The Income Community: How to Build Profitable Websites from Scratch


After working as a data scientist in Corporate America for over four years following college, I felt burnt out. From office politics to incompetent managers to pointless meetings to the distracting open office plan, I couldn’t stand it.

So, I began to research alternative ways to make money.

I quickly noticed that most of the popular ways to earn income involved freelancing or side hustling, such as:

  • Driving for Uber
  • Delivering food via DoorDash
  • Walking dogs via Rover
  • Being a freelance writer
  • Being a freelance social media marketer
  • Taking internet surveys

While these gigs give you the ability to earn money on your own time, they all lack two important features:

(1) The potential for passive income.

You can walk as many dogs as you want, but as soon as you decide to take a break your income will dry up.

(2) The potential for exponential income growth.

The amount you can earn from these gigs is limited by the amount of hours you work.

By these standards, freelancing and side hustling are no different than having a day job. You still have to trade your time for money and there’s a limit to how much you can earn.

But as I continued to research, I stumbled upon a way to earn income that offered both the potential for passive income and the potential for exponential income growth: building profitable websites from scratch.

The process was straightforward:

Step 1: Buy a domain name and a monthly hosting plan.

Step 2: Set up a website.

Step 3: Publish articles on the website that attract readers.

Step 4: Monetize the articles with ads, affiliate links, and self-made digital products.

This approach to earning income had two features built into it:

(1) The potential for passive income.

If you can write an article that ranks on the front page of Google, you can earn passive recurring traffic (and income) over and over again without any additional work.

(2) The potential for exponential income growth.

The more articles you publish, the more income you can earn.

For example, suppose you write an article that ranks on the front page of Google for a specific search phrase. If this article gets 1,000 page views per month, it may earn ~$15 in advertisements.

If you have 100 articles on the site that earn $15 per month each, that’s $1,500 per month in income.

More articles = more income.

  • 100 articles = $1,500 per month
  • 200 articles = $3,000 per month
  • 300 articles = $4,500 per month

There’s no upper limit on how much income you can earn. This is in direct contrast to something like dog walking where your income is capped by the number of hours you can work each day.

How I Used Profitable Websites to Quit My Day Job as a Data Scientist

I first started dabbling with creating profitable websites in late 2016 and I made my first dollar online in early 2017.

This opened my eyes to a new way of making money.

A permissionless way of making money.

I didn’t need any credentials, degrees, certifications, or special connections. Instead, I could create a website from scratch, write articles, monetize those articles, and control my own income streams.

It wasn’t all smooth sailing, though. I made every mistake in the book during my first 18 months. I had no strategy for writing and monetizing articles, no idea how to grow my traffic in a reliable way, and no clue how to grow my income exponentially.

Even still, by early 2018 I had managed to make my first $1,000 in a single month. I knew that if I could make this much without a serious strategy that I could double or triple this amount if I took the time to understand what it really took to make money with websites.

In early 2018 I dove into the world of SEO – search engine optimization. It’s the field that is concerned with how to write articles that shows up on the front page of Google.

The idea was simple: if you could write an article and get it to show up on the front page of Google, you could earn free recurring traffic (and income) over and over again without any additional work.

Fascinated by this concept, I consumed every article and video I could find on SEO and began implementing what I learned on Four Pillar Freedom. The results blew my mind.

From Jan. 2018 to Jan. 2019, my traffic from Google quadrupled from 500 users per week to 2,000 users per week.

From Jan. 2019 to Jan. 2020, my Google traffic quadrupled again from 2,000 users per week to over 8,000 per week.

I wasn’t writing more articles to get more traffic; I was simply writing articles that were optimized for SEO. This meant that more readers were finding me organically through Google.

As I experienced success with SEO during 2018, I decided to try similar tactics with a new website in early 2019: statology.org. It was a website dedicated entirely to statistics tutorials.

In under six months I was able to grow traffic from Google to 2,000 users per week. By December 2019 traffic had hit 5,000 users per week. And by May 2020 traffic from Google hit over 20,000 users per week.

Once I experienced success with Statology, I knew that I had cracked the code to SEO so I decided to start yet another site in late 2019 in a different niche: wandercincinnati.com. It was a local travel site dedicated to sharing the best restaurants, breweries, parks, coffee shops, neighborhoods, and attractions around Cincinnati.

In just under nine months I was able to take the Google organic traffic from 0 to nearly 2,000 users per week:

As my total traffic increased across my portfolio of websites, my total income increased as well. As more people found and read my articles, my income from advertisements, affiliate links, and digital products began to skyrocket. 

In the summer of 2019 my monthly income from websites had matched my monthly expenses, so I quit my day job as a data scientist

Since quitting, I’ve grown my monthly income from $3,000 per month to over $6,000 per month:

The upward trajectory in my monthly income is directly tied to the SEO strategy I began to implement in 2018 across each of my sites.

As I write more SEO-optimized articles, more readers find me on Google and my income increases as a result.

The good news is that the strategy I use to build and monetize sites can be replicated by anyone in any niche. I’ve created The Income Community to show you how.

The Income Community

The Income Community is a private community I’ve created that shares how to start and grow profitable websites from scratch. The community includes the following features:

Tutorials

A list of written tutorials that walk through the following topics in detail:

  • How to pick a niche for your site
  • How to buy a domain name and hosting plan
  • How to create a site from scratch in under 15 minutes using WordPress
  • Which plugins to use to optimize your site
  • How to perform SEO research
  • How to create a content plan
  • How to write SEO-optimized articles
  • An inside look at how long it takes for new articles to rank on the front page of Google
  • How to monitor your website traffic with free tools from Google
  • How to supplement SEO traffic with traffic from social media
  • How to monetize your articles with ads, affiliate links, and digital products

A Growing Library of Content

  • Each week I publish one new article about a specific topic on SEO and website monetization.

Behind the Scenes

  • Each month I share my total traffic from each of my individual websites.
  • Each month I share my total  income from each of my sites, including the sources (e.g. % income from ads, affiliate links, consulting, and digital products)

You can view each of the topics covered in The Income Community here and you can gain yearly access to the community by becoming a member today for $99:

Join the Income Community


Zach

Full Disclosure: Nothing on this site should ever be considered to be advice, research or an invitation to buy or sell any securities, please see my Terms & Conditions page for a full disclaimer.