Hey guys, as part of my goals of 2016, I said I wanted to make Authority Hacker less about just Mark and I and more about the community of people who actually do what we do (building authority sites) and are successful at it.

Dont worry, I will be back on the blog writing long analysis and how to posts very soonbut today we have someone that I highly respect.

Actually, his blog (Fat Stacks Entrepreneurs) andVideo Fruitare the only 2 blogs I still read in this niche (call me jaded).

Jon is a guy who first makes money from his sites (outside the make money online niche) then writes about it unlike many people in this industry.

In fact, hemade over a million dollar from display ads and over $400,000 profit from it last yearoutside the online marketing niche.

I am also very interested in Jons case because he makes money slightly differently than us. Most of his income comes from display ads etc) while most of ours comes from email.

I have been studying him greatly and tested some of the ad layouts he shares in this post and we are already seeing a 40% increase in ad earnings while email earnings remain just as strong.

This post is not a step by step tactic or anything specific but rather nuggets Jon learned building a $1 million /year authority site empire.

If that is something you are after, pay close attention and experiment with things he mentions.

I remember the day when I knew, without a doubt, being a website publisher was the career and business for me.

I was reading some article which happened to mention the then foreign-to-me concept ofaffiliate marketing.

It explained howAmazon paid website owners a percentage of sales generatedsimply by linking to Amazon from a site they owned.

I immediately realized the potential this had.

Up until that point, I managed a website for my local business. The site performed well and attracted plenty of new customers, so I knew a little about blogging and publishing websites.

Ironically, at that point, I had no interest in display ads for monetizing a site. Id only read that huge media publications were having a hard time making ends meet with banner ads. I naively concluded monetizing a site with display ads was a bad business model.

Fast forward through several years of affiliate marketing (which I still do), and now my largest revenue source is display ads and I love it more than I ever did when focusing solely on affiliate offers.

With on-site affiliate marketing, content is geared towardpromoting products. Frankly, publishing content solely geared toward product promotion in some fashion gets boring. Its also restrictive.

Monetizing with display ads means you can monetize almost any content. I love that.

For years I resisted display ads because I kept reading that Adsense doesnt generate any money worth talking about.

Well, this is true if you only publish websites about internet marketing. I agree: Adsense is not optimal for these types of sites. I dont use Adsense (much) onFat Stacks Entrepreneur.

However, in many other niches, which are a ton of fun and have massive potential,Adsense and other ad networks can be a goldmine.

I discovered this when I paid a guy $250 (or $400 I cant remember) for a 1 hour skype session several years back. He showed me his Adsense revenue and how he generated it. It was so simple. I loved the concept. I went at it hammer and tongs and havent looked back.

I agree: making $3.00 per day from display ads isnt fun.

However, making $300 per day from display ads is thrilling. I love it.

Great content + plenty of quality traffic + optimal ad placement = display ad revenue.

Jon:How long? I suppose it took about six months with my first social media niche. That was when organicFacebook trafficwas still great. I invested in fan acquisition and then sent traffic to my site from the Facebook page. With my current largest niche site (2 years old), it took 3-4 months to get to $300 per day, but that was a result of paid traffic. As for $300 per day from organic search traffic, that took about 15 months.

Theres a trend right now Ive dabbled in, where website owners create thin clickbait content formatted in extremely paginated posts and buy trafficwith the goal of earning more in display ads than they pay for the traffic. This is loosely referred to asad arbitrage.

It works. Ive done it. Some publishers make a killing doing it.

However, lets face it: the content isnt great (although there are exceptions).

Yes, this business model works for now (its up and down). Yes, you can make a pile of money. Here are the problems I have with it: its not very passive, and the long-term viability is questionable.

Its not passive because you mustconstantlymanage ad campaigns. The margins are usually thin so every campaign driving traffic must be optimized. Ad management can consume 4 to 10 hours per day.

The long term viability is questionable because from what I understand, quality paid traffic sources are losing interest in extreme pagination. Display ad networks may eventually tire of these sites too. Moreover, its volatile because traffic prices and ad RPM fluctuates. Its a juggling act.

Im NOT suggesting buying traffic is bad here; instead Im suggesting building your entire niche business on thin, extremely paginated content has its own set of problems. I think theres a better way to proceed.

Gael:Whats hard about managing campaigns and buying traffic? Would you recommend it? Can you still do it now as CPCs are increasing?

Jon:Buying massive traffic requires constant review and management. Most new campaigns dont work. Those must be stopped, and new ones must be created and tested. Its an ongoing process. Over time, the goal is to have a stable of 10 to 100 profitable campaignsbut even then, the ongoing management is labor-intensive.

There are many variables with paid traffic; the two biggest are the cost of traffic and revenue fluctuations. Both factors fluctuate daily, so it requires ongoing management to ensure profits. There will be times when paid traffic doesnt work, which can be very frustrating if you come to depend on it as a primary traffic source. This is why, despite paid traffic being potentially very beneficial, its good to develop additional traffic sources.

That said, there are many benefits of running paid traffic to a content site. Those benefits include:

When done right, buying lots of traffic can lead to fast, scalable profits as well as great brand exposure.

Your site receives plenty of traffic, which may help SEO (Im not sure, of course, but quality traffic wont hurt a site)

This is huge. With Facebook ads, even if you optimize the ads for clicks to website, youll get new fans very quickly, which in turn is another source of free traffic. The website traffic can help build other social media channels, such as Pinterest, YouTube, etc.

A lot of traffic can generate a lot of social shares on specific posts. When you set the social media buttons to display share count, and theres 10,000 shares, thats strong social proof for that post )and the website).

If you run an email newsletter, paid traffic can build up your subscribership very quickly. Imagine breaking even with paid traffic and getting subscribers for free. If the email newsletter is decently monetized, that can be a very good business model.

I do recommend using paid traffic, especially for younger sites, if you can make it work. Younger sites have no authority, so organic search traffic will be low. If you want results fast, paid can deliver. I still run paid traffic to some of my sites and probably always will, but now its less of a focus because Ive developed several excellent traffic sources.

And yes; buying traffic to niche content sites still works. In January 2016, within 2 hours, I discovered over 40 content websites buying traffic. I list those at Thats just a few of many. I still buy traffic, although not in the volumes I have in the past.

I dont see paid traffic CPCs increasing. Im getting traffic at lower rates these days than I did 12 months ago on both Facebook and Outbrain. Of course this varies by niche, but in my experience, the price of traffic is not increasing (although it fluctuates over the course of a year).

Lets first ask a question. What does it mean to publish great content in this case?

Great content is publishing content that will rank in the search engines long-term. While I certainly dont suggest relying 100% on organic search traffic (we know how fickle that can be), I do suggest that you publish content that has a good chance of pulling organic search traffic in the long run.

Even if itslong tail keywordsonly, thats fine. If you publish a lot of great content, the traffic from long tail adds up.

For example, my biggest site pulls gets 12,000 to 19,000 daily organic search pageviews from literally thousands of keywords. Some keywords pull in a lot of traffic each day, but overall, the lions share of traffic is from the long tail.

This site has a littleover 1,000 published posts. That means, on average, each post pulls in 12 to 19 daily pageviews which isnt much per postbut its a lot if you have a lot of posts.

Im not going to expand on what great content is. Most people know what it is. It doesnt have to be the best on the planet, but it must be good.

It mustoffer value to visitors. It must be unique. Word count isnt the be-all-end-all, but generally, my posts are 750 words or longer (some over 5,000 words).

Again, dont live and die by word count; however, publishing 2,000 posts, each with 100 words, wont pull in a lot of long tail organic search traffic.

Read more on this:The Business case for short content

For my big sites (I have 3 large B2C sites earning 100K visits/mo or more), I attract traffic from many sources, including organic search, social media, YouTube, curation sites like StumbleUpon, direct from other sites and paid sources (Facebook ads and native ads).

Each source takes time to build up. You need Facebook fans for organic Facebook traffic. You need site authority and decent SEO for organic search traffic. You need a well monetized site in order to buy traffic. All of this takes time, but with effort it can work.

There are 3 ways Ive been able to turbo boost traffic to new sites. Im talking 100K plus monthly pageviews.

Here are the strategies I use to get to 100,000 monthly visitors.

Gael:How long does it take you to get to 100,000 visitors per month?

Jon:It totally depends on the traffic strategy. If you buy traffic, it can take a few weeks or less. If you count solely on organic search and/or organic social media, it can take 6 to 24 months, depending on many factors. I believe I got to 100,000 monthly visits from organic search in 9 months.

Recently, I joined as a partner in a new website (5 months old) which got to 100,000 monthly page views in 3 months. The strategy was circa 2013, which was Facebook fan acquisition with Facebook ads and then promoting new posts on the Facebook page. While this strategy is less effective than it was, and its less widespread, it can work in some niches. Keep in mind, approximately $5,000 was invested in fan acquisition to reach 100,000 monthly page views, but now traffic is growing and fan acquisition is growing organically.

If you can break even or profit from buying traffic, do it.

I did this with one site and took it to nearly 2 million monthly page views inside of one year.

This traffic catapulted the site and now has its own momentum with social media and organic. I dont buy nearly as much traffic anymore because it has its own momentum, which it never would have achieved without buying traffic.

Gael:How do you buy traffic and break even on a site that just offers content?

Jon:The first step is to ensure your site is well monetizedwhether with ads, affiliate promotions and/or an email newsletter.

Once you know your revenue per thousand visitors (RPM) on desktop and mobile, you know how much you can spend per visitor.

Which leads to step 2, which is testing ads until youre able to acquire traffic at your target cost per visitor.

Ive tested thousands of ads. Its time-consuming. Most dont work. The key is testing all of Facebooks ad formats on all devices. Its also worth trying native ad networks such as Taboola and Outbrain. Ive also used Bing Ads effectively, although the volume was never as high as Id like.

Here is the kind of analysis you want to run before getting into PPC. Then its easy to max your CPC to your max value and make sure you dont lose.

Facebook fan acquisition was most popular around 2011-2013. The concept is to invest in attracting Facebook fans to a Facebook page; then, send fans to your website via Facebook Newsfeed posts.

This workedspectacularly wella few years ago, but it still works. In fact, I recently got involved in a website that is doing this and the organic Facebook traffic is amazing.

The key here is engagement. I dont think this strategy works in every niche, but if it works in your niche, its a viable strategy.

As an aside, if you choose to use Facebook ads to drive traffic directly to your site, you will still get a lot of new fans because people who interact with Facebook ads, even if optimized for clicks to website will become fans. This is my preferred approach; however, I cant deny that focus on fan acquisition still works.

When you run Facebook ads, you can actually get a LOT more Facebook fans with a simple trick that very few people know about.

You can actually invite people to join your Facebook page which is essentially free page like ads if people liked a post of yours.

& click the view post permalink with comments link

2 In the newsfeed, click on the and x others liked it link below the post

3 Click the invite button next to peoples names and they will get a notification inviting them to like your page

Voila, free Facebook fans from any kind of advertising you are running ;).

I recently bought a website with 130,000 to 170,000 monthly pageviews. Its established and the organic search traffic is established.

Surprisingly, it didnt cost too much. Its 8 years old with decent DA and is ready to grow. Theres a learning curve when buying an established site, but the potential is huge. Buying the site saved me years of work and thousands of dollars in content.

I love this strategy, but beware:buying websites is a whole different ballgame. It can be very rewarding (and profitable), but it can also be both difficult and risky. Ive been a part of successful site purchases, successful sales and even a couple flops, so I wanted to drop in my two cents here.

First, Jon is a monetizationexpert. Not everyone is (Im certainly not), so buying a website fortraffic onlymay not be as profitable without that skillset. Instead, if youre looking to get into the site-buying game, you should probably focus on ROI and opportunities that play to you strengths.

George fromWiredInvesters(a group who buys and sells digital properties regularly), often says you should play to your strengths and buy sites with obvious opportunities foryou to grow it with with skills you already have(e.g. if your primary skill is keyword research, look for high-authority sites with lots of untapped keyword opportunities).

Or, buy sites that canadd value to assets you already own. Matt Paulson, of , crushes it with this strategy. He revealed on apodcast episode from NichePursuitsthat he buys highly related web properties and simply signs that traffic up to his existing email list using an already-optimized opt-in popup and autoresponder, where he then upsells them on a premium newsletter.

Finally, remember that buying sites requires capital, andits very easy to get burned. You must, must, must do rigorousdue diligence. And, if youre new, its typically best to stay away from places likeFlippa; you might be able to find great some deals, but its also filled with spammers.

Instead, try a marketplace that vets sites manually, likeEmpireFlippers(just stay away from anything built with a PBN) orLatonas(one of many emerging high-end website brokerages).

A few years ago I ignored SEO. After Penguin, I was done with it. That was too extreme. My problem with Penguin is I relied too much on SEO traffic.

Theres a middle ground, which is my approach these days.

Im not out to game search engines. I dont live and die with search rankings. However, I do publish content (a lot of it) with the intention of pulling in long-term organic search traffic.

Even though I buy traffic and pull in quite a bit of social traffic, nothing is as passive as organic search. Also, my understanding is that organic search traffic is the most valuable traffic source when selling a site (assuming the organic search traffic is stable or in long-term upward trajectory).

Heres what I do for organic search traffic these days

This involves keyword research for a series of posts (usually 5 to 30 posts). I structure it as a cohesive group that I will interlink. I include clickbait style posts to drive mass traffic to it (traffic is always good, even if its paid).

For each post I do the usual meta title and description. I interlink the posts and have clear navigation.

I post each post to all social media channels. Where it makes sense, I turn posts into videos and upload those videos to YouTube.

To date, Ive done very little proactive backlinking; however, recently Ive started some white-hat outreach link-building methods. Ive had some success, but it is time consuming. It will take time to see if this works well. I believe it will work well which is why Ive invested in the software and outsourcing to do it.

Links/resources pages from websites in my niche,

Sites that link to similar resources in my niche where my content is as good or better.

These methods are nothing new. Brian Dean writes about them extensively.

Im not going nuts with this. Im proceeding slowly to see how it goes.

The fact is 2 of my 3 B2C sites are fairly well established (8 years old and 2 years old each with a lot of content) so theyre ready for some additional links (white-hat only via outreach).

I dont go nuts with link building either. You need links, of course, and the more links you have, the better your site will probably do. But in the first year or so of a site, the resources you need to really scale link building just arent there, and there are so many other things that need my attention.

Instead, I like to execute a couple really rigorous link building campaigns when I launch a site, usually after my first batch of content.

With my current site, I spent the first two months getting as many articles up as possible. Then, I spent the next two months building links, ending up with roughly 60 linking root domains.

That was more than enough to get the site rolling, and its grown to 100,000+ organic visitors and roughly $4,000 per month in revenuealmost entirely from that first round of links.

As the site makes more money, Ill probably hire someone. However, that initial burst of links launched the site just fine, and for the past eight months, Ive spent hardly any time building links at all.

If Pinterest works for your niche, be sure to activate rich pins. I went from 500 daily visitors to 3,000 plus daily visitors from Pinterest after doing this (it took about 2 months for this increase to materialize).

If you have a lot of images that are shared on Pinterest, use the Image Sharer plugin. Its the best image hover plugin Ive used and it can drive a lot of traffic.

While I post to many social media channels, I focus on 3 (Facebook, Pinterest and Tumblr). These are the platforms that work best for my B2C sites. In the beginning, I focused solely on Facebook because it worked quickly.

Once I could outsource that work, I focused more and more on other sources that were working. Interestingly, now Pinterest drives more traffic than Facebook for one of my B2C sites.

You have to exercise control when it comes to display ads. Dont get carried away with the following:

Just because it increases RPM does not mean you should do it.

Be sure you know the terms of service of every ad network you use, particularly AdSense.

Just because another site does it doesnt mean you should.

Do consider user experience.At some point people will not go to your site ever because its just too annoying. Endless fly-ins, popups, interstitials, etc. can ruin user experience. By all means, be somewhat aggressive, but within reason.

For example, I often skip in the SERPs because that interstitial that blocks access to the site is too annoying for me. Im sure Im not the only person who thinks so. That said, Im sure that interstitial ad earns a fortune.

Heres my current ad placements for long content.

AdSense responsive unit in the sidebar below a list of recent posts

Media.net unit below the Ajax Search Pro form

A 300600 stick unit in the bottom of the sidebar

The remaining Adsense I put in the middle of content or bottom of content. Its not a big earner.

Disclaimer:The above is what I do on one B2C site. It works for me. I cant guarantee its optimal for your site. I simply set it out as an example.

1. Opinion Stage Polls with ads:I have 2 polls (and/or quizzes) on each page. I run onlyCriteoOutbrainand Video ads on these. I dont have Adsense because I already have 3 Adsense ads on the page.

2. Criteo:Criteois a backfill ad network. You set a floor CPM and they will trigger if theres demand. The beauty with Criteo is youre guaranteed the floor CPM based on impressions, not clicks.

However, if you set too high of a floor CPM, Criteo ads will never display. I set the floor CPMs about $.50 higher than the RPM of the other ad units on my page.

3. Google Matched Units:This is Googles related content units. You can choose to include ads. I do include ads. These work reasonably well at the bottom of content. I have one unit on the page.

4. GumGum In-Image Ads:Because I have quite a few images on one of my B2C sites, I useGumGum in-image adswhich shows ads on a couple images per page. This is excellent incremental income. Tip ask your rep to ensure ads dont show up on every image. Thats annoying. I set it to show up on 1 to 3 images per page only.

1. Video ads:I only use these in my polls and quizzes; however, video ad networks pay well. Theyre definitely worth exploring. My problem is Im not a big fan of them as a user so I tend to not use the much.

2. Exit intent ads:Like exit intent sign up forms, you can use exit-intent ads.

3. Native ads:Ive usedTaboolaandContent.adads before; however, they dont pay too well (for my niches). I prefer using that space to encourage clicks to other pages on my sites. That said, I definitely recommend you give them a try. Many publishers use them because they are lucrative.

4. Mobile download ad networks:There are many of these. They work in select niches so be sure to inquire whether your niche/audience is a good fit. If your audience is a good fit, this can be a great way to monetize mobile traffic.

I admit that launching and building a huge B2C site is a juggling act. There are many moving pieces. You often feel like there arent enough hours in the day.

One way to alleviate this is once you have some meaningful revenue, start putting together a team. Training takes time, but I can tell you theres no way I could manage all my sites to the level they run now if I didnt have my team in place. In fact, I couldnt handle one of my sites on my own.

The first piece of the puzzle I outsourced was content generation. This is easy to do for most B2C sites. Once you have a content rhythm, simply train a writer or writers to do what you do.

Its best to hire quality writers even if it means fewer published posts per month. Remember you want to publish great content.

Once you no longer have to generate content, youre free to buy traffic, do social media, test ad placement, test new ad networks, create videos, etc.

As your revenue grows, hand off more and more to other people.

For example, Jon uses Ezoic to outsource some of his ad optimization to Ezoic. They managed to double his earnings for a small % of his ad revenue.

The goal is that you need only spend 2 to 10 hours per week on a website. That way you can launch more or buy more or both.

Usually niche selection is placed in the beginning because it all starts withchoosing a niche, but I put it at the end because at the end of the day, most broad niches can be turned into money makers. It may not follow my formula exactly, but if there are existing authority sites in the space, you can be sure theres money to be made.

Each niche will function differently. Im in 4 very different B2C niches. Monetization is different across the board. Im still trying to optimize monetization for 2 of the sites. Im confident Ill figure it out because there are massive sites in the space, so Im confident theres money to be made.

Generally, I like niches that have a chance to do well on social media. This includes a lot of niches. I also like niches that are fairly broad so that the potential traffic is massive. I dont want to do all this work only to be capped at 700,000 monthly visitors. I want to know that in time I can get 3 million monthly visitors (or more).

Finally, with regard to domain name selection (I get this question a lot), choose something you can brand. Dont choose something because your main keyword is in it. You want to brand your site in the long run.

There you have it, Jons blueprint to $1 million+ / year revenue with content sites and display ads.

I love his systematic approach to things and admire the fact that he was able to scale up to millions of visits monthly on his own.

His model is clearly a great complement to our email marketing based model and after reading this post (submitted around 1 month ago) I have started testing Ezoic and a few other ad systems Jon usesand almost doubled our display ad revenue.

Use his layout, use the systems he recommends and you are in for a treat if you have some existing traffic.

Jon is the main guy behindFat Stacks Blog. He is an independent publisher making over $1 Million / year from display advertising. He occasionally shared his thoughts and learnings on Authority Hacker.

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