How to Make Money Online & Quit Your Job in 30 Free Lessons Written by Janet Smith... Inspired by SEO Legend, Grizzly Brears.
Real, Actionable Tips the Fake Gurus Don't Want You to Know!
An Honest Answer to “What is the Best Way to Make Money Online?”

An Honest Answer to “What is the Best Way to Make Money Online?”

Well, I’m glad you asked! So what is the best way to make money online? Let’s talk about just that! If you’ve read the first 2 lessons, which can be found here, you know I don’t dink around or hold anything back. And I tell all… for free. There’s no catch.

In this lesson, I’m going to give you my very best, completely honest answer about what I believe is the best way to make money online. Here’s a quick spoiler: It involves the art of perfecting how to do keyword research and leverage free organic Google search traffic.

Buckle up, friend! This is Lesson 3 of what is most likely going to be a series of 30 Lessons on how the hell you make money online so you can quit your job and escape the Rat Race.

Lesson 1 and all other subsequent lessons can be found by clicking here.

About My Blog Titles

In case you forgot, or haven’t yet read Lesson 1, I’ll remind you that these lessons are titled based on easy make money online keywords that I have researched that I think can rank on the first page of Google somewhat easily.

I apologize that the titles don’t nicely correspond with the topic the lessons cover (such as how to do keyword research in this case). The “proper” keywords in the make money online niche are very competitive – and I’m trying to rank a brand new blog that has zero authority from scratch. I’m trying to “show my work” so that you can follow along and implement a similar strategy for your blogs, regardless of whether you are entering an easy niche or a difficult one.

Quick Re-Cap of Lesson 2 – How to Choose a Niche for Your Blog

Obviously, I recommend that beginners or those who need to make money online more quickly stick with easier niches and use creativity to target a more narrow aspect of a niche.

In Lesson 2, you learned how to choose a niche for your blog or vlog and how to narrow it down to something more easily achievable from scratch. You also learned the importance of being passionate about the content you create, giving your readers or viewers only the best.

Only those serious about quitting their job will have the ability to read Lesson 2 in its entirety. Here’s a little reminder that I think is worth repeating here, in case you didn’t read through Lesson 2 all the way, as it was over 4500 words in length:

Creating junk content is a waste of your audience’s time (and therefore, a waste of your time, too!). If they suspect your blog is spammy or deceptive, they’ll leave in a second.

After all, there are probably a million other blogs or YouTube channels they can patron instead. No one has the patience to put up with junk content, so don’t be lazy and don’t settle for creating anything less than your best!

I mentioned all that in Lesson 2, though. 😉

Meet Your New Friend, Keyword Research

Now that you have found my blog, you can finally start making money online instead of continuing to spin your wheels and waste your hard-earned money on the useless crap and unrealistic promises promoted by so-called internet marketing gurus.

Let’s not get ahead of ourselves, though. There’s a lot to learn about keyword research, but I’m here to teach you, step-by-step. Mastering keyword research is a fundamental part of making money online, so much so that I say keyword research is THE single best way to make money online – regardless of what the rest of your strategy is.

If you select and work the right keywords into your content, getting the traffic you need to make sales, obtain pageviews, etc is simply a matter of time.

How Long Does It Take to Rank on the First Page of Google for Your Keywords?

The trickiest thing about keyword research and making money online, in general, is having the ability to stay consistent and patient. The pay-off for all your hard work is never immediate or even fast.

From my experience, it takes an average of 8 months for a blog post to rank its highest for a keyword.

For difficult keywords (which you won’t be targeting at first anyway), it can take longer, but usually not because you’ll already be ranking for a bunch of easier keywords that help catapult your level of authority. If you start targeting difficult keywords at the right time, you’ll be working with the current rather than against it.

Even for easy keywords with low competition, it can still take weeks or months – especially if your blog is new and still gaining credibility with Google.

Even though I just threw out that 8-month figure, there’s still no guarantee how long it takes a blog post to rank on the first page of Google for its target keyword phrase.

Sometimes, they never get to the first page because… you made an error (not high enough word count, the content sucks, etc) or sometimes, for no apparent reason. That’s the nature of the niche blog game, so make sure you accept it now so you’re not whining later.

It’s all a numbers game. The more blog posts you can publish, the more chances you have to rank on the first page of Google. If you also focus on quality and not just on quantity, success is inevitable. 30 blog posts isn’t such a high number that you can’t focus on both.

Get Your Niche Blog Started Now

Unfortunately, there’s nothing you can do when publishing blog posts except hurry up and wait. Get each blog post published so it can start aging and move on to write the content for your other keywords. Or move on to new keyword-targeted videos if you’re doing a YouTube channel.

If you’re in a hurry (who isn’t?), the best thing to do is get started on creating your niche blog network using my lessons as quickly as possible. Don’t sit around too long “just thinking about it”.

How Long Does it Take to Quit Your Job After Starting Your Niche Blogs?

As I mentioned in Lesson 1, to get your blog network up and running and at the caliber of replacing your job’s income, expect it to take up to 24 months.

If that’s not an honest answer, I don’t know what is. At least now you know for sure I’m not full of sh**.

The clock starts when you publish your first blog post, but you have to keep going and get at least 30 published for it to work as expected.

Gurus like to suggest that success is instant so that you’ll buy whatever it is they’re selling. I’m not selling you anything and I like to suggest that niche blog success takes time and is dependent on your ability to pump out a minimum of 30 quality blog posts per blog.

Get off your ass and get started.

What’s It Going to Cost to Start Your Niche Blogs? Which Web Host is the Best?

All it’s going to cost you for the first year is less than $100 for a web hosting plan and a couple of domain names. If you need to go cheap, use Namecheap or if you want exquisite customer service and higher reliability at a still very fair price, use SiteGround.

As your traffic grows, you’ll have to upgrade to the SiteGround Cloud Hosting Package or even quite possibly switch to a premium host that can handle higher amounts of traffic like WPEngine or StudioPress. That’s down the road, though – around the time you’re tinkering with ads. Don’t worry about it for now.

Stick with Namecheap or the cheapest SiteGround hosting plan for now.

What’s the Next Step?

Technically, the next step should be to purchase your web hosting account and domain name, but it’s better if you finish your keyword research first.

The reason I say this is because you should make sure you’re committed to this niche blog project before you start spending money. If you can’t even finish your keyword research and have 30 blog post topics listed out ready to go, you’re wasting your money and should throw in the towel now before you even get started.

Lesson 4 will cover how to purchase a hosting account with Namecheap or SiteGround and how to choose a good domain name.


How to Do Keyword Research

Alright, now to the meat of this blog post. This is the part you’ve been waiting for. Or, it should be the part you’ve been waiting for anyway. 😉

First, let’s talk about what not to do, which is this…

Don’t Use Paid Keyword Tools

We’re building niche blogs on the cheap. Purchasing an expensive keyword tool that doesn’t even give you accurate results is a waste of money. Forget about KWFinder and all that crap.

In fact, Google itself, AnswerThePublic, and a browser extension called Keywords Everywhere give you all the keyword guidance you need. For free.

Install the Free Keywords Everywhere Browser Extension

Before you start your keyword research, install and configure Keywords Everywhere in either Chrome or Firefox.

I don’t totally rely on Keywords Everywhere, but I’d rather have it than not.

What’s cool is that it gives you the estimated monthly search volume for the keywords you type in, as well as giving you suggestions for similar keywords and their estimated monthly search volumes.

Keywords Everywhere is a free, easy to use browser extension, and gives decent guidance, similar to the Google Ads Keyword Planner. It populates this helpful data directly into Google, Amazon, eBay, and other places you might choose to poke around looking for keyword suggestions in the future.

Start Broad & Then Get More Specific

To start your keyword research, type in the most general, relevant keyword for your niche you can think of. Obviously, it will be too competitive for you right now, but you need an entrance down the rabbit hole somehow since you don’t have a paid keyword tool holding your hand.

In my case, I might choose “make money online” or “quit your job” or “how to do keyword research”. Usually, long-tail keywords like “how to do keyword research” aren’t all that competitive, but because of the aggressive nature of the make money online niche, that one is actually… incredibly competitive.

Let’s use another better example. Type in “fly fishing”:

Click the image below to enlarge.

fly fishing - how to do keyword research

Too competitive, too general, too location-based, right? How are you going to write a blog post to outrank those videos? You can’t because Google thinks the search term “fly fishing” is best represented by video content.

Also, they aren’t even certain about what it is you’re looking for. Are you looking for a local fly fishing shop? Are you looking for info about what fly fishing is or a book about how to fly fish?

Who knows, right?

Like I said, just use it as an entry point to help you dive deeper into your niche.

BTW, do you see the “Volume” “CPC” and “Competition” numbers under the search bar? That’s Keywords Everywhere hard at work! You’ll also sometimes see its keyword suggestions and volume/CPC/competition on the right side of the page or at the bottom.

Use Google’s Search Engine Results Pages

Google makes it easy to do some free, accurate keyword research. We’re going to be using a couple of methods conveniently available directly from the Google search results to help us out.

Use the ABC Method

After typing your broad keyword that is too competitive, go through the alphabet from a to z, looking for suggestions. For example, type “fly fishing a” and check out the autocompleted suggestions as I’m showing in the screenshot below. If any of the suggestions seem like they could be a good blog post idea, add them to a spreadsheet.

Click the image below to enlarge.

keyword research abc method

Those autocompleted suggestions are keywords people are actually typing into Google! Even if Keywords Everywhere shows that the search volume is 0/month, clearly there are some people searching that keyword! If it’s an autosuggestion and the keyword makes sense to you, it’s probably a good idea to go ahead and add it to your list of keywords.

If nothing looks doable there, type in “fly fishing b” and see what pops up. As you find potentials that seem like they could make good blog posts, copy the keyword onto a spreadsheet.

Keep going until you get to “fly fishing z” and have exhausted your options.

Use Google’s “People also ask” and “Searches related to…” Sections

After doing a Google search, you will almost always see a section toward the top that says “People also ask” and another section at the very bottom that says “Searches related to [whatever the search phrase is]”.

Click the image below to enlarge.

built in google keyword suggester

These are pure gold for two reasons:

  1. They give you additional keyword ideas that you can Google and look into further, which might lead you to more keyword ideas listed on that search result page, leading to more on the next page, and so on. You can easily come up with 100+ keyword ideas using this method – although you don’t necessarily need to yet. Just try to get 30 so you can get started writing your original 30 blog posts.
  2. They offer free, accurate insight into the psyche of people searching keywords and questions related to your niche. Don’t you want to know what your target audience is thinking, desiring, etc? This will be a great help when writing your blog posts!

Some of the questions and keywords listed in these sections will seem highly specific. That’s ok. That’s even desireable. Highly specific keywords are usually less competitive.

If any of them make sense and seem like they could be a good blog post, add them to your spreadsheet. Don’t add all of them; use your common sense.

Use the Wildcard Method

You can use the asterisk (*) as a placeholder or wildcard to help you discover additional keyword suggestions from within Google. Just type in your keyword followed by * to see what pops up. Here are some additional wildcard search tips directly from Google.

Click the image below to enlarge.

wildcard keyword method

Typing “fly fishing * that” lead me to a more specific (probably less competitive) keyword suggestion: fly fishing flies that sink

Click the image below to enlarge.

Use the Suggestions from Keywords Everywhere

On most of your Google search results pages, you will see additional suggestions popping up via the Keywords Everywhere plug-in, like so:

Click the image below to enlarge.

keywords everywhere suggestions

Search Your Broad (AKA the ‘Too Competitive Keyword’) or a Similar Keyword on Reddit, Quora, or Niche-Specific Forums

Searching for your keywords directly on these platforms can help you come up with additional keyword ideas or related questions that can be answered in your blog posts.

Add these to your spreadsheet as well.

How to Do Keyword Research as a Beginner Means Knowing Your Place

Next, do a Google search for each of the keywords on your spreadsheet.

If extremely helpful content shows up already for a particular keyword for each of the 10 results on the first page, remove the keyword from your list. You probably won’t be able to do better and outranking it won’t be worth the effort. Leave well enough alone. It’s better to focus on keywords that have thin or irrelevant content that you are confident you can provide excellence for. Find your place so you can serve your audience the best.

Which Keywords are Worth Pursuing?

At this point, you might be asking “what constitutes a doable keyword?” Keep reading and I’ll spell it all out for you. Soon, you’ll learn how to find easy keywords and separate them out from the impossible or too difficult bunch.

An Example of What NOT to Pursue…

First, let’s look at a difficult keyword I won’t even attempt for the time being, which is: “how to do keyword research”. This blog is the new kid on the block, so I’m not going to even bother with that keyword for a while yet.

I mean, c’mon, look at the following 3 screenshots. There are aggressive ads that take up the whole “above the fold” upper portion of the page and then Hubspot, Moz, Backlinko, Neil Patel, and Yoast below that! There’s no way I can beat them (at least for now)! Also, notice how the titles are right on point with the search query…

Click each image below to enlarge.

How Do You Know Which Keywords are Easy?

Now that you’ve gone through Lessons 1 and 2 and chosen your niche, you can start locating relevant keywords that are relatively easy to rank for. I’m going to show you how to identify an easy-to-rank-for keyword versus one you should target later down the road.

We’re going to divide your keywords up into 3 types, where the level of difficulty will correspond with the number of words you should write for each keyword type’s blog post. The more difficult, the longer the blog post needs to be.

Since you’ll be writing 30 blog posts to start, you will need to write 10 blog posts per keyword type.

3 Types of Keywords

The 3 types of keywords are easy, medium, and hard.

What is an “Easy” Keyword?

Let’s use my keyword for the Lesson 1 blog post as an example. That keyword was: “My job is making me miserable! Should I quit?

That keyword is one I classify as easy. Why?

  • It’s highly specific. There probably aren’t a ton of people searching that keyword, but it makes sense and I think it could use a better representation in the search results.
  • There’s a Quora result on the first page. When I see Quora, Yahoo Questions, or forum results on page 1 for a keyword, it immediately piques my interest. In the case of “my job is making me miserable should i quit” it’s result #6. It’s really difficult to find an “easy keyword” in the make money online niche, so finding this one was quite exciting to me.

Click the image below to enlarge.

  • Another indicator this is an “easy” keyword is made obvious by the first 3 results at the top of the page. Look below:

Click the image below to enlarge.

  • The first 3 results all have short articles/blog posts that are less than 1500 words each.
  • None of the titles are an exact match or very close match for my keyword/search query.
  • None of the domain names in any of the results on the first page specialize in the keyword’s niche; i.e., there are no makemoneyonline.com or quitmyjob.com types of domains. The closest match in the example is themuse.com, which is directed at career advice in general, but it’s not specialized in helping people quit their jobs or make money online. That is a good sign in our case… It means my blog, quitthisjob.com, which is aimed at helping people quit their job is going to be more relevant to the search term and eventually dominate the keyword after Google deems it worthy to do so. I just have to patiently wait while Quit This Job gains authority in its niche. You will have to do the same for your niche.
  • Bonus points if any of the top 3 results are outdated – design-wise or the article date!

Can You Do Better?

The question to ask yourself at this point is: Can I do better? That is, can you realistically create a better quality resource for that keyword than others already have? In the case of easy keywords, you most certainly can! If you can’t… you’re in the wrong niche!

We’ll discuss how to spice up your content to make it more helpful than the competition in the lesson about how to write blog posts.

I can easily outrank content similar to the above examples just by writing a longer blog post and making sure to place the keyword in my blog post title somewhere, in the first paragraph, and mention it naturally a handful of times throughout the blog post. Normally, I would’ve written 1500 to 1800 words for “my job is making me miserable should i quit” and called it a day, but I’m writing these lessons with the intention of telling you everything I know about making money online, so it was necessary for me to be more detailed.

In your case, as long as you’re not delusional like me and trying to chase a highly competitive niche like “make money online” 🙂 – just write 1500 to 1800 words for easy keywords and move on to your next blog post.

Find 10 of these easy keywords to add to your final spreadsheet.

In the next lesson, I’ll show you how to write and format your blog posts. Right now we’re just doing keyword research and coming up with blog topics.

What is a “Medium” Keyword?

Medium difficulty keywords are just a step above easy keywords and require at least 2500 words to be written in order to have a chance to rank on the first page of Google. They are still fairly easy to rank for, but take more time and require a more creative approach.

Btw, these are usually keywords with a higher monthly search volume. They’re worth the extra effort.

When you Google a potential keyword and see blog posts and articles on the first page that meet all of the requirements for easy keywords – except that they have content that are 2000-2500 words in length, that means the keyword must be bumped up to medium difficulty. That also means you will have to one-up them and write content that is 2500+ words and provide better info or a new perspective.

Find 10 of these medium keywords to add to your final spreadsheet.

What is a “Difficult” Keyword?

These are your “long term game” keywords that have the highest monthly search volume (usually in the tens or hundreds of thousands) and therefore, hold the most potential. They also require you to write a super long post of at least 3500 words – or more if you can manage.

These are going to be keywords that are not achievable for you right out the gate, and you will be writing these blog posts last, after your blog has had a chance to gain a little bit of authority. These are the keywords that take the longest to rank for, but once you do, they bring in steady traffic month after month.

An example of a difficult keyword for this blog would be “how to quit your job” or “how to do keyword research” or “how to make money online”. Those keywords (if I’m able to rank for those at all) require way more than 3500 words of “OMG, where has this info been all my life?” type of content.

You know, Earth-shattering type of stuff.

It could be Earth-shattering because you have a new perspective on it that people haven’t considered, because you have a way of simplifying something complicated, because you know more than everyone else about it, or because you choose to reveal more information about it than everyone else (me, in the case of internet marketing). 😉

I like to call these Holy Grail Posts because they will be the blog posts that people are most likely to bookmark, share, and come back to – if you did your job correctly and wrote your very best content!

Don’t just ramble and write filler content. Be genuinely helpful! This means you shouldn’t rush the writing process of these. Holy Grail Posts can often take a few days to brainstorm, write, edit, and create shareable infographics, charts, etc.

Find 10 of these difficult keywords to add to your final spreadsheet.

How Do You Know Which Keywords Will Bring the Most Traffic?

Obviously, you can look at the estimated monthly search volume displayed by Keywords Everywhere, which is always a good idea. Sometimes, though, those estimates are just plain wrong.

The real answer here is that you never really know which keywords will be a hit and which will be a waste of time. You have to use your best guess and write about what appears to be a good balance of “not too competitive” and “popular enough that at least a few people per month probably search it”.

It’s not an exact science and it’s never going to be. Even if you were using those expensive keyword tools, you’d be in the same boat. The monthly search volume estimates are NEVER accurate.

A Final Word…

Originally, I was going to include in this post how to create a list of 30 blog post headlines based on the 30 keywords you just decided on, but this is getting too long. We’ll cover titles/headlines and your blog post list in a future lesson combined with how to write and format your blog posts in WordPress.

The next lesson, which is Lesson 4 will cover how to choose a domain name and buy a web hosting account.

See you there! 🙂

Janet Smith

My name is Janet Smith and I'm the author of the 2009 bestselling SEO ebook Nomad's Guide to Make Money Online. I'm also a former student of SEO legend, Grizzly Brears and have spent time training with John Limbocker from SEO Dominators. A lot has changed in the make money online world since 2009. Because I know many people who need help escaping their crappy jobs, I've decided to emerge from the shadows and share my up-to-date knowledge here for free. Don't ask me why. Just follow the directions in my free blog posts. This blog is a labor of love! There will be no $1999 useless, shiny objects here. I HAVE NOTHING TO SELL YOU because I make money online using the same techniques taught in this blog.

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