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How Amanda O’Brien Earns $25k/Month from 4 Sites Monetized with Mediavine

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How Amanda O'Brien Earns $25k/Month from 4 Sites Monetized with Mediavine

They say once you’ve got the winning formula, the sky’s the limit, and that’s very true for Amanda O’Brien.

In this interview, Amanda talks to me about how she created her travel site and grew it into a profitable business.

When Covid hit, she pivoted and started a second site in a completely different niche: pets. After that one took off, she created a third site around a similar topic. And as that site found success, she created a fourth site in the informational niche.

Amanda shares insight into creating and running 4 different sites in 3 different niches, all of them monetized with Mediavine and bringing in a total of $25k per month.

She talks about the importance of SEO as well as E-E-A-T, and how she infuses authenticity into her content.

She shares her unique strategy for getting her travel blog off the ground and she tells me what she did when she discovered that another site had copied all of her work.

Amanda tried to fast-track her growth, so she built out two of her sites on domains she purchased on Flippa. In this interview, she shares what she learned from that experience. She also talks about her link building strategies, her thoughts on topical authority, and why she has the best boss in the world.

Don’t miss this fantastic episode with a seasoned blogger in a wide variety of niches, as Amanda has a lot of great advice and great tips to share.

Watch the Full Interview Here

Links & Resources

This Episode is sponsored by Link Whisper

transcription

Samara: What’s up everybody? Welcome back to another episode of the Niche Pursuits podcast. I am here with Amanda O’Brien, and Amanda owns four niche websites and she’s bringing home $25,000. Welcome to the show, Amanda. 

Amanda: Thank you, Samara. It’s a pleasure to be here. I’m a big fan of this podcast. 

Samara: Excellent. Well, let’s dive right in.

Why don’t you start off by telling us about your four sites? 

Amanda: Sure. So my four sites are across three different niches, which are travel, pets, and information. I started the first site in travel in 2016 as a hobby at the time. And for the first three years, I had no idea what I was doing. I got it onto Mediavine in February of 2020.

So, literally one month before Covid. And of course when Covid hit: crash. So everybody I knew in travel was starting food sites and I was a bit nervous about that because, long-term I was like, all that recipe development and photography and doing it seems really time-consuming. And at the time I was getting my first ever pet, so I thought, oh, I’ll do a bit of SEO research on this.

So I launched my first pet website in June of 2020. And it did very well, very fast. It got onto Mediavine within five months, even at the higher requirements.

So then as we’re into 2021, I was like, well, now that I know what to do and I’m still locked down, why don’t I do some more? So I launched another pet site in July of 2021, and then in September of 2021, I launched the information site.

And I’ve now stopped launching sites. Just so you know, the last two I actually bought those sites. On Flippa because I wanted sites that already had existing domain authority. So very happy to talk about that experience, if that’s helpful. Okay. 

Samara: Excellent. So four sites. You have a very eclectic mix. Right?

Let’s start with your biggest earner, which would be your travel website. Can you tell us a little bit about that? How much traffic you’re getting how it’s monetized, how you’re building it out… 

Amanda: Yeah, sure. So at the moment, that site’s getting about 450,000 page views a month, which is at the lower end.

It kind of goes up and down depending on what’s happening in the world. Very much the focus of my revenue model is advertising. So 90% of what I earn overall is from advertising based on content. I do get some income from affiliates, but it’s pretty small and I’ve very much made the choice to focus on that.

And I guess the way I focus on that is by getting out more and more content and really focusing on SEP. I love SEO. I’m a complete SEO nerd. It’s like, keyword research is my favorite thing to do. And I spend a lot of time doing it. And I also obviously use a lot of writers as well to help support me in getting out content on the travel site as well as the other sites.

Plus I do a lot of press trips for the travel site, which isn’t necessarily the most economical thing to do, but I got into it because I love travel and I’m crazy about travel. So, hey, not everything can be about earning money. 

Samara: Yes, absolutely. I mean, if you want to establish authority and you want authenticity for a travel site, you gotta travel.

Amanda: Right? Absolutely. And more and more I think what’s getting important is putting a more personal tone of voice in when you’re writing, which I sort of didn’t do because I felt like people didn’t necessarily want that. And particularly because like I’m a little bit older than a lot of the average travel bloggers, but that seems to work and I even appear in some of the photos now.

But I wanna, as much as possible, obviously give those cues to Google that I wrote this, I have been there, I have experienced these things, and I also like to point out on it when I haven’t experienced something. So I’ll often write down at the bottom, “Hey, my guide said this was a great restaurant, but we didn’t have time to go.”

So if you’re going, check it out and email me and I’ll add to the post what you said. No one’s ever actually emailed me yet, but I often feel like, you know, I always say if you were talking to your friends, you would say, “Oh God, we didn’t get time to try this restaurant, but apparently it’s really good.”

So I also try to add in that kind of content as well. 

Samara: That’s a great idea. Yeah. Now more than ever, the personal spin is important. So, yeah, that’s great. That’s a good way to do it. So how often are you publishing content on this website? And can you reveal the website? 

Amanda: I’d rather not.

I’m sure it’s not that hard to find, but we would just stay with the niches. I aim to publish on each site twice a week. But with my travel schedule, that doesn’t always happen, so it probably ends up about six times a month for each of the sites. Okay. Okay. So you’re the same. Yeah. I would like to be doing more.

Yeah, that’s definitely our goal is to get more content out. 

Samara: Okay. And you have a team of writers working for you on all of your sites or just the main travel site? 

Amanda: I use an agency as after my corporate career. I was like, I do not want employees again. And they have a team of writers, so they’re the ones that manage and get the writers on board.

They vet, they edit, they check everything and they write for all four of my sites. And then I do all the editing at the end. And the uploads.  

Samara: Great! So you have a whole system set up. 

Amanda: Yeah, it’s great to hear you use the word system. It never feels as organized as it could be for me, but yeah, I try.

Samara: Okay. So let’s back up a little bit and, and how did you get into building these websites? How did you learn about SEO? Where did it all begin?

Amanda: Okay, so my background is all marketing. So I studied economics and marketing at university. I’m originally from Australia, as you might have guessed with my voice.

And so I was straight into corporate marketing jobs after university. I worked for Craft Foods in Australia, moved to the UK 20 years ago. And then I was working for Hines for quite a long time. Churchill, the insurance dog that your British listeners will know. And I decided seven years ago to try moving back to Australia.

And living in Sydney for a year and to cut a long story short, it didn’t work out. And during that year I had some extra time on my hands and I thought, you know what? I really wanna learn how to build a website from scratch because I didn’t know how to do that and to set up social media. So I thought, okay, I should do travel because I was always a huge traveler and I have always been into photography.

So I started with that, never thinking it would be something that would become my career. And then when I got back to the UK, I decided to take a little bit of time out before I started back in my corporate life. So I started really getting into it and I had a close friend from university who has a huge site called Heavy.com that he’s been very, very successful with.

And so I knew from him there was an opportunity to make the money, but I also knew it was probably gonna take me a good two or three years to figure it out and build the site. And the thing that I did that made the most difference, I think, in like not knowing what to do versus getting to the point that you know what to do was attending conferences.

So particularly in travel, the travel blogging community is a great one. I have so many friends now from that community all over the world, and I signed up for four different travel blogging conferences over 12 months. And by the end of that, that was when my knowledge had totally changed.

I knew where to go, I knew what to look at and what to do. So I would highly recommend that to anybody who’s getting started. 

Samara: Mm-hmm. That’s a great idea. That’s an interesting idea. So if you’re in the travel blog niche, what kind of conferences do you recommend? Is there anything that’s still ongoing that’s kind of was a game-changer for you?

Amanda: Yeah, the one TBEX is still ongoing which is great. And I think they do three a year across the world. So when you go to these conferences, you do have to make some payments, right? It’s not free but it’s very reasonable and they’ll do loads of sessions where people who will come in and talk about social media, but they’ll also talk about SEO.

And the other one that’s excellent, which is run out of the UK is called Traverse. And they do a couple of different conferences a year and the same thing. So it’s a great way to learn about SEO. You can then find people you can follow on social media so you can start keeping your knowledge up-to-date with SEO.

They’ll recommend resources. And I also always say to people, I think the HFS course that they offer for you for SEO is excellent and a great place for anybody in any niche to really start getting their head around SEO.

Samara: Those are great recommendations. So you started your websites, but you didn’t have any knowledge of SEO and as you’re building them out, you’re kind of gaining more knowledge and experience.

Amanda: Yeah, I mean, I knew about SEO in theory because I was in marketing and I think, I thought I knew about SEO. And then you start actually trying to do it and it’s a whole different ball game. And you realize when you’re sitting there like, but what am I putting here and what do I do with the alt text? And you get all these really specific questions that you don’t know how to answer.

And also you think, oh, look, that’s a great keyword to go after, not realizing that’s not really the right search intent, you’re being too broad. So it’s been a real trial and error process I guess to get to where I am now and to have, I guess, my own sort of SEO strategy that I use on my sites.

Mm-hmm. Definitely. 

Samara: So now you are employing your particular SEO strategy across your four sites? 

Amanda: That’s correct. Yep. 

Samara: Okay. And, are they all in Mediavine at this point? 

Amanda: Yes. All four in Mediavine. 

Samara: Okay. Now you eventually quit your job. Is that right?

Amanda: So what I did was, instead of going back into full-time employment, cause I knew there’s no way I’m gonna spend my weekends doing this, I’m really too tired, is I started consulting.

And so I started doing it kind of four days a week. And then over, I guess, the next five years, it went from four to three to two to one to zero about 12 months ago. So I set a goal that once my income had replaced what I used to earn as a marketing director then I would stop all consulting. So I don’t do any consulting now.

I’m full-time on my sites. 

Samara: Okay, great. That’s a great progression, right? It’s kind of, well, I think it helps. 

Amanda: It’s scary. Yeah. One of the scariest things of getting into blogging is the money part. Right? And you’re not gonna earn anything probably substantial for the first couple of years, but you need the time to build your sites and to do those things.

So I kind of found that balance really helped. 

Samara: Mm-hmm. Yes. That’s a very tricky situation. So that worked out for you? Any regrets?  

Amanda: If anything, I probably wish that I had given up the consulting faster and put more time into my sites and been more confident about the results I was getting.

I think it was just, it was pretty scary giving up that traditional kind of work to do this full-time. And I’m confident if I had given up sooner, I would probably be further progressed than I am now. But, you know, hindsight’s 2020, right? 

Samara: Absolutely. Now, speaking of this leap. Have you had any problems with Google penalties or Google algorithms where you’ve kind of had a major setback?

Amanda: Yeah, well actually I just had ups and downs and then I got hit badly in January of this year, and suddenly on one of my pet sites, the organic traffic dropped by 60%. And the weirdest thing was I was going through, I was like, what have I done wrong? And it was across the whole site. Literally, my impressions dropped by 60% from one day to the next.

And I looked at all the different posts. There wasn’t movement. I was not getting as many impressions, like still my ranking was the same. And every post had dropped. And I, for the life of me, I could not figure it out. And I was trying everything with updating content, doing what I can.

And then I was looking one day at my traffic sources, which I normally do every day. And I saw one, it was exactly the same URL as mine, but with a .org at the end versus my .com. And I went onto this site and they had just replicated my entire site. Now I have no idea why they did that and why they thought that was a good idea.

But I thought, oh my God, this is what’s going on. Google thinks I’ve duplicated my entire content. So what I did is I used Big Scoots for hosting, who I highly recommend. I got straight onto them and they immediately blocked all the IP addresses associated with that site. But they said you’re gonna have to keep an eye on it because they can pop up with new ones.

What you can do, it was really easy is I found out who the hosting company was. You can literally just sort of Google it for any website. I messaged them saying, this is a duplicate of my site, and they emailed back the next day saying we’ve taken it down. It was in China. And then Google does a, it’s called a DMAC, which is basically if you Google DMAC you just fill out a quick form saying, this is duplicate content of my stuff.

They came back about six days later and said, oh, actually, the site was already taken down when we went to check. So yeah, it’s coming back up, but it’s still a long way from where it was. But that was, yeah, quite a shocking experience and it’s pretty scary. So hopefully me telling people this is exactly what I did and how long it took can help out somebody else if it happens to them.

And it’s another thing to check, I guess, when your traffic drops.

Samara: Yeah definitely. Oh my God. Who would’ve thought that?

Amanda: I know, I know. And I was just like, cause also, I still don’t know why they did it, like what was the benefit to them, but there you go. You don’t know what people are thinking, I guess.

Samara: Yeah. Absolutely. All right, so now you’re on the road to recovery. 

Amanda: Yes. On that site. Luckily, and this is the benefit of having four sites, if one site gets hit at the same time, I was getting some good results on two of the other sites, so it often kind of nets out, but it’s kind of like one of the fours always has a problem, if you know what I mean.

That’s the downside. Yeah. But it’s great that you, and of course being across different niches as well, basically you’re just kind of eing out the risk with doing what we do. 

Samara: Oh my gosh. Absolutely. This is just a great example of the importance of diversification. 

Amanda: Yep. Yeah. I think Covid obviously was like, when you’re in travel and Yeah. Getting here with Covid I think that’s a lesson none of us will ever forget. 

Samara: Yes, absolutely. Do you have plans to further diversify? Are you going to add more sites to your portfolio or are you going to stay within these four and try to hande those?

Amanda: For the moment, stay within the four.

I sometimes get excited and I want to do more sites, I would probably do more niches within niches I’m already in, if you know what I mean, versus I don’t think I would reach out to other niches at this point in time, but mostly because of the whole E E A T, like keep building on my expertise and authority where I’ve got it.

Samara: Absolutely. So tell us a little bit about your experience buying websites. You bought two of your four websites on Flippa? Tell us about that.

Amanda: So the thinking was, of course, buy these sites. They’ve got domain authority and I’ll be able to start ranking a lot faster. And I hadn’t done it before, so it was a bit of a new thing.

So, the first day I looked, I found exactly the kind of pet site that I wanted. And the domain authority was 30. So I was like, fantastic. And it had a lot of content on it and it was mostly affiliate content. And I thought, well, great. I don’t really like doing affiliate content, so I can just spruce that up and then I can add non-affiliate content.

So I think I paid $2,000 for the site. And I guess some of the lessons for me were, it didn’t seem to make a big difference having that existing domain authority versus if I had started from scratch, particularly if I compared it to my other pet site, which I absolutely started from scratch.

It didn’t change. Part of that was because Google hadn’t indexed the site because it was all affiliate content. And once I dug into the content, I realized it was like, oh my God, some of these articles were 5,000 words, but about 1500 were saying exactly the same thing over and over and over again.

So I ended up getting rid of pretty much all the content that was on it. It looked okay, but I didn’t look in enough detail. And to be honest, it didn’t seem to make that much difference. The second site I bought for far less, it was only $400. And again, it had a lot of content and I knew it was ranking, but not very well.

And again, initially, I was like, oh, okay, these are the worst ones. I’ll get rid of those, but I think these ones are okay. And then every time I would go back into one of the old ones, I’d be like, oh, no, this is not okay. This is not good content. It’s very generic. There’s a lot of rubbish on here.

So again, I think I ended up either deleting or getting my agency to rewrite pretty much everything that I got. And that one, I think I got a little bit of a benefit from having some existing links and stuff, but not massive. So I don’t think I would be tied in the future to thinking… I think I’d be much more likely if I was to do another site tomorrow, I’d do it from scratch rather than buying something.

Okay. I think unless you’re spending a lot of money in the affiliate area, that’s just my personal experience. That’s what I would probably do. 

Samara: Okay, so unless you have a giant budget, maybe it’s just not worth it to spend on a smaller website existing domain because it’s gonna be better to develop.

Amanda: Yeah. Often there’s a reason they’re selling it and it’s not that expensive. Right. Like totally seems really sensible now to look back on that. 

Samara: Yeah, absolutely. So can you recommend some resources? Where did you learn about SEO? Where did you kind of hone all your experience. Can you share some of that? 

Amanda: Yeah, absolutely. So I think with SEO, HFS is great. The courses that they do. I’m also a big fan of Brandon Gaille’s podcast, the “Blogging Millionaire.” I think that there’s some good stuff on there for people who are starting.

A fellow Australian, Sharon Gourly, who I’ve never actually met, has a website called Digital Nomad Wannabe, which is another great one for getting started, and she really knows her stuff in terms of SEO. And I said podcasts in general I think are really helpful. So I listen to yours. And I also listen to “Authority Hacker” as well.

I guess they’re good ways to keep up-to-date and get inspired through people’s stories. In terms of doing my own keyword research. The tools I use are KeySearch, which is the one I sort of started with, so I always end up going back to it because it’s familiar and they have some good functions in terms of creating lists of different topics and keeping track of your keywords.

I also use Ahrefs and I also use RankIQ as well. So that’s what I use for SEO for my actual site. Some of the things I use that I really like is Link Whisper, which I know is obviously part of you guys as well, but it’s not an ad. I like Link Whisper a lot. I also use RankMath, and Query Hunter is one that some people don’t know.

It’s a plugin you can get and they ask you what you’re prepared to pay for it. You can pay zero if you want. And what it does, you link it to your Search Console. And then within WordPress, within the backend of the article, it’ll show you down the bottom which keywords you are ranking for that are not in your post.

So it’s a super easy way then that you can see, oh wow, I’m like position seven on this keyword. I don’t actually have it written in my article. Go back and put it in the article if it makes sense, which may well improve your ranking for that keyword. So they’ve made what was an onerous task extremely easy to do.

Samara: Wow, that’s really interesting. I’ve never heard of Query Hunter. It’s a good one.

Amanda: And then I also use Grammarly Plus, which is a huge help I find. And Canva as well. I use Canva Professional, which again, I find really useful. So those are, that’s my long list of tools which I’d written down to share with everybody.

Samara: That’s great. Tell us a little bit about link building. Are you doing any active link building? Or did you in the past?

Amanda: Link building drives me mad. Samaras is like, I’m always trying some new scheme thinking it’s gonna work. So that my, you know, my domain authorities are decent on all my sites, but not, of course not as high as I’d like.

I did a lot of the Facebook groups, particularly on travel, where they actually have specific Facebook groups for link swapping and doing that. I’ve usually found link swapping as appropriate with the right content, more appropriate, that gets better results than doing blog collaborations, which obviously take a bit more resource as well, in my experience.

Okay. I have tried doing paid before with kind of mixed results where Always contextually sensible but they just don’t seem to ship the dial that much in terms of my domain authority. And I did try digital PR last year, which I was really excited about. And the agency I used did an awesome job, like I used to do in my corporate career.

I was responsible for PR for most of it but, disappointingly, it just didn’t go anywhere. It just didn’t get any traction. And that’s obviously, that is what happens with PR sometimes. And I was really happy with the job the agency did and surprised it didn’t get picked up. But sometimes things just don’t get picked up.

And you don’t know what other news broke that way. I’m considering now whether I try digital PR again because I do think it’s a great way to build links. It’s not cheap but it’s got the return in it and I guess you can’t expect it to work every time because it’s PR, it’s not advertising. 

Samara: Right, it’s hit or miss, right? You can get lucky. Yes. It’s if you’re not, 

Amanda: Yeah, exactly. Okay. Hopefully, if you do it a few times, at least one will hit and you can then see what the return is. Knowing you’re gonna have to have one or two that don’t hit to get that return, if you know what I mean.

Samara: Okay. And are you using social media at all? 

Amanda: I have social media accounts on all of the sites, but I’m only really active on the travel site. And to be honest, it doesn’t drive much traffic to my site. To this site a little bit. From Facebook particularly, I have quite a decent size profile on Instagram, and I’m on TikTok, so I mostly do a lot of video content, and it’s usually when I’m on trips and doing that, and it gets like a nice reach, but it’s nothing.

Samara: Okay, so mostly like the bulk of it is SEO. 

Amanda: Absolutely, yeah. But it’s the bulk of everything. And I think, you know, Pinterest, I, I think I’m getting the same traffic from Pinterest now as I was five years ago. Like, it’s just, it doesn’t seem to go anywhere. For me. I kind of feel like some of these platforms, if you didn’t get in at the right time, it’s very, very difficult for it ever to become a platform.

It’s gonna be a serious source of traffic for you. Yeah. 

Samara: Yeah. That sounds a bit accurate. Yeah, absolutely. So now if someone was gonna start a niche site tomorrow, what kind of advice could you 

Amanda: give that person? Well, the first thing I would say is to do some keyword research training. And to actually think with that training, is that something I’m gonna enjoy doing or not?

Cuz you know, I love it, but some people might not love it and I think if that’s not something you really enjoy. Not sure doing that would be the right thing for you. And then I think it’s really thinking about within a niche, which topic areas you are you gonna go after. And I think if you’re starting a new one, it sometimes surprises me what Google seems to like my sites for.

Do you know what I mean? It’s so often not the stuff that I thought that they would. So I think when you get started, if you’re in a niche, All niches have got sub niches. You almost need to do a range of low, a low difficulty, low volume keywords across several parts of the niche, and then see what Google likes you for.

And I have found it, and this seems to be getting more and more pronounced in my experience, is then I sort of wait and see what they like me for. And so let’s say if they, if it was a dog site and you suddenly did really well with dog pills, vitamin B or something like that, I would then take that and build from there and go, right, I’m gonna look at vitamins A vitamin C I, what?

I’m now gonna look at supplements. I and then build your content based on what Google likes you for. Don’t try and build the other ones yet. It’s almost like you want to tap out that stream. And the other interesting thing that I’ve found is once Google likes you for this type of content, often I can look at keywords that I think I wouldn’t have a chance for.

But if we’re there within that area, I rank highly for them. So it’s really interesting as well to find out actually you’re stronger than you thought within these little sub niches. So I say tap that out before you even start looking to go beyond that area, if that makes sense. Okay. Yeah, 

Samara: That’s super interesting.

Okay. That’s great advice. Can you tell us a little bit about your biggest challenge as a blogger? 

Amanda: So I think my biggest challenge is keeping track of everything. Like I, I honestly, every day I feel like there’s so much I could be doing. And I find trying to stay focused, not easy, cuz then I often have ideas or I listen to a podcast think, oh, I should do that, I should do that.

So I, my latest way to try and address that is I’m trying to kind of go, okay, spend the first half of the week on content and getting out all the basics. And then with what time you’ve got left, keep a list going of all the other things you’re interested in. But do the, do the stuff that, the knitting that you know is actually gonna get you results.

Do that first. Or sometimes I get a bit excited about a new idea and half a day’s gone. Well, I’ve been Yeah, investigating it. And then I kind of go, no, I don’t think that’s right. And I’m like, okay, now I’m giving, I’m giving the, the shiny new things too much priority I need to be focused on, on the core.

Yes, 

Samara: I have severe shiny syndrome. I 

Amanda: totally understand. I know. It’s terrible, isn’t it? Yeah. And you think, oh, this could change everything. But every blogger I know has that, it’s that challenge of just the never ending to-do list. Yeah, 

Samara: yeah, yeah. Absolutely. Yeah. Do you have like a virtual assistant that keeps you in line or you handle everything 

Amanda: yourself?

No, and I, and I should, I, I, I tend to kind of like to outsource expert areas, so, The writing my web stories. I’ve got a person that does that across my sites. I’ve got an email person now. I’m trying out I, yeah, I should get a va, but I just, yeah. I haven’t done it. So it ends up just being me keeping track of things.

Right, right. I You’re taking off notes. Yeah. Ex. Exactly. Exactly. 

Samara: Can you tell us a little bit about your greatest accomplishment? 

Amanda: Gosh. I think my greatest accomplishment is that I had a travel website and I exited Covid with massively more volume than I entered it. And a lot of that was figuring out how to use.

Content strategies to offset the fact that travel had dropped. And so that was really for me, looking a lot at, well, what are areas of travel people are still interested in that isn’t checking things out for their next trip and using, and I always believe with Covid, this is all gonna come back. It’s all gonna come back.

And I stayed firm in that and I, I was busy during covid. I’d never relaxed, I was always going, this is a good opportunity to pump things out. So I think, yeah, I kind of feel like that’s my greatest achievement is coming out a much bigger travel blogger than I entered covid. Wow. 

Samara: That is incredible.

So what kind of things did you focus on? 

Amanda: So again, I think a lot of it was this. It’s funny, it actually came from a Niche pursuits podcast interview I listened to once, which was it was a food travel, a food writer. And she was talking about she had an article on beats and that Google really liked her for so she started then doing keyword research on everything to do with beats as she possibly could.

And something in that really sparked me and that sort of led to that content strategy of. Well, what could I do? Putting out some different options, seeing what Google liked me for, and then keeping on building on those areas and getting out as much content as I possibly could. And that’s, that’s really what I did during lockdown.

Mm-hmm. Oh, that’s a really 

Samara: good idea. Yeah. Topical authority. Know about something that Google wants you to write. Def 

Amanda: and now I really. I try not to get shiny new object things about trying content in all sorts of different areas and try and make sure, okay, if I’m gonna write about something, I, I need to do six or seven articles, o o on that topic at least, or else it’s just pointless for me to be doing it.

Mm-hmm. Okay. And trying to stay focused on doing that. Yeah. Right. 

Samara: Can you tell us in, within the travel niche and the pets niche, mm-hmm. Is it easy to network? What are those niches like? How would you describe them? Would you. It’s either is a barrier to entry, are they quite difficult? 

Amanda: What’s your opinion?

I think travel these days is very difficult to get into if you’re gonna do a broad travel site. I think it needs to be a niche, and the niche could be the audience. Or it could be the geography of things, but as the travel community, I, I love the travel blocking community. There’s, there’s a lot offers.

People are very friendly and helpful. There’s conferences to get you started. Then you meet people. People are very good about supporting each other and swapping information particularly through Facebook groups and things like that. I find that’s, That was a really good way for me when I first started out to learn more about things.

Pets doesn’t seem to have the same. Set up and pets again, I think you’d really struggle to do a pets website. And even now, even specific animals, particularly obviously cats and dogs. You probably want to go something a bit more specialist in certain types of dogs, for example, or just a different angle on it.

I think you would rank. And grow your site a lot faster. I think people get worried about, oh, there won’t be enough keywords. There’s pretty much always enough keywords in my experience. There’s, and you come up with more and more ideas and you know, as your expertise grows, you can push out into other areas.

You can go after higher competition keywords. But pets, as far as I’m aware, if there is a community, can someone please like, let me know? I’d love to be part of it. Yeah, there’s a few different Facebook groups, but it’s nowhere near as active as travel. And I, I know from friends in food that the food.

Community is quite active, but I understand travel is probably the most active. 

Samara: Okay. Okay. So if you’re in the pets niche, you would say a website about you know, Labrador as opposed to a website about 

Amanda: dogs. Exactly. Exactly. And I think the strategy of going after. Low volume, easy keywords is definitely always on my site.

The first things I’ve started getting traction with Google for have always been low volume, low difficulty keywords. And the. Definitely the place to start and not getting excited about volumes thinking, oh, but, but if I got that, it’s like, yeah, you’re not gonna get it cuz it’s too difficult. You need to focus on what you can do and get out as much content as possible.

I think that’s the big barrier to entry. It’s just the sweat. It’s not money. It’s so cheap to set up a website and start doing it, but it’s the sweat and the time of getting good Google friendly user, helpful content up and out and getting enough of it that Google takes you seriously to put you into ranking.

Mm-hmm. Absolutely. 

Samara: Yeah. You gotta roll up your sleeves and, and get to work. Right? It’s not the whole Yep, yep. It’s not, it’s not getting started. It’s the, it’s the, the time you invest. So how much time do you invest in your websites about during the course of a week? Are you working like 

Amanda: full-time? Yeah. Oh, definitely.

Yeah, probably. I sort of say I think I work as many hours as I used to as a marketing director, but I choose when those hours are. So I probably work 50 to 60 hours a week. But some of that I’m traveling. And also it’s part of, I travel about a third of the time, so when I’m home, I really need to be focused on getting a lot of work done to offset the times that I’m traveling where I can’t get very much work done.

But I love it. Like it’s not, it’s so different from what I. Used to have to do corporate-wise and, you know, I can manage my own time on what I want to do when and it’s, yeah, it’s so enjoyable. 

Samara: Yeah. You’re, you’re your boss. You’re your 

Amanda: own boss. I always say, I have such a great boss. Like, she really gets me.

She so understands me. Totally. 

Samara: I love it. Fantastic. Well, thank you so much, Amanda. It was wonderful to hear about your portfolio of four websites and how you’ve grown them and how you’ve. Bought new domains and your keyword research and your SEO strategies. So thank you so much for coming on and telling us a little bit more about your business.

My 

Amanda: pleasure. Thank you so much, Samara.



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Improve Workflow with Advanced Diagramming for $20

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Improve Workflow with Advanced Diagramming for $20

Disclosure: Our goal is to feature products and services that we think you’ll find interesting and useful. If you purchase them, Entrepreneur may get a small share of the revenue from the sale from our commerce partners.

When embarking on a large team project, communicating all of the ins and outs of it and then keeping track of everyone’s work in relation to the plan can grow overly complicated fast. In essence, that’s why diagrams and project tools have proven to be so valuable to businesses over the years.

For a deal on one of the world’s best business planning and diagramming tools, you might want to hop on this very limited-time opportunity. Today only, you can get Microsoft Project 2021 Professional (PC) or Microsoft Visio 2021 Professional for Windows for $19.97 (reg. $29.99).

Visio makes it easy for business professionals and teams to create and share data-linked diagrams of all varieties. The program makes creating these diagrams simple with a wide range of templates, which users can customize using any of over a quarter-million shapes available on Visio’s online content ecosystem.

Visio users can automatically generate org charts using common sources like Excel sheets, and docs from Exchange and Microsoft Entra ID. In addition to org charts, businesses commonly use Visio for creating network diagrams, floor plans, flowcharts, and various brainstorming tools like fishbone diagrams and SWOT analysis docs.

From 13 reviews by verified purchasers in the Entrepreneur Store, this deal has an astonishing 5/5 star average rating. One recent five-star review described the appeal well, stating, “Incredible deal on Visio 2021 Pro! I can do floor plans, network diagrams, and more. Extremely happy with this purchase.”

Also available for $20 for one day only, Microsoft Project Professional allows users to take the data they learn from diagrams and actualize it into effective, successful projects. It features pre-built project management templates, timesheet trackers, schedule builders, and more. Project Pro is also rated 4.4/5 stars on Capterra and GetApp.

Don’t forget that this is the last day when you’ll be able to get:

StackSocial prices subject to change.

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Red Lobster Speaks Out on ‘Misunderstood’ Bankruptcy Filing

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Red Lobster Speaks Out on 'Misunderstood' Bankruptcy Filing

It may be the end of an era for beloved seafood chain Red Lobster, which officially declared bankruptcy on Monday after months of speculation and dozens of abrupt restaurant closures.

Now, the company is speaking out to loyal customers — and investigating the role that its shrimp supplier may have played in its demise.

Related: Red Lobster Suddenly Shutters Dozens of Locations Without Warning Employees, Begins Auctioning Off Equipment

In a letter posted to social media, Red Lobster thanked customers for their nearly five decades of loyalty and assured the masses that the chain wasn’t going anywhere.

“Bankruptcy is a word that is often misunderstood. Filing for bankruptcy does not mean we are going out of business,” Red Lobster wrote. “In fact, it means just the opposite. It is a legal process that allows us to make changes to our business and our cost structure so that Red Lobster can continue as a stronger company going forward.”

Red Lobster noted that companies including Delta Airlines and Hertz “emerged stronger” after filing for Chapter 11 (Delta in September 2005, Hertz in May 2020) and found ways to bounce back.

“Birthdays, graduations, anniversaries, and yes, weddings. We’ve been here for them all,” the chain penned. “Red Lobster is determined to be there for these moments for generations to come.”

Red Lobster’s downfall was a slow burn, primarily blamed on an $11 million loss in November 2023 due to the chain rollout of an “Endless Shrimp” promotion. The deal offered customers all the shrimp they could eat for $20, and it proved to be a bit too popular.

Last week, it was reported that stores had begun shuttering without warning around the country, with dozens auctioning off all of their furniture and equipment online and some employees claiming they were given no notice ahead of time.

In a filing on Sunday, Red Lobster CEO Jonathan Tibus called out former CEO Paul Kenny and Red Lobster’s seafood supplier and owner, Thai Union, regarding decisions made surrounding the “Endless Shrimp” promotion and that Red Lobster is “currently investigating the circumstances” around the decision to make the promotion permanent instead of limited-time.

Related: Endless Shrimp Deal Is Too Popular, Red Lobster Loses $11M

“I understand that Thai Union exercised an outsized influence on the Company’s shrimp purchasing,” Tibus wrote. “[Red Lobster is] exploring the impact of the control Thai Union exerted, in concert with Mr. Kenny and other Thai Union-affiliated entities and individuals, and whether actions taken in light of these parties’ varying interests were appropriate and consistent with applicable duties and obligations to Red Lobster.”

Thai Union completed its purchase of Red Lobster in 2020.



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UMass Dartmouth Commencement Speaker Gives Grads $1000 Each

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UMass Dartmouth Commencement Speaker Gives Grads $1000 Each

The best commencement speeches are often motivational and thought-provoking, leaving new graduates optimistic as they head into the “real world.”

But for the Class of 2024 at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, new grads walked away with more than just a wealth of knowledge — they left their ceremony with an extra $1,000 in their pockets.

Related: ‘There Is More To Life Than Work’: Bill Gates Delivers Emotional Message To Graduates About Learning To Take A Break

Last week, the founder and CEO of Granite Telecommunications, Robert Hale Jr., spoke to grads at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth about their futures and shared a story about a time when his business suffered a $1 billion loss in just one day to explain the importance of perseverance through failure.

“It’s okay to fail,” Hale told graduates. “Life will give you challenges and if you take those challenges you’ll fail from time to time — don’t worry about it … don’t fear failure, understand that it’s just part of the process, and if you use that fear of failure to motivate yourself, you’ll be better for it.”

Then, as he wrapped up, he shocked the audience by announcing he was giving each graduate graduate $1,000 — but there was a catch.

“These trying times have heightened the need for sharing, caring, and giving,” Hale told students. “Our community needs you and your generosity more than ever.”

The students were given two envelopes with $500 each — one was intended for the students to keep for themselves while the other was for them to give to someone else in need.

Related: Sheryl Sandberg’s Advice to Grads: Banish Self-Doubt, Dream Bigger and Lean In, Always

“As the degree conferral was about to begin, Hale came forward and let the graduates know he had one more bit of advice for them. He told the eager crowd that for him and his wife Karen, ‘the greatest joys we’ve had in our life have been the gift of giving,'” UMass Dartmouth said in a release. “Hale let the Class of 2024 know that the two large duffle bags being brought up on stage by security were packed with envelopes full of cash.”

There were roughly 1,200 students in UMass Dartmouth’s 2024 graduating class.

Hale’s current net worth is an estimated $5.4 billion.



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