I read everyday online about all the things you can do and the various methods that you can use to make your site successful. This blog covers a lot of those methods: SEO, social media, content marketing, advertising, having a good web design that is responsive, mobile friendly, and a simple user interface, and there is a whole many other ways to make your site successful.
While it is true that all of those aforementioned things help to make a site successful, I think it all really comes down to one thing; being passionately dedicated to the subject your site covers.
If you are truly passionate about your subject, you will:
- Write regularly on the subject
- Stick with your subject for the long haul (which is key to success on the web)
- Follow the subject constantly, thus being on the cutting edge and truly being an expert
- Be able to cover the subject much more completely and in depth than someone who isn’t as passionate about it
- You’ll want to make your brand well known in your area of expertise
- You’ll want to interact with your users, customers, and other experts in the field
I have to admit, I think that it took me years to come to this realization despite the fact that it seems to be quite simple, straight forward, and I’ve seen it written about all over the web in relation to starting, running, building, or promoting a website.
In affiliate marketing, there seem to be a plethora of forums where new people constantly make posts posing the question, “what does it take to get started in affiliate marketing,” or “how do you start a successful affiliate site,” or other similar posts.
There are really only two possible answers, one of which is being passionately dedicated to your subject. The other answer that always comes up is picking the right niche (or subject or topic).
Tons of websites and articles focus on niche selection, and while it may be easier to be successful in some select niches (you could be the best niche site in a super specific topic like “decorating tissue boxes”) while it is more difficult in others (travel, technology, health care), if you aren’t passionately dedicated your topic, your site won’t do as well or be as good as if you were.
Some ways that your site may suffer if you aren’t passionately dedicated to your subject:
- Your posts could be incorrect if you aren’t regularly following the subject
- You may let your posts become outdated
- You won’t write as frequently
- Your content won’t be as inspired
- You may start rehashing content already available on the web rather than making your own unique content
- Your content won’t be as in depth as what someone passionate would write
- You’re writing may lack a “voice”
But what about the points on niche selection? Isn’t it better to pick a niche where you will succeed rather than going after a big niche?
Well, it turns out that if you pick a big niche that is difficult to break into the SERPs (search engine results pages) for, that niche also has a huge following and is likely a huge market with lots of potential customers. You can find where that following hangs out and tap into it.
Let’s look at an example; if you want to break into the travel niche, you probably won’t ever get page one of the keyword “travel” in Google (the major travel sites are paying millions to be on that page).
However, if you are posting regular, amazing travel content, people will find it online as there is a craving for that sort of content. If you post awesome photos to Pinterest, you’ll likely get tons of traffic and reposts, and this will grow exponentially over time as more people follow you. If you find travel forums, you can offer great advice and add backlinks to your posts or your post footer (a lot of forums let you do that). Just posting to social media (and doing so correctly with tags and mentions) will get you pages views as well as grow your backlink profile.
People are looking for specific content, and they also want to interact with real people rather than just reading generic, in personal content. If you provide great content that fills a need, there will be people who read it.
Also, most of search is long tail search and your content will eventually be found in Google and can even get a ton of views from Google. You may never get traffic from the keyword “travel,” but you could get it from “10 amazing tourist spots in Lutsen, Minnesota (with photos),” or something very specific like that.
If you’re passionately dedicated to your subject, you will create great content and there will be people who will read that content. Eventually, you will be found. I think there will be moments when your passion wanes and you just aren’t interested in writing a post that day, but it still is easier to force yourself to write about something you find interesting and know a lot about instead of something you have no interest in and probably aren’t on the cutting edge of.
A lot of people that do pursue the subject they are passionately devoted to seem to give up right away or within the first few months. It does take time to build up a great site. If you’re writing one amazing post per week on a brand new site, it will probably be at least 4-5 months before you start seeing much search traffic. Part of that has to do with Google taking time to naturally find your site and index it correctly. The other part is that you have very little content to find at first, and even after four months of one post a week, that would only be 16 posts.
While you wait for search traffic, you can get traffic from the places where your audience hangs out and you can work on your social media presence. Reddit, Stumbleupon, YouTube, and Pinterest are great sources to get some fast traffic, if your subject fits those sites. Paid ads are also an option.
Working to get your site mentioned in person and networking with real people is also a great way to get real, targeted traffic or to just get backlinks. Sign up for HARO (Help A Reporter Out) and you’ll get sent a list of requests from reporters looking to write on certain subjects each day. If you fit what they are looking for, respond to the request. Maybe you can get mentioned in an article from a big site, and that will come with a valuable backlink.
There are a ton of ways to get targeted traffic besides from search engines. Check out my article a guide to bringing in web traffic for a few ideas.
If you’re not passionately devoted to your subject, you can of course still be successful and honestly, I think that is how most businesses really are. You also may still want to capitalize on small niches with little competition.
This article is more of an attempt to tell people that you don’t have to avoid big subjects just because there is a lot of competition. If you are passionately devoted to that subject, go for it! Even in big markets that are full of competition, you can find an audience. Big markets usually have a big community, you just need to find where that community hangs out and tap into it.