- Brian Meiggs started the blog “My Millennial Guide” in 2016 as a side hustle to pay off debt.
- Two years later, he quit his full-time job and created his publishing company, Meiggs Media.
- Here’s how he turned one blog into a portfolio of websites that’s hit $1 million in revenue.
In college, 31-year-old Brian Meiggs was always looking for ways to make money, from selling refurbished iPhones to trading Nokia stock.
His first post-grad accounting job in Washington, DC, quickly grew mundane, so in 2016 he started a blog called “My Millennial Guide,” documenting his journey of paying off $30,000 in student-loan debt with side hustles.
At first, the site didn’t generate much traffic or make much money. But he was passionate about informing others about personal finance, so he kept blogging on the side.
“I wanted to help others in my situation,” Meiggs told Insider. “All of my friends had debt and it was just a very common thing.”
Then AOL mentioned one of his stories and his site traffic picked up. In 2018, he left his full-time job as a credit-risk manager to create his publishing company, Meiggs Media, and launched more websites about niche topics like the gig economy and investing.
Meiggs Media generated $686,303 in revenue last year and has reached $1 million so far this year, which Insider verified with documentation. Affiliate marketing makes up a majority of the business — when a reader clicks a referral link in an article, the company earns a commission.
“I never imagined I would be able to do this,” he said. “When I started the first blog, I didn’t think I’d like this.”
Here’s how he turned one blog into a portfolio of websites that hit $1 million in earnings.
Branch out to different topics
Once he gained traction with his first site, Meiggs scaled his digital real estate by breaking up the content from his original blog into several other niche blogs. Then, he slowly grew each site over time.
“I didn’t want to just have all my eggs in one basket, because I know how fickle Google can be,” he said, referring to the way Google’s algorithms often change how websites show up in search results.
For example, during the pandemic, Meiggs created a blog about the gig economy for people interested in picking up extra income through apps like DoorDash and Uber. “That site did really well and it’s still doing well,” he said.
Research and test what works
If you want to turn a new or stale blog into a high-traffic website, Meiggs said it requires a lot of experimentation. He tried many types of content like lists, how-to’s, and reviews to discover what worked. He also used various methods to drive traffic and earn income, including affiliate marketing, search-engine optimization, pay-per-click advertising, content marketing, and email marketing.
“In the beginning, the success came from researching, testing, and employing these different strategies to see what works and what doesn’t,” he said.
Choosing the right keywords and constantly learning about algorithm updates is important. Meiggs suggests subscribing to SEO blogs and YouTube channels to stay on top of ever-changing digital-media trends. He also attends blogging and finance conferences to connect with a community of other publishers.
Hire freelancers to crank out content
Once Meiggs’ website traffic picked up, he didn’t have the time to write all the articles himself, so he turned to Upwork to hire freelance writers. The business grew “exponentially” once he wasn’t doing all the writing, editing, and social-media posting himself.
“With that growth, I finally had to learn to outsource,” he said. “It’ll give you more time to focus on the higher-level aspects of the business.”
Meiggs said finding the right writers can be difficult because each one has their own tone and target demographic. He hired a lot before he found a core team of writers who work for him consistently. Typically, he looks at the publications they’ve written for and if they’re able to research a topic and give their honest opinions.
Prioritize the reader
When Meiggs reviews things like mortgage offers, he recommends the one with the best rate or the one that’s best suited for a certain type of customer. He also lays out the pros and cons to help readers make their own choices.
“Above all, your content should always put the reader first,” Meiggs said. “That’s really helped me know what to publish and what not to publish because they’re the number-one priority always.”