Are you special?
Because if you want to build a successful website based around content and ideas, it takes a special person to do that. A type of person with the right mix of talent, hard work and the right habits in place.
Are you good at what you do?
Because, no one wants to take advice from someone who’s on a “journey” to find themselves. We are awash in enough people ready and willing to fall into the status quo.
Getting paid to be you is not accomplished by copying either!
You know I have to be blunt with you, when I tell people not to copy their attitude is always “no shit bro”. But copying is a subversive little thing that a lot of bloggers do subliminally without even realizing it. You know how many copycat websites there are to every popular website? Hundreds.
You know how many copycats there are to MarieForleo.com, ArtofManliness.com or BoldandDetermined.com?
SO. DAMN. MANY.
It’s almost comical.
Take a look at the comments section of each of these websites to find copycats and have a good laugh.
MarieForleo.com copycats = Websites by women who want to build “authentically you” business, to “live from within” and to share their “heart centered” best selves with the world. What does any of that actually mean? I have no idea. I’m confused.
ArtofManliness.com copycats = A plethora of blogs written by guys who want to talk again and again about how to shave, change tires, win a fight, win an argument and so forth. 27 lessons from your great grandparents!
BoldandDetermined.com copycats = Being super alpha, the most alpha ever. Do you even lift bro?
Now, don’t get me wrong, I admire each one of these websites because they were awesomely unique when they came out and are still awesome today.
They took an industry and found there own thing within that industry.
For example, personal development was huge 10 years ago with the rise of StevePavlina.com, ZenHabits.com and dumblittleman.com. So much so they had the same effect with copycats as it happens today. These websites helped created an army of personal development blogs with “me too” content.
Same with ProBlogger.net back a few years ago. Everyone was writing about the technical stuff you can do to make money from a blog, but what they were forgetting was the personality required to gather any sort of attention.
Websites like BoldandDetermined.com or ArtofManliness.com, which for all purposes are personal development websites for men, took a totally new take which is why they are so successful.
StevePavlina.com = Personal development before personal development online was popular. A first mover in this big and broad topic.
ArtofManliness.com = Personal development for men. A niche of the broad category Steve Pavlina dominated.
BoldandDetermined.com = Personal development for men with testosterone added. A more masculine take on money, lifestyle, freedom and women.
This should be your strategy.
Know yourself, BE YOURSELF and know what you want to write about, but have your own take on it.
Copying is the shortest path to failure online.
It’s a painfully difficult thing to stop doing it if you’re ingrained in a certain industry. You read a lot of fitness, you want to talk about fitness. But are you insanely good at it? You have to stop and ask yourself that.
I have a friend on Facebook, her name is Jessica. She constantly posts feel good, personal development nonsense because she wants freedom from a job.
She posts pictures of going to seminars with Tony Robins and Gary V and talks the talk about being self employed and doing your own thing.
But I ask myself when I see this outward projection of wants and desires, what’s your thing? What exactly ARE YOU DOING besides mental masturbation?
A website alone is not a business by itself, but neither is the want or desire enough for an online business either.
It’s almost like a process people who are transitioning from jobs to working for themselves go through. They read stuff like why you should never have a job, get into personal development, then do whole lot of feel good nonsense without getting good at anything.
Fail, get frustrated and the reorient what they’re doing online to stuff they actually know and are good at.
HOW TO MAKE GREEN FROM BLACK
1 – First, is blogging even for you & the three types of blogs to create
Is blogging for you?
Blogging is not for losers with nothing to say. It’s not for 9-5 people who want to escape work and reality by “working on their blog”. It’s for confident, competent men and women with something to say and a purpose driven reason for saying it.
Now, I don’t mean to demean anyone with a job, or lump everyone with a 9-5 as being incapable of blogging. It’s just that for blogging, it take a mindset and purpose to do it right. Maybe blogging is not right for you, but you can still build your own digital presence. Just not with a blog if it’s not for you.
I was reading Forbes the a few days ago and cam across ushistoryteachers.com. A membership website that makes tens of thousands of dollars a month by offering lesson plans for history teachers. It was created by a history teacher.
It’s not a blog, it’s a website that offers free lesson plans and has paid features. Content websites still work and that does not always mean blogging.
The expert blog
Expert blogs are like what I do over at https://edgeofdavid.com/blog. It’s helping people out with tech skills. Are you an expert at something? Fitness? SEO? Cooking? Graphic design? Accounting? There is ALWAYS a demand for content from people who know what they are doing.
This is a broad term I know, but this sort of blog is from people who have a strong message to share, and WHO LIVE THE CHANGE THEY WANT TO SEE IN THE WORLD.
It’s that simple.
Take theminimalists.com or Colin Wright’s exilelifestyle.com. They live the change they want to see.
Lifestyle does not mean you’re limited to talking about travel, it’s bigger than that.
2 – Design Matters
You only get a few seconds for people to decide if they like your website or not. Your website design matters a lot. It’s your digital self and it needs to match and make sense according to your presentation and writing style.
Just like if I was to start a copycat blog of a men’s website and call it PowerAlphaWinners.com or something stupid like that, the colors for that site should make sense. Blacks, reds, dark blues, strong masculine colors.
To be honest though, the style you naturally create will match the kind of person you are. Take a look at David Risley over at BlogMarketingAcademy.com and again, Steve Pavlina.
Their designs are ugly.
But look at their personal style, look at how they dress and present themselves. Is it any surprise? They’re kind of techy, dorky guys.
update: Steve Pavlina and BMA have updated designs.
3 – Words Matter, have a voice for the love of god and challenge your readers
Penelope Trunk says women should put sex before work, prioritize finding a husband in her 20’s if she wants kids and should get plastic surgury. Basically, everything that would enrage our lovely rotund, short haired modern feminists.
The point is not to be offensive for no reason, it’s to have a position that challenges commonly held beliefs that you actually believe in.
Take this to heart because it’s how getting attention works.
Every time I’ve published something that goes against what a majority of people agree on, it always gets the most traffic and attention. Religion, open relationships, minimalism… even posts on topics I consider rather mundane like this one on waking up early.
But again, this sort of writing takes practice and more importantly, a lifestyle that brings about these contrarian ideas which you won’t have by following the proverbial rules.
So words matter.
Have a voice and KNOW WHAT YOU’RE TALKING ABOUT.
Oh, and you have to be literate. People are going to read your words so keep the grammar mistakes to a minimum.
4 – Be great at something and look the part.
You have to be great at what you do in order achieve big goals. Results you can achieve for other people and organizations are all that matter.
Get that into your head. You actually have to be good at something. Then…
Live the change you want to see in others. It opens the door to thought leadership.
If you want to blog about quitting a job, or taking a little trip with your family, that’s cool. But don’t expect to make money from it because no one wants to read about the opinions of an average person.
People pay for advice and help from pros, not from people who are faking it till they make it or again, who are on a journey of self discovery and talk about the virtues of living and behaving a certain way without backing it up.
5 – Habits
Hard work is a habit. Doing your best is a habit. Starting and finishing what you start is a habit.
Yea we all know those lazy bums out there who proclaim that they choose to be lazy, but say they could turn it on and go into overdrive if needed.
You know the type, the not very motivated at work. A jobsworth, do the minimum. But if they had too, if they were force to, they think they could be outstanding. But why should they? No one cares. It’s not important right?
The truth is this loser mentality leads to one not possessing the skills for success. NO, they can’t just be outstanding when the time demands it. Laziness, and half-assing things seeps into all aspects of your behavior.
You can’t turn the mentality of doing your best and working hard on and off. You’re either a top performer or your not. You either do your best at everything or you don’t.
It takes the development of habits to work when you don’t feel like working, as well as habits that are conducive to smashing success like waking up early and being disciplined.
I know the idea of traveling the world to far away cities and working from cafes or a beach is romanticized. But in practice it’s quite silly because no one can build the habit of working hard in random places all the time. We need our routine, our daily habits of where we go, what we do and when we do it.
This applies to work. I do my best work from my home or a cafe in whatever town i’m currently living in. Then, I like to plan a trip with my girl somewhere and go with minimal work commitments.
6 – Do the work. Do the work. Do the work!
You have to be on two platforms in today’s online world. A blog and a podcast or a blog and a YouTube channel mixed with social media (the focus though is on your work first). You need two as a means to get exposure for yourself. With running a website, your audience is all that matters in that first year.
Producing work and building a digital presence that is known for something is CRITICAL as well. Look at all the websites I’ve mentioned so far. Each one is known for something.
You can mix different topics like habits, fitness so long as they are branded under the same theme.
Why is that important?
Because people want to box you in. They can’t handle a web designer who wants to talk about dating. It makes no sense. Your authority will only be based on one of those topics in the minds of your readers.
But talking about how a positive relationship can improve your work performance, sure that works.
Do the work?
Take that to heart. Seriously.
You can’t build your self online with minimal work effort. It’s like building your body. It takes a lot of work to get in shape. But once you’re there, it’s just maintenance. I was able to get to where I was because I had moved to Thailand with a gf. I had no problem with living in the USA, but I had a reason to leave so I left.
This resulted me in having a lot more free time to work online. I had no kids, no job where I had to work 50 hours a week at, all I could do was focus on building an income stream online of at least 2,000$ a month. This was my goal back in the day.
2000$ a month is peanuts, but if I made this amount I would not need to get a job and could live and work in asia.
We all walk our own path. I can’t say I’m some strategic genious who knew before hand what life in Thailand would be like, that the cost of living would be much lower. I came here for totally unrelated reasons, but in the end things worked out because I had the time to work hard and I worked hard.
I became obsessed. I still am a bit because once you have your own success, the appeal of working a job is non-existent unless it’s meaningful work related to something you like to do. Like an NGO or for me, or a position as a UX designer.
7 – Network and pay attention to SEO
There are types of publishers that can get massive traction through content alone. There are others who write mediocre content but network better.
You want to do both. It’s called the internet for a reason. Your best bet would be to try and make friends online. This is easy to do if you again look great and produce great content even if you’re not very popular.
People want to associate with winners, so be a winner.
How to network?
Email, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Just reach out to people and compliment them on there work. It may lead to cool stuff like guest posts, interviews and links back to your website as well as friendship.
You need to build connections.
You need to have these connections before you need them.
Start with websites of a similar size and keep moving up, helping each other out. Then pay attention to SEO.
You should be using WordPress too, here is a great tutorial for the Yoast SEO plugin.
8 – Model but don’t copy!
Steal ideas, steal topics, take inspiration from other websites. But never copy. By copy I don’t just mean the content, I mean the whole style and presentation. Otherwise you will become and echo of a more popular website. Why the hell should anyone listen to you?
You have to be yourself. Otherwise you’re just going to become a commodity if you start another “me too” website.
Have your own take, your own flavor and presentation.
9 – Be cool with being alone
Success online takes the quiet work no one sees, working for hours in front of a laptop. Learning all sorts of different skills.
You have to be okay with this type of work, otherwise you’re going to struggle with boredom. It’s not for everyone.
This is why I like to mix it up by going to cafes because it helps my work performance. I’m not a recluse who can just stay in my apartment for hours at a time.
Now, being alone does not mean being lonely. When you’re in charge of your income your in charge of your own social life. If you’re suffering from loneliness, that’s something totally different.
I’m talking about being a lone wolf vs being a sheep. Both have their advantages and disadvantages. Choose carefully.
10 – It takes time, consistency and story telling
The last thing is that it takes time. Just like with exercising, no one expects to be in awesome shape if they go to the gym once a week, then take a week off, then go two times the next week. We all intrinsically know we need to consistently go to the gym and be conscious of what we’re eating to get in shape. We don’t beat ourselves up if we fail to do these things as if it’s some big mystery.
The same goes with building YOU online. Don’t get frustrated! If you’re not being consistent it’s obvious why you have not made progress.
It’s not complicated.
Have something to say, have a unique take, an expertise, and kick ass style that fits the message. Basically walk the walk, live the change and do the work every week while reaching out to other websites.
Some say it’s hardest in the beginning.
It’s hardest in the middle when you’re doing a lot of work and not getting the results you want. This is often due to you doing something wrong or being impatient.
Just stop fucking around. Give it all you got and stop getting lost in minutiae.