If I had a nickel for every time a Fat Stacks reader told me what I’m going to tell you, I’d have $10.
That’s an exaggeration. Maybe $3. That would be 60 instances of aspiring bloggers tell me their biggest mistake over the years. That’s quite a bit.
Here’s the gist of what they email me.
Hey Jon, I love your stuff. Been reading you for years. Here’s my problem. I started my niche site 6 years ago. After 3 months of writing great content I earned the grand total of $3. I got frustrated and stopped publishing content. I jumped around trying different things online to make a buck. Nothing ever worked. Fast forward 6 years, now I want to really grow that site. Should I do it? Is it a good niche?
Here’s how I respond after opening pleasantries:
Unfortunately, 3 months is not nearly enough time to give a new niche site. It takes 6 months just to get a little bit of traffic for most folks new to this.
The good news is you made money. That’s a huge achievement. If you can make $3 with a content site, you can make $30, $300… $3,000. The only difference between a site that makes $3 per month and $3,000 per month is a lot of good content.
The other good news is unless you cooked your site with bad links, you now have a nicely aged domain with content. That’s better than starting from scratch.
The bad news is that not all sites will be a big success. I’ve launched stinkers. This is why I like entering broad niches – gives me some flexibility to figure things out.
The other bad news is this stuff is a ton of work. It looks easy for anyone with $15K coming in per month because they have resources, but I can tell you from experience we all started from the same place (except for the trust funders).
Publishing 18 articles over 3 months isn’t going to do it. Publishing 400 amazing articles over 2 years is what it takes just to get some momentum. Yeah, it’s a ton of work, but many people manage to do it.
Should you fire up that old site again? If you like this stuff and can see your way to publishing great content regularly for a couple of years, yes, go for it. If you can’t stomach the thought of writing or ordering content and formatting content, then it’s probably not for you unless you have piles of money to hire people to do it.
Okay, I usually don’t provide that much detail, but that’s the gist of it.
Consistency and patience are paramount.
There’s waaaaaay too much noise online about instant riches. It’s unfortunate because instant riches doesn’t exist except for lotteries. What happens is people come to believe if they publish 18 articles a tsunami of cash will crash through their living room wall and drown them while snoozing on the sofa.
I thought the same back in the day. I really did.
I published a handful of articles and expected millions of visitors. I quickly learned that’s not how it works.
I toiled about 18 months in niches until I earned my first commission check for a grand total of $9.95 (I remember the exact amount because it was a big deal).
Here’s where it gets sweet.
The content you pubish today on your niche site will benefit you for years.
Investing sweat equity and money in good niche sites is akin to earning compound interest from investments.
I’m not financial planner, but I know about compounding returns. If you don’t, Google it. 100,000+ personal finance bloggers are happy to tell you all about it and at the same time offer you an irrisistible credit card opportunity.
They talk about building wealth meanwhile they make fat commish with credit card offers. Who can blame them? I’d do the same because I’m a believer in personal choice.
Consistently publishing good content is like compounding interest. The exponential effect is mind-blowing and here’s how.
Your first 50 articles will bring in a trickle of traffic, money and links. Nothing to write home about. Your site authority is still low.
The next 50 builds on that. Now you have 100 articles working FOR YOU. A bit more traffic, more inbound links and a tad more money.
The next 50 builds up even more.
Get this. If you invest $200 per month every month and earn a 7% return from the stock fund and you reinvest returns, you will have $245,617 in 30 years.
Investing $200/mo won’t do much for you after the first year, but if you stick with it in the long run you have nearly a quarter mil.
IMO, returns from building up great niche sites are much, much better and faster. Besides, you can do it for only the cost of cheap hosting ($5/mo.). That’s not to say you shouldn’t invest in traditional investment vehicles. I do every month.
As for niche sites, the magic happens when your site ages AND grows in search engine authority. That’s when you start getting more bang for your buck and sweat equity. Not only will new content enjoy a better shot at ranking but so too does your older content. The exponential (aka compounding) effect is in play.
The more good content you publish the more inbound links you attract naturally which in turn grows authority and secures more and more decent rankings in search.
It’s a painfully slow process but once you secure authority, the whole thing is so much easier. Fat monthly revenue streams help as well because NOW you can scale up by hiring help to further speed up the process.
That’s the trajectory. It’s not without ups and downs.
Keep your eye on the compounding prize.
If it all seems like too much hassle, go buy a lottery ticket.
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.