David from Tips4Running.com

Posted by on Dec 4, 2010 in Success With Site Build It

David from Tips4Running.com

David from tips4running.com started his first site 2 years ago and just covered the costs of running the site in the first year.

Now, he is focused on becoming free. He will undoubtedly succeed since I’ve gotten to know his work ethic and optimism through the project on which we work together…

The allure of the internet. For me, it’s all about trying to earn my freedom.

Two years ago, I started up my first site running tips at tips4running.com.  In early November, I started on my second site reviewing radiant floor heat at radiantheatreviewer.com.  Below is my journey over the past two years on the internet.

I have to warn you.  This story is very convoluted.  As Tomaz can probably attest to, I get a bit long winded.  I’ll condense it into my top tips, and then give you the details.

1.  Your first site should be about something you like!
2.  Don’t be afraid of trying to contact big fish.
3.  If you aren’t an expert in your niche, get information from people who are.
4.  When you find someone who can help you, do every thing you can to learn from them.
5.  Don’t miss out on great opportunities.
6.  Chase the money.  Make a site about something expensive!
7.  Being smart about work is better than working hard.
8.  Have an ultimate goal.

Want all the details?  Then keep on reading.

Here’s a little background.  My day job is a Middle School Language Arts Teacher. Basically, my job is to teach and entertain 11-12 year old students for eight hours every day.

When my work day is over, I go home to my wife, my five year old son, my three year old daughter, and my one year old son.  There is no safe haven for me!  No matter where I go, there is an onslaught of work to be done.  How will I ever escape?

I decided to turn to the internet.  Why?  Well, more and more people use it everyday.  I figured, the internet is still like a child.  It grows and grows everyday.

If I can create some good sites now, they will grow with the internet world and eventually, the pioneers of the web will rule the world.  Too dramatic?  Probably, but there is a hint of truth in this.

After I have taken care of all my school work, and after I have wrestled with my children and get them to bed, I get to work on my website projects.  My wife asks me how I have the energy to manage my websites, work, and still be a great father.

My answer to her is simple.  I won’t have this energy forever, so I am working hard now so I can relax later.  As Tomaz has stated, you have to be uncomfortable for a little while.

November 2008 – Something I Like. I started up my first SBI site.  I chose a niche that I was familiar with, running.

My site is based upon training information for beginner runners.  Because, it really wasn’t constructed around a product, this site doesn’t earn big money.  In the first year, I earned just over $300 total.

During the year one, I learned a lot about how the web really works.  I read plenty of information from SBI.  I followed the Action Guide.  I built a lot of content, and felt pretty good about what I had accomplished.

Some of you probably think that making virtually no money the first year is a bad thing. Not necessarily.  The first year is where you find out if you are willing to put in the consistent effort to learn and enhance your skills.  I made plenty of mistakes, but that is how I learn.

One nice thing about working on a niche that I liked is I wasn’t discouraged with the learning process or the fact that my site wasn’t making money.  I always had ideas for new content.  I wasn’t worried about giving up on my website.  I like running, so writing about running will always be fun to me.

June 2009 – Big Fish! I started interviewing people and posting these interviews on my website.

Some of the runners that I was lucky enough to interview are well known.  These interviews naturally were linked up all over the web.  Instantly, my site became relevant to people in the running world.

One particular interview lead me to way more money than I was earning.  The interview was with a runner named Marius Bakken, who also has an SBI site about marathons.

November 2009 – Experts. Because of the professional relationship I established with Marius Bakken, he let me preview his eBook about marathon running.

When he released it, I became an affiliate.  BAM!  I started making a whole lot more money.  Now when I say a whole lot, I mean compared to what I previously earned.  He also encouraged me to write my own book on beginner running.  Now I have my own product for sale through Clickbank.

June 2010 – Learn From the Best. I continued to exchange emails with Marius, and he mentions I should follow a blog named Freedom Ideas.

He said he has learned a lot from this blog.  I quickly realize that this Tomaz guy from Freedom Ideas has put it all together.  The best part is he is sharing this information for free.  Every now and then, I post on his blog.

I even emailed him cold, and get this, he emailed me back!!!  This guy must be for real, because he is willing to share with total internet strangers. I start to do a better job linking my site to the rest of the internet by reading his posts.  My site doubles it’s traffic by simply finding stronger link sharing opportunities.

October 2010 – A Great Opportunity. Tomaz puts a post on Freedom Ideas about a vacuum project.  He says he needs help.

I’ve got nothing to lose so I write up a review for my vacuum.  I consistently pester him about the project over the next couple of weeks.

To my surprise, he actually picks me to help him create complete vacuum reviews for his vacuum site. I get the vacuums and run them through a series of tests.  Then together we produce a video and written article.

I can’t tell you how much I’ve learned from this experience.  First of all, I start to understand the value of longer keyword driven articles.  The last review I wrote was over 2,900 words.  Why?  Well, because I’m long winded, can’t you tell.

Tomaz asked for 2,000, but he was more than happy with the longer article.  This means the search engines will see so many different word combinations for my review.  More keyword combos means more traffic!

November 2010 – Chase the Money. With my running site, I earn over $300 per month.  This is a huge change from the first year.

It does dawn on me that one site isn’t going to lead to financial independence.  Now that I am working with Tomaz, I share some of my ideas for a second site.  He also has a few suggestions, and I settle on radiantheatreviewer.com.  I decided to investigate a topic I have no background knowledge on.  In essence, I am chasing the money.

I do have a huge advantage this time.  I know how to build a site.  The content is easy to produce once I start reading and learning about radiant floor heat.  I employ some of my previous tactics to help build my site.

Now it’s loaded with interviews, and keyword driven reviews.  I am even attempting some new tactics such as outsourcing article writing.  If I never try it, I’ll never learn if it would be an effective strategy for me.

December 2010 – Work Smart. Over the past two years, I have had to work very hard to get to this point.

My running site has over 175 pages of content, all created by me. I thought it really shouldn’t be this hard to earn some money. I wasn’t smart about creating keyword driven content.

Now, times have changed.  I’ve learned through my mistakes.  I value my time and efforts.  When I sit down to work, I have a clear goal in mind.

Now my goals are tied into what I want to accomplish.  For instance, in October of 2010, I set the goal of making $500 per month using the internet by January 2011.

Now I am much more specific about how I will accomplish the goal.  Instead of saying, “I want $500,” I set a more concise goals such as, “I will add one new page of keyword driven content to my running site per week.  I will complete three vacuum reviews this month.

I will create ten keyword driven articles to my radiant heat site per month.  I will write five articles for different sites like ezinearticles per month.  I will get five successful link exchanges this week.”  The money follows after you accomplish goals like this.

The Future – I do have one ultimate goal.  That I’ll keep to myself.  I really believe I can achieve it though.  That’s why I started building websites in the first place.

Now I ask you.  What’s your ultimate goal?  How will you achieve what you once thought was unreachable?

I’m a dreamer, and everyday, I keep working to make my dreams come true.  Share your goals here.  Ask questions.  Maybe what you read and learn here will motivate you to achieve great things.

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    27 Comments

  1. Thanks David, helping me to keep on track. Always love to see SBI success stories.

    [Reply]

  2. Hi David,

    Great success story! Always nice to read these stories to keep us all on-track, and motivated – and a link for both your sites from this PR4 doesn’t hurt either. 😉

    I’ve been making my way through AJ’s CSS template videos – his videos are GREAT, he’s a phenomenal teacher, keeping everything very straightforward, manageable, and easy to comprehend, but this is NOT my strong-suit – with content ready to go up.

    Like the tortoise, right? Just keep moving forward. 🙂

    Again thanks for the update and progress story. Best of luck for the future!

    [Reply]

  3. David,

    Is that header from Thomas Breher, another graphics artists, or did you do it yourself?

    It’s really pretty great!

    [Reply]

  4. Thanks David. An interesting and inspiring read. Are you still teaching full-time? If you are I’m really impressed, as I know how much work teaching children all day can be.

    [Reply]

  5. For the radiant heat site I received the header from Thomas.

    For tips4running, I got the header from Agung http://getminisite.com/ This wasn’t a pleasant experience. I ordered it and it took forever to receive. Thomas on the other hand was done in less than one day from the first email.

    I had to edit the tips4running one a little bit too because Agung didn’t make it narrow enough for a block by block SBI site, but it ended up looking quite nice. Agung is cheaper though.

    [Reply]

  6. Rich – Tomaz said it himself here. Sometimes you have to have a little luck. I consider myself pretty lucky for finding out about this site and then being able to work for Tomaz. You sure are right. A PR4 link is pretty sweet.

    [Reply]

  7. Mark – Yes, I am a full time middle school teacher. I teach Language Arts, and I actually share show the kids some of the work I do on the internet. That way, they can see learning how to write effectively can lead to some pretty cool opportunities.

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  8. Awesome CPC, Dave!

    Not to put any pressure, but I wonder how you would compete with corp and gov. websites in such a tight and seasonal niche?

    There will be almost no traffic in the upcoming months for his topic.

    Anyway, sincerely wish you the best of luck and would love to see how your website progresses as months come by.

    [Reply]

  9. Success with Site Build It stories are always helpful to me.

    I am challenged by the product review type of sites you feature and learn more for potential Sitesell websites, especially as a home business enthusiast.

    Congratulations to David for success with his Site Build It websites.

    [Reply]

  10. I love reading these stories! Just totally motivates me to do more, more, more!

    Thanks for sharing!

    [Reply]

  11. Hope you meet your goal Dave! I also work the day job, come home to a busy young family and feel the “discomfort” of burning the candle at both ends. Like you, I believe the hard work will pay off. Here’s to killing it, in 2011!

    [Reply]

  12. David, thanks very much for sharing your story!

    I always knew in my head that the mistakes I was making were going to prove to be invaluable, but after some experience I now know that to be true in my heart. You can only make so many mistakes, and each one brings you that much closer to being an expert.

    Since you asked, my ultimate goal is to generate $10,000/month (USD) from 10 websites by August 2011. Since setting this goal, I have cut out so much nonsense and clutter, and have become much more effective.

    I wish you the best in 2011!

    – Devin

    [Reply]

  13. To think you wrote all of your pages and learned everything while you had a full time job and a family, wow.

    [Reply]

  14. Thanks for sharing Devin – Good luck going forward. JB – I also hope to “kill it in 2011.” Calfred – Part of the reason I have worked so hard at my websites is I see it as my hobby. It is something I enjoy doing. When I get free time, that is what I work on. I used to coach track, baseball, and cross country. Now I stopped coaching so I could be home more with the kids. When the kids go to bed, my wife and I sit next to each other and work on different projects. I write articles on the internet and she scrapbooks, or she works with me to make my sites or articles better.

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  15. Hi David,

    Thank you so much for sharing your story. I too am a runner and actually found your site, and devoured it, before I’d become an SBI-er.

    Two things I’ve come away with from reading your article:

    -inspiration
    -(once again) the importance of writing pages to keywords that people are actually searching for – which is exactly what’s in the Action Guide and the Brainstormer tool.

    So thanks once again.

    [Reply]

  16. David,

    Congratulations on your accomplishments, and thanks so much for sharing your story. Your running website looks great! It’s wonderful that you’ve not only been able to build a successful site but also to enjoy the process.

    One question I’ve been wondering about in terms of product-review websites such as Tomaz’s vacuum site or your new radiant heat site — how are you able to write reviews (or how are your subcontractors able to write reviews) about products where it would seem so expensive or complicated to buy multiple brands/models in order to test and compare them personally? Do you arrange to get review samples from manufacturers? Do you have a different strategy?

    I would like to do a product review site myself in the future, but I can’t figure out how to work out the logistics of this.

    Many thanks,

    Nancy

    [Reply]

  17. Amanda – I’m glad you like the t4r site!

    Nancy – For the vacuum site, we purchase the vacuum and then resell it or ship it back to the company that we bought it from. Tomaz earns a little bit of money for the vacuum site, so that helps a bit too with buying vacuums 😉

    The articles I write are pretty long, so all those keywords make the vacuum article get more traffic. Plus, I think I do a decent job with the review, so hopefully people read the detailed review in full, or at least read the section they are interested in, or watch the video.

    For my radiant heat site, I emailed some of the companies that make the products and interviewed them. I also went to the store to see some of the products, and asked for samples from other companies. My favorite product by far for radiant heat is Warmboard.

    Here’s a few of the interviews for the radiant heat site.

    http://www.radiantheatreviewer.com/Warmboard.html
    http://www.radiantheatreviewer.com/Nuheat.html

    I also went to some homes with radiant heat so I could see the inner workings up close. I haven’t been able to put this on my site yet, but it is in the works. The Warmboard people are going to let me visit a construction site after the New Year, so that is nice too.

    In the future, I hope people actually contact me to check out their radiant floor heat project. I hope to have an entire series of articles on my site with homeowner projects or new construction that incorporates radiant heat. This I think will really set my site apart because then the people who have this home will tell their friends to check the article out. This should really get the snowball rolling.

    You’d be amazed at what a nice email can get you! I went into this radiant heat site knowing nothing. Now I am educating myself on this heat source. I have checked out three books from my library and read them. I visit product sites. I plan on visiting a company in my town that makes the design plans for radiant heat systems. Basically, I just try to immerse myself into the culture of my topic.

    [Reply]

  18. Dave,

    Thanks for your post. I also have my first SBI site about a passion of mine and have started a 2nd going after a niche with more demand and higher CPC.

    I have a young family and a fulltime job as well and understand the challenges : )

    Keep pushing and driving forward !

    [Reply]

  19. David,

    Thanks so much for your detailed and extremely helpful response. I am impressed with how you’ve approached this. I love the idea of including interviews and the different ways you are getting information directly from the manufacturers and retailers as well as from people who have bought the product. It is inspiring to hear how you are turning yourself into an expert in your site topic. And I’m sure your readers also appreciate the in-depth information that you’re able to provide as the result of all this legwork!

    Many thanks,

    Nancy

    [Reply]

  20. David,

    Thanks for sharing. I especially liked your comments on ‘action oriented’ goals.

    Sabrin

    [Reply]

  21. Hi David,

    Thanks for this inspiring and encouraging post.

    Like you, I’m a teacher with three young children. I get up at 5 to work on my site for an hour, but don’t manage more than 30 minutes in the evenings.

    And that’s on a good day:)

    Best wishes,

    Tim

    [Reply]

  22. Wow.

    This is exactly the kind of article SBI-ers need to read. Thanks David! I picked a niche which is my biggest passion, but I think it is quite crowded and may not give me massive income, but it’s a good way to learn the process.

    What’s another way to find a high monetizable niche?

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  23. Great story. Not convoluted at all. “Hold fast to dreams for if dreams die, life is like a broken-winged bird that cannot fly.” by Lanston Hughes

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  24. Hello PhotoTipMan,

    I just suggest taking note of different high priced items that you see in stores. It could be anything from microscopes to blenders to mission style furniture. Who knows? Think of something you know a little bit about and go from there.

    [Reply]

  25. Thanks David. This really a great post, this encourages a lot and gives motivation to do more. Nice!

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  26. Thank you for taking the time out of your life, and telling us about how you started your first website, and than moved on to your second one. It gives me a lot of hope, seeing that my own SBI site is going on 3 months old.

    [Reply]

  27. Really helpfull post, thanks David for sharing this with us

    [Reply]

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