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If you read my first NicheHacks case study on $20K p/m affiliate site Thisiswhyimbroke.com you'll know what this is all about.
If not here's the deal...
I examine a profitable affiliate site and look at why it's successful and how you can emulate it.
In this case study I will examine SurvivalLife.com an authority blog in the 'preppers' niche that generates $1 Million in sales every month!
Yes, ONE MILLION DOLLARS in sales, every month, from a blog...
Disclaimer: Just in case it's not obvious I'm not claiming that if you copy this model or create a similar site you'll make a million dollars a month. You might make $0. It just an example of what is possible.
What is Survival Life?
SurvivalLife.com is an authority blog in the 'prepper' or survivalist niche by Ryan Deiss and the DigitalMarketer.com team.
Some people think a blog cannot also be an authority site. Not true and this is proof!
Survival Life IS a blog but it's also one of the number one sites in it's niche and considered an authority.
Some people also think a site cannot be 'niche' AND authority too. Of course it can be, you can be an authority site in your niche!
If you're struggling with the whole authority versus niche thing, this post on EmpireFlippers examines both and their pro's and con's and there's a good video from Jill and Josh of ScrewTheNineToFive worth watching.
The interesting thing about this Survival Life is it wasn't created out of passion for the niche but instead because the Digital Marketer team saw an opportunity to create an authority site that had huge profit potential.
What Is An Authority Site?
Before we look further at SurvialLife lets look at what exactly an authority site is as there's a lot of misinformation out there.
I've seen blogs and forum posts where people claim that an authority site is any with more than 15 pages, that has content posted daily, that makes more than $1,000 per month etc.
None of these are a real definition of an authority site.
Here's what a real authority site looks like:
- A site with some of the best content in the niche covering all topics, questions and problems.
- So good it gains natural links from around the web including other authorities in the niche, people outside the niche and press / media.
- More than often the owner of the blog doesn't write the content himself but has a team of writers or pays already established names in the niche to write.
- Huge followings on social media, blog post commentators and email subscribers.
- Usually on a niche that is super enthusiastic and passionate.
- On a topic that is in high demand and evergreen.
What Makes a Good Authority Site Niche?
Again before we look further into Survival Life, let's examine what makes a good authority site niche...
- Competition – always a good sign as you've got a profitable market.
- Products on sale with affiliate programs – starting out you won't have your own products to sell so you need to see products on Amazon, Clickbank, CJ, ShareASale and so on and lots of them.
- Online communities – blogs, forums, social media groups, newsgroups so you can easily find your target audience, get content ideas, emulate success stories and network.
- High demand – high search volumes, lots of customer reviews on sites like Amazon, high conversion rates on digital products, enthusiastic and rabid buyers. (James shows how you should be copywriting for affiliate products here)
- Advertising – companies paying money to advertise. A sign of a healthy market if people are willing to spend to gain customers. Influential People & Big Names – well known people in the niche, big brands, niche stores with lots of followers, big name bloggers, people with huge social media followers and so on.
- Affiliates – lots of people already promoting products as affiliates in the niche. This is a great sign there's money to be made.
Now let's get back to examining SurvivalLife...
Why Was SurvivalLife Started?
To make money. Simple as that.
This wasn't started as a hobby blog or through passion.
It was started as the Digital Marketer team saw an opportunity to create an authority site that made a lot of money.
The reason why the niche is so profitable is because of enthusiastic followers who are rabid buyers, lots of products on sale, lots of demand and easy to find traffic.
This is a niche where people are hungry for information and products and willing to spend to get it.
Ryan Deiss and his team saw that opportunity and seized it.
You don't always have to be passionate about your niche (though it helps a lot especially when it's your first project) to make it a success.
You can approach your blog as a business instead of a labor of love. Your passion might not be that profitable, if at all, anyway.
How Does It Make Money?
- By promoting digital and real life products, both affiliate and their own.
- They sell survival knives, outdoor gear, battery cell phones, wilderness survival kits and more.
- By running the blog like a business not a hobby.
How Much Does It Make?
$1 MILLION in sale ever month and growing (Source).
This is an insane number from a blog. Something most bloggers couldn't even imagine.
And the reason is they treat the blog like a business, a media company, and not just like a 'hobby blog' or a one man effort.
Ryan has talked about 'The Oprah Factor' – she built her career around by inviting experts onto her show.
She wasn't an expert on any of the subjects but she knew people who were – thus making her an 'authority' by associating herself with experts.
Note the difference between expert and authority. You too can be an authority without being an expert on the subject and use this to profit.
Why Does The Site Make So Much Money?
It is one of the number 1 sites in the niche. They are a hub of knowledge for preppers and survivalists who can find almost anything they need to know on the topic.
They have huge traffic numbers driven through Facebook and by having big names in the niche write for them (who then share with their own audiences).
They understand the market through in-depth niche research and address their concerns effectively through their content and products.
But most importantly they make a lot of money BECAUSE they are not afraid to promote!
Promote on the site, to their email list, to their Facebook fan page and through Facebook ads.
This is something many bloggers are afraid to do – they don't want to upset their audience by selling something.
How Many Visitors Per Month?
500,000+ per month driven largely by Facebook, their email list and by being well known in the niche to authority figures and their target audience.
Who Visits The Site?
64% or more of visitors are from the United States.
The majority being male. Most have some college education.
Site Data & Statistics
Global rank: 12,591
United states rank: 3,721
Bounce rate: 57.30%
Daily page views per visitor: 2.37
Daily time on site: 3:31
Domain Authority: 40/100
Page Authority: 48/100
Total links: 4,275
Unique visitors: 500,000+ per month
What Makes Survival Life Successful?
Instead of taking things slow building up content one piece at a time with one writer they've went out and got enthusiasts and writers from the niche to write for them.
Those writers then share their posts on their own social media accounts and blogs which already have a big audience.
They aren't waiting around to build up a following but instead they've attacked the niche hard by solving problems of their target audience.
They do this through their quality content and then getting that content in front of their target audience.
By using compelling trip wire offers to get people into their funnel they are able to scale traffic up on a huge scale.
Also they are not afraid to promote – something many bloggers and site owners are scared to do.
It really makes the difference that the audience is a rabid market that's easy to find online.
This is the makings of a successful authority blog that generates millions.
Where Do They Get Traffic From?
They have huge traffic volumes (500,000+ visitors per month) by getting authorities and big names in the niche to write for them, in exchange for money or exposure.
These big names then go on to promote on their own sites and social media sites driving in tons of traffic.
They also utilize Facebook effectively and have built up a FB fan page of over 500k through Facebook Ads.
They receive around 8.30% of their total traffic from search engines according to Alexa from branded keywords like “survival life” and “survival life credit card knife”.
Keywords are easy to find as Cheslea has demonstrated for us in her post of finding 375 keywords for a Survival niche.
An interesting thing to note is they tried the often touted 'guest posting' method and found that it didn't really help grow the site as much as they would have liked.
It was only when they flipped it on it's head and got the big names and enthusiasts to write for them that the traffic spiked.
Most Popular Content
This gives you an idea of what people are looking for in the niche and how good the content should be
Lessons To Be Learnt
- You don't have to be an expert in the niche – just get into a passionate market where experts already exist and get them writing for you.
- The survivalist niche is a passionate niche with lots of experts.
- You can become an authority site even though you're not a big name in the market.
- Sell stuff or you'll never make money.
- Ideally pick niches where there's digital and physical products and don't be afraid to promote – people WANT to buy stuff.
- You don't need to write the content yourself - outsource it to those who know the topic well it's a win win for you and your readers.
- Tom Ewer has more information on starting an authority site on his blog.
Things That Can Be Improved On
I've examined this site thoroughly and I can't find much that they are doing wrong.
I mean they are doing $1 Million in sales per month and I'm not, so who am I to tell them they aren't doing something right?
Ryan talks about the sites own short comings in the beginning on DigitalMarketer.com and mentions that their high dollar launch and guest posting strategy didn't go as well as they hoped.
That's why they changed to getting other people to write for them.
Ideas For Similar Sites
So you could go out and try and create your own preppers / survival blog and there's enough room in the huge market to do so, I mean just look at the search volumes below...
But then can you really compete with Ryan Deiss and his team with their HUGE marketing budget?
No probably not and you wouldn't have to do if you did it on a smaller scale but you'll probably have more luck following their model in a different niche.
If you insist on the preppers niche you can get a niche pack and done for you content here.
Remember we talked about what makes a good niche for an authority blog above – huge demand and rabid buyers, lots of products on sale with affiliate programs, big online communities, lots of influential people and advertisers.
So what niches fit that profile?
- Internet Marketing
- Weight Loss
- Pick Up / Game
- Online Dating Advice
- Fishing (and all it's sub-niches, i.e. ice fishing, angling, deep sea)
- Hunting (again and all it's sub-niches)
- Pet care or training (dogs, cats, bearded dragons - 110,000 searches p/m)
- Self development / Breaking bad habits
These are just a handful of examples. There's endless ideas out there - see the huge list of niches for more.
Examples Of Other Authority Sites
If you want some more inspiration here are some good authority sites:
How You Can Create Your Own Similar Site
Well the best thing would be to follow the advice of those who created the $1 Million per month SurvivalLife blog but in a different niche.
Again though if you REALLY want to get into the survivalists niche this is a good resource to get started.
SurvivalLife is a prime example of authority site success even though Ryan and his team had no prior experience or knowledge in the survivalism sphere.
They found a market full of enthusiasts that were rabid buyers, where there were affiliate products on sale, high demand for information and products, lots of competition and easy access to the audience online.
Then they outsourced their content to people who knew the niche inside out and had their own audiences they could promote it to.
Building up their Facebook fan page they were able to drive traffic to their site AND sell on Facebook to their fans.
Building up fans is not as hard as Nader has compiled all of the best case studies we've seen from Jintendra here.
By not being afraid to promote and sell products they are able to generate revenues most bloggers can only dream of.
81% of blogs never even make $100 (Source)
Its time for you to stop dreaming and make some real money from your blog.
If you don't have a blog yet it's time to create one that makes serious money and isn't just a hobby.
Don't make the same mistake every other blogger makes.
Create a business and follow a proven plan that has the potential to make a million dollars a month...
You can also take advantage of our 101 affiliate hacks guide that'll help you get the boost you need for affiliate marketing.
To download your PDF copy just right click and 'save as' on the link below...
>> Survival Life Case Study <<
So what do you think of the Survival Life case study?
Crazy sales figures, huh?
Are you in this niche? Plan to get involved? Have your own idea for an authority site?
Tell me your thoughts in the comment section below...