[Case Study] Discover The $1 MILLION Per Month Site In The Survival Niche & Learn How To Emulate It

Filed in Case Studies, Ultimate Guides & Resources by on April 30, 2014

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. 


To discover 200+ profitable niche markets click the image below now...


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.

The site covers all aspects of survival and preparedness on topics ranging from homemade weapons to camping to DIY Weapons to solar power.


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:

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Now let's get back to examining SurvivalLife...



Why Was SurvivalLife Started?


This is what happens when Ryan gets angry...

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.


To discover 200+ profitable niche markets click the image below now...


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.

It helps the niche is full of passionate and border line obsessed customers.


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.


audience geography survival life


Site Data & Statistics

Alexa rank:
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




Alex Ranking

Domain Authority: 40/100
Page Authority: 48/100
Total links: 4,275


OSE SurvivalLife Data



Unique visitors: 500,000+ per month
Facebook: 550,000+
Twitter: 2,500+
Pinterest: 4,000+
Email: 270,000+


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.


Ryan Deiss Twitter


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.


survival life search engine trafficf


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.


Credit to SurvivalLife.com http://www.digitalmarketer.com/6-million/

Credit to SurvivalLife.com


Most Popular Content

This gives you an idea of what people are looking for in the niche and how good the content should be

DIY Share


Members Video



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.
  • 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.
  • 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.


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.

The traffic from guest posting tailored off.

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...


preppers kws


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
  • Camping
  • Hiking
  • Gymnastics
  • 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)
  • Surfing
  • Bodybuilding
  • Blogging
  • 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:


To discover 200+ profitable niche markets click the image below now...


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...

> Get your own authority blog training here...

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...


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Comments (39)

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  1. LeslieZ says:

    This case study was really interesting, Stuart. And I for one would not like to go up against Ryan...at least not yet.

    A lot of great information in here. Your point about making offers is well done. You don't need much traffic or subscribers to start making offers. As long as you are providing value, people will buy and continue to comeback for more.

    And it helps that the survivalist market is huge 🙂


    • NicheHacks says:

      Hey Leslie, thanks for commenting. Glad you like the case study. I enjoy writing them. Haven't seen anything similar done elsewhere either.

      So many people hold off making offers until they have 'X' amount of subs or are scared to offend their audience by making offers at all.

      If you never make any offers you'll never make any money.

      Those who get offended by you promoting something even though you're giving them a ton of value upfront and for 'free' (it's not really 'free' to create content, takes up a lot of time, effort and sometimes money) are probably not the sort of people you want as your audience anyway.

    • Sheil says:

      I like Ryans new Look! LOL!
      Ryan really walks the talk!

  2. george says:

    Hey Stuart could not exactly understand what tripwire offers were. But the case study is extremely interesting, so that I mentioned it in the list.

    • NicheHacks says:

      Hi George, a trip wire offer is an irresistible low priced offer that gets people into your funnel and buying higher priced products.

      So you might use a $7 report as your trip wire to then start pitching a higher priced product.

  3. Shalu Sharma says:

    Very interesting post on this authority blog. But the blog design is very uninspiring and boring looking. I wonder how they manage to do that. They certainly do have a lot of shares for example the blog post that was posted about 5 days ago has over 300 shares which seems to be driving the traffic. But all in all the content they have is very good and impressive.

    • NicheHacks says:

      Hey Shalu, glad you like the post.

      The blog design of SurvivalLife is just fine. And remember it's not about trying to make it look all cool and flashy or win design awards.

      It's about creating a site that keeps people engaged, gets them clicking and lowers bounce rate and if you read about SurvivalLife over on DigitalMarketer.com you'll see them talk about how they initally went with a really clean design similar to Uncrate.com but their bounce rate was terrible so they made the site really messy and ugly and bounce rate dropped dramatically.

      These are the things that matter when it comes to being an online marketer not how pretty your site is.

      Previously here on NicheHacks.com I had a much nicer looking layout on the home page but bounce rate was high so I added double column posts and bounce rate dropped significantly. It doesn't look as nice but that's not what is important.

      They get a lot of traffic from their HUGE facebook fan page and from their writers sharing their articles with their own audiences. They've got a huge following.

      This is the model you want to follow if you're going to create a niche authority site.

  4. Writer Town says:

    Excellent work, Stewart, and amazing reporting on this case study.
    I couldn't stop reading because you detailed everything that users normally want to know (how much the site is making, how many visitors, and so on).

    And this is coming from someone with a short attention span!

    Take care
    - Elvis

  5. Jason says:

    I looked through their site for about 20 minutes, but still don't see how they're making money, besides ads.

    Are their affiliate offers via email if you subscribe?

    • NicheHacks says:

      They make a lot of offers to their FB fan page and no doubt via their email list too. They also sell their own products.

      Just shows you what is possible with a blog.

      • Jason says:

        I'll have to take your word for it. I scrolled down through their FB page, but couldn't find any offers. I signed up for their list and no offers yet (though I imagine they wait for an opportune time). I did see the member's area offer of $19.95, which I'm assuming also contains upsells.

        It just kind of shocks me that they don't put any affiliate links in their product reviews. Any ideas why they don't?

        • NicheHacks says:

          Hey Jason, I don't know why they don't put affiliate links in their reviews. Maybe they prefer not to promote on the blog but instead get you into their email list and promote to you there. To build up trust that their reviews are impartial and not designed to make affiliate sales.

          Tweet Ryan Diess and ask him. He's a good guy and he'll likely tweet you back.

  6. I'm sorry, but 1 million a month is bullshit - it seems highly unlikely, especially given the fact that they are using this website to promote their business as digital marketers. If you're making 1 million a month in an untapped niche, you'd be insane to be broadcasting to the world how well you are doing, let alone be selling guides on how to replicate their success. I was expecting to see their website riddled with affiliate links and reviews and such - but all I really saw were ads here and there. Given their traffic levels, I'd imagine they make 5k-25k at most.

    • NicheHacks says:

      I haven't seen their bank account so I can't say for sure but it's a Ryan Deiss site and he's a seriously good marketer who's made a lot of money online so I wouldn't rule it out.

      The niche isn't "untapped" at all and they don't claim it to be.

      They talk about the Digital Marketer blog that they picked the topic because it was such a HUGE and popular niche with tons of competition, products, blogs, social media sites, ecommerce sites ETC - makes total sense for an authority site.

      Just because Ryan and the DM marketer team (we're talking REAL EXPERTS here) can do it doesn't mean anyone who reads about their success can copy them even if they buy a guide from them.

      They spend a LOT of money on the site. On content, creating products, research, testing etc. Most people don't have that budget to compete.

      I imagine their promos mostly get done via their email list and NOT on the website, that's how most blogs making money from affiliate marketing do things - not through plastering ads all over the site.

      What you're not seeing by browsing the website is their sales funnel. You buy one product they upsell you into buying further products, training, membership sites etc.

      I've bought some of the Digital Marketer info products and their sales funnel is very well done. They can easily funnel you into spending hundreds of dollars from a cheap $7 front end product.

      Things will be the same on SurvivalLife - these guys are sales funnels experts.

      Remember their business model is not the same as TIWIB where people need to click on affiliate links on the site for them to make money hence why you see so few offers.

      I'd say 100% they make more than 25k a month. But unless we have access to their bank accounts we will never know...

      • I understand it's not the same business model as TIWIB, but the numbers just don't add up in my head. Even with 270k email subscriptions, you'd have to blasting out promotions every single day, and have incredibly high conversion rates to make 1 million a month. The fact that this website is being used as a proof of concept to their marketing skills just adds to my suspicions.

        Almost all websites that generate over 1 million a month have clear business models where it's obvious to see how they are generating their levels of income, especially if they are releasing data on their traffic and registered users. There shouldn't be a question of "only his bank knows how much he's really making" when you are at this level of revenue. A quick google search of survivallife did not bring me any forbes articles or legit websites praising them, all I found was articles questioning them, like I am now.


        Maybe 25k a month is too low of a figure, but a million per month just reeks of a scam. If this was a website that stood by itself I'd be less skeptical, but given that it's being used as a proof of concept for online marketers who want to sell you the guide for creating your own version of it, I just can't see how their claims are true.

        • NicheHacks says:

          As mentioned below it's $1 mill in sales not profit.

          SurvivalLife DOES have a clear business model. They monetize through building a list and promoting their own products + affiliate products and they have deep and solid funnels that convert well.

          Lots of upsells when you buy the front end offer that funnel you into higher end products / training / membership sites. You aren't seeing all the sales offers up front.

          Maybe you aren't familiar with Ryan Deiss? He's a very famous online marketer that knows his stuff and has made a lot of money online.

          Sure you'll always have someone claiming it's a scam like that website you linked to does.

          He criticizes their business model of offering a 'free' knife if you just pay postage because you then get upsold some other stuff...well that's business for you. Hook someone in with a free / low priced offer then upsell them some more stuff.

          Nothing unusual or scammy about that.

          That website also talks about how Ryan is NOT a prepper. He isn't. He openly talks about how he created SurvivalLife as he recognised it as a fanatical niche where there was lots of money to be made not because he was interested in the niche.

          Content is outsourced and written by people in the niche.

          Seems to me that website is just a guy bitching because Ryan and his team have created a better and more popular website than him that actually makes money and he's jealous.

          Of course they are going to use their successful website as proof that they are a solid team of marketers...who wouldn't?

          And they are NOT selling you a guide so you can make your own version of SurvivalLife as far as I've seen.

          They DO sell courses on how to build authority sites but not how to build a site in the preppers niche...at least not that I've seen.

          The Digital Marketer team also has a few other authority websites in other niches, here's the ones I know of....






  7. Aaron says:

    Just to be clear, I believe he is saying it is $1 million in SALES per month, not a million in PROFIT.

    I'm sure the take home on a million in sales would still be well into the six figure range, depending on the deals he has cut.

    • Ah - I must've missed that part, my apologies. 1 million in SALES is definitely viable, if they are selling/promoting expensive products. Though still to my point, if you are using this website as a proof of concept for your marketing business - as they are - they should be transparent and disclose what operating costs were.

  8. Melody says:

    I'm about to buy that WSO you linked to. Because I'm seriously considering starting a doomsday website. Do you think it's a good idea? I'm just a little nervous about even the smallest investment given my budget. I guess the biggest investment is TIME into the site. But hopefully I can figure out how to do things. :/

    • Melody says:

      Is there no point going into the niche if you have competition from everyone buying that WSO and SurvivalLife who you can never really compete with. Probably even if you had the budget, which I def. don't. I merely have enough to get a site up and buy that WSO but if that's a waste then I'm scared.

      • NicheHacks says:

        Don't buy it Melody. If buying it is going to cause your financial problems then now is not the time to be buying things you may or may not use. Keep your money and spend it on something more wise.

        You'd be better coming back to internet marketing when you have some money spare because it requires money to get started. The old saying "it takes money to make money" is true.

    • NicheHacks says:

      It could be a good idea if you have an interest in starting a preppers website but do you have any interest in this niche as you'll probably struggle otherwise. Plus it will be difficult to create content with authority if you know nothing about it and the people in this niche will see that right away.

  9. Melody says:

    Thanks. I guess I'm just lured by the prospect of making good money (with a lot of work) through niche sites.

    • NicheHacks says:

      Nothing wrong with you wanting to make money online but if spending $7 on a guide is enough to put you under financial strain I guess you probably have better things to spend that $7 on.

      The best thing to do when broke is blog about something you are passionate about that you know you can be monetized. It's cheap to get started, no need to buy content, no need to outsource. You'll have a much better time staying focused and dedicated to it.

  10. ron says:

    Survival Life was bought by ryan and then he pumped the dough into it to make it go.. it sells a lot of goods because they have large email list. Its a good group and Ryan has/had a program to teach students how to launch a similar concept. being at the right time and right place sure helps wonders.

    • NicheHacks says:

      I don't think Ryan bought Survival Life. Not from what I've read anyway. Ryan and his team set out criteria for a niche they wanted to get involved with (passionate, spends money, lots of retailers and affiliates, easy to find target audience etc) and survival / prepping ticked all the boxes so they created a site on it.

      Yeah his Authority Blog course teaches people how to do similar.

  11. Abdul says:

    Hi Stuart,
    I think Ron is right i also read this on their blog or may be in their email that they bought it.it was titled as how they grew a blog from $30000 a month as they acquired it to $1million.
    And as for Adam Freedman,i believe he really don't know Ryan and digitalmarketer.com

    • NicheHacks says:

      Hey Abdul, I've never read that they bought it and can't see anything on Google about it.

      This article explains how they grew it from $0 to $6 Million USD....


      • Abdul says:

        HI,coming back after a few days.turns out i was right and so was Ron.They just published a blog post in which he explains how he bought the business and took it to 1 million in sales a month.go here.....http://www.digitalmarketer.com/funnel-product-splintering/

        • NicheHacks says:

          Hey Abdul, thanks for that. That's a good read but I don't think that business they talk about was SurvivalLife. I think it was simply a product they bought which then they integrated with SurvivalLife or it gave them the inspiration for SurvivalLife. I could be wrong I don't know the ins and outs of it.

          EDIT: Maybe you are right Abdul because they talk about the 1 million in sales which is the same figure they use for SurvivalLife so not sure. Maybe SurvivalLife spawned out of this product.

  12. Sean says:

    Hey Stuart,
    I found your blog by randomly searching for a long tail phrase 'how to hack your way into a niche'.
    This post is exactly what I would hope to find...solid info with simple action steps to point us in the right direction, undoubtedly followed up with specific, detailed info products you can sell us. 🙂
    I love the case study section of your blog.
    Please include more as time goes on. I'm re-reading this now in November, even though it was published in April.

    • NicheHacks says:

      Hey Sean, glad you like this. More of these are planned. They just take a lot of time and weren't as popular as I'd hoped they would be but I'll definitely do more of them as I enjoy writing them.

  13. Lovina says:


    Its really inspirational..Btw, just want to let you know that you have a broken link. You put the url 2 times.

    Here is the link: http://nichehacks.com/a-to-z-of-profitable-arts-crafts-niches/

    Hope this help.

    Thank you

  14. Geoff says:

    Hi Stuart,

    This is a really great post. Survivalife.com is very impressive and a market I think can still be penetrated if someone chose to. The site is designed to perfection, and as the first one to the punch, its become very successful.

    Enjoyed the post, Stuart.


    Geoff Moore