Want some unique insights on what’s working for high-earning affiliate and lead gen sites today?
Shane Dutka joins Niche Pursuits podcast to discuss his journey from an accountant to a successful site owner making $50k+ per month.
He discusses how he’s sold sites for 7-figures, and what he does now to grow sites as VP of SEO for a company generating $100-200 million from lead generation and affiliate offers!
You’ll learn the interesting story of how he got into the business and how he’s consistently grown successful sites faster than most.
He shares how to uncover a keyword goldmine through data analysis and tracking conversions on affiliate platforms.
Plus, how he’s managed to compete even in tough niches like jewelry by focusing on the fundamentals of high-quality content and links. And Shane is very generous with tips on what strategies you can use to get both!
Shane shares invaluable insights on serving diverse user avatars and the SEO benefits that come along with this. He emphasizes the significance of matching keyword intent and targeting one keyword per page and sheds light on the importance of fresh content and routinely updated to maintain relevance.
He also shares how he builds engaging, newsworthy content for successful link-building, which is helpful to mitigate the potential pitfalls of paid links.
When discussing paid links, Shane shares strategies to overcome toxic links with the use of 410 and 404 pages. And really a ton of helpful and actionable tips and tactics to help sites of all sizes grow.
So don’t miss this awesome episode.
You’ll learn what’s working today, from someone with unique access to massive data and exactly what you as an independent site owner can do to grow and profit!
Topics Shane Dutka Covers
- How he got into building sites
- Why SEO was a good fit
- His bowtie eCommerce site
- Pivoting into building affiliate and lead generation sites
- How he found a unique voice in various niches
- Linking out to authoritative sources
- Information gain
- Growing to $50k+ per month
- How he sold his pest control site for over $1 million
- His content creation process
- Tracking conversions
- How to leverage experts even if they can’t write
- Picking affiliate programs
- Combining affiliate and lead generation opportunities
- Content freshness
- Buying links
- Hub pages
- Why you should 404 or 410 pages with bad links
- And a whole lot more…
Links & Resources
This Episode is Sponsored by Search Intelligence
Watch The Interview
Jared: All right. Welcome back to the Niche Pursuits Podcast. My name is Jared Bauman and today we’re joined by Shane Duck. Shane, welcome on board.
Shane: Thanks for having me.
Jared: It’s good to have you here. You came highly regarded, highly referred, I should say, but also highly regarded probably, but in the same there.
Mm-hmm. Uh, I’m really excited for what we’re gonna be talking about today. You have a great past. In website building and, uh, we’re gonna get to hear a lot of the stories of websites you’ve built and sold and what you’re doing now. Um, let’s start off by you telling us some of your background. I, I, I know I kind of teased a little bit of what you’ve been doing, but maybe give us even, even further back if you can.
Shane: Yep. Yeah, so my background, uh, originally from New Jersey, I studied being an accountant. Uh, I was gonna do the whole, you know, traditional nine to five routes a lot of people take, uh, I went to school for, for, uh, business administration, accounting moms, university, if anybody’s familiar. And, um, yeah, I graduated in 2013, passed the CPA exam, was like, I’m ready to do this accounting thing.
And, uh, did it for about five years. From 2013 to 2018, I moved to Virginia to, to actually go do a job out of, outta my state and away from my, my family, which was sort of a, you know, leap of faith. But I, I’m glad I did that. Um, I did that for about. Three years for 2313 to 2016. And I knew pretty quickly that it was not the long term PLA path for me.
Accounting is not. I’m glad I did it cuz like I learned a lot about business, the nuts and bolts of like, you know, balance sheet, income statement p and l, all of that. Um, so that’s really valuable knowledge and I am grateful for that. But it. You know, as an accountant, you’re for businesses look at accountants as like overhead, right?
Nobody wants to pay their accountant more money, uh, to like do better accounting. So you’re not really like part of like generating revenue for a business. So I wasn’t really, I. I knew that and I, and I knew if I wanted to have a really, you know, I wanted to create some real wealth for myself, I had to probably start my own business or do something like that.
Mm-hmm. So my ba, my dad was an electrical contractor. He, uh, was sort of a, very much a workaholic, a little bit. Um, and I’d taken a little bit from that, from him, but he was, he started his own business doing electrical contracting. And I was like, I had that entrepreneur intramural spirit in me a little bit, and I was like, you know what?
Digital seems like the right place for me to sort of work on the side, do my job, nine to five job as an accountant. And then also, Uh, do something in, in the digital world where I can like do it remotely. So I started an e-commerce business in 20 16 20 17, selling bow ties. And I picked bow ties because it was a super lightweight product, easy to ship.
It seemed like a good idea. There was like the most boas thing on Shark Tank that was like, ah, this kid can do it. I can do it. So I started, I threw my hat in the ring. I did like a Shopify site. I literally took all of my savings, which was like about 25 k at the time, and like 10 k, 20 k of credit card debt and like bought.
5,000 bow ties from China. I, uh, went to Upwork to get a few of them designed and just sent it all over to China. And I was like, buy it. And I, I went through Alibaba and the whole thing, and they, um, they came, you know, I, I basically just jumped, dumped all my money and like burned the boats. I was like, I’m gonna figure this thing out.
And uh, and of course, uh, of course it, I had no money left over for actual, like, marketing and I wasn’t a marketer. I was the whole accountant. I was like, literally day during the day, I’m like, how would I reconcile these checking accounts? And then I have to go. Two freaking, uh, my, my like internet, you know, we’ll pull up the laptop and be like, okay, how am I sell bow ties today?
Meanwhile, my whole room is full of bow ties. Like literally my whole room I was at in an apartment with four other dudes and there was bow ties all over the house. They were not, none too pleased about that. And, uh, so that was ex, that was fun and also extremely stressful. And, uh, not a gr I would say a little bit of a darker time.
You know, a lot of people talk about entrepreneurship. It’s all up and until the right, it’s really not. This was a, probably a more darker time. Cause I was doing a big shift in my lifestyle and I didn’t have a lot of money to do it with. So I, um, out of desperation, I was like, I gotta sell these freaking bow ties.
So I learned, I was like, how do, how can I market this stuff? And I can’t pay for ads, so what all, what our options are relevant for me. You know, you can go viral on like something like that. But I wasn’t very creative. But, um, I was very analytical, so I was looking for things like that. And SCL really caught my eye and I was like, oh, I can do some content marketing.
I went to one conference and I started rubbing elbows with some people. Like Brock at Modest Man, he, we went to this, uh, conference called, um, influential at the time. It was then, uh, renamed, like, uh, it was actually Stylecon, it was a couple different names for it, but it was a conference where a bunch of men who were like in marketing came together to discuss marketing stuff.
And one of them was Brock and he had his blog. And I was like, oh, you know, like I’m a short guy. You’re a short guy. We should be friends. Like, and he like gave me some tips around seo and I was like, okay. And then I implemented them into the bow tie site. I, uh, published an article called Bow Ties with Suits and that ranked and I was like, oh, snap.
Okay, this is working. Uh, I’m actually getting money, but it’s like bow ties. So like the niche is super narrow, not very, uh, the MSV is extremely limited, so there’s not a lot of people searching for bow tie stuff, so it’s not gonna change my life. And not, I’m not, I’m not really selling that many bow ties.
In general. I was making maybe one two k a a month, um, at like the highest peak of right of my bow tie life. And this was around 2017 and, uh, all this debt and stuff. And I was like, all right, this isn’t working. I need to pivot. So I knew the content thing was working. I knew SEO was working and it was again, the site was actually called be the bow tie guy.com.
Still online. So if you’re curious, you actually go to the site and see it and my face is around, there’ll be pictures of me, like in the corner of my house taking. Like pictures of me in a bow tie for the site. So, uh, very scrappy, uh, did what I had to do, you know? And uh, but I ended up pivoting to affiliate and I was like, let me sell someone else’s product.
Cuz like I was literally emailing people at like 12:00 AM in the morning that were like in like Dubai, Hey dude, where’s my bow ties? I’m like, I don’t have time to res be doing customer service for, for bow ties. Uh, you know, it’s just not, this is not sustainable. It’s not gonna make me create the lifestyle that I wanna live.
So I, um, I ended up doing, I pivoted and I ended up taking a course, which I know there’s like, sort of mixed, mixed feelings about courses and internet marketing. There’s certainly plenty of crappy ones out there. Um, the one I took was, um, Gale and Mark Authority Hacker. There’re pretty well known in the community and the SEO community at the time, they were still kind of new-ish.
They were like just getting started. But I was like, these guys know what they’re talking about. I’m like, looking at their blog. I’m like, they seem legit. So I took their thing and I kind of combined what was working for me in the bow tie thing, and then like my own perspective on how I was, uh, how I, when I went through their course, it was like, okay, what niche could I enter that?
I think there’s really low competition. I know seo, so I feel like I can create content and I can like have a new voice in the niche. And pest control really rose to the top. A lot of products to promote. There was a lead gen component, so you can like do something with like local pest companies. Uh, an affiliate platform called Networks is one where you can just sign up and they’ll like, give you a widget.
You can like sell leads through networks. And that’s what I did. Again, there’s a ton of products to promote with pest and I knew people hated pests and then there’s a lot of people googling about that. So I ended up pivoting to pest control and um, did. Uh, basically just sorted that this was 2017, around February and I, uh, published, I don’t know, 30.
I wrote them all myself. So I’m an expert bedbug removal. Guy, if you need to learn how to kill bedbugs, like I’m your guy. I know the, the tips and tricks. Um, which is great. My wife loves that. And, uh, and then yeah, fast forward maybe six months, I started to see some traction. I started to see some of these articles ranking.
I was like, oh, okay, this is working, getting some, making some money. And this is like summertime, so it’s like sort of pie season for pest control, making some money, uh, through Amazon affiliate. Um, and I think we’re probably at about maybe like 500 to a thousand, probably like closer 500 bucks a month right now.
About six months in. Uh, but then fast forward a year, so around spring of 2018, the next, the next full spring, you know, if we’re like thinking like ups and downs, um, I continued to publish Icontinue to link building. Uh, I did all my own. I ri wrote all my own content probably up until 50 pieces. Then I outsourced.
I used Upwork and Pro Blogger. To find, uh, writers that have niche expertise, and I’m a big, I’m a big advocate of that. You need somebody who’s actually done the work. Um, not some just like, like blogger who can like research like everyone else can do. Like especially today’s day and age with like AI content, you really do need a unique voice to like stay ahead of the curve.
At the time in 2017, it was probably a little easier, but, uh, I highly recommend doing that and that’s what I did. So I hired a guy on Pro Blogger for about 6 cents a word. Uh, to do niche, niche writing. Actually emailed, I also emailed pest control companies. I was like, Hey, does any of your pest control guys like wanna write?
And I got like one or two bites and one guy who’s I like you
Jared: did there by the way, the, the bites that’s, uh, well played. Nice pun.
Shane: Yeah. Yeah. Thanks for that. I, yeah, totally intentional. I, uh, I, uh, I got one bite and the guy was like the kookiest nice guy, but super kooky, like who do you sort of expect in your mind’s eye about somebody who like their whole life in pest control and, uh, knew everything there is to know about pest control, but was a terrible writer.
Which is usually the, the objection I get when I’m like, Hey, go to pro or fire, find, uh, nit checks. Writers, usually people are like, well, they’re gonna be terrible writers, cuz they’re like, just their expertise. And I’m like, yes, that’s true. But be really, be a really hard ass editor. Give them an outline. Be like, you have to follow this header and just give ’em feedback.
They will get, there may be a little slower in the beginning, but this guy eventually got there and ultimately, I, I thought the content he produced was good. So, fast forward to 2018 spring, I’m now, I’ve now grown to probably, definitely over a hundred thousand sessions a month. Uh, $10,000 per month. Uh, the site, it was pest strategies.com.
I can reveal the domain. It doesn’t matter. Um, cause the site is now sold like two or three times over, so it’s not like three hands away from me. But, um, yeah, we, we, I grew it to 10,000 bucks a month, just straight doing exactly what I just mentioned. And, uh, at this point in time, I’m still an accountant, by the way.
This is 2018, still doing accounting on the side. Uh, the bow tie thing is still happening. I still own the site, so I’m still shipping bow ties at night, but I’m really not doing anything else except shipping bow ties. Dude, I learned so much about e-commerce with this boat, even though it made no money. I learned all about the, the operations of an e-commerce organization.
Like, like, uh, logistics. Like I had a guy, I called the guy. To like freaking get his truck to go to like LA and like load up the freaking truck with all the pack, you know, things that Emmy, Amazon FBAs had to deal with, uh, just people in E-com have to deal with. So I learned all about that and then I was very happy to sell it in 2019 to the guy.
I actually, I literally had to count every single bow tie to do a proper inventory before I sold the business. Mm-hmm. And, uh, me and my wife literally watched Dexter for like seven straight seasons, whatever, how many scenes they have, just counting bow ties. It was. Kind of fun, but also kind of like, I don’t know, you know what I mean?
So, uh, yeah, 2018 we’re at 10,000 bucks a month, PET strategies, and I walked to my boss’s office. I’m like, Hey, look. I’m quitting, you know, like I’m making tons of money from pest control. I don’t know what I’m doing here. So, uh, and then fast forward another year, it’s still CABG growing up until the right hit 50 K a month.
Uh, Amazon display ads, leg gen. That was the three sort of corner like pe wave ways of monetizing. And um, you know, a lot of people ask me like, dude, what did you do? How did you, how did you hit those? Like how did you hit that? Like milestone? Those were really big. And there was like a cohort of people I started with at the time that.
I, we were on the phone calls like every month and I would be a little awkward cause I’d be like, I don’t wanna be like bragging or anything. I’m just like, this is what the numbers are. I’m like, they’re at fi, I’m doing, dude, I’m gonna do 20 K this month. And, and they’re like, what the fuck? How are you doing that?
What is happening? Let me go to your site and see. And um, really I think it’s just having that unique voice, knowing the niche. I just knew, uh, what people cared about. Cause I did so much research. I was like, people really, moms. Care about the chemicals, like the insect, like the actual active ingredients.
So a lot of my articles spoke to the active ingredients, but no other articles did. So I was like, Hey, if you’re gonna get this bedbug spray, the active ingredient is like, Ima Prosci, or whatever. I can’t even say the word, but it’s like one of those chemical ingredients. And by the way, here’s what like research says about that, you know, and linked out to that.
Um, Google says, or I’ve seen a number of case studies where like, linking out to authoritative sources can help you, you know, you, uh, rank well on Google and I think that was part of it for sure. So anyway, we’re at 50 k a month now, and I’m like loving life. It’s totally ch it’s literally totally changed my life.
I have gone from accounting, the digital, and I’m like starting other sites now. I started a jewelry site, uh, and, uh, that one, I, I ended up growing that one to like 2030 k a month. Um, that was called learning jewelry.com. Uh, and basically same thing, like I found somebody who’s an expert at jewelry and I said, here’s your outline.
And I was like, we need to make sure people, like when they come to our articles, they feel like they’re getting a unique perspective. Um, I think Steve Toth, uh, and a few other people are bringing this, this, of this concept of like information gain, which is like, what are, what is the other nine Blue Links saying?
And what are you saying? And is there anything being added to the conversation? I always try to instill that in all my content. So I had this pest control site, I had a jewelry, so I had like three or four more. Uh, and sorry, I’m like rambling on a ton right now. If you have, you have like questions like feel free.
Oh, I got a lot. Okay. You just let me know when you’re ready. Let me just finish the jewelry and then I’ll stop talking and like maybe take some water. Um, no problem. So then jewelry site, and then I, I ended up selling that one to Empire Flippers, uh, and their, their whole like capital program, which was really cool.
I got to experience that. Um, meanwhile, while during this whole span of time, I bought a fitness site and sold it within the first month I bought it. I, uh, sold, I bought a baby b, uh, a baby site, and then merged it into another baby site I was playing around with just to see what would happen. Um, I ended up selling PET strategies for over a million dollars, uh, on FE International, uh, in 20 19th of September.
That was fun and also super duper stressful. It was my first sale, uh, and especially at that dollar range. I didn’t know what I was doing. I, um, was always weighing private first going to market, and I ended up going with the market place just cuz to have some seller representation. And, uh, I do think I made some money on Made.
I would’ve, I I went down the right path on that. Um, cuz I did have some private options, but I just didn’t know what the hell I was doing. So they helped me navigate that. Um, it ended up being like a seller financing deal, so definitely some interesting things I could probably talk about there. And then, um, and then, yeah, the jewelry site that was started in 2019.
I sold that one in 2021. Uh, and then I started a few more here and there. And then I joined up with this company called Three Ships. So that’s where we are today. Uh, I started with them in 2020. I’m now VP of seo. I oversee all of their owned and operated assets on their home business line. Mm-hmm. Uh, home, we do north of like a hundred to 200 million across three ships.
Uh, mostly through affiliate. It’s like 95% affiliates. So we are, we like to say like the big leagues of affiliate and if like anybody’s listening now and you’re like, oh yeah, that sounds like an interesting thing. Like, and you want a job and you’re good, I am always willing to talk to really great SEOs that.
Wanna do this full-time and uh, you know, might wanna work together. So anyway, I’ll stop talking there. That’s kind of brings you to today and, um, happy to jump into anything specifically.
Jared: Well, let’s be clear. Out of what you went through, you summarized what a lot of us would hope to accomplish in a lifetime, and you’ve done in less than five years.
Or six years, whatever it is. It’s pretty, it’s a pretty phenomenal, um, resume and I’m really excited to, to kind of drill into some of these things, which, uh, let me, let, let me ask you this question. Of the different projects that you’ve started online and you’ve exited online, Which one do you think applies the most to today and today’s online environment?
Because you spoke about a lot of the changes in mm-hmm. 2017 different than 20, 23 and, yep. 20 and, and you know, all the different things that are happening with the way Google wants content to be with ai, with all those things, like, which project of yours do you think is the most representative of a success in today’s Google environment?
Shane: Hmm. That’s a good question. I, um, I think so Pest strategies has gone through a number of hands. And I think that the hands it has gone through weren’t the best hands. So I think if I were, I would say when I sold pest strategies, the day I sold it was, it was in its best shape. Cuz I was like, super, I was all over it, you know?
A hundred percent. I would say if you roll the clocks back to like September of 2019, that version of pest strategies, Is what I would rebuild today. Mm-hmm. The current version of Pest Strategies is not the version I would build today. It is a mess. Uh, it’s, it’s just, I think the people who bought it just deprioritized it.
Um, and it, it’s, it’s just like that version in 2019 is the most representative. And the reason I say that is, Every article had this like in active ingredient sort of angle to it, which I think again helped the site stand out in Google’s eyes like, oh, this is something different that not, doesn’t exist on every article.
They’re bringing a unique perspective. They also have links like the, the site did not have links. It had a bunch of links. So like it had that powering it. But I think when you couple a decent domain authority with a unique perspective, I think you put yourself in a really great position to succeed. And, um, I think we, I think I did a good job with that, with that site at that time.
Jared: Were there other things about the way that you wrote the content besides just this active ingredient? Because it, like you, you sound very passionate about the topic of test control. I always love getting people on. No, it’s true though. But it’s, it’s fun cuz I always love getting people on and you’re like, it’s easy to be passionate about, you know, football.
And um, uh, cuz it’s a passionate hobby, right? And you, we talk about hobby niches and how it’s really fun, but I love talking with people who kind of go into niches that aren’t fun, right? Um, oh yeah. Uh, whatever. Pest is probably a good one. Like no one gets outta bed in the morning and goes, man, I just. Get me to my pest control project later today.
That’s just what I’m living for. Right? Yeah. So, but you have, but at the same time, I hear a heart and a passion in your voice for what you produce. Like what are other things do you think you brought to the table besides just including information about certain products? Like what other things can people learn from that you brought to the table and the content you created?
Shane: You know what? I think you say it like, Hey Shane, your passion, it sounds like you’re passionate about pest control. I think I was passionate about making money. Cause like I saw that as a great vector for that. I was like, yeah, I, I think there’s a massive gap in this quality content site, in the pest control niche.
And that’s what I brought and that’s what made me excited about working on it. And, um, I thought bringing on those expert writers, the guy from the pest control, uh, uh, company that I found, um, which by the way, I hired him for like 5 cents a word. Maybe even le, maybe even 4 cents a word. Which is like crazy low.
But he wasn’t trying to sell, he wasn’t trying to make money being a writer. He just was like, I’ll just do it in my free time. I’m not gonna make money doing it otherwise, you know, it’s like, so that’s a great negotiating position cuz like he’s just doing it cuz he has the knowledge and I just give him like a, I just channel his knowledge in a certain way, a content template brief.
And that worked out really well. I think. Um, yeah, I think I just get really jazzed about the, uh, just the opportunity that I had and like the, The way, it just, I think the passion just comes from like liking, having a lot of, um, what’s the word? Uh, A very much an ownership mentality, I guess is the best way I can put it.
Like I, when I built something, it’s me, you know, like I, I put my best foot forward. I put a lot of time and energy into it. I, I did my own branding at the time. I used Thrive Architects, so some of your listeners might know that suite of tools. Really? They were sort of in, in, in vogue at the time. Oh yeah.
They were like all about Thrive around 2017. Super out of vote now. Um, it’s all about bricks, Jerry Blocks now. It’s like a whole totally different world. All a mentor obviously is still like, you know, somewhere in there. And, um, And yeah, I built it with like these page builders, which people are like, how could you possibly build it with a page builder so slow?
It still works cuz it kind was good. So I think for me, like the passion comes from just like working on a project and like bringing something unique to the market and feeling really, um, good about that. You know? And I think that’s just, that’s probably where it comes from. It’s hard to explain. It’s explain.
Jared: interviewed someone a while back who, who kind of said like, their, their benchmark before they hit publish every time was they would reread the article and try to imagine that they were the user arriving on that article with their question in mind and would they be satisfied with the answer.
And it sounds like a pretty basic thought. Well, of course I wrote the article, but, but just kind of trying to go at it from that standpoint, um, was I, I think it’s a good reminder and it’s a good benchmark for people like, you know, do you care about the results you’re putting out there? And clearly you did.
Shane: clearly it worked. Yeah. Yeah, I think that’s right. So
Jared: one trend or pattern I can see is that with all of these brands that you started, you had a quick runway to success. You know, like the pest site was at 10 K a month. What, a year and a half in. Yeah. Um, the jewelry site, uh, et cetera, et cetera. Like, I’d love to hear some details from you, whether it’s uh, keyword research, digital pr, link building, whether it’s something specific about the way you go about building sites that allow them to get traction quicker than what we were probably used to seeing.
Shane: Yeah. I’m just making notes. I wanna make sure I cover those things. Uh, yeah, I think, um, I think the reasons that they were successful were different. So pest strategies was successful because the, the competitors were very weak. There were some sites, if you’re curious, pest wiki.com, look up in the archives.
That was a total trash site. It looked like a site that was built purely for affiliate, which Google, we know Google doesn’t love, may win in the short term, but long term it’s probably gonna get loose. Uh, So PE Wiki was one and I saw that was like the, that was like the average was like PE Wiki and I was like, I can beat these guys.
So I think the competition was super low. Um, it was relatively under the radar, the niche. So most, the keywords are pretty easy to target and um, uh, I think it’s different today. I think there’s definitely more competition, pretty much all niches, but that one in particular, Uh, so the competition was a bit lower, uh, and that was why I was able to slide in there.
Had a unique content angle. I did do link building, I think better than the competition as well. Um, I got a couple really key links that I think were like the cornerstone links, as you would say in a link profile. Like I got a link from malaria.com. I got a link from like, uh, lodging magazine, which is about hotels, and they talked about pest controls, like a perfect fit.
Um, got a bunch of links from like apartment therapy before HAR was really like really popular. I got links from apartment therapy. I got links from like Bustle. So these, these really powerful media sites that weren’t doing really hard at the time were able to like, prop up this link profile, mix that with good quality content.
And then you saw this like crazy spike. And I think that’s why, I think it’s why it worked. Um, my content was also very formulaic. You know, people, some people have mixed feelings about Brian Dean. I think he does a really good job of like simplifying, uh, SEOs sometimes. Like he can maybe like gloss over some of the nuance, which some seo, you know, uh, Like some of SEOs be like, feel like, oh, you’re missing some of the points here, and I get that.
But I think Brian Dean does a good job of saying, Hey, here’s like the 80 20 seo. Like put the keyword here, put it in your header, put it three times here. Like, and I kind of followed that and I followed it pretty closely among, as well as like the authority hacker, uh, sort of model. And um, I saw some really good results from that.
And I think I have my analytical mind just like fit really well into the seo, uh, landscape. So that was, um, That was pest strategies and then learning jewelry. The reason that one was successful was very much keyword research. Jewelry was definitely not an easy niche like it was. There’s so many jewelry sites, you gotta compete with e-commerce sites.
There’s a ton of e-com jewelry sites that are dominating landscape. There’s a site called Diamonds Up Pro, which is like dominating every keyword. That site probably makes like a hundred K a month at least, uh, maybe more. It’s, it’s literally. Dominating the niche, but I saw them and I was like, at the time I was looking for the next niche and I was looking for, uh, opportunities that weren’t just pure Amazon sites.
I was like, what? What? Um, and I would usually go like Impact, I’ll go to uh, uh, uh, uh, share sale. I’ll go to Avant Link or these like platforms. We’ll just skim through the offers cj.com and be like, what offers map to like niches? And then I’ll just like Google terms and be like, best hair dryer. Best. Uh, one that I was thinking about was, um, Like wigs.
I was like, I wonder if wigs is a niche. Like I wonder if wigs could be good. It’s all like best wigs. And then, and I’ll be like, who’s ranking there? And I’ll be like, how big are they? So I’ll like do that kind of like bottoms up approach or maybe it’s top down, I don’t know. But I did that for diamonds and I saw, um, I think I saw G either James Allen or Blue Nile in one of the platforms.
And I was like, Hmm, best diamonds and let’s see what that looks like. And then, uh, and then I saw diamonds.pro and I was like, Hmm, let me see what else. So you see how like that goes down a thread? Of like research. Mm-hmm. Like, okay. Okay. And you could sort of see their content strategy and you’re like, all right, all right, I see where, where this is going.
And then, and then what really clicked was that, well, I saw the offers they were promoting, which was like non-Amazon offers. They had Blue Nile, James Allen, you know, Ritani, uh, k K, you know, the big names in the industry. Yeah. And then, uh, one other thing I saw that really interests me about that site was that, um, oh, when I started, so that, like, that got me into jewelry.
And then when I was doing research. Uh, for keywords, I, I went down this path of like, where to buy x, uh, where to buy x, where best place to buy X or best comp. Sorry, it was best company for X or something like that. Right? And that was a unique spin on the whole best thing. Yeah, and diamonds is actually a really bad niche for like traditional, like best vacuum cleaner, best diamond.
Like it’s so subjective what the best diamond is to each person. So it doesn’t really translate well into good conversion rates when you like send people off. So, um, but what does translate is like best X company, cuz you’re sending people to companies and they’re like at a different stage in the funnel a little bit and they tend to convert better and they’re just better quality clicks.
And that’s exactly the strategy I took. And what I would recommend your listeners do for your, for your niche is like, it could pretty much apply to any niche, best, uh, company for X. So in this case, uh, an example would be like best, uh, company for vvs Diamonds. So like, VVS is like a type of diamond where it’s like very expensive and you look for the best company and then boom, you list your companies and you’re good to go.
Um, so that type of approach was a little bit of a different spin to back in 2021. Most people were being like, just like, Best vacuum cleaner for dirty rugs or whatever, or best like, uh, you know, best computers for, you know, mash like, um, uh, uh, fricking crypto or whatever, you know what I mean? So, um, yep.
I’d say those are the two different sort of styles of winning and depending on the niche of your, your audience, like there is definitely veins of content with high intent traffic that are probably being untapped right now. For sure.
Jared: When you look at untapped content, are you using any sort of keyword research tools to go?
Yeah, like obviously zero searches, something that people talk about. Some people like to take an angle where, hey, I want to go after content that. Isn’t in an ah refs, I want to go after, uh, keywords that aren’t anywhere, or is it more of a gut feel because you do seem to get so into the niche that you really understand it and you go after topics that you think are underserved because you understand your market and you just write ’em hoping, thinking that the, the traffic will come.
Shane: Two things on that. Um, the first is, I think there’s like a question in behind the questions, like, how did you find the best company keyword? Like how did that come about? Did you just like know at The answer is that I, I think I stumbled into it actually. I wrote, like, I saw it had some msv, uh, and I saw that not a lot of people were optimized for it.
Like, um, they were optimized for like tangent, like secondaries that they were sort of ranking because there was nobody else good enough to rank or optimize to rank. Um, but they were chan like for example, um, diamonds Pro, they might have, they might have created like best company to buy, like where to buy best company for VVS Diamonds.
They were probably optimized for like, what are vvs diamonds. So they were ranking for that keyword with the wrong page. Yeah. And then I could easily outran them with a lower authority domain because I was more optimized. Yep. So that, that, that dynamic allowed a smaller site to like slide into a big niche like that.
I found that keyword because I, I basically just published a bunch of stuff and then I had all my links on all my pages, and I was just tuned into the attribution. Each page had page little attribution so I could see where the money was coming from. I was like, oh crap, like this keyword is actually really valuable.
And I wouldn’t have known that unless I like started gathering data. And sometimes you just don’t know until you, you know, put that content out there. But the key lesson here is, Data really is how I figured it out. I saw the, the traffic flowing through, uh, into, into turning into sales and I was like, let me, and then let me just produce every single article with that same intent.
So I went through every single variant of diamond possibility and gemstone and like anything that fit that like same structure. And that was like the formula for success for that site. But that same formula could be used for any site. Mm-hmm. For sure. Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm.
Jared: How do you set up attribution like that?
Any tips? I don’t think most affiliate marketers are probably tracking
Shane: on that level. Yeah, so the affiliate platform that that was set up was called Post Affiliate P pro. They allow sub IDs and they’re really, it’s actually a really great affiliate. It’s really on the e-commerce side, so the James Allens the Blue Niles, they have to actually use post affiliate.
For me as the affiliate marketer to leverage it. So most companies, a lot of ’em do post affiliate is pretty popular. I know Rogue uses that too, uh, the fitness company. But basically, once they give you access to the platform, they’ll be like, do you want to create a link? Do you want to set a sub ID to this link?
Impact also lets you do that. Um, basically every page gets a sub ID so you know, uh, which page is driving, and then you could actually have another sub id. Uh, so within the page, so you can have like a top panel, put a sub ID on that, uh, and then like a bottom panel or review so you can have sub IDs within a page so you know exactly where their conversions are happening and how valuable each of these widgets are to you.
And this also rolls into like AB testing, cro, things like that to actually really, really amp up the revenue of your site. So it really, it depends on your platform impact. Does it post affiliate? Does it. Pretty sure sale share, sell most, most good platforms Will, will offer at. Yeah.
Jared: And I mean, like you said, you didn’t just use it to test offers and see which ones worked better, but you also used to define keywords and new article
Yeah. And just kind, again, you just kinda look at the numbers. You’re like, where are my money? Where am I making my money here? Uh oh, okay. There’s a, so I, I’m an accountant, right? So everything goes into a spreadsheet for me at the end of the month. And then I see, okay, like one column will be url. The next column will be like target keyword.
The next column will be like traffic, then revenue. And then I’ll have like a formula that’s like R P V, which is revenue per visitor. So you can be like, okay, the R P V for X page is $5, where the R P V Y page is 2 cents. You know, it’s like, so go where the money is. And um, I can tell you right now, anything monetized in Amazon is gonna be like less than 10 cent.
And it’s gonna be probably between, if you’re lucky, 10 cents, but you’re probably gonna see like two to 5 cents per visitor value. Um, jewelry was like way higher than that. Um, a lot of niches where you’re not monetizing with Amazon, it’s gonna be a lot higher than that. But, um, yeah, that’s, that’s ultimately the way I saw it was in the spreadsheets.
You know, most
Jared: of your websites sound like they’re not really monetized by Amazon very much. Uh, is that important for the revenue or is it more of a choice because, um, Yeah, a lot of people say, Hey, uh, building a website and targeting keywords that most people would turn to Amazon for are easier to rank for.
So it’s a good strategy. Other people maybe you would say, I’d rather go after the more challenging niches, but then have the higher payouts. Any any thoughts on that? Cause it seems like you have clearly chosen, uh, affiliate
Shane: each time. Yeah, it’s, it’s tough cuz like, I agree with your, your comment on like, it’s easier.
It for sure is. I also think the dollars are smaller. I. Um, so, but I, I think if you’re a new person to this soul game, like content s like seo content sites, things like that, definitely go after the Amazon. You gotta put a year in going after those Amazon keywords and just like, learn how it all works. Go from like idea to like publish page to keyword, to revenue and like see that, that whole thing.
And then year two, Get a little bit more advanced, be like, okay, I wonder what other offers I can play here. And then like, then go the more advanced route route, try to do what I did, which is like, identify keywords that are underserved. Um, there are tools like low fruits out there that I really like that will help find these low underserved keywords in your niche.
Um, there’s other tools that do this, but basically, uh, I would say start there. And then have APL being a niche where there, where you can do both. Like am for learning jewelry. I still used Amazon. I knew there were like best jewelry cleaners, you know, like that’s Amazon, you know, like, uh, I still did it and I still monetize with ads too, you know, like I use Mediavine, uh, to monetize all my sites.
I don’t really use a Ari, I’ve heard mixed things about Ari. Ari Mediavine really offers a lot of great tools for publishers, so like turn things on and off, and there’s a bunch of dials in the backend, which I really appreciate. And, uh, and yeah, they, um, they, yeah, drew is montage with ads with Amazon, with non-Amazon.
Um, and that’s, and that’s probably even scratching the surface. I definitely could have done like a newsletter and like sponsored that. Definitely could have did more sponsored posts. Um, definitely could have did a YouTube channel. Diamonds would a hundred percent support a YouTube channel pop p approach.
Um, and personalities. They’re definitely personalities already out there that do diamonds. Um, I think for me, where I am today, so I’m again, a VPs CEO at, at the company. That’s company called Three Ships, and we definitely don’t do Amazon. Like Amazon is like, not even in the conversation anywhere. Like, uh, how we make money on our sites at three Ships is a hundred percent Legion, at least home.
Cause Home is like mostly Legion, but Legion Direct with, with companies like Lowe’s and like these big names. That need leads to like, do services and stuff and installs. So, and there’s big money there because these people are willing to, um, they’re willing to pay for great quality leads and SEO can offer that.
The thing is, uh, we’re way bigger, so like we have way more scale. So the deals that we have with these partners are not like off the shelf. You can’t go to Impact and like sign up and like do a deal with like Home Depot, at least not the way that we have it. But there are some that you can, like I do know there, like networks is a great starter spot.
They do do these off the shelf things and they actually, that’s their business model. They will monetize, help you monetize these sites, uh, that are in the home or in the car, auto car. There’s a lot of legion and auto with like tr truck rental and like, um, like, uh, rent cars and all that. So there’s some legion in there.
And, uh, a lot of niches have, legion insurance is a big one. Um, and a lot of aggregators are the off-the-shelf offers. And then when you get big enough you can go direct and be like, Hey, we got, we do 500 leads a month. You know, can we do something more direct? Then you have the leverage to really get a great deal, and that’s like three to five year time horizon, you know?
Um, well, I’m glad
Jared: you, I’m glad you teased it. I wanna ask about it. It’s all my notes to ask later, but let’s just do it right now since you kind of teased it. I’m going to go ahead and assume that most people listening who have a website are focused with most of their efforts on either an affiliate play mm-hmm.
Or a lead gen play. Probably mostly affiliate. That’s probably most of the listeners. But I’m fascinated by what you consistently have done, whether on your pest site, whether here with your three ships career and the, the websites you work on here, you’ve merged them, you’ve combined affiliate and Legion.
Mm-hmm. At the same time, can you talk about that and maybe give some tips for people? And I, again, I’m thinking, I have a website that’s affiliate focused. I do know legions. I’m kind of asking for myself here. But in general, like. Those of us who have affiliate sites, how do we add leg gen? Those of us who have lead genin, how can you merge into affiliate?
How can we kind of get the best
Shane: of both worlds? Just to like clarify that question, affiliate is sort of like, affiliate is like apparent lead gen is sort of underneath. Are you like when you’re saying affiliate, do you mean like product affiliate?
Jared: Oh, in this conversation I’m referring to products I’m referring.
That people buy certain products. Uh, you know, and if I have a home site, I’m, I’m telling people to buy this vacuum cleaner. I’m telling people to buy this cleaning solution. I’m telling people to buy that kind of stuff. So I guess that’s what I’m referring to by affiliates. Yeah. Good, good, good point though.
Shane: Yeah, I think it’s very much keyword dependent, like certain keywords, like if you say, for example, I had, well, going back to pest strategies, I had an article like Best Bedbug Traps, very much an article that is, Primed to be a product affiliate type keyword, right? Mm-hmm. Um, at the same time, you know, people who are Googling best bedbug traps probably have a bed bow problem or want maybe want an exterminator, you know, so what you would do, and what I did was I did both.
I just intermingled the offers and I said, Hey, if you want to skip all this research, uh, to do, just. Sign up here and I had a landing page that was tailored to the, the, the bug. So what I did was I had, for ants, I had a landing page that said, Hey, if you have ants, Sign up and get a great quote from our aunt approved Aunt Exterminators here, and like, here’s your email and do all that.
And then it was bedbugs. I just tailored it, put a picture of bedbug and then like, you know, had them, uh, fill out the form there. But that would be in line injected into the article. So like, think of like your table where it’s like product 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and then below that it’s like, oh, hey, by the way, if you don’t want to do this, just like fill out this lead form.
Uh, That’s, that was, that serves sort of two avatars that show up on your page. It’s like one, they, they really just want the product cause they don’t want to do leg gen. But then there’s other people that might want to do leg gen and could be convinced. And then you’re serving that avatar as well. So in reality this actually might have positive SEO implications cuz you’re really serving two, uh, two avatars better.
Uh, and helping them get to their end destination. So that’s kind of, That’s kind of how I think about it. Can I
Jared: ask, like, on a page like that, or just in general, what wa what represented the bulk of your revenue? Was it more swung towards lead gen or was it more swung towards a, a product sale type of, uh, model?
Shane: So like, uh, and a pa, a page like that. Best bedbug traps. I mean, that would be like, 80% affiliate product. So they would want the product that they came in on, probably like 15% leg gen and then probably like 5% ads, you know, cause I would actually have ads on that page too. Yep. And then, um, and then that would be the mix there.
Now on a different keyword that might be like where, you know, uh, best company for, uh, bedbugs, that’s gonna be all, that’s gonna be like 85% Legion, like 95% legion, 5% ads. You know, it really is keyword specific. And I think if you’re like not sure, you always can just test. You’re like, oh, I wonder where this keyword word fits in.
Like how to get rid of bedbugs, for example. It might be like one that’s more in the gray. It’s like, well, I wonder if I put some bedbug products in front of these people. Will they click on this stuff and buy? Or what if I put a Allegion and widget in there? Will they buy Or maybe they don’t do either.
Maybe just really, it’s just a pure ad play on this keyword. You really just don’t know until you start testing and. That’s kind of how I would approach it, you know, just that, that Tesla, I think, uh, methodology. Let’s
Jared: transition a bit to the, the websites that you’re working on right now. Uh, you know, I, I love being able to talk to people who work on really big websites.
Right. And it sounds like you’re definitely working on some big websites and, um, you know, like, let’s speak to those people who are listening who might say, Yeah, Shane, that’s great. But everything’s changed since, you know, you built all those sites, so, you know, let’s hear from you. What, what are, what are big websites doing today that, that you are seeing working?
Mm-hmm. And mind you, you have access to enough traffic and tools that you can try something and get answers a lot faster than those of us who are maybe running smaller
Shane: websites. Yeah. So just, I wanna make sure I answer this question. Is your question, what is working right now? Or is it like, what are big websites doing that small websites aren’t doing?
Is it one or two? Yeah,
Jared: more the former. Yeah. What is working right now that, that you can kind of give us some insight on? So
Shane: I would say what’s working, what I’m seeing work right now on our, on our sites, um, fresh content. Google loves recency, and I think op, going back to pages and optimizing them is critical.
Like you cannot, and I always, I always chuckle when Empire Flippers says like, Like content is a one and done cost, cuz it’s not. You literally have, because like when you do, when you go to sell a sign on birth flippers, they will try to say to potential buyers of sites, oh yeah. Like, there’s no operating costs here because all, all the content has been spent already.
That’s not true cuz like you need to keep content fresh. Not only for uh, for reasons around like, oh, like the niche. There might be something updated around the topic. Google literally looks at your article if you go to Google search console. And you check, like, it’ll literally, there’ll be a sitting, it says like, refresh or new content or like there’s another sitting in there.
Basically you want Google to look at your articles and be like, this is new, this is something’s new here. And you want that signal to keep happening on your pages, not only to keep ranking, but to show Google. There’s activity here, it’s not stale. Um, and if you don’t do that, I think you put yourself in a, in a risky PO posture with, with sites.
That’s number one. Number two, link building. Paying for links, so paying for links. I have a bone pick about this. So, uh, if anybody, you know, if you’re on this, you know, Shane Duck. Uh, if I have a YouTube channel, it’s not huge, but like, uh, I have a video that talks about paying for links. I have a black list.
I basically have amalgamated every single page, every single web, every single li uh, link that is being sold, actively sold on, uh, link builder list. It’s about 10, 10,000, 12,000 sites large. Um, we’ve seen multiple times where. If you decide that it’s a good idea to buy a bunch of links to your site to help it grow faster, it will destroy your site for sure.
A hundred percent. We’ve seen it multiple times and we’ve corrected it multiple times, and the correction that we’ve done is if, if you feel like you’ve gone, if you’ve been penalized possibly for poor link building practices, um, What you should do, and this is my like, uh, chain’s doctor, uh, prescription for you, delete them, delete the pages.
You built those links to, uh, in fact four 10 if you can. Rank Matthews allows you to do this. It will de sever that tie to your site. The links that are pointing to them that are toxic, that you’ve paid for, that everyone else has paid for, cuz they’re for sale will not happen anymore. We are, we are very, very strict with paying for links.
Uh, in fact, we go through like a 20 point. Checklist before we say yes to a paid link. Extremely. But we’ve seen multiple times where some of our sites have been burned by bad link building practices, either through just like, um, oversight or bad management or whatever, but we’ve corrected through doing exactly what I say, chop the page off, write the ship, say I am not doing this again.
Show Google at your grade. So those two things are huge, um, that we’ve seen work really well. And, and if you have a site that maybe has been hit by an update, this could be a thing you should do. Um, Let me see what else that really works for us. Um, tools like clear scope, making sure that, uh, or surfer, these tools are important to make sure that you’re staying on topic relative to like the, the target intent of the keyword.
Um, a common thing that I see all the time with bad SEOs is when you take onto a page, like if you’re trying to rank for best bedbug traps and you decide that you want to talk about how to get rid of bedbugs, the history of a bedbug. Why bedbugs exist, you know, bedbug toxins, but you’re not talking about bedbug traps.
You know, like that’s a very common thing for bad SEOs and bad manage writers to do. So we constantly correct that for, for our writing team, that’s a big one. So at architecture, HubPages are big. We use these constantly, helps create contextual relevance for articles in a hub. Uh, it’s, it’s like Max as like a mini homepage, um, for your site.
We do this all the time seeing great results from that. Um, I’m trying to think what else are big that come to mind.
I would say digital pr. You know, I said before, uh, bad links will get you in the dumpster. Good links will, will, like elevate you. I’ve seen DR. 20 sites with great, a couple really solid links. Go to the moon, you know? Um, likewise, I’ve seen some really, really competitive pages that are worth like hundreds of thousands of dollars a month, get lifted through a couple of really strong links.
Uh, we do a couple different things here. We, um, are actively doing stats pieces, so statistics articles, I’m sure your art, I’m sure your website, uh, I’m sure your, um, audience has any, any niche fits this. No model, just x statistics. These will organically drive links. We do these and we pitch them. As well.
They make for great skyscraper paste pieces. So these are like the, the big stuff. And I, I’m looking at the clock here. I don’t wanna run on too long, but, um, Just chuck things that come to mind. No,
Jared: it’s believe me, just let you freeform is fantastic. Um, when you’re in this kind of stuff all day, like it’s kind of nice to just hit you with a question like that and let your mind just go because
Shane: it will go, I talk too much.
You don’t understand. You gotta keep me, you gotta hold me back. You make my life easy.
Jared: I don’t have to, I can just press record and go out and heat up the coffee. You know, I’ve kind of, maybe I should do that. Yeah. Um, hey, so I, I’m gonna get questions in the comments if I don’t ask you this, so let me lean into it.
Devil’s advocate on some of the link to, uh, ideas you shared, because not everyone’s gonna agree. Right. Which is totally fine. I wanna get your opinion on it because you have a lot of history and, and success and you’re working on big sites right now. Are you seeing direct correlating. Results from, uh, the strategies you talked about with toxic links.
Mm-hmm. And what about the disavow file? What about leaving them and the idea that Google will ignore them? I just, I, I know people are gonna ask about that, so I just wanted to get a little bit more insight
Shane: from you on that. Yeah, yeah. So here’s my thoughts on the disavow. I, I, I’ve heard it in the community and I agree with this.
It’s a me, it’s a way to train their algorithm. You’re just speeding in bad sites into the algorithm, and it does not, we’ve seen it do nothing. And I, I, I think, and what I’ve seen, and I’ve heard other SEOs, and I agree with this, it’s just, you’re just training Google’s algo to spot shitty links. So that’s the, that’s what I think about this ISAP file.
I think it’s worthless. I’ve literally seen, I’ve seen very little from it. No, nothing good from it. Um, if only anything bad, it’ll just n bad things will happen. Um, second, have I seen results from the dis, like the dis, you know, Deleting pages. We have, uh, the exact approach. So the blacklist file I mentioned, we have actually a threshold’s, 20%, 15 to 20%.
That’s a threshold sort. Again, it’s sort of written in pencil. Obviously there’re exceptions, but if we see bad black links or blacklisted links, blds is what we’re calling them, an o like an incre, uh, to over 20% to the site as a whole. To me, that’s an extremely risky posture for a site to be in and you risk.
Possibly putting yourself in this box with Google, like it looks like you’re manipulating the search results to Google because Google can see this link is linked to all these people. Like if you go to the linked domains, age reps can see it. I’m sure Google can figure it out. Like, um, Google can associate, well associate your, pay your website with these other sites that are also buying links and you put yourself in innate in a not great position.
Will you get burned again, we all know seo, it’s hit, hit and miss. There’s always exceptions we’ve just seen mm-hmm. Through testing that you put yourself in a very negative position. And when we’ve seen, when we’ve deleted those pages that we’ve seen a, uh, outsized amount of blacklisted links, which are links that we’ve found people selling, like, they’ll be like, Hey, here’s my list of hundred links that I can sell you right now for 20 bucks.
We put those, li love those emails, this sheet and say, we’re not bay, we won’t want anything to do with these legs. And we just take, we have a big list now, 10,000 plus that are those. And um, And basically we see a correlation there. We are like, okay, we gotta do something. And when we’ve seen massive rank drops, we’ve seen it because of that.
And again, what we do is we will four 10 or 4 0 4 page, both are fine. And we will completely ize, you can republish the exact same content. The next question? Yeah. Yeah, you can do that. Um, I think if you want to be really safe, I would rewrite it. But you can, we have republished exact same article. Um, maybe some slight tweaks just to like make it so that Google doesn’t get, doesn’t link the pages.
You don’t want Google to be like, because again, if you 3 0 1 it to a new page, the history is linked. You’re literally totally, you’re the same page. Yeah. So you don’t want a 3 0 1. It is a very intentional four 10. Four four. And you’re telling Google, Hey, I’ve turned on New Leaf. I am not associating myself with these websites.
We are a good website.
Jared: And look up the difference between 4 0 4 and four 10. Technically speaking, I tell me if I have it correct, 4 0 4 is temporarily gone. Four 10 is, Hey Google, don’t bother coming back cuz it ain’t coming back. This article’s gone for good. This URL is gone for
Shane: good. Yeah. 4 0 4. It it, it’s four 10.
Yes, a hundred percent. 4 0 4 is like gone. Maybe coming back, maybe not. That’s what Google, so come back and
Jared: crawl again and don’t, yeah, exactly. Clearly remove this from your
Shane: index. Exactly. Forte will get you slightly faster results. Yeah. Is what we’ve
Jared: seen. Yeah. Um, man, we could do a whole podcast on that right there, but I think you, I think you gave some very good answers to that topic.
And I, I, I, I, I thank you. I feel satisfied with that. Um, any, um, I mean, like any final tips that you could share with people who are, and I’m, I’m talking about the person, I’ll give you a little avatar right now. The person who’s been cranking away, At producing content, whether frequently or infrequently, but they’ve been at it for a while and they’re maybe a little discouraged.
They’re not seeing results like you’ve had on, on websites, like, um, you know, just any kind of final bits of encouragement that might help them, uh, keep pushing and start to see better
Shane: results. Yeah. Um, I would say if you’re not seeing results, make sure your articles match the intent of the keyword you’re trying to target.
And you should have one keyword per page that you’re trying to target, not five. If you’re trying to target best bedbug traps, your or H one should say best bedbug traps. You’re within the first a hundred words, best bug bugg traps I have listed here, and they’re gonna be great. Cause for these reasons in your H two s, something about the top bedbug trap, you wanna like be very intentional.
There’s so many articles about this and there’s, I’m not gonna like do an article. I think people just sometimes gloss over the SEO 1 0 1 stuff and go straight to the advanced stuff and they’re like, oh yeah, like I gotta do like the crazy whiz back sometimes you just gotta go back to the basics, you know?
So that’s number one. Number two, at link building. I, I know we love to say links don’t matter and it’s like super edgy and you’re like, oh yeah, I’m so cool. Like links don’t matter. Yeah, they matter. Okay. Like if you want to play this game long term, you’re gonna have to build some links. Okay. And how do you do that?
You just create an interesting newsworthy con links. Building links is really your PR person. You’re trying to create an article that’s interesting to journalists that is like timely. It’s definitely not for seo, it’s not gonna rank long term. It’s very meant, very much meant for, for, um, for seo. I’ll give you one last story here and then we’ll probably wrap for pest strategies.
I had an article, I was like, I gotta build links, pest strategies. How am I do this? It’s in a, it’s in a not sexy niche. Like, what the hell am I gonna talk about? So what I did was, because I was super into my niche, I just knew what people cared about, what people are talking about, and I talk to these pest control people and I’m like, what are their problems?
So you’re in the niche, you know, the, you know this stuff. So I created an article called, uh, DiUS Earth. Uh, why it sucks. Basically that was like the gist. I don’t know the exact title, but it was basically like that. And what this was is a total left turn. Like I’m zigging and everybody else is zing on diet Tori Earth.
If you were to like Google Diet Demetrius Earth, they’d be like best things about diet, tomato, earth benefits. This is the best stuff ever. And I like said it sucked. And I was like, Hey, here’s why. It was a very well written article about why it sucked. And then I was like, not only does it suck, but it’s like just poorly mishandled.
There’s a lot of safety issues here. And then this created a great angle to pitch every website talking about the stuff. And it was very popular. So there were so, so many prospects. So I was like, Hey guys. Um, I see you writing about diets mis earth. Uh, I have an article about that, and I think that a lot of people are getting it wrong.
I think there’s a big safety problem going on that nobody’s talking about. I’m talking about it. Here’s the link. What do you think? It would be great if you could link it as an additional resource to your page. That was basically my script and uh, and it worked like gangbusters. I got some of the best links I’ve ever gotten from that article, and it’s because I knew my niche.
I knew I would have my finger on the pulse. It was like I knew exactly what people cared about, and I also knew the problems in the niche that nobody were talking about and that kind of stuff. You gotta put your PR hat on and you gotta kind of think a little bit creatively and you’re gonna get links that no one else can get, and you’re gonna create your moat.
That you can then go to market and sell your freaking website for a million dollars, you know? Um, that is, that is what I will leave the, the crew with here. That’s
Jared: good. That’s good. Shane, you’ve been a treat to have on, um, and, uh, uh, where can people follow along with what you have going? You mentioned, uh, three ships.
Is it three ships.com? I had it pulled up here.
Shane: Yeah, so Three Ships is the company I work for. Um, I, you can follow me [email protected] And, and I have email as a newsletter and you can sign up and like, I’ll, I’ll email that. Um, I’m not selling anything. I don’t plan on selling anything. Um, I’m just trying to crush it with SEO and, um, grow, grow the stuff I’m working on at three Ships, so.
Okay. Good. Well,
Jared: we’ll get a link to that in the show notes. And, um, man, that hour flew by. Thank you for joining us. Uh, I really appreciate everything you’ve been sharing, so we’re gonna get a lot outta this.
Shane: For sure. Glad to, uh, glad to have, ha glad. Thank you for having me and I’m glad to have, uh, helped out and added value.
We’ll talk soon. Thanks.
What Are the Duties of a Content Strategist?
You’ve decided you want a career as a content strategist, and we’re here to help you reach your goal. A content strategist is a key player in determining the success of a brand’s content strategy, and it can be an exciting career path.
We discuss below the duties of a content strategist along with tips for becoming the most successful one you can be.
What Does a Content Strategist Do?
A content strategist brainstorms, plans, and executes the content strategy for a brand. This can be done either in a solo environment or with a content strategy team.
The material that’s crafted by content strategists for various social media platforms and other digital marketing efforts is designed with the objectives of the business in mind.
Understanding what content strategists do means we first need to understand content marketing.
Content marketing is a useful type of marketing that involves creating content designed to build interest in a brand’s products or services without explicitly promoting them.
Content strategists are content marketing experts.
For example, a content marketing strategy for a social media coach could involve a series of blog posts about why it’s so important to post on social media.
Now you can understand how a content marketing strategist engages in content marketing in the day-to-day execution of their job.
Content Strategist Job Description
Here is a sample content strategist job description:
The content strategist will develop a content strategy that meets key business objectives. They will reach the brand’s target audience through various marketing channels using their supreme content delivery skills.
The content strategist will use the organization’s content management system to oversee marketing campaigns across a variety of specific social media channels. In addition to content planning and content creation, content strategists will report on how their work met content strategy deliverables.
A typical content strategist salary ranges from $40,000-$80,000 based on location, experience, and the type of company you’re working for.
Here are a few examples of roles for the job title “content strategist” that illustrate a varying salary range based on location throughout the United States:
As you gain more experience and rise in seniority, you could become a senior content strategist or even advance into marketing leadership. It’s up to you where you want to take your career.
The Roles and Responsibilities of a Content Strategist
To add to the content strategist job description, we list the roles and responsibilities of a content strategist below.
The content strategist role varies on a day-to-day basis, but the overall tasks that need to be completed remain consistent. Content strategists will:
- Facilitate content planning sessions across a variety of editorial calendars and marketing channels.
- Perform a content audit of all existing content, evaluate its effectiveness, and update as necessary.
- Conduct extensive keyword research to guide the direction of the brand’s content creation.
- Pitch existing and prospective clients on their content creation ideas.
- Build target audience profiles to create content for.
- Understand the many ways future content can generate leads and be monetized.
- Stay informed on social media trends and changes in consumer behavior.
- Create content across various digital platforms and social media accounts.
- Oversee a marketing team and delegate tasks for ongoing and upcoming projects.
- Collaborate with other team members, like copywriters, UX/UI designers, editors, and more when creating online content.
- Analyze its successful content strategy and report back on its performance. A working knowledge of SEO reporting tools is crucial.
Who Does a Content Strategist Report To?
The content strategist will typically report to a manager in the marketing department. This could include a marketing manager, the vice president of marketing, or the marketing director.
However, keep in mind that every company is structured differently.
For example, a large corporation will be structured differently than a small start-up.
The content strategist role at a start-up might report directly to the CEO. Furthermore, a content strategist at a large corporation might report to the marketing manager.
Depending on how large the marketing team is, the content strategist might report to a more specialized person, like the digital content manager.
Understanding the marketing team structure of the company you want to apply for will help you understand where you fit in the organization.
Types of Companies Content Strategists Work For
Because every type of company can benefit from having a content strategy team, there are a variety of companies a content strategist could work for.
A few types of companies a content strategist could work for include:
Major recognizable brands need content strategists to maintain their position in the market as thought leaders.
Marketing agencies provide a wide range of services, and content marketing is just one of those services. A content marketer will help marketing agencies create engaging content as part of overall content strategies for clients.
Content strategists are an important part of the business for small start-ups because they help attract new and existing customers.
Having content monetization skills can be especially important for start-ups as they run lean in the early days.
Content agencies are similar to marketing agencies. However, they provide a more niche service that’s specific to content marketing.
These types of agencies will need to hire teams of content strategists to serve their clients’ content marketing needs.
There is another option that’s entirely different from the employers we’ve discussed on this list. That alternative is freelancing.
A career as a freelancer means that you will be self-employed and responsible for obtaining your own clients, delivering the project, and billing the client.
While there is potentially more money to be made as a freelancer, it does also come with more risk.
What Skills Do You Need to Become a Content Strategist?
Becoming a successful content strategist requires a variety of soft skills and technical expertise. We break down the necessary skills in each category below.
Here are a list of the soft skills you’ll need in your career as a content strategist:
You will need to tell compelling stories to a variety of audiences as a content strategist. Whether it’s pitching ideas to clients or educating your audience, you will need to learn to relay information in an engaging way.
Ultimately, you’re creating content for your target audience to consume. This means that it needs to be engaging, exciting, and creative. Having creativity will help you put together the best content.
As a content strategist, you are communicating every day. Whether it’s to your boss, other teams within the company, or your target audience, having top-notch communication skills will be very important.
An aspiring content strategist needs to be very organized. They will be managing multiple campaigns simultaneously, so they need expert organizational skills to keep everything running smoothly.
Beyond the very important soft skills you’ll need, there are a variety of technical skills that you’ll also need in your career as a content strategist.
Here are a few of them:
Strong technical writing skills are one of the most important hard skills you’ll need. Being able to write high-quality long-form content will be a key component of your job.
Search Engine Optimization:
SEO is another one of the most important technical skills you will need to have in your career. You’ll need to understand how to perform keyword research with SEO research software, along with how to seamlessly incorporate these keywords into the text as part of the content creation process.
Social Media Platforms:
Having an understanding of the posting style of each of the different social media platforms will be helpful to your success as a content strategist.
Your long-form content will be shared with your audience in the form of social media campaigns. If you’re able to lend your knowledge when creating these campaigns, you will be able to provide more value for your team.
Part of the content strategist’s job is understanding how the content you’re creating can be monetized and earn your employer money.
Whether it’s incorporating banner ads or partnering with affiliates, you will need to be an expert in monetization methods for the content strategies you implement.
Tips for Becoming a Content Strategist
You know the skills you need to develop and what the job description entails. Now it’s time to discuss tips for optimizing your career in content marketing. Read our top 5 tips for becoming a content strategist below.
Prioritize Your Education
You will need to have the knowledge if you want to earn a job as a content strategist. This means that prioritizing your education should be at the top of your list.
While this doesn’t necessarily mean you have to have a bachelor’s degree, some employers might require you to have one. For example, if you want to work at a large corporation or a major brand where you work your way up to a leadership position, they might require a bachelor’s degree for those types of roles.
Examples of bachelor’s degrees that you could obtain include marketing, journalism, public relations, or communications.
Gain Professional Experience
After you’ve obtained the education, you want to add professional experience to your resume.
Professional experience can occur in many forms, including internships and paid positions. Learn from the other content strategists you’re working with as you contribute to content marketing campaigns.
Whether you’re working directly as a content strategist or something adjacent to this position, give it your best effort to learn as much as you can while also impressing your employer.
References from internships and entry-level jobs will be helpful to you in the future!
In addition to developing your skills, you’ll also want to start networking.
Networking with other professionals in the industry will be helpful for you when searching for jobs. Sometimes, jobs aren’t even posted on online job boards, and instead, companies ask for referrals from their existing employees.
Similarly, when employers are looking at a large stack of resumes, seeing a name they recognize makes the hiring process easier for them.
Also, remember that you’re networking with people of all experience levels, not just people who are more advanced than you in your career. The person that you’re taking a course with could one day be promoted to the marketing manager you’re applying to work for.
All this to say, conduct yourself professionally and courteously when networking.
Show Your Expertise Through Personal Projects
Even if you haven’t obtained that internship or first job yet, you can showcase your expertise through your personal projects.
Starting your own blog site, YouTube channel or newsletter will help you develop skills and gain hands-on experience.
Working on your own projects requires you to develop a content strategy, create content, and grow your audience.
How long does it take to make money from a blog? You will be able to answer this question for future employers based on firsthand knowledge.
You can then tell future employers about your expertise and the success of your marketing campaigns.
Always Continue Learning
Even though education was already a priority for you on your path toward being a content strategist, learning will always be important for furthering your career.
Whether it’s taking online courses, reading books, or listening to podcasts, find the learning method that feels right for you.
Courses are a great way to further your education as a content marketer. Here are two great courses to get you started:
The Affiliate Lab
The Affiliate Lab is an expert source on creating content optimized for SEO. This course contains more than 100 hours of training on how to conduct keyword research, select your niche, rank in search results, and more.
If you’re looking to improve the SEO rankings of your content, this course is for you. Niche Pursuits readers receive an exclusive discount of $200 off The Affiliate Lab course here.
If you want to learn how to drive real results, Project 24 is the course for you. This will help teach you how to create the best possible content for a blog site or YouTube channel.
Its 27 online courses will teach you how to create and monetize content that’s been optimized for SEO.
The end goal of this course is to teach you how to generate passive income from your content marketing efforts. Check out our Income School Review to learn more about Project 24 and its founders.
No matter which course you choose based on your goals, what’s important is that you’re expanding your knowledge base to create results-driven content.
Your Career as a Content Strategist
Whether you work for a fast-paced marketing agency or an exciting brand, your career in digital content creation is sure to be an exciting one. We wish you the best of luck in your career as a content strategist!
HustleGPT: An Intriguing Blend of Humor and Concern in AI Capitalism
This article serves as a condensed overview of the original piece titled “HustleGPT is a hilarious and scary AI experiment in capitalism.”
OpenAI’s release of GPT-4, an advanced generative AI model, sparked an innovative experiment that blends humor and concern in the realm of AI capitalism. Brand designer and writer Jackson Greathouse Fall initiated a project, transforming GPT-4 into “HustleGPT” with a mission to automate hustle culture. This intriguing venture has captivated the internet, with its potential to redefine get-rich-quick schemes and shed light on the role of AI in the pursuit of wealth.
The Birth of HustleGPT:
With a mere $100 and a straightforward prompt, the experiment unfolded. The objective was clear: turn the initial amount into as much money as possible in the shortest time, all while adhering to legal boundaries. The human counterpart, Jackson Greathouse Fall, acted as a liaison between the AI and the physical world, providing updates on the cash total without engaging in manual labor.
The Business Plan Unveiled:
HustleGPT’s proposed business plan involved setting up an affiliate marketing site for eco-friendly products. A cheap domain, greengadgetguru.com, was swiftly acquired, and with the assistance of GPT-4, a logo and a detailed site layout were generated. The project took a tangible form as Hall invested $29 in hosting, bringing the Green Gadget Guru website to life.
Strategic Moves and Investments:
With $62.84 remaining, Hall sought guidance from HustleGPT on the next steps. The AI suggested allocating funds for Facebook and Instagram ads to enhance visibility. The project gained momentum as Twitter hype attracted an undisclosed investor, injecting $100 into Green Gadget Guru on the first day.
Scaling Up the Operation:
As the experiment progressed, GPT-4 displayed its capabilities beyond initial expectations. It recommended hiring freelance content creators and developing a Software as a Service (SaaS) product. The project expanded rapidly, with GPT-4 advising on capitalizing on Twitter followers, launching a GitHub repository for others to replicate the challenge, and attracting more investments.
The Viral Success:
HustleGPT’s viral success is a testament to the fascination surrounding AI capabilities. However, beyond the entertainment factor, the project is demonstrating the potential to build a legitimate business. With $7,812.84 in investment, a growing team, and content in the pipeline, the experiment has garnered attention. The question remains: can Hall and HustleGPT transcend the common startup pitfall of hype without profits?
AI’s Role in Capitalist Ambitions:
HustleGPT’s journey reflects the ongoing debate about AI’s role in capitalist endeavors. While the experiment leverages GPT-4’s virality to achieve financial goals quickly, it raises concerns about the ethical implications of automating hustle culture. The project showcases how AI can navigate the business landscape, from generating content and attracting investors to scaling up operations.
In the evolving landscape of AI and capitalism, HustleGPT stands as a unique and thought-provoking experiment. It encapsulates the potential and challenges of integrating advanced AI models into entrepreneurial endeavors. Whether it succeeds or encounters the common pitfalls of startups, the project serves as a fascinating case study, offering insights into the intersection of AI, hustle culture, and the pursuit of wealth in the digital age.
10 Early Blogging Mistakes You Should Avoid From Day One
There were so many early blogging mistakes that I made when I started my blog a few years ago, and that’s the reason why I decided to talk about it in this post.
While some people believe that it’s time to pivot from blogging, I genuinely think that blogging still has some potential compared to other digital platforms like social media or vlogs. For a start, as an audience I would rather read a blog to get some information than use TikTok or Youtube for an answer. And I know I’m not the only one who does that.
If you are considering blogging to be your next venture and in need of advice on how to do it right, you may want to avoid some of these blogging mistakes that I made at the early stage of my blog!
10 Blogging Mistakes to Avoid When Starting a New Blog
From not knowing the difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org to spending too much time promoting my blog instead of working on my content for SEO purpose, I honestly made a lot of mistakes when I started my blog.
However, I took them as some lessons learned so that I can genuinely share what I’ve learned with everyone who’s trying to get on the same path in the blogging industry.
So, here’s the blogging 101 you need to know before publishing your blog on the World Wide Web!
#1 Choosing the first blogging platform available without knowing the pros and cons of using it for your blog
It may sound so simple, but trust me… Choosing the right blogging platform is a make-or-break decision for your blogging journey. It’s 2020s, and there’s a handful of blogging platforms that you can choose from in the market, so finding the best blogging platform to start your blog can be a little tricky.
When I started The BeauTraveler in 2017, I chose the wrong blogging platform because I had no idea the difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org. I know almost every blogger recommends WordPress as a blogging platform, but I didn’t know there were two types of WordPress that I should’ve known!
The first mistake that I made was building my blog on WordPress.com. I upgraded it to the Personal Plan so that I could use my domain, without knowing that it wasn’t the self-hosted WordPress that everyone recommends for blogging.
I learned the difference the hard way when I bought a premium theme on Envato Elements, only to find out that I couldn’t use the theme as it could only be used on self-hosted WordPress on WordPress.org.
It took me months to accept the fact that this mistake cost me time and money, as I had already spent a one-year Personal Plan on WordPress.com. I wanted to migrate it right away, but I was hesitant as it had only been around 4 months since I upgraded and bought my domain on WordPress.com.
I remember I upgraded my WordPress.com account in February, and it was only in September that I decided to swallow my defeat and migrate my website to self-hosted WordPress on Dewaweb for many reasons.
I got a lot of recommendations about web hosting providers like Bluehost or Hostinger, but it was too expensive for my budget at the time so I had to search for a local Indonesian alternative that I knew would be more affordable. That’s how I ended up with Dewaweb, and I’ve never really looked back ever since.
There are a lot of factors to consider when deciding which blogging platform is the best for you. Apart from budget, you also need to factor in the customization, as well as your technical skills, if you want to build your own website from scratch.
While I have to admit that the website templates on Web.com and Squarespace make it easier to design your own website from scratch, I know those platforms aren’t suitable for me in terms of pricing.
So far, I have to follow what most bloggers say about self-hosted WordPress.org being the best platform for blogging. I think if you have time to follow the learning curves (that can be quite steep at times!), WordPress definitely has everything you need to build and grow your blog from scratch!
Quick tip: If you want to start a blog with minimum expense, alternatively you can also use a free blogging platform like Blogspot to get you started.
However, I would also recommend getting a custom domain right away so you can start building your domain authority from the very start, as well as growing your blog as a brand. You can consider getting a cheap domain through platforms like Namecheap or Domain.com and connecting it to your Blogspot account.
#2 Use the default permalink structure without considering any other viable options
The permalink structure is often overlooked, but you’ll definitely thank me later to find out how important it is to set up the right permalink from the start.
If you’re not sure what permalink is, it is basically the format for the URL for your content. For instance, if you take a look at the URL of my blog post here, you can see that I use thebeautraveler.com/post-name as my permalink structure.
Well, that wasn’t the case when I started my blog in 2017. I didn’t even know that the permalink structure would matter so much, so I just used the default format with the publishing date in the format.
It took me maybe a year or two after I started blogging when I found out that the permalink format, especially the one that included the publishing date or year in the URL, could make your post seem outdated on search engines even if you created evergreen content!
Most people go on search engines to find the most updated information about something, and the year of the published date on your permalink could make it seem like your post is no longer relevant.
That being said, the best blogging practice to choose the right permalink for your blog is to get rid of publishing time from the URL. That’s why I eventually switched from thebeautraveler.com/YYYY/MM/DD/post-name to thebeautraveler.com/post-name format.
If you just got started with your blog, then it’s the right time to change the best permalink format for your content now!
If you change your permalink later when you already have a lot of posts published and ranked on search engines, you will have to deal with the redirection process which will require some technical aspects to make it right. But if you do it right from the beginning, you can save yourself from the stress if you’re not a very tech-savvy blogger!
Not sure if you have the right permalink set up on your website? If you use WordPress as I do, you can go to your WordPress dashboard and check the “Settings” option in the menu, where you can see “Permalinks” in the sub-sections. Once you click it, it will show the permalink format you are using for the website right now.
#3 Add a clickbait-style title to “attract” more traffic to your blog
You see, I’m an Indonesian millennial who got so used to being fed with clickbait-style news by digital media here. My biggest blogging mistake is to use the same strategy as those media!
When I started blogging a few years ago, I thought the longer the title, the better… Boy, was I wrong!
Not only is a long title not good for SEO, but using a clickbait-style title for your blog is no longer relevant these days. Most people who search for information on Google or other search engines are leaning toward posts with more straightforward titles these days.
The way I see it, a clickbait-style title still works in social media like Instagram Reels or TikTok, but it’s definitely an obsolete strategy if you aim for a blog post to rank on search engines!
#4 Upload high-quality pics for supporting images on your blog post
So you take great pictures to be included as supporting images on your blog posts, and you want to present the best quality of your pictures. Your first thought would be to upload the HD version of the images to ensure the quality of those pictures.
Ekkk, wrong. If anything, uploading the high-definition images will only slow down your site. It’s not good for SEO, and it will also take lots of bandwidth on your website since a high-quality picture usually has a larger size as well!
So, instead of using HD pictures for your supporting images, always upload the compressed image with a smaller size so it won’t take up too much space on your website.
Not only will it optimize your website content in general, but it will also give a better user experience as your audience won’t have to wait too long to get your images loaded when reading your blog posts.
I have to admit that I still have a lot of large-sized images in my early blog posts when I started this blog, but I’ve learned my lessons.
Nowadays, before uploading pictures for my blog posts, I always make sure that the photos that I use for supporting images won’t be larger than 1000px. Plus, I only use JPG format for the images instead of using the larger format like PNG.
In addition, I also use the TinyPNG plugin on WordPress. While it’s free for up to 500 photos per month, I occasionally exceed the limit per month as I tried to optimize a lot of existing images on my website as well. I signed up for their Pro plan, and on average I paid around $5 USD per month for these extra optimizations.
If you don’t want to use the plugin, you can also compress your images manually online on TinyPNG.com.
#5 Try to master all social media channels in the hope of getting a larger audience
I started my blog when the influencer industry was at its peak in the midst of the 2010s, so naturally, I spent a lot of time on social media to see if I could make it in the industry. Which I didn’t. LOL.
When it comes to social media, I suppose it’s more like each to their own thing because I know a lot of people who actually make it in the industry, which brings thousands of traffic to their blogs.
I don’t think social media affects my traffic so much, and even if it does… It certainly doesn’t work better than SEO for me.
At some point, I decided that social media wasn’t really working for me so I focused more on creating content on my blog than posting things on Facebook or Instagram.
The only social media channels that are worth my time when it comes to gaining traction for my blog are either Pinterest or Flipboard, and I’m not even sure whether these platforms can be considered social media.
#6 Treat your blog as a hobby instead of a business
Treating my blog as a hobby at the beginning was one of the biggest blogging mistakes that I made when I first started. I didn’t know anything about SEO, and I definitely wrote a lot of things that were kinda cringe if I had to read it today.
Even if your blog is new, I’d recommend treating your blog as a business right away. In this case, you should think through your branding strategy, and you can implement it through your writing voice. It will be hard to achieve if you treat your blog as a hobby like I did.
Because of these mistakes, right now I have to do a lot of extra work to update all my blog posts in the first few years of blogging to ensure that the content matches my current branding voice and format.
When you treat your blog as a business from the beginning, it can be avoided since you already have your branding guidelines to follow instead of just writing whatever you feel like writing at that time.
While you may not have earned any income from your blog when you first started, it’s also great to start streamlining your blog as a business so you can choose the best payment platform when you accept some sponsorships or paid collaborations.
#7 Neglect the chance of networking to grow with other bloggers
As someone who tends to be more comfortable doing things on my own, I never thought networking was necessary when I started my blog. However, you have no idea how beneficial networking with other bloggers is to climb the ladder in the industry!
Facebook groups for bloggers are my go-to for networking and making connections with other bloggers. From collaborating through round-up posts to guest posting, so far I haven’t found any platform that works better than Facebook groups to network with people from the blogging industry.
In addition to collaborations, you can also get the opportunity for knowledge-sharing about the industry. Even if you’re a novice to blogging!
When I started my blog, I gained most of my understanding of SEO from a lot of Facebook groups for bloggers that I’ve joined. I also network with other WordPress users in Indonesia to understand the prospect of running an English blog despite it not being my first language.
With respect, all the insights I got from the community aren’t always right. But it’s when I gained the understanding that blogging is actually a personal journey. It’s the kind of thing you do where you shouldn’t compare your journey to the others.
Blogging is something that you should try and test yourself to see if the result works for you. No matter how many blogging coaches say A works better, sometimes you just need to see how B works out and see if the result can be better than A for your platform.
My advice is it’s okay to seek advice from others, but don’t eat the whole up since maybe you need a slightly different strategy to succeed. Be open to suggestions, but stay curious. Plus, it won’t hurt to pour your creativity here and there to see how it works out!
#8 Ignore the best practice for blog formatting strategy on your blog posts
This sounds so simple, but it was also overlooked when I was a beginner. Do not neglect subheadings when formatting your blog posts!
My logic when I was new to blogging was that since I could easily make the font bold, I could always use the bold font to enhance the hierarchy of my blog post.
But guess what? Apparently, formatting also matters for SEO too and the hierarchy of a blog post only counts when you use the correct subheadings in the article.
So, yeah… While you’re probably smarter than I was when I first started, this is a little reminder in case you have the same logic that I did so that you don’t have to repeat my bad blog examples!
#9 Procrastinate the chance of earning money through affiliate marketing
A few years ago, when I wrote about my income sources from blogging, I mentioned that affiliate marketing didn’t work for me. Boy, was I wrong!
Affiliate marketing could work, but there are a lot of factors that you should consider when choosing affiliate programs to ensure that they will bring value to both your content and income.
When I started The BeauTraveler a long time ago, I applied for Amazon affiliates and of course, I didn’t make it because (1) most of my audiences at the time were close friends who are mostly based in Southeast Asia where Amazon isn’t really popular, and (2) I simply didn’t have enough audience to actually convert anything there.
It was only this year when I realized that affiliate marketing could actually work for me. But even that, I still refuse to apply to standalone affiliate marketing programs.
Why? Because at around 7,000 sessions and 10,000 pageviews per months, my audience is still considered low to convert to reach the payout threshold for most direct affiliate programs. And that’s why I chose to work with affiliate networks like TravelPayouts or Impact instead.
There are pros and cons of joining affiliate networks compared to doing it directly. But if you’re a new blogger trying to build content and affiliates, joining affiliate networks may work better since you can join various programs under one bucket. That way, it’s easier to reach the payout threshold than doing it directly with numerous brands for the sake of higher commission.
Another alternative is Skimlinks. Although they cut around 25% of your earnings, Skimlinks is probably the easiest platform to join if you want to get into affiliate marketing. They literally have thousands of merchant partners around the world, and you can convert all the links into an affiliate link without having to apply for each brand.
The only affiliate program that I’ve joined directly is SafetyWing, and it works tremendously well for me since they have regular bonuses and contests to earn around $100 USD per campaign without any pressure to convert your affiliate to eligible sales.
#10 Spend too much money on fancy blogging tools
I know a blogging coach who emphasized that in order for your blog to succeed, you should invest in some paid tools.
While I know she meant well and I admit that over time, you definitely will need to invest in something in order for you to grow, you don’t need to spend too much money on fancy blogging tools from the beginning!
Instead, I’d recommend free tools from Google to get you started. Master Google Analytics and Google Search Console to learn how to analyze graphics for your blog, and you can also use the keyword planner tool on Google Ads to see the search volume of your content plan.
If you have the budget to get started with blogging professionally, you can consider spending it on a keyword research tool to help you build optimized content for your blog.
For a low-budget tool, you can sign up for Keywords Everywhere or Keyword Cupid to get started. For a mid-range option, Keysearch is pretty popular among the travel bloggers’ community. If you have an extra budget, you can also check KeywordTool.io which enables you to search keywords for SEO across channels from Google, Bing, to Pinterest and even TikTok!
Alternatively, you can also invest in the cheaper version of Ahrefs/Semrush with Ubersuggest. Ubersuggest’s lifetime access price is on par with the monthly subscription of the other tools, although I have to admit that I feel like the data on Ubersuggest is kinda wonky. I use Ubersuggest personally, so I think they really need a lot of improvement when it comes to data and user experience.
FAQs about Starting a New Blog
Now that you know some common mistakes in blogging for new bloggers, I will also add some of the most frequently asked questions about starting a new blog so you can gain more insights to decide whether blogging is for you.
So, here we go!
What makes a blog fail?
To tell you the truth, blogging is not for everyone because it requires consistency. It isn’t an easy way to make money, and it could take months or years to the point you can make a living out of it.
I think blogging works for me because writing is something that I will still do for free. When I started my blog, I practically only spent my money on the domain and hosting provider with Dewaweb, which was only around $30 USD per year at the time.
As I started my blog not too long before I quit my full-time job, I practically had enough time to write more content in my free time. It took me around 7-8 months until I started generating regular income from my blog, which makes it profitable even in the first year.
Nonetheless, my situation makes it easy for me to stay consistent about working on my blog, creating fresh content, and optimizing it when necessary. It can’t be the case if you have a lot going on, which can hinder your consistency in working on your blog.
It’s one thing to have writer’s block, but it’s another thing when you have other responsibilities to deal with.
I think if you decide to start a blog and don’t want your blog to fail, you need to at least dedicate your time to creating content at least once every two weeks. Otherwise, your blog will slowly become a liability instead of an asset, which may result in failure.
What is the ideal blog length?
I know I tend to write a little bit longer than it should, but a good blog post is the one that actually solves the audience’s problem.
While technically nothing is set in stone when it comes to an ideal blog length, 1500-2000 words are a sweet spot to ensure that you give adequate information within your post while it’s also not too long now that most audiences have a shorter attention span.
Is blogging still relevant?
As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, I still prefer searching for information through blogs since I just can’t stand video content these days. I believe I’m not the only one, so blogging is still relevant for the audience just like me, who prefer reading to watching videos.
The only issue is with search engines that might change algorithms from time to time, which can make blogging triple harder than it was years ago.
If you decide to start a blog now, it’s important not to overlook all the basic things that may matter in the blogging industry. Something as simple as knowing the best platform for your blog to the knowledge of how to optimize your blog post for search engines like Google or Bing.
When you know all the basics and you can be consistent in the process, your blog can gain traction without spending too much money on fancy tools at the early stage of your blogging journey.
So, are you ready to start your blog anytime soon? Or are you a blogger who wants to share some blogging mistakes that you made at the early stage of your blogging journey? Share in the comment below, and cheerio! 😉
Marya The BeauTraveler
I am the founder and main editor at The BeauTraveler. I spent 4 years working in the aviation industry but ironically got to travel more right after quitting the industry in 2015. Born and raised in Indonesia, I started working remotely in 2017, and while I stay at home most of the time, I also regularly spend 2-3 months living a semi-digital nomad life elsewhere every year.
This post may contain affiliate links. I receive a small commission at no cost to you when you make a purchase using my link.
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