[Case Study] Beyond the Nine-to-Five: How I Built a Profitable Blog on the Side

I volunteered to write this case study for LarSEO because I believe Phuc Le is building something special that can help small businesses and aspiring bloggers. I’ll share my experience using the tool, and maybe it’ll help you decide whether it’s a good fit for you.

Phuc Le

Confessions of a Procrastinator

The story starts way before ChatGPT blew up and turned all the Crypto experts into AI experts overnight. As someone who has always been involved in brand and content marketing in some form, I’ve often toyed with the idea of starting my blog. But it always ended up on the back burner — partly due to my schedule but mostly because I’d get disheartened seeing the competition.

All the main keywords and topics were dominated by mammoths in the industry, like Hubspot, SEMrush, and Ahrefs. I’d get overwhelmed just thinking about the resources required to play in this space.

An atypical meet-cute

I registered my website and even wrote a few articles sporadically. But there was no strategy or consistency. That’s when I stumbled across LarSEO. I honestly can’t recall where I saw it first. But it caught my attention because it focused on topic research instead of keyword research, unlike most SEO tools. Picking the right topic is half of the battle.

I knew focusing on a topic — rather than solely on competition and search volume — would help me build my topical authority. I’d seen too many websites writing about random, disconnected topics because of the over-reliance on keywords. I didn’t want that.

I instantly fell in love because LarSEO had everything I needed, from topic research, keyword research, keyword clustering, domain analysis, link analysis, and more.

My constraints

Three major constraints hampered my growth. The first one was a limited budget for link building. I didn’t want to invest a lot of money to build links.

The second barrier was technical — my website had zero authority. For those uninitiated in SEO lingo, ‘Domain Authority’ or ‘Domain Score‘ is essentially an indicator of your website’s reputation in Google’s eyes. Although an oversimplification, the higher the domain authority, the higher the chances of your website ranking on Google. Mine was virtually non-existent at that point. It was as if I’d shown up to a sword fight armed with a wet noodle.

The third challenge was the lack of time. I was juggling several other projects, so I had to be smart with my time. I couldn’t afford to waste time on tasks that wouldn’t bring results. I had to make every article count.

My strategy

The first few weeks using LarSEO were a revelation. I found a promising topic: AI marketing. I knew I could target it because the competition was low. I realized I’d been looking at it all wrong, thinking about over-saturated topics like SEO or content marketing.

Quick side note: With ChatGPT becoming insanely popular, this topic is now very competitive. All the major players are pumping serious money into it.

Once I’d identified the topic, the next step was finding the right keywords. LarSEO’s SERP analyzer helped me analyze keywords in bulk. I created a content roadmap targeting low-competition keywords.

Using SERP analyzer to find low-hanging fruits keywords

The clustering feature allowed me to target multiple related keywords with a single page (each keyword cluster is a single page).

Keyword clusters

I used the wildcard keyword research feature to find content ideas for link magnets (content created to attract links).

(Using wildcard (*) to pull more hidden keywords)

My outcome

I began to see tangible outcomes.

  1. Improved keyword ranking: My posts started ranking on Google, and I got organic traffic. It significantly increased the visibility and reach of my content.

  2. Creative content ideas: The topic research feature gave me fresh content ideas.

  3. High-quality backlinks: I got natural backlinks from authoritative publishers like Hubspot and VentureBeat. It improved my website’s authority and credibility in the eyes of search engines.

  4. Cha-Ching: Perhaps one of the most impactful outcomes was identifying high-converting affiliate keywords. It resulted in decent affiliate commissions without writing a boatload of content.

I know this isn’t your typical Zero-to-million-visitors-in-a-month story. But LarSEO helped me grow a decent side hustle. It can help you do the same. Give it a try.