Leaving Work Behind

If You Believe You Can Succeed, You’re Already Half Way There

Written by Tom Ewer on August 5, 2011. 5 Comments

If You Believe You Can Succeed, You're Already Half Way ThereThere is a key understanding that is required in order to achieve success, and that is to believe that you can.

That may sound like an obvious statement, but I find so often that people do not truly feel they are capable of hitting their targets.

You might see another achieve success and feel that you are not able to do the same. Well, the simple fact is, you can achieve success. However, in order to do so, you first need to know that you can.

If you truly understand that success is obtainable, it will become so. It is a self-fulfilling prophesy.

So many people give up because they feel that they will never achieve what they want. There is no reason to think that way. Do you really think that all the successful people out there are either luckier, or more intelligent than you? Rubbish. They just stuck at it and had the right attitude.

Those who succeed often do because they simply know that it is possible, whilst those who do not, lack that important realisation.

I want you to consider the following: if you truly feel that you are capable of success, then there will only ever be one reason that you give up on your goals, and that is because the work necessary is not worth the reward. Otherwise, you simply recognise that you have to go through a process.

So, if you ever feel like you have had enough of internet marketing and want to give up, ask yourself why. Do you simply not want to do the work, or have you lost confidence in your ability to succeed?

If the former, then you can make a relatively objective decision as to whether or not you want to continue.

If the latter, you need to address your mindset, because anyone can succeed. Someone has been in your situation before, or one very similar, and has got to where they want to be. If you apply yourself in the right fashion and understand the process, you will succeed.

Edit: I have been very helpfully informed by Wil that another post I have written, How To Combat A Loss Of Enthusiasm, is an ideal follow up to this. So if you’re now pumped up for success, click here to find out about how you can continue to walk down the right path!

Photo courtesy of Alter1fo

How To Engage With Your Audience

Written by Tom Ewer on August 3, 2011. 9 Comments

Engaging With Your AudienceIf you are an active blogger then you have doubtless come across the problem of finding topics to write about.

This is more of an issue to some than others – for instance, the likes of Derek Halpern and Glen Allsopp publish only when they are inspired by a topic that strikes them as particularly relevant to their audience. This is a particularly powerful method for a couple of reasons: it promotes scarcity, and it allows the writer to put great time and effort into their posts.

On the flipside, you have the likes of Pat Flynn and Marcus Sheridan – those who post multiple times a week. They have tasked themselves with crafting a regular and consistent production line of quality content.

I am not here to pick a side and tell you which method I think is surperior. The four names mentioned above are all people I respect greatly, and they are amongst the very few bloggers whose every article I read without fail.

I personally produce three articles a week and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. So what I am here to do is reveal what I do to keep the topics I write about fresh and engaging.

Communicate With Your Audience

Although this blog is still very much in its infancy, I have already drawn inspiration from my audience in writing about topics that I know will interest you. How do I know this? Because you have told me what you want! In fact, this article was inspired by an email I received from a reader, wanting to know how I was able to continue producing three new articles every week without fail.

So, communicate with your audience and find out what they are interested in. This can be deliberate or inadvertent – you can poll your readers, or you can simply have an ongoing dialogue with them. It will soon become clear what they want from you.

Investigate Your Competition

First up, a caveat – I am absolutely not saying that you should plagiarise your competition’s content. Nor am I suggesting that you should essentially write your own article on exactly the same topic. But there is value in taking a look at what your competition is writing about in order to seek inspiration.

It is important to note that your competition writing about a topic does not necessarily make it compelling to your audience. But it should be a good marker, especially if you are investigating reputable sources.

Follow Trends

There are multiple sources you can tap into to see what might be popular in your particular niche.

What sources can you think of?

Write About What Interests YOU

Ultimately, your blog should be a reflection of your unique style. As such, there should be a healthy dose of content that interests you. This may be directly related to your niche, or it may not. The point is, your audience are there to read your content, and as such should have an attachment to your voice.

It is open-ended as to how far you should take this, but I would refer you again to Pat Flynn and Marcus Sheridan as great exponents of off-topic articles. If you are at all familiar with Pat then you will have read his regular updates on fitness programs he has tried. And Marcus often updates his readers on his personal life and wonderful family.

Don’t Be Afraid To Be Yourself!

Finally, try not to get too caught up in producing articles based upon laser-targeted topic research. There should be a natural flow to what your produce. And ultimately, you will need to rely upon your natural subjective feel as to what to produce – that talent will develop in time. Everyone writes dud articles – it is not the end of the world – just push onto the next one!

How about you? What sources of inspiration do you draw from when it comes to writing content for your blog?

Photo courtesy of IAB UK

My First Niche Site: Update #4 – The Power Of The Long Tail

Written by Tom Ewer on August 1, 2011. 12 Comments

This is Part #4 of a series. A list of all the other updates can be found at the bottom of this post.

Please note that Modeling For Kids is no longer an active site. If you’d like to know why I shut down the site and started up a new one, click here.

If you read my last niche site update then you will know that I was beginning to get frustrated by my apparent lack of progress in climbing the Google rankings. In fact, I seemed to be going backwards!

Fortunately, I am now in a position to inform you of some progress. Modest progress, but progress nonetheless!

My Niche Site’s Key Statistics

My First Niche Site: Update #4

As you can see, I am now ranking #9 in Google for my main keyword, “modeling for kids”. In fact, I briefly flirted with 8th position. With a continuation of my backlinking strategy I expect to see the rise continue.

My First Niche Site: Updat #4

The eagle-eyed amongst you may spot that my average visits per day has increased by 6 since update #2. I have been at #9 in Google for just a few days, but the increase in traffic is notable. As would be expected, the specific keyword “modeling for kids” is now getting a fair bit of action (with 18 searches in the last seven days).

What is really interesting though is the fact that I am getting lots of long tail keyword searches bringing traffic to my site. This is something you should absolutely expect from an “authority” site, but it bears considering in detail.

The Power Of The Long Tail

I read a great article this week over at Niche PursuitsHow To Calculate Projected Traffic And Earnings For A Niche Website. Although I have been aware of the power of long tail keywords for some time, Spencer takes it one step further and argues that you should consider the potential revenue from them, along with your main keyword. His logic is absolutely sound, and here are some figures to back it up.

Last 30 Days

Last 14 Days

Last 7 Days

From the above, you can see that despite my increased ranking for my main keyword and increase in traffic overall, the percentage of long tail keyword traffic to short tail keyword traffic has remained fairly stable. This has been achieved without any purposeful effort to target specific long tail keywords.

Traffic Estimation

The realisation that long tail keyword traffic can contribute enormously will likely give you a completely different perspective on your estimation of traffic figures. For instance, the exact keyword “modeling for kids” gets 2,400 searches per month. So the #1 website in Google should attract around 1,000 visitors. Theoretically, with a long tail to short tail percentage ratio of around 70%, I can expect my actual traffic per month to be in the region of 3,330. These estimates are based upon exact searches only and as such are extremely conservative.

My calculations are clearly rough and are yet to be proven by actual results, but it will be interesting to come back to them when the site is ranking #1 for “modeling for kids”.

Monetization

With traffic picking up, I decided to re-implement Adsense a few days ago. I will leave the ad placement as they are now until I am getting considerable traffic, at which point I will start testing different placements to see what gets the best conversion rate. I have made a few pounds in the last week or so, but nothing to write home about!

Onwards And Upwards!

For now, I am perfectly happy to continue what I am doing in terms of content creation and backlinking. As long as I am seeing positive results I will continue along this path. I hope to come back to you shortly with news of further progress!

Read The Whole Series

The Content Dilemma: Quality vs Quantity

Written by Tom Ewer on July 29, 2011. 6 Comments

The Content Dilemma: Quality vs QuantityWhen it comes to writing, you are likely to be hit with a different opinion for every article you read. Your content should be short and to the point. Or it should be long and cover all bases. The mass of conflicting advice on the internet is a headache in the making for any aspiring content writer.

I am here to add my two penneth, but hopefully it will create no headaches. I am not here to tell you that your articles should be x or y. I am here just to deliver a very simple message.

Write

That’s all. Just write. Don’t worry about what you are writing, or how you are writing it. Don’t worry if your spelling is poor. Don’t fret if your grammar leaves little to be desired.

Once you have finished writing, you can then go back and check. You can read over your words and decide whether or not they are worth the virtual paper they were written on.

The key to writing is so bloody simple, and yet so many people out there want to overcomplicate it. They often forget one simple fact – content cannot be good or bad until it is in existence, and even then, the judgement of it is wholly subjective.

Don’t worry about how you should deliver your message; just write what comes naturally and judge it by your own standards. If you do this, your writing will be distinctive and unique. It may not be a work of art, but improvement will only come through more writing.

Quality Follows Quantity

As far as I am considered, quantity and quality are not enemies. They are simply two steps in a process. As I have already stated above, you should be writing as it comes naturally, without fear for the quality of what you are creating.

When you have exhausted your immediate mental capacity for content creation, you can then consider the quality of your writing. If you have just created a work of art, congratulations. If however there is nothing worth saving in what you have written, then push it aside and move on.

In writing bad content, you will understand how not to in the future.

Write Me A Song

Song writing is a great analogy for content creation. You should write as many songs as possible. Don’t worry about whether they are good or bad, just get them out of your head and onto paper (or recorded). Come back to tweak them later, or dump them if they are poor. But when it comes to your album, only the cream of the crop should make it.

Content creation follows a similar line. Your published content is your music album. Only the cream of the crop makes it. No one needs to know about the rest, but that is not to say that it hasn’t helped you – all of that bad content took you towards creating the good.

Photo courtesy of Julia Manzerova

Information Overload

Written by Tom Ewer on July 27, 2011. 3 Comments

Information OverloadMy enthusiasm to succeed in my online efforts has led me to read an enormous amount of information. I am sure that the same can be said for many of you.

I would like you step back for a moment and consider how much of that information has actually been helpful to you. I would personally estimate perhaps 10%.

Now, you might argue that you have to read a lot of rubbish to uncover the rough diamonds, and that is true to an extent. But I do not believe for a second that we need to read as much as we do in order to be successful. In fact, I believe it can be to your detriment, and I’ll tell you why.

The Three Types Of Internet Marketing Content

Any article you digest relating to internet marketing is likely to do one of three things:

1. Introduce you to a new concept
2. Reinforce your knowledge of an existing concept
3. Provide you with a “micro-strategy” inside of an existing concept

If you are already up and running with your online business, and have a good idea of what you are trying to achieve, then all three of these article types carry little value compared to what you could be doing instead. Let’s look at them each in turn.

A New Concept

Let’s say you have set up a niche site for dog training (yes, that old nugget). You have created content, carried out on site SEO, and are busy building up backlinks. Then you read an article called “Affiliate Marketing Made Easy”. You have never really looked into affiliate marketing before, so this is all new to you and sounds exciting.

How does that help you in your current efforts? It doesn’t. Not only that, it can distract you. If progress on your dog training site has not lived up to your expectations to date, then your enthusiasm may be dropping. Reading about how you can easily make money elsewhere is not going to help you in focusing on your efforts.

Success takes time. If your efforts are constantly distracted by the promise of greener grass on other side, then your chances of hitting your targets will decrease rapidly.

Knowledge Reinforcement

Let’s say your backlinking strategy is going along quite well. You are leaving relevant comments on blogs. You are establishing yourself as a helpful source on a couple of related forums. You are submitting your published content to article directories in the hope of getting it syndicated. You have set up a complex linkwheel that is drip feeding SEO juice to your main site.

It seems like you have got a really good strategy going on. So why do you need to read about how to do something you already know all about? You’re probably hoping that there will be a little nugget of additional information in there that can help you further. But I’ll tell you what can help you – doing more backlinking. You will gain far more knowledge and experience in doing, rather than reading up on something you already have a good familiarity with.

Micro-Strategies

I’ll give you an example of a micro-strategy. Let’s say you have your backlinking strategy down pretty good. You’ve got it all laid out – all you need to do is execute. Then you come across an article with an all-new way of backlinking that is just guaranteed to work.

The natural temptation is to try the new strategy, but that would be entirely the wrong thing to do. The only you way you are going to find out what truly works is through your own experience. If you are going to be successful, you are going to try many things, and the majority of those efforts will result in failure. But it is only in experiencing the failures that you learn enough to lead you to success.

Flitting from one idea or strategy to the next without committing enough time and energy to each will never get you anywhere. If you are constantly reading articles about the new and exciting strategy, then you will struggle to remained focussed on your current efforts.

Having Said All That…

I should include a caveat before I leave you to give me your thoughts in the comments section below – I still think you should read. You should never stop reading, and you should never stop learning. However, I think everyone can gain value in considering how valuable doing is. In my opinion, learning by doing beats learning by reading every single time in the long run.

Of course, if you have no idea what to do to achieve your goals, you will need to establish a solid base of knowledge – and this will require reading. However, once you are past that point, you should be pouring the vast majority of your efforts into advancing your knowledge and experience through action.

One final thing – yes, it is rather ironic that I am arguing that you should read less, as I am producing a blog. There is quality content available on the internet, and you should still be digesting that as part of your overall workload. And I would of course like to think that my content is amongst that quality. Therefore, I still think you should read my blog. However, if you only had say an hour a day to commit to your online business, then I would say that you shouldn’t be reading any blog, including mine. I am not afraid to say that, because ultimately my aim is to help you, not myself!

Graphic courtesy of My Melting Brain