day just like roy did. It helps keep the mind focused.

    So to start

    327 Days Left

    I have enough income to sustain me indefinitely. I have a comfortable apartment in a nice area of the city and I can afford to eat healthy energizing food and train at the gym 4-5 days a week. I don't have any pressing needs or goals. This whole endeavor is purely for the joy of it. What else am I going to do! Sit about watching TV. Boring!

    I'm working 7 days per week, 10 hours a day, although if I choose to I'll take a day off or do a half day. These hours are picked because I'm excited to see what can be achieved with 327 days of focused work.

    I use pomodoro timers. (Google it if you don't know what that is)
    My pomodoro is 55 minutes. Short break 5 minutes and long break 30 minutes. I always take my short break and I'll take a long break once or twice a day to eat.
    7-10 pomodoros is productive work. This means producing output. This could be content, software, plans, sites.. Tangible things rather than just reading.
    0-3 pomodoros are for study. I'll share what I'm studying in this journal. I have enough knowledge to implement everything I need, but continual study is good. The first materials on my list are alex becker's source wave stuff. I like him and I find him to be very practical. Further on the list are various seo books like the link building book from paddy moogan, the art of seo, eric ward's link building book, brad geddes adwords book, copywriting books from people like eugene schwartz and landing page optimization from meclabs.


    Investment
    -------------

    Above and beyond my living costs I have $550 per month disposable income that goes into my business account every month that I can use and lose without worry.


    Skills
    -------

    I can write well, develop software, both regular and web based, build servers, networks, databases, use linux. I know 5+ programming languages including php and javascript. I'm good at copywriting although I plan on putting a lot of time into becoming a top-class copywriter over the coming years. I have good knowledge of business, finance, accounting and corporate structure. Overall I'm fairly well-rounded, but as I said above the most important thing isn't intelligence or knowledge, but persistence and confidence.


    Tools

    -----------

    Pro subscription to moz.(competitor analysis, rank tracking + other goodies.)
    Linux vps


    For later:
    semrush
    majestic
    possibly ahrefs, but majestic is good enough for pre-pbn analysis and it's cheaper


    Most money will go into building a pbn. The way I'll rank my sites is by building 2-5 blogs in the niche built just for one site. These sites will be high quality, built like money sites without monetization. No monetization on these sites means I can apply a lot more whitehat link building techniques for backlinks making these very very powerful highly relevant mini-niche-pbns.

    I'll build a general pbn which will link to both the main money site and also the mini-niche-pbns.

    If the money site ever went down I'd also be able to just monetize any of the mini-niche-pbns.

    Other backlinks I'll be experimenting with. Web 2.0's, social, docs, do-follow comments and as many whitehat links as I can get. There are so so many whitehat ways to get links that are just never discussed on this forum. See paddy moogan's and eric ward's link building books.

     
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  5. splishsplash

    splishsplash Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    Update


    OSE is back up.

    CompX is PA : DA 26:38 and bls:blds 35:164
    CompY is PA : DA 22:34 and bls:blds 26:134

     
  6. ambushiv11

    ambushiv11 Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    After reading all your posts I can say you've got yourself a new follower! I'll check on a daily basis your thread as I bookmarked it. Good luck with your journey and keep us posted about SEO phase :D
     
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  7. coitza

    coitza Jr. VIP Jr. VIP Premium Member

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    Wow, quite a detailed and nice start. It shows that you put effort into it and if you continue to do it like this I am definitely it will start working for you, effort and keeping at it are the two main things that will make you successful. Good luck with your journey, really interested to see you not giving up soon ;)
     
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  8. splishsplash

    splishsplash Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    Thanks! :)

    Yep, I'm going to share a decent amount about the SEO. Most don't really share much on their journey, but since one of my main businesses is going to be an seo experiments blog with full disclosure I'm much more inclined to discuss more details even on my early journey. I won't be sharing the site, but I'll be talking about what kind of links I'm building. Enough for people to replicate my success when I eventually reach that point of critical mass.

    Thanks. :) It was 3 full pomodoros!

    And wow. I'm honoured to have a response from an Oct 2007 member. *bow* :)
     
  9. cottonwolf

    cottonwolf Regular Member

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    Make every site pay its rent at least.
    Even if you put only crappy amazon link or other ad network placements on these sites.
    In this case, ofc you're gonna need multiple accounts to avoid refid footprints.
    I don't know if you know about CCarter or Bluehatseo.com, but you should definitely look into ideas from these 2.
    SEO is just part of marketing.

     
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  10. 67MAD54

    67MAD54 Regular Member

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    This sounds fantastic! Very detailed and you also seem very knowledgeable. You have a better skillset than Liam Neeson :D

    I have subscribed and look forward to reading about your success and hopefully learning along the way :)
     
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  11. Liaata

    Liaata Regular Member

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    Subscribed!
    Thanks for the bookrecommendations. Ordered all of the SEO books ;)
    Good luck on your journey.
    I am on a similar one, but I do some client SEO at the same time.
     
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  12. splishsplash

    splishsplash Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    Awesome. Eric and Paddy's books are solid. It's long-term whitehat building, which is very powerful for your long-term projects. Brad Geddes adwords book is also the best adwords book in existence if you're interested in adwords.
     
  13. antonjones

    antonjones Regular Member

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    Don't know if you mentioned this but how much are you going to spend on your PBN?

    Good luck :)
     
  14. splishsplash

    splishsplash Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    Most of my budget will go on the PBN. A good $200-$300/mo minimum.

    Expired domains and hosting etc.
     
  15. supervitallica

    supervitallica Registered Member

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    I read the thread of royserpa you posted in your first post. I have to say it's quite a thread :), very informative too. I have the feeling this will be another very interesting one. I assume you are going to write the content yourself since you want to be a good copywriter.
    The site you want to rank for has a huge earning potential, I see you have a lot of knowledge about linking and content creation. Let's hope for the best!
    You can let go of frustrations/stress in the gym, i think that's important since you will be a lot behind your computer.
    Good luck on building your empire!
     
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  16. splishsplash

    splishsplash Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    Update


    Done
    -----------
    1GB linux vps bought and centos 7 installed
    nginx/mysql/php/php-fpm installed, configured and optimized
    domain registered
    bootstrap theme purchased and installed on server
    site architecture planned out on a mindmap (I use imindmap7 for study mindmaps and mindjet for everything else)


    Comments
    --------------
    bootstrap is a responsive html/css framework. Purchasing a bootstrap theme allows me to have a good base to customize. Pre-built buttons, menus etc. I just need to play around with the placements, remove/add bits. Lower level than wordpress, but still jigsaw like when you know css/js and it'll allow me MUCH more control over my on-site architecture. Wordpress is a bit leaky with too many links all over the place.

    I do like Wordpress, but it's not worth customizing it unless you actually plan on running a blog. For static websites I like raw html/css/js/php with bootstrap since I build once then either forget or update once a month.

    It's also possible google values custom sites a little higher. Logically it does imply higher quality, less spammy. More likely to be professional.

    html/css sites with a little php are also faster than wordpress.

    I feel these are enough positives to go for the custom option.

    To-Do
    ---------

    Customize the bootstrap theme
    Implement site architecture
    Crawl simulation
    Browsers tests
    Brand alerts
    Setup social accounts (fb, twitter, youtube, linkedin, google+, pinterest, instagram, flickr, SU and whatever else I feel like trying)
    google and bing webmaster tools
    google analytics
    setup email marketing(It's worth building a small email list on a review site. I don't expect many subscribers, but business is all about testing)
    Identify content curation opportunities
    Create list of 50-80 reviews/articles for site
    Write those articles. I'll write about 10 per day.
    Setup moz rank tracking.
    Compile list of good web 2.0's
    Write 2-3 articles + video for each web 2.0 and start doing some web 2.0 backlinks
    Compile list of good blogs to comment on.
    Do some manual do-follow blog comments.
    Look into some docsharing backlinks and some other misc backlinks.
    Start building my general PBN
    Start building my niche-PBN


    Earnings
    -----------

    This section will be where earnings go. To make things easier to follow I'll give everything I'm working on a code name.

    Just now it's just 1 amazon review site. I'll call it ARS_A so you can follow its earnings in the coming months.

     
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  17. traged

    traged Power Member

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    Wow, subscribing for sure, I do believe you will succeed, you plan to work 7 days/week 10 hours/day almost regularly, that's just incredible. Looking forward to see what those "white hat backlinks that are not discussed here " could be :)
     
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  18. DavidAD

    DavidAD Junior Member

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    Thanks for creating this Journey Thread. I'm on a similar path (Amazon Reviews/SEO), launched my first site today.

    I'm doing good with Social Media, let me know if you need any help with that. Pinterest has been great with women related niches!
     
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  19. The Nix

    The Nix Power Member

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    I thought Jordan Belfort joined BHW. :icecream1

    Good luck though! I wish you all the best. I'm 100% sure you'll make it. :)
     
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  20. DarkHorse17

    DarkHorse17 Junior Member

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    He's going to overtake Jordan Belfort lol.

    Awesome journey mate :rofl: Bookmarked!
     
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