How I've Built A Websites Portfolio That Has Generated $1M+ In Profit

Ron Stefanski
$30K
revenue/mo
1
Founders
3
Employees
OneHourProfessor.com
from Las Vegas, NV, USA
started September 2014
$30,000
revenue/mo
1
Founders
3
Employees
64.3K
alexa rank
1.19K
followers
19.5K
subs
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Hello! Who are you and what business did you start?

Ahoy! My name is Ron Stefanski and I’ve created dozens of websites, but I’m best known for my popular online business site OneHourProfessor.com where I teach people how to create and grow online businesses.

Since 2014, I’ve made over $1 million in profit from my online business and currently make around $30-$40k/month. One thing very unique about me is I’ve documented my progress with blog income reports every month since I started.

onehourprofessor-com

What's your backstory and how did you come up with the idea?

In 2014 I was dying to get started with online businesses and started by creating a bunch of failed websites. One after another, it didn’t seem like I could find a winner. But I kept at it and eventually was able to build a site that did extremely well and focused on helping those with felonies on their record find employment.

It did so well that it was featured over at Flippa.com.

I had the idea to develop the site because my step-brother had substance abuse issues and unfortunately, a record stemming from that addiction.

He asked for some help to find a job and I realized that many others needed it too. I started by launching information that was very well received, and I just kept on asking the readers what they wanted and kept making more.

By starting with a few pages/posts, you’re able to get the site on Google’s radar faster and their crawlers see you build the site up from nothing and will reward you along the way. This is nice because you can begin to see the progress and understand how search engines feel about what you’re doing.

Take us through the process of designing, prototyping, and manufacturing your first product.

There really wasn’t much of a prototype for this site when I started. Although I had built many failed projects, I just dove in and designed them to the best of my abilities using my favorite site builder, Thrive Themes.

It went through quite a few iterations after I built it out because I kept feeling like it was ugly. But ultimately, I never hired a designer and just adjusted it in the ways that I saw fit.

Looking back, it probably would have been better to hire a designer to help. But too late for that now.

In terms of the content on the site, I launched this one after creating a list of employers that I found through research were more willing to hire felons. I believe the number of companies I launched with was 15 and then I built that up quickly to a database of over 200 total companies.

Some folks will only launch a site with a certain number of blog posts written, I don’t believe in that. In my opinion, I’d rather launch a website with a couple of blog posts today and built on it as I go as opposed to launching with dozens of articles.

My reasoning?

By starting with a few pages/posts, you’re able to get the site on Google’s radar faster and their crawlers see you build the site up from nothing and will reward you along the way. This is nice because you can begin to see the progress and understand how search engines feel about what you’re doing.

By comparison, I would never want to invest heavily into a site and produce 50-100 articles before proving the concept, and building as you go helps with that.

Describe the process of launching the business.

When I launched my business, it really started with a list of employers that were open to hiring those with felonies. I posted that online and in a Facebook group and it ended up (thankfully) going viral.

Unfortunately, the group no longer exists, but it was a community of around 20,000 people that were felons or had a family member with a felon that needed help finding work.

At the time, I would see 50-70 people on the site per day and suddenly it catapulted to 5,000+ in 24 hrs with over 100 concurrent users on the site at any given time. Compared to what it previously was, this was a HUGE increase in a very short period of time.

onehourprofessor-com
A look back at the site on the wayback machine

Once I saw how well it was received, I realized there was a big opportunity, and I just kept adding more information that people needed.

In terms of financing the business, it was 100% bootstrapped. When I began this project I told myself I’d give it a full 12 months and if it wasn’t making enough to support my bills, I’d go back to work. In month 11 it ended up going viral and while the earnings weren’t exceptional, in a week it ended up making around $800 which was more than it made in its entire existence.

The only real cost to the business aside from a small hosting bill was what I paid my writer to help produce content. I think this came out to a couple of hundred dollars a month and slowly increased as the site became more profitable.

I think one of the biggest things I’ve learned with this business is just how important it is to “follow the data”. I often see entrepreneurs leading with their gut feelings and while that may be required with some business models, I’m thankful that nearly everything in my business is measured obsessively with analytics.

Since launch, what has worked to attract and retain customers?

Not only on that site but with all of my sites I prefer to focus 100% of my time on SEO. Or, in simpler words, getting search engines to like my content and show it to others. This leads to a steady stream of “free” visitors that continually visit my site(s) every single day.

I’ve found that many businesses spend a ton of their time on social media and run paid ads, but really if you can figure out how to make search engines like your website, the sky is the limit. Content marketing is crucial to any business and while it takes a big investment in time and cash, it can be well worth it in the end.

You can see here from my OneHourProfessor site just how much of my traffic comes from search engines at roughly 90%.

onehourprofessor-com

The rest of it comes mostly from direct brand searches and email. I also have some traffic coming in from other sites that have linked to me and less than 1% coming from social media.

In terms of my “secrets” to success, SEO is really more simple than most portray it as.

Here are some of my top tactics to have success:

Keyword research: In my opinion, the most important part of any SEO strategy is to complete keyword research to understand what terms you should focus on writing about. I consider this as a necessity as it gives you data to guide your strategy as opposed to simply writing and hoping that the content is popular. I feel so strongly about this that I’ve created a free course to help people with keyword research.

Title tag: Every article I have has the core terms that I’m focused on writing about within the title tag followed by a time-related term and something that encourages the reader to click. For instance, if I were focused on the keyword term “HubSpot review” I would choose a title like: “Hubspot Review 2022 (The Definitive Buyer’s Guide)”. This shows that it’s a HubSpot review, updated for 2022, and the guide itself will help potential buyers figure out if it’s right for them.

Introduction: Often overlooked, but also the most important part of any article is the introduction. In this area, you want to connect with the reader, establish trust, acknowledge their main problem, and tell them that the post they’re about to read will help.

Interlinking: With any article, you publish, try to link twice to other articles on your blog and point to five links to the article you publish. This will keep your readers on your blog longer and continue to spread your “link equity” across your site and help search engines understand the importance of new and old pages.

How are you doing today and what does the future look like?

As of now, many of my sites are profitable while others are still in the investment phase.

Typically my business as a whole hovers around the 80-85% profit margin, but it can change quite a bit depending on how much content I’m producing. Generally speaking, I’m a big fan of reinvesting as much as I can possibly afford in order to continue to grow the business.

For those that aren’t familiar, I have publicly reported my income and expenses since 2014 on my blogger income reports. These show the progress I’ve made over time and exactly how much revenue I make each month.

The business is very profitable at the moment, but I prefer to keep much of the revenue in a business account for reinvestment as needed.

I attribute this mainly to the fact that although I get (collectively) around 500,000 visits to my sites monthly, there’s virtually no cost to making that happen because I get the traffic organically from search engines.

From an operations perspective, I currently have six contract writers and two editors managing content production for my sites. I’m still involved with a couple of the sites as a managing editor as well.

I really am not a big fan of setting too many goals as I’ve found a singular focus tends to work well for me. So, at this point, I have two goals.

  1. Reach $100,000/month in monthly revenue
  2. Sell one of my sites for $1 million dollars

While I’m not close to either of these milestones at this moment, I’m confident that the business is moving in the right direction and momentum is swinging toward these outcomes.

Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?

I think one of the biggest things I’ve learned with this business is just how important it is to “follow the data”. I often see entrepreneurs leading with their gut feelings and while that may be required with some business models, I’m thankful that nearly everything in my business is measured obsessively with analytics.

This helps me make better decisions. I’ve learned to completely ignore my own thoughts and feelings while making strategic decisions and to focus primarily on metrics.

Frankly, when I started on my own entrepreneurial journey I was not very good at following data or even understanding and interpreting what data was telling me. This is a skill that I’ve honed over time and it’s gotten to a point now that making decisions is much easier than it was in the past.

So, if you’re reading this and thinking that you’re not analytical, that’s okay! I wasn’t either, it’s a skill that you acquire and improve on over time.

What platform/tools do you use for your business?

Personally, I prefer to always use WordPress as my CMS platform for my websites. I’ve found that the platform itself is very well supported and provides a ton of resources to build a website exactly as you’d like.

Outside of that, I’m still a big fan of Thrive Themes for building my websites. Nearly every site I have launched on Thrive Themes as I’ve just become very comfortable with their interface and the platform does a good job for me.

In terms of other “must have” tools, I’d say the following:

Link Whisper: A tool to track my internal links. I’ve found this to be a necessity for my sites as it’s hard to manage this process otherwise.

SurferSEO: A tool to help me better optimize my content for search engines.

Trello: For quite some time I used Google products to manage my writers/content, but this wasn’t as efficient as I’d like. I transitioned to Trello to manage the content creation process as well as other processes and absolutely love the automation they provide.

What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?

To be honest, as much as I’ve tried to become a “book” guy it just doesn’t seem to work. That said, I do listen to audiobooks from time to time but I’m really most interested in podcasts.

I’d say that my favorite digital marketing podcasts are Authority Hacker and Niche Pursuits.

If you’re talking about entrepreneurial podcasts as a whole, without a doubt my favorite would be My First Million. While they don’t focus exclusively on digital businesses, I like the business ideas they discuss and I always like to see other business models out there.

Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting out?

For those wanting to get started, I think the biggest thing to understand is that failure is inevitable. When building out your business, you’re guaranteed to make a ton of really dumb mistakes and failures.

To be clear, that’s completely fine. I can’t even begin to tell you how many dumb things I did while I grew my company. In fact, I’d be willing to bet that if you ask me a year from now about things that I’m doing now, I’d tell you some of them were dumb/a a waste of time.

It takes a lot of time to discover what works and makes something successful. As long as you don’t completely quit, every “failure” is really just a learning experience and something you know not to do next time around.

In summation, start, push forward, make mistakes, then continue moving forward. This is a difficult and inevitable path, but those who succeed are the ones that don’t give up.

Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?

As of now, my company is fully staffed. Once in a while, I use the ProBlogger job board to find additional content creators for my sites, but as of now, my staff is at full capacity.

Where can we go to learn more?

If you want to learn more about me and my story, the best places are:

If you have any questions or comments, drop a comment below!

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Ron Stefanski, Founder of OneHourProfessor.com
Pat Walls,  Founder of Starter Story
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