My First Website

Please note some of the links in this post may contain affiliate links, which means that if you choose to make a purchase, I will earn a commission. As always any recommendations that I make are always based on my personal experiences with the product and I have not received any free products or anything else by these companies.

This is my story of “How I started making money online”.

In the Beginning

It was in fall of 2003 when I decided to move to Sydney. With very little cash I spent the first few months living on a friend’s couch and was having difficulties finding work in Sydney as I had very little contacts and friends.

Since leaving University with a Bachelors degree I was fortunate enough to find a job right away and spent the first half of my career sitting at a desk within the corporate world and now to having no job, cash flow or my own home. I was getting desperate, so I got a job working as a kitchen hand at a local steak house that paid minimum wage.

This was one of the first trying and most humbling part of my life. However, it gave me the strength and perseverance to do whatever it takes to fulfill my dreams.

I decided from that moment, I never wanted to feel so helpless in my life, I wanted to create and build something that would not put me in this situation again, something that would provide a constant cash flow so I would not have to worry again.


After a couple of months, still working everyday at the local steak house I managed to find a job back in the corporate world. I needed to start building my assets and working towards fulfilling my promise.

At this point I was still quite unsure what it was going to be but I had a gut feeling that the world of digital and online would take off over the next few years. So I tried selling stuff on Ebay, doing online surveys and even participated in paid to surf. Although I never achieved any great success from these activities but it taught me a great deal.

Then one day, I stumbled upon Webmasters World where I was reading about how people were making money from Google. This got me really excited and interested. Back then Google was really big and cool, they still are today!

So I began to dig a little deeper and did some research on how people were making money with Google. It was here that I was introduced to Google Adsense and into the world of pay per click (PPC). The best thing was it allowed Australians to participate. (Back then it was hard to find any programs that allowed International participants). As well I knew Google wouldn’t rip me off. 

To get into the program, I needed a website.

Choosing my Niche

I began to think of ideas around what niche market to work on that would be lucrative in terms of dollar value. What initially came to mind were electronics, cars, books and computers however, there was quite a lot of sites out there already. I needed something that would help me rank well on Google and didn’t have so many competing websites already up.

It was late one night while watching tv, I saw an infomercial called “Proactiv” an acne solution and a little bulb lit up. So I Google it and there was not much information. I watched a few more shows (infomercials) and tried to find information on these products online. There was very little out there in terms of information and dedicated sites. I realised then that I had found my niche market.

Writing Code

Back then, there was hardly anyone who had review sites, let alone for infomercials sites. So I decided to build a review site for infomercial products. I wanted to take advantage of the growing online community in terms of social bloggers and forums that people could share their thoughts (good/ bad) on the products they had bought and trialed.

Being a season programmer I built the website from scratch, yes from scratch. Coding one page at a time. I made it interactive as well, it allowed my readers to rate and share their experiences with the products they had previously bought. It took me quite sometime to develop and build the site (I wish I knew about WordPress all those years ago).

My First Website

Infomercial Review

My First Website – Infomercial Review

After one month of coding I finally finished my website. In May of 2005 I launched Infomercial Review.

About 6 months after launching, I received my first cheque from Google of $150.00. I still remember the day it came via snail mail, I finally made my first real money from online. I started thinking about how I could turn my $150 dollars into a consistent flow of money so I could eventually leave the rat race.

I knew I had a long way to go, to achieve a full time income from this business I needed more. For the next 3 years I was spending nearly every spare waking moment researching new products, reviewing and updating the content, and finding new ways to increase more traffic to Infomercial Review.

Then in 2009, Infomercial Review really took off. It began to make over $1000 a month.


773,882 unique people have visited my site
2362 Consumers wrote reviews
348764 readers found that the reviews were useful
595 Product Reviews
133623 Ranked for keywords
~$35,000 in Revenue from Google Adsense, Amazon and various Affiliate Programs.

However I only started recording these statistics from Google Analytics as it was not available until 2006.


Infomercial Review is still a consistent moneymaker for me, but due to the increase of competition and various Google Search updates my traffic has slowed down quite dramatically.

I have seen all the highs and lows of Google updates including Penguin but it was the most recent one that Google released called Panda which really took a big hit on my website.

For years Google loved it but then last year it decided it no longer thought my website was valid and relevant hence my ranking dropped significantly. From a SEO perspective, this website is as “white hat” as it can be. I never had to do any link building, cause as you can see from the above statistics I ranked for over 133,000 different keywords.


I have new plans for this site to take it back to its former glory. I think it’ll be a great working case study to take an existing site and rejuvenate it to see if it can once again rise from the ashes.

If you like to give it Infomercial Review some loving, feel free to share the website with your friends and family or simply take a look to see how I built my very first website.

The one thing I will leave you with today that I learnt from building Infomercial Review is, “Always do your research before you buy” especially when it comes to new products. Take the time to read real people’s comments on their experiences but ultimately, make the decision that is best for you.


6 Replies

  1. Great post,
    I still remember my very first site must have been in the 90’s or very early 2000’s I don’t have it anymore wish I did as whoever has it now didn’t do much either. If I knew then what I know now lol.

    Truth is when I first saw your screenshot I immediately though bs (sorry I was wrong) I saw your screenshot and site start date, figured it was supposed to be the original site screenshot but It has twitter and especially pinterest on it lol. —–I realize it is your current site as of today— Pretty good site. Like the concept. I have some review sites but they are more niche oriented, funny you should mention proactive as acne was an old niche site I had a long time might have been my first niche site actually. Very competitive. I gave up on that one but I was new at niche sites then.

    Have you tried less adsense and more amazon? Pushing the amazon sales? Maybe pulling in clickable amazon reviews as well. Just curious if you have done any split testing on a few of your products that get similar traffic.

    Keep up this site, let me know when you get a facebook and twitter page so I can follow and like. I will jump over and like your other site as well, not sure how much good that will be though. Good luck man.

    1. Norm

      Thanks Rookie,

      Wow you had a website before Y2K Bug impressive!

      Adsense works well in this niche and not so much for Amazon as most of the Infomercial Products are new and generally not available on Amazon until couple months later.

      Stay tune, I be reworking the site .. again. I wish I kept snapshots of all the revisions it has gone through over the years! I think I turn it into a real Case Study.

  2. Hey Norm, fascinating story! So what are your plans to rejuvenate the Infomercial Review site?

    1. Norm

      Hi Leighton,

      Good question. There are 3 things I am looking into at the moment including
      1. Is my site been penalised by Google? (I don’t think it is, but will look at disavow tool and reconsideration options)
      2. Build more emphasis on building the mailing list
      3. Redesign of the site. Most likely get someone professional to better divvy the realestate up a bit more, make more attractive to visitors. (Looks too much like a wireframe!)

      There are so much more I can do but right now but thats a good start. Would you have any suggestion?

  3. msj

    I found your website by clicking on the link when you posted onYaro’s. I am looking for someone who has some new insight or just different than the regular make money online blogs. I will check back hopefully you will post more.

    1. Sorry for the lack of updates, I have been concentrating on writing on big picture strategies rather than writing for the sake of it. I have a new article coming up soon called “How to Build a Niche Empire”, so stay tune.

      I currently have a various projects running including autoblogs, ppv, email, cpa and many more so hopefully I can give people more insights in the various strategies and ways you can make money online.

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