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How This 38-Year-Old Earns $40k/Month Using SEO to Drive Traffic to His Financial Advice Site



How This 38-Year-Old Earns $40k/Month Using SEO to Drive Traffic to His Financial Advice Site

R.J. Weiss has been exploring side hustles for years, dabbling in niche websites, freelancing, and paid marketing, among other areas. His interest in earning money beyond a traditional job led him to create a website on the side: The Ways to Wealth.

Drawing on his extensive experience in the financial services sector, R.J. created his niche site and dreamed of earning an extra $1000 per month. Although his path was filled with highs and lows, through a combination of hard work, persistence, and the right strategies, his site is now bringing in $40k per month. 

Keep reading to find out:

  • Why he created his website
  • What his website focused on initially
  • How he got traffic in the beginning
  • Where his income comes from
  • What happened after the Google November 2019 update
  • His main marketing strategies
  • His approach to keyword research
  • His thoughts on link building
  • How he creates content
  • How he grows his email list
  • His favorite resources and tools
  • His biggest challenge
  • His greatest accomplishment
  • The main mistake he’s made
  • His advice for other entrepreneurs

Meet R.J. Weiss

I’m R.J., a financial professional living outside Chicago with my wife and three young children, ages 4,7, and 10. 

After college, I joined a family-run financial services business and gained a decade of industry experience in various roles. 

I earned the Certified Financial Planner (CFP®) designation during this period and started working with clients one-on-one. 


Despite my career in the broader financial sector, I’ve always harbored a special passion for personal finance. 

Why He Created His Website

I started The Ways To Wealth in 2016. My second child was born at that time, and money was tight. My dad was considering selling the family business since he was getting close to retirement. I could have taken it over, but I didn’t want to deal with the debt. Something told me to try something new.

When I launched the site, I didn’t think that The Ways To Wealth would be the primary source of income for my family. I got the idea from Pat Flynn’s income reports and wanted to try a niche website. Making $1,000 per month would have exceeded my expectations. 

Ironically, I was also listening to the Niche Pursuits podcast during my commute. I was interested in what Spencer was doing with his Amazon FBA business, so I started an e-commerce business with a partner. It was barely profitable and I closed it down at the start of the pandemic.

The first idea for The Ways To Wealth was to review books and make different best-of lists (e.g., best business books, best investing books, etc). I got decent traffic, but Amazon’s affiliate program doesn’t pay enough for books alone. 

1688792172 906 How This 38 Year Old Earns 40kMonth Using SEO to Drive Traffic
This list of best investing books, shown here with The Ways To Wealth’s original design, was one of the first pieces of content to rank for the site. 

During this time, I saw how other bloggers got incredible traffic from Pinterest. So I started using Pinterest too, and it worked great. 

1688792172 420 How This 38 Year Old Earns 40kMonth Using SEO to Drive Traffic
Pinterest was a great traffic source from 2017 and  2018 but is no longer a top referrer.

I also went to a conference for financial bloggers called Fincon. There, I heard about The Penny Hoarder’s use of paid traffic to make money from affiliate offers.

Utilizing Pinterest and Facebook, by the end of 2017, I was averaging about $3,000 a month. This was enough of a base to where I felt it made sense to at least try and go full-time. 


I knew a bit about SEO from working on digital marketing for my family’s business. I knew that SEO could bring in traffic in the long run, so I was building up that source of traffic as well, which takes significant time. 

Fast forward to 2023, and SEO is where The Ways To Wealth makes the vast majority of its revenue (with affiliate offers and advertising, with Mediavine being the main revenue drivers). 

How Much He’s Earning

My site generates over $40,000 in monthly revenue. However, it’s important to remember that this isn’t purely an SEO site. We also invest in paid traffic, so our profit margins aren’t as high as a site relying purely on organic traffic.

The main income streams are affiliate marketing and ads. Affiliate partnerships account for approximately 60% of our revenue, with advertising revenue from Mediavine making up 40%.

The journey to this level of income has seen some highs and lows. 

Initially, my site had a promising start. In 2019, we were attracting more than 10,000 visits a day from SEO at our peak. 


However, the November 2019 Google update significantly impacted us. Honestly, it was warranted. Our content quality at the time wasn’t up to par.

1688792173 141 How This 38 Year Old Earns 40kMonth Using SEO to Drive Traffic
The Ways To Wealth was hit hard in November 2019 and again in early 2020.

This led to an income slump in 2020 and 2021. 

I went all-in during this time, doing everything I could to make the site worthy of getting SEO traffic. 

We focused on link building, site architecture, and topical authority. But just as importantly, we went through the site’s entire content catalog and rigorously reviewed and edited every article to ensure that they provided real value for our readers. It was a resource-intensive process, but it paid off.

In the second half of 2021, the site started to recover. And it was good timing, as I had started to dip into savings to pay for living expenses. I was likely a few months away from having to get some freelancing clients or a more traditional job.

With the recovery—or growth, depending on how you want to look at it—2022 was our best year yet, with profits up 3x over 2021. 

Total traffic to the site from all sources in 2022 was over 4 million sessions. The total from organic search was over 1.8 million sessions. 


R.J.’s Top Marketing Strategies

The Ways To Wealth’s top strategy is creating excellent content. 

I know that’s not super exciting, but I’ve always believed that Google judges your site based on its overall quality. Therefore, I aim to ensure that every page delivers value and deserves to rank first in search results. 

In other words, a site is only as good as its weakest page.

This approach has kept us from experiencing significant hits from Google updates since 2019. There has been a lot of shifting in the search engine rankings during this time, but we’ve managed to stay stable, or even gain, from each core update. 

I still play an active role in the content process. Our managing editor has a journalism background, so he views everything through a critical lens as well. We’ve had a core team of writers who have been with us for a while; they know that we have high expectations (and they consistently deliver). 

1688792173 395 How This 38 Year Old Earns 40kMonth Using SEO to Drive Traffic

While we’re not the fastest at producing content because of this approach, I believe it’s helped us maintain rankings over time.

The Importance of SEO

SEO is very important for my business. It generates about 80% of the revenue on the site. In other words, SEO pays the bills for the company, and me personally. 

I’m glad I focused on SEO from early on. It’s been a game-changer for The Ways To Wealth and is a fundamental part of our strategy going forward.


Keyword Research

Our keyword research process involves various methods, but we still heavily rely on data from Ahrefs. We put a lot of emphasis on developing certain areas or topics. We often ask ourselves, “If Google is to see us as an authority on topic X, what core topics do we need to cover?”

A strategy I’ve found helpful is the Profit First Method, which I highly recommend. It promotes prioritizing profit and helps keep finances in check. 

Sometimes, no exact keyword matches what we need to write about, but the overall concept gets a lot of search traffic when you combine all the long-tail searches. Overall, we find ourselves focusing more on topics rather than specific keywords. 

So, for instance, if we have a list of the best product testing sites (a high volume keyword), Google expects us to have in-depth reviews of many of those product testing sites we mention. These reviews should be based on first-hand experience as well.

Link Building

In the end, a lot comes down to links. Creating high-quality content can only take you so far. 

As the amount of online content continues to grow, the importance of links is likely to increase, so link building is very important.

My current strategies involve connecting with journalists, using HARO (Help a Reporter Out), and participating in Facebook groups where reporters seek expert opinions. A professional credential attached to my name helps in these interactions, so I leverage that as much as possible.


However, I admit that I need to improve in this area. 

Like many website owners, I enjoy creating content but am less enthusiastic about the outreach aspect of link building. This has somewhat limited the site’s growth, and I plan to focus more on it in the future. 

R.J.’s Content Creation Process

Our content creation process starts with my editor and me creating a comprehensive outline for the writer. We use MarketMuse to guide us on what the content should include, but we don’t rely on it too much. 

After all, we’re aiming to create content that’s different from what’s already in the search results. If our content is the same as what’s already out there, Google doesn’t have a strong reason to rank it.

We give our writers plenty of time to create their content. We don’t set strict deadlines because we want our content, especially our product reviews, to be accurate. To assess a product properly, writers need sufficient time, even if it’s something seemingly simple like a survey site.

After the writers finish a draft, the editor reviews it, and then I add my comments. If necessary, we send it back to the writer for revisions.


All in all, we may not be the fastest at creating content, but we focus on quality and thoroughness, and that takes time. This approach might require more patience, but we believe it leads to better content in the long run.

His Email List

Maintaining and growing an email list has been our major focus this year. We’ve recently transitioned from SendFox to ConvertKit, a platform that provides us with more analytical insights to help grow our list.

One effective strategy for growing our email list has been using paid traffic. Instead of squeezing the maximum value from each click upfront, we adopt a longer-term strategy. We aim to convert these first-time visitors into recurring visitors by signing them up to our email list.

Now that we’ve switched platforms, I’m revamping our automated email campaigns and developing more lead magnets across the site. For instance, we offer a financial goal-setting workbook, which is available on several pages. 

Ideally, I want to create more lead magnets that address specific problems for our visitors. 

For example, one of my personal passions is travel hacking. I’m able to pay for multiple trips each year through reward points. And I recently just created a six-part series on travel hacking for beginners. So, up next is creating a lead magnet and autoresponder series that further dives into this topic.


How Much Time He Spends on His Site

I typically work on my business for around 4 to 6 hours daily, doing focused work with clear breaks in between. 

My usual routine involves waking up at 5 am and working until about 7 am when my children wake up. After preparing their breakfast and getting them off to school, I return to work around 8 am and continue until about 11:30 am, when I head to the gym.

One of my favorite midday breaks is my CrossFit workout session. I’ve made some great friends at my local CrossFit gym, which adds a social element to my daily routine. 

After the gym, I tend to have a slower pace in the middle of the day, enjoying time with my kids when they return from school. 

Then, I return to work and wrap up by about 4 p.m. So, in terms of actual work hours per week, it averages between 20 to 30 hours.

R.J.’s Favorite Resources

I’m a big fan of podcasts for staying up-to-date with business and marketing trends. Some of my favorites include:

  • Niche Pursuits: I’ve been listening to this since 2016. It’s been a great resource for insights into the industry, and it’s truly an honor to be featured here.
  • Marketing School: This podcast is great for keeping up with the fast-paced changes in the marketing world.
  • Authority Hacker: I’ve been a long-time listener and have purchased multiple courses from them. 
  • Content and Conversation with SiegeMedia: They host some of the best guests in the SEO world, making it an incredibly valuable resource for anyone interested in this field.

His Top 3 Tools

My go-to tools are:

Ahrefs: I use Ahrefs daily for keyword research, site audits, and tracking rankings.

Trello: Trello is an invaluable project management software. It’s user-friendly and versatile, perfect for coordinating tasks between myself and the managing editor for the site. Whether it’s content creation or site updates, everything is organized in Trello.

Spreadsheets: I religiously track our performance using spreadsheets. With over a hundred partners, monitoring revenue daily is important to understand how the site is performing. This regular analysis helps us spot trends and opportunities and address any issues.

His Biggest Challenge

The biggest challenge I’ve faced while growing the business has been managing cash flow. 

The nature of the business can make income quite unstable, which can be tough to navigate. 

A strategy I’ve found helpful is the Profit First Method, which I highly recommend. It promotes prioritizing profit and helps keep finances in check. 

However, it’s not perfect by any means for me. I’m always tinkering with the ideal system that allows for what’s just right based on the unique characteristics of my business. It’s improving, but I still have a long way to go. 


His Most Important Accomplishment

One accomplishment I’m proud of is bouncing back after the seismic November 2019 Google update. 

With the pandemic hitting in early 2020, my personal and professional life underwent a huge transformation. We suddenly found ourselves homeschooling two kids with a newborn in the house, all while my business was experiencing serious turbulence. 

It was not easy, but I doubled down on my efforts and stayed committed to the site’s growth. I’m deeply grateful that this hard work paid off. This resilience during a tough period is a major achievement in my journey as an entrepreneur.

What He Wishes He Knew When He Started

When I started, I focused too much on affiliates rather than on truly providing value. I had a short-term perspective when it came to content creation, which is something I wish I had done differently. The hard truth hit me like a ton of bricks, and I learned my lesson the tough way. 

If I could share advice with my younger self, it would be to prioritize value over short-term gains. Delivering useful, quality content is what attracts and retains loyal readers. 

Trust me, it’s a lesson you’d rather not learn the hard way.

R.J.’s Biggest Mistake

My biggest mistake was not hiring a top-notch editor sooner. 


Honestly, when I started, I had no idea how a professional content team operated. My approach was simple and flawed: get content from writers, scan it for grammar mistakes, and hit “publish.” This approach lacked strategic direction and a cohesive content plan. 

An editor doesn’t just proofread; they can guide the overall content strategy and ensure the material aligns with your core values. 

Understanding this earlier would have saved me from many headaches and improved the quality of my content significantly.

His Advice for Other Entrepreneurs

If you’re just starting to build something, don’t expect everything to go as planned. Try out a lot of different approaches and see what sticks.

We learn best from hands-on experience. Once you gain that experience, don’t become complacent. Keep refining your strategies, your methods, and your business model. 

Adaptability is key in business. Mistakes and setbacks are part of the journey, so don’t be discouraged by them. Instead, see them as opportunities for growth and learning.

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John Deere Hiring CTO ‘Chief Tractor Officer,’ TikTok Creator



John Deere Hiring CTO 'Chief Tractor Officer,' TikTok Creator

This article originally appeared on Business Insider.

Agriculture equipment company John Deere is on the hunt for a different kind of CTO.

The brand on Tuesday announced a two-week search to find a “Chief Tractor Officer” who would create social media content to reach younger consumers.

One winning applicant will receive up to $192,300 to traverse the country over the next several months showcasing the way John Deere products are used by workers, from Yellowstone National Park to Chicago’s Wrigley Field and beyond.

“No matter what you do — whether it’s your coffee, getting dressed in the morning, driving to work, the building you go into — it’s all been touched by a construction worker, a farmer, or a lawn care maintenance group,” Jen Hartmann, John Deere’s global director of strategic public relations, told AdAge.


To kick off the search, John Deere tapped NFL quarterback Brock Purdy (who will presumably be a bit busy this Fall to take the job himself) to star in a clip in which he attempts to set out on a road trip in an industrial tractor.

Suited up in the obligatory vest, work boots, and John Deere hat, Purdy’s progress is interrupted by teammate Colton McKivitz hopping into the cab while a string of messages floods in from other athletes and influencers expressing interest in the job.

The clip also represents the first time that the 187-year-old company has used celebrities to promote itself, Hartmann told AdAge.

According to the contest rules, entrants have until April 29 at midnight to submit a single 60-second video making their pitch for why they should be the face and voice of the company.

In addition, entrants must live in the 48 contiguous states or DC — sorry Hawaii and Alaska residents. Interestingly, any AI-generated submissions are prohibited, too.

Videos will be judged against four categories — originally, creativity, quality, and brand knowledge — after which five finalists will be chosen and notified after May 17.


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How to Capitalize On This Thriving Talent Pool to Drive Your Company’s Growth



How to Capitalize On This Thriving Talent Pool to Drive Your Company's Growth

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

As business operations shift, executives and entrepreneurs are increasingly turning to an on-demand workforce that is simultaneously empowered by technology and drawn to purpose-driven projects.

Consider Upwork, whose 2020 Future of Workforce Pulse Report revealed that nearly 80% of hiring managers engaging freelancers feel confident about doing so. These hires provide coveted expertise — on a project-to-project basis — that entrepreneurs need to scale their operations without incurring long-term overhead costs.

This new market paradigm also promotes dynamism, with 79% of businesses agreeing that freelance talent enables greater innovativeness. Perhaps most telling, 84% of hiring managers utilizing it feel more assured about adapting to future disruption, compared to just 69% of those relying solely on full-time staff.

By capitalizing on freelance marketplaces, entrepreneurs can amplify employer branding, augment capabilities and future-proof organizations, even amid turbulence. As nearly 60% of hiring managers plan to increase engagement with freelancers over the next two years, the time is now for executives to realize their inherent potential.


Related: Navigating the Great Reshuffle: Why Your Employer Brand is Key in Recruiting Talent

The job market continues to shift

After a season of massive hiring, we’re back to seeing layoffs and downsizing. Companies are feeling the bloat—from unused office spaces with rising rent to oversized employee structures — and are shifting focus to hiring only the most essential positions. This leaves a critical talent gap needed for complex projects and specialized tasks. Highly skilled and specialized independents can fill this void.

A few key benefits to engaging them:

Access to niche experts: Platforms like Toptal and Guru provide access to elite professionals from leading Fortune 500 companies and innovative startups. Whether the need is for a machine learning specialist, growth strategist or financial modeler, entrepreneurs can now curate on-demand teams that boast specialized skillsets, enabling them to focus investment on projects with the highest strategic value.

Enhanced agility: Leading corporations increasingly “rent” skills by tapping freelance experts for initiatives involving new technologies or while entering unfamiliar markets. With niche contributors available to plug knowledge gaps, owners can explore ideas that once seemed unrealistic due to internal constraints—unlocking inventiveness and first-mover advantage.

• Stronger employment brand: Blending full-time employees with project-based freelancers signals a commitment to modernization and work-life balance. Offering both engaging work and flexibility will help draw exceptional candidates and help you compete with corporate giants for top-tier talent.


Related: Can Retirees Thrive in the Gig Economy? Navigating a Changed Workforce

Tips for capitalizing on gig talent

Having explored the forces reshaping work, executives may wonder how to effectively leverage freelance platforms. After all, how can you know you’re getting your money’s worth if a hire isn’t physically present full-time?

• Define projects clearly: Contract hires thrive when expectations and deadlines are established upfront. So, clearly, detail needs around deliverables, success metrics, required skills and projected time investments. Staying ahead when it comes to communication and expectations will help avoid headaches, including delays.

• Build loyalty with talent: The best independent professionals have options regarding the projects they accept. Study their profiles to discern passions and incentives. Offer interesting work, flexibility and strong communication to motivate interest and improve results.

• Manage collaboration: Provide steady context, feedback and guidance at each project stage, but also foster autonomy, even while directing efforts toward strategic goals. A dynamic balance of these qualities drives optimal outcomes.

• Continue expanding your talent pool: Add proven freelancers to an internal database for repeat engagements, and notify talent about new initiatives for which their expertise would provide an edge. Uncovering additional ways, freelancers can enhance the business deepens the relationship.


Related: Fill Your Talent Gap by Sourcing Candidates From the Veteran Community

Top platforms for connecting with talent

Now comes the hard part: finding contractors who bring fractional expertise sets. There are a growing number of platforms, of course, but I’ve found that the following stand out as leaders:

Fiverr: Ideal for execs seeking design, digital marketing, writing, video and admin support. Known for affordability and ease of posting jobs. It taps a global talent pool, too.

Upwork: A flexible platform that spans more than 150 skills. Used by everyone from small businesses to global enterprises. Strong at IT, development, design, finance and consulting.

Toptal: Focuses exclusively on the top 3% of talent. Best for expert software developers, designers, project managers and finance experts. All contributors are extensively vetted.

Contra: A growing independent platform that vets and connects both job candidates and hiring companies. Best of all, it doesn’t take a commission from projects.


Related: 3 Strategies to Optimize Your Hiring Process and Find the Best Employees

The numbers speak for themselves: businesses engaging freelance professionals report greater confidence and competitiveness, as well as the ability to withstand turbulence, yet legacy beliefs can still cause hesitancy among those keen to hire. Supported by such specialized collaborators, companies can explore new horizons unencumbered by a one-time narrow view of staffing models.

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Trump Media stock plummets again



Trump Media stock plummets again

Trump Media & Technology Group Corp (TMGT) shares plummeted after the entity filed to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to issue 21 million shares.

The parent company of social media platform Truth Social has approached the SEC with a Files S-1 Resale Registration Statement.

Trump shares nosedive after announcement

The shares in the company ended the day on the stock market a further 18% down on initial trading. The SEC filing states:

We are registering the resale by the Selling Securityholders named in this prospectus, or their permitted transferees, an aggregate of 146,108,680 shares of Common Stock, consisting of:

  • 1,133,484 Placement Shares;
  • Up to 14,316,050 Founder and Anchor Investors Shares;
  • 744,020 Conversion Shares;
  • 965,125 DWAC Compensation Shares;
  • 690,000 TMTG Compensation Shares;
  • 6,250,000 Alternative Financing Shares;
  • 7,116,251 Private Warrant Shares;
  • 143,750 Representative Shares; and
  • 114,750,000 President Trump Shares.

This takes the overall fall down to nearly 60% of the launch price for the former President’s company stock. We reported earlier this month that the initial stock had fallen 20% in the first week of trading on the stock exchange.

Digital World Acquisition Corp merged with Trump Media in late February to a large fanfare. The highest mark for the much-talked-about stock came in at $66.22, so the dip to $26.61 is a catastrophic fall ahead of a potential further share issue.


The $52.77 plummet will be a costly one for the company, but as we reported last week, executives are still taking home sizeable compensation in this turbulent opening.

Leading figures at TMGT have been given promissory notes to the tune of $6.25 million.

This is broken down into $1.15 million for Chief Executive Officer Devin Nunes, $4.9 million for Chief Financial Officer Phillip Juhan, and $200,000 for Chief Operating Officer Andrew Northwall.

It will be an interesting read ahead to see if the SEC agrees on the share issue and one that will certainly impact the future of TMGT.

Image: Ideogram.

The post Trump Media stock plummets again appeared first on Due.


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