While Peter Thuborg was working as an education consultant, he accidentally started a side hustle.
As he has loved painting, printing, and playing with miniatures since he was 12 years old, and one day he started a website about them. Much to his surprise, it started to take off.
Keep reading to find out:
- How he started his website
- Where his income comes from
- His main marketing strategy
- His thoughts on SEO
- His keyword research strategy
- His approach to link building
- How he creates content
- How he hired freelancers to help him
- The resources that have helped him grow
- His top tools
- His greatest challenge
- His main accomplishment
- His biggest mistake
- His advice for other entrepreneurs
Meet Peter Thuborg
My name is Peter, and I live in Denmark with my wife and little kid. I studied philosophy at Aarhus University for six years.
After that, I worked at the university as an administrator, mainly as an education consultant, advising on educational matters to the Head of School and Head of Studies at the School of Culture and Society for about 8 years.
Why He Created His Website
I sort of stumbled into this world.
I play a lot of board games, miniature games, and Dungeons and Dragons. A new version of Warhammer came out that was hard to get new people into. When beginners joined we explained the same things over and over again.
This was extremely inefficient and it also meant the game was unnecessarily hard to get into. So to remedy that I wrote a long meaty beginners’ guide to the game and put it on a website back in 2017.
I plopped Google Analytics on it and thought nothing more about it. This was the first website I ever created, so I didn’t expect anything really.
A few months later I checked the analytics for fun, and this website with just one article was getting about 1000 visits a month. About 90% of them came from Google searches.
This was not something I expected, but it told me two things: there was an under-served market and it would be possible to build enough traffic to make a living in this space.
At the same time, I was somewhat frustrated with my job. I saw a future where I could earn a living helping people with a hobby I loved and had been into since I was a little kid.
So I researched SEO and started writing in my spare time. I talked to my employer, and instead of being a full-time employee I became a part-time employee and wrote more on the blog.
After about 2.5 years of doing that, the earnings from the site were starting to rival what I earned at my day job. So I quit at the start of 2021 and went full-time on the site.
I mainly write on the topics I would like to read myself, so it is very driven by my passion. I mainly try to get into a topic if I feel like I have something to say that has not been voiced or if I think there is a dominant trend that I disagree with. So I try not to be a copycat, and instead create stuff that I want that does not exist yet.
How Much Money He’s Making
In the last year, the revenue split has been $57,500 on ads ($4,791 per month) and about $44,000 on affiliates like Amazon, ShareaSale, and others (about $3,666 a month).
This makes the average monthly revenue about $8,466. This has taken about 2.5 years of part-time work and 1 year of full-time work to get to. I’m looking at other income streams, mainly trying to focus on a digital product.
My ad network is Mediavine and I joined in the summer of 2020. I tried other ad networks but decided to not run ads on the site before I got into Mediavine.
I found the experience with other providers very poor. I really hate ads myself, so it is kind of funny that I earn the majority of my income from them.
As for traffic, I get about 250,000 pageviews a month on average. But things certainly fluctuate. Let’s just say that people play less with small miniatures when the globe is super hot!
Things have been a bit weird over the last year, where a lot of our older content has fallen off and some new articles have picked up the slack.
So while the views look pretty consistent this last year, the traffic has shuffled around massively regarding what articles they come from.
I do not work a lot on my website, maybe 30 hours a week. I am very much in the camp of going slow, organic, and steady. No rush here.
Peter’s Top Marketing Strategy
I want to do some more newsletter stuff, but other than that I focus solely on organic search traffic.
Anything that smells of social media has turned out to be a waste of time. In the end, all the big platforms want their users to stay on their sites, so at some point, they will stop sending you traffic.
So, instead of using 10 minutes trying to promote my content, I just use 10 minutes writing more stuff. This might be different in other niches where you can pull in heavy traffic on one piece of content, but for me, it’s clear where my time is best used: write more and better content.
We have about 300 articles on the site. I think an average of 5 articles a month are published right now. Sometimes there’s a big project and there’s only 1 new article in a month. Quality over quantity is the name of the game for me.
His Thoughts on SEO
SEO is super important, but I use very little time doing classic “SEO stuff.”
I mainly make sure that my on-page SEO things are on point and then I rely on organic link building and topical authority to beat the competition.
So the strategy is to build good content on a specific topic and be certain it follows standard guidelines for good SEO. Make sure people enjoy the content and keep coming back for more.
If your space is not crowded with significant sites, that can work just fine. Yeah, I run the risk of getting attacked by a significant corporation moving into the space with massive link building, but that’s always a risk. I feel confident that the space requires such expert knowledge that big brands won't bother with the topic.
I have tried a lot of premium SEO tools. I find the price of them to be extraordinarily high for what they do. Among those I have tested (Ahrefs, Morningscore, Mangools, etc.), the only one I found to bring any consistent value was Surfer SEO. But I’m still considering ditching it as the price is higher than the value it brings.
Free SEO tools, on the other hand, are amazing. The amount of information I can glean from the Search Console is much better than whatever guesstimate an SEO tool can bring. I use Google Analytics, Answerthepublic, and Google Search (which used to be amazing, but now a bit bad).
I have tried having a very elaborate keyword research process, using very expensive tools and whatnot. I have found them not to be worth the money.
Because I have written so much in my space, I have a very good sense of how much traffic there is on a topic. So I juggle a bit between writing stuff that will pull in a lot of traffic and writing about topics I find interesting.
I have no formal keyword research process right now. But for a new site, it’s definitely worth the effort to do things right.
Right now, from the information I get from the website's analytics, it’s very easy to guesstimate how much traffic there is in a given adjacent/similar topic. If I’m expanding into unknown territory, I of course use Google to see what’s out there, but I find keyword research tools kind of bad. They can often lead you astray with very, very wrong numbers.
My tactic is to avoid external link building. No guest posting on my site, no guest posting on other sites. I might be convinced to link to another site or article if it’s very relevant and that might bring back a link at another time. I try to do it organically and not waste time on it really.
So I only build organic links. To say I build them is even a stretch, as I would rather they just come without me having to do anything.
When it comes to internal link building, I’m much more into it.
Give me Link Whisper and let's go! Internal links you can completely control yourself, they’re good for SEO, good for users to navigate, and they can increase your views. What’s not to like?
His Content Creation Process
I try to write for at least 3 hours a day. I feel like when I try to write more, it goes downhill.
So, with the rest of my time, I do admin, edit freelance writers’ articles, make photos for articles, and do other stuff in my niche. I decide what to write when I’m done writing something else. I try to write on topics that I’m passionate about right now, as it helps to keep me going.
Right now I have 5 freelancers onboard. Each of them has a topic/vertical that they exclusively cover. I found them by just posting a job offer on the site, as I wanted people who were invested in the topics instead of a freelance writer who can “write about anything.”
This way I get expert knowledge that I cannot provide myself. I want zero turnover in these positions, as the expert advice they bring is gold.
We are optimizing our processes at the moment. In 2022, I only had 2 freelancers and expanding was a pain because everything was very informal and “this is just how it’s done.”
Explaining and spelling out how things are done has been surprisingly difficult and a good learning experience.
We use Notion for everything related to the production of the content and then some Discord for communication.
Peter’s Email List
This is something I’m not very good at. I have a list, but I struggle with sending out emails and growing.
Because I think most newsletters are bad and I don't want to be on anyone else's newsletter. So in essence, I’m struggling with finding a way to make the newsletter interesting.
I know the answer is to write unique content for it, but I still need to find my voice in it.
His Favorite Resources
When it comes to SEO and starting a website, there are so many bad products and semi-scams out there. But there’s also some great stuff; it can just be hard to find.
I started with Income School, which I think is a great place to start for a complete beginner. I never regretted that purchase and I continue to subscribe just to support them. Another great place to learn is Authority Hacker. Both have some good YouTube channels to get you started.
As an overall recommendation, everything Simon Sinek has written you should read. It was his view of the world that made me rethink what I was doing and change tracks.
Peter’s Go-To Tools
I am allergic to inefficient things, so I look for tools that save time.
In terms of plugins for making an affiliate-based website, Lasso is number one. Holy smokes it saves me so much time each month.
Besides Lasso, I use Geniuslink to geo-target my links.
So this is the process: search on Amazon for the product. Paste the url into Lasso. Lasso cuts any fat from the link and inserts my US tag on the Amazon link. When pressed, Geniuslink will redirect to the store closest to the user.
Lasso pulls in the image from Amazon. I can then use the Lasso block to quickly add a nice-looking widget in WordPress with the correct link, image, button, cloaked URL if not an Amazon link, affiliate link disclaimer, and everything.
On that note, Lasso is creating a new tool I have wanted since I started doing this. It’s a tool that pulls your clicks on specific affiliate links and aggregates the numbers. The end goal is to see how well a specific article is monetized.
It’s still in the beginning stages, but once it’s ready it will be extremely valuable. You can see how much an article is earning and how much traffic the article is getting. With that information, it’s much easier to know what old content to update and for what content clusters you should write more.
For my content calendar, notes, to-dos, and everything else, I use Notion. It was a nightmare to merge my to-do and OneNote into it, but it’s so much better now. It holds everything about my life.
Soon I will likely say get Microsoft Copilot. Having an AI that is bound by your specific documents and data is going to be amazing. The online chats are cool, but Copilot is going to change how we work. As a solo creator, I cannot wait for it.
His Biggest Challenge
I thought that once I did something for myself that I knew I loved, it would be much easier to keep my motivation up. However, I have found that motivation comes in short bursts and is not that reliable. It’s more of a wave you can ride sometimes.
So the hardest struggle is finding good habits to keep me going on projects. I’m working on motivation and on building good habits and discipline. When I lack discipline, big projects tend to go unfinished.
So right now I’m trying some of the advice in the book Atomic Habits by James Clear. It’s broadly about how to go about implementing the habits I want and removing the habits I do not want.
Right now I’m tracking how much time I spend on various aspects of my business. The things that need to get done are at the top. The things less important are further down. Each time I put a mark further down the list, I feel a bit bad about myself. When I get a check at the top, it feels great.
So in essence, it’s about trying to give my brain small rewards for the things I want it to do and small punishments for the things I do not want it to do.
His Greatest Accomplishment
I’m proud that I have built my site from nothing to this, even though a lot of friends and family did not understand it or believe in it.
I’m lucky that I have a wife who understands my passion and believes in me, even though she didn’t see the vision as I did at first. When I told people I was going to go full-time at some point, they had a hard time believing it could actually earn real money.
It can be a bit hard to persevere on a project for +3 years when you get the feeling that people around you think you’re crazy.
I still want to take this to the next level. Get employees and make an amazing place to work.
What He Wishes He Knew When He Started
You shouldn’t spend so much time worrying about minor bumps in the road. Yeah, your traffic might be down 30-40% this month compared with last month. That can feel horrible! But in 2 years? That dip of 10k views will feel like nothing.
So, focus on growing your business and not so much on optimizing everything. Once you’re big, it can pay off to try and optimize things, update old content, and make things better.
But starting out, just keep writing more stuff. Just keep learning and making mistakes.
His Main Mistake
I felt like I was missing out on YouTube and video content, so I took a lot of time out to do that. I produced some crappy content that I’m not proud of. I rushed it and I regret it. I want to go back to it, but I need to find my own voice in that space.
Even if you do it exactly like they do, it might not be that good. What works for you might be completely different for someone else.
His Advice for Other Entrepreneurs
Build good habits.
Fail. Learn. Win a bit more.
Each win compounds with each other into something big and great.