Welcome to the blogging world, where 95% of bloggers are completely broke.
Empower Network bloggers, included.
It’s not a knock on Empower Network, it’s just that one of their eight core commitments says to ‘blog daily’…
…so people are immediately mislead, giving consideration to the ‘blogging daily’ part of blogging and nothing else.
I actually know this to be 100% true, because I was one of those people. Using textbook herd-mentality, I adhered to advice of the masses in Empower Network: “blog daily and get paid”.
Lemme explain using my first-hand example:
Broke Blogging 101
I actually joined Empower Network and hired a dude to write quality, professional content on my Empower Network blog. He would do the heavy lifting, and I would briefly edit the content, add my own CTA (call-to-action) at the end of each post and then hit the publish button.
The content was above-average but not superior, and covered general business best-practices, marketing techniques and internet marketing reviews. I even re-purposed some of these articles on document-sharing-sites and pointed some backlinks to the articles every now and then.
The automation made me feel like a boss, and I was sure the traffic of my blog would only increase as the quantity of my articles increased.
It’s your classic long-tail traffic strategy, right?
Naturally, I should rank for all of those random, non-competitive keywords that people Google every day (also called the ‘nuclear football’ technique, H/T Evan Bailyn).
Business will be good, I thought.
After a few months my Empower Network blog eclipsed 150 articles, and it was getting about 30-35 hits a day.
Yes, 30-35 hits a day.
It gets even better: as a result of this traffic, I would get one lead (either a sidebar email opt-in or in-text link) about every third day.
So, after months of my own time editing/publishing the articles and paying my writer, I was generating 30-35 hits per day and averaging .333 leads per day through my daily blogging.
I had ‘blogged daily’ for over 4 months, and I was a near-broke blogger.
(I had one sign-up result from this…my man Bob Veale had Googled something about retiring in El Salvador, and he found my site…he was also my first ‘all-in’ sale ($4,500) and still pays me $125/mo till this day from the monthly viral blog and inner-circle products…so it wasn’t entirely fruitless)
So, epic fail?
Uh…no…but so close. I wouldn’t want to bet on that type of probability moving forward…
…and, truthfully, a few more months passed, and I still only had one sign-up in the Empower Network from my daily blogging.
So, if you can imagine this…
…there I was, sitting on my bed in an oceanside, bungalow-hut in El Tunco, El Salvador…frustrated as ever with my internet business.
It made me disgusted with blogging.
A New Path
Consequently, I focused my marketing efforts elsewhere. I killed it with Facebook PPC ads and brought in a few dozen people after discovering a few lucrative campaigns, but after awhile, the results became inconsistent. Bought a few solo ads after parsing some forums…this got me a few dozen leads, but no sales.
After going down the paid marketing route, I still knew I wanted to make a blogging comeback.
(I actually still do paid marketing and I think it rocks, but only to supplement my blogging leads)
Blogging leads are the more consistent, cost-effective and highest-converting of all leads, so why wouldn’t I want a piece?
I also knew that I couldn’t find myself on the side of the ‘blogging majority’ because that is what got me sub-par results in the first place…
…and cause my boy Mark Twain wouldn’t be cool with that, either.
So, pause and reflect I did.
Next, I went back to the drawing board, studied up the current state of blogging (I probably Googled 100+ niches), bought several blogging and SEO courses, and came to an overwhelming conclusion:
Google isn’t ranking blog posts like they used to, especially blogs that crank out frequent, brief blog posts.
Glen Allsop at Viperchill. Brian Dean at Backlinko. They were all pretty much saying the same thing: frequent posting was not nearly as effective (or lucrative) as starting a simple ‘money-site’ where you optimize 4-5 pages using long, in-depth content and going after several competitive keywords for each page.
Even Matt Cutts (Google’s web spam guy) was subliminally sending us signals on this, but with much heavier use of vague and nebulous terms, like “avoid publishing thin content”.
…I knew, moving forward, that I had to treat every single blog post like a web-page that went after several competitive keywords.
…I knew that indexing less pages (publishing less) on my site and inter-linking to more significant, in-depth pages on my site would play into Google’s algorithm.
…I knew that by publishing with less frequency I could have the resources to rank each post (more on that later in this post).
You see, I always knew how to rank web pages with my internet marketing background, but I had been so distracted by the daily blogging part of the business that I never focused on actually ranking the posts….I was too worried about hitting the publish button as many times as possible.
Ok, so lesson learned.
Now, my mind was adjusted, and I was ready to take action.
Better yet, this time around, the end goal was clear:
I was going to rank for the most competitive Empower Network keywords in 3-4 months, and enjoy automated sign-ups because of qualified traffic.
The first thing I did was buy the domain. It was an expired domain, which supposedly passes some authority because of the domain age (I don’t think this is a huge deal in the current state of SEO).
EmpowerNetworkSystem.net. Boom, there we go. This was actually a good and a bad choice…(more on that in a bit).
Then, I installed a lean WordPress theme, built a sidebar Aweber opt-in, and then created 4-5 pages that went after the most competitive Empower Network keywords.
I spent a few days writing my Empower Network review (probably thought about it too much looking back) and after a week or so the content of my site was finished.
The web-pages were internally-linked where appropriate, and I felt good about the content…it was providing a great deal of value to the user.
Now, since I was focusing all of my efforts ranking 4-5 web pages, the ‘ranking aspect’ become laser-focused and super clear.
I started building relevant backlinks using high-authority guest blogging, reaching out to other marketers with creative value propositions, donated to a few charities…shoot…I even guest-lectured at a university for the coveted .edu link.
(I also do some other cool, sneaky stuff that I show my partners…)
I also go more into my ranking strategies at the end of the blueprint.
So, how did it go?
Now, granted, I do SEO for a living and even consult to the biggest website in the state of Utah so I know how to pull Google rank…
[You] : Wow, Jeremy, do you want a trophy?
…but still, I was actually surprised oh how well this worked.
I was ranking #3 for the keyword Empower Network, which gets over 49,000 hits a month. I was getting hundreds of targeted traffic just to my Empower Network review page every day and…
…leads and sales on autopilot.
Now, I mentioned earlier that the domain EmpowerNetworkSystem.net was a good choice and a bad choice.
Here is what I mean:
- Good: because it was an expired domain and probably passed me some juice, and it also had “Empower Network” in the domain, which also can give your site a boost if you are trying to rank for Empower Network keywords.
(Note: exact-match-domains have become significantly less effective in the last two years)
- Bad: because using Empower Network in my domain made the website exclusively about Empower Network and not about my brand, and because Empower Network compliance policy later stated they don’t want domains with “Empower Network” in them.
To be honest, I was more concerned about the first part…the fact that I hadn’t branded myself was a cardinal error.
Think about it: I built all of those high-authority backlinks to a domain that is confined to one product or opportunity. Big mistake.
So, if you haven’t noticed already, EmpowerNetworkSystem.net has been 301 redirected to this site.
Yes, my rankings and traffic have dipped because of this…
…however, I still rank first page for ‘Empower Network’ on Google because a 301 redirect still passes a lot of juice, and it will only be a matter of time when the domain authority catches up.
So I ain’t that worried. I am in this for the long haul, and once you figure out the blogging formula that gets you rankings…you can basically rank for any opportunity out there.
First page on Google, at minimum.
Which is why you should also have “big-ticket blogging” mentality (H/T Brad Campbell) when you are blogging. In other words, if you can rank for any affiliate marketing or MLM opportunity out there, go after the ones that pay CEO money.
By doing this, you are eliminating the competition (the more big-ticket, the less competitive to rank, usually) and you are associating yourself with more affluent, risk-big/win-big-minded people.
The kind of people you wanna work with.
So, unless you are a ‘hobby blogger’…you know, the kind of people who still use Blogspot to host their blog cause they don’t want to pay for domain and hosting fees…you really don’t have an excuse to be a broke blogger.
Not moving forward, anyway. Your past is your past.
I mean, look at my blogging past…I made alotta mistakes, but made the choice to continue until I figured out how to truly profit from blogging.
What will your choice be?
Think big, my friend. Big-ticket blogging. You’ll never go back.
(August 2014 UPDATE: I no longer actively promote Empower Network, even after ranking #1 for the term for several months…the company hasn’t been able to reinvent themself after late 2013 blunders)
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Then get busy.
Your blogging mentor,