Mortgage Crushing Challenge Update #1 – Choosing a Niche (My $9,300 Mistake)

Choosing a Niche - Mortgage Crushing Challenge

Choosing a Niche - Mortgage Crushing ChallengeWelcome to my latest update for the 2017 Mortgage Crushing Challenge! In this update, I’ll be sharing details about my thought processes when it comes to choosing a niche. If you don’t know what this challenge is all about – please refer to the Financial Freedom post that I wrote at the very beginning. It explains exactly how this whole thing came about and why I decided to join. Scroll to the very bottom of this post to see my Budget Update for this challenge. As a reminder, here is my stated goal – and then we’ll get right into the content!

I am going to create one (brand new) passive income producing website that will cover my mortgage by December 2017!

Progress Update

During the month of January, I accomplished THE 2 MOST important steps when it comes to building out a niche site – niche selection and keyword research. I also chose a domain name and registered the domain.

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Adding SSL Certificates (HTTPS) for SEO and Other Benefits

adding ssl certificates

adding ssl certificatesI recently decided to upgrade my security options by adding SSL certificates to all of my good websites. Take a look at the address bar for this page that you are on right now. See the https:// at the beginning of my URL? The ‘s‘ at the end of ‘http‘ means that my website is secure. Most web browsers also show a locked padlock on secure websites. What exactly does this mean?

  • Your connection to my site is private.
  • The connection to this site is using a valid, trusted server certificate.
  • The connection to this site is encrypted and authenticated.
  • All resources on this page are served securely.

There are a few reasons I decided to implement this added layer of security to my websites. One of the main reasons being that it was extremely easy (and free) to do within my good WP Engine hosting account. I figured, why not try it? After I saw how easy it was to put on one website – I added it to the rest of my good sites that I have on that same hosting account. But it wasn’t until after I added it to my sites that I decided to research and find out exactly what the benefits are. What I found was that some of the most popular SEO blogs that I know of have written on this very topic!

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Financial Freedom: Creating a Passive Income Website to Pay for My Mortgage

Financial Freedom - Passive Income Website - Pay Mortgage

Financial Freedom - Passive Income Website - Pay Mortgage

If you ask anybody what their definition for financial freedom is – you will get a multitude of answers. Many will be very similar but all will differ in some way. Everybody has different circumstances and each person’s situation is unique. My definition and idea for financial freedom is probably much different than yours. But here’s the thing… It doesn’t really matter how we define financial freedom!

The actions we take to achieve financial freedom are far more important than how we define it.Click To Tweet

This blog post is going to highlight a specific action that I am taking to move my family and myself closer to our ultimate goal of financial freedom. Distinctly – I am going to focus one just one aspect of my financial picture for this action. But it’s a big one. Our mortgage! Since this blog has always been about my journey to create passive income online – of course I am going to tie the two together.

I am going to create one (brand new) passive income producing website that will cover my mortgage by December 2017!

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Brand Positioning Strategy for Affiliate or FBA Websites

brand positioning strategy

With so many different gurus throwing out “new” methods for marketing to your target audience online today, choosing one brand positioning strategy and pushing forward with it can be difficult. It’s not hard to understand why the failure rate among online marketers is so high. The amount of information that is available is intense, and can be incredibly overwhelming if you’re new or don’t have the experience needed to learn which strategies are a waste of time, and which ones actually require all of your focus.

Rather than teach you new tricks of the trade, or rehashed versions of strategies that have been around for years, I’m going to show you the big picture factors that determine how successful you are online.

Once you get a better idea of the big picture, the smaller pieces fall into place, and the overwhelming feeling of “needing to know more” tends to slip away. You’ll be less bogged down with everything that you think you need to be doing, and start to develop a clear picture of what actually needs to be done to make your business a success.

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Making Money Online – Ask Matt – September 2016


ask-matt-september-2016Welcome to this months edition of Ask Matt! Because I blog publicly about ‘making money online‘ and ‘passive income‘ – I tend to get a lot of questions from people about various related topics. Although I don’t formally ask for these questions – they inevitably come in randomly. Sometimes by email, sometimes in blog comments and sometimes on Facebook or in a forum somewhere.

I try my best to answer quick questions whenever I can. But some questions deserve a longer and more detailed answer. In the past, I would find myself ‘wasting’ far too much time answering questions privately. So… now I save them up and answer the good ones in the form of a blog post. This way all of my readers can also benefit not only from my answers, but from the great questions that others ask! This is a win-win-win for everybody! Let’s check out some of the questions that came in this month…

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How I Used a [Mostly] Content Only Strategy to Grow a Brand New Site to 400+ Daily Visitors

Content Only Strategy

Content Only StrategyIf you hate link building like I do and plan to use a content only strategy for your niche site – then this post is for you. Starting a brand new niche site on a brand new domain is definitely NOT a get-rich-quick plan. I should know. I’ve started plenty of them. But, if you want to build a long-term and reliable passive income producing website – you shouldn’t be thinking about getting rich quick anyway. Sure, we’re all in this for the money. But think of the fairy tale about the tortoise and the hare. Every single time I read the story – the tortoise wins!

This is the approach I’ve taken with the one main niche/authority site that I’ve been building out for over a year now. In past posts on this blog, I’ve referred to this site as ‘My ONE Thing’ site. In a post I wrote about a year ago – I declared that I was going to FOCUS on just ONE thing – and that ONE thing was going to be this particular niche website. My traffic and earnings for this site have continued to increase, slowly and steadily, as a result of deciding to stick with the long-term strategy.

Within this post – I’m going to show you how I’ve grown the site to an average of 400+ visitors (sessions) per day – and even as I write this post, that number continues to slowly increase!

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Passive Income Ideas and Answers – Ask Matt – July and August 2016

Passive Income Ideas - Ask Matt - July - August 2016

Passive Income Ideas - Ask Matt - July - August 2016Welcome to the 2nd edition of my “Ask Matt” series! In case you didn’t see the 1st edition, check it out if you want to read details about why I started this series. Basically, I got tired of wasting time answering questions privately via email and figured I might as well answer questions publicly on the blog. I figure, if one person has a question they need answered, surely others have the same (or similar) questions. So why not publish my answers so that everyone can benefit?

The previously undisclosed intent was going to be to publish these Q & A posts monthly. And I certainly had enough questions to create a separate post for July… but I slacked off and didn’t make the time to get the post written and published. So… August is almost over and I’m about to hit publish on this post which includes questions for July and August. Feel free to read the entire thing. Or just scan the subheadings to see which questions might apply to, or interest you. Hope you enjoy and I hope this helps (at least in some small way).

Okay. Here are the questions and answers…

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The Internet Entrepreneur’s Guide to Relaxing on Vacation

Relaxing on Vacation

Relaxing on VacationFor the better part of the past 6 years or so, I’ve been working on this side hustle internet business thing. My family and my day job have always been higher up on the priority list – but early mornings and as much as I can on weekends, I’ve worked to build up my various streams of internet income. I’ve taken several vacations with my family throughout this time period – but I’ve never really unplugged for the entire vacation. I’ve thought about it. But with the convenience of technology – smart phones and laptop computers, I always find myself doing at least a little bit of ‘work’ during my vacations.

I’ve been able to easily justify ‘working’ during vacation because I really enjoy working on my websites and trying to figure out new ways to extract money out of the internet. It really is a lot of fun for me. Who doesn’t like to have fun on their vacation?

Relaxing on Vacation

Having fun and relaxing aren’t always the same thing though. Sometimes you just need to take a break and get away from it all. Really relaxing on vacation means removing yourself from your typical day-to-day responsibilities. And who are we kidding – when you are running an internet business (or businesses), you absolutely have those types of responsibilities and commitments.

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Don’t Buy a Niche Site Course Without Evaluating the Source

niche site course


Do you know what it feels like to have money randomly deposited into your Paypal account? I do. And let me just tell you – it is freaking awesome! Random income generated from work done in the past is the essence of what this whole passive income thing is all about.

Almost all of my passive income, though, is generated by selling or promoting other peoples products. This includes affiliate income from this site and from my niche sites, Adsense pay-per-click income, as well as Amazon affiliate sales from my niche sites. All other peoples stuff. I say almost – because I did create some service based income in the past (selling keyword packages). But that wasn’t exactly passive. What that experience did for me though was showed me my potential and gave me a taste of having random people pay me for something that I created.

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[Dumb] Passive Income Update for May 2016

Passive Income Update May 2016

Blogging – Niche Sites – Amazon FBA

Since I stopped publishing regular monthly income reports at the end of last year, I’ve gotten lots of emails and comments from people wondering what the heck has been going on with me. How is my passive income journey going? What’s happening with my niche websites? Am I making any money with Amazon FBA? What’s working for me and what isn’t? What about my ONE Thing FOCUS strategy that I talked about last fall?

I admit – I’ve kind of neglected this blog and it’s audience for a couple of months while I concentrated on other things. So it’s definitely time for me to write and publish a decent update. I’m going to try to keep it quick and short. I’m typically terrible at that and tend to ramble on for several thousand words. Below, you’ll find the things that I’ve been working on, broken up into different sub-sections. A LOT has been going on with me. And NO – I still have not hit the internet jackpot. But income is on the rise and things are headed in the right direction. Let’s do this!

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FreshBooks Reviews from Around the Web

FreshBooks Review

As my own online passive income efforts continue to expand and grow and my internet business becomes more complicated – I’ve found myself with the need (or desire) to find a more robust accounting solution. FreshBooks is one of the big names out there – so I knew I definitely wanted to check them out. There are a LOT of reviews and advertisements out there for FreshBooks on the inter-webs – and I have a bunch of them opened up in different tabs in my browser right now. So I thought… why not write a quick post and share my research with readers for my blog!

I’ve looked at several videos and a whole bunch of different blog post reviews. Below is a compilation of some of the best that I’ve come across…

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Looking for Better, Faster, Safer and More Reliable Web Hosting?

It’s been almost two years now since I’ve moved this blog (and most of my other sites) to the best (IMO) managed WordPress hosting company that exists. Sure – I pay a bit more for hosting than most people do. But I’ve never looked back. As the old saying goes… You get what you pay for. I’ve certainly found this to be true when it comes to web hosting. I want to share with you a short 2-minute video about the most reliable web hosting company that I use which offers the best, fastest, safest and most secure WordPress experience.

WP Engine - See Pricing Plans

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