A few years ago, I took a blog from ZERO (launched on a fresh domain) to 2 MILLION visits per month and exited quickly for a nice 5-Figure amount. I will tell you everything about it in today’s article.
Best part? It was built solely by me, with no AI content and NO outsourced articles.
Which translates to “anybody can do it” because: I am not a native English speaker (and the blog was in English) and I am not great at producing fully SEO-optimized content, mainly because I like to write what I want and not what keyword tools tell me.
And they’re often wrong, too.
Plus, I really am an average person and I don’t have the brain of Sheldon Cooper — if you can use a fictional character as an example for smarts. But we digress…
The story behind this authority blog
I started the blog in a niche that I am very familiar with — gaming. But a specific part of the main gaming niche.
Still something with plenty of traffic potential, still very competitive, but somewhat niched down.
However, unlike what most people advise out there, I am not afraid about entering highly competitive niches. On the contrary: I prefer them, because if the big guys are in that niche, it means that it gives them nice profits and it’s totally worth it, right?
I mean… I want a piece of that pie too!
And as long as you know what to write about, you can have AMAZING success almost instantly. Even today, although it’s definitely a lot more difficult to do it than it was a few years ago.
What’s the main secret in choosing your niche?
DON’T choose evergreen niches!
Go instead for niches that are constantly changing, where new products are constantly released. These active niches are the best for getting traction early on.
Because you can literally be the FIRST to cover a topic. Even if later on the big guys come over and take your #1 spot, they’re usually a few days behind.
And these few days can men thousands or even tens of thousand of views.
How did my blog do?
Without focusing too much on SEO (NO link building, minimum social sharing on brand new Facebook and Twitter accounts) but writing only about brand new products in the niche, just one month after starting my blog, it was bringing in around 100,000 people monthly.
Back then, it was on AdSense and only generating around $450 per month.
A premium ad published like Mediavine or Raptive would’ve easily tripled the ad revenue.
Sure, not tons of money compared to what an affiliate site could bring in, but not terrible either. And all this after JUST ONE MONTH.
The blog continued to grow. 10 months later, it peaked at over 1 Million unique visitors, over 2 million visits and close to 5 million page views:
That was the first month in my life when I actually felt rich and earned an amount of money that I only dreamed I’ll ever see in my bank accounts!
That was the first month in my life when I actually felt rich and earned an amount of money that I only dreamed I’d ever see in my bank account!
So how did my website get so big so fast?
Part of it was pure luck, of course. I did replicate this process several times afterward. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.
But part of it was me being smart. Despite finding myself in an insanely competitive niche, I went for the long-tail keywords and trending new topics.
This is it. Produce content quickly, be the first one to do it and that’s all that you need. (Yes, I know — easier said than done. BUT possible).
Why focus on a single keyword, when there are millions of other things waiting to be written about?
If we look at the incoming searches from that hot month when my blog peaked, we can see that I had no less than 200,000 searches that brought me traffic:
If I would’ve focused on a single keyword optimization, I would’ve been still sitting in my chair, working my butt off for nothing (which is what I am usually doing — don’t get me wrong, hahaha).
But instead, I was smart, I was a bit lucky and it paid off!
It’s not something that you can always do, but that’s the beauty of it: there are so many options out there that you can simply try something else if it fails.
Sure, it’s frustrating to fail, but every failure is a lesson learned, taking you one step closer to success.
This massive blog was not my first (and not my last either), and it came after a solid row of unsuccessful ones. I just never stopped and kept trying. You only fail when you stop trying!
Why Sell a Site that’s Growing so Nicely?
In March, that site made me a small fortune. Probably more than what I was making from blogs in an entire year.
Why on earth would I want to sell it (for just 5 figures)? Well, here is why:
1. My son was about to be born
Back then, my wife and I were living with my mother and grandmother in a two-bedroom house.
Things were pretty crowded and we needed a place of our own to call home.
The money I got from the sale of the website made it possible to purchase an apartment, remodel it, and live in it. We’re actually still living in that apartment today!
2. I decided that all things considered, I was unable to grow the blog even more.
It was already starting to become a huge time eater (and funnily enough, not the actual writing that I had to do, but answering the ton of e-mails and comments) and too much to handle for a single person.
I loved and still love that site and considered that it was best for it to be given a real chance to glow even more.
More and more people were starting to do the same, and many started doing it with a team behind them.
I realized that unless I want to become a business and hire people and have to manage them instead of doing what I want and like (which is blogging), it’s better to cash out.
3. In the online world, anything can happen.
I was pretty confident that the site would continue to generate a very nice amount each month for quite a while (and grow under the right management), but I was pressed by time and uncertainties: even though both me and my wife agreed that we could wait 1 more year before getting our house and milk it as much as possible, living with your parents at 30, with a child on the way is not what I’d call a dream life.
Plus, if you have spent at least some time blogging, you know about one of the most dreaded things by bloggers: Google updates.
I had sites that got their traffic decimated, I had sites that were heavily rewarded by updates.
But in this case, since it was my first site earning so much… I didn’t want to risk it.
And I learned nothing from this lesson. Later on, I built another site to similar numbers, but delayed selling it.
It was slapped by a Google update and its value dropped from ~$150,000 (using a conservative 32x) to just ~$60,000. It was not pleasant.
4. It was insanely stressful
People were copying my content (this always happens), there were tons of messages I had to answer to, there were a ton of technical things to fix or consider (and I am not a technical person), a lot of time was required to produce the content for the blog and I was always tired and grumpy.
It was simply too much for me to handle!
Plus, the site started being so big that it was constantly targeted by ill-intended people. From DDoS attacks to link spam and all sorts of hacking attempts… everything was being tried.
The more the site grew, the more time I ended up stressing about it and having to handle these problems.
It was not something that I liked or wanted to continue doing, especially since my mental situation was not great (a few years after, I had a major burnout that had me reconsider everything, but that’s another story…)
5. I had this gut feeling that the blog had reached its peak
This is something that you get to “feel” once you get a bit of experience under your belt.
But to me, it was obvious that for a one-man ran show, this was the peak and the absolute best moment to sell.
I can’t really say how things went under the new owner, as they did not share anything with me post-sale, but I can say that they were a company that didn’t really have any experience with the niche.
They brought in some writers who weren’t good at all, they didn’t follow my instructions for finding new content to write about and basically put the brakes a lot on new article publishing.
Still, I am sure that they made their money back (and probably a profit) in just a couple of years, when they stopped updating it completely.
Every now and then though, there was a major traffic boost reported by keyword research tools, based on older content.
I will never be able to understand companies or people who spend a lot of money on blogs and then ignore them and let them die.
Why sell a site that was making close to 5 figures a month for… 5 figures?
I am one of those dreamers who believe in complete honesty. (Read: I’m bad at business).
Jokes aside, when I sold this massive website, I was 100% transparent. I did no lie about anything, I did not omit any detail, I was like an open book, ready to answer any question potential buyers had.
And I decided to price it like this:
I used the average of the past 12 months (which is the regular way to do it), but with a twist: instead of counting the peak month, I took it out and estimated how much I think it would make on a “regular” one.
Back then, regular prices for such blogs were at around 24x — 30x.
I wanted a quick sale, so I priced it under the maximum and sold it for around 24x. It was still a nice 5-figure amount, it was more than fair in my opinion AND it was more money than I ever had in my life.
Sure, I had my fair share of “what ifs” afterward, and my wife kept telling me that I’m a wuss for not trying to get a better valuation… but overall, I was satisfied and that’s all that matters.
After the sale, I ended up with more time to spend with my newborn (the sale came at a perfect time, just one month before his pre-term arrival to this world).
Plus, I was able to work on some of my older projects that were ignored and focus on growing other blogs.
I actually managed to build (out of many tries) two more blogs that were close to this one in terms of monthly revenue and got, in both cases, better exists.
What about you? How close are you to hitting that 5 figure mark in revenue from your online business?