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Side Project Marketing and Link Building Case Studies

22 example(s) in this category

I Can Only Hope of Ever Building Something As Creative as

43,000 Facebook Shares, 11,800 Backlinks

As soon as I set eyes on this website I knew it would have impressive numbers to go with it, even if it only consists of a single page.

I wasn’t wrong.

With over 43,100 shares on Facebook and links from 1,570 different websites, is the epitome of what it takes to create something remarkable and be rewarded for your efforts.

What I’m even more impressed by is that they’ve elegantly integrated an opt-in form into the header and footer of the website, which assuming is their only form of lead generation, has brought them over 44,000 subscribers.

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I Have Way Too Many Ideas to Replicate The Success of This Side Project

148,000 Facebook Likes, 1,450 Referring Domains

While I really liked yesterday’s case study, I did struggle to come up with some great ideas to replicate it.

That’s not the case with, a side project designed to quite simply let you know how long you spent binge watching something, or how long it will take to binge watch something.

The site went viral on Facebook and picked up links from almost 1,500 websites, so while it’s something I’m not sure people will keep coming back to, its fun enough from at least one use to share with others.

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This Simple Side-Project Averages 300,000 Pageviews Per Month

300,000 Monthly Pageviews, 333 Referring Domains

There are a few things that surprise me about today’s case study.

The first is that the site receives a lot of traffic for having links from a (relatively) small number of sites, and the second is that 67% of their traffic comes from search, when I thought direct would be the dominant source of visitors. is the descriptive domain for a daily gallery of fonts being used in the real world.

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This Side Project for “Lazy” People Has Over 40,000 Backlinks

40,400 Backlinks / 1,860 Referring Domains

If Detailed isn’t your first introducing to my writing, you may be familiar with Gaps, where I once did a challenge to build a profitable startup in 28 days.

In my article revealing the niche I was tackling, I went into quite a lot of detail on the topic of ‘condensed learning‘ and the companies that were making a lot of money from it.

Today’s example – (the DR stands for “Didn’t read”) – gives you something else in a more consensed format: The Terms of Service forms you agree to when you sign-up to popular websites.

While this side-project has no doubt succeeded because it provides a genuinely useful offering, in my last link I’ve shown they’re not the only site to have became hugely successful from condensing longer information.

  • Philosophers Notes condenses the best business books and reaches millions of people per month
  • BBC’s two-minute daily podcast recapping the news is one of their most popular
  • Blinkist is generating millions of dollars by making it easier for people to get the main points of a book
  • Youtube channels around animated book summaries are exploding in popularity

What is often produced in long-form content that you could condense for other people?

Books are a bit of a saturated market, and we know Terms of Service’s aren’t an option either.

I truly expect you to have better ideas than me of other ways to implement this, but a few thoughts off the top of my head:

  • 5-minute summaries of the best podcasts in your space (that typically go on for one hour or more)
  • 300 word briefs of the best political articles (e.g. New York Times 5,000+ word articles, summarised)
  • The key points of the best free eBooks in your niche
  • Rate restaurants by the first sentence of every single critics’ review

This one is a little more tricky for me as I remember struggling with it back when I started the case study. Funnily, my own version of summarising content proved to be a little too popular.

Hopefully in the niche you’re working in there’s some ‘obvious’ long-form content (whether that’s text, audio or video) that you think your audience would love to see produced in a more digestible way.

If so, you may be on to something special.

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How to Combine This Idea + Your Niche to Pick Up Thousands of Backlinks

4,370 Backlinks / 1,450 Referring Domains

As you’ve likely seen time and time again with my updates here at Detailed, some of the most successful content marketing case studies are incredibly simple.

That rule rings true with todays example from, who provide a tool that gives you suggestions on which fonts go well with any other font that you input.

If you don’t trust your own creative eye when it comes to web design, Canva help make sure your site has a clean look throughout.

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This New Weather Side-Project Has Already Picked up 25,000 Backlinks

24,400 Backlinks / 370 Referring Domains

Who knew that a new website about raining would be drowning in link juice?

Terrible opening sentences aside, the side project I’m about to share with you is almost like a weather version of which lets you know if a website is online or your internet is playing up.

IsItRaining.In let’s you – you guessed it – check any city to see if it’s currently raining in that area. Simply put a forward slash and type in a city name and you’ll get results for a particular area.

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This Seasonal School Website Absolutely Dominated Google for Three Months

3.5 Million Visitors in a Single Month

Though I like looking into the SEO success of other websites, I don’t want to reveal too much about today’s success story.

I don’t think it’s fair if they suddenly get a lot of competition from my post, so instead don’t see this as a site to copy, but view it as proof that there’s a lot of traffic to be had if you focus on a seasonal topic. went from practically no traffic to over 3 million visitors per month recently, no doubt helped by the number of children going back to school and not knowing what items to bring with them.

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Five ____: Fill in the Blank for an Incredible Side Project Idea

1,620 Referring Domains

It’s funny. I have over 300 content marketing case studies in my spreadsheet to write about here at Detailed, and then I find a cool site on Twitter and it instantly jumps to the front of my publishing queue.

That’s what happened today when my friend Rob shared, a site with the simple aim of sharing the five best books on (literally) any topic.

The site has picked up 117,000 links from over fifteen hundred websites, and has faired well on social media with the homepage picking up 4,000 Facebook likes as well.

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The Powerful Reason This Site Has 741,000 Links From Just 494 Sites

741,000 Backlinks / 1,700 Facebook Shares

When I started out online, before there was Facebook and Twitter, I would browse message boards (forums) on topics I was interested in.

Message boards back then allowed people to include images and links in the signature of your posts – and many still do – that people would use to share details on their life.

One popular thing people would add to their forum signatures were countdowns, to certain milestones in life.

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How Running A Premium Competition Can Win You More Than Prizes

14,000 Facebook Shares / 2,600 Backlinks

Almost 50 years ago, Andy Warhol famously said: “In the future, everyone will be famous for 15 minutes”.

Today, it seems programs like American Idol and platforms like Instagram fulfill this prophecy every few days. And even if the fame is short-lived, the people who provide the opportunity still receive a lot of credit.

Popular Fitness magazine Men’s Health tapped into the enduring quest for fame with their “Ultimate Guy Search”. Since beginning in 2014, it has received over 14,000 Facebook shares and picked up 2,600 backlinks.

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Here’s Why You Should Be the First to Build a ‘Pocket Guide’ For Your Niche

200 Referring Domains / 3,000 Facebook Shares

If you’ve been involved in your niche online for even just a few weeks, it’s likely you’ve found a few common questions that pop-up, or even the most commonly referenced sources for answering them.

Today’s example shows how you could build a side-project to create a resource for your industry that people might not know they need…until you make it for them.

When Benedikt Lehnert created A Pocket Guide To Master Every Day’s Typographic Adventure it started gaining traction overnight and has since received 3,000 Facebook shares and links from over 200 different websites.

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Create This One Resource and Become A Rockstar In Your Niche

10,000 Backlinks / 340 Referring Domains

When you first enter a new niche, things can seem a bit overwhelming. A common research tactic – seeking out authoritative bloggers in your space – can certainly help make things easier.

Doing this provides great insights into popular content, backlink opportunities and possible networking opportunities, too.

Even if you’re already established in the space, it pays to know what (and more importantly how) the competition is doing.

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My One-Page Website That Reached 9,000 People On Its First Day of Launch

9,000 uniques / homepage of hacker news

A few days ago I wrote about someone who created the world’s pinkest pink and went viral by refusing to sell it to the rights holder of the world’s blackest black.

If you can take advantage of something that other people will get behind – lots of artists didn’t like just one person owning the blackest black – then you too have a chance of going viral.

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