6 figure blogging 2

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6 figure blogging 2

  1. 1. Six Figure BloggingSix Figure Blogging Call 2 Transcript Introduction Andy: Welcome to our second call for Six Figure Blogging. Darren there is this news of a new blogging network that just launched today. How about that? Topic: Launch of B5 Media Blog Network Darren: That is right. There have been three of us: Jeremy Wright, Duncan Riley, and myself have been working on a new network for the last it must be a month or two now that we’ve been talking about it. We went live yesterday Australian time or today your time, I think. We’ve launched with fourteen blogs on a variety of niche topics which is quite handy for today. It is going really well. It has caused quite a bit of a stir around the blogosphere. We are getting a bit of talk about our approach. So yes, it has been going well. Andy: Yes, I was putting you guys through Technorati to see who has been talking about the project. Participant: What is the site? What is the URL? Andy: The URL is b5media.com. There is good press out and then there are people saying you guys aren’t paying the bloggers enough and you should give them everything after hosting and design. Then I was thinking, “What is in it for Darren, Jeremy, and Duncan?” Darren: That is right. We are trying to be quite fluid with the approach that we’ve taken. Really, we’ll change our approach as things grow. We wanted to start with something quite simple that everyone could understand and everyone is on the same page in terms of how to pay people. As we grow and as we learn, we’ll be© 2005 Andy Wibbels and Darren Rowse. All Rights Reserved. 34http://www.sixfigureblogging.com/v 1.0
  2. 2. Six Figure Blogging adapting that system. There are always going to be people who knock it, but there has been an overwhelming positive response as well which have been great. Andy: What is particularly different about this blog network versus other ones? Darren: I guess what we are trying to do is do something that is very niche- based and starts with the passion of a blogger rather than a commercial idea. A lot of them seem to be more about the money rather than about the people. We really are wanting to create a network where the bloggers become heroes, where they have every chance of becoming A-listed in their own right. There are some similarities between us and the some of the other networks, but we are just trying to do it with our own flavor. Andy: You and Duncan both have done blog networks before so this is a way for you to say, “If I knew what I knew then, I would have done this.” Darren: Exactly. I was saying this morning to someone; this enables us to do something much bigger than we could have ever hoped to do by ourselves. The three of us have a great mix of skills and experiences. I am really looking forward to seeing what comes out of it. I am really tired at the moment. We’ve been working around the clock for the last week on it but it is coming together nicely. Andy: Awesome. Again folks, that is at b5media.com. Are there any questions about that particular network and any questions from last week’s content? Don: I have a question. What is the advantage of announcing your new blog network to the world? It seems to me like all that does is draw slack for how little or whether you should be doing it or whatever. I just wondered about that. Darren: The approach we are going is we want to be as transparent as possible. We could have quietly launched it and just gathered links amongst ourselves and built ourselves in the search engines. We wanted an exercise one of actually© 2005 Andy Wibbels and Darren Rowse. All Rights Reserved. 35http://www.sixfigureblogging.com/v 1.0
  3. 3. Six Figure Blogging producing a network but all three of us are really interested in building blogging up. So being transparent about the way we do it, what we are paying, and what we are learning will be a big part of B5. I guess even the negative slack is positive in some ways. It actually makes us better and also it is building our ranking in search engines as well. I know that every negative feedback we get brings a link with it. Andy: That is true. Darren: I guess there are a variety of good things about it. Andy: And how much are you paying the bloggers? Darren: We are paying the first one hundred dollar amount and then on top of that they are taking forty percent of all advertising. Andy: Is that per blog or is that divided across the whole network? Darren: Per blog. So if you are writing for three blogs for us, it will be the first three hundred dollars from those plus forty percent of those for all of those blogs. Andy: There was another question out there? Paula: Yes, this is Paula. Andy: Yes, go ahead Paula. Evaluating Existing Blog Networks Paula: I was checking out the stuff on the fieldwork and looking at the different blog networks. I was struggling with answering the question of how you can tell if it is a blog network versus just another blog. Obviously in your new one it just says that right out there and the ones that I was going to are the ones that we discussed last week so I know they were a blog network. But I was having some problems discerning how they are tied together whether they are just feeds from© 2005 Andy Wibbels and Darren Rowse. All Rights Reserved. 36http://www.sixfigureblogging.com/v 1.0
  4. 4. Six Figure Blogging other blogs creating this one page or how that exactly works. You kind of have to understand that I am kind of geeky so I want to know how it works. I am not just happy just looking at it. I was like, “How is that working?” Andy: Do you mean how does one blog reference another one and have it post on that page? Paula: I am guessing that in the blog networks, they are doing that automatically versus like when you regularly read a blog and if somebody says, “Oh just go to that blog; it has something great on that,” and they link back to the permanent link or whatever. But in the blog network, this kind of happens almost seamlessly. It is like running My Yahoo! for you or something. Andy: Yes, I’m guessing most of those networks are all in the same servers, so they can all trade code back and forth pretty easily. You can have elements such as common header or a common footer or have an element that is on every blog in the network and it is all just from one file. Paula: OK, but when I look at the B5 Media one, just because I went there and just because we are talking about it, where do all the other blogs show up? Are they integrated within this page? Darren: No. What you’ll find is that each of the blogs in our network has their own URL. They are stand-alone blogs. We are not integrating them into one space. We’ve toyed with the idea of doing that but at the moment we are just running them as normal stand-alone blogs and they are being tied together by linking to one another or they’ll be tied together with some buttons on the page that promote each other. They are stand alone blogs. I think most of the networks are doing that. They are all still written by individuals not machines. But there are some cross linking and cross promotions which is probably the advantages of doing it in a network style because you’re building up your brand and you’re building up your search engine presence.© 2005 Andy Wibbels and Darren Rowse. All Rights Reserved. 37http://www.sixfigureblogging.com/v 1.0
  5. 5. Six Figure Blogging Paula: Yes, I can see in yours where you have a section on the right like what has other sites in the B5 Network and that links to other blog. It is not as evident as some of the other ones that I went to. Darren: Some of them do it more explicitly more than others. Paula: Either that or I was so overwhelmed by that and everything else I couldn’t find. OK, thanks. Andy: Sure. Darren today we are talking about niches right? Niche Introduction and Darren’s Story Darren: That is right. Really niches are the key to B5 Media, they are the key to the way I have been making income from blogging for the last two or three years now. I’ll start with telling a little bit more about my story. When I first started blogging, I started a very general blog; it was a personal blog. I didn’t actually put the link in the notes. I’ll add that later. It is livingroom.org.au/blog. If you go back through the archives of that blog, you’ll find that I really posted on so many different topics. If you look at the categories that I’ve got there, there are really different focuses there and a lot of topics. Originally, I was blogging about church and starting a new church so there was a spiritual Christian element there. I was also blogging about the Iraq War because that was all happening at the time. I was blogging about gadgets and technology. I was blogging about blogging and making money from blogs. Really it was an extension of my life. One of the things I’ve noticed over that first year of blogging at that Living Room blog was that a lot of my readers didn’t share that same spread of interests to me. I have a fairly collective bunch of tastes and ideas and passions. Increasingly I began to see readers either leaving my blog as loyal readers or expressing their frustration for me becoming obsessed about something.© 2005 Andy Wibbels and Darren Rowse. All Rights Reserved. 38http://www.sixfigureblogging.com/v 1.0
  6. 6. Six Figure Blogging So when I began to write more about making money from blogs, a lot of my emerging church readers, that wasn’t something that they wanted to really know about and so I began to sense this disillusionment within my blog. I also felt quite guilty myself about writing all these different topics knowing that I was causing angst for different people. So the idea began to be born in my mind, as I saw what others were doing, of having different blogs for different topics. It is not really rocket science but it took me a little while to work that out. That began the process of me thinking about blogs that focused tightly on a particular topic, on a particular niche topic. That is really where problogging has been going over the last year or two and we find more and more networks and individuals starting blogs that are focusing on those tight niches. Andy: What you are saying is that part of what we are going to get today is the idea of aligning content, audience and advertising? Darren: That is right. That is largely the advantage of niche blogging is that you are focusing on one thing which means you can target readers but you can also target advertisers which is a very beneficial thing. Maryam: Darren, I have a question. Can I ask? Darren: Sure Maryam: This is Maryam. Andy: Hi Maryam. Maryam: Hi, I am wondering and maybe this has been covered and I’m a little behind on the reading but how do you track when readers leave? How do you track how long they’ve been with you and if you don’t actually have a subscription blog? Because I go to the Living Room and it’s not subscription I’m noticing.© 2005 Andy Wibbels and Darren Rowse. All Rights Reserved. 39http://www.sixfigureblogging.com/v 1.0
  7. 7. Six Figure Blogging Darren: That is right. There is just any sort of evidence of this person is not commenting anymore, this person isn’t linking to me anymore and just in conversation and feedback and emails. That is where that evidence was coming from but it is very difficult to track when they don’t subscribe. Maryam: Great template by the way. It is a beautiful design. Darren: Thanks. So did you want to give us your definition of a niche, Andy? Definition of a Niche Andy: Yes, going off of Darren’s story about getting into what exactly is a niche and yes, it took me years before I pronounced it neesh and not nitch so I guess I am elevating myself culturally and being more continental. When I talk about niche, what I try to get across is a group of people with a common set of problems or a common set of passions. There is a term called otaku which is used with fans of Japanese animation. It is a name for someone that is just really obsessed with Japanese animation or if you think about really geeky people that are obsessed with a certain type of hardware or a certain operating system and they just really focus on that all the time that they have this passion for this topic or this thing. I went to those shoe blogs that Darren talked about last week at shoeblogs.com and yes, the design is really crappy but the thinking behind it is pretty wild because there are people who are absolutely nuts about shoes. Even if they are not buying shoes everyday, they want to read about it. It is the idea of common passions and common problems that these people are all united in their interest or what they are trying to solve. Along with that if we were going to be talking about niche in a non blog perspective, I would also say what is important is that they hang out together whether it is an online discussion forum and whether it is a trade association if you are talking a business type niche. The idea is that you are maximizing your marketing by going after a certain niche so© 2005 Andy Wibbels and Darren Rowse. All Rights Reserved. 40http://www.sixfigureblogging.com/v 1.0
  8. 8. Six Figure Blogging you want all these people to be accessible more easily than just throwing it against the wall and seeing if it sticks. Why Use a Niche? Darren: That is right and I guess for me, there is a number of reasons why we would want to use a niche and I’ve outlined them in a post on the ecampus if you want to follow along the post, “Why use a niche?” Really, there are seven things that I’ve identified there. First one to come out of my story is the loyal readers. Niche blogs develop a loyal readership who just keeps coming back to you. 1. Loyal Readers Darren: I was thinking about Engadget this morning at engadget.com. They have an incredibly high loyal reader factor. People bookmark their blog. They’ll log in every morning; they’ll log in during the day; and they’ll log in the last thing at night. That is because they know what they’ll get when they go to Engadget. They know they’ll get consumer electronics. They won’t get politics; they won’t get movies; they won’t get anything else; they’ll just get what they want. As a result of that, they have this incredibly high loyal reader count. They had an event recently for their readers and they had two or three hundred people show up. They are going out of their way because they really believed in this. That is one of the benefits of a niche blog. 2. Specialist Authors Darren: Specialist authors. This for me has been one of the biggest reasons. All of these blogs get real freedom to focus upon a topic that they don’t feel guilty about writing about. For me going from writing just at Living Room to having a Problogger blog, that was like a weight lifted off my shoulder as I began into think, “Ok, I can write about making money from blogs without having to worry© 2005 Andy Wibbels and Darren Rowse. All Rights Reserved. 41http://www.sixfigureblogging.com/v 1.0
  9. 9. Six Figure Blogging about different people reacting to that.” So the quality of my posts, the frequency of my posts went quite a bit up. Andy: Right because you changed your expectation. Darren: Exactly and my readers as well. They are relaxed. “Ok, Living Room is about this rather than twenty different things.” 3. Building Credibility and Profile Darren: It builds credibility and profile. Blogging on one topic alone really has the ability to build your credibility on a particular topic. Thinking about Peter Rojas, I read an interview of him this morning. He has an interesting profile around consumer electronics. He gets the speaking gigs; he gets the book offers. That is because he is focusing on one niche and not many. 4. Contextual Advertising It is good for contextual advertising. Next week we’ll look at AdSense. AdSense works really well on tightly focused sites. You get much better targeted ads on sites that are about one topic so more relevant ads which increase the amount that people will click on them. There is also this theory going around that the more authoritative that your site is on a particular topic, the higher AdSense actually pays per click for those topics. There is nothing proven about that. There is quite a few people who actually believe that you if have a quality site on a particular topic, AdSense will rate you more highly and you have a higher per click payment. I think there is some credibility to that argument. That is another benefit of niches. Maryam: Darren? Darren: Yes.© 2005 Andy Wibbels and Darren Rowse. All Rights Reserved. 42http://www.sixfigureblogging.com/v 1.0
  10. 10. Six Figure Blogging Maryam: This is Maryam again. I was wondering, what do you call B5? Would this be like an exaggerated blog carnival? Would it be like a permanent blog carnival is that what this is like? I am trying to wrap my head around it? Darren: It is more of a place where we look after some aspects of the blogs and just allow the bloggers to just focus on blogging. Andy: Do you mean the B5 site itself Maryam? Maryam: Yes. Andy: Yes, that is the site just for them talking about their particular network. Maryam: But this network is, like you’ve got all down at the bottom, there, they are all of participating blogs. Andy: Right. On the right side and the right column, you’ll see a list of blogs that are part of the B5 Network. Maryam: Right. Andy: Right. Maryam: Does that make this thing a network. Is this the same thing as a blog carnival? I am just trying to understand. Andy: It is a little different because it is not itinerant where with a carnival, it is usually with a different blog each week. They formed a company that is running these fourteen blogs on respective of installation so that they are all sharing traffic back and forth and they are launching from one point. Maryam: Ok, I get it. Thank you.© 2005 Andy Wibbels and Darren Rowse. All Rights Reserved. 43http://www.sixfigureblogging.com/v 1.0
  11. 11. Six Figure Blogging 5. Search Engine Optimization Darren: That is right. We’ll keep going through that list. Niche blogs are great for search engine optimization too. Sites that have multiple pages on one thing seem to rank quite well. I know on my digital camera one, two thousand pages on the one topic, the search engine looks at that and go, “That is an authoritative site.” So they’ll rank you higher whereas a page that covers such a large spectrum wouldn’t rank as high. 6. Higher Posting Frequency Darren: I’ve found when I went to a niche approach, I blogged a lot more and my posting frequency and rate went up from about ten posts a day to about twenty or thirty just because I felt like posting on many things. 7. Attract Advertisers Darren: Also, one of the biggest advantages of niches is they attract advertisers. I recently signed a deal with Adobe PhotoShop for my digital camera blog and they really wanted to advertise there because I was writing on a niche that they were into as well. Whereas that company would never have advertised on my Living Room blog even though I did talk digital cameras there because it just wouldn’t have made sense for them. So there are seven reasons that niche blogs are worth while getting into. Andy: Are there any questions about why we use niches with blogs or with businesses in general. I think this is a huge concept with any business and stop trying to say, “My product is for everyone,” is to say, “Well this product is for this certain group of people that have this certain interest.”© 2005 Andy Wibbels and Darren Rowse. All Rights Reserved. 44http://www.sixfigureblogging.com/v 1.0
  12. 12. Six Figure Blogging Do Non-Niche Blogs Generate a Lot of Traffic? Participant: Based on your experiences have you guys ever seen any of the blogs that talk about everything and that actually make it to the top of the list? I am asking this question because a lot of the bloggers out there are talking about pretty much whatever they want to talk about. They are really not focused on one topic. It is pretty much about all their passion, myself included. So I am just curious if any of those kinds of blogs make it to the top of the list. Darren: In my experience, there are a few that do okay on that. Usually they happen because either they were one of the first bloggers out there so they dominated the market from the start or they are famous people or they just are brilliant or very lucky. I don’t happen for the average blogger. If you think about it, there is one blog being born every second. That is the latest stats that came out. Most of those blogs are personal blogs. Most of those blogs are just extensions for people’s lives. Now I think I am interesting but in the scheme of things, I am not that interesting so I don’t really have much hope of competing with fourteen million other blogs similar to me. So you’ve got to do something to elevate yourself above that clutter. Andy: Yes, there is an element to it. It is very personality driven with those famous blog that are really about that person’s personality instead of well, “I am going to blog whatever I want.” For example, I added Google AdSense ads to my personal blog just to see what ads would serve up because my personal blog is so broad because I talk about so many topics over the last five years, none of the ads are consistent so it would be a terrible idea to try and make that a problogging blog because none of the content is consistent to a niche or a topic. Tom: Can I jump in? This is Tom from Scared Monkeys. We ran into that same instance. We have a blog that has twenty, fifty thousand people a day coming into© 2005 Andy Wibbels and Darren Rowse. All Rights Reserved. 45http://www.sixfigureblogging.com/v 1.0
  13. 13. Six Figure Blogging it but it is on topics that are not advertiser friendly so by the end of the day we are barely making any money with that one and we’re branching out into things where advertisers want to be. Andy: Right. Darren: That is right. That is what I found in the Living Room. I was getting ten or twelve thousand people some days through that blog and it was making three dollars. It was just amazing. Now I get the much traffic on another blog and it is making two or three hundred dollars. It is just because of the topic that I am writing on. Can a Niche Be Too Small? William: Hi, this is William from Will Robots and I have a question. Andy: Yes, go ahead. Darren: Sure. William: Have you ever come across some niche that you think is too small? So I was thinking about one and I searched Google and there is no AdWords to display for that search term. Darren: I can give you an example of that. If you want to go to the page on the ecampus of ‘What is a niche.’ If you look at that page and then you’ll see a blog there that Epson 4800 printer blog. Andy: I like this one. Darren: This guy is smart in some ways but he is a very small niche. He’s written up a blog that is completely about one model of printer. Now if you do a search on Google for Epson style 4800 printer, you’ll find that he is in the top two or three.© 2005 Andy Wibbels and Darren Rowse. All Rights Reserved. 46http://www.sixfigureblogging.com/v 1.0
  14. 14. Six Figure Blogging Most people who search for the printer will find him. But the fact is, it is such a small narrow niche that he has probably written I think three or four posts over the last month. I am not sure how many people are searching for that particular term. He is dominating a very tiny niche which might be a very smart move if it was a lot of money in terms for that. I don’t think he is actually doing it for the money. I think he is doing it for other reasons. It is a very, probably a too narrow niche to make much money out of. Andy: And what if they stopped making it? Darren: Exactly. He is a nice guy; it is a very narrow niche. Andy: Other niche questions? Connie: I have a question. Darren: Yes. Connie: Hi, it is Connie. I was looking on your site here and I guess what baffles me is the topics are basically pretty general and you don’t really write to your blog, you write on your blog and then your blog is part on that network, correct, on your new site? Darren: Yes, I think you pretty much got it there. Each blog is written by an individual. They are focusing on that particular topic and that just becomes part of a wider network which doesn’t have a theme to it where we are looking at a lot of different niches just within one network there. Alright, do you want to go through those examples Andy? Different Types of Niches Andy: Yes, we talked about different types of niches and I think this is a good illustration that we’ve got together. You’ve got narrow niches which could be as© 2005 Andy Wibbels and Darren Rowse. All Rights Reserved. 47http://www.sixfigureblogging.com/v 1.0
  15. 15. Six Figure Blogging specific as a certain type of cuisine or even maybe too specific like a certain type of printer. Darren: That is right. Really, what we are looking on that page in those narrow niches is that sub-niches within large ones are, if you look down on that page towards the bottom, you’ll see flash foods. Slashfood is a Web Blogs, Inc. network blog on the topic of food, just food. Then if you go right to the bottom of that page, you’ll see another link I’ve put there called Kiplog’s Food Blog Index. If you click on that, you’ll be taken to a page that has hundreds of food blogs which all focus in on different sub-niches within a larger niche of food. I staggered when I started going through some of these yesterday. There are thousands of food blogs out there. I knew there was a few, but I didn’t realized there was that many. So on that page, you’ll find, back at the top you’ll see a cupcake blog. That is a very tight niche. There is the Algerian cuisine blog. So really, I guess what we are trying to illustrate with this page is that there are a variety of ways you can go with niches. You can go with a very narrow topic. There are some advantages of that. You can dominate that topic but you’ll decrease the amount of potential readers. You can go for a wider topic like some Weblogs, Inc. topics like Engadget or Joystiq or Autoblog which I’ve listed on that page. They are quite wide and have many sub-niches within them but it is very hard to have a wide niche and dominate although Weblogs, Inc. does that pretty well. So there is a variety of different ones there where you might want to look through over the next few days just to look at how different people are approaching it and to see how they fit together in a wider niche. Andy: If you are drawing blanks, you might try cross-pollinating niches. For example, under the narrow niche listed, there is one called cooking gadgets which takes the whole gadget freak blog and puts it together with the food cooking blog.© 2005 Andy Wibbels and Darren Rowse. All Rights Reserved. 48http://www.sixfigureblogging.com/v 1.0
  16. 16. Six Figure Blogging You might want to see what combinations you can come up with when you take two random niches, put them together and see well, how do these two interests collide or intersect? Darren: That is right and there are a few different examples of that. The shoe blog one that we were talking about before does that. They bring together celebrity and shoes which is a fairly logical thing in some ways because celebrities are the ones who really wear the cool shoes but I would never have thought to put those two things together and it works very well. Sometimes to actually carve your own niche, to put two and two together is actually very smart to do. We might move on to how to choose a niche for your blog. Andy: Yes. How to Choose a Niche for Your Blog Darren: We are going to work through ten different principles there of how to choose a niche. This is the meat of what we are getting into today. The first one we are going to focus on is you might want to think about keywords. We’ve listed a couple of tools there that I use quite regularly as I am thinking about a new blog. If I am going to start a new blog, I would use these two tools. 1. Overture Inventory Tool and Wordtracker Darren: The first one is Overture Inventory Tool (alternate link). Overture is a system of advertising like AdSense. They have this tool which I have given you the link there. If you go to that page, you’ll see, on the top left hand corner you can enter keyword into a field. If you enter a keyword there, so we might put a keyword of pens. I had someone the other day say that they wanted to start a blog on pens. You add that in and it© 2005 Andy Wibbels and Darren Rowse. All Rights Reserved. 49http://www.sixfigureblogging.com/v 1.0
  17. 17. Six Figure Blogging will ask you for a password on the left underneath that as you do it. You’ll find that on the left hand side there, on the column which tells you what advertisers are willing to pay for an ad on pens with that keyword on Overture. We have to remember here is that Overture is different to AdSense so the numbers will be different. Also, these numbers don’t include what Overture or AdSense take as their cut. So you can probably cut these numbers in half. You can see there that people are willing to pay $1.70, if you are seeing what I am seeing for an ad on ‘pens’. So if that someone sees that ad on your blog and click it, the advertisers would pay $1.70 and you’ll get a percentage of that. So pens, they pay ok. If you put in another term up at the top there say ‘digital cameras’. I always go to digital cameras. That is what I always research. You’ll see there up at the top, that advertiser are paying eighty cents. Pens pay more than digital cameras in ads. That is one way of analyzing a keyword. If you look over on the right hand side of the page, you’ll see how many searches were done for digital cameras. So, if you are seeing what I am seeing, there is 1.65 million people searching for digital camera. If we were to compare that with pens, I’m sure that pens are not searched for quite as highly as digital cameras. Coming up now, pens, 141,000 people. So these are the factors that you’ll want to keep in mind as you choose a niche. Pens pay well, but not many people search for pens. Digital cameras don’t pay as well but a lot of people search for them. So these are two of the elements that we are going to talk about now as we go below. These are one of the tools that you might want to use. Another tool is Wordtracker. I think I’ve got the link on that page. If you go to that, it is actually a paid system. You may want to pay, you may want to sign up and pay. I know a lot of people who use this system and rave about it.© 2005 Andy Wibbels and Darren Rowse. All Rights Reserved. 50http://www.sixfigureblogging.com/v 1.0
  18. 18. Six Figure Blogging The beauty of it is it’s got a trial button on the top menu. If you click on that trial button, it will, I won’t go through the system now but it is fairly self explanatory. They actually will give you some limited but free results on different keywords. One of the good things about it is that they will analyze how many competing sites there are on a particular term which is another key factor you want to think about. It is not just if the ads pay well or do a lot of people search for them. There are millions and millions of other sites out there on the same topic you’ll decrease your chances of doing well out of that. So that is the point number one of keywords. You really want to think quite seriously about the keywords you are targeting within your niche. Andy: Also, just to add an appendix to this first item Darren, part of it is there are the words you’ll be using in your blog’s posts, in the titles, in the keywords and trying to stay mindful of these different keywords as you are writing your blog’s content. Darren: That is right and you want these keywords to appear not only in your post but also the title of your blog if possible because that has a really big impact on search engine ranking and if possible in the URL, the domain name of your blog as well. 2. Evaluate Competitors Darren: The second one we’ve got there is competitive. We’ve kind of mentioned this but really, you want to ask the question, how many competitors are there on this particular niche? What are those competitors doing? Probably the easiest way to check your competitors is to do a search on Google. Let’s do a search for ‘digital camera’. For digital cameras, there is 110 million other sites if you do a search. It will tell you how many results there are. So there are 110 million pages with the word digital camera in it. So there is a lot of competition in that. Andy: And that is all sites, not just blogs.© 2005 Andy Wibbels and Darren Rowse. All Rights Reserved. 51http://www.sixfigureblogging.com/v 1.0
  19. 19. Six Figure Blogging Darren: That is right. Whereas, when we looked at the blog for Algerian cuisine, Algerian cuisine on Google, there are 119 thousand other sites mentioning that. So we analyze and we see that perhaps that Algerian cuisine has some advantages of going for that even if there wouldn’t be as many people search for it, it is actually easier to dominate that. So how many competitors are there. Are they missing sub-niches within their blogs? Again, I’ll speak from my own experience but my camera phone blog started that because I realized that a lot of the digital imaging sites out there weren’t talking about this growing trend for cameras in phones. So that was the sub-niche I saw there was empty ground on and I stepped into that ground. You want to be thinking about not only how many competitors are there but what are they doing? What are they focusing on? How could you do something better than they could? Again that Wordtracker tool is really good for analyzing competitors and but also looking at how many people search for them. The word tracker tool gives you a rating or a ranking for how useful a keyword or a niche must might be. Andy: Along with that, if there is a topic out there, you might see what audience is not being addressed for that topic. There is Engadget for all those gadget blogs but there is a gadget blog just for women called I think called ooshiny or shiny shiny or something. They took what is usually a male dominated blog area with gadgets and retooled it for women. Darren: That is right and that is very smart on their part. I know the guys behind Shiny Media, and I think that blog is actually doing very well at the moment. Another tool that you might want to use are Technorati and BlogPulse which help you to do searches on those to find out what other blogs are on the topic. You don’t want to just want to search on what other blogs are doing; you want to look wider than that. It will give you an indication of what your competition is doing.© 2005 Andy Wibbels and Darren Rowse. All Rights Reserved. 52http://www.sixfigureblogging.com/v 1.0
  20. 20. Six Figure Blogging Who else is doing it? They may give you some ideas of how you want to or not want to do your own blog. 3. Market Size Darren: Number three is market size. How many people are searching for information on that topic. Is it a popular topic? Obviously you want to pick something that has some popularity. It doesn’t have to be the biggest topic of the day but it is another factor to keep in mind. There are a number of tools for that. It is probably more just about common sense. We could come up with a list quite quickly now of hot topics that are going around the world at the moment. We’ve listed some tools there. Yahoo! Buzz and Google Zeitgeist which really track what people are searching for on Yahoo! and Google at the moment. I track those sites quite regularly. It is fascinating just to see what are people doing at the moment? What are they reading and wanting information on because it maybe that you can actually provide that information for them. Andy: There was a question earlier about doing an event-driven blog. I know that you did some stuff around the Olympics as well there was the blogs about Michael Jackson and that stuff. There were questions about how sustainable is that? What other things to be thinking about if you are doing event driven blog like that? Darren: Yes it is a really good question. It is something we experimented with a little while ago now. With the Michael Jackson blog, we did one on the Pope. Just on current new stories. I would say that it is worth doing but they obviously got a life to them. The Michael Jackson blog isn’t getting much traffic at the moment and neither is the Olympic games one but in the moment, there were very successful. If you want to clear some time to really cover a topic well you can build some significant traffic but it would be a lot long changing thing.© 2005 Andy Wibbels and Darren Rowse. All Rights Reserved. 53http://www.sixfigureblogging.com/v 1.0
  21. 21. Six Figure Blogging The Olympic games thing, we had a couple of million visitors in two weeks. It was massive and it did really well financial but it is all over. So if you really want to go that route, you really want to think about multiple topics, multiple blogs and always be looking ahead. The other thing I would say is they take a lot of work. You need to be blogging around the clock at different times. Hence we didn’t sleep during the Olympic games of no more than a couple of hours a day. It didn’t really do well for my health. There is some potential there, but be careful. 4. Market Growth and Trends Darren: OK, number four there, we are going to look at growth and trends. Again, it is very similar to the last one in market size. Is it a growing market. Is the topic one where it is becoming more popular or less popular basically. Where is it headed? Ask yourself the question, “Will this topic be a hot one in a month in six months, twelve months, and five years?” Look into the future. Look at it right there. It is ok for any of those answers. You maybe just hot for one month and you may ride that for a month or it may be a life long topic that you explore. It is worth noting that upfront. You want to plan for the consequence of that. If it is just the one month thing, think about the next blog after that as well. 5. Keyword Value on AdSense Darren: Number five is we want to be looking at the keyword value at AdSense. We’ve already looked at that Overture tool which gives you an indication of that. I’ll just emphasize it again, Overture tool does not tell you exact figures of what you’ll earn per click. I generally find that the click value is about a third of that. So the pen one which were $1.70, so you might get fifty cent if you are lucky from that particular search term.© 2005 Andy Wibbels and Darren Rowse. All Rights Reserved. 54http://www.sixfigureblogging.com/v 1.0
  22. 22. Six Figure Blogging It gives you something that is relative to one another. So I’ll often put in a variety of different keywords in there just to judge things against each other. The other way you can work out that is to register as an AdWords advertiser. AdWords is the back side, that is not the best term, but the back end of AdSense. So it is where advertisers put in their ads. You can sign up as an advertiser to the AdWords system. I’ve got the link there. By doing that can actually see what different advertisers are willing to pay for AdSense. It is a little complicated but you’ll get the hang of it. You don’t actually have to advertise for anything to be a part of AdWords so that will just give you a hint. Probably the best tip that I can give you there is to check out what different words pay is to actually set up a blog and test it. That is the best way to do it. My approach is to always set up a blog that is very low maintenance that doesn’t take up much design, that doesn’t take up much money to set up, to test it for a few months and then make a judgment call at the end of those few months as to whether you continue to pull in more recourse into it or not. So that is why I’ve got a lot of blogs that are quite small and I really don’t put much time into them because I found that it is too hard and so I’ll move onto something that is a little bit more easier and pay better. Andy: Since we are half way through the list, I want to just pause and ask for some questions that people have out there. Maryam: Hi, this is Maryam. Andy: Go ahead. Topic: Recycling Content from an Old Blog Maryam: I have a question about those blogs that are low maintenance. I have a major main blog that has gotten very cluttered. What I want to do is make a new© 2005 Andy Wibbels and Darren Rowse. All Rights Reserved. 55http://www.sixfigureblogging.com/v 1.0
  23. 23. Six Figure Blogging blog, make it very simple, and just simply cut and paste the relevant blog posts into the new blog and do that as my ad testing site. Is that what you call low maintenance? Darren: I would be a little bit careful about cutting and pasting. I think one of the worries that would be around that is that Google and search engines don’t like duplicate content. They don’t like the same content appearing in too many different places. So just be careful about that. But it would be a good way to test a topic just for a short period of time. So if you got a lot of posts on a particular niche say, I don’t know what it might be. On one of your categories you might want to put them all into a new blog just to test it but then I would keep adding original content in that. I wouldn’t just leave old content by just cutting and pasting. It would be one way to test. Maryam: Thank you. Topic: Cannibalizing Traffic from Existing Blogs Will: This is William from Will Robotics. I have a question. Say I have a blog, in my case, robotics and it is kind of a big niche. Then I was thinking about starting a blog underneath that for more targeted niches underneath that for say other robots. What do you think about that in terms of taking traffic away from the other ones like stealing traffic from yourself basically. Darren: Yes, that is in effect what you are doing. I know some people who actually do that. They have multiple sites on the same topic. They don’t use the same content on any of them. They might have a really broad one like robotics and a toy one but they do link them together. So they don’t actually steal content from each other, they send content to each other. But they do it on different domain names and they set them up on different servers so the search engines don’t go, “This is just an extension of that same site.” I know someone who does that on the topic of women’s finance. They’ve got three or four websites on that topic. They really are actually dominating that whole© 2005 Andy Wibbels and Darren Rowse. All Rights Reserved. 56http://www.sixfigureblogging.com/v 1.0
  24. 24. Six Figure Blogging niche. It is something that might actually be worth doing. But in effect, you are already doing it with categories. So either way is probably valid but it might be worth experimenting with. Topic: Google’s Same Site Penalty Andy: And just to add into something that Darren has just mentioned that search engines are starting to look at the IP address of different domain names because usually for example, I have a whole bunch of domains on my web hosts so all those domains are under the same actual servers. They all have the same IP address. What Darren is talking about, the woman that has the woman’s finance blogs are all on different web hosts so they appear as different websites on three different web hosts so they effectively are three completely different entities. Tara: This is Tara. This would probably be a problem if you were using Typepad and having multiple blogs running through Typepad because it is all coming from really the same place? Darren: I am not really familiar with how TypePad is set up. I presume they wouldn’t all be hosted from the one server. Do you know anything more about that Andy? Andy: I don’t and I am guessing that Google can sense with groups like Blog*Spot or TypePad or LiveJournal where there are just massive amounts of sites where you can tell the difference between, “This is a site that hosts this many different people versus this is one person with fifteen blogs on one server.” I am totally guessing but I am assuming that the engineers over at Google have found some way to make that distinction. Darren: Yes, I am pretty sure they would have. Shall we keep plowing on then? Andy: Yes, go ahead.© 2005 Andy Wibbels and Darren Rowse. All Rights Reserved. 57http://www.sixfigureblogging.com/v 1.0
  25. 25. Six Figure Blogging 6. Enough Content Darren: Number six is to ask yourself the question, “Is there enough content available to sustain the blog at the time?” This is a big mistake. As I said that a lot of bloggers are starting out in this amazing new niche and then they realized in a month that they’ve got nothing else to say on the niche. Probably an example of that is the Epson printer one. I guess that guy is running out of content. There are so many reviews you can do on it. There are so much news in the wider media on that printer. You want to pick something that is wide enough to sustain the blogger at the time content wise. You want to do some exercises around brainstorming. If you had to write a post every day on the content, could you do it? Brainstorm the topics and brainstorm the categories for that blog. Do some searches on some of those tools I’ve listed there like Google News, Yahoo! News and topics that are news sites. Then put in the keywords. So if you are writing a blog about Algerian cuisine, type it into Google News and see. Is there are any other news out there on that topic? You can do the same thing on those other tools I’ve listed there like BlogPulse, Technorati, IceRocket, and Bloglines. They’ll give you a hint as to what other people are writing and is it a topic that is hot at the moment or is it a topic that is not? Then take a realistic guess of how often you see yourself posting on that topic. It is good to name those things upfront and to always set yourself goals. I set myself goals to write twenty-five to forty posts a day across all my blogs. Some of those are once a day, some are twice a day. Set some goals up front and see if you can sustain that.© 2005 Andy Wibbels and Darren Rowse. All Rights Reserved. 58http://www.sixfigureblogging.com/v 1.0
  26. 26. Six Figure Blogging 7. Do You Like This Niche? Darren: Number seven there, it probably should be number one. Do you like the niche? Do you have the energy? Do you have the passion? Do you have the interest in the topic? I tried to write a blogs that I am not interested in. Really they just don’t work. My readers are smart enough to know that I’ve got no passion for a particular interest a particular blog topic. So pick something that you not only can find enough content for but that you can sustain enough energy that you can keep going back to it day after day after day for perhaps years. So what are your interests? What are your passions? Do some realistic analysis of your energy levels. One way I’ve often started blogs is to start them up around the need to research as well. That might be a way of sustaining yourself. If you are buying a new car, maybe you’ll want to start a new blog on cars and put up your research on that. You need something that will tie you to the topic that will sustain it more than the fact that it might just make you money. I believe there are bloggers out there who can make a lot of money by blogging about things they might be interested in. But really I think life is just too short. Andy: Yes and otherwise it is just a day job. Darren: That is right. That is an important one. 8. Cross-Pollinate and Mutate Niches Darren: Cross-pollination, we talked about this before. It is mutating different niches together and we’ve used those two examples, the cooking gadgets and the shoe blogs. How might they go together? Some topics go together better than others but do some creative work on that and some brainstorming on the© 2005 Andy Wibbels and Darren Rowse. All Rights Reserved. 59http://www.sixfigureblogging.com/v 1.0
  27. 27. Six Figure Blogging different niches that are out there. You might be surprised by what you’ll come up with. 9. Other Income Streams Darren: Other relevant income streams. We talked about how much does AdSense pay for this particular topic. You also want to think about what other forms of income might I be able to generate for this topic? Are there affiliate programs for this topic? Are there sponsors out there who might be willing to sponsor me on this topic. Who might those sponsors be? Actually think ahead. Who would ideally could sponsor me as I think about these blogs? Last week we just did eleven different ways in making money with blogs. Go through them and actually think about how might they apply to the niche that I’m talking about. Might I write an ebook on this topic some day? Might I be able to do some speaking around the track? Might I be able to write a real book on this topic? Actually have those in mind as you choose a niche. 10. Observe Offline Darren: I find that it is probably more of a general one and it is something that I would recommend all bloggers learn the art of whether they are a niche blogger or not is to be good observers. Don’t just focus, buried-head, on your blog. Read a magazine, read newspapers, read other sites, go to movies, and talk to your friends about what is going on in the world around you. Keep you finger on the pulse of what is happening of both inside your niche but outside of it as well. I am getting into the habit these days of everywhere I go, of taking a notebook with me and just jotting down the ideas that come. As I see different things and as I walk around my city, I’ll notice different trends to go home and research and do some keyword analysis on and to think about how could turn that into a blog? My friends are getting into the habit of always saying, “You are thinking about a© 2005 Andy Wibbels and Darren Rowse. All Rights Reserved. 60http://www.sixfigureblogging.com/v 1.0
  28. 28. Six Figure Blogging new blog aren’t you?” as we talk about stuff. You wouldn’t want to let it dominate your life. Get into the habit of translating it into blog space as you go through life. So there are ten tips on that. I’ll take a breath after all those ten. Andy: That is a lot. Darren: Yes, let’s open up for a few more questions. I think we’ve got a few minutes left. Different Types of Content Strategies Julieanne: With the content of a blog, do people tend to use it like a school assignment? You do research and then go home and write up about what you have researched or are people writing straight from original stuff mostly? It is hard to write content if you do it all from real life experiences whereas if you are doing a lot of research on some things. It is a lot easer isn’t it? Darren: Really, there are a couple of different approaches that I see a lot of people have been taking. One is purely taking original content which comes from within themselves and their experiences and their knowledge on that particular topic. That type of content generally gets quite popular with other bloggers so that is great for accumulating links to your blog and growing traffic levels but you can only sustain that for so long and you can only write so many of those posts per week. The other type of blogging is more looking at what other people are writing in newspapers, in magazines, on other websites and using that as a basis to write something of your own whether it be to use it as quotes and to make a comment about what they have written; whether it be to take ten different quotes from ten different people on a topic and putting them together in some useful way. Really there are two types there and what I try to do in a lot of my blogs is a blend of those two things. So create spaces where I write on my own experience. I write completely original content but then there is I try to mix that in with other news© 2005 Andy Wibbels and Darren Rowse. All Rights Reserved. 61http://www.sixfigureblogging.com/v 1.0
  29. 29. Six Figure Blogging that is one that particular topic. I find that works quite well. Other bloggers go one or the other on those. So some people just write their own stuff and they maybe post once a week. Whereas other will just post completely new stuff based on others which is harder to grow some expertise on. If you want to grow expertise on an area, you want to up the amount of the original content that you can write. Does that answer your question? Julienane: Yes it does. What about stories from other people if somebody gives permission? I am a scuba diver and I am really passionate about it. I like to read stories that other people have written and sometimes I ask if they’ll mind if I put their story on my blog and they’ll agree. Is that thing popular? Darren: Yes if the stories are fairly original and you can’t get in too many other places, I think that would be a great way to build some content on your blog. I would probably be aware of just doing that as the only thing on your blog but definitely that is great way of fixing it up. The key is finding original ways of doing it. You don’t want to just be doing what everybody else does, you want to provide something that is useful and unique to your readers. Fieldwork Andy: We are getting towards the end. Let me go over the fieldwork. Alright, the coming week, remember that fieldwork is optional. If you are crazy busy, it is no big deal, it’s just a start from now. But if you want to structure, here you go. Go ahead a brainstorm a dozen possible niches whether it is taking a walk around your neighborhood and saying, “That is something that is interesting or this person is obsessed with this topic or go into a bookstore and go in to see what categories or topics that are in Amazon.© 2005 Andy Wibbels and Darren Rowse. All Rights Reserved. 62http://www.sixfigureblogging.com/v 1.0
  30. 30. Six Figure Blogging Just get yourself out. I think it is important when you are doing this kind of work is to get out of your house. As a person who works from home, I think it is really important to get out of your house. Brainstorm a dozen possible niches and then take three of them through this ten step process that Darren was articulating. Do the basic research and see where are the strengths of this niche? Where does it fall apart? How can you mutate the niche to be more applicable to a blog format? Finally if you are going to be creating a blog for this course, go ahead and apply for your AdSense account. That is over at Google AdSense, Darren? Darren: That is right. It is fairly a simple process. You will need a blog already with some content on it or else they won’t accept you into the program. It is pretty easy to do. I’ve got another fieldwork thing that I just came up with on the fly. There is a book out called Lovemarks. I can’t remember the author but it is Lovemarks. It is a big book red book. It is really worth the read, I think on this sort of topic. It talks a lot about how people get obsessed with things and passionate about different things. I think it is really worth the read and I recommend getting it out of the library this week if you can find it and give a little bit of a read about it and just looking at some of those things that people in the world around us get obsessed by. If you think about Apple Mac users. They are obsessed a lot of them about something. So that is a great niche to target because you’ve got people there who will do a lot of the work for you. They’ll come up with the content for you. They’ll create a community around it. Apple Macs, there are a lot of those sites out there already. If you can put your finger on the pulse on some of these things that people get worked up about and love. I love Macs; you can create some really interesting spaces around them. So that might be another field work for the week. Andy: Yes, add it to the notes. Alright any final questions for tonight?© 2005 Andy Wibbels and Darren Rowse. All Rights Reserved. 63http://www.sixfigureblogging.com/v 1.0
  31. 31. Six Figure Blogging Participant: I have one. Andy: Go ahead. Can a Niche Be Narrow? Participant: Sometimes niches concern me because I feel like if I go too tight, as you said, there might not be anything to write about and all those kinds of things. What would be your counsel about something? Let’s say, I am going to I am thinking out from the top of my head like remodeling as opposed to kitchen remodeling as opposed to kitchen remodeling in tones of green. Obviously there is going to be more passionate people. I don’t know why they would be in tones of green. It just seems to me like you’ll have more stuff and a bigger AdSense group and more advertisers if you are a little bit wider but you are still focusing in on something that people are very into. Darren: Right and it is the internal question really that a lot of niche bloggers are asking is how narrow is too narrow. What I am doing is experimenting with different ranges and even different ranges within the one niche. So I’ve got a digital photography blog but I’ve also got a camera phone one and a printer phone one. So I am experimenting. I am just seeing. I’ll start one on remodeling, one on kitchen remodeling, and one on green kitchens. See what happens. I think that might be one way to go about it. I think there is also some common sense in there and go with your own experience. Go with that little voice inside your head tells you what to do. You maybe start two or three. The beauty of starting two or three is that they link to one another and in the process, send each other readers. Andy: You might also think that in terms of advertising, are your advertisers for remodeling a garage or a living room is going to be the same advertisers for a kitchen? So you might want to think of in those terms as well.© 2005 Andy Wibbels and Darren Rowse. All Rights Reserved. 64http://www.sixfigureblogging.com/v 1.0
  32. 32. Six Figure Blogging Darren: That is right. Participant: Thanks. Andy: If there are no questions, everybody have a great weekend.© 2005 Andy Wibbels and Darren Rowse. All Rights Reserved. 65http://www.sixfigureblogging.com/v 1.0
  33. 33. Six Figure BloggingSix Figure Blogging Call 2 Worksheets Blog Ideas Write down the niches of your current blogs as well as ideas for other types of blogs you might develop. For each, determine whether its niche is narrow, medium, or wide. If it is medium or wide in scope, what might you do to narrow it down?Blog Idea Wide Medium Narrow How to Narrow / Focus this Niche© 2005 Andy Wibbels and Darren Rowse. All Rights Reserved. 66http://www.sixfigureblogging.com/v 1.0
  34. 34. Six Figure BloggingNiche Evaluation ChecklistEvaluation Criteria Blog 1: Blog 2: Blog 3:Keywords ResearchToolsOvertureWordTrackerCompetitorsHow many competitors?Search:TechnoratiBlog PulseAre they missing a nichewithin a niche? Is theresub-niche within theniche?How could you dosomething better thanthey do it?© 2005 Andy Wibbels and Darren Rowse. All Rights Reserved. 67http://www.sixfigureblogging.com/v 1.0
  35. 35. Six Figure BloggingEvaluation Criteria Blog 1: Blog 2: Blog 3:Market SizeAre there enough peoplesearching forinformation on thistopic? Is it popular?Tools for research:Yahoo BuzzGoogle ZeitgeistGrowth and TrendsIs the topic a growing,stable or shrinking one?Is it a topic that is on thedownturn or upturn?How might this topicgrow or change infuture? Where is itheaded?Will this be a hot topic in1 month, 6 months, 1year, 5 years?© 2005 Andy Wibbels and Darren Rowse. All Rights Reserved. 68http://www.sixfigureblogging.com/v 1.0
  36. 36. Six Figure BloggingEvaluation Criteria Blog 1: Blog 2: Blog 3:Keyword Value onAdSenseToolsOvertureJoin AdWords and testSet up a topical blog andtestEnough ContentAvailable?Can you sustain this blogover the long term? Doyou have expertise in it?Do you have enoughcontent sources?Search for content:Google NewsYahoo NewsTopixBloglines - do a keywordsearchIcerocketTechnoratiBlogpulse© 2005 Andy Wibbels and Darren Rowse. All Rights Reserved. 69http://www.sixfigureblogging.com/v 1.0
  37. 37. Six Figure BloggingEvaluation Criteria Blog 1: Blog 2: Blog 3:Do You Like It? Energy?Passion?Do some realisticanalysis of your energylevels:Do you have a need toresearch it?Can you see yourself stillwriting on this topic if 2years time?Cross Pollination ofNiches/MutationWhat two niches mightgo well together?Other Relevant IncomeStreamsAre there relevantaffiliate programs?Are there potentialsponsors / advertisers?© 2005 Andy Wibbels and Darren Rowse. All Rights Reserved. 70http://www.sixfigureblogging.com/v 1.0
  38. 38. Six Figure BloggingEvaluation Criteria Blog 1: Blog 2: Blog 3:Keeping Current WithYour NicheResources (magazines,newspapers, other sites,movies, talk withfriends, observe trends)© 2005 Andy Wibbels and Darren Rowse. All Rights Reserved. 71http://www.sixfigureblogging.com/v 1.0

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