Actually, I’ve had several lucky breaks over the years that worked out well. I can’t complain.
That said, I’ve had many failed efforts along the way too. Far more failed tactics, methods and strategies than successful ones.
It’s a cliche, but I had to fail to find the winners.
Looking back and based on what I do to this day, there are two instrumental game-changers that continue to grow my niche site and blog traffic.
Here they are.
1. Two Frolic Topic Articles Paved the Way
This practice has made all the difference in the world.
In the early days of my biggest niche site (which is the foundation upon which all my sites were built), I published articles that I thought people would find interesting. I did not use keyword research tools then other than my brain.
I published content that made sense.
I’d be lying if I told you everything I published turned to gold.
Far from it.
But in time I published TWO articles that struck gold and started hauling in a surprising amount of traffic from search. I ranked in the top 5 of Google for many KWs for each article, most of which were fairly long tail, but altogether had decent search volume.
The two articles were very different but both relevant to the niche.
The interesting part is they were both articles that veered considerably from what most of my site was about.
They were what I call frolic topic articles.
What do I mean by “frolic topic” articles?
What I mean is they covered topics that weren’t the main focus of my site at that time. I went on a folic topically.
They didn’t remain frolic topics for long.
I pivoted the site and targeted those topics like crazy. In fact, I’m still covering those topics to this day with new content going as deep and wide as possible hitting them from every angle.
These two articles taught me more than any course. Here’s what I learned.
- Long-tail keyword targeted articles can haul in plenty of search traffic.
- Long tail, low-competition keywords can rank fairly easily and quickly.
- As I grew the cluster on those topics and article types, Google bestowed more and more traffic to my site. This told me that when Google likes your site for a particular topic, go after it hard.
- It pays to do things a little differently than other sites in the niche.
- Be flexible and willing to change direction when the opportunity arises.
- When the opportunity arises, go all in.
I ended up building a $1 million dollar website from two frolic topic articles. I’m not kidding – a huge part of my website is based on those two topics I discovered simply by trying something different and using my brain instead of keyword research tools.
Don’t get me wrong, I think there is great value in using keyword research tools and software. I use it weekly, if not daily. However, don’t dismiss plain old good-sense. If you think it’s a good fit for your audience, do it.
How do you find topics with potential?
There is no magic formula, but here are some ideas to try.
Analyze what’s working
If you have a website with search traffic, analyze which articles are getting the most traffic. Use those article topics as a launching pad for more. In other words, cover those topics more deeply with more articles. In fact, endeavor to exhaust the topic, no matter how low the search volume. Cover topics you come up with yourself (link bait, clickbait, etc.). Have fun with it. Become the authority on those topics.
Cover different topics (relevant to your niche)
If you don’t have much content or don’t have much traffic, you’re at the starting point which means trial and error. I suggest going after very low competition keywords or dream up interesting topics and try different things. The key is to be a little different and mine for potential gold.
The aim is that in time, one or two articles will work which you can then build upon.
Don’t expect every article to be a winner
I’ve published more unsuccessful articles than successful ones. That’s the nature of this business. The winners make up for the losers in the long run. Over time, you improve this ratio by focusing on the topics and types of content that succeeds, which is essentially analyzing and doing what’s working.
2. Set up your content for success
The other game-changer was that back in the day I accidentally set up my content to be a big success. I didn’t realize it at the time. My sole aim was to publish something great that readers would find helpful. What I didn’t realize is that publishing content in this manner would result in attracting so many natural inbound links.
It took me a bit to figure out why I was attracting so many inbound links so quickly, but when I did, I leveraged that and did more of it… lots more. I haven’t stopped.
Like everything I do, not every article I published attracted links, but many do which has grown my site authority and traffic considerably over the years.
What is it that I did and do to attract links naturally?
Jon runs the place around here. He pontificates about launching and growing online publishing businesses, aka blogs that make a few bucks. His pride and joy is the email newsletter he publishes that’s “the best blogging email newsletter around.”
Hyperbole? Maybe, but go check it out to see what some readers say.
In all seriousness, Jon is the founder and owner of a digital media company that publishes a variety of web properties visited and beloved by millions of readers monthly. Fatstacks is where he shares a glimpse into his digital publishing business.