How Grady Hudd Grew His Niche Site to $9k Per Month in Just 2 Years Without Any SEO Experience

Last updated: Jun 30, 2023

This video is about Grady Hudd's journey of building a niche website that has earned $9,000 per month in just 2 years without any SEO experience, while working a full-time job.

This video by Niche Pursuits was published on Mar 22, 2023.
Video length: 01:05:21.

In this video, Grady Hudd shares his experience of growing his niche website to $9k per month in just 2 years without any SEO experience.

He discusses the slow ramp-up of his website, the keyword research method he used, and the effects of seasonality in his niche.

Grady also talks about the advantages of his journalism background in building a website and the challenges and strategies of building websites for different countries.

  • Grady built a niche website over the course of two years.
  • The website reached a peak of 170,000 page views.
  • The website earns $9,000 per month.
  • Grady accomplished this without any previous SEO experience.
  • He built the website while working a full-time job.
  • Grady shares his specific method for finding keywords.
  • He discusses the effects of seasonality on his website, which is in a highly seasonal niche.
  • Grady's journalism background brings advantages to building a website.
  • The podcast episode is sponsored by search intelligence.

How Grady Hudd Grew His Niche Site to $9k Per Month in Just 2 Years Without Any SEO Experience - YouTube

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Grady's Journey of Building a Niche Website

  • Grady built a niche website over the course of two years.
  • The website reached a peak of 170,000 page views.
  • The website earns $9,000 per month.
  • Grady accomplished this without any previous SEO experience.
  • He built the website while working a full-time job.
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Keyword Research and Seasonality

  • Grady shares his specific method for finding keywords.
  • He discusses the effects of seasonality on his website, which is in a highly seasonal niche.
  • Grady talks about how to mitigate the effects of seasonality and work around it.
  • He explores whether seasonality matters and if it's better to roll with it or try to flatten out its effects.
  • Grady also discusses building websites for different countries and markets.
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Advantages of a Journalism Background

  • Grady's journalism background brings advantages to building a website.
  • He shares how his professional writing skills contribute to his website's success.
  • Grady discusses the upsides of being a professional writer in the website building process.
  • He talks about the slow ramp-up of his website before it gained momentum.
  • Grady compares his website's growth to others who experienced faster starts.
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How Grady Hudd Grew His Niche Site to $9k Per Month in Just 2 Years Without Any SEO Experience - YouTube

Sponsorships and Trials

  • The podcast episode is sponsored by search intelligence.
  • Search intelligence showcases how their agency built digital PR links for a client's website.
  • They discuss a viral PR campaign that generated over 100 links in major online publications.
  • Grady shares his experience with sponsorships and trials for his website.
  • He talks about the benefits of using niche sites.com for scaling and building websites.
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Background and Journalism Experience

  • The speaker's name is Grady Hudd, but he goes by "Grades" on Twitter.
  • He is from Australia and has a background in journalism.
  • Grady worked in the journalism field for 10 years, mainly in small regional newspapers.
  • His journalism experience helped with building niche websites and creating content.
  • Grady still works a full-time job, but now has more time for side hobbies like building niche sites.
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Advantages of Journalism in Website Building

  • Journalism taught Grady how to handle high volumes of writing on tight deadlines.
  • Writing a lot of content each week is similar to building niche websites.
  • Prioritizing time is important when balancing a full-time job and a side hustle.
  • Grady enjoys writing, but it depends on what he is writing.
  • Writing for himself and having a creative outlet is one of the reasons he got into building websites.
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Transition to Building Websites

  • Grady started building websites in mid to late 2018.
  • At the time, he was working as the editor of a small regional newspaper.
  • He managed a team and worked long hours.
  • Grady decided to start building websites because he wanted a side hobby and creative outlet.
  • He recognized that building a successful site involves more than just writing, such as SEO, social media, and keyword research.
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Starting Out and Discovering Niche Websites

  • Grady Hudd was working a full-time job as an editor of a small regional newspaper.
  • After two years, he asked for a pay raise and realized that his job wouldn't pay the bills forever.
  • He started looking for ways to build online income and came across resources like Niche Pursuits on YouTube.
  • He was inspired by the success stories of people making money online through niche websites.
  • He decided to give it a try and created his first website, but it didn't perform well and he eventually deleted it.
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Getting Back into Niche Websites

  • Grady Hudd took a break from niche websites for about 18 months.
  • During the pandemic, he spoke to a friend who was interested in making money online.
  • They decided to give niche websites another try and started working on a new site together.
  • Since then, they have been running the main website for about 2.5 years.
  • The main site has 215 posts, reached a peak of 170,000 monthly page views, and earns around $9,000 per month in profit.
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Overcoming Challenges and Seasonal Trends

  • Grady Hudd didn't let his initial setback deter him from pursuing niche websites.
  • He rebounded and continued working on his new site, which has been successful.
  • The main site experienced a seasonal downtrend, but they expect it to start climbing again in the coming months.
  • Despite the seasonal fluctuations, the main site still generates around 40,000-45,000 monthly page views.
  • Grady Hudd is also working on a new site in the pet niche, which is following a similar trajectory as the main site.
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Current Status and Future Plans

  • Grady Hudd's main site earns around $9,000 per month in profit.
  • He and his friend have a 60-40 split in terms of responsibilities, with Grady handling writing, SEO, and keyword research.
  • The new site in the pet niche is around 7 months old and receives almost 2,000 monthly page views.
  • Grady is experimenting with AI-assisted writing for the new site.
  • Despite working full-time, Grady is satisfied with the income generated from his niche websites.
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Content Creation and AI Tools

  • After two and a half years of writing all the content for his main site, Grady decided to speed up the process using AI tools.
  • He still heavily edits the writing, but uses AI tools to help with outlines and body of the posts.
  • He has started a YouTube channel where he shares his experiences and tips.
  • Grady is also working on a second website where he plans to monetize the content using AI tools.
  • He is experimenting with programmatic SEO and has published around 387 posts on an old domain.
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Learning from Mistakes and Sharing Experiences

  • Grady acknowledges that everyone makes mistakes when starting a website and it's important to share those experiences.
  • He believes it's important to share both the successes and the challenges of building a niche site.
  • Grady emphasizes the importance of getting started and not worrying too much about the niche.
  • He encourages people to give it a good try for at least eight months before considering repositioning.
  • Grady believes that anyone can learn SEO and there is plenty of information available to do so.
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Downplaying Success and Comparisons

  • Grady downplays his success and compares himself to others, but acknowledges that his site is generating life-changing income.
  • He uses the income to pay down his mortgage and ease financial pressures.
  • Grady is two and a half years into his main website and considers himself a harsh judge of his own success.
  • He emphasizes the importance of not comparing oneself to others and focusing on personal progress.
  • Grady is grateful for the income his site generates and the positive impact it has on his life.
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Choosing a Niche and Dealing with Seasonality

  • Grady's first niche site was a reboot of a failed project.
  • He chose the niche based on his personal interests and knowledge.
  • His site experiences significant seasonality, with page views dropping from 170,000 in the summer to 45,000 in other months.
  • Grady plans to diversify his income by exploring other niches and building additional websites.
  • He is aware of the challenges of seasonality and is working on strategies to mitigate its impact on his earnings.
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Picking the Niche

  • The niche chosen was a hobby niche that both Grady and his friend were interested in.
  • They saw a space for it and decided to give it a try.
  • They followed the same processes as their previous website but stuck with it for a longer period of time.
  • They used the alphabet soup method for keyword research instead of keyword research tools.
  • They published a lot of content and focused on traffic generation.
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Passion and Knowledge in the Niche

  • Grady and his friend were both passionate about the niche and enjoyed doing it.
  • They were not experts in the niche, but had been doing it for a long time at an amateur level.
  • They decided to share their personal experiences and knowledge, which resonated with their audience.
  • Writing from their own knowledge base helped them produce content quickly.
  • They still enjoy the niche and continue to work on it weekly.
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Alphabet Soup Keyword Research

  • Alphabet soup keyword research involves using Google autocomplete to generate keyword ideas.
  • They would search for different question keywords related to their niche using different letters of the alphabet.
  • This method helped them come up with a variety of keyword ideas.
  • They did not use keyword research tools, but found success with this method.
  • They focused on targeting long-tail keywords to drive traffic to their site.
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Keyword Research

  • Using ABC (Answer the Public), Grady found valuable keywords for his niche site.
  • He also experimented with Low Fruits as a cheaper alternative to Ahrefs for keyword research.
  • Grady focuses on keywords that he would personally search for.
  • He doesn't write articles for keywords that don't align with his niche or have low traffic potential.
  • He hasn't seen the value in spending $200 a month on Ahrefs.
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Choosing Topics and Article Assembly

  • Grady suggests doing something you understand and know already for your niche.
  • Knowing your niche helps you quickly discern which keywords are relevant and have search potential.
  • He only writes articles for keywords that he would personally search for.
  • Grady's approach cuts down on writing articles for keywords that may seem like a good idea but have low traffic potential.
  • Common sense and understanding your niche are key factors in choosing topics and assembling articles.
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Monetization Strategy

  • Grady started monetizing his niche site with Amazon affiliate links.
  • He uses Genius Link to monetize global traffic as he is based in Australia.
  • Grady still monetizes with Amazon affiliate links and has not explored other ad networks.
  • He has both informational and affiliate-style articles on his site.
  • Grady has 215 posts on his niche site.
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Conclusion

  • Grady's keyword research strategy involves using ABC and experimenting with Low Fruits.
  • He focuses on keywords that align with his niche and have high traffic potential.
  • Grady chooses topics and assembles articles based on his understanding of his niche.
  • He monetizes his niche site with Amazon affiliate links and uses Genius Link for global traffic.
  • Grady has both informational and affiliate-style articles on his site.
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Monetization and Content Strategy

  • Used Genius Link for affiliate marketing
  • Ran display ads with Ad Thrive
  • Focused on informational content rather than heavy review-based content
  • Minimum post word count is around 1,000-1,200 words
  • Avoided writing extremely long blog posts (7,000-8,000 words) as they didn't bring in as much traffic as expected
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Monetization Split

  • 80% of income comes from ads, while 20% comes from affiliate income
  • Opportunity to focus more on affiliate marketing and improve monetization
  • Considering using tools like Lasso and Affiliateable for better product displays
  • Email marketing is another area for potential improvement
  • Time constraints due to working full-time and managing multiple websites
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Time and Effort

  • First two years were challenging, working late nights and early mornings to write articles
  • Writing content after work and late at night
  • Building a successful niche site takes time and consistency
  • Not an overnight process or achieved with just a few posts
  • Need to stick with it for one to two years and put in consistent effort
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Early Results and Article Count

  • Took eight months to make the first dollar
  • Number of live articles not specified, but emphasized the importance of consistent work and effort
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Building the Site and Making the First Dollar

  • Grady worked on the site for 8 months and published 80 articles.
  • It took around 70-80 articles before making the first dollar.
  • Knowing that it can take a long time to see decent traffic helped them stick with it.
  • After 12 months, they made their first $1,000 per month.
  • By month 23 or 24, they reached $9,000 per month.
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Choosing a Domain Name and Targeting Traffic

  • They chose a .com domain name to steer away from just Australian traffic.
  • The bulk of their traffic comes from the US.
  • The niche is worldwide, so they wanted to attract a global audience.
  • Initially, the site was geared towards an Australian audience but quickly pivoted to broaden its reach.
  • The specific domain name hasn't impacted their global traffic.
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Ranking and Competition in the Australian Market

  • Broader .com sites show up more in Australian searches for their keywords.
  • There are Australian websites in the same niche, but they have a different content focus.
  • Most of their competitors are big US sites.
  • They found a point of difference in the market, especially in informational content.
  • The space has become more crowded and competitive since they started.
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Seasonality and Traffic

  • Grady's niche website experiences seasonality in terms of traffic.
  • He initially thought the drop in traffic was due to a Google update, but it turned out to be a seasonal trend.
  • He used Google Trends to analyze the correlation between the trend traffic and his website's traffic.
  • Although the seasonality can be frustrating, Grady is confident that the traffic will improve as the year progresses.
  • He advises not to worry too much about the highs and lows if the average traffic over the year is satisfactory.
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Local Market Focus

  • Grady has built a niche website specifically targeting the Australian market.
  • This website is focused on lead generation rather than display ads or affiliate marketing.
  • He aims to generate leads and sell the contact details for profit.
  • Although the website is not currently making money, Grady is experimenting with a different approach to monetization.
  • He was inspired by a podcast where someone earned $10,000 per month from a website with only 5-6 thousand page views by hyper-targeting lead generation.
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Learning from Experience

  • Grady wishes he had known about the seasonality of his niche before starting his website.
  • He advises others to research and analyze the seasonality of their chosen niche before diving in.
  • He discovered the seasonality of his niche by comparing his website's traffic with Google Trends data.
  • Realizing the seasonality was a relief as it meant his website hadn't been penalized by a Google update.
  • Grady is now more aware of the ups and downs of his niche and is waiting for the traffic to improve as the year progresses.
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Challenges of Seasonality

  • Seasonality makes it harder for Grady to convince his wife that the website will consistently generate enough income.
  • He acknowledges that seasonality can be frustrating, especially when aiming to do niche websites full-time.
  • Grady would consider choosing niches with less seasonality if he were to start again.
  • Despite the challenges, he remains optimistic and hopes to eventually transition to full-time work on his niche websites.
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Seasonality and Niche Websites

  • Seasonality is a factor to consider when building a niche website.
  • Understanding the fluctuations in traffic and income during different seasons is important.
  • For example, the wedding photography niche experiences a slowdown in January and February.
  • Saving during the good months can help offset the slower periods.
  • Seasonality can vary depending on the country and climate.
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Google Search Console and Seasonality

  • Google Search Console data can help determine if a drop in traffic is due to seasonality or algorithmic changes.
  • Comparing traffic drops with average ranking positions can provide insights.
  • If rankings remain the same but traffic drops, it may indicate seasonality.
  • Understanding the difference between seasonal fluctuations and algorithmic changes is crucial for website owners.
  • Rankings may fluctuate slightly, but significant drops are not usually due to seasonality.
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Competition and Changes in Search Engines

  • Competition from big news sites with high domain authority can impact rankings.
  • Changes in search engine algorithms and the presence of ads, videos, and other content types can affect website visibility.
  • Increased competition at the top of search engine results can push niche websites down.
  • Video content, such as YouTube shorts and TikTok, has become more prevalent in search results.
  • Website owners need to adapt to these changes and find ways to stand out in a crowded space.
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The Future of the Niche Website

  • With 215 posts, the website may be nearing the end of big topics or just scratching the surface.
  • The next year will involve continuing to work on the website and exploring new content ideas.
  • Understanding trends in the niche and analyzing what topics come and go is important for future growth.
  • Continued focus on providing valuable content and staying updated with changes in the industry will be crucial.
  • Expanding into related niches or exploring different monetization strategies could also be considered.
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Content Strategy and Goals

  • Started by publishing content at a high velocity, but slowed down after seeing a decrease in traffic.
  • Continued to add content steadily over the next four months.
  • Planning to focus more on product-related content and move away from informational content.
  • Recognized the potential of email marketing and plans to implement targeted email campaigns.
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Link Building

  • Has not built any backlinks to the site.
  • Acknowledges the importance of backlinks but has not had any experience with it.
  • Concerned about the risks of buying backlinks or accidentally engaging in negative SEO.
  • Would consider exploring backlink building if they had more knowledge and confidence in the process.
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Deciding on the Focus of Multiple Projects

  • There are different ways to approach building niche websites.
  • There is no right or wrong way to do it, just find a method that works for you.
  • Grady juggles multiple projects, but in hindsight, it may not have been the best idea.
  • He is splitting his focus between his main site and a new site in the pet niche.
  • He sets weekly goals to work on different projects, allowing him to focus on one at a time.
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Starting a New Site

  • Grady started a new site because he thought his first site was dying.
  • He didn't want to panic and make drastic changes to his first site, so he started a new one while waiting to see what would happen.
  • Starting a new site can be a smart move, especially with the increase in Google updates.
  • Having multiple sites allows you to work on a project that is moving forward while another site may be experiencing a temporary setback.
  • It's important to not delete a site or jump the gun, as sometimes traffic can recover naturally.
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Importance of Balancing SEO and Content Changes

  • Leaving a site untouched for a long period of time may not help it recover.
  • It's important to find a balance between making SEO and content changes.
  • Instead of panicking and making drastic changes, it's better to prioritize and focus on a little bit of each every month or week.
  • Changing a million different things and overhauling all your content can harm your website.
  • Content that has already performed well indicates that you were doing something right, so it's unlikely to get penalized.
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Factors Other Than SEO That Can Affect a Niche Site

  • Seasonality can impact the performance of a niche site.
  • Content quality may not be the issue if the site is in a seasonal niche.
  • Other factors, such as user behavior or market trends, can also affect a niche site's success.
  • It's important to analyze and understand these factors to make informed decisions.
  • Jumping the gun and making changes too quickly may not be the best approach.
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Grady Hudd's Experience Building a Niche Site

  • Grady Hudd built a niche website that earns $9,000 per month in just 2 years without any SEO experience.
  • Starting a side project with no SEO experience and achieving such success is impressive.
  • Grady Hudd's Twitter handle is @NicheGrades, where he documents his process and journey.
  • He also has a newsletter where he shares more insights and updates.
  • Grady Hudd expresses his gratitude for being on the podcast and enjoying an hour-long chat.
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Continued Success and Where to Connect with Grady Hudd

  • Wishing Grady Hudd continued success with his niche site, hoping it performs even better in the future.
  • Grady Hudd's Twitter handle, @NicheGrades, is a great place to connect with him.
  • He also has a newsletter where he shares more about his journey.
  • The Twitter handle will be included in the show notes for easy access.
  • Grady Hudd expresses his appreciation for the opportunity to be on the podcast.

Watch the video on YouTube:
How Grady Hudd Grew His Niche Site to $9k Per Month in Just 2 Years Without Any SEO Experience - YouTube

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