CPA Exam Site Case Study: How to Build a Successful Online Business


What do you think it really takes to build a successful business online these days?

Most people are of the idea that what it really takes to build a successful blog is to be in a particular niche (for example, the “blogging” or “make money online” niche), or to have millions in budget.

The reality is that none of these is true, and what it really takes to build a successful online business might be simpler than you think.

As someone who markets a website that helps people prepare for their exams with CPA examination materials,  this article will be giving you a few tips using the website as an example.

Success is Scalable

Before going into the main case study, one thing I’d first like you to realize is that success is scalable.

What I mean by this is that success is dependent on your business model and your goals, and that success can be built on to achieve more success.

Of course, size is a factor, but size doesn’t necessarily indicate success; success is a balance between your input and output, and how it reflects your goals. does a lot to dominate the CPA study niche, and I hope by the time you finish reading this article you will have a couple of tips to help you grow your own online business.

Here are the 5 steps it takes to build a successful online business.

1. Have a USP

A USP, also known as Unique Selling Proposition, is the one (or more) thing that differentiates your business from every other business online; as a blogger or internet marketer, your USP will be the factor that differentiates your website from every other website in the same niche as yours.

This is getting more complicated every day as new online businesses are created, but you can always find a USP for yourself.

At, the USP is the technology; compared to most CPA study websites online, is designed to be compatible with almost every device on the planet.

You can access tests and study materials on your computer, and if you’re more of a mobile user you can download the mobile app to make your mobile experience superb.

Lesson: The takeaway here is to have a USP, and that no matter how tough your niche is there is always a way to be different from your competitor. If you can’t beat them at technology, beat them at customer support!

2. Have One Strong Focus

Every solid online business should have at least one main focus.

Of course, there are businesses that have a lot of purposes, but there should be a cornerstone; something that can explain what the business is all about, and something that can be used as an “anchor” for marketing.

At Fast Forward Academy that strong focus is the combination of all the exams.

There are various exams in the CPA study niche, but there are people who want to sit for all the exams. Of course, Fast Forward Academy offers all the exams separately, but we also realize that some people will appreciate a package. So we created a package and made it a focus.

For any other business, this could be one cornerstone product, and for others (like FFA) it could be a bundle of all the products at a discount.

You have to determine what will work for you depending on your business model.

Lesson: Always have a strong focus for your business, and let it be the anchor of your marketing.

3. Have Quality Design

We now live in a world where perception is reality, and where people judge books by its cover.

No matter how great your offering is, it is of no use if there’s no way to get people to realize how great it is.

In every business where success is essential, the need for great presentation should never be estimated. You should always spend enough time packaging your offer.

At Fast Forward Academy, the design has one main focus, and that main focus is to show the strength of our offering, and to let people see why we’re the best for their needs. Our USP is clearly nailed into this design, and our offer is clear at first sight.

This not only leads to customers, it gets people talking.

Lesson: Your design will often determine whether people will check out what you have to offer, or whether they will go knocking at your competitor’s door. Fail at design, and you fail at business. Focus your effort on having a design that communicates your message, and success will come.

4. Leverage the Power of Social Proof

Nothing attracts a crowd like a crowd.

People could care less what happens where no one is, but everybody flocks to that one place where the crowd is.

One major instrument for business success that has always been underestimated, and that is now more important than ever is social proof.

Of course, it’s good to have a great offer and good design, and it is good to have a clearly defined USP, but the impact these will have will be limited if people are not convince.

Do you think the best way to convince people to do something is to have the most persuasive copy? No, it is to let them know that a lot of other people are benefiting greatly from what you have to offer.

At, that social proof is the testimonial. There are dozens of testimonials that rotate automatically on the homepage, and these testimonials do a great job convincing people than almost every other element on the website.

Lesson: Use a crowd to attract a crowd; never neglect the importance of social proof.

5. Don’t Build it and Let them Come; Build it and Take it to Them

While all the above points shows how is designed to attract business success, one thing that isn’t obvious from the website, but that is highly instrumental to the success of the website, is the marketing.

A lot of marketing is done to grow the website, but that isn’t obvious from the website.

Press releases are being distributed, PPC marketing is being implemented, and dozens of quality guest posts are written monthly. These, are what it really takes for the business to grow.

Of course, the website has to be almost perfect to draw in business, but that doesn’t matter if nobody sees the business.

Marketing is more important than any of the other things above.

Lesson: Don’t ignore marketing. Spend your time, money, and resources to get the word out to as many people as possible.

This guest post is written by John H from


After a career as a professional musician and band leader in the Miami South Florida Area I decided to see if I could make some money with this new internet thing. After years of trial and error I started to get the hang of it and now I am completely financially independent because of my various online businesses. The goal of this blog is to chronicle my continued marketing experiences. I focus on real examples of what works and what does not work. Google does not give us a recipe for getting our sites ranked. We have to use our own experiences to see what actually works rather than theory. I hope you enjoy the blog. Please let us know what you think in the comments area. We appreciate your feedback.