Kyle Kroeger is our guest on the podcast this week – he’s been building niche sites for 10+ years as a side hustle, but has recently quit his job to go full time into online marketing.
He’s built and sold a number of sites, including one in the competitive personal finance niche, but is now managing up to 9 other niche sites. The current sites are also in reasonably competitive niches such as travel and investing, and they’re doing really well.
Kyle shares a bit about his background, how he got into the game, and why he decided to go all-in to online marketing. He was in investment banking, but has chosen the freedom that comes from being your own boss online!
In the interview, Jared (our host) and Kyle also discuss:
- His larger than average website portfolio
- How he gets rapid growth in the first year
- Unique link building techniques and tactics
And, as you can imagine, a whole lot more. It’s another encouraging and motivating episode both for those who are already full-time online, and for those who hope to get there in the future.
Kyle Kroeger Interview:
Resources and links mentioned in the podcast:
Read the full transcription:
Jared: Welcome to Niche pursuits podcast today, we’re joined by Kyle Kroger. Kyle has been building websites for almost 10 years now. He does it on the side of his day job. He’s in investment banking and he’s been very successful in building up websites over the past decade or so. Kyle was just like so many of us.
He sat down one day and searched for how to make money online and started learning all about it. One of the first sites he started after a couple of things. He ended up growing over 18 months and then going on to sell it. And that gave him the impetus to start. The site that we focused on today was a recent success of his, that he just sold.
This site was in the personal finance space. So a very competitive space, and he quickly got that up to several hundred thousand page views per month. And the site was making a five figures per month when he sold it pretty recently, this allowed him to leave his day job where he now is. Full-time at building web.
And he builds a, has a portfolio of nine sites. So we dive into the details of his portfolio as it is today, he is kind enough to share two of his sites with us. And so we get the URLs. We can go check those out and see some of the details about how he’s building his websites. We spent a good amount of time talking about the fact that he tends to always get really rapid growth out of the gate.
He has many websites he’s built up where he has a hundred thousand or more pages. Within that first 12 to 18 month time period. So we talk about what he’s doing to get that many page views and almost out of the gate. He also shares some really unique approaches or unique ways to build links. He’s building links in a way that really, maybe it goes against some of the more standard link-building tactics.
And I think you’ll, you’ll enjoy hearing about the. And we, we spent some time talking about about Kyle going all in on his website and, and just what comes from really putting so much more into your website than, than just the bare minimum, all in all great interview. Really great to hear a story like this with someone who has been building websites for a long time on the side and achieved so much success.
There’s a lot of inspiration there. Hope you enjoy. Let’s dive in.
welcome to the niche pursuits podcast. My name is Jared Bauman, and today we are joined by Kyle Kroger. Kyle, how you doing? Good. Good, welcome. Welcome. Where are you joining us?
Kyle: The the new basement office of mine at my house. Yeah, making the transition into my own space here. I like to call it the dungeon still has some plenty of work to be done to, you know, get some decorations on the wall, as you clearly can see.
It’s a bit of a bunker at the moment, but it’s
Jared: more of a bunker than a basement, I guess. Right. Well, you have the advantage I’m right next to the kitchen here in my home. So you never know when some kid might wander through and we do a pretty good job though, but yeah, the basement sends off the nice to be honest with you.
Well, I’m really excited that you’re joining us today. You have a fantastic story that I think a lot of people in the audience are going to enjoy hearing about. You have a background in investment banking and private equity. Which is kind of your day job, but you’re a website builder and not just, you know, a part-time website builder, I would say like you’ve built some really successful websites, had a couple of website exits and are currently working on a portfolio of sites now.
So I don’t want to bury the lead, but catch us up to your background app, maybe outside of websites first and in your, your private, private equity background. And we’ll kind of transition into hearing more about your portfolios.
Kyle: Yeah, sounds good. Thanks. You know, tell him to have for having me on actually long time coming and sort of an honor, really you know, back in 20 12, 20 11 I was graduating college for university and I was looking up, you know, ways to make money online per Pasadena.
I came across this guy, Spencer, right. A niche pursuits and became completely enamored with everything he was doing. So obsessed. I was subscribing to his feet, you know, reading all of his blog posts, really just kind of enamored with the whole sort of online world and way to make sort of money on your, on your own terms.
And that was, you know, my first year out of college and, you know, I was working in Chicago and investment banking. You know, knew that I couldn’t work under the fluorescent lights for the rest of my life. Right. So that actually reading a lot of Spencer’s stuff kind of made me excited to tinker with a number of different things.
Right. I think at the time I started StockTwits Twitter account to, to kind of. Share all of my opinions and sort of short mini blogs about stock trades to make or options trades make that accounts where it did well. And I kind of transitioned to starting my first blog on the side where, you know, write up valuations of, of different stocks.
And so that was the first foray into sort of testing, you know, the online world. I realized quickly though that I was kind of doing it wrong. It was a blog spot type website. I couldn’t really own my own. From it. And, you know, I got some, I got burnt out between doing that and, you know, working 80 hour weeks just knew that it wasn’t sustainable.
And so life went on. I kind of put some of the entrepreneurial efforts aside and tinkered with creating a couple of different apps and things like that on the side when I was living in Chicago and first moved back to my hometown in Minneapolis. But beyond that, I, you know, I started getting back into just solely focusing on my professional.
I landed a corporate development job investing in renewable energy here in Minnesota, and then landed, you know, wanting to go into the private investing space and landed a job in private equity, investing in sustainable infrastructure across the U S
Jared: what a background in finance and banking. And some of these things that might lend themselves pretty well.
To, to building websites. Do you think any of that background helped you as you, you kind of started building websites, obviously you kind of delve into a couple of different things, Twitter and, and the whatnot like you went through, but it sounds like some of your background probably had an influence on how you built websites and probably what led to some of their
Yeah, that’s a really good point. You know, I think when I first started out in investment banking, right. You work long hours. You work on a ton of different things, right? You’re not just working on a pitch deck, but you’re, you know, one day you’re getting a call from a CFO to do a special project on something you need help with in Excel, which, you know, could you include thousands of, you know, journal entries, your orders in, in a CSV file that needs to be completely digested and into like results that can be, you know, it can have something that you learned that you can position the business for, for, for a sale or.
And use that data. And so I built this foundation where I learned a lot of different, you know, XL kind of modeling techniques. And I’ve been able to parlay that into using data analytics in regards to traffic, keyword, research users, you know, metrics in order to make better decisions with building websites.
And so it’s been kind of a natural progress. And they’re both complimentary in a way. Right. And I always knew that, you know, going back into, you know, my younger days, right. I would be the type of person that would read baseball stats. Non-stop right. Love the numbers. And so I think I naturally found my home with SEO because of the fact that it’s it’s data driven.
You can use the data to make better decisions.
Jared: Yeah. I was going to say, hearing about lines and lines and lines of Excel. It makes me think of a keyword research and certainly parsing through a lot of the data you get out of Google analytics. So yeah, it seems to make a lot. Let’s see. Well, so walk us through when you started maybe your first successful website, right?
Like I think we all have a history of, of starting off with some projects that maybe didn’t end up going anywhere or didn’t end up where we wanted them to. But at some point you, you know, we’re clearly able to progress forward and start a website that, that really gained traction. When, where was that happening?
And, and what was the early days of that website?
Kyle: Yeah. Back in call it five years ago, five, six years ago. When I first moved back to Minneapolis, I had tested with a lot of different things. Thanks. Just, you know, a lot of Spencer’s advice, you know, I tend to, you know, test with stuff. I knew I wasn’t doing it the right way.
And so I kind of put that on pause for a bit and, you know, in Chicago focused on my finance career. And when I moved back to Minneapolis, I had a moment to be able to. Kind of get back to the drawing board of my entrepreneurial efforts. I grew up in a family that was entrepreneurs their entire life. So, you know, it’s been ingrained in me.
And so, you know, getting back here, maybe that was that moment where it clicked, you know, getting back into that world. So, yeah definitely, you know tinker with some stuff. When I got back here and I started a very small personal finance and investing oriented website and, you know, built that up.
I, I, I did a lot of things wrong upfront, but over time I did, you know, found the things that I was doing wrong. Did less of those and start doing more of the things that you’re doing. Right. And over the course of about 18. Scaled that site up and, and eventually sold it. But then, you know, I got a little burnt out of doing the websites with, with work and I landed my job in private equity and wanted to focus a bit more on, you know, building my finance career.
One goal I always had was to end up in a principal investing role. And so, you know, became very focused into. And took a little bit of a break from, from the whole entrepreneurial website, building space.
Jared: glossed over it quite nicely, but I’m going to go back and hold you to it a bit. You, you were able to build a site up and get work into the point where it was able to be sold within 18 months.
That’s an accomplishment for sure. Getting sites to, to get to that type of a level you know it certainly takes work. You literally, some of the mistakes, like, could I ask you, like, what were maybe just some of the bigger mistakes you made in this first site that did end up being a success I’ll point out, but you know, it always helps to hear maybe a couple of mistakes you can share with the audience or with people.
So they, they, they might go to avoid those.
Kyle: Yeah. That’s a good point. So focusing on, yeah. Focusing on things like paid ads or social media, the things that are. Lower return on investment upfront. Right? And then it’s, it’s not just, you know, doing something that’s the lower, you know, return on investment is the opportunity cost.
So, you know, if you’re sitting there, you know, working with paid ads or paid ad strategy, that’s simply not working right. Or generating a return on your investment. That’s, you know marginally over, you know, your, your dollar spent, right. A 10% return. What’s. But you have the opportunity cost of something that’s like SEO, right?
And you’re, and you’re generating 50 to 75 or even a hundred percent return over time. And so focusing in on something that has the highest possible return at times zero, right? Initial onset of the idea, and then slowly migrating and progression to other channels that help diversify and build your business, build a better foundation for this.
Or the website. And so that’s one thing that I’ve definitely learned. And obviously, you know, some of the naive points of thinking that, oh, if I start up a Twitter account, right, like followers are, are just gonna come, I’m gonna get, you know, a big following, right. That doesn’t happen at all. I agree. And, and things like, you know, attempting to try to build the community when you might not know your audience, And trying to force something that you don’t truly know yet, you know, that can be a bunch of wasted time.
Right. You know, if you’re trying to have somebody convert about, you know, convert on a topic that’s completely unrelated or people that are set of people that don’t really care about that conversion event, it’s going to be a huge. And all the effort that you took to get there is going to be largely wasted.
Jared: Well, let’s catch up to where we’re at. Maybe over the last year or two. I know you have a site that that you, you have gotten good point where it was doing very well. Can you talk us through that website that that you’ve grown to, to, to, to a good number talks about, about the starting points on that side and maybe what you’ve done to grow where it’s at now.
Kyle: So, yeah, so. Know, I, I worked, I took you know, took a bit of a break learned a lot from extra, my first effort into, you know, building a website. But refocus, I kind of got excited about doing it again. Right. You know, I wanted to build it, build something that was the highest return on investment and do it the right way and, and start fresh where I’m not making those mistakes that I made before.
You know, wasted marketing dollars and things like that. And so what I did as I launched the site in the personal finance space, that was more geared towards sort of side hustles making, you know, making money on your own terms. Some of that entrepreneurial on business type content passive income.
I knew I was passionate about that. I was searching it, you know, 10, 12 years ago. And reading a lot of that different types of content and building different income streams to help you achieve financial freedom. And so I knew a lot about the topic I already had a foundation of, of passion, right?
So what I, what I did is I leveraged a lot of different keyword research in bulk up front to build a framework that the site could be built off of before I even really got started. Right. Find the opportunities and the gaps and what is it what’s not being covered, but then also find the opportunities behind what is being covered, but could be covered better.
And so know, built out that framework upfront and address the low-hanging fruit type content that was, you know, either not written about yet or the stuff that was out there was just, you know, not helpful or not. And so then I started there. Right. And slowly it progressed along with growth curve and that was another sort of 18 month progression over
And so this site today talk us through the site as it exists right now. And you know, any metrics or numbers who are willing to share.
Kyle: Yeah. This one that I’m referring to is I exited just earlier this year after COVID. You know, a couple of things that kind of drove that was, you know, I knew I wanted to build a foundation for potentially other projects that I was kind of thinking about and working on.
And so, you know, was able to kind of, and, and coming out of COVID. Right. I wanted to, you know, build more of that distributed business and kind of work on my own terms, be remote, right. Be location, discreet things like that. And so it was kind of taking some chips off the table by selling you know, was, would, would be sort of a, I felt like, you know, helped me kind of build, have a, have a foundation to be able to kind of segue into this permanent entrepreneur life.
Right. And so so yeah, they successfully exited that scaled from sort of zero to a few hundred thousand page views a month and about 18 months. Through largely through SEO and then over time, use the SEO to capture emails, harvest emails, build an email list, and then migrate your audience to other platforms or channels, whether that’s a community or a YouTube channel.
You find a way to kind of harvest the meant to, into a, you know, a base where they can kind of keep up to date with all the information beyond. Written content and article type content on the site.
Jared: It’s over a hundred thousand pages a month. And what, what what, what niche, or what space would w when you say this, the site is in,
Kyle: yeah, this is the, this was in personal finance, personal finance goals side hustles and online sort of entrepreneurial efforts.
And and, and getting started gig economy jobs.
Jared: And and so you, you, you know, you have obviously a good amount of traffic, you’re building an email list and then moving them off of from this email list and other platforms, obviously, probably other, maybe affiliate offers or these kinds of things there.
Talk about the way you monetize this site. Was it ad revenue driven? Was it, you know, Amazon affiliate with other types of affiliate? Were there other relationships you’d built up? Like where was the monetization coming through when it comes to.
Kyle: Yeah, for my first exit of a site, a you know, five years ago or so I, you know, built sort of some relationships in the advertising space or, you know, personal finance, but mainly for personal finance and investing.
And so I, one, one being media, vine, I loved working with. On that first site. And so for, for this one that I eventually exited the I made it a goal of front to try to get to media vine as fast as possible. And I think I wrote a post about it at one point, but I got there like with, with my goal under six months and you know, it was super happy about that coming from, you know, ground zero to build.
And I wanted to do that because. When you’re building something from scratch, you know, sort of bootstrapped, I know websites in general, you don’t have much in terms of operating expense, you know, just server costs and some other tools, email lists, things like that. You still need cashflow. You need to be compensated for your time.
Like writing is hard. It’s very hard and it’s time consuming and, and, you know, Building something that’s recurring revenue like display advertise advertising on, you know, on the onset can be extremely helpful for you to navigate a different paths or, you know, take that first step to outsource or hire your, you know, your first writer or somebody that can come in and improve copy improve the user experience.
Right. You’re not gonna be able to do that if you’re. I have some kind of cashflow that can fund that. I’d rather be funding, business cashflow internally to grow and improve the sites than to you know, to, to be doing
Jared: it out of. It’s fine. And ended. Were there other monetization channels that you worked with with this way?
Kyle: Yeah. Yeah. Other channels, affiliate, affiliate, networking affiliate marketing. So some of the, you know, impact radius, you know, flex offers and commission junction targeted a few really high value affiliates that you know, that I knew could convert well, tested out different conversion, you know, sort of metrics between all of the affiliate part.
To hone in on what was really fitting well with my audience. Again, you know, and the point doing more of the good stuff and less of the bad
Jared: one question for you that I’m curious on, did you find that most of your affiliate revenue would come when people were on the website or once you move them over to the email list and then you monetize through, through these email offers, like, I’m just saying.
I think a lot of people consider email, right. They consider doing an email list and obviously it’s going to vary dramatically depending on what niche you’re in, but I’m just curious what kind of money your email list would earn you versus maybe the website and the SEO efforts itself? If that makes sense.
Kyle: Yeah, it does. A majority of that came from the website actually. I, I refrained. You know I was trying to build a community as well as I did have a blog course, and it is still out there blogging course on a number of different strategies that I’ve deployed. But I knew the end game was trying to sell some of my own products.
And so I didn’t market too much to the, you know, been provided affiliate offers in the email. I wanted to get them the product, which has content as a website owner, that when you write content, your content is for. And so I’m giving them the product. And you know, I wanted to hold, you know, hold them there, keep it, keep them interested and engaged to then also harvest and sell.
No a premium product, which would be
Jared: a course. Right. Right. So roughly speaking, I mean, whatever you’re comfortable sharing, even just ballpark numbers. What was the site making when you, when you ended up executing that? Yeah.
Kyle: Annually, it was in the six figures, mid mid to high six figures, but figures kind of not one 50 to 200.
Jared: Okay, Nathaniel, you’re saying, yeah. Yeah. Very good. Congratulations by the way. That’s a, you’ve had several exits now. That’s I think we’ve got a model here for success. I mean, so what the burning question I have on, on going all way back to that first site you started, but now we have a clear track record here.
Like I think that. Pretty much anyone would agree. It’s a bit unique that you’re getting so many page views in such a short period of time. And then you add on the layer that personal finance is known as being a more challenging niche to go into out of all of them. Certainly you have subject matter expertise, no doubt about it, but maybe if you could, like, what, why is it that you think so many of us struggled to get that many page views in such a short period of time and you were able to do it and you’ve done it consistently across multiple sites now.
Kyle: Yeah, that’s always good question. I think honing in with pony now up front on the articles that you’re going to write, right. In building a content strategy, that’s going to, it’s like a like a, like a surgeon, right? You gotta, you gotta come through the data in terms of, in finding the best possible output of, for your time in the content that you’re gonna write the best possible output you’ll get in trouble.
Variations of keywords, writing long form content. That’s going to bring, have the ability to rank for a ton of different stuff that that can be, you know basically performance for your time. You can maximize the performance of your time by doing so and so you know, I’ve deployed a number of different strategies, like, you know, keyword, golden ratio defined long tail keywords that worked.
But I found that you can get even better output by targeting things that have multiple variations of ways to say keywords. Right. So swap out a different word, right. Top and best, or there’s a number of different things, right. Earn versus make. And if you write long form content targeting those stuff, it could be even more, you know, it could be difficult keyword, but you, you kind of ranking for.
No two to 4,000 different keywords just from one piece. And that can be, that can entrench you you know with, with some, you know, pretty good strength in the search engines,
Jared: in your estimation, how it’s a bit of a loaded question because of your background in personal finance investment bank and that sort of thing.
But I mean, how important was it that you were a subject matter expert on these sites? How important was that to their success?
Kyle: I think the word a little bit, I think there’s an intersection between passion, what you like doing and what actually makes money. And so you’re not going to be able to, you know, you could go after something that, that makes money, but you’re missing two of the other buckets.
You know, there, you need an intersection between all three. And so I had a bit of a passion. You know, personal finances, but more competitive and lucrative niche. But I also enjoyed just digging into the data of different keywords and things to talk about on the on site. And so that’s where I kind of found that.
And I think, you know, anybody that’s looking for something, don’t try to chase one of those three intersections alone, find something that meets all three. And it doesn’t have to be. Nature and lucrative area. You know you’ll find your path at the end of the day, right? Yep. That’s good.
Jared: That’s good feedback.
That’s it’s a doubling down on that. I mean, you were clearly still had you know, still working full-time and investment banking. What sort of in doing this on the side, what sort of team did you have to, to to grow this this personal finance
Kyle: website? At first, I didn’t have anyone. I just did it all myself.
Just kind of weekend work. You know, write those long articles. I think I wrote, I started by targeting some of the most competitive articles and I did them. I wrote them all myself because I knew those would be cornerstone pieces. I had that framework. I wanted to target all the cornerstone pieces on my own, very long form, kind of 5,000, 6,000 word kind of posts.
And then, you know, build that track. Base and slowly add and, you know an additional writer that can help me and, and target some low-hanging fruit and then occasionally engage other agencies or, or even contractors that can come in on just sort of an ad hoc basis. And over that growth curve slowly get to get to the point where you have more of a systematic kind of content calendar.
That you’re you’re following. But but at the onset, no one and slowly take your time to get to, you know, fold in that one person and test some different things. Right. You don’t have to be an expert, you know, right away. You know, the best thing about building a blog in particular, you can throw a bunch of stuff against the wall and kind of see what sticks and then you still end up with.
Jared: Did you, well, let me ask you how many, how many articles did, I mean, did you end up with, on that site? I’m just curious in 18 months, how many articles you you and your other team of writers produced?
Kyle: It was a couple hundred, a couple
Jared: of weeks. A good number,
Kyle: like a good number? Yeah. A couple of hundred over 18 months.
Jared: Any link building strategies here, again? Personal finance, very competitive. What were you doing with.
Kyle: Yeah, I, I have this thing of like the way I kind of described link-building this sort of working with people right. At the end of the day, everyone’s people behind, you know, there’s people behind these, behind every website you see out there, maybe, maybe something curated you know, automation of course, but there’s somebody behind building automation itself too.
And so with link-building right. I think of it. Finding ways to work with people, interacting with people. So what that entails is some of that old fashioned hustle going out, talking to people you never know, right. There could be even like a financial advisor down the street that has a, a website, you know before, you know what you’re talking to him and, you know, telling, telling him about, you know, my own website and how there could be some form of collaboration.
And you know, collaboration translates into lengths. I think everyone can kind of link building. People think about that as it’s that’s the end game, but you need to think about whatever, what happens to get there. Right. Interaction, communication with people striking a deal with someone. A lot of different things happened to get there.
And so rather than I would, you know, as a tip, rather than think about it of, oh, how can I get. Thinking about all the things that happened to get two links. Right. Don’t think about the end of the tunnel. Think about getting through the middle of it. And so, you know, interacting with people, doing guest posts offering opportunities to get expert advice, put it on, on, on, on my content to improve the content and then allow them.
Share it once it’s published things like that, right. Working with people to make the content better and make the product better and then making sure it gets into the right hands. Once it’s.
Jared: Smart. Yep. And I imagine that’s you know, even more important to stand out with a different approach or at least a bit of a unique approach when you’re dealing with personal fans, which is that saturated niche and whatnot.
So well, good. Well, again, congratulations on the sale and let’s, let’s transition to today. What’s going on today? I, I, I, that was, you said a couple of months back. So what does Kyle’s life look like now when it comes to websites?
Kyle: Lately, it’s been a whole bunch of travel a whole bunch of travel and tinkering with a lot of fun things.
Like it, it feels like I’m in, you know, Willy Wonka’s like workshop. You know, I’ve got ended up buying a drone and capturing drone footage and taking different videography of, of destinations. And so what that entails right? Running the travel website this was a. Project of a side project that, you know, been around for about a year now and a year and a half or so.
Hadn’t really spent a ton of time on it on its onset. But more recently I’ve been taking a much more serious. And that’s the site called via travelers.com. It originally started back during, I think we came up with the idea that back in my country via travelers we’re in Italy. And via me, you know, is this named for street in Italy?
And so, you know, via travelers, the concept is basically kind of street travel travelers. So roaming around streets, getting lost kind of purpose and, you know, seeing where it takes you kind of live in living life with no reservations when you travel. And so. So just got back from, from Europe, spending six weeks there cashing a lot of different footage, taking some time off as well, but but exploring different cities and using that from the video content to, to then parlay different articles as well and produce RESA.
All right. So,
Jared: and that’s the that’s, that’s the new project there. And it sounds like he started that before you had exited the personal finance the personal finance blog. And so I mean, were you already thinking ahead about exiting that and ramping that down while you started this up or, you know, cause it sounds like you kind of have this portfolio of sorts that you’re, you’re building up.
Kyle: I think I had that waiting in the wings from one thing I learned. The basically my first exit is that you can kind of always have you know, there’s not a lot of costs that goes into blogs and websites, right. If it, as long as you’re dealing with content as your product. And so you can always have a couple projects in waiting in the wings.
Right. And you know, when. They’re ready to deserve some attention. You can Tran you, you can focus your efforts on, on that project. And so this one was there. I I’ve always had a passion for traveling and knew I wanted to spend more time on it. Eventually it just wasn’t sustainable with so many things going on.
And so so you know, now is the time to turn more attention to it and has, you know, have, have, have some fun and maybe take a break. You know, personal finance and things like that, but you’ve been so successful
Jared: there. Fair enough. Fair enough. Yeah, I can imagine also, I mean, the travel niche was particularly affected by COVID and it sounds like you were starting this up during that, so that can be, even introduce even more trepidation because you weren’t.
Hi, is this a growing or is it growing, but there’s just not as much search volume now and all these kinds of things. So that’s, that’s a tougher niche to start during the the kind of the pandemic era, if you will, but it sounds like it’s doing really well right now. And again, for those who want to go check it out via travelers.com and.
And so, you know, what are your plans for that side going forward? Where is it at right now? You know, in terms of maybe number of articles published or, you know page views, you, you mentioned it, it’s getting quite a bit of traffic and
Kyle: stuff. Yeah. Good point or a good question. So the articles I’ve learned a lot with, with travel completely different animal than personal.
I’ve produced, I think two times as much content as the personal finance site. Oh, wow. Okay. Yeah. Yeah. And and only, you know not at about 50% of the page views as a personal finance site. So that’s been very interesting for me to learn. One thing I’ve learned right. With travel it’s very locational, locational authority is very, very different.
There’s a lot of people that have had, you know, a ton of success just hammering home one area. Right.
Jared: But you might mean like Italy, for example, like becoming a travel site. And what you’re saying is that becoming an expert say in Italy is very important in Google’s eyes for their ranking, for a travel site.
Kyle: Absolutely. Yeah. And that’s what I’ve learned. Especially through the data and even stuff that I’m doing. And I lost sight of that because I always thought of that kind of like personal finance, where you’re dealing with informational content. Right. It doesn’t really
Jared: matter what location you’re, you’re, you’re doing it from or searching it from.
Kyle: Exactly. And so you’re thinking about when you write a new content cluster for a new location, that’s almost like building a whole new website, right? The effort that’s going to need to go just for that cluster to have a thorough. It’s almost like starting a brand new site from scratch. And so at least that’s the way I’ve started to view it for travel.
But at the end of the day, I have been a massive passion for the places that I’ve visited. I have a lot of information about the places that I’ve visited that are, that’s a genuine. And not necessarily just scraped flicker photos and, you know, pulling together a bunch of other kind of generic descriptions about places.
And so that’s important to me and, and that’s one where I’ve, you know, why I’m doing this is because then the day, if I have passion for travel, I can journal what I’m, you know, doing it for fun. And potentially it may, you know, becomes a business. That’s been a lot of fun for me, just kind of being able to test a lot of different things out and see what happens.
It’s, you know, it’s not going to be perfect, but at least, you know, I’m taking that step forward. And the way I envision it, right travel is something that can stimulate all of the senses. And so, you know, what’s important to me is slowly migrating into something that can convey that message through audio video written content.
And even kind of feeling that experience
Jared: I’d asked about this earlier, and it related to the personal finance website you had, and it was about expertise. And do you think you need to be. An expert to succeed in the project that you’re working on. And now we’re transitioning to talk about this travel site and expertise looks different in travel, right?
It’s not kind of the same level of expertise maybe from Google’s angle. But nonetheless, I hear you saying things like I just got done traveling in Europe for six weeks. I just took a ton of video footage and produced a bunch of content. I mean, here we are again, where you’re totally immersing yourself.
I feel. In this website, I don’t think a lot of site owners necessarily do that. Maybe talk a bit about why you think that’s important and maybe some of the differentiators you think it’s creating for you in the websites you build.
Kyle: Yeah. That brings up a a thought that I didn’t touch on in terms of link-building right.
Immersing yourself in the content and producing content in a variety of. Is important to making sure you can get your content in the right hands. Right. So I think of it as like a, a tree that ends up with branches. You write an article, that’s one form that’s written content that written content contains, you know, an infographic or some sort of graphical depiction that graphical depiction now has, you know, all think of all the mediums where people share.
You know images or imagery, right. All over there’s, you know, platforms all over that, you know specialized in that now move down to sort of video and, and all the video services pulling all of those pieces together into an article. Now you have a bunch of different mediums within that article to make that content better and immersing yourself in, you know, the, the elements that are important to make.
That piece of content, AKA your product. You know, that much better in that much better of an experience. So you need to do it to be able to you need to immerse yourself to one, make the content better, but then too it ends up helping you in terms of promotion and link building, building authority and making sure that you’re getting the signals across the web.
You’re the go-to source for that, that topic.
Jared: So is this the only a website you’re working on right now? Anything else in your portfolio? You know, this has obviously taken a lot of your effort and energies got back from, I mean, we’ll call it six weeks of work, although it sounds like pretty good work.
But you know, you’re, you’re, you’re definitely working hard on this side, but anything else in your portfolio that you’re working on?
Kyle: Yeah, so I have a handful of other sites Yeah, I think up to nine now, nine total websites.
Jared: Okay. Well, yes, that is a few more. Yes.
Kyle: And those are more, you know, projects that are sort of waiting in the works, you know, content and content development.
It takes a lot of time, right? It takes a lot of time for search engines to process what, what your site is all about. And so, you know, getting some of those in the works now those are all sort of sites. Projects, if you will. But another one that I’m super passionate about and it’s tangentially related to a lot of my professional career and I’m also passionate about it.
But that, that site’s called the impact investor. And it’s, it’s going to be a site that’s largely focused on ESG investing and sustainability. You know, basically targeting the, the concept that brick wall. Target bridging the gap between retail investors and their approach to ESG with sort of institutional investing.
I feel like there’s a massive gap and understanding for people like you and me to, you know, find those companies to invest in that are making a positive change. And there isn’t enough transparency in between the corporates communications on what they’re doing. Through to the institutional investor and then all the way down to the retail investor.
And so I think that you know, whatever I can do to be a voice to cut through that noise and convey a message that can help other people Find those companies?
Jared: Well, it wouldn’t be personal finance, but it does sound like you, you, you still are in the the investment world a little bit then when it comes to some of your websites, can’t can’t take it too far from that source, I suppose.
Nine sites. I mean, where are you at career wise with your day job? Is this something you’re still doing a side or have you transitioned when it comes to that?
Kyle: This will largely be, you know, coming into 2020 to be. I’m spending all my time. This is what I’ll be doing. I’m excited to take the step, you know, take this step for sure.
I’m also excited to take the step further from content to more value and stuff. As well, I’ve learned a lot and graduating from content. You know, software tools, different resources, things that people can use that are, you know, just beyond that, the content itself. And so there’s a number of things with, within these projects that have the ability to do that.
There’s some that are probably just going to be content only. But they all, at the end of the day, every site that’s in in the portfolio is something that I’m, I’m passionate about. Something that I enjoy. And you know, some probably aren’t, you know, aren’t in lucrative niches, but but that’s okay.
I’d rather have the fun and the passion than solely focusing on the little group side of things.
Jared: So you’ve left your job. Full-time, you’re focused on website building and more than just websites, but actually building, you know, bigger opportunities behind just the content you sold a handful of sites.
You’re you’re, you’re truly a success story when it, when you look back on the website building world and all the way where you started in 2011 and 12, like he talked about, but yeah. Congratulations. That’s wonderful. So good luck to you in your, in your ventures here. I have some other questions. If you don’t mind, just about as we kind of get towards the end of our time here that I’m really curious.
I, I heard you talk about it and I think a lot of people have some questions maybe around this topic. I want to hear your thoughts on it. You talked about how. You have nine sites of your portfolio, but many of them are just on the side. Just getting a little bit of attention. It almost sounds like you bet in starter sites almost I hear this theme where you kind of plan for a year or two or three down the road to give yourself opportunity and options.
And you’re always kind of one step ahead. How do you, how do you, is that accurate? How do you view these starter sites? Like, do you have a process that you go through where you’re, you’re not ready to work on them yet, but you know, you might want to, so what do you do to kind of start to get them built without putting a lot of your energy into them?
Kyle: Yeah. Yeah, it brings up you know, oh, I’ll give a good example. One, one site one opportunity that kind of came up random. This sort of, you know, searching the web. And I was on a couple expired domain type listing searches found a really good opportunity alongside a handful of other expired domains.
And so I bought sort of a three to four pack within a niche three to four, four pack of expired domains, all of which were former contents. And then took that one, took the, the, the one with the best metrics made that as the master site and then all of the other three consolidated to direct redirect directly to the master site.
But each of those three that were kind of directing right to the master were on subtopic. That would go under the master. And so not redirecting it to the homepage, but redirecting it to one article. One article that is that subject, you know, sub topic and building this ecosystem, if you will, of of links right at day zero I’ve always wanted to do that.
I’ve heard some good case studies of doing so to really. I already have that foundation and then only needed to execute on the content. And so far that’s worked out really well. We’ll see where it goes. But you know, things like that have a lot of work, you know, still a ton of work to be done, but but that’s just one, one thing that kind of popped into my head.
I think other things are, you know, if you do find a passion or something that you see a gap or an opportunity. Don’t be hesitant to, to jump on it or at least try it. There’s nothing worse than just not doing something that you could have. You could have just tried.
Jared: Yeah. There’s always a balance between spending your phone.
And taking your eye off of a singular focus versus a bit more along the lines of what you’re doing, which is kind of making sure you have some irons in the fire and that you can be giving yourself options down the road, not only today and tomorrow, but in a year and in two years. So it’s, it’s a healthy balance to consider.
So you’ve, you’ve been involved in the personal finance spaces. On a number of websites, travel spaces, like generally speaking, these are competitive niches. And I wa I wanted to ask you your thoughts on what Google calls eat or expertise authoritativeness, trustworthiness. And is that something that you have, whether by focus or just by nature, put an emphasis on, and do you think it’s had an impact or any of your sites growing?
Again, because I’m just going to go back to you. You tend to get. Really rapid growth pretty quickly, you know? And so I, I want to see if that had any impact on the way you built sites.
Kyle: I never intentionally did you know a checklist to meet different eat criteria actually. I think it was, it was sort of natural in that I immersed myself into the topic.
As much as I possibly could. And I was, I was actually doing this to try to, I was trying to read up on what people call eat, you know, in 2021. And because for the four via travelers, because I had produced, I’ve been producing so much content and I’m like, what’s going on? I mean, it’s, I thought I’d be further along than I am now.
And so I wanted to revisit it. A common theme that stuck out to me relative to some stuff that had been doing prior. I had, I had always had a very nice long form kind of about page that was really in-depth personal. If mission statements, purpose and really focused in on. The whole, the overarching theme of the site.
And so that was embedded in the site, along alongside all the other check boxes of, you know, disclosures and writing a long form content building some of those trust signals with authoritative sites that are highly relevant. I think that’s something that’s, you know, working with sites that are.
Relevant to your niche is priority number one in terms of signaling trust. And so those were some themes that came up, but I’m always, you know, I don’t intentionally do it because it does seem like it’s one area that’s a bit of a black box. Yeah. So I’m, I’m, you know, I always read it, read different content about, about E and I ended up.
Coming away with no clear actionable items. And so it’s more of a holistic thing where I can, I need to, you know, need to think about what I’ve done in the past and see how, see where I’m not doing it now. And try to re.
Jared: Yep. That’s fair enough. It’s certainly a ever evolving and you know, somewhat confusing topic for sure.
And yeah, but how do you, how do you nail that with travel? That’s a good question. You’ve transitioned to having a portfolio of sites, maybe talk through how you handle nine sites. Like, do you have a process in terms of how you do that? In terms of where your time and effort goes, what’s your team look like now?
And what are your future plans? You know, are you going to continue to expand this or we’re going to talk to you next time you’re gonna have 27 sites, or are you going to try to wheel down to five sites? You know, what are your plans going forward?
Kyle: Yeah, I I think I would get a lot of grief by adding another, another site from family and friends, but, you know, so I’m going to keep it to this, this base.
They’re all in things that I’m passionate about. So I want to keep this foundation and build, keep this as the. And then the portfolio, if you will. And so the team now really is, you know, patrol, assistant and, and handful of content writers that I finally, you know, brought on my first editor. So, you know, now really getting the first kind of real editor getting, you know, a thorough look on every piece of content that’s getting.
And working with people locally writers and, you know, different people, locally graphic designers locally in my area to somebody that I can pick up the phone or texts with to, you know, make sure that we’re getting things. Or making the right edits. And so then beyond that I found myself getting into a SAS subscription problem of way too many tools, software tools to kind of help.
They can be addicting. Yes. Yeah. Those seven day trials. They tell you that if I get
Jared: here. Yeah, they do. Yeah. No kidding. Yeah.
Kyle: So, but I’m testing with different software, right. And, and SAS tools to sort of streamline. You know, rudimentary, you know, tasks or, or, or, you know, social management, right? Those are, there’s a ton of those out there, but, you know, I want to make sure that at the end of the day, still focusing on the content as the product and keeping your, you know, my attention and everyone else’s attention there and then everything else promotion and things like that, finding ways to kind of make.
Streamlined in a way, because manual promotions and stuff can take a lot of time. But you want to do it right? If you’re, if you’re going to kind of streamline it more, you don’t want to just send out random stuff, but finding the pockets in which you know, what takes the most time out of the promotion side of things, or what takes the most time out of creating a social.
And so finding those buckets and trying to reduce the time required as much as possible, and then, you know, maximizing the value of the content.
Jared: Well, I’d be very curious to hear how your scaling efforts go and you know, how you ended up scaling out these, these sites that you have right now. It doesn’t sound like we’ll hear about 27 in your portfolio, but nonetheless nine is a, is a lofty number to, to kind of manage.
Clearly you have the chops to do it and whatnot. Thanks for coming by the podcast. It’s, it’s so fun to have, you know, someone like you as a guest, who’s been a listener for a while and kind of taken so much of the information that this podcast, but obviously so many other sources have provided, but I mean, just look again at what you’ve run with almost this kind of 10 year, I guess we’re coming up on 10 years now, where from your first website and your first search online for how to make money online, kind of thing to where we’re at.
It’s it’s great. You’ve sold some sites. You’ve, you’ve built up some sites. You’ve left your job for this. You’re now traveling all over and fully immersing yourselves and your sites. So congratulations again. And and yeah. Thanks for coming by the podcast.
Kyle: Yeah. Thanks for having me on.
Jared: It’s been great.
All right, well, we’ll talk soon. Thanks. .