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How This 40-Year-Old Earns $15k/Month Sharing User-Generated Reviews of Online Courses

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How This 40-Year-Old Earns $15k/Month Sharing User-Generated Reviews of Online Courses

Niall Doherty has always been one to think outside the box—whether it’s his lifestyle choices or his business ideas. 

For example, for 3+ years, he traveled the world but never set foot on an airplane. Most recently, he settled down in one of the world’s smallest countries.

And from an entrepreneurial standpoint, he built a website called eBiz Facts. He created a system for reviewing online courses that is completely one-of-a-kind because it is brutally honest and includes user-generated reviews.

Today he’s taking home $15k/month, and he’s just getting started.

Keep reading to find out

  • How he got into affiliate marketing
  • What his initial idea for his website was
  • What his review process entails
  • What makes his reviews unique
  • What sometimes happens when he publishes a negative review
  • His main approach to marketing
  • His SEO strategy
  • How he does keyword research and creates content
  • His future plans for his email list
  • His favorite resources and tools
  • His biggest challenge
  • The accomplishment he’s most proud of
  • His main mistake
  • The advice he would give to other entrepreneurs

Meet Niall Doherty

I’m 40 years old and from Ireland, but I currently live in the tiny country of Andorra (it’s hidden away in the mountains between France and Spain).

I haven’t spent much time in Ireland in the last 15 years or so. My last 9-to-5 job was as a web designer for a university in New Orleans. I quit that job in 2010 to work for myself and travel the world.

I spent most of the next decade doing the digital nomad thing, including a 3.5-year stretch where I circumnavigated the globe without flying. 

Crossing the Pacific Ocean on a cargo ship.

During that time, I made my living mostly as a freelance web designer.

I got married last year and decided to settle down in Andorra and build a nice home base here.

Why He Created eBiz Facts

Before starting eBiz Facts, I had been running an online course for a few years, teaching people how to travel the world and work online as a freelancer like I had been doing. That course did okay but never gave me a great ROI, so I was looking for something different.

1676200483 821 How This 40 Year Old Earns 15kMonth Sharing User Generated Reviews of Online

A friend of mine had had some great success with a niche site, and the way he described the business model appealed to me: just write great content and monetize with affiliate offers where it makes sense.

I decided to do that for the “make money online” niche, so eBiz Facts was born at the end of 2018.

The big idea initially was to do in-depth, carefully researched, and brutally honest reviews of “make money online” courses and gurus. The first person I looked at was Tai Lopez. I spent about six weeks researching him, consuming his content, buying his courses, and combing through his materials.

Ultimately I published 6 articles and reviews about Tai Lopez and his courses, amounting to more than 20,000 words, and a couple of YouTube videos. I rated one of his courses quite low and gave another a decent rating. I was an affiliate for Tai, and I worried I might get kicked out of his affiliate program for being too honest with my content, but they didn’t seem to have a problem with it.

I remember seeing the first affiliate commission come through a day after I published all the content. It was only $15, but it felt amazing. I was sure I was onto something.

1676200483 314 How This 40 Year Old Earns 15kMonth Sharing User Generated Reviews of Online
Working from a cafe in Bali in the early days of eBiz Facts.

Since then, I’ve published many more reviews of other courses and earned $500,000+ in affiliate commissions.

At the start of 2021, I changed my review process significantly.

I now have a 31-factor process for evaluating and rating each course. And we also collect and publish ratings and reviews from students, combining their insights with our own to arrive at a fair and accurate overall rating for each course.

The Impact of Honest Reviews

Something unusual about the business is that we’ve been threatened with lawsuits multiple times. Some course creators have taken exception to our critiques of their courses and responded with legal threats. Those experiences have been stressful, but ultimately nothing came of them. 

We’ve also been kicked out of numerous affiliate programs, usually for being too critical of a course. Most course creators are used to affiliates saying nothing but nice things and going to great lengths to convince people to sign up for their courses. But our rating of a course isn’t determined by whether or not we have an affiliate partnership with the course creator.

1676200483 598 How This 40 Year Old Earns 15kMonth Sharing User Generated Reviews of Online

That often costs us money in the short term – for a long time, one of our top-rated courses didn’t even have an affiliate program – but I like to think it builds trust with readers and leaves us better off in the long run.

How Much Money Niall is Making

I’ve been publishing monthly finance reports on my website since 2011, so you can see the exact progression of my business there.

In the past six months, eBiz Facts has averaged $19,102 in monthly revenue and $5,042 in monthly expenses. About 95% of the revenue comes from affiliate commissions. 

A good chunk of the expenses these days is for hired help. Last year I transitioned the business from being mostly a one-man operation to having a team of 5 contractors assisting me regularly.

His Top Marketing Strategy

Search Engine Optimization is how we get the vast majority of our traffic. We rank quite well for course review keywords.

If we are an affiliate for a course, we have a big CTA at the top of the review, regardless of the rating.

Since starting eBiz Facts I’ve also put out a weekly newsletter (as of a few weeks ago, it’s twice weekly). 

A Unique Strategy That Works for Niall

No other review site in our niche does crowd-sourced reviews. Or, at least, they don’t do it well. And I understand why: it’s way easier to just write up a review of a course yourself.

But I believe the ideal experience for someone interested in buying a course is to see a bunch of well-curated and insightful reviews from real students. So that’s what we try to provide on eBiz Facts, together with a well-researched editorial review that gives a handy overview of the course, the pros and cons, the alternatives, etc.

Finding real students for each course and convincing them to leave reviews has been tough, but ultimately I feel our content is much better because of it.

The Importance of SEO

SEO is crucial for our business.

I would simplify our strategy down to these bullet points:

  • Quick keyword research via Ahrefs to figure out what courses to review
  • Research the courses and publish the reviews
  • Collect and publish student reviews
  • Wait a couple of months
  • Use recommendations from Surfer SEO to tweak the review and improve rankings

Keyword Research

We keep it very simple. 

If a course review keyword seems to have decent search traffic, according to Ahrefs, we’ll at least publish a “stub review” of that course.

A stub review is a short piece of content with only factual info about the course, without a judgment or rating.

We’ll let that sit there for a few months and see how it ranks or if it brings in much traffic. Usually, the results there is a good indication that it would be worthwhile to write up a full editorial review and make the effort to collect student reviews.

Link Building

We barely do any active link building.

eBiz Facts has a pretty good backlink profile, though. A lot of that is due to the site originally being my personal travel and personal development blog. That picked a lot of nice links organically over the years, giving the site a good headstart when I repurposed it into eBiz Facts.

Lately, we have been making more of an effort to get our site listed on various directories and to partake in more interviews like this one, but it still feels like we could be doing way more here.

His Content Creation Process

We have a 31-factor process for each editorial review. So we go through the course – usually, we’ll have access to it – and evaluate it based on those factors.

Our scores there feed into an algorithm that spits out an editorial rating of the course.

Then we write up our review of the course based on a template. That usually goes through 1-2 rounds of revisions before I’m happy to publish it.

Once published, we go to work finding and “recruiting” students of the course to add their reviews. We also have a complex algorithm for their reviews, which determines how much impact their course rating has on the overall course rating.

His Email List

I send out a twice-weekly newsletter to 28,000+ people.

I share tips, opportunities, and inspiration for building an online business in each edition. 

I only recently started monetizing the newsletter directly. It may become a significant source of revenue down the line, but the main reason for starting it was to build up an audience that Google couldn’t take away from me with a change in their algorithm.

Growth of that list has mainly been via SEO. When someone comes to the website, they’ll usually see an email opt-in encouraging them to sign up.

Recently we’ve been working to repurpose the newsletter content and post it on social media. We’re starting to see some results from that.

How Much He Works on His Business

I track all my work hours, and for the past several months, I’ve averaged 92 hours per month, so about 21 hours per week.

This is strange because it feels like I work much more than that!

1676200483 518 How This 40 Year Old Earns 15kMonth Sharing User Generated Reviews of Online
My home office in Andorra is still a work in progress!

How Long it Took to Reach His Current Earnings

I started eBiz Facts at the end of 2018, and it didn’t earn much affiliate income for the first year. I believe it was less than $10,000 for the entire year, and $4000 came in a single month.

The business really started to take off in 2020. I believe it was the combination of all the work I’d put into it the year before, combined with many more people looking to make money online during the pandemic.

July 2020 was the first month I cracked the $10k mark, earning more than $18,000 overall. Revenue has been pretty consistently around $15k/month since then.

Niall’s Favorite Resources

The main course I’ve followed to build eBiz Facts is The Authority Site System (TASS) by Authority Hacker. I learned a ton from that about SEO and how to create great content.

The course was great back when I started, and they update it regularly, so it’s still really valuable.

His Top 3 Tools

ClickUp is the #1 tool I use every day. I organize my entire life there, both business tasks and personal. It’s great for collaboration, really powerful, and flexible.

Ahrefs and Surfer are my weapons of choice for SEO.

We use Jotform for collecting student reviews, and that’s really handy.

His Greatest Challenge

I would say it’s constantly feeling overwhelmed.

Because there is always more I could be doing, and it’s easy to feel like I should be doing those things and making faster progress.

This year I’m trying to relax a bit and not stress myself out so much, feeling like I always need to do more, more, more.

Niall’s Main Accomplishment

I quit my last 9-to-5 job in 2010, so I’ve been doing my own thing for over a decade now and earning enough money to do everything I’ve wanted to do.

Working for myself online has given me the freedom to travel the world, work on my own schedule, and follow my interests… and more recently, it’s enabled my wife and I to move to a country we love (Andorra) and start a new life here.

What He Wishes He Knew When He Started

I wish I had known not to be so idealistic.

Idealism can be great, but it can also hold you back. It has held me back many times because I often felt something needed to be perfect before I could push publish. I was too scared of making mistakes.

Nowadays, I try more things and probably fail more than I did back when I was starting out. But I learn from those failures and adjust course.

His Biggest Mistake

Going way back to when I started working for myself, my biggest mistake was chasing passive income. I’d read in books like The 4-Hour Workweek that you should avoid trading time for money and focus on passive income streams instead. That led to me wasting a lot of time and effort.

It was several months before I embraced freelance web design, and that became my most reliable source of income for several years.

His Advice for Other Entrepreneurs

If someone is just starting out and have yet to make any money online, I strongly recommend starting with freelancing or a remote job.

You’ll gain a ton of experience and earn while learning.

Eventually, you’ll be good enough to increase your pay and reduce your hours, thus giving you the time and financial freedom to pursue business ideas that can ultimately generate millions of dollars and/or passive income.



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These Website Mistakes Could Be Costing You Thousands. Here’s How to Maximize Your Return and Drive More Sales.

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These Website Mistakes Could Be Costing You Thousands. Here's How to Maximize Your Return and Drive More Sales.

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

You’re losing thousands of dollars on your website and might not even know it. You have a site and a marketing team, and traffic is flowing in. But your site — and business — may fail because you’re losing customers and conversions.

How?

Leads fail to convert because of poor user interface, slow speeds and bad design practices. If your site isn’t optimized for SEO, it gets even worse: leads will never land on the site in the first place.

How much does a website cost?

Small websites cost $500 to $5,000. Your costs will vary depending on whether you use a template, hire a developer and the complexity of the site. Sites with hundreds of pages, expert optimization and design can cost $10,000 to $20,000. Your initial investment can’t be recuperated if your site isn’t optimized properly or set up to convert leads into sales.

Site visitors have higher expectations, and there is a growing list of requirements that sites must meet. You need a snappy site, and it must be accessible. However, you also need to capture the right data from your forms, continually optimize your site and fill in the leaks that are causing you to lose money.

Related: 3 Powerful SEO Techniques That Will Boost Your Website’s Search Engine Ranking

Is your website investment worth it?

Small business owners lose customers, even with a well-functioning website, because they don’t know how to utilize the data available to them. So, after all, is your website investment worth it, and if yes, how can you make sure you get an ROI?

Nobody tells you that web forms can cost you a lot of money

Forms are boring input fields to failing site owners and a goldmine to successful ones. What are leads doing when they enter data into the form? Are errors causing potential customers or clients to leave the site? According to WP Forms, more than 67% of site visitors will abandon your form forever if they encounter any complications; only 20% will follow up with the company in some way. Analyzing how users interact with forms is especially critical for small businesses, which may not have as many opportunities as larger corporations. They can identify common issues such as broken forms, confusing fields or errors. This insight allows small businesses to simplify and optimize the form-filling process, improving the overall user experience and significantly increasing the chances of conversion. Thankfully, you can use a form tracking system that will help to pinpoint problems with data entry and missed opportunities, ensuring that small businesses are not carelessly losing leads.

Testing your forms and sales funnel regularly can save you a lot of money if you fix issues that are found in the test phase.

Data is the king of website optimization

Analytic data is king of website optimization, but you need to know what to look for and how to make changes. For example, if you have a high bounce rate, your site may look like it was designed in 1999, or it takes 15 seconds to load.

Bounce rate means users are leaving the site on the page of entry, and you have multiple areas of potential improvement.

Review your site speed and follow PageSpeed Insights’ recommendations to optimize your site. Try to bring loading time down to two to three seconds at most. Complex navigation and poor-quality landing pages can also cost you sales. Work with a copywriter to optimize your sales funnel copy.

Data will help businesses to pinpoint exactly where users engage most frequently and where they face obstacles. With careful analysis of this data, companies can optimize every aspect of their website, from navigation to content.

Important aspects of a high-converting website

High-converting websites have a lot in common:

Content

Expertly written content, with the help of a copywriter, will allow you to hit on the pain points of leads and close more sales. Hooks and storytelling from an experienced copywriter can help you turn a low-performing sales funnel into one that exceeds sales forecasts.

Design

Poor design practices cause sites to fail. Yahoo! is a prime example. The site was once Google’s biggest competitor, but with the bland and outdated design, the bounce rate was high, and people flocked to Google.

Work with a design team to create a functional, feature-rich site that appeals to your target demographic.

Lead capture forms

High-converting sites use lead capture forms to collect basic information about visitors, such as their email or phone number.

In exchange for providing information, leads receive something valuable in return, such as a discount or free eBook.

Once a user provides their email address or phone number, you can start nurturing them and eventually convert them into a customer. It’s important to note again that receiving instant notifications about broken forms and issues is a solution to avoid losing potential customers.

Related: 9 SEO Tips to Help You Rank No. 1 on Google in 2024

Call-to-action: More than just a button

Call-to-actions (CTAs) tell visitors what to do next, such as signing up for a newsletter, making a purchase or scheduling a consultation. They play a crucial role in improving your site’s conversion rates.

Without them, visitors would leave your site without taking action, resulting in lost opportunities to convert leads.

To increase conversions, CTAs must be clear and concise and use action-oriented language, like “Buy now” or “Contact us.” Tell your visitors exactly what to do next so there’s no confusion and they feel confident taking the next step.

CTAs are highly effective at improving conversion rates, but visitor behavior can change over time. Testing and optimizing your site’s CTAs can help maximize your conversion rate and adapt and change as user behavior changes.

Make sure that you’re engaging in A/B testing to determine which CTA works best for your audience.

You must respond to leads right away

Research shows that 78% of customers purchase from the first responder. Surveys also show that the highest-ranking companies in lead response audit reports respond to leads in 30 minutes or less. The quicker you respond, the better. Conversion rates can be as much as eight times higher if you respond in the first five minutes.

Every minute that passes increases the chance that the lead will move on to a competitor.

How can you improve your lead response time? Start by automating your lead qualification process to identify and prioritize high-quality leads. Track the lead from start to finish and pinpoint the issues that leads are facing. Set response time goals, train your reps, and streamline your lead management processes to reach out to leads as quickly as possible.

Conclusion

You spend thousands of dollars on a website. To maximize your return, you must ensure that your site has all the right elements to increase conversion rates. Once you have these elements in place, you must respond to leads immediately to seal the deal.

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What Are the Highest Paying Jobs in Every U.S. State: Report

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What Are the Highest Paying Jobs in Every U.S. State: Report

Sometimes, it’s not just about finding a job that pays well, it’s all about location.

A new report from Career.io shows that compensation for the same job can vary from state to state, so where a job is located can really matter, especially if you’re trying to maximize your earnings.

The report matches pay to location by figuring out which jobs yield the highest average salary in each state compared to the national average.

The result is a map of the jobs with the highest earning potential specific to every U.S. state.

Credit: Career.io

The map shows the professions in each state with the highest differences between the average statewide salary and the national average pay.

Related: These Jobs Have the Highest Entry-Level Salaries

Every state has a minimum of one job that pays at least 25% more than the national average.

In midwestern states, such as Minnesota and Indiana, medical professionals make more than they would in other parts of the country.

Physicians take home 38.63% more pay in Indiana, and dermatologists make 56.98% more in Minnesota than either profession makes on average in the U.S.

Related: College Graduates Make the Most Money in These U.S. States

Three states have jobs in business and finance that pay more than 50% more than the national average.

Alaska pays personal financial advisors 66.69% more, Nebraska pays credit counselors 59.46% more, and New York pays credit analysts 50.98% more than the U.S. average overall for those occupations.

1716944163 691 What Are the Highest Paying Jobs in Every US StateCredit: Career.io

Here are the highest-paying jobs in some of the most populated U.S. states and how much more (%) each job pays than the national average.

1. California

Craft artists: 89.06%

2. Florida

Quarry rock splitters: 42.40%

3. New York

Crane and tower operators: 109.03%

4. Pennsylvania

Iron and rebar workers: 65.30%

5. Illinois

Hoist and winch operators: 71.79%

6. Ohio

Mathematical science occupations: 40.46%

7. Georgia

Cloak room attendants: 52.49%

8. North Carolina

Healthcare practitioners and all other technical workers: 34.49%

9. Michigan

Plant and system operators: 63.48%

10. New Jersey

Floor layers: 90.03%

Click here for the full list.

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5 Types of Content That Will Attract Ready-to-Buy Prospects

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5 Types of Content That Will Attract Ready-to-Buy Prospects

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

They say that content is king — but not all digital content is created equal. While most digital content can help increase awareness for your brand, the most valuable content is designed to draw in warm prospects who are ready to make a purchase from you.

Of course, even the best content isn’t likely to result in a purchase on the first exposure. The marketing rule of seven indicates that consumers must be exposed to your messaging at least seven times on average before they decide to make a purchase. While this may often be the case, strong digital content will go a long way in lowering this total.

Related: 5 Digital Content Types Prospective Buyers Love to Engage With Online

1. Email campaigns

Email marketing remains one of the most effective methods for communicating with warm leads and staying in touch with existing customers to ensure they will buy from you again. Not only are emails far more likely to be read than other types of content, but their average return on investment towers over other options.

According to the HubSpot Blog, most marketers see an average open rate of 46-50% and a clickthrough rate of 2.6-3% — numbers that far outpace the engagement levels of social media and other popular forms of content.

Even if they are mostly comprised of previous customers, email lists are an essential marketing tool because they are made up of people who agreed to receive additional messaging from you. This fact alone already makes them far more qualified leads than someone who randomly stumbles across your blog.

2. Personal engagement on social media

While the overall engagement and reach of many social media platforms have declined, there is still much to be said for the potential these platforms offer for fostering one-on-one engagements with your warmest leads.

When marketers comment strategically on other people’s posts, actively participate in relevant groups and conversations, and respond to the comments and messages they receive, it helps create a meaningful dialogue with their target audience.

By pairing this personalized engagement with relevant, authoritative content (including videos, polls and more), you can leverage social media to nurture warm leads.

3. Cost calculators

Most companies have at least some kind of on-site content marketing strategy, which usually revolves around blogging. A blog can be undeniably beneficial for building SEO and domain authority, but depending on the type of content you create, it isn’t always going to create warm leads.

However, if your website content focuses on the customers who are ready to buy now, you can greatly increase your own sales potential — and one of the best ways to do this is with a cost calculator.

From calculating the cost of shipping a car across the country to determining how much it would cost to build your own website, these tools are inherently targeted at warm leads who are ready to make a buying decision. In this case, providing useful budgeting and planning information directly influences the user’s purchasing decision, providing a powerful way of reaching warm leads.

Related: 4 Steps to Writing Content That Converts

4. Webinars

Webinars have become an increasingly popular digital content option, and for good reason. When webinars are promoted to the right audience, they can become far more engaging and attractive to warm leads than a blog post covering the same topic would be.

The simple fact of displaying content in an audiovisual format helps make the webinar feel like an event in its own right. With an engaging topic and professional presenters, you can build a large audience. And when the topic of the webinar itself ties into your offerings, you can create a natural segue into how you can help viewers solve their most pressing problems.

Webinars can be even more effective when paired with other content, such as an e-book or follow-up video lessons. When done right, webinars can be an excellent resource for collecting email addresses and other information from warm leads who are most likely to be interested in your services.

5. Software demos

Admittedly, this digital content option doesn’t apply to every industry. However, there is a wide range of companies that offer software services, addressing everything from tracking logistics and customer relationships to managing the back end of a website.

A software demo gives warm leads the opportunity to try the service before they commit to a purchase. Firsthand interaction and experience with the software is ultimately far more convincing than a series of sales calls could ever be, as this helps buyers clearly determine whether or not a particular product works for them.

It should be no surprise, then, that opt-out free trials see an incredible 48.8% conversion rate. It’s worth noting, too, that companies that don’t sell software can use similar “trial” options, such as a two-week trial for their services. Trials and demos appeal to the warmest buyers, who often use them to finalize their purchase decision.

Related: 5 Steps for Creating a Content Marketing Strategy That Drives Business Results

While regularly updating a blog or social media profile can be useful as part of your content marketing strategy, it is essential that brands in every niche focus on the types of content that are poised to deliver the greatest return.

By focusing on the types of content that are most likely to capture warm prospects in the first place, you can turn more leads into sales and maximize the success of your content strategy.

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