James Oliver, Founder, Oliver.com


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James Oliver, Founder, Oliver.com

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James Oliver, Founder, Oliver.com

This interview is with James Oliver, founder of Oliver.com.

James, welcome to Featured.com! Can you tell our audience a bit about yourself and your journey to becoming an expert in SEO, digital and affiliate marketing, and building online businesses, all while traveling?

I’ve always traveled, but I didn’t know how to make it sustainable. That led me on a path of discovery, where I found SEO. Because I wanted something that was evergreen, and not posting on social media and messaging people every day. I built my first website in 2014 and made just over 2 dollars with ads. I had no clue what I was doing back then.

However, this was the confirmation I needed. I’ve since been self-employed for over 6 years, building websites and driving traffic only through Google and Bing. I monetize a portfolio of over 20 websites through ads and affiliate marketing.

Your career path is quite unique! Could you share some key moments or decisions that led you to where you are today?

I wanted a job that was hassle-free—fewer emails, clients, calls, and fixed work schedules. SEO, combined with affiliate marketing, provides that. It’s not a get-rich-quick scheme; it takes a while to rank in Google because they aren’t going to trust a brand-new website. But when a website gets going, it’s an amazing asset.

Many people dream of the freedom that comes with running an online business while traveling. From your experience, what is one crucial piece of advice you’d give someone looking to build a similar lifestyle?

You need to put the work in. Say, if an article takes 6 months to rank, and you only write two a month, the curve of work will never hit critical mass. You need to front-load and publish 20+ each month until you reach around 100 articles to build topical authority.

So it’s tough; not many people do it because you need patience and hard work, with only a chance of ranking in 6+ months’ time.

Building a successful online business requires a strong online presence. What are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced with SEO and digital marketing while on the road, and how did you overcome them?

I would say, time management and focusing on the tasks that move the needle are crucial. You need a strict 80/20 principle and work on what’s going to leverage the most for your time.

Luckily, you can reverse-engineer competing blogs fairly easily with online tools. This helps set a game plan for what you need to do.

Staying ahead of the curve in SEO is crucial. How do you adapt your strategies to the ever-changing algorithms and trends while traveling and managing your business?

With SEO, it’s all about testing to see what works. Don’t just see what’s on Twitter or another blog; test it.

Create ten dummy pages targeting a made-up word. Make sure there are 0 pages coming up for this word in Google. Then all your ten pages will be in the SERPs. Then pick the middle one and change something. Does the page go up or down?

This is a way to test the algorithm and on-page SEO myths.

In addition, I’m part of a strong SEO group that shares information, so testing and finding results are easier to find.

Affiliate marketing can be a lucrative revenue stream for online businesses. What are some tips for choosing the right affiliate programs and successfully promoting them while traveling?

You have different levels. Amazon is the easiest but usually the least lucrative. They generally have every product imaginable, so they work for most websites.

However, you want to find affiliate networks that pay more. Start by searching for products in your industry and see how people are promoting them. What platform are they using? Or does the brand have a direct affiliate system set up?

To increase commissions, focus on bringing the average order value (AOV) up by recommending products that go well together.

Time management is essential for any entrepreneur, but even more so when running a business remotely. What does your typical workday look like while traveling, and how do you maintain a healthy work-life balance?

Doing SEO, you can use a lot of tools. This helps you keep track of rankings, ensuring you only work on pages that need attention.

I also plan work out in batches; this helps me focus on getting more done in a specific timeframe.

What are some essential tools or resources you rely on to manage your online business effectively while on the move?

My setup is fairly minimal; I use a keyword/backlink tool and Google’s own products: Sheets, Docs, etc. Also, I use a lot of AI tools like ChatGPT and Perplexity, which not only benefit me but also my team.

I use Slack to communicate with my small team. I hire from Upwork when I need more staff for certain tasks. This saves me a lot of time and allows me to focus on my business.

Looking back, what is the biggest lesson you’ve learned about building an online business while traveling, and what advice would you give your younger self just starting out?

To focus more on one project and really go in on it, I have the tendency to keep starting new projects without growing one far past the income it’s currently at.

Thanks for sharing your knowledge and expertise. Is there anything else you’d like to add?

I’m sharing my techniques and tactics publicly; people can join my free newsletter at oliver.com/newsletter. It can be hard to believe money can be made while traveling and only through affiliate marketing, so I want to shed some light on the subject.

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