September 22, 2021 0 806

I Built a Website with $2 000: Now it Makes Me $1 000 Every Month

Today we are sharing an interesting case study from Dan Richardson, a webmaster who started a niche site with a $2 000 investment, and now it generates him $1 000 every single month passively. Read along to learn how he was able to do this, and also how you can replicate his strategies for yourself to earn passive income from websites.

Back towards the end of 2019, Dan was messing around with Ahrefs Content Explorer when he came across a site that had a DR of around 7 which was ranking top for a massive keyword with over 40 000 searches a month. Dan had a look at the site and was confident he could build something better, so he did.

Dan invested less than $2 000 into building that site, and it now brings in almost $1 000 a month in ad revenue — which is a good ROI, to be honest. In this case study, we are going to look at what he did to get there.

The Process Dan Used to Find that Opportunity

  1. Log into Ahrefs and navigate to the content explorer.
  2. Chuck a very broad generic keyword into the search bar. If you're looking to build an affiliate site, then something like "best" is a good choice.
  3. Change language to "English".
  4. Turn "Filter explicit search results" on.
  5. Then press "add filter" and select "domain rating", leave the "from" box empty, and put a low number (around 10) in the "to" box.
  6. Then add a "page traffic" filter, go for a fairly high number up to 10 000.

You will now see a list of pages that get more than 10 000 sessions a month on sites with a domain rating of less than 10.

Not all of these articles are something you'd want to build a site around. You can surely find a few diamonds in there which prove that you can build high-traffic sites without having to spend countless hours and money building links.

This process found me two massive (40k+/month) keywords in the same niche which were very low competition. Here is a video explaining this strategy:


Building the Site

Dan noticed that the sites that were ranking top for those two keywords were very small (one had less than 10 pages). He was confident that if he built around just 50 relevant pages linking back to those big keyword pages, he would stand a good chance of winning that top spot.

  • Outsourced all the content.
  • Spent a total of $200 on links (early on just to try and speed up indexing don't think it made any difference).
  • Most of the supporting articles were around 500 words and the big volume keyword pages were around 1 500 words.
  • Got the two big volume keyword pages and 20 supporting pages written up before he purchased the domain.
  • Then he got roughly an additional 10 articles (500 words) written every month for the first 7 months.
  • Made sure to link through to the big volume money pages from all of the supporting articles as well as any other pages that were at all relevant.

That's literally all he did.

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Breakdown of the Site

Here is a quick summary of the website:

  • He found a low-authority site with less than ten pages ranking for a keyword with over 40 000 searches a month.
  • He decided to build something better to rank for that keyword and cash in on that traffic using display ads.
  • He finally got that number one position almost exactly a year after starting the site.
  • He managed this with a total spend of less than $2 000 and it now makes almost $1 000/month.
  • This site is in a very low competition "boring" niche.
  • 70% of traffic goes to one page which ranks for the big volume keyword (40k+/month) that he was hoping to rank for when he first started the site.
  • The total word count currently on the site is around 54 000 words.
  • The high-volume keyword articles are around 1 500 words, the majority of the remaining articles are between 4-700 words.

The Numbers

The site started in November 2019. By March 2021, it had 89 articles. About 95% of its money comes from Ezoic and a small amount from Amazon Associates.

It's averaging around $950/month over the last 6 months. If Dan sold it now, it should get a price between $25 000-$30 000. Not bad for a site that only costs $2 000 to build.

Total Income

  • Ezoic Earnings: $5 726.89
  • Amazon earnings: $184.16
  • Other Affiliate Programs: $6.93
  • Total: $5 917.98

Total Expenditure

  • Content: $1 620
  • Links: $200
  • Domain + Hosting: $100/year
  • Total: $1 965


Dan currently tracks 88 keywords for this site:

  • 50/88 rank in position one.
  • 67/88 are in the top 3.
  • 84/88 are on page one.

The reason it ranks so well isn't that he’s a genius website builder, it's simply because he found an extremely low competition niche and stuck at it. The majority of those keywords have search volumes less than 500/month. They can pretty much all be answered in one sentence which means Dan got a lot of featured snippets but not many CTRs. Thankfully the high-volume keyword(s) require more than a sentence to answer fully.


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One mistake Dan made with this site was to put one of the big-volume articles on the homepage. His thinking was that the homepage will get the most link authority so it'll rank better, but he was wrong. 

This was partly because he barely built any links as they just weren't necessary for such a low-competition niche. Also, because while It did rank, it didn't rank anywhere near as well as the other high-volume keywords which he set up as a normal post.

The home page article reached a high of position 6, in the meantime, the other big volume keyword which was just a standard post climbed to position one. he decided to move the homepage article and turn it back into a standard post.

You can't redirect a homepage so he lost that page one ranking for about 4 months before Google finally worked things out.

Plans Going Forward

Dan plans to sell this site at some point. But before he sells it, there are 3 improvements he’s planning to do first:

  • Get it on Mediavine

Traffic is trending strongly upwards over the last couple of weeks. If current traffic levels remain stable, he should have the required 50,000 sessions before the end of April.

  • Get the 2nd high volume keyword to position 1

It's currently in position 4, the bulk of the secondary articles are more related to the other keyword so he plans on adding another 20+ articles directly relating to that keyword to try and move it

  • Add some affiliate articles

There aren't a lot of products relevant to this niche but there are a few vaguely relevant products keywords he could try and rank for.

The site may not have sufficient relevancy/authority to rank for best/product-related search terms but Dan wants to at least have a go just to make sure he’s not leaving money on the table.

Takeaways from This Site

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  • It is possible to make very good returns on a relatively small investment if you do good keyword research and are willing to explore boring topics.
  • Don't be scared of high-volume keywords - you can make good money out of them.
  • One of the key ingredients to building a site is time. Dan barely did anything to this site between March & October, he only added 5 short articles. Yet during that time traffic grew by 10x.
  • It is important to be aware of the risks of building a site like this. If you make the bulk of your money from one or two main keywords you are at high risk of losing a lot of revenue if when ranking positions change. Don't put yourself in a position where you are financially reliant on the revenue generated by the "one big keyword".


This case is a great example to prove that building sites is still a great way to generate passive income. With an investment of $1 965, this site consistently generates income passively and it can still be monetized further. The strategies used are easily actionable and anyone can replicate them to start earning money. They can also be applied to start multiple sites to create more income-generating schemes.

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