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3 Tools For Pinterest Shock And Awe

Pinterest passive traffic strategies

In this post I'll walk you through my Pinterest traffic strategy.

Historically the majority of my traffic has originated from Google Search to an affiliate site that is very Pinterest-unfriendly.

However, a new site I started is a DIY-style site, which is image-heavy. That means that it's a natural fit for an image-rich social-media platform like Pinterest.

I should say, I'm not a Pinterest expert- I'm really just playing around with it and seeing what works. That said, I'm pretty happy with the results so far. And I'm fast becoming a more confident Pinterest user. 

This DIY site is new (under 3 months) and isn't getting any significant organic traffic yet, but I have received 1,000 Pinterest visitors in between 7/21/17 and 8/19/17. See the traffic screengrab below. 

And that's with only 20 followers. That's the real beauty of Pinterest- you don't need to be some mega-brand with 500,000 followers to get traffic.​

Pinterest Traffic Example

As I wait for organic traffic to grow, the Pinterest traffic I am getting is gravy. I only expect it to increase as I get more Followers, Pin more, and create new Boards. Below I'll walk you through my (evolving) strategies regarding generating Pinterest traffic. 

My Current Pinterest Board Strategy

My current Board strategy is to create one Board for every post I do on my DIY site. These posts are really long, image-list posts- frequently over 5,000 words. So I'm comfortable having a 1:1 ratio of Boards to posts.

I'll fill the board up with a mix of Pins directing to my site and Pins directing to other sites.

Every so often I'll go into Analytics and redirect the Pin's URL, if it's getting a lot of Impressions and Clicks, to my site. In terms of generating Pins, I'm using some paid and free Pinterest tools to schedule Pinning and to generate unique images.

My 3 Pinterest Tools

My strategy depends on three different tools:

  1. ViralTag (paid)
  2. Follow Liker (paid)
  3. Canva (free and paid)

1. How I Use ViralTag For Pinterest

ViralTag has several useful functionalities. Probably its strongest feature is that it will let you load a page of images like this Bunk Bed search path on Instructables, and it enable you to schedule these images as Pins to a specified Board, as well as to Twitter and Facebook pages.

ViralTag Logo

The main ways I've been using ViralTag is to:

  1. Pin from Instructables, Instagram and similar image-heavy search paths, either linking to my DIY site or to the original image's site
  2. Pin from Instagram to find unique graphics with long-tail Pin Descriptions
  3. Upload my own graphics in bulk and schedule them out across the week

I also like that ViralTag will grab the image description and use it as a Pin description- I think that this helps attract long-tail search traffic on Pinterest.

You can also upload images in bulk and Pin them to a Board at a set schedule. That's particularly useful if you have a designer create hundreds of Pins, this is the best way I've found of uploading them and drip-feeding them to your account.

Pinterest is hungry for new images. Besides creating my own custom graphics, I've been experimenting with Pinning from Instagram. I search using hashtags for DIY-style content and then use ViralTag to scrape and schedule the images to a specified board.

The Instagram images often are text-heavy, which I suspect attracts long-tails search queries on Pinterest itself.

ViralTag And Content Scheduling

The way I'm currently using ViralTag in coordination with my site's Post publications is that as I come up with new post ideas I'll create a Private Board in advance and fill it up with Pins pointing to the URL of my pending post.

Since it's not published yet I don't want to make it a Public Board. Once I've published it, then I can make it public. It takes awhile for me to publish posts on this site. Much longer than creating a Board and scheduling relevant Pins to it.

So ViralTag pinning always runs ahead of the content schedule. Anticipating the content and pinning in advance of a post's publication helps to drive traffic to it from day 1. 


2. How To Use FollowLiker For Pinterest

Follow Liker is a desktop application that automates a variety of Pinterest tasks. I use it primarily to automate Following and Unfollowing actions, and sometimes repinning, whenever the ViralTag queue is empty.

FollowLiker Logo

You can also automate Commenting- but I'm somewhat leery of getting penalized for spam commenting, so I stopped auto-commenting.

Though this guy recommends using emojis as comments- not a bad strategy.

Don't Get Banned By Pinterest

It should be said that FollowLiker goes violates Pinterest's Terms of Service- so proceed at your own risk. ​In my experience, however, as long as you don't act too spammy, especially right out of the gate, you should be alright.

There are no exact rules for what constitutes spammy-looking behavior- but Pinterest does not condone the automation of following and unfollowing, that's for sure.

The TailWind blog has a good take on how to stay out of 'Pinterest Jail'.

Follow Liker Pinterest Settings 

As I mentioned, I use FollowLiker to automate following and unfollowing and sometimes to Repin, but I want to walk you through some settings considerations. When you buy FollowLiker you do get access to a complete training document. It's a fairly comprehensive resource.  

Take It Slow On New Accounts

Especially for a new account, it makes sense to start off slow. You don't want to come out of the gate shotgunning likes and mass unfollowing Pinterest users. You might attract the wrath of Pinterest and have your account banned.

I adjust the settings to mimic a normal user as much as possible. This means I'm not Repinning every 3 seconds, 24 hours a day, with a Repin limit of 10,000.

Since I run Follow Liker in the background on my work computer, and it's running pretty much 18 hours a day, I'm comfortable setting the Delay Repin limit really broad- something like 95 seconds and 1,045 seconds.

I also like to keep the Follow:UnFollow ratio near 1 that way it looks like a quality account and not someone desperate for Follows. 

When in doubt about a particular setting, ask yourself how 'human' it looks. You don't want to come across like a bot. 

Getting Followers By Providing Unique Value

Also, when it comes to getting followers, it's best to follow people who are likely to follow you back.

When I first started using Follow Liker I followed the followers of general DIY accounts. I've recently switched that up a bit and I started following woodworking accounts and rebranded my own Pinterest account as a woodworking plans resource- which it is.

It might be that my first pass at gaining followers failed because I came across too generic. There are tons of generic DIY sites on Pinterest- so I wasn't providing unique value.

I'm thinking if I niche down and demonstrate value to a specific, core-audience of Pinterest users (those who like woodwork crafts), I might get better follower conversions.


3. How I Use Canva For Pinterest

Canva is a free graphic design tool. Very much a drag-and-drop, Photoshop alternative, it lets you create and save graphics and store everything on the cloud.

Once you play around with it for a bit, you'll realize how easy it is to create fairly stunning social media graphics. Since I lack a true design sense, I'll often research top-performing Pins on Pinterest in my niche and then see how close I can approximate them in Canva.

Then I'll save the graphic as a template and re-use it over and over with different images.

Canva Pinterest Template Example

Pinterest Pin Canva Template Example

I'm in the process now of of creating these Canva templates that are based off of DIY pins that have proven popular. My goal is to hire and train someone to use my Canva templates to create hoards of new graphics for my Pinterest account.

Since Canva is so intuitive, my goal is to hire a generic Virtual Assistant to do the work, rather than an 'overpriced' graphic designer.

I've created Canva templates in different sizes- a really long graphic and also some with Canva's own recommended dimensions for Pinterest.

Time will tell what performs best- I'll update this post once I've seen the results of my custom-graphic Pinterest experiment. When it comes to hiring the right freelancer, you can read more about my UpWork hiring process- though this post specifically deals with how I hire and train writers, it also applies to how I would recruit and negotiate with a graphic designer.

Final Thoughts

I'm really at the beginning of defining the best Pinterest strategy for this DIY site. It's a little bit messy. For example, I'll often forget to fill up the ViralTag schedule with Pins.

Or I'll forget to turn off Follow Liker Repinning after I've loaded up the ViralTag schedule with Pins. That could lead to Pinning too close together (less than 3 seconds apart) and might flag my account for review. 

All that said, it feels good to be in a visual niche that diversifies my traffic channels. I've never liked being so dependent on Google organic traffic. No traffic channel is 100% safe, so it only makes sense to spread out your user acquisition channels as broadly as possible.  ​

How to Replace Your Salary As A Ticketmaster Affiliate

ticket affiliate sites

This niche report is pretty exciting for me.

Why?

Because I'm personally pursuing it. The good news is that there's a ton of wide-open white space in this niche, so you don't have to worry about me eating up all the opportunity.

The niche is ticket sales. More specifically, becoming an affiliate for a ticketing platform like Ticketmaster, Ticketfly (an Eventbrite company) or TicketNetwork.

Video Explainer: Why I Like This Niche

Check out my video walk through below- I examine why I like this niche and discuss strategy. I'd be deeply appreciative if you left a like or a comment on the video. I respond to all comments!

How does this work? 

You'll be writing up local event guides for Chattanooga, Tennessee, for example.

You'll be profiling local concert halls, ranking for these low competition terms, and adding your ticket affiliate links to the page.

It doesn't even have to be concert halls- you can profile local sports teams, regional music acts, even business conferences.

For example, since I'm a rabid Knicks fan, you can even be an affiliate for Knicks tickets. You can even niche down and profile the Westchester Knicks- the Knicks G-League team. 

Keyword Research

Below, I extracted 1,000 of SongKick's venue category pages.

As you can see below, there's a ton of venues with significant search volume and low Keyword Difficulty scores.

For example, the term "foxwoods concerts" has a KD of 1 with 6,800 searches a month. The term "lincoln hall chicago" has a KD of 0 with 5,900 searches a month.

The point being, there's a ton of search volume, with very little competition, for venue terms.

With a couple backlinks from guest posting, my guess is it'll be pretty easy to rank for these terms and monetize traffic with a ticket, flight, parking affiliate partner.

Why I Like This Niche

  • I love SEO + affiliate plays- it's my favorite way to make money online.
  • It diversifies me from depending on one affiliate program too much. 
  • It's interesting discovering local concert halls and entertainment centers.
  • It's easy to generate cheap content- having my team of writers rewrite Yelp and Google reviews to generate landing pages that rank for buyer-intent keywords like "[venue name] + tickets".
  • Represents an opportunity to get into the ultra-lucrative 'travel' niche.

*If Google Trends doesn't load- just refresh the page.

Ticket Affiliate Programs

  • Ticketfly (25% of sale)
  • TicketNetwork (12% of sale)
  • StubHub (7% of sale)
  • TicketMaster (varies by region)

The Best Part

Some of these websites also partner with Parking affiliate programs, Hotel affiliate programs, and Air Travel affiliate programs. This is an excellent, 'backdoor' way of tapping into ultra-lucrative travel affiliate programs.

Now, imagine you've written up a profile of Bobby Bakala's Chattanooga Bar & Grill- you're ranking on the first page for this imaginary location.

This page will have links to upcoming shows as well as affiliate links for pre-paid parking, flights and even hotels! Out of town attendees will conceivably use your links to buy the ticket, buy a flight, purchase accommodation, and maybe register with a parking garage.

Now imagine you build a content machine that pumps out these hyper-local music hall profiles. There are thousands and thousands of venues across America each with thousands of searches a month.

Some of the ticketing giants like TicketFly don't even bother to create good content for their venue pages. There's just too many of them to cover. For example, check out TicketFly's page for Bowery Electric, a concert hall near me in NYC. 

Bowery Electric | New York, NY

for party reservations and general info 212-228-0228

There's no content on it! It has the widget that produces the upcoming schedule. That's it. It currently ranks on the first page for the 9,900 monthly search term "bowery electric".

While your site won't have the same domain authority as a site like TicketFly, you can outcompete them on content.

Write a 1,000 words on Bowery Electric. Hell, write 2,000. See what happens. I'm honestly surprised at how little content there is for pages ranking on the first page...

Using A Ticket Plugin Creator

When I joined TicketNetwork, they link to where you can create customized ticket plugins like the one below that I made for Bowery Electric:

A Great Opportunity For Beginners

This is also a great niche for noobs because these ticketing services are hungry for affiliates. Which means you'll likely be accepted.

(Though the Amazon Associates program is still the best place to start if you're looking for a high-converting, easy-to-join affiliate program.)

It's not like applying to some snooty program that has 'artisinal' standards for their affiliates. Like they're doing you a favor letting you into their program.

The ticket business is cut throat and these ticket platforms are desperate for traffic. No doubt they're upselling the leads you send them on their end- the traffic you send their way is REALLY valuable.

If you buy a ticket from one of these purveyors, you'll have provided both your email and credit card/PayPal information to them.

This means that upselling you going forward is easier now that they've locked in your payment information, they have your email, they know your location and music tastes. You shouldn't have too much difficulty getting into one of the programs.

How I Discovered This Opportunity

I try to spend some part of my day wandering around the internet brainstorming for new ideas.

One of my favorite websites is Flippa.com. It's a place to bid on websites and domains. It's also a great place to get inspiration.

 I found an auction listing for a site that uses this ticket affiliate model. It appealed to me straightaway. The SEO --> affiliate offer recipe is probably the most delicious opportunity online, providing the means for true passive income

Ultra Secret Content Tip

I was listening to the AffiliateBuzz podcast recently where a Vinny O'Hare, a successful niche site marker, talked about one of his secret content strategies. 

In a nutshell, he'll use the WordPress plugin Gravity Forms to interview people in his niche. The respondents will fill out the survey, submit it back to his site and because Gravity forms integrates with WordPress, the response can be imported as an unpublished Post.

This means that he gets tons of User Generated (i.e. Free) content. Obviously there needs to be an incentive for the survey respondents to do this. In his case, he runs a site in the book niche and he's interviewing authors who are desperate for some added publicity.

Down the line, I anticipate doing something similar- sending out Gravity Forms to music venues and publishing their responses to rake in more traffic.

Breaking Down The Niche

The opportunity

Rank for low competition local businesses (concert halls, convention centers) like this local event guide site does.

Any place that your ticket affiliate partner has tickets for.

Add in your affiliate links using the 'widget' tool that TicketNetwork provides and voila you have a high-converting landing page.

How to get traffic

This is a SEO-heavy opportunity. That said, depending on the quality of your writeups, you could discover some social media traction.

For me, I'm really going to focus on building out these local business landing pages.

If you need writers, check out my UpWork hiring guide. Also to be sure to read my domain name buying guide. It really isn't rocket science- choose a city like Chattanooga, search for it in the ticketing service you've affiliated with, pick some of the venues from the list and writeup your profiles. 

Once you've profiled all of the venues in a city, move on to a new city.

How to make money

As I've covered in the intro, you'll monetize by joining ticket, parking, flight and hotel affiliate programs. Traffic comes from SEO.

Don't be impatient!

Especially if you're a beginner, give it a couple months before you start seeing a trickle of profit.

Ticket Affiliate Programs Ticketmaster and Eventbrite

The Duplicate Content Question

The duplicate content question

It raises the hackles of every SEO: "duplicate content".

If you publish content online, you're probably aware that Google frowns upon duplicate content.

According to the search giant, duplicate content refers to "substantive blocks of content within or across domains that either completely match other content or are appreciably similar." (Source)

The consequences of duplicate content could include duplicate content being filtered from search results or even the deindexing of offending sites from Google Search.

I have special cause to be leery of duplicate content because I've been penalized for it in the past.

So my interest was piqued by a recent Lion Zeal podcast where Kyle Roof discussed his intriguing empirical insights into the duplicate content question.

I'll discuss his insights in a bit, but first I'll share my own story of how I was smacked down with a duplicate content penalty several years ago.  

How I Got Deindexed


When I first started in internet marketing in 2014, about 6 months in, my fleet of junky affiliate sites was ultimately deindexed for thin and duplicate content.

I learned a painful lesson early on that helped me 'course correct'. 

The Backstory 

When I first started building niche sites in 2014, I was using a product called Kontent Machine, The Best Spinner (article spinning software), and a WordPress plugin called WooZone, to create hundreds of product pages and spun posts.

Kontent Machine

Within the sites, the spun content was very similar and between my site and the Amazon product pages WooZone was cloning, the content was completely identical. Looking back, I really should have known better.

But I was just screwing around on the internet.

I was buying exact match domains and spending agonizing hours spinning words, sentences, paragraphs, and images and then using Kontent Machine to upload it to a site with specific keywords, downloaded from LongTailPro, dynamically inserted into the content. 

I think I came to Google's attention after a particularly ambitious WooZone session where I imported over a hundred "seat cushion" product pages for my seat cushion review website.

That's when the hammer came down and I received a manual penalty for thin or duplicate content on all of my sites. I was deindexed.

SCR logo

Probably the best-looking logo I've ever designed

It was pretty demoralizing. I was making ~$150 a month (peanuts compared to now) at that point and getting a couple hundred visitors a month across all of my sites- nothing too impressive. 

While dispirited, I had enough perspective to realize that it was a valuable learning opportunity. Plus I was too obsessed with digital marketing and niche site building to quit.

I'm not a moralistic white hat SEO- at this point I'm more 'practical' than anything else. I prefer building sustainable, 'no risk' websites, rather than using Private Blog Networks or grayer-hat strategies to rank- though I'm still fascinated learning about those techniques.

What's The Point?

After my sites were penalized I became super paranoid about duplicate content on my sites. I knew that duplicating a product page was obviously "duplicate content", but what about 7 words of content in a row? 10 words? 13 words?

What exactly is the threshold?

I had no idea.

For example, searching for this exact phrase in Google: "When I first started building niche sites" there are 7 exact matches. And you can see at the bottom of the page that Google has filtered out some other exact matches from the SERPs.

When I first started building niche sites Google Search (Small)

Does this mean that because I use this exact match phrase in the first few paragraphs of my post that the entire post would suffer a ranking penalty or be filtered from the SERPs altogether?

What's The Duplicate Content Threshold?

No one in the SEO community really knows what threshold Google uses to determine duplicate content because their algorithm isn't public knowledge.

However, Kyle Roof, who appeared on the Lion Zeal podcast, has some unique insight.

His SEO agency, High Voltage SEO, specializes in running statistical tests to empirically analyze some of these confounding questions about Google's ranking algorithm.

One of his insights is that the duplicate content filter is actually "binary". The video below will start at the relevant section where Kyle Roof discusses this.

Transcript:​

"So Google talks about unique content. Google just wants unique content, fresh content, you know, we want the most unique thing that's going on the web.

So my thought process as soon as you read that it's like well how much unique is unique? And so we tested that and you may have seen it, have you ever seen a little blue line where they filter out these results because we think they're the same?

So you can get past that filter, the duplicate content filter, with 51% unique content. 

So that's what we tested and figured out your page only needs to be 51% to get past that threshold for Google's uniqueness which is a pretty low bar.

So when Google is talking about like 'hey, we need fresh new things', yeah, they need 51% unique."

The Takeaway

The takeaway is that, as of this writing, October 2017, a page is either considered duplicate or not. This has important implications.

To my mind, I had blindly assumed that Google was assigning qualitative scores to content- analyzing content duplication across and between sites and that your SERP rank was either helped or harmed depending on whether it found 0%, 10%, 15%, 25%, etc. duplication.

Apparently, Google's algorithm when it comes to monitoring duplicate content in the SERPs is a lot less advanced than that. The decision to filter your content from search is as binary as whether it is 51% unique or not. 

For me, this is somewhat relieving. Although I only publish unique content on my various money-making properties, I'm less paranoid now about rewritten or marginally similar content triggering a death-blow from Google. 

It's okay, for example, to block quote a section of text if it enhances your content- as long as that content isn't more than 49% of the total. 

Keep In Mind

This isn't to say that Google won't release an update in the future that changes how it analyzes redundant content in the SERPs. So I wouldn't go wild, for example, producing 51% unique content because it halves your content expenses. 

As well, you're not immune to manual reviews. The SERP filtering is automated- but if you are reproducing lots of exact-match duplicate content on your site, there's still a chance you'll end up in Google's crosshairs. 

I'm not a technical SEO- there are a lot of people (check out Josh Bachynski's YouTube channel) with a more advanced, technical understanding of the search engines. This is just my perspective as a content & affiliate marketer making a living online. 

Let me know your thoughts in the comments section below!

Why MailChimp Terminated My Account

MailChimp Logo

In this post, I discuss why my MailChimp account was terminated. And what I did about it.

Why was it banned?

Apparently the emails I've been sending are in violation of their Acceptable Use policy.

What it boils down to is that this site, nichefacts.com, which is technically in the notorious 'make money online' space, had autoresponder emails that contained keywords that presumably triggered an automated review/suspension of my account. 

Below, I'll discuss the email I received, how I responded, and what you should do if your account is banned by MailChimp.

*Update: I have switched to ConvertKit and I'm happy so far. What I like best about it is the minimalist, modern design and its intuitiveness.

The Termination Email

This is the email I received:

Hello Ryan,

MailChimp is not able to serve as the email provider for your account with the username [redacted], because the content associated with your industry conflicts with our Acceptable Use Policy (mailchimp.com/legal/acceptable_use) or presents a significant risk to our deliverability.

Though we don't judge anyone's content or industry, there are strict anti-spam and ISP rules that we must comply with in order to maintain the best possible sending reputation.

These filters are sensitive to certain keywords, and some industries tend to generate greater-than-average complaint rates with their emails.

You may log in at any time to back up your data (http://eepurl.com/6BOJv). For questions related to billing, please contact billing@mailchimp.com.

When I first received the email I thought that it was some sort of glitch on their end- but after replying back, it became apparent that the account was terminated and there was nothing I could do about it. 

Their account suspension page essentially reaffirmed the email's vague wording:

Why Accounts Get Suspended

If you tried to log in to MailChimp, but got an Account Suspended message, our abuse-prevention system or human review team likely noticed something about your account or last email campaign that raised a red flag.

The Offending Email

Given the limited amount of email I send, I think it was this email that triggered the violation:

If you're looking to earn affiliate commissions on high-ticket items, my post on gym-equipment is a goldmine.

This is a great SEO play- if you focus on publishing long-form, high-quality, product reviews on items like elliptical machines and weight benches, you can begin tallying affiliate commissions on items that cost hundreds and even thousands of dollars with Amazon Associates, Walmart, Jet and other fitness-equipment retailers. 

Let's run the numbers...

Take elliptical machines, for example- a 201,000/monthly search term.

A quick scan of some eCommerce sites shows me that an elliptical trainer ranges in price between $500 and $3,000 on average.

Some of these elliptical machines are in the Amazon.com Sports & Outdoor category, which earns you a 4% commission from Amazon if you're an affiliate. That means for every elliptical you can get someone to order, the average commission you earn will be between $20 - $120. 

Imagine the average commission is $70. If you're able to get 3 elliptical orders a day, you'd be making $210 a day on average.

That's $76,650 in a year.

I Already Did The Keyword Research For You

A common question I get is 'how do I do keyword research for [name niche]'. Well, you're in luck because I love doing keyword research and I already did all the work for you. 

Check out this keyword research table for gym equipment- it lists out ALL the gym equipment keywords I could find. Scroll through these gym equipment niches. I hope they provide you some inspiration. 

As always, if you have any questions, just respond to this email!

Red Flags?

As you can see, while the email contains certain keywords like "cash" and $ signs, it's not spam.

It walks the recipient through the math of making a sustainable living from affiliate commissions.

If you're like me, your Spam folder is chock full of obscene and unsolicited emails from suspect senders- and apparently I was now lumped in with this crowd.

spam

That said, I do understand that they probably have hundreds of thousands of users sending millions of emails. Their brand reputation and email deliverability essentially depends on the quality of the emails their users are sending.

If Google, for example, begins spam-filtering MailChimp-sent emails because it offends Gmail's standards, that will dramatically hurt their bottom line. I am somewhat sympathetic to that issue. Regardless, from my end, the user experience in this case was awful.

What Recourse Do You Have?

boxing

There is no phone support- so if you're suspended there's no one you can speak with. At least in my case.

I pasted in the content of the 'offending' email to support to demonstrate its legitimacy.  

Obviously, I'm not some 'sexual health spammer' blasting my subscribers with erectile enhancement offers.

Their support was completely unhelpful- there was no wriggle room. And, honestly, it's not like I would have continued using MailChimp even if they had given me a 'reprieve'.

This sort of automated termination is a real red flag- I would never have felt comfortable building my online business on the back of a platform that is so cavalier with account suspension. 

What I Did

I asked for a 3 month refund for the inconvenience. They accepted and provided the refund once I deleted my account.

I'm now in the process of evaluating autoresponder alternatives. I also took the time to post my experience on some blogs that evaluate autoresponder services.

Affiliate Monetization

It's important that this issue receives some exposure- especially if you think the content of your emails might be mistaken for spam.

Final Thoughts

I'm currently in the market for a new email provider. At the end of the day, MailChimp did have limited functionality.

For example, if you want to merge 2 lists, their support had a convoluted workaround. So if you have an opt-in that you just want to send 3 emails to as part of a funnel, and then merge it with you primary followup sequence- it isn't easy to do.

But, I've found it difficult so far to find an honest appraisal of autoresponders because every review I've seen is an affiliate review. I'm considering ConvertKit, but have seen some negative reviews.

You really don't want to have to migrate from email providers- it's a considerable hassle.

Anyway, what to do if MailChimp suspends or terminates your account...

  1. Figure out if you can recover AND whether you even want to. 
  2. Ask for money back for the inconvenience.
  3. Find an alternative provider.

When you source an alternative provider, you'll want to do some due diligence ahead of time.

For example, if MailChimp bans you because you used keywords they don't like, you'll want to make sure the new provider doesn't have a similar policy. 

That's something I'm definitely going to be asking about ahead of time. As well, this termination gives me a reason to up my list-building strategy.

Now I'm actually forced to switch email providers and implement a more powerful strategy using a more robust software solution. That's the silver lining in all of this. 

If you've been banned by MailChimp, let me know in the Comments section below.

How To Choose A Brandable Domain Name

how to choose a brandable domain name

Choosing domain names can be a tricky business.

When I first started I was big on Exact Match Domains.

So I registered domains like BestChineseDietPills.com, RollatorReviews.com and SeatCushionReviews.com.

Don't do that...

Make sure you choose a brandable domain name.

What do I mean by brandable?

For example, if you want to build a site that ranks for "best tea kettle" (2,900 monthly searches and an Ahrefs Keyword Difficulty score of 2), don't register bestteakettles.com. 

Why not, you ask? I'll walk you through six reasons why it's a bad idea. 

6 Reasons Not To Buy An Exact Match Domain

1. It Just Looks Spammy

Long exact match domain names look untrustworthy. They have an unmemorable URL structure. They just don't engender trust from your users.

2. It Caps Your Growth Potential

Once you've reviewed every tea kettle on Amazon, you'll realize that you could probably rank for "tea mugs" (8,100 monthly searches) and "tea cozy" (6,600 monthly searches). 

But if your site's scope is capped by an Exact Match Domain, it'll be difficult to expand. 

As well, its harder and more incongruous to write informational content ("how to steep green tea", "the 25 health benefits of green tea", etc.) if your domain is BestTeaKettles.com versus something like TeaDollar.com.

3. No One Will Link To You

If you want to get backlinks to your site to increase its Domain Authority, you'll likely have to do some manual outreach to other websites. 

Trust me, it's much, much easier to get links to a site called TeaDollar.com, from the email address Ryan@TeaDollar.com, than BestTeaKettles.com.

(If you're into the tea niche, check GoDaddy to see if TeaDollar is still available).

The Exact Match Domain positively screams "affiliate site". Other webmasters are savvy and are unlikely to share your URL with their audience if they think you're just in it for profits. 

Think about it...

Do you think the New York Times website would ever link to a site called BestTeaKettles.com?

Unlikely. But, I could reasonably see them linking to TeaDollar.com. To me, it sounds like a site for budget-conscious tea-drinkers. Or perhaps a quirky finance blog. You get the picture.   

4. It'll Prevent You From Getting Into Other Affiliate Programs

Once you've 'outgrown' Amazon and want to experiment with other affiliate programs, it's much easier to approach them with your brandable domain than a 3-word exact match domain.

Will it really prevent you from getting into the Upton Tea affiliate program? Who's to say. But it certainly doesn't help.

5. Your Email List Will Suffer

Think about your own web-browsing habits. Would you feel comfortable giving your email address to a site called BestTeaKettles.com?

Say you were reading about a new Breville tea kettle on this hypothetical site and a popup appears asking you to subscribe to their email list.

How likely is it that you'd want to ever hear from BestTeaKettles.com?

I wouldn't.

If that were me, I'd be thinking, "OK...so I'm going to be sent emails about the best tea kettles. Since I'm buying one now from Amazon there's no reason to hear from this site again."

But "TeaDollar.com"? I would think, "Sure...now that I have my tea kettle I could certainly use some tips on how to brew my tea and recommendations on the best teas to buy."

You get the idea. 

6. It Harms Healthy Anchor Text Ratios

When people backlink to you, they'll use anchor text like "click here", or keywords related to your site. In many cases they'll use your domain name. If your domain name is stuffed with your primary keywords, your backlink profile might look spammy to Google.

Google takes a dim view of over-optimized backlink anchor text- their Penguin update targeted backlinking strategies that they viewed as manipulative. For example, a website with 100% of it's backlink anchor text reading "best tea kettles" would have been targeted by the Penguin update.

So, if your domain name is stuffed with niche-related keywords, and people use them to link to you, there's a chance your backlink anchor text ratio will look somewhat 'off' to Google. It's another reason why you should opt for a brandable domain name. 

A site name like "TeaDollar.com" will allow you to manually build and naturally acquire healthier backlink anchor text like "Tea Dollar", "TeaDollar", "Tea Dollar site" as opposed to something that looks spammy and keyword-stuffed like "Best Tea Kettles".  

Gotch SEO has a really great post on understanding anchor text ratios in a post-Penguin world. 

Exact Match Domains And SEO Value

All that said, there is some SEO value to having an Exact Match Domain. But, in my opinion, its costs dramatically outweigh its benefits. While choosing an exact match domain for "best chinese diet pills" might incrementally help you rank for that specific term, you''re losing out on the more important fronts I enumerated above.

How To Choose A Compelling Domain Name

For domain name inspiration, I use 5 primary tools. First, head over to GoDaddy and then choose one of the following tools for inspiration:

  • Shopify's Business Name Generator: just input your keyword and it'll provide you some fairly brandable options (depending on how competitive your niche is). 
  • Panabee: basically combines 2 words together into unique combinations- a good brainstorming tool. 
  • Thesaurus.com: an online thesaurus- if you're feeling stumped, check out some synonyms for your keyword. 
  • DomCop: basically an expired domain name marketplace. You can filter through tons of expired domain names. It's good for inspiration or even purchase- just be careful not to buy a domain name with a spammy backlink profile. Yoast has a good writeup of how to identify a bad backlink profile. 
  • Domainr: a minimalist tool that quickly checks availability and helps coordinate purchase options. 

You can also run a search for "domain name" on ​ProductHunt.com. Product Hunt is a discovery tool for startups and services, essentially- it'll have new domain name products every so often. 

Anyways, depending on your niche, it's more or less easy to find a compelling domain name.

For something like "Tea" it's pretty easy. For a keyword like "Money" or "Lawyer" or "SEO", it's understandably much more competitive. 

One process I've used is to scour Thesaurus.com to find a bunch of interesting synonyms for my niche's primary keyword and then plug them into the Shopify and Panabee domain name tool.  

Before you know it you'll have a pretty strong list of candidates. 

Keep track of all the domain names you come up with in a Google Sheet. Once you have 25 or so you can ask your friends and family which ones they like- that'll give you some objective feedback.

You can even create a Google form survey and distribute it to a bunch of people to get more comprehensive feedback. 

While choosing a strong domain name is undeniably important, you don't want it to become an all-consuming task. Stick to the organized process I've outlined above and you'll be able to make a timely selection of a brandable domain name. 

$800 A Day Using LongTailPro [Keyword Research]

LongTailPro Keyword Research Review

In this post I'm going to review the 3 different ways I've profitably used the LongTailPro keyword research tool.

  1. I've used it to locate long-tail content ideas for my money sites (Affiliate Content) and generate about $800/day passively.
  2. I've used it as a freelance digital marketing consultant to provide keyword research and content generation services to a health and wellness company (Content Consulting).
  3. I've also used it as an AdWords consultant for a large media-measurement company in NYC to organize their paid search campaigns. (Paid Search Consulting).

What Is LongTailPro?

It's an ultra-functional keyword research tool that lets you input "seed" keywords and then spits out a near comprehensive list of long-tail, related keywords.

It will additionally provide you their Average Keyword Competitiveness scores (KC), search volumes, advertiser competition, suggested bid and even average number of Amazon reviews.

I really only use it for the keywords, volume, and KC scores, however.

When you buy it, you'll get access to their desktop tool (which is what I use) and online access to their cloud keyword tool, which includes keyword rank tracking.

The addition of rank tracking is important because often times that's a separate service you have to pay for. LTP has bundled the two together- so that's good extra value.

LongTailPro Pricing Plans

What You Get

There are 3 different pricing plans. I'm currently on the Annual Starter Plan, at $37 a month. The more expensive plans entitle you to greater number of keyword searches a month.

But, for me, I don't conduct anywhere near the limit of 10,000 keyword searches a month. They also offer a free 7-day trial. I'd recommend trailing the software to see what you think- there's no risk.

Let's dive in...


1. Using LongTailPro For Affiliate Profit

One of my primary affiliate sites targets a keyword for every post. There's zero overlap between posts.

So when I come up with a keyword I want to target I'll always run it through LongTailPro to get ALL the possible keyword data for that content.

Affiliate Monetization

I'll then download the terms it produces into a spreadsheet and then send it along to my writers who can reference the list as they write and thematically incorporate the different terms into their content.

As I've touched on in other posts, these keywords are like traffic pathways. The search engines are trying to serve the most relevant content, so if someone is searching for a "discount patio rug", and my keyword research prompted me to include that content in my "Outdoor Rug" write-up, my site will have the opportunity to rank well and get traffic for that term.

Example #1

Recently I decided to do a long image-list post for "outdoor rugs". Here's what the process looked like and how I used LTP.

  1. I used the LinkClump Chrome extension​ to scrape product URLs from an eCommerce store I'm an affiliate for and compiled them into a spreadsheet.
  2. I then hand rewrote their product titles using LTP to source keywords that I then included like "plastic", "large", "patio carpet", "discount", "bamboo", etc.
  3. I then sent these URLs, with their rewritten titles over to my writers with the LTP "Outdoor Rug" keyword spreadsheet and they provided 100 word keyword-optimized blurbs for each rug. 

As you can see, LTP provides granular keyword research data. This information gets incorporated into your content to help you attract long-tail, buyer-motivated searches. That's how you use it to make money online. 

2. Using LongTailPro As A Digital Marketing Consultant

As I mentioned, I've used LTP as a consultant- it was an indispensible tool for me. I used it to generate content ideas for companies I was consulting with.

I've used it when I was an AdWords consultant at a well-known media-measurement company to help organize their paid search strategy. And I've used it to grow my own six-figure online business.

Marketing Consulting Using LongTailPro

As an aside if you want to start your own digital marketing consulting business, one offering I would recommend is using LongTailPro to find quantifiably low-competition content ides and then managing writers you hire off of UpWork to produce the content.

I did this for awhile, freelancing, before my site's earnings were significant enough to 'retire' into. This is great if you're trying to build a passive-income business. You're probably already in the content generation game, so doing this for a business will be a cinch.


One of my favorite uses of LongTailPro is to discover topically relevant, long-tail keywords, and then calculate their Keyword Competitiveness scores. The way it works, LongTailPro will intake 'seed' keywords and output a focused list of related long-tail keywords. You can then gather the KC scores- this will help you discover low-competition keywords you can create content around.

Content Consulting Example #2

Back when I was consulting for an integrative health coaching company, I was tasked with building a content pipeline for their health blog.

This was before my own affiliate site was producing a livable income.

Content Generation Strategy Using LongTailPro

The process was finding low-competition keywords and then managing a team of UpWork writers who would produce the content the blog would publish.

Since they published a lot of healthy eating content, one content strategy I used was compiling a list of fruits and vegetables, importing them using Find Keywords > Add My Own Keywords, and then calculating the Avgerage Keyword Competitiveness.

Once I had this list, I played around with the filters, setting the max Average Keyword Competitiveness to 35 and picking off some of the larger volume keywords like Sassafrass and Corn Salad (49,500 and 22,200/monthly searches) as potential content ideas for the writers.

Even further, I would run that individual keyword through LongTailPro again. So, LongTailPro would produce even more keywords for the seed keyword "Sassafrass".

This list of keywords would serve as a content resource for the writers who were instructed to sprinkle in all of the different variations into their writing.

Organizing The Keyword Content

Below is an excerpt from the spreadsheet I used to track the keywords, their volume, the KC, and the status of publication (green meant it was published).

Organizing Content Ideas With LongTailpro

Great For Consulting

The advantage to using LongTailPro, especially in a consulting environment, was that I wasn't picking content ideas out of nowhere.

I had quantifiable proof that these were low-competition keywords to produce content for.

My UpWork Hiring Process

Now, they might never achieve great rankings, though many of them did, and LongTailPro also provides keyword rank tracking, but I could also defend my work by deferring to the KC metrics.

In addition, you can begin correlating your ranking with the KC metric- so if you see that you get to the first page of Google for KC scores in the range of 20-30, but not for KC scores in the range of 30+, then you know which KC scores to target going forward. 

Content Consulting Example #3

Besides fruits and vegetables, they also did a lot of content around "detoxing". As an aside, think about the sort of content your website produces, or if you're a consultant, think about the primary content themes.

If your goal is to get organic traffic by playing in the 'long tail', LongTailPro is the best tool I've used to discover 3 word phrases that get at least 4 figure monthly search volume. As well, you'll always attract hundreds of ancillary search traffic visitors because keyword research is 'holistic'. You aren't just getting traffic for some one that types in "detox diet". You're getting traffic to the post when someone searches for "detox diet for vegetarians", for example.

I always recommend going another level deep- so once you have a list of keywords for "Detoxification", it might make sense to run a keyword you turn up like "Natural Cleanse" through LongTailPro again, like I did for "Sassafrass" in the prior example.

As you can see in the table below, there are a TON of ideas and topics here. There are things I've never heard of like "Lemon Detox". While the KC is 45, don't let that dissuade you. Run it through LTP again and you'll find a bunch of different Lemon-Detox-related keywords you can include in your content to get passive, organic traffic.


3. Paid Search Consulting

LongTailPro was also a useful tool when I was an AdWords consultant at large media-measurement company based in NYC.

Paid Search Example #4

One of the strategies I used was to input the company's name as a seed keyword to discover all of the company's brand-related searches.

Once I had the list it was easy to thematically structure their AdWords accounts so that certain Ads were displayed to certain searches.

AdWords Strategy With LongTailPro

This meant that someone searching for a particular company product was sent to the correct landing page rather than just being pushed to the company's Home Page, as they had been in their old setup.

For example, before I applied my changes, anyone who searched for the company name was served the same ad and sent to the homepage. After I did my magic in LongTailPro, we were serving highly targeted Google search ads to people and sending them to the right product page.

I preferred using LongTailPro to AdWord's own Keyword Planner because I found the interface more intuitive and the keyword lists much more comprehensive. Plus, LongTailPro makes the keyword results filterable/searchable.

This was really helpful for AdWords because it allowed me to exactly segregate different searches into different Ad Groups without overlap between them. This made my work very comprehensive and thorough. I was confident that I was covering all my bases, especially when it came to branded search terms.

And I had LongTailPro's keyword outputs saved as spreadsheets for the company's higher ups to review.

Final Thoughts

LongTailPro was one of the first internet-marketing products that I ever bought and I've been a customer for several years now. ​In my experience, the keyword lists it produces are the most relevant and focused.

While I love Ahrefs, I find that their keyword tool produces a lot of extraneous results- random, unrelated keywords, and oftentimes duplicate results. Ahrefs is heading for a major overhaul as of this writing, so this might be addressed in the future. 

I know that I can rely on LTP to easily output the majority of the related keywords​, easily export it to a CSV file in a single click, so that my writers and WordPress admins can create content that gets free, organic traffic. 

Why I Don’t Build Backlinks

Why I Don't Build Links

I've never been a big link builder. There are a couple of reasons for this.

Primarily it's because I hate it

It's a tedious, menial chore that no one enjoys. I'm here to say that you don't have to build backlinks to succeed online.

In this post I'll outline 3 reasons why I've never (or only minimally) built links to my main affiliate site.

That's not to say I haven't heavily researched backlinking strategies- I'll also outline a couple backlinking methods I would consider trying and how I would outsource and automate the process as much as possible.

It's a bit ironic: since I wrote this post, I've created a backlink course called the Backlink Breakthrough. It's my low-effort, low-cost approach to acquiring big-time, backlinks.

This isn't an exhaustive list and it won't walk you step-by-step through a complex link acquisition campaign- that's not really the focus of this site.

My main purpose with this site is to research interesting niches for online businesses- not be the millionth article online about how to get backlinks.

That said, these are my thoughts on backlinking having scaled a site to 6-figure yearly passive income (income reports available here). So I do have some credibility to speak on the matter. 

Why I Don't Build Links

1. No One Likes Affiliate Sites

The first reason is because, historically, my primary money-making site is a general review site that doesn't produce the sort of 'informational', non-affiliate content that attracts webmasters to link to it.

It's naked ambition is to profit me, the owner. So, while the site content is actually quite good and provides solid value, there's very little incentive to link to "The 5 Best [product name]".

thumb-down

I also made the mistake of choosing a domain name that screams 'review site'. Instead of naming it something like Product Hunt or Sweet Home, I bought an expired domain that had the word Review in it. This made it doubly difficult for me to convince skeptical site owners to link to me.

Lesson learned.

That said, the site is a beast. It is an incredibly efficient operation​. It's where I honed my SEO and digital marketing skills, transitioning from doe-eyed noob to 'passive income solopreneur'.

To the puzzlement of family friends who probably assume I'm on welfare. 

internet marketer seo meme

2. I Hate Emailing People

The second reason is that I really don't enjoy the process of outreach. I hate sending people unsolicited emails.

I hate begging someone to do something for me- that's not why I got into niche site building.

And that's often what link building entails- scraping emails from sites you want to get links from and then soliciting them for backlinks.

Email Outreach Strategies

I've dabbled somewhat in publishing informational content on my main affiliate site- mainly long list posts ranking things (best blogs on [topic]) and then outreaching to the websites I ranked.

This worked well enough, but was fairly tedious and even then it was a laborious process contacting other siteowners, making changes they requested, and disturbed my online 'anonymity', something that I have historically cherished. 

As I've gained more experience automating and outsourcing my workflow, I'm sure at this point I could devise a strong outreach strategy using GMass or Buzzstream, two popular outreach tools, and training my Virtual Assistants on the process.

But, as I've mentioned, link building for affiliate sites, especially 'pure' affiliate sites like mine, is a real challenge- no one wants to link to money-making, review content.

3. My Site Has Already Succeeded

The third and primary reason why I've never really invested my time in link building is because my strategy of producing in-depth content for low-competition, buyer keywords has been so successful.

(Knock on wood!)

Affiliate Monetization

Since I (generally) don't go big game hunting for hard-to-rank keywords, I don't need super-strong Domain Authority, and the backlinks that create it, to achieve rankings for the keywords I target.

An Affiliate Backlink Case Study: 10Beasts

An illustration of how link-building can work in the Amazon affiliate space is provide by a Gaps.com case study of 10Beasts- a site that has made $80,000 in a month.

10Beasts - Top rated Techs, Products and Reviews

Top rated Reviews, Products, Buyer's Guides, and comparison charts are just a few things we offer to help you find the best available product in the market.

Even more stunning, the 10beasts website has under 12 pages- the publisher's strategy was to produce a small amount of content and inundate it with a lot of high-quality backlinks.

My strategy has been to produce a lot of content with few backlinks. This comes down to personal preference. It's much more interesting and fun for me to publish lots of content than to figure out how to get a lot of people to link to a small amount of content.

Thoughts On Link Building

All of that said, I would like to touch on some link building strategies I have used on my affiliate site, how I'm planning on building links to a new DIY site, and some link building strategies I would recommend if you're interested in increasing the Domain Authority and SERP rankings of your own site. 

My Non-Outreach Link Building Strategies

I've done some non-outreach link building for my main affiliate site.

This includes the social-media backlink basics of Facebook Company Pages, LinkedIn Company Pages, Google My Business pages, Pinterest profiles, Twitter profiles, and Instagram profiles.

Niche Market Research

Reverse Link Building

This is a strategy I've seen some webmasters have success with.

When someone outreaches to them to post on their site in exchange for a backlink, they'll arrange a link exchange across (and not between) different websites. 

For example, if they outreach to my Site A, wanting a link to their Site B, I would link to their Site B from Site A and they would link to my Site C. 

Social Syndication

I use IFTTT (If This Then That) automation and a WordPress plugin called Revive Old Post to continuously syndicate content across these channels (except Instagram).

I've done some blog commenting, as well- but I've never really settled into a habit of doing it. I've also scoured the internet for easy backlink wins like this one that gets you a dofollow backlink from Amazon.com.

Optimize Existing Properties

I've implemented Matthew Woodward's social media backlink strategy to optimize backlinks from existing social media properties.

I've submitted the site to Blogarama- a reputable blog indexing site. This means that all of my posts receive a backlink from Blogarama as it indexes my site for new content. 

Backlinks On Auto-Pilot

Ahrefs Backlink Example

Since I ​write about such diverse topics on my general review site, it frequently acquires many backlinks from sites that scrape the internet. As you can see above, I have nearly 10,000 backlinks from 548 referring domains, according to Ahrefs.com.

This isn't a great ratio, and Google Search Console doesn't even index some of the spammier site backlinks, so I'm undecided how much they help or hurt my site.

It's just an interesting side effect of publishing such a large amount of content in obscure niches. Not all the links are are from scrapers- but many are. 

My DIY Site Link-Building Strategy

That said, I do have new sites that I will have to devise backlink strategies for.

One site in particular assembles lists of DIY project blueprints.

A strategy I'm considering is alerting every blog that I've included their plans by commenting on their site.

This would get me a relevant comment backlink and hopefully an 'editorial' backlink from the site owner if they choose to promote their inclusion in my roundup post.

I also create a YouTube video and Canva-created graphics for each post- this helps spread the reach of the content, potentially attracting passive backlinks.

The DIY site more readily lends itself to ​backlinking than my general product review site. So as I grow it, it's likely I'll conceive a link strategy that I can automate.

The best bet will likely be acquiring backlinks from DIY publishers who appreciate having their builds profiled on my site. 

If I Had To Do It All Over Again

If my main money site was wiped off the internet and I had to do it all over again I would create a site that balances affiliate and informational content (like HerePup.com, one of Authority Hacker's editor's former sites).

This would make it easier to reach out for links because the site has less of an overt affiliate focus.

And these backlinks would help super-charge my affiliate content rankings. 

A site like HerePup effectively splits content between affiliate and informational, with informational often containing display ads like AdSense and Media.net.

This informational, non-review content (think: How To Help The Elderly Get Dressed vs The 5 Best [Elderly Dressing Products]) solves half the equation- it would at least have 'link-worthy' content.

I would then solve the other half of the equation by employing one of the link building strategies below. Most importantly, I would focus on that one strategy until I had perfected it. It's crucial you avoid the 'shiny object syndrome', hopping between strategies randomly- that will guarantee failure. 

Backlinking Strategies

I'd probably follow Brian Dean's famous skyscraper technique and modify it using some of Authority Hacker's suggested strategies. I'd stick to a white-hat link building strategy that I would automate as much as I could.

Meaning, that the informational content would be run through an outreach process handled by my virtual assistants.

The way I might structure it, I would use a Google Search Operator to find 10-50 websites that might be interested in the content that I published for manual outreach. Perhaps I'd outreach with an infographic custom-made for the post, or a YouTube video. 

I would probably have different styles of informational content posts that would require different methods of outreach. ​

So, for example, say I'm in the health niche, some of my posts might specialize in ranking other websites- like "The 25 Best Diabetes Blogs", or the "30 Best Cosmetic Surgeons in New York City". The aim would be to get backlinks from the sites I've listed. 

I would have my virtual assistants compile all the contact information of the sites I've profiled and systematically 'ping' them on social media and by email once my post is live.

By both privately and publicly publicizing my content, I increase the chances of acquiring a backlink as well as other referral traffic to the post and my site. You could do this process over and over. 

Once the process is nailed down, you can automate and scale it up- writers and virtual assistants can handle nearly everything for you.​

​Or perhaps I find a piece of content that has a lot of backlinks, make something better, and have my virtual assistants compile all of the contact information for the sites that have linked to it and shoot them an email promoting my better piece of content. That's the classic Skyscraper Technique. 

Be Best In Class

The content you promote should really be 'best in class'. Nailing down how to create top-quality content is imperative​. Find the best content in your niche and figure out how you can at least 1.5x it. You can:

  • cover the topic more in depth;
  • format it so that it's more attractive and digestible;
  • update it with new information;
  • conduct your own proprietary research and provide unique data;
  • include extra assets- a video, a downloadable checklist, an infographic;
  • perhaps you offer added value in even more unconventional ways- provide free consults or software that helps provide a calculation, like this max bench press calculator from Muscle and Strength.

​51/49 Value Exchange

The second precept you should keep in mind is when you reach out to a site owner you want a backlink from, make it a 51/49 value exchange. No one explains this strategy more emphatically than Gary Vaynerchuck (check out the Give More Than You Get video below).

When I receive outreach emails, the value exchange is always weighted in the favor of the sender.

Since I, myself, receive so many requests for backlinks or even promotion of their products, my attention only perks up when something valuable is offered to me. Since I'm being solicited, it's only rational that I'm the one who wins the value exchange.

​Perhaps it's by offering me a free product, or 500 words of unique content to go along with the backlink, or valuable promotion on their own site. 

It's usually not enough that the sender thinks their content is better- even if it's true, I'm not morally obligated to link to it. ​

The content should be exemplary plus there needs to be further compelling reason to incentive me, the webmaster, to take time out of my day to update old content. 

An example, recently, where this was the case- a VPN site reached out to me to embed their video, offering me review access for a year of their service.

The video was highly related to something I had published + they incentived it with subscription access to their software so that I could verify its quality before promoting it.

What I Wouldn't Do

Buying Links

I wouldn't buy links- that's for sure. If Google detects that you're gaming the SERPs you can attract their wrath.

It just isn't worth it- especially if you've invested in building a legitimate content site online, my advice would be to keep it white-hat.

link

If someone is selling you a link, they're probably selling it to other people, and you're essentially entrusting the future of your website to this link seller. If Google notices and decides to crush this link-selling operation, you can be caught up in the chaos- it's just not worth it. 

That said, perhaps you have high risk-tolerance and you're fine with a site of yours ranking for 6 months before its rankings are demoted by a Google penalty. I'm not moralistic about this stuff- I rest easier at night knowing I haven't built my earnings on a foundation of sand. 

Private Blog Networks

When it comes to Private Blog Networks (PBNs) I'm somewhat ambivalent. I've never used them, but I know they can be very powerful. A PBN is essentially a network of powerful domains that you can purchase links from that, ideally, provide contextually relevant backlinks to your money site, dramatically improving your Domain Authority and keyword ranking potential in the search engines. 

The problem is that, again, you're essentially placing your site's 'life' in the hands of the PBN's builder, betting that they're skilled enough to create a quality PBN that remains undetected by Google.

I also believe that Google assembles unofficial user profiles of site builders. Meaning that if you are consistently running afoul of their recommended practices you will tarnish your online reputation and potentially find even your 'clean' sites on the outs with the best source of traffic: Google organic search. 

Final Thoughts

Link building is obviously crucial. But, depending on what your site is and how you plan on getting traffic, it isn't life or death if you don't feel like link building.

So, for example, if you're trying to create a health site and compete with the likes of the Mayo Clinic or WebMD, you're going to need a super-powerful backlink strategy.

On the other hand, if your focus is competing in the 'long-tail', ranking for keywords that are not very competitive, you can get by without much link building. Plus, if social media is a natural fit for your content, a DIY site, for example, you can get both traffic and backlinks more easily during the natural social media process, all while side-stepping the manual e-mail outreach that I personally find so boring.

That said, it's probably best to plan for white-hat link building. I'd be remiss if I didn't advise site builders to incorporate it, though I've had a great deal of success without ever (or only minimally) doing it. There are tons of tutorials online regarding link building.

It's an ever-evolving field- but keep in mind that to link build, you'll want your content to be awesome, not overly promotional, and you should be LOSING the value exchange, 51/49, at least. 

6 Amazon Keyword Research Strategies For [6 Figure] Income

Amazon Keyword Research Process

Below I outline 6 down and dirty strategies for finding products to promote through the Amazon Associates affiliate program.

These strategies can work for any affiliate program- helping you find low-competition/buyer-intention keywords you can rank for with my 1,500-word content formula

This is the process I've used to build and scale a 6-figure profit passive-income website.

As an internet-marketing obsessive, it's safe to say that I really enjoy keyword research.

I've spent countless nights hunched over my keyboard, Googling keyword research strategies, filtering through LongTailPro keyword lists, learning everything I could, and then feverishly applying it with my own creative takes on the process.

I'm a true-bred digital-marketer, in many senses.

Niche site publishing, in particular, is a bottomless pit for research and creative expression. And at the end of it, you're making money!

What could be better than that?

How I Do It

The bread and butter of my online income has come from buyer keyword research. Specifically, it relies on finding obscure products on Amazon and generating 1,500+ word content around them for as cheap as possible.

After all, I was essentially unemployed when I first began my general product review site. I didn't have a ton of cash to throw around- especially considering the cost of living in New York City.

I've gone through a variety of different keyword research strategies. Below I outline some of my favorites. 

Keyword Research Strategies

LongTailPro has been around for a very long time. It's an iconic SEO tool employed by nearly every internet marketer worth their salt. 

It's an incredibly thorough and dependable keyword research tool that pulls keyword data directly from Google's Keyword Planner. The way it works is you input a seed keyword like "sneakers" and it will reproduce a comprehensive list of all the related, long-tail keywords. 

Then, you can calculate how competitive these keywords are to rank using their proprietary Keyword Competitiveness algorithm. Check out their 7-day free trial if you're interested in experimenting with it.

(Matthew Woodward, one of my favorite internet marketers, provides a thorough run-through of LongTailPro's capabilities below.)

This tool was a game-changer for me when I was first starting out in keyword research. The competitiveness data helped me spot difficulty patterns in the keywords so I could begin to intuitively understand which niches made sense to target.

I also liked how easy it was to 'filter' the keywords.

For example, if I wanted to see "sneaker" keywords that included the keyword "asics" or "nike", the LongTailPro desktop app lets you quickly filter your list of keywords down to show only those long-tail keywords. 

You can also sort all your "sneaker" keywords by their competitiveness rating- helping you to isolate specific high-volume/low-competition terms that were easy to 'rank and bank' for. 

To this day it's my go-to keyword research tool because it is so thorough and dependable. While I also pay for Ahrefs, I find that its keyword research capabilities are a bit scattershot- often pulling in random or duplicate keywords. 

Also, since Ahrefs works in the cloud, as opposed to LongTailPro which has a cloud-based and desktop app, it's not as easy to see all the keyword data on one screen. The data is paginated and more difficult to filter. I primarily use LongTailPro's desktop application- it gives you all your keyword data on one screen and lets you one-click export it to Excel.

While all the other tools on this list are useful and have some interesting applications, LongTailPro is indispensable.  

2. The Scientific Seller Tool

In terms of finding good Amazon keywords, one tool I used a lot in the beginning was the free Scientific Seller keyword tool.

Scientific Seller Keyword Example

Basically, the way it works is you plug in a keyword and it spits back out related Amazon products.

I would use it by plugging in a precursor keyword like "digital" and it would produce hundreds of buyer keywords that began with the keyword "digital".

Use your imagination to think of precursor keywords like "digital", "manual", "power", "electric" and I guarantee you'll find hundreds of products to promote.

You can download this information into a spreadsheet and even get bulk keyword monthly search volume from a site like SearchVolume.io. Search volume will help you weed out insignificant volumes and prioritize meatier queries.

In all honesty, I would recommend subscribing to LongTailPro and using their desktop tool so you can also generate their Keyword Competitiveness Scores- these metrics will help you further clarify the best ranking opportunity for the keywords you've sourced. 

I've spent countless nights staring at LongTailPro data, downloading CSVs, and sorting through the keywords like a Goldrush panhandler. ​Because, really, that's what the right keywords are- pure gold.

3. Ahrefs Competitor Keyword Theft

Another strategy is to find general review sites and use the paid tool Ahrefs to explore their organic keyword ranking data.

This lets you pick through the, mainly, product keywords they rank for, examine their monthly search volume, and the Keyword Difficulty metric to determine how hard it is to rank for them.

This is a remarkably effective strategy, though it does require a paid subscription. 

Organic keywords using ahrefs

All you have to do is plug your competitor into the Site Explorer tool, click on Organic Keywords, and sort through the list. One hack I've discovered is if I search by the keyword "best" it will quickly show you all of the product reviews that they've done. As you can see in the example above, TheWireCutter.com ranks #1 for "best fidget spinner". 

4. Analyze Existing Amazon Commission Data

A fourth strategy is to examine your Amazon Associates reports and note all the weird and interesting ancillary products you've received commissions on. This is assuming you're already receiving commissions from Amazon Associates.

Amazon gives you commissions on anything the user buys within a 24 hour time span of clicking your link- so while they may not buy Product Y you're promoting, Product X that they did buy could be a golden keyword you've never even considered.

I keep a Google Sheet for all of these keywords- as I come across them I'll add them to the Sheet and eventually outsource a review write-up.

Install The Keywords Everywhere (Chrome Extension)

It's also useful to install the Keywords Everywhere extension for Chrome. This will provide search volume data across Google Search and even Amazon right beneath the search box, which is ultra convenient.

This way you can instantly spot check a keyword's search volume without having to run it through a dedicated tool like LongTailPro.

Keyword Everywhere Tool Extension

This tool is actually pretty incredible. The development team keeps expanding its feature set. 

For example, I just noticed that when I'm searching on YouTube, the type-ahead dropdown now includes keyword search volumes.

Pretty incredible. 

5. Amazon Pagination Strategy

Another process for discovering niche products on Amazon to promote is to type in a precursor keyword like "automatic", "digital", "manual" and search through specific Amazon categories like "Industrial & Scientific" or "Electronics". You'll find a slew of interesting products as you go through EVERY page.

You can even sort these products by price to find the most expensive items you can earn affiliate commissions from.

Amazon Keyword Research Strategy

The Amazon Category+ Keyword Research Process

  1. Choose a precursor keyword and input it into a category.
  2. Go through every product page and once you find an interesting product, search for it on Google, with Keywords Everywhere installed so you can see the specific search volume for that term and also see what the Search Engine Results Page looks like.
  3. Then search for it on Amazon in a separate tab so you can see how many of them are available to promote. You'll want to see multiple versions of the product from different manufacturers that have lots of reviews- not 2 or 3 of them with only a couple reviews.
  4. Collect the products and their keyword volume in a Google Sheet- this will help you begin to organize the products you wish to promote. 
  5. As you do this, you'll start to see patterns emerge. At this point I can eyeball a SERP and quickly understand how good the ranking potential is. In essence, if you see a lot of eCommerce pages for the product, pages with little content (i.e. less than 500 words), social media presence for product terms (Pinterest URLs, for example), it's an open opportunity to dominate this keyword vertical.

Now, since I run a general product review site, I'll promote products with only 1,000 monthly searches because I'm not basing my ENTIRE site around this one product. If you're looking to build a site around the product you're search for, obviously you'd want to see higher search volume than 1,000 monthly searches.

As an aside, I wouldn't recommend structuring a site that way. I think it's preferable to have a niche site in a category with multiple product types you can promote, alongside non-affiliate, 'informational' content that attracts links. But that's subject matter for a different post.

6. Scraping Niche eCommerce Stores 

Another fun strategy- one of my favorite ways of discovering obscure products is Googling for niche eCommerce stores. For example, on my general product review site I decided to cover every single eldercare product. No one covers those products so I knew that this would be a fruitful content focus. 

Everyone wants to write about iPhones and drones, but not many people want to write about "bedside commodes". ​

Googling for "eldercare products" turns up this site, ElderStore.com. You can see some interesting products here- "folding shopping carts", "laundry trolleys" and "skin protection sleeve". ​

All obscure, relatively high cost items, that I guarantee you no one in their right minds is writing about in any depth.

Scraping eCommerce Stores For Keyword Ideas

Final Thoughts

Strategic UpWork hiring and keyword research form the nuts and bolts of generating a lot of buyer-keyword, targeted content.

It's hiring and training writers at reasonable rates and having them produce quality content targeting specific keywords that creates an insane ROI (Return On Investment).

That's been my primary strategy so far- and it's worked well. I'm continuing to branch out, diversifying my online income as much as possible so that I never have to return to the 9-5, corporate slave-race for as long as I live. 

[Niche Report] Monetizing The Musical Instrument Niche

Close up view on musical instruments on wooden background

If you're a musician, this next niche could be an excellent opportunity for you.

The idea is: musical instruments.

According to Statista, 18.08 million Americans play a musical instrument. ​Gallup also reports that more than one in two households (54%) have a member who plays a musical instrument.

The most popular instruments, according to FirstTutors are as follows:

  1. Electric guitar
  2. Keyboard
  3. Piano
  4. Guitar
  5. Drums
  6. Violin
  7. Saxophone
  8. Flute
  9. Cello
  10. Clarinet

These are expensive, complex purchases that people heavily research before buying. This is a solid recipe for a niche site. And there are tons of different instruments out there.

The Oboe (An Example)

Take the oboe, for instance. While the oboe might not be an incredibly sexy topic, that's precisely what I look for when choosing a niche.

Sure, everyone wants to start websites about iPhones and drones because they're high-tech and cool.

The oboe, however, is a comparatively neglected SEO opportunity. 

oboe

Musical Instrument Keyword Research

But, if you check out my Musical Instrument Keyword Research below, you'll see that "oboe" gets 49,500 searches a month.

Scroll through- there are so many musical instruments you can build a site around. (Keyword Competitiveness Scores are explained in the key below the table.)

I next ran "oboe" through LongTailPro to deep dive into this primary keyword. There are some solid informational and affiliate keyword opportunities.

For example, "what is an oboe" or "english horn vs oboe". Affiliate opportunities are represented by keywords like "oboe case" and "yamaha oboe". 

Oboe Keyword Research

While LongTailPro says that it's moderately competitive keyword at "50", when I Google it, the second result is a YouTube video (weak). Another top 5 result is a music school's oboe page, 4 layers deep into the site.

And then there are a couple eCommerce pages (another sign of weakness) and some dictionary site defining what an oboe is (really weak).

Keyword Competitiveness Scores

  • 0-10 (No Competition),
  • 10-20 (Extremely Low Competition),
  • 20-30 (Low Competition),
  • 30-40 (Moderate Competition),
  • 40-50 (Somewhat High Competition),
  • 60-70 (Very High Competition),
  • 70-100 (Don't Even Think About It).

*Read more about their scoring.

Expensive Products

Besides high search volume, a quick Google Shopping search shows me that oboes commonly cost over $2,000, with some priced at $5,000!

oboe - Google Search

Oboe Older Oboe made in the USA by Bundy/Selmer. This Oboe has recently been serviced by the wonderful folks ...

This is a magic formula for creating a high-earning affiliate site. Lots of search volume, not a lot of great content.

oboe - Google Search

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QNBsgfh4UMY oboe. To learn more about the oboe ...

Affiliate Opportunities

Below, I've highlighted some music affiliate programs. This isn't a comprehensive list- but should help you visualize the opportunity:

What's The Big Idea?

The idea here is to create a truly authoritative website around a musical instrument or a class of musical instruments (think oboe vs double reed woodwind musical instruments).

This content will feature affiliate reviews of oboes, informational content that attracts traffic and links, and can even do lead-generation for oboe lessons.

Understanding The Opportunity

The 2 biggest mistakes niche marketers make is going too big or going to small with the niche they choose.

For instance, if you start a site called OboeProfessor.com, you're basically locked in to oboe-related content. Going up a level, referring to this helpful Wikipedia entry, I learn that oboes are a type of "reed instrument".

List of musical instruments - Wikipedia

Guatemala, West Africa, Mexico, Honduras, Nicaragua, & Costa Rica

Perhaps it makes sense to create a reed instrument site. You can cover a lot more ground that way, but the broader you go, the more work you'll have to do to cover all the different content areas, and the more difficult it will be to focus your site towards serving a target audience.

One way I would approach determining the scope of the site, besides eye-balling the search volume using LongTailPro or Ahrefs, would be to use a spreadsheet to list out all of the different content ideas. Check out AnswerThePublic for really long-tail keywords.

You'll get a feel of whether the topic of the site is too narrow or too broad just by pre-examining the breadth of the content you'll be publishing. It makes sense to take an organized approach like this before diving into a niche.

Having some sense of the niche's peculiarities and problems will also help you figure out if it's something you'll have the wherewithal to pursue. 

Niche Market Research

What I Would Do

I'd pour over the keyword list above and deep dive into these instruments. I'd run individual keywords through LongTailPro or a free keyword research tool to see how much long-tail search volume there is.

I'd search affiliate networks for ecommerce music stores that sell oboes.

While Amazon does have some oboes, you'll find niche music stores online with affiliate programs that have tons more oboes than Amazon does. I'd want to see several potential affiliate partners I could depend on- you don't want to be left high and dry if an affiliate program expires.

A quick Google search turned up this eCommerce store where I see oboes selling for between 3 and $5,000.

Once I know there's enough volume, the competition is beatable, there's expensive products, and affiliate programs to join, I'd buy a brandable domain name (i.e. OboePro.com) and begin churning out content.

As I mentioned previously, I'd want to balance my content strategy between informational and affiliate content. I'd either hire writers or write it myself. I'd focus on informational pieces like "oboe vs clarinet", which has a 1,300/month search volume.

And write up individual affiliate reviews of oboes compiling them by brand (bulgheroni oboe), or however it makes sense to disambiguate the different oboes on the market.

Video Content

Now, this will lend itself to video content. You can get by, to an extent, using oboe videos from YouTube and embedding them on your site. But, as I've advised in my other write-ups, the real win will be generating unique and original content- both written and visual.

Perhaps a cheap way to get this done is by visiting a local music store and have the oboes demonstrated for me in exchange for giving the business some promotion on the site.

Maybe I pay a musician $50 for an hour of his time to demonstrate something on the oboe. I'd want to be creating written, visual and video content and distributing it across platforms to increase the site's discoverability.

Promotion

Once I have, say, 15 posts up on the site,I'd be comfortable promoting it as a resource. Now, site promotion is a bit beyond the scope of this report, but I'll link to some resources I think have it nailed down:

Below I've created a graphic that describes how you can convert written content into different types of media for different platforms. It's a handy way to visualize how you can disseminate your content across the internet. 

Content Harvesting NicheFacts Example

Yes, outreach can be a grind, but if you've created a genuine resource for oboists, it shouldn't be that difficult to get backlinks, which will help you compete for high-value search rankings.

That's it in a nutshell- obviously if you're new to internet marketing working with WordPress (my preferred CMS), choosing a hosting plan (I use SiteGround), understanding how to manage affiliate links- these are all (fun) challenges that are part and parcel of the entrepreneurial journey.

My real goal here is to provide motivational research- ideas that get you pumped to quit the rat race!

Niche Marketing Traffic

How To Get Traffic

SEO will be a great play here- lots of low competition words for musical instruments. Affiliate and informational content will both rank over time, if done well.

Getting some backlinks will also help- outreach that markets your informational (i.e. non-money-making content) will be the link-bait.

You could also consider publishing YouTube videos- though that will be a greater investment of time. There's lots of white space in the two biggest search engines, Google and YouTube for these terms.

How To Make Money With Your Niche

How To Make Money

As I've touched on above, this will be a strong affiliate marketing play.

Besides affiliating with a music store like Guitar City, there are sheet music affiliate opportunities like this one, Udemy oboe courses, and TakeLessons has an affiliate program for remote and in-person musical instruction.

I'd initially monetize with Amazon affiliate reviews of oboes and with some traffic reach out to places like Guitar City and TakeLessons- if you try to get into those affiliate programs without a decent site you risk getting rejected at first glance.

Doing An Affiliate Site Right

Some best-in-class examples of affiliate sites for inspiration: 

You should also read my post on writing product reviews that convert

Top Amazon Oboe Searches

  • oboe accessories
  • oboe and english horn case
  • oboe and piano duets
  • oboe art
  • oboe art and method
  • oboe reed case
  • oboe reeds
  • oboe reeds medium soft
  • oboe stand
  • oboe swab

*According to KeywordTool.io

Pros

  • Great SEO play
  • Can be a solid affiliate opportunity for passive income
  • Fun topic if you're into music

Cons

  • You might need to rely on writers with expertise in the instrument
  • Amazon instrument availability varies- though it's smart to have non-Amazon product options available to promote in smaller eCommerce stores.

How To Create A Local Event Site For Passive Profit

People on conference

This next niche idea can be a really fun and lucrative one especially if you live in a big city.

The idea here is to create a local event site​ with a focused specialty or theme (music, tech, luxury, etc.) and monetize with sponsored content.

This post will examine the opportunity and discuss how best to approach it.  

Living in NYC, there's a lot to do. One way I figure out which events are worth going to is by relying on several NYC-themed event sites.

Some of my favorites include:

Keyword Research Example

To get a sense of the crazy traffic opportunity, check out some keyword research I did using VisitSacramento.com:

Things like "old sacramento" get 11,000 searches a month and "sacramento breweries" 1,500 a month.

There's clearly a lot of traffic opportunities- people looking for things to do in Sacramento.

Any city, really.

Video Walk-Through of This Niche

I shot a video examining this niche- including a site review of the 5 event sites above using Ahrefs. You can watch it below.

Audio Transcript

Indeed, these sites curate NYC-area events in different ways.

For example, Gary's Guide focuses on startup, entrepreneurship, business, venture capital, digital-media events.

The Printup List focuses on underground, cultural and musical events.

The Skint focuses on free and inexpensive events.

Guest of a Guest, by contrast, focuses on ultra-high-end events like invite-only parties and celebrity happenings.

Brooklyn Based caters to the Brooklyn hipster- not as high-end as Guest of a Guest.

In this way, these sites have discovered interesting ways of curating local area events that the big players like Meetup and Eventbrite just can't.

In the process, they develop a core following- an audience who routinely visit for updates and trust the resources the sites market to them.

Why Choose This Niche?

  • Fun opportunity to build a trusted, local community resource
  • Cheap to produce event guides
  • Easy to outsource research responsibilities
  • Unique monetization opportunities (recurring payments from businesses that want to access to your audience)
  • Returning visitors- once you're discovered, people come back over and over
  • Immunity to Google algorithm updates (SEO penalties, etc.)
  • Easy to create unique content for a dedicated audience
  • You can build an email list with this audience

Not Just Events

Guest of a Guest and Brooklyn Based are also interesting because they are not just event-based. They also editorialize on culture, food and fashion.

This is another interesting consideration- your event site could be a pure event list like Gary's Guide or, in addition, explore broader community affairs.

If you're going it alone, this might be a lot to take on- so perhaps curating events can be a good starting point.

It's important to understand that while these sites will often link to popular event ticketing platforms, it's to book the event- not to discover it.

So, don't be overwhelmed by a site like Meetup.com. While an excellent site and app, your human touch is a powerful competitive advantage. 

Word Of Mouth Power

And, think about this: whenever I go to an event from Gary's Guide, I often end up telling the host and other people at the event that I discovered the event on Gary's Guide- this word of mouth confers huge authority on his site.

This is an unorthodox, old-school way of getting traffic and building brand awareness. I've come to rely on these sites- Gary's Guide in particular.

It filters out all the noise from event platforms like Eventbrite, which is often plagued by spammy webinars and lacks effective filtering and discoverability options.

Gary's Guide, for example, succeeds despite not being mobile friendly and despite a somewhat cluttered interface because it organizes real-time event information in a clear and dependable way.

I know that every Monday its event list will be updated and that the wheat will be sorted from the chafe, so to speak.

While most of the events he lists can be found on EventBrite, it would take me hours to discover them as I sort through spammy nightclub promotions and 'financial freedom' webinars.

Is This Niche For you?

Think about where you live.

You might not be in a cultural hub like NYC, but could you provide value by becoming a one-stop resource for local area events? Could you niche down and curate tech events, cheap events, luxury events, cultural events?

Maybe you live in a remote location- you can still profile the activities of a nearby big city.

Cheap Content: The Holy Grail

Plus, since you're merely aggregating content (the events), it's really cheap to produce these event guides.

Once you figure out a process, you can even outsource a lot of it.

If you haven't read my other niche reports, one of my favorite recipes ​for building a successful online business is leveraging cheap content.

When I first started building sites, I was recently unemployed after the startup I was part of failed. So I was extremely cost-conscious. If you're on a budget, this could be a smart opportunity to pursue- this curated event lists won't take that long to do.

And you can even use a Virtual Asssistant to help compile them on a weekly basis once you figure out which resources you want to pull event info from. 

Become A VIP

And, think about this...

Once you get big enough, you'll start getting invited to ticketed events and even get VIP treatment.

This could become a really fun and lucrative niche with an added social benefit. 

VIP

With some diligence you can get traction with local users who want a Gary's Guide for their home town- a destination site that is a one-stop resource for the week's best events.

Once you get some traction and build up an email list- your audience will become extremely valuable to anyone who wants to regionally target their advertising. Say a new sushi restaurant is opening up in downtown Ohio- you can tacfully promote it to your audience in exchange for sponsorship.

Perhaps a musical act you love is coming to town- you might get free tickets for yourself and giveaway tickets for your audience just for promoting it in your newsletter and on your site.

An Alternative Approach

An alternative way of conceptualizing this site is to create a national resource for particular events.

For example, you could become the resource for legal seminars, the resource for veterinary events, the resource for event marketing professionals. It's definitely another method to consider.

Event Keyword Research

Below, I used Ahrefs.com to examine some of the U.S. event-related keyword volume.

This really isn't an SEO play, but it's interesting to see the searches that are being conducted- it might help prime your imagination.

How To Build An Event Site

First, I'd compile some examples of local event sites I like and research them scrupulously.

Then I'd examine WordPress themes and plugins to see what sort of event-specific technology there is to build this style of site.

Too often the local event sites I see don't invest in building a user interface specifically designed for event-style content.

This makes it cumbersome for users to navigate. If your event site is music-themed, you'd want to make it easy for readers to jump between categories like metal, punk, rock and roll, etc.

You could use WordPress Tags and Categories to help organize this content.

Another consideration- you don't want to copy event information and paste it on your site. Google frowns on this "duplicate content". I would consider either direct linking to the event page or including your own blurb.

Though, writing custom content for the hundreds of events you end up profiling is likely a tall and ultimately unnecessary order.

Since this isn't an SEO play right off the bat, my recommendation would be publishing event lists that direct-link to the event page every Monday morning and do this for a couple months.

You'll eventually discover what the best process is for you as you dive into the work.  

Niche Market Research

The Opportunity

The idea is to create a local (or even national) event guide site. With some hustle and creativity the opportunity is there to become a trusted resource for event-goers, whether you specialize in Kentucky-area concerts or national legal training seminars.

I really like this idea because over time you can become a trusted resource plus it uniquely lends itself to 'worth of mouth' marketing. I'd caution you to think through your niche before you start- it's important that you don't go too broad or too small.

For example, a site that focuses on metal music in Kansas- it feels a bit too small. You might want to expand up a category to rock and roll in general and treat metal as a sub niche.

On the other hand, a general Kansas event site might be too broad. It could be difficult to cover everything and you lose the opportunity to provide high-value to a focused segment of Kansas citizenry.

Overall- this is a fun niche, especially if you choose to cover something close to your heart. If you love the startup community, becoming a resource for Kansas entrepreneurs could be a really fun way of getting involved with that crowd.

Niche Marketing Traffic

How To Get Traffic

While organic traffic will come with time, a cool way of getting traffic in the beginning is alerting every event-owner that you list on your site that they've been included in your week-ahead roundup.

People who run events are desperate to fill them and are usually the ones reaching out to promote them.

By providing them free exposure, they'll doubtless be thankful and might do you a solid in return. Whether that's a backlink or free tickets- who knows.

The really beautiful thing about this niche is that people looking for events do so every week, even every day, so if your event lists are good, you'll get returning traffic.

Much of the early work will be promoting your site wherever it makes sense- telling your friends, posting on relevant Facebook Pages, community forums, writing local newspaper editors.

Wherever your potential audience is- be there. A good exercise would be to list out every potential community resource and figure out how you can best let them know about your site. I would caution not to do this too soon- you'll want to have a somewhat substantial amount of content on the site so that people will be comfortable linking to you.

They don't want to promote a flimsy site that they're unsure will continue to be updated. Once you begin hooking people, you'll be able to capture emails, and you'll see that people will continue returning to your site whenever they need an event update.

How To Make Money With Your Niche

How To Make Money

To understand how these types of sites make money, let's use Gary's Guide as an example.

Gary's Guide has a Classes section where he links to schools providing tech instruction- a natural fit for his audience.

The schools are probably paying him to be promoted. He also has a Deals section with various promotional offers.

Besides that, there's a Jobs section where he publicizes job opportunities with NYC startups. 

Recruitment firms doubtless firms see it as a worthwhile investment to sponsor job posts on Gary's Guide because it gets in front of tech professionals. All of these promotions are likely getting him money- people are happy to pay him because they want to be in front of his tech-enthusiast audience.

Members of this audience might be interested in signing up to learn web development, buying tickets to an upcoming new media panel discussion, or applying to be a CTO with a Manhattan startup.

When you think about monetizing, realize that the theme of your site attracts a target audience who third-party marketers might want to reach.

If you start a site curating beachcombing activities in Akron Ohio- you're not going to find many interested sponsors. But, if your site is a Gary's Guide for Los Angeles- that could be really big.

You won't make money as fast as if you followed some of my other guides that focus on affiliate marketing, but this style of site has its own unique advantages.

If you're consistent with quality content and guides, you'll get flocks of visitors who eagerly return to your site day after day to see what's happening around town.

This makes you immune to Google algorithm updates, affiliates dropping you from their program, or other common hazards of online marketing.

Pros

  • Opportunity to build a fun, local event resource that engages you with a community you're passionate about
  • Returning visitors means that a consistent traffic source
  • You aggregate content (events), so it's pretty cheap to produce and outsource
  • Good potential for an email list
  • Diverse monetization opportunities

Cons

  • Generally not a super-fast path to monetization
  • Not a strong SEO play- you'll have to hustle to get exposure, rather than wait to rank in the search engines