First Revenue

I earned the first revenue from my work. First time after 2-3 years working day job + trying to create a business afterward. The first one flopped after wasting money and time (the writing was on the wall but I refused to acknowledge it and keep pushing, resulting in more time & money wasted)

I worked this one for more than a year now, started doing it seriously from around May 2022 then wasted around 2 months pursuing BLs from guest posts. From October I ditched guest post and tried to push content instead. Currently 2 of my 3 best performers are posts without link at all.

Around last week I have about total 700 PV on the last 2 days and decided to add affiliate links to pages that get views. Got 2 conversions into Amazon purchase shortly after

The amount is laughable and minuscule compared to the cost I’ve spent so far but at least it’s a sign to the right direction.

What’s Your Worth?

I’m working in a big company and over the years I’ve been approached multiple times in linkedin by competitors. Since I have low interest in just changing masters mostly I ignored them but I did entertain 1 or 2 out of curiousity.

The theme is quite similar: they expect me to bring ‘book of clients’, basically ‘stealing’ client database from my current company and bring it to them. The term is ‘bring in business’. Nothing about my years of experiences in the industry or how I can help growing the company based on those. All they want is ‘business’ AKA instant client.

When this expectation pop up I instantly reject them, the reason are simple:

  • I don’t want my worth decided simply by data I ‘stole’ from my old company. It seems like a very shaky ground. You’re not appreciated as a skilled professional, just as some kind of a corporate spy
  • If they expect the data would bring them instant clients, they’re in for a big disappointment. There’s a reason why my current company is big and if they won’t improve themselves, nothing in those data will help
  • I can see easily that the reason they expect me to ‘bring business’ instead of asking for my feedback about growing business is because they don’t want to change a thing. They want to stay the same but expect client base to grow, and I’m for sure don’t want to be at the end of that expectation.


Each morning when I do my morning jog I saw this car that I really wanted to buy months ago but decided against it because I wanted to prioritize my spending on things that are more important: traveling & the business.

The business alone on average now eat about 50-60% of my salary so if I want to travel there’s no way I’d waste my money paying installment for a thing I would not even use once every 2 weeks.

This morning I saw the car again and this time it comes down to me: this guy has been going to work at my morning jog time. He’s going to work at 6 AM in the morning! Meanwhile on non-jogging day I wake up at 7, start working from home at 8:30. No commute, just in my shorts.

Be grateful for what you have.

Change of Direction

I’ve been following Adam‘s advice for a few months in guest posting and I gotta say the result is kind of underwhelming. Sent to about 220 sites, gets a deal from 23 of them (about 10%) but 2 of them are still hanging in the air (the site owners disappear) and I eliminate 1 of them after waiting for 3 months.

Current Result

From these guest posting/link inserting endeavors, the result are (KD in Ahrefs):

  • Keyword #1 (9 KD): 6 links – nonexistent
  • Keyword #2 (22 KD): 4 links – nonexistent
  • Keyword #3 (78 KD): 6 links – nonexistent. I didn’t plan to build link to this but it ranked on page one a few days after publishing. After it gets links, it disappear completely from SERP.
  • Keyword #4 (KD 75): 1 link – nonexistent. Get slight variation in page 5
  • Keyword #5 (KD 7): 1 link -page 4

I poured most of links on keyword #1 because I thought it’ll be easy with 9 KD. Ranked for various less volume variation on page 3-5 but the keyword itself only sometimes showed on page 4-5 then disappear. Seeing the result of 9 KD, I have doubt it will fare better on higher difficulties KD.

The process of outreaching itself is really time consuming. I went to sites that offer guest post so I couldn’t (or at least I thought I can’t) send email asking if I can do a guest post. Instead I had to read detailed guide on acceptable guest post, cross-checking it with what my writer have, check again if they already have it, then come up with a pitch. A site would consume 15-30 mins of reading and matching, 90% of them wasted. Wasted time means I always behind in placing new content, barely able to do once a week.

Thoughts about Content+ Link-

Found people who keep pumping contents with no link to gain traffic and I intrigued to try. Adam said that you can get traffic without link but it won’t be money keyword (because those will be competitive) and thus won’t make money, but Shawn said he does make money from that no-link traffic. For comparison he published 200 articles in 22 months (9 per months) meanwhile I published about 70 in 13 months (about 5 per months).

Edit: I ran through all my keywords and a lot of earlier keywords when I was just started were not researched thoroughly. I eliminated those articles, also articles that were posted because they were rejected guest posts and articles I made just to create first-hand-experience articles. Filter it again to KD under 30 and I get 25 articles only.

Nichesitelady also said something interesting: when your site gets 10 visitors it’s suspicious that 5 of them decide to link to you. It does sounds logical. Adam said he started building links after just 5 post so I’m not sure what to take of it.

New Plan

So for the following months I’ll try pumping 2 articles per week and see where it goes. Currently I do ranked in page 1-2 for a no money keyword, it barely give me any traffic.

Adam said about ‘blanketing’ the niche with more articles, I didn’t paid it too much mind back then, only accompany 1 ‘best X’ article with 1-2 around the topic. But Mike gave more insight about this: his method is firing 10+ related articles with goal to make google see the site as authority in this certain topic (topical authority). Once G does that, it will start placing related posts higher.

I crosscheck this with Adam’s site, he has a ‘best podcast hosting’ that rank well in G so I check how many podcast articles he made. I found 14 including the best X article, so apparently I did underestimate the ‘blanketing your niche’/’topical authority’ concept.

Mike said:

“If you just blindly write 40 posts to start that have nothing to do with one-another other than tennis, you’re unlikely to discover which topics to focus on. Google might not see you as an “authority” on any of them, and you’ll have trouble ranking.”

That does seem make sense. I’ve been firing articles within my niche but they rarely related to one another, mainly because the focus is low KD.

Future Guest Posting

I don’t think I can be completely off from link building, at one point I’ll have to do it again. When the time comes I’d like to try outreach first before wasting research time to pitch someone that may/may not even check my email.

So that means asking if I can do a guest post in your site despite you already announced in a specific page that you accept guest post and expect a pitch. The outreach process will be much faster but let’s see about the acceptance percentage.

Guest Post – How Long is Too Long?

After getting deals on more and more guest posts, I found more and more owner doesn’t really give a damn about responding on time. Naturally some of them might think they receive no benefit or the benefit is miniscule so you (the guest poster) should put up with whatever he’s comfortable of.

But is it though? How long is too long?

After initial exchange and a deal about the topic, I usually send the article within the next 1-2 weeks. Mostly 1 week. Then if there’s no response I’d follow up after 2 weeks, then after 1 and 2 months. But more than a month is already annoying enough.

The longest guy is a whole 3 months which during that time I kept sending follow up emails every few weeks that he ignored. Finally I told him to consider the submission cancelled and called him out for being unprofessional. He responded that particular email, most likely because he’s not comfortable with himself after being called out. “No no no, we’re not unprofessional, we just ignore you for 3 months even after agreeing to a guest post deal. Yep that’s what it is”

Joke aside, the excuses were quite uniform: I was traveling, was very busy.

For 3 months? Alright.

If I hadn’t called him out, most likely he’d continue to conveniently ignore my follow up emails and it won’t end with just 3 months.

It seems going forward I’ll need to put a time limit on how long I’ll be willing to put up with this kind of owners. Probably 1 or 1.5 month max. Since I mostly still getting guest post in sites with DR 50 and below, I don’t know how high DR sites owner act, maybe they also expect me to wait 3-4 months and consider it normal? We’ll see

More on Guest Posting: Direct Submission

Some sites who accept guest post have a page about the rules and sometimes they don’t want pitch, they want direct submission.

I thought this was worth a shot so I tried twice. I never heard back from the first but the 2nd got accepted and set to be published within a month. I thought the odd seems pretty good and I don’t waste too much money compared to fee asked by site owners.

About 5-6 submissions later, I found zero success. Some never respond, some respond with ‘ah by the way there’s $$$ fee to post here’ and shove unreasonable rate which I had to decline.

And the icing on the cake is the 2nd submission that I thought was accepted. The owner published the article but REMOVED MY LINK from it. I naturally tried to reach him several times but he conveniently ignored my attempts. I can’t blame him entirely because we had no discussion beforehand about keeping my link (it was direct submission, duh) but I can’t help the feeling of getting robbed anyway. Hope you enjoy your steal Dave.

*Update: Dave replied asking for $450 for 2 links article. Publish first, ask money later. What an excellent business model.

So it seems unless it has big potential (really high DR) it’s not worth to go doing direct submission without clearing the terms beforehand. This is my policy going forward now.

Typical Response (So Far)

  • Never respond (fair enough, I can use the article somewhere)
  • Respond with ‘ah, there’s posting fee of $xx’ (fair enough, I can decide how to proceed)
  • The most @sshole of all: publish the article with the link removed. When contacted asking for ridiculous amount of money. Article already published and indexed so even if I ask him to take it down, whoever post it afterward will be seen as hosting duplicate content.

Reminder to self: it’s hard

Just reminder to myself: it takes work and sacrifices to attain the lifestyle that we want. Some of the people I follow went through that

Adam work 100 hours/week (14 hours/day) juggling between day job and doing his then side business. That means if he works from 8 AM, he’d be finish at 10 PM. If I do that I’d be burned out in a week but I guess everyone has different stamina and willpower.

Twoset did their side job back then by utilizing every little spare time they can while doing full time job. Things like editing video on recess or even while in the bus was regular occurrence.

Even with that kind of sacrifices, both need several years before they’re able to support themselves enough to resign from their job.

I need this reminder because reading guest post requirement, cross checking it with what I have to offer, and slip that into available writer’s timeline is start to become a chore. That in the way that my mind is actively trying to find excuse to postpone doing that. I need their examples to push through.

Guest Posting

The first thing you must accept when it comes to guest posting is each site owner has their own idea of how much a guest post on their site worth. Some would charge reasonably, some would set waay too much for their site worth, some would adopt I-don’t-care attitude (I know it’s not worth that much, but if you want it this is my price), some have different priorities and will accept it for free.

(Made Up) Rules

As the person who simply want the link, I made a few rules that I think would do for now:

Pay for Link

Yes, you’ll have to pay for link to get significant progress, otherwise the acceptance rate will be too low that it might not worth the time spent reaching out. If you think about it, the site owner has almost no benefit from accepting your guest post so a monetary one is a clear benefit for them.

Quality? Unless it’s a really amazing content (which would not worth the time for a single guest post anyway), they can create any content you created themselves, especially if they already have regular author(s).

Measure worth by DA/DR

DA/DR so far are similar, usually if one site has high DA it will have high DR as well so just pick one. I use DR. The concept is simple: the higher the DR, the higher their worth (in monetary value)

The value will be different for different niche so you need to find information/make a few deals to find what the average is. Then you can decide whether to take or decline when site owners state their price.


Site traffic shouldn’t have any influence in how much link juice a backlink gives to your site. I might be wrong on this, but for the moment I’m operating under this assumption. This means I will still pay more to get backlink from a DR 50 site with 200k visitors compared to a DR 30 site with 3 million visitors.

Keep in mind that link farm sites are ABLE TO HAVE HIGH DR. I don’t know for sure how they generate backlinks to their sites but some of them have DR 30-50. I know this because I used to buy link from link sellers in Fiver.

The easiest way to identify these websites is to check their traffic. Visible red flags are: very low traffic despite their high DR (average in thousands), volatile jump and dive in traffic as if they have certain keywords up in SERP then got kicked out, sites cover things directed for US/EU countries but most visitors come from India/Pakistan.

These are not surefire way to identify a link farm site, but if you stumbled upon these kind of sites when looking for guest post, just skip them to be safe.

Focus on the benefit you seek

You’re reaching out for dofollow contextual backlink, so focus on that and don’t let site owners distract you.

Some owners will try to convince you that it’s an honor to be featured in their site, it will be read by millions of people, that all you need is a link in your author bio.

A site owner once tried to sell it to me ‘look at this guy, he made 100+ articles in my site and gain 100000+ views!’. I see the articles, there were absolutely no link back to the guy’s site within the article body and it baffles me. Yes, it generated 100000+ views for the owner’s site, but what’s in it for the writer?

Link in bio is usually your site so you cant change anchor text and link to different page. Even if you can, link in author bio is not valued as good as a contextual link by Google. So what is the expected advantage? People click on the link?

How many people read and article, scroll to the bottom of the page, read the author bio, then click the link? I certainly don’t. Most people won’t even read the entire article, they just skim to the part that they’re interested on, read it, then get out.

Unless you’re a new writer trying to make a name for yourself, I see no point in doing this. Even if that is the case, you just write a few articles and move on, there’s no need to create 100+ articles for free. That’s just crazy.

Even crazier story: a site owner once ask $700 up front. In exchange he will provide me author access for me to create content for his site every month, no contextual link allowed, only 1 link in author bio. It’s like telling me to pay him to work for him. Genius.

Some Examples on My Niche

These are different amount that some site owners ask for a guest post. There is no market standard and each owner is free to decide how much their site worth so none of these are outrageous, you just need to set your own standard on which to take and which to skip.

  • DR 19: $75
  • DR 33: $350, only last 1 year
  • DR 71: $500
  • DR 73: $550
  • DR 50: $600
  • DR 42: $250
  • DR 33: $200
  • DR 53: $200
  • DR 33: $55
  • DR 45: $100
  • DR 36: $200


Some years ago I was at intersection due to some facts

  • I need to start a business. I know for sure that being an employee would take me probably to my 50s then I’ll need to already have enough investment running to pay for my daily necessities or .. starting a business. At 50.
  • I stuck at a dead end job. It’s not a bad job per see, just a dead end. I need to decide whether to jump ship for possible raise (or short lived new job) or stay for the stability but stuck on same income level.

My alternatives were whether to a) start a business and keep the job for its stability or b) give another shot at corporate world and try to jump-ship hoping that the jump will skyrocket my income enough to do something to secure me financially in the future.


My end choice were (a) mainly because

  • I always want to decide my life aspects by my own (where to live, when to work, how long I want to work). The only way to attain this is to live from my own business
  • Since I have no interest in climbing the corporate ladder, jumping ship seems risky. I’ll get a raise but with tons of expectation I’m not willing to take (such as working overtime or unrealistic targets). With my current job I know what to do, what is expected, and how much free time I have to work on my business. At this point, changing 1 master for the other seems moot


I took my choice but that was only the start. Over the years I started multiple business with one failure over the next. Every time one fell, there’s a period of time of depression and self-loathing before I can pick myself up and start another venture. It was (and still is) tough.

My priority is obviously my own business. This doesn’t mean I neglect my duty or using my working time to work on my own business. I do all my job seriously, BUT I won’t go above and beyond, won’t take risk, won’t go overtime if I can help it, and won’t spend my time brainstorming hard for a solution to company’s problem (mostly it got ignored anyway).

The reason is working 2 job is hard. When I finish my day job my brain would come up with all kind of excuses to delay working on the 2nd job. 1 more youtube video or do this first or do that first (basically I’m procrastinating). When I’m working on it, it feels like squeezing every last brain power I have after a tiring day. Sometime it gets me dizzy and more often than not once I’m done it’s already 10 PM. I have no energy to do anything else beside random watching some youtube videos, go to sleep, and repeat the grind again tomorrow.

Envy and Questioning My Choice

So I focus on my priority, other guys focus on their priority (working 150% for the company). The difference is all those effort over the years yield me nothing since all my prior business fell apart, but their effort rewards them with fat salary and even fatter bonuses.

These days when I see the other guys flaunting new stuff from their ever-increased income I can’t help to feel a bit envious. They sure deserve it because they put priority on something and it worked, but still. It hurts a little bit. And for sure from time to time it sparks the “what I’ve been doing with my life ” question.

SEO – Fiverr Link Buying

I’ve been doing guest post for a while and from what I see technically sites who sell links are not that much different from “real” sites that accept guest post.

  • They do have good DA & DR (30-70)
  • They do have good number of visitors (based on Ahfrefs). By “good” I mean below 10K and it seems fluctuate a lot
  • They have a massive backlinks to their sites & I guess using expired domain to attain aged domain name. I believe these 2 factors are the cause of high DA & DR
  • They have spam score 0 – 3 %. Checked in DA PA Checker, not sure if this is accurate.
  • They receive traffic from high buying power English speaking countries such as US, UK, and AU. There are inconsistencies here when I compare data from Similarweb and Ahrefs. One would say most traffic came from US and the other say from India/Pakistan (which most likely where the sites owner lives)
  • The other alarm I see from these data is they tend to have high bounce rate and short visit duration (seconds). This is according to similarweb.

An article with 1 link in these sites cost $50-$70. I used to think this as pricey but now after doing guest post for a while I start to rethink this assessment.

Doing guest post is HARD (I suppose all pure white hat link building are)

  • You send hundreds of outreach emails and only get a fraction of them replying
  • Site owners who allow guest post are usually very peculiar about the kind of content they want/allow in their site. You’d spend hours reading their guidelines and trying to figure out what you have that would interest them. Then you send your offer only to get rejection or never see any reply.
  • The grind is very slow and it feels 90% of your time are wasted on things that going nowhere and does not garner any result.
  • You’re limited by topic they accept and sometimes this cause you to not able to link to the page you want to link because it’s off topic. You’ll get “this doesn’t seem right” email that tells you to modify that link.
  • If they answer, there is high chance they’d ask for money anyway. Site owners do not see DR/DA when appraising their site’s value. Some would shamelessly ask for $500/post in a DR 40 site, which is downright crazy.

Compared to this gruesome work, placing an order and just wait for the articles published with link that I chose seems very appealing.

There is a point of concern though. These link selling sites looked “normal” technically when checked with ahrefs or similarweb or da pa, but further manual look into it will raise some alarm:

  • The site is full of 500-700 words low quality article with links on them (must probably ordered links). The articles are probably spun but I cant say for sure.
  • Some goes further by adding malware to the site (my Nod32 scream when I open the sites)
  • Since they just buy expired domain to gain domain age, the domain sometime doesn’t match the content.

So the SEO software company doesn’t seem to be able to identify these sites true nature, but the question is how about Google? Can they identify this? Or if they can’t today, can they do it tomorrow, or in three months, or a year?

Because when they do, I believe there will be hell to pay. If your site get most of its backlinks from these sites, your site will be gone from SERP overnight.

The reason I say this is because I did use the so called ‘blog network’ on its heyday. And it did get result, got me 1st page of some juicy keywords that kept making affiliate commission. However one day Google release an update and since then my site has never appear again no matter how many links I pumped.

The Fiverr offer usually says “I will do outreach xxx”. The truth is it will not be an outreach. There’s too much work involved and there’s too much variable to say “I will get you this link from this DR sites in this price within this period”. You can’t guarantee any of that unless you OWN the sites. And these are what these sellers have been doing: selling links from their own sites.

The blog network or link farming sites of today are more sophisticated. They actually do look like a functioning sites with decent theme and continual new posts. If you stop to read, the posts ARE readable even if they’re shallow. When compared to gibberish made by article spinner in the past, this is a vast improvement.

So, is it worth it?