Welcome to my comprehensive Fat Stacks review. Yes, this is where I finally get to share my thoughts on Jon Dykstra’s Blogging Course Bundle. So, sit back and grab a coffee!
I purchased the Fat Stacks Course Bundle that contains multiple blogging and niche website-building-related courses all combined into a single bundle.
I have spent 40+ hours going through the paid modules, some repeatedly. I’ve also spent considerable time contributing and interacting on the Fat Stacks community forum.
Before I purchased the Fat Stacks Courses, I spent many hours listening to Jon Dykstra’s podcast. He has a nice rounded mix of actionable content within his back catalog of episodes. I absorbed his published videos on YouTube.
Not only that, but I also digested the various interviews that Jon Dykstra has done on notable podcasts and YouTube channels such as Authority Hackers, Spencer Haws’ Niche Pursuits, and Doug Cunnington’s Niche Site Project to name but a few.
So, you’re definitely on the right page if you want to find out:
- Is the Fat Stacks course worth it?
- Does Jon Dykstra earn what he claims he does?
- Is it possible to get a discount for the Fat Stacks courses?
- Is the course bundle legit or just another making money online scam?
Fat Stacks Review – The Blogging Course Bundle At A Glance
The Elevator Pitch: The Fat Stacks blogging course bundle includes several modules covering from the initial niche selection to scaling up by building a content team.
The Cost: $499 for the first year. Renews at $47 (Jon will provide a discount code upon renewal time.)
The Pros: The bundle is affordable, comprehensive, no BS, and highly practical. The course creator is someone in the trenches who practices what he preaches, and he earns a decent living from it.
The Cons: No significant cons of note. Some beginners may miss a strict “follow this exact path” step-by-step approach. However, Jon does (now) suggest an order to take the modules.
The Bottom Line: Overall, I’m happy to recommend the Fat Stacks Blogging Course Bundle. At just under $500, it’s worth it.
Before we get stuck in, what’s my professional background, and why am I writing this review?
Hey, I’m Keith and I’ve been running my own business on a full-time basis since 2006. Most of my leads come in via my website that I originally built in pure HTML and later ported to WordPress. I started learning SEO as a hobby around 2000 and used my knowledge to outrank my local competition.
In 2020, I decided to diversify my income by building some niche-focused sites and monetize them via display ads and affiliate marketing. Before this, I also owned and developed (via bootstrapping) a lead generation website. I ran this for several years before making a successful exit by selling to a competitor.
Nobody asked nor paid me to write this review. I purchased the course with my own money in September 2020. The purpose of this review is to help people who may be on the fence about buying the Fat Stacks Bundle.
Hopefully, they can take comfort because I’m a genuine real-world customer writing this review to help people make a decision. I’m not a serial online course reviewer writing with the sole intention to rank and bank.
Instead, this blog, Minted Empire, is a creative outlet, a journal that documents the building of my niche and authority websites.
I purchased the Fat Stacks bundle because I simply liked Jon Dykstra’s no-nonsense approach to creating monetized websites.
Let’s dive in.
The Best How To Build A Niche Website Course?
The Fat Stacks Course Bundle is the second ‘how to blog’ course I have taken. It’s the first course review I’ve ever written. In my opinion, it’s the best how to build a niche or affiliate site course that I’ve taken so far.
I’m not alone, as you can see from these other reviews.
Here’s just one testimonial (taken from the Fat Stacks Bundle Sales Page).
About The Fat Stacks Brand
Fat Stacks is an educational “how to blog” brand created by the well-known and successful niche site publisher Jon Dykstra.
Since 2014, Jon has been actively writing about his online business journey via his Fat Stacks Blog.
So, who is Jon Dykstra?
Jon Dykstra is a former practicing lawyer who has been making a full-time living from online publishing since 2012. He achieves this by finding low competition keywords and publishing a high volume of quality content that addresses the search intent for those keywords.
Based in Vancouver, Canada, the Breaking Bad fan doesn’t focus on active link building. Instead, he selects niches that interest him, and together with his team of writers, he writes content designed to acquire backlinks naturally.
Jon is a well-respected guy within the online blogging world. His famous newsletter is worth subscribing to if you have any interest in blogging or online digital marketing.
His newsletter is well written and deserves a prize for originality regarding those creative niche website-building analogies that he regularly sprinkles in.
Simply put, Jon Dykstra is the real deal.
How is Jon Dykstra’s approach different?
I’ve watched free YouTube videos from countless bloggers who promise you quick and easy ways to make a small fortune from blogging and affiliate marketing.
Jon Dykstra is a straight talker who calls it like it is. He advises on his pre-sales page that it’s not easy to make money from blogging, and success is not guaranteed. He is one of the few online marketing teachers who are actually in the trenches practicing what they preach.
Jon’s approach is no-nonsense; skip the fluff and get straight to the point of the lesson. He teaches niche site ranking methods that have been tried and tested by him.
Others teach techniques that are more experimental and less proven.
What is a Niche Site?
A niche site is an informational website built around a particular topic or a group of subtopics. It targets a specific set of people by publishing content that is highly likely to be of interest.
It is typical for niche websites to be monetized by display ads, affiliate marketing, information products, courses, or lead generation. There are other monetization methods, but they are the main ones for our simple niche site definition.
What happened to the Niche Tycoon course?
As Jon’s monetization methods changed over time, so too did the techniques he teaches.
Fat Stack Entrepreneur’s Niche Tycoon course was discontinued by Jon some time ago. It focussed mainly on how Jon monetized his websites via Google AdSense.
Fat Stacks Blogging Course Review
What courses are available from Fat Stacks?
The course bundle has changed significantly over the past six months. There have been several new modules added. Once you pay for the course bundle, you will receive updates and new additions for as long as you are a member.
Who should take these course modules?
In Jon’s own words, the Fat Stacks Bundle is suitable for both beginners and more advanced Internet marketers. I’ll add that it’s also ideal for inbetweeners. I’d class myself as an inbetweener, and I feel I got a lot of value from my purchase.
Who should NOT take these courses?
The course is not for anyone who wants to get rich quickly. It’s also not for people who don’t want to put in the work. In my view, it’s simply not possible to get rich quickly without putting in A LOT of hard work and effort.
Sure, there might be an occasional fluke or outlier or somebody who knows what they are doing. However, for the rest of us, including Jon, it takes hard work and a lot of patience to become successful at blogging.
If you do happen to see a course that sells that promise, avoid and save your money.
How is the Fat Stacks Course Bundle structured?
The following course structure and pricing are correct as of mid-April 2021. Clearly, there is a lot of value on offer.
This course covers the method of how Jon selects and decides upon a particular niche. He has launched many sites in different niches. He’ll openly admit that some became a big success and others were flops.
Niche choice is a vital component to how successful a site will become. I know all about poor niche choices from personal experience.
This course is not currently available separately.
Long Tail Deep Dive
The long tail deep dive module is all about Jon’s keyword research method. He goes deep with an over-the-shoulder video. Jon reckons this is the most important course in the bundle.
I’d say it’s the second most important after niche selection. Jon quite rightly says that the right keyword selection makes all the difference.
On its own, this course costs $197.
Jon, again by his own admission, is not a technical SEO guy. He doesn’t get too deep into the SEO weeds. Maybe part of me would like it if Jon did go more in-depth into technical SEO, but he can’t be everything to everyone.
Also, he seems to work mainly with the 80/20 rule in mind. He’d rather be publishing additional content instead of gaining that extra 0.1% SEO value. Jon is acutely aware of the law of diminishing returns. Respect.
His on-site SEO course is on point, covers all the basics, and is AMPLE knowledge for beginners to implement what they need to know to get excellent results. Removing my pedantic hat, I can’t fault it.
This course costs $147 separately.
Display Ads Deep Dive
Before taking this course, I didn’t know much about display ads and how to optimize ad revenue. This course covers how Jon uses Ezoic and Google Adsense his way. He shares the ad layouts that have worked well for him in the past.
By the way, Ezoic sometimes runs an early access program offering a chance for newer bloggers and sites with less traffic to start monetizing. I’m a customer.
This display ads module is usually priced separately at $97.
Affiliate Marketing Fat Stacks Style
Jon says that his primary source of niche site income is display ads. However, his revenue stream from affiliate commissions is growing steadily.
In this course, he teaches his techniques that earn him 5-figures in affiliate income each month. It teaches how to get the most from your affiliate links and much more.
This course is not currently available separately.
Linkbuilding in the traditional outreach sense is a significant part of other courses in the make money online blogging space.
I’m not a fan of feeling like I need to build links to make my website successful. I did link outreach in the distant past, back when it was safer. However, I always felt it was like building your house on sand.
Yes, we all know the right links at the correct velocity currently work. But, doing aggressive link building can mean that you’re potentially just a single Google algorithm update away from being completely wiped out.
Jon Dykstra was like a breath of fresh air to me when he said he builds his current niche websites without actively building links.
He focuses on creating content that has a decent chance to attract links naturally. This course teaches his methods in an easy-to-follow format.
The module is priced separately at $97.
Content Site Autopilot
This course teaches Jon’s steps to scale his content production while keeping a close eye on quality and costs.
This module is my personal favorite. I eventually want to scale my business big. I’ll be doing this course again. Multiple times when the timing is right for me.
Separately, this module costs $197.
Jon teaches this course as a way to introduce traffic diversification. He covers the tactics he uses to grow his monthly traffic from Pinterest. It’s smart not to rely exclusively on Google organic traffic.
This course individually costs $197.
This course examines ways that your site can earn more revenue by thinking outside of display ads and affiliate as being the only sources of income. It looks at the potential of B2B and B2C angles for your niche.
The regular price for this course is $147.
Jon has recently added 8 videos where he reveals the lengthy process he went through to speed up and optimize his websites ahead of the upcoming Google Page Experience Update. Figure out the steps you need to take to achieve higher Core Web Vitals.
A few months back, Jon sold some of his websites via the Motion Invest marketplace. After commission, he made about $200K. Not too shabby! In this module, Jon chats about what he learned in this process and what he’d do differently next time.
This module is a great one to go through if you eventually plan to sell your website or blog.
This module covers how Jon has grown the organic Facebook traffic to his website.
On his own admission, this module is hit & miss. It definitely won’t work in every niche and for every Facebook page. There are so many variables at play and Facebook can change its algorithm whenever they please. The module covers what has worked for Jon. Your mileage may vary. But, as it’s included in the module, it’s definitely no harm to watch. You’ll probably learn something useful.
Fat Stacks private forum access
Included within the bundle is access to the private Fat Stacks community forum. I personally use and engage in the community. I’ve learned so much since I joined.
Separately, forum access costs $47 annually.
The Fat Stacks Private Community
When you purchase any module from Jon, you also receive access to the Fat Stacks forum.
The Fat Stacks private forum is reasonably active. From what I can tell as a member, on average, approximately 10 to 20 discussion threads will be active within any given 24 hour period.
That’s a nice flow of conversation. It’s not over-saturated, and it’s not a vacuum. It’s a nice balance.
The vibe is friendly, and newbies are welcome. That’s how I felt when I signed up six months ago.
There are many knowledgeable and helpful community members with an open willingness to share success tips.
The membership’s level of experience ranges from beginners just getting started up to expert-level members who run numerous high-earning sites.
There is an even gender balance – it’s not a male-dominated community.
Online marketing can be a lonely game for a blogger. Thankfully, the Fat Stacks community is about much more than just discussing blogging and niche site-building.
There isn’t a Facebook group because Jon is not a fan of Facebook and understandably he doesn’t want to build a community on someone else’s turf.
More so, Facebook groups don’t make it easy to scroll back through previous conversations when there is something specific that you wish to find.
The Fat Stacks community uses the Discourse platform – a slick and modern community software. It works great on desktop and mobile. Jon Dykstra, as the founder, is very active within the community. He interacts there on most weekdays, and he is always accommodating.
The forum categories are SEO, Niche Websites, Content, Monetization, Tool/Resources, Case Studies, Legal Issues/Accounting, Jon’s Emails, Outsourcing, Building Websites, Social Media, Intros, Email Marketing, Productivity, and Site Feedback.
As it’s a paid community, it doesn’t attract spam. Come to think of it, I haven’t seen a single spammy post there.
How much do the Fat Stacks courses cost?
OK, so if you were to add up all of the individual courses included within the Fat Stacks Package Bundle, it comes to $1,126.
Considering that the Fat Stacks Bundle’s regular price is only $499, it’s pretty much a total no-brainer.
If you sign up for Jon’s newsletter, you might hear if he’s running a time-limited promotion to sell the Fat Stacks Bundle at a discount.
You receive all of the courses and the community access, but Jon now includes his new home page Elementor template as part of the package.
He has tested that template on his niche sites’ home pages, and it has performed well for him.
Fat Stacks Refund Policy
On his sales page, Jon has a clear statement regarding his Fat Stacks Refund Policy. You have 30 days from purchase to request a full refund if you’re not satisfied with the training in any way.
So, it’s risk-free.
Positive Feedback for the Fat Stacks courses
Very Well Respected
Jon Dykstra is a well-respected personality within the online blogging community. He is regularly mentioned and featured by other established bloggers and niche/authority site builders, including Authority Hacker, Niche Pursuits, and many more.
Impressive Track Record
Instead of disclosing his full earnings, Jon paints a picture of what some of his niche site earnings look like via the income reports on his Fat Stacks Blog.
He regularly shares screenshots of his high five-figure monthly earnings from some of his websites. Importantly, those figures do not include the income from his Fat Stacks brand.
Jon comes across as an honest guy who simply tells it as it is. When it comes to online marketing, he has had a few hiccups along the way. Who hasn’t? He openly shares these setbacks and discusses what he has learned from them.
Jon’s style within his online training videos is straight up with zero waffle or fluff. He doesn’t mince his words. He’ll tell you straight up that he likes or doesn’t like certain things when it comes to blogging.
Jon isn’t big on in-depth technical SEO. He focuses on the easy wins more readily achievable by taking a white-hat approach to search engine optimization.
His practical and straightforward approach is good news for beginners and intermediate bloggers with less experience of making money online.
Jon focuses on doing the tasks that he likes, can systemize and potentially delegate to his team.
Not Pushy / No Upsells
Thinking back, it was probably about a month from when I first joined Jon’s mailing list until I finally signed up for the course. Never within that timeframe did I feel pushed or “sold to” to sign up.
All I received in the emails were solid chunks of inspiration or actionable content. So I can happily say that Jon’s approach is not pushy. Once you’re a course member, that’s it. You get everything that you expected to receive. There are no upsells.
Content Presented Well
Throughout the courses, the content is well presented. The modules are all hosted on Teachable, a well-known training platform.
There is a mix of video and text content. Some courses are only text-based, and on some occasions, I would have preferred if Jon had also presented a video to go along with this text content.
However, the text is focused, concise, and easy to understand.
The advantage of video content is that if I’m doing a mundane task like cutting the grass, I can stick a video on and listen in with my noise-canceling headphones and take an initial pass at absorbing the content. Then, later, I can read the text version and absorb it better.
My preference for more video is purely a personal preference thing. When learning, some people like video/audio only, some like text only, and others prefer a balanced mixture of both.
How can the Fat Stacks courses improve?
I initially felt the layout for the bundle of courses was a little disjointed. I wasn’t sure where to begin and which module to take first. I’d imagine that others felt the same way.
Within the community, I asked Jon for his opinion on where I should start. He quickly got on the case via a community reply, and shortly after, he updated the course to include a suggested order for taking the modules.
So it’s good to note that he listens to feedback and takes suggestions on board.
While penning this review in my head for the past while, I was initially planning to suggest that more frequent updates would be nice.
However, Jon has beaten me to this, and the course bundle has been updated recently with new modules and course content.
Anecodetely, from a quick look at the layouts of the courses offered by his competitors, Fat Stacks “stacks up” exceptionally well. That’s impressive given that the likes of Authority Hacker, Income School, and Matt Diggity’s Affiliate Lab all have larger dedicated teams whereas, Fat Stacks is a one-person show.
Just as an aside, I’m also a member of Income School’s Project 24, having joined it first. I’ll write a review soon. It has a very different approach to monetizing websites.
Perhaps another improvement would be if the Fat Stacks case study website, Cyclebaron.com, was integrated further throughout Jon’s other courses. The public case study website, Cyclebarron, was initially revealed in Jon’s free WordPress course.
There is an opportunity for Jon’s future course updates to use Cylebaron as an example to illustrate new techniques or for split-testing.
Who should take the courses?
The course bundle is pitched at various levels, from the complete newbie to more advanced online marketers.
I think most people will learn something from it. Many people will learn a lot from it.
That could be anything from learning an entirely new approach to finding great keywords or discovering how to effectively scale up content production for a small portfolio of niche websites.
There’s something there for everyone.
Jon Dykstra’s Free Course
Although this Fat Stacks review is more focused on his course bundle, Jon also has a free course that covers how to get your website set up using WordPress.
Fat Stacks Blogging Course Alternatives
I haven’t reviewed any of these courses below, so I can’t advise in detail on how they compare to the Fat Stacks bundle of courses.
- Project 24 from Income School
- The Authority Site System from Authority Hacker
- Affiliate Lab from Matt Diggity
- Passive Income Geek from Morten Storgaard
Are students having success with Fat Stacks courses?
Anecdotally, yes, they are having success with the Fat Stacks course.
The Fat Stacks bundle’s nature is that it’s a collection of independent and stand-alone course modules. It is not a “step 1 do this; step 2 do that” course on a macro level. I think over time, the course bundle might develop in that direction.
Within each stand-alone module, the detailed content contains a step-by-step approach.
If it sounds like I’ve contradicted myself there, I haven’t. It’s step by step at the micro level and not at the macro level. Yet.
Different people will have very different approaches as to how they tackle taking the course.
For this reason, you won’t find tons of examples of people saying they are X number of steps into the program followed by how things are going for them.
Nor will you find examples of people saying they’ve completed all 100 steps of Jon’s course, and now they’re making a ton. There are no 100 steps. It’s not that type of course.
Due to the very nature of the courses being entirely independent, the positive feedback I found is much more nuanced than that.
I found that people who have taken the Fat Stacks Bundle of courses have frequent small wins within different aspects of growing their websites. Given time, these small wins add up to great success.
From chatting with other members of the community, many of them have taken different elements from Jon’s courses and implemented them into their own publishing workflow.
Even just being part of the Fat Stacks community is like a mastermind course in itself.
I’ve personally gained a lot of knowledge from taking the various modules. I previously had an introductory understanding of online marketing, but it was all theoretical.
What I learned from these courses are the practical steps that I should take to improve specific parts of my blogging business.
Overall, the Fat Stacks bundle and forum access are like a masterclass for running an online business or niche blog. It helps you become a better affiliate marketer and teaches a system that can lead to a nice recurring monthly income.
It works. I recommend it. Blogging success won’t happen overnight, you have to work hard at it.
Thanks for reading my Fat Stacks review, I hope you enjoyed it.