Alexander Stoicoff is a successful SEO expert with a pet peeve. He felt that men, in particular, didn’t really know how to dress. He felt that when they wore suits, they had trouble matching them with other garments. So he set out to do something about it.
He created Suits Expert in 2016 as a side hustle in his quest to provide expert guidance on suits and teach men how to dress better. Applying his SEO knowledge to his niche site, he has seen steady growth in traffic and revenue since the beginning, and today he’s bringing home up to $10k per month.
This interview is packed with lots of great insight as Alexander shares the tips and tricks he has used to grow his menswear blog.
Keep reading to find out:
- Why he created his website
- The 3 things he focused on in the beginning
- Where his income comes from
- How he addresses topical relevance
- How much he works on his site
- His thoughts on SEO
- His approach to keyword research
- His thoughts on link building
- How he creates content
- How he grows and manages his email list
- The resources and tools he uses
- His main challenge
- His greatest accomplishment
- His biggest mistake
- His advice for other entrepreneurs
Meet Alexander Stoicoff
I’m 33 years old, married, and live in a small country in the Balkans called Macedonia.
I graduated in computer engineering in 2013 but decided to focus on entrepreneurship and things that will provide long-term financial freedom. That same year, I founded Adivius, a digital marketing agency, and have focused on SEO ever since.
Throughout my professional journey, I’ve worked with some big clients in many competitive niches. Also, I taught young marketers the subject of SEO at a prominent digital marketing academy in my country for two years.
In private, I’m fairly pragmatic and like to live a relatively simple and responsible life. I have a passion for sports and particularly enjoy skiing and playing tennis.
Why He Created His Website
Suits Expert started as a side job back in 2016.
As I got older, I realized people, particularly men, were dressing immaturely.
And even when newer generations wore suits, they either wore them wrong or didn’t know how to match them with other garments like shirts, shoes, let alone ties.
And the results on Google were weak and limited. There were images, but the explanations were awful. So, the opportunity was there.
I decided to build a site that will truthfully help men dress better and learn more about formal attire in general. My long-term goal was to make men more confident in their formal wardrobe choice, as I believe everyone is only afraid of the unknown.
Retrospectively, I believed I’d build something successful, given my interest and understanding of the subject. But I never thought it would become as prominent on the subject as it is today.
So, I started writing about subjects that people wanted answers for. Only straightforward information and advice, nothing boring and unnecessary content.
I focused on three things: well-organized content, strong and relevant interlinking between the posts, and helpful visual content. And the grow recipe was set at the moment the site started ranking. For me, it meant that quality > quantity.
What’s interesting is that Suits Expert started as a zero backlink project. I was confident that Google would recognize helpful and well-organized content. Something that’s harder to do today, but more on that later…
Since then, I have started a lot of projects (which I’ll keep in private). Some of them turned out to be successful. Some didn’t and were a nice playground for testing. I also wanted to replicate this in other niches, and I was in a hurry. But I also realized this: There are no shortcuts.
Good projects take time, especially with Google.
How Much Money He’s Making
I started monetizing Suits Expert 4 years ago when I joined Mediavine. It was then that I realized people can make a full-time living from blogging. Since then, the revenue is constantly growing.
I recently transitioned to Raptive, one of the largest ad networks when it comes to lifestyle blogging.
Suits Expert currently earns $7-$10k monthly, of which 80% comes from display ads.
This percentage indicates a vast room for improvement on the affiliate marketing front. Increasing the income by 30-50% and taking the affiliate part more seriously is something fairly doable if I wasn’t focused on multiple projects.
I’ve leveraged platforms like Amazon Associates, Share a Sale, Awin, and CJ for affiliate marketing, which contribute 15% of the site’s revenue. Meanwhile, paid brand collaborations and other direct brand advertisements add up to 5% of the site’s revenue.
The key to achieving this level of revenue has been my unwavering commitment to quality. Every article is published to genuinely help searchers and readers, with a lot of images and visuals.
Suits Expert gets around 200 to 300k visitors per month (depending on the month) with a little more than 200 articles. Considering the niche, that’s a good number.
It shows you can do a lot when you have well-written, optimized, helpful articles designed to answer a problem the search engine user has.
For example, my article on men’s suit styles allows me to go in-depth and cover every subtopic, e.g., single-breasted vs. double-breasted suits, etc.
This type of topical, relevant content allows me to easily interlink between posts using the power of SEO.
How Much Alexander Works on His Site
First, I want to point out that Suits Expert provides a passive income that allows me to skip working on the site for some time. It’s not like the rankings will disappear if I stop publishing for a week or two.
That said, I used to work a small number of hours per week on the site. Over the last two years, I started prioritizing it and started working 4 hours daily (on average).
Again, Suits Expert is not a full-time job. So, considering all projects, I usually work 9-12 hours.
Several people are involved in the project, including a content manager, a content writer who helps me craft some beautiful words, a graphic designer who helps me with the images, and recently, a video editor who will help me with our new YouTube video series. Make sure to subscribe to check out our newly coming videos!
His Thoughts on SEO
The marketing strategy we chose was to rely on SEO and search engines. So, it means finding the right keywords and carefully curating content on the topic. It’s an old game that everyone plays, but not everyone executes it properly.
SEO is crucial for Suits Expert. Almost 95% of the traffic comes from search engines.
Our strategy is based on producing helpful content. It aligns with our goals to create articles that are easier to find and genuinely help readers find the correct answers.
While tactics may vary slightly, we try applying the standard SEO practices (topical relevance, careful internal linking, keyword optimization, competitor analysis, etc.) and content marketing strategies (outreach, social media, etc.)
My motto has always been that “SEO is about helping people find the answers they need.” It’s a different perspective when you place your reader’s needs first. It really helps you create something better.
We use two approaches to find keywords we can cover.
The first ones are evergreen keywords with Ahrefs. Here, we’re particularly interested in the search volume and the keyword difficulty.
Another essential thing is topical relevance. I want to make sure a lot of keywords are covered on one topic (for example, suit colors) before we move to another topic (for example, dress codes).
Ahrefs is an awesome tool for competitor analysis as well. I won’t get too technical here, but you can always peek at what your competitors rank for and how they get their traffic by exploring their keywords.
Here’s a tip: The ideal scenario is a decent keyword (or group of keywords) with 5k+ monthly searches with low difficulty. Believe me, there are plenty of these keywords that are still not covered properly or are only partially covered.
Ahrefs has an excellent (and free) metric on keyword difficulty, and it tracks easy keywords (below 10 score) as green and medium (11-30) as medium green. That’s your aim for the start.
The second type is trending keywords; we also use Google Keyword Planner to track these. We also cover trending topics (for example, dress like David Beckham) by finding the balance of monthly searches and how long this keyword will be popular and searched.
This is very important. Consider the links as votes. Your competitors would have a lot of votes at this point while you’re just starting up. It would take a lot of effort to get recognized by relevant sources and a lot of outreach to grab their attention.
But once the industry notices you, things happen “more naturally.” If you’re a relevant and helpful source of information, more and more sites will link to your content naturally.
What works best is creating and publishing something unique, whether it’s trending or highly-helpful content, an infographic, or a video. Then, try to find and pitch to relevant sites that might want to use that particular content and reach out.
When pitching to relevant sites, be sure to talk less about yourself and praise the person you’re contacting. Everybody wants to be complimented for their work.
I see this from another perspective as well… Suits Expert receives at least 50 emails a day. I barely reply to one.
Offering to write content for other sites in order to get a backlink doesn’t (or rarely) works. A top-level site would never accept content from someone outside of their collaborative network unless you’re a top name in the industry. Then, it’s a totally different game.
His Content Creation Process
First, I do keyword research. I set up the whole map of keywords long before I start writing about them. Remember, the point was to create a topical relevance on a specific topic.
We store all main keywords on ClickUp, an online project management app that allows you to manage tasks and data. For example, if I want to write about the “different suit styles,” I store this keyword as an open task inside the app that awaits to be processed.
Once I start working on a particular keyword, I delve into the topic by doing competitor analysis, checking the correct terms and keywords I’ll have to use, and creating a well-organized heading structure for the content. Tools like Surfer help a lot here.
For example, I (we) create SERP analysis for a specific keyword (different suit styles). The tool automatically tells me which keywords are important when creating content for this specific article.
So now the keyword mapping (keywords that evolve around the topic “different suit styles”) starts. And I like to do it the old-fashioned way. I create a Word document with approximate word count, recommended h1 and SEO titles, primary, secondary, and tertiary keywords, other words to include, sources, etc.
I won’t get too technical about the writing, as everyone has a different writing style. All I can say is: be on point. Use shorter sentences and short paragraphs. Respect people’s time and point them to the right answer.
Alexander’s Email List
We have a decent email list that we use only for high-tier publishing. We grow it by displaying pop-ups and sidebar subscription fields.
By decent, I mean relatively small. There are around 5000 emails on the list. Since we don’t have an active newsletter and frequent email campaigns, we use the list to promote new articles we just published that are high-quality and that would only make sense to “promote.”
For example, if summer just arrived and we’ve just published “wedding attire for summer.” In that case, we’ll email that we just published the best outfit examples for weddings this summer with a brief description of the post.
Emails are one of our top priorities for Suits Expert, and we’re working on it right now. Soon, we’ll try to increase our subscribers by providing coupons to major clothiers, offering a free course via pop-up, and targeted messages on specific posts.
For example, on the “best affordable suits” post, we can give a coupon code for one of our affiliates by asking the reader to enter their email.
His Favorite Resources
SEO is crucial for a blogging site like mine. That’s why I wholeheartedly recommend reading Backlinko. He has some awesome guides when it comes to keyword research, on-page SEO, link building, etc.
There are plenty of video and YouTube resources as well. I remember I watched the “Affiliate Lab” course some time ago. It teaches doing something very similar to what I’m doing with Suits Expert.
I’ll talk more about momentum below, but right now, YouTube is trending. If you’re starting in something similar, learn how to build a strong channel and do something meaningful with it so you can monetize it easily.
His YouTube Channel
YouTube is one of our top priorities for Suits Expert. People are looking for quick and visual answers, and I want to start turning every post into a video.
One of my first impressions is that good video editing isn’t cheap but worth it. People want interesting visual details, and the small things will make them subscribe.
If you’re just starting out, the best advice I can give to people is to get out in front of the camera and do the recordings themselves. Learn some video editing software (like Adobe Premier); they’re easier than they seem to start.
And you don’t need expensive equipment but, rather, a vision for your channel. Like creating a blog site, you’ll need a specific topic to create videos about, questions to answer, and problems to solve so your audience knows why they should follow your channel.
“You’ll only learn something if you’re willing to try it yourself. As soon as possible.”
His Go-To Tools
I organize everything with my team through ClickUp with Slack for communication, so I’ll count these as one.
For SEO, my bread and butter are Surfer and Ahrefs. But if Ahrefs is too expensive to start, use Google Keyword Planner as a substitute.
His Main Challenge
First, I want to emphasize that every challenge strengthened me and my business. What seemed scary back then seems trivial now.
At one point, one competitor turned on me for using his videos on my website, which made me willing to open my own YouTube channel and do my own videos.
The mantra I live by is never giving up and continually striving to learn from my mistakes.
Today, I’d say the biggest challenge is to make the businesses independent from me. It’s not easy finding and training a skilled and trustworthy team.
But with each obstacle, there’s a lesson to be learned, and I’m confident that the wisdom to conquer this challenge, too, is within reach.
His Greatest Accomplishment
My greatest accomplishment is not settling on a 9 to 5 job, pursuing my interests, and working hard to earn my financial freedom. This way, I’ve built a life I don’t need a vacation from.
I genuinely enjoy what I’m doing and don’t consider my work exhausting and tedious, even though I often work harder and longer than most people do.
What He Wishes He Knew When He Started
Timing is important. What works now will not work forever.
Most importantly, be open to forever learning new things!
His Biggest Mistake
That would probably be not focusing on one project only back when I was starting, in this case, Suits Expert.
I used to build and flip other sites, which took a lot of energy and time. While I made money out of them, looking back at things, Suits Expert would have brought much more value retrospectively with time.
His Advice for Other Entrepreneurs
Having a source of income is important. If you haven’t secured a stable cash flow for your business, consider a remote or even part-time job where you’ll also learn more about your business and earn the necessary experience to move it more rapidly.
Use time carefully, develop discipline, and be patient.
Work hard enough on one thing, and with a good plan, success will follow naturally.