$0 to $1000 Challenge: Update 1 of 12

What is the $0-$1000 Challenge?

The $0 to $1000 challenge is an affiliate marketing case study that I will be running for the next twelve months (Feb 2020 to Feb 2021).

I am starting an affiliate marketing website from scratch and growing it gradually until it earns $1000 in revenue per month within the next 12 months. The goal is to identify a niche, identify products, write buying guides, build backlinks, rank on Search Engines, and drive traffic to the website.

I will be revealing all the information, techniques and tools that I will use during this challenge. This information will be revealed at the start of every month in the 254 Affiliate Marketing Lounge FB Group, to make it easy for other team members to follow, and track the progress of this challenge.

Who can participate in this challenge?

The challenge is open to everyone willing to put in some effort into ranking a website. Ideally, affiliates who have started a website in the last 1 to 3 months are still in the early stages of their affiliate marketing journey and are welcome to participate. If you have not started a website, and wish to jump in, it is not too late.

Who are team members and how will they contribute?

Running a marathon alone is not a fun exercise, because you need the other athletes to motivate you. The same scenario applies to this case study. The fact that this is a public case study means that there are high stakes involved, and I need team members to walk with me.

The role of the team members is to take part in the 12-months challenge and share their monthly progress regularly. This not only helps me to stay motivated, but it also pushes you (the team member) to take action and invest your time and money into your website.

I will be tracking the progress of each team member every month. I will require you to report your progress, your wins & failures, articles published, earnings, traffic, etc. This information will be compiled in my $0 to $1000 monthly report and made public at the same time.

The A to Z of $0 to $1000 Challenge

I am starting this challenge from scratch, meaning that I will be doing everything from zero, and working my way up. Here are some of the things that I have done or I will be doing during this challenge:

1. Niche selection

Will the website be an authority or a niche site?

For this challenge, I will be going for a niche site for a number of reasons. In the past, I have done both niche sites and authority sites. While authority sites have a higher chance of earning higher revenues than niche sites, they are overwhelming, and often requires more investments in terms of time and resources.

Further, a niche site is easier to rank, because it is easier to create micro-niches within the niche, and focus on topical relevance. I will be focusing on tackling topics within this niche in detail, by publishing review and informational guides around one topic and replicating this across other categories.

If you are still looking for a niche, here are some ideas to consider:

  • Travel
  • Outdoor
  • Survival niche
  • Sports (tennis, golf, basketball, etc.)
  • Pets
  • Fishing
  • Photography & Videography
  • Technology
  • Snoring
  • Fibroids
  • Male enlargement
  • Hair loss
  • Mom
  • Parenting
  • Baby and Kid
  • Gifts
  • Home decor
  • Make money online
  • Fitness
  • Gardening

In this challenge, I have identified a niche from the above list. I am still debating whether or not to make this niche public, but my plan is to make that information private until after the challenge is complete. [This is debatable, and I will be waiting to hear your views on the appropriate time to make the niche public]

2. Keyword Research

My main keyword research techniques are KGR and long-tail keywords.

KGR is an abbreviation for Keyword Golden Ratio, and it is a concept that was introduced by Doug Cannington from Nichesiteproject.com.

The idea behind this concept is to find easy-to-rank keywords with a search volume of below 250 that rank in position 1-50 immediately the page is indexed. You can learn more about this concept here.

The other technique that I will use is to go for long-tail keywords that have less competition. For example, rather than targeting “best xxxx”, I will target “Best xxx for xxx”. Sometimes, the long tail keyword may be a KGR keyword, but this may not be the case all the time.

I will be compiling a list of 50 keywords that I will be focusing on in the first quarter of the year. I use Ahrefs.com to find keywords and get the relevant metrics such as search volume, difficulty, top 10 sites in the SERPs, etc. Other tools that you can use for keyword research include:

  • Keyword finder (Paid)
  • Neil Patel’s Ubersuggest (Free)

Recommended Guide:

Nichesiteproject.com: How to Improve Ranking using the KGR Technique

Mangools.com: How to Find Keywords that Rank Quickly

3. Affiliate Program

My main focus will be the Amazon Associate Program, one of the best newbie-friendly affiliate programs.

This program has been in existence for more than a decade, and there are hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of affiliates who make money by promoting products on Amazon. Amazon not only pays you for the products you sell directly but also pays you for the other sales that the customer buys through your tracking code

Here is a list of 20+ affiliate programs that are free to join.

Recommended Guide:

Freelancinghackers.com: Newbie Guide to Amazon Associate Program

4. Setting up the website

I am not a developer, and I will be using WordPress to build my website. WordPress.org is a free platform that gives you control of your website.

Here are the basic tools that I will be using:

i) Domain name

My goal is to buy a brandable .com domain that allows me to expand to other categories in the future, as and when needed. I will buy the domain from Namecheap.com at $10-13 or thereabouts.

You can use Namemesh.com (Free tool) to brainstorm ideas for your domain name.


I will be using Siteground hosting to host the website. This hosting plan is a faster and more efficient in terms of performance, compared to other comparable hosting packages offered by other companies.

If you are on a budget, I recommend Bluehost or Namecheap hosting for the first year. You can upgrade your hosting plan later when your site starts bringing in revenue.

If you are working with a budget of $100 and below, you can get Siteground hosting for $XX for the first year and a free domain using this link.

iii) Theme

I will be using a basic theme for this project. My preferred theme is Generate Press theme. This theme is light and mobile-friendly.

iv) Plugins

I will be using these plugins for this project:

  • Thrive architect- Content Builder (Paid)
  • Rank Math/Yoast SEO- Optimize content (Free)
  • Smush (Free)- Optimize images
  • Akismet Anti-spam (Free)- Filter spam comments
  • iThemes Security (Free)- Security

Recommended Guides:

Biasharatalk.com: How to start a blog under $50

Patrickmahinge.com: Starting a Blog in Kenya

5. Writing content

The content for this project will be partly outsourced, and the rest written by me. I plan to maintain a 60:40 money page to informational page content. My focus will be on topical relevance and internal linking, which has worked for me in the past.

My review content structure will be as follows:

  • Introduction
  • Comparison chart
  • Factors to consider/How to/Why (Brief guide)
  • Best 5-7 products (Comparison) (Block text: what it does and what it does not, a summary of features, pros & cons)
  • Buyer guide
  • Conclusion

The review pages will range from 2000 to 5000 (sometimes more), depending on the competitiveness of the keyword I am targeting.

The informational pages will range from 1000 to 2000 words. These pages will be purely info guides, but I may consider adding Ads (Ezoic/Mediavine) once they start getting traffic.

For this case study, I will structure my website using the Silo Structure. I will be using pages to create silos since it is possible to create a parent and a child page, compared to when using posts.

Recommended Guide:

Authorityhacker.com: Using Silo Structure to Boost Your Rankings

Expresswriters.com: How to write content for Affiliate Marketing

Scratch99.com: How to Create a Silo Structure in WordPress

6. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

SEO is a broad topic. Here is what you need to know about SEO:

i) On-Page SEO

This form of SEO relates to all the actions you take to optimize your website for SEO, including optimizing your content, creating URLs, optimizing images, internal linking, etc.

Here are some of the things you can do to perfect your On-Page SEO:

  • Optimize content
  • Create SEO-friendly URLs
  • Write title & meta-descriptions
  • Image optimization
  • Optimize for CTR

Recommended Guides:

Backlinko.com: The Ultimate On-Page SEO Guide

Searchenginejournal.com: Essential Factors for On-Page SEO

Ahrefs.com: The On-page SEO Guide

ii) Off-Page SEO

Off-page SEO, also referred to as link building, is an important part of creating and ranking a website.

While it is possible to rank for your target keyword in the top pages, you need good links to get to page one of Google. You can decide to go the Whitehat or the Black/Greyhat way, depending on the level of risk you can accommodate.

Some of the Off-page SEO tactics that I plan to use for this project include:

  • Guest posts (achieved through outreach)
  • Niche Edits
  • Broken link Building
  • Infographics
  • Forums links (participating positively in forums and leaving a link to my website)
  • Blog comments (Commenting on blogs related to my niche)
  • 301 Redirect (Yes, a little black hat but still works)

The other popular link-building method is Private Blog Networks (PBN). This method still works, but you need to buy links from live websites that are already getting traffic.

You can also build your own private network, or buy links from credible PBN link vendors.

Recommended Guide:

Backlinko.com: Link Building-The Definitive Guide

Ahrefs.com: Noob-Friendly Guide to Link Building

Moz.com: Beginner’s Guide to Link Building

7. Anchor Text Ratio

When building links to your website, it is important to diversify the anchor text. For a start, my focus will be building branded links (with website name as anchor text), naked links (with homepage URL as the anchor text) and Generic text (such as click here, learn more, etc.).

Once the website starts getting traffic, I will start building links to the inner pages. I will use the exact-match (max 30%) and spread the rest to partial match, generic text, and LSIs as the anchor text.

How can Team Members Contribute

My goal for this case study is to prove that making an income off your website is doable and achievable, at least with the right mindset. As a team member, you are an important part of this project, and here is how you can help.

  • Ask questions and respond to other people’s queries.
  • Provide a monthly update of your progress.
  • Report your small wins for the month.
  • Report your traffic and earning’s growth/progress

NB: I am developing a system that will make it easy for team members to provide a monthly update on their progress, as well as their traffic and earnings numbers. All this information will be reported every month when compiling my monthly update.

I am excited to start this project, and I hope you are fired up to work and replicate the results.

Let me know your thoughts and questions about the $0 to $1000 Challenge Update 1.


  1. This is awesome stuff right here. I’m a newbie in the freelancing field and there is a lot to learn. You can count me in on this one. I hope it’s not too late!

  2. Hi Lema.
    Thanks for starting this initiative. I am in I have dreaming to start affiliate marketing. But keep on procrastinating. This time round I believe this team will offer the emotional support that will sail me through. Do you thing relationships as a niche can work well of course with some parenting tips here and there.

    Best Regards


  3. I want to join the challenge to keep me motivated. My domain may be more than 1 year old because I bought it but did not not start up. Mid October last year I re-established and started working on my niche website. Kindly let me join because as per now I have zero traffic and I want to scale up. Thank for the platform, Kindly add me to the challenge.

  4. My brother suggested I would possibly like this web site. He was totally right. This post actually made my day. You cann’t believe simply how a lot time I had spent for this info! Thanks!

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