This guest post is by Anshul Dayal of Nichsense Niche Marketing.
This is the fourth post in our series on Blog Business Models.
Many entrepreneurs who own successful online businesses have followed similar paths through the world of blogging, internet, and affiliate marketing. Perhaps they were working a never-ending grind stuck in a nine-to-five day job they hated until one day they discovered the power of the internet—a medium that has likely made more millionaires than any other in the last ten years.
My journey to the world of blogging and online entrepreneurship is not dissimilar, with one exception. I came from an extremely rewarding, fulfilling, and successful career working on computer-generated visual effects for multi-million-dollar Hollywood productions. That’s probably the definition of a dream job for many people!
So what led me to blogging and the world of internet marketing? The answer is my never-ending desire to conquer new challenges and create something of my own. My initial foray into internet marketing wasn’t completely based around blogging. In fact, I first started by building small affiliate and AdSense sites sometime in mid-2011—a process I wrote about in this post for ProBlogger.
Within a matter of months, some of these sites started turning over decent monthly revenues, and that was really the lightbulb moment for me. I’d heard about internet marketers making millions on autopilot using the web, and while I was by no means making millions, I could see real, tangible evidence that by using the right strategy, it was very much possible for me to make a comfortable living online.
I also felt that there was a lot of misinformation surrounding what it really takes to make money online. That’s when I decided to launch my own blog, nichesense.com, as a place for me to share the proven strategies I was using on a daily basis, and help budding online entrepreneurs.
Blog or business?
In its infancy, nichesense.com was very much an information-focused blog supporting my affiliate niche marketing business, and sharing my journey to building a successful online business.
There were two reasons for taking this approach:
- it allowed time for defining the so called “unique selling proposition” for the blog
- it helped me build a loyal online audience and somewhat immunize the blog from unreliable search traffic.
This approach also allowed me to test various monetization strategies I was going to implement as part of my development of a long-term business strategy for nichesense.com.
A different approach to blog monetization
From a current business and monetization perspective, the majority of my blogging business success has come through affiliate promotions of various products and services that I used to build successful niche affiliate sites. This includes WordPress themes, keyword research tools, SEO tools, hosting services, and also various information products.
Effectively, I’ve taken the techniques I developed through my work building successful niche affiliate sites, and repurposed them to suit my blog.
Most of these affiliate promotions are gradually drip-fed to subscribers through a series of follow-up emails as part of the free training they receive when they first sign up to the blog. This approach reduces unsubscribe rates and also helps me achieve better conversions, as many new subscribers are also guided through the process of using the products to achieve real results.
From a broader perspective, the key elements in nichesense.com’s growth are still to do with offering practical, hands-on internet marketing training. The primary focus is on providing genuine strategies and techniques, and less on selling the next magic bullet to online success—which is what many of the “make money online” blogs tend to focus on. That’s what makes nichesense.com unique in the internet marketing blogosphere.
My recipe for success
Social media, email marketing, YouTube, and organic SEO have all been key tools for success in my blogging arsenal. However, there is one thing that stands above the rest: outsourcing. I have used virtual assistants for just about every aspect of my online business. This includes using dedicated social media managers to grow Twitter and Facebook follower counts, plus assistants to research content, publish content, conduct SEO tasks, and so on.
Outsourcing has been pivotal in helping me focus on the developing the blog as part of my larger business, rather than simply letting it turn me into a workhorse who researches, writes, publishes, and does just about everything—something that I think can be a real hurdle to growth and success.
Moving forward, some of the biggest challenges for nichesense.com will still focus around continuing to evolve a long-term traffic and monetization strategy. Using affiliate promotions on the blog achieves only a small part of its monetization potential.
Publishing great content is no longer enough for serious bloggers looking to make a mark in the lucrative internet marketing niche. Most successful bloggers in this niche in recent years have used innovative methods of engaging the audience through interviews, podcasts, reviews, and real-life case studies. This is very much the path I intend to take with the blog while still keeping a unique identity through the “hands on”-style content which has made it popular so far.
Creating high-quality information products, attracting guest posts, and presenting expert interviews will also be an integral part of my revenue and growth strategy for nichesense.com in the coming months.
I recommend anyone looking to build a successful business through blogging is to at least write down a vision statement of what what will make you stand out from the crowd. This is especially true if you plan to launch another “make money online” blog. Think differently and don’t be afraid to innovate.
Remember, the key to a building successful blog in any niche is more than just good content. If you want to treat it as a business then you ought to be making money from it and in order to make money you need to to envision a strategy to attract “buyer” (or paying customer) traffic very early on.
Anshul Dayal is the author at Nichsense Niche Marketing blog offering cutting edge niche marketing strategies for starting a real, sustainable and profitable online business. You can download his step-by-step guide to launching your own profitable niche website on his blog http://www.nichesense.com
“However, there is one thing that stands above the rest: outsourcing.”
That is one of the things when known how to use can be the difference between succeeding and failing. I don’t outsource that much, due to finances, but I do it sometimes when I know it is very essential to something.
I find it cool that you are involved in the Hollywood industry with the computer generated graphics!
You have to look at this way. You dont have the finances to outsource but in order to make more money from your blog, you need to outsource so it is an investment to get returns and not an expense.
Well that’s quite much inspiring to me as a novice. I am on my way to find my USP. I’d recommend that stick to the topic of your blog and add versatility into it and you will get UNIQUE SELLING PROPORTION easily and money will follow your way
Finding your unique selling proposition largely depends on your niche, for eg the “make money online” niche is jam packed with blogs but it is a lot easier to monetize blogs in such a niche. In other slightly lesser know niches, finding your USP may not be the first thing you think about.
My first few sites were unique in Australia at the time I started them, and I did quite well out of them, but these days I’ve got everyone copying my original works. So now I’ve just taken a great big deviation from my normal topic base for my sites, and steered into an entirely new niche direction within the same category where I know my competitors cannot follow due to their business models. And in the end my sites continue to grow and this new niche site feeds even more link love and visitors into my main sites. Its a new strategy for me, I’ll let you know how it all goes.
That is one of the factors when known how to use can be the change between following and screwing up. I do not use outsourcing for that much, due to affordable circumstances.
I have center That southern seaboard would be the primary middle for lifestyle. Can anybody suggest some places
I am really grateful for this great post. It is somehow interesting to know one can make real bucks through blogging. My blog, http://www.mycudjoe.com is less than a month old but its pageviews is increasing each and everyday. Thanks for the motivation.
Anshul – GREAT post. I was going to go to bed but I had to keep reading!! It is SO helpful reading posts from people like you so that I can learn and be better at blogging. I am detailing my progress on my own blog too and have so much to implement from reading your post and some of the others in this series :-)
“This includes using dedicated social media managers to grow Twitter and Facebook follower counts, plus assistants to research content, publish content, conduct SEO tasks, and so on.”
That sounds like an AMAZING idea – I have bookmarked your own site – it would be amazing if you could post where you prefer get such people from if you would be happy to share that info?? :-)
“Outsourcing has been pivotal in helping me focus on the developing the blog as part of my larger business, rather than simply letting it turn me into a workhorse who researches, writes, publishes, and does just about everything—something that I think can be a real hurdle to growth and success.”
Right now – Im the workhorse!! Haha! But that’s cool, I bet you were too when you first started?? Were you?! Either way, I fully intend to outsource as soon as I can, but your words above just said it perfectly.
Thanks again for another great post. Best wishes, Clare :-)
Clare, glad you enjoyed the post. I wrote a whole article on outsourcing on my blog a little while back so you may want to check it out if you haven’t already:
Affiliate marketing gives you the potential for a great lifestyle that you could only dream of a few years ago. You can work from anywhere in the world as long as there is an internet connection, and there are no caps to your earnings. I’ve been involved with affiliate marketing since 2007 and earn all my income this way. I’m so glad I took the plunge!
I like your last point…find what will make you stand out. I have found my unique niche. I believe that no one else is doing what I am doing in the way I am doing it. (Using a motivational system that I developed.)
Of course, sometimes when you stand out, it is because your position is one that is too far outside of normalcy to be appreciated. This is the concern I have.
blogging is not as simple as it was before, now we have many more tools that we must make use of
personally i have never used podcasts but i think its the right time to start now
i love this series
its a source of inspiration for those who want to start making money online
keep those posts coming