It’s that time again! The guys are back with another five-question episode of Seeking Profit.
We asked our listeners to send us your toughest niche site questions, and you didn’t disappoint.
Emil and Andrew answered all your questions this week on the show, and I’ve gathered them all here. If you’re ready for the answers, then let’s jump in.
How Long Should It Take for a Site to Make a Profit?
Submitted by @JordanScheltgen
How long it takes for a niche site to make a profit depends a lot on you.
If you’re digging deep and writing all the content yourself, you’ll have to work a lot more, but you’ll earn a profit faster (since you won’t be paying for content).
However, if you start outsourcing content, spending money on new tools, and paying yourself, it will take longer to make a profit.
So, what is the “turn-off” point? When should you give up on your site ever making a profit and just try something else?
First of all, never give up on a site in the first year. You have no idea whether or not you’ll suddenly start getting lots of traffic.
Second, I always recommend giving it at least three more months. If you have been working on your site for three years and it’s still breaking even? Monitor your spending, put in a solid effort, and if you still want to quit in three months, go ahead.
Note: While there’s no shame in quitting a dying business, there’s also no guarantee that the next one will be better. Make sure you know the site won’t work out before you let it die.
How Do You Pay Writers to Avoid Conflicting Interests?
Submitted by @martin_engeler
Let’s take a moment to be realistic about how outsourcing content works. It’s similar to any type of labor negotiation:
- Your goal is to get as much high-quality content as possible within your budget.
- Your writers’ goal is to get paid as much as possible per article while working as little as they need to.
These two goals are at odds with each other, and the goal of the negotiation process is to compromise.
However, no matter how you pay your writers (per word, article, or hour), they will work in a way that benefits them the most (as they should).
The best way to protect yourself is to write detailed content briefs and set expectations from the beginning.
If you pay your writers by the word, they will try to fit as many words into the article as they can. So, your brief needs to include word count expectations for every section of the article.
We don’t recommend paying writers hourly, but if you do, you need to talk to them about how long it should take on average to write blog posts for your site. Make sure to factor in research and editing time.
By clearly communicating your expectations ahead of time, you can ensure nobody leaves the situation feeling like they got cheated.
When Should I Diversify With a Second Site?
Submitted by @MrJackBarton
It’s important to point out that if your first site isn’t making a profit, then starting a second site isn’t diversifying; it’s dividing. Dividing your time, funding, and focus is rarely a good thing.
Here are a few criteria your first site should meet before you ever start to think about diversifying:
- The first site should be self-sufficient. If it doesn’t earn more money than its operating costs, it still requires your full attention.
- You’ve covered the cornerstone content for your primary niche. Once you’ve written about all the obvious topics in your niche, you can start to look elsewhere.
- You have time to spare. If you’re putting in 80 hours per week on your first site, you need to work on getting your time back before you can start a second site.
Let’s put this in the context of a traditional business.
If you started a restaurant and made a profit for two months, would you start scouting spots for a second location?
Of course not! You’ve got debts to pay off, seasonality to evaluate, and employees to pay. You also haven’t come close to saturating the local customer base. Diversifying now would be a terrible idea.
Running an online business works the same way.
Diversifying is a great way to protect yourself, but it’s also a risk. We can’t tell you when the right time is to diversify because it’s different for every business.
If you find yourself with spare time, leftover money from your content budget, and you’ve accounted for site maintenance, seasonality, etc. then it’s probably a great idea to start a new site.
Just don’t start a new site because it’s more exciting than your current site. The shiny new thing will always be more exciting.
Why Do SEO “Gurus” Hate Niche Site Creators?
Submitted by @shwnhll
This one was a surprise to Andrew, and to me as well. I guess we don’t run in the cool kid circles.
However, Emil had heard of this, and he shed some light on it for us.
Emil didn’t feel SEO experts “hate” niche site creators. It’s more of a gatekeeping/teasing sort of thing.
As a nerd, I’m generally very anti-gatekeeping, but I understand how professional in-house SEOs feel some type of way about niche site builders.
Imagine you’re a chef. You went to culinary school, paid your dues in the industry, and worked hard to make a name for yourself.
Then you open TikTok and see a 16-year-old put truffles on a grilled cheese sandwich and get 20 million views. Then news organizations start reaching out to that kid with questions about the culinary industry.
You’d be a little annoyed, right?
That’s kind of what happens in the online business community. There are SEOs for giant media corporations that drive millions of dollars in revenue every month, but the industry “authorities” are people who run hobby blogs.
Now I’m not hating on anybody; everyone should be welcome to create online businesses and share their experiences.
But if you’re wondering why SEO professionals sometimes take issue with Niche Site Twitter, that’s why.
Why Shouldn’t You Use ChatGPT to Write Content?
Submitted by @GregDigneo
My answer to this is simple; you absolutely should be using AI to create content.
Look at Google’s helpful content guidelines, and let me know if you find anything negative about AI content.
All that matters is that your content:
- Provides value to your readers
- Fits the query’s search intent
- Is well written
If you can achieve all of that from ChatGPT, then you should. In fact, it would be foolish not to.
“There are no bonus points for not using AI. The content is all that matters.”
Even if you aren’t ready to let the machines write your blog posts for you, AI can do wonders for your SEO strategy.
Here are a few things I’ve had AI do for my niche sites:
- Generate keyword ideas and outline content silos
- Create a content calendar from a set of keywords
- Write meta descriptions with great clickthrough rates
- Generate article schema
- Create visual elements in HTML
If you haven’t started using AI, I encourage you to view it as another tool in your arsenal. If spellcheck isn’t cheating, then neither is ChatGPT. It’s all about how you use it.
Submit Questions for Our Next 5 Questions Episode
All five of these great questions were submitted by Seeking Profit listeners on Twitter.
I know you have questions about running an online business, and this is your chance to have them answered by an expert.
Tweet at @andyfieb or @emilshour and use the hashtag #5QuestionsSP. We’ll pick five more questions and talk about them on the show next month.
If you have a question about something, someone else probably does as well. Send it to us so we can help everyone!
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