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Just a reminder that if you're thinking of starting a blog...
Ask yourself this question...
Should I build a blog? Or should I build another type of site?
Blogs are easy to set up and run, but it's been my experience that they're not as lucrative as other types of site.
The biggest problem with a blog is that it is at the end of the day just a load of words. And the web is not short of content - why should yours get a tonne of traffic (or any traffic at all, for that matter).
So instead of starting a blog, why not try a forum, a membership site, a store, or a service?
I've been experimenting for a while and I can tell you that stores rank pretty well in Google. I started an e-commerce experiment earlier this year, and the store is getting much more traffic that the site's blog is. This is despite the blog having a lot more words on it.
Forums can do pretty well - IF - you can get members to sign up and post content. My friend started one in 2005 and it's still going strong. His forum is so good it actually changed my life. I have also met forum members irl - how cool is that?
Aside from forums, membership sites can be pretty good. I built a dating site a few years back and it's done reasonably well. Unfortunately dating is a pretty tough niche these days but there are plenty of opportunities in other niches.
Finally tools and services can be good because people are far more likely to link to them. In fact I'm trying to grow out NicheLaboratory now that it's aged and got backlinks from all over the place (thanks guys!)
I forgot niche directories. There are still opportunities for these. Back in 2013 I started FindAForum.net as a directory of forums and it's got quite popular even though I've hardly marketed it at all.
So what type of site are YOU going to start?
A little update to this topic.
I've been trying a few new things lately.
First up I built an answers type site. If you've seen Yahoo Answers or Quora, well I basically cloned that.
I put it up on a subdomain of an existing site I have. It's been slowly getting traffic. I think it is a good idea, but would be better if you already have a fairly successful site. For example, eChinaCities have a popular Q and A section at answers.eChinaCities.com.
People forget but you don't actually need a website of your own to make money online.
Another thing I've tried is another niche blogspot/blogger site.
Finally I've tried my first move away from just blogging or writing content. I'm now a vlogger on YouTube! Here's my channel: Niche Laboratory on YT.
I've had huge problems with video editing software so bear with me! The main problem I have is that I have a new 4K laptop. Sure the screen is lovely but it's not so good when most video and image editing software can't handle the extremely high resolution!
I've been able to record some screen capture type videos. This afternoon I plan to go out and try and shoot some live footage on my mobile phone. I'll then somehow edit it into a more interesting video. Given that I'm currently living in China I have a whole wealth of interesting situations to blog about!
Anyway, check out my YT channel as I've put a few keyword research videos there and you might find them useful. Remember that YT traffic is still growing tremendously. There's not actually a TV where I live now so for entertainment YT is really important to my life. And I watch a lot of stuff on there. I tend to do 90 minute YT sessions. First I catch up with my subscriptions, then I check out my home screen to see what Google has recommended. Sometimes I'll search for specific things.
I was always a bit deflated when I went to my competitor websites and they had amazing YT channels full of videos. Well now I am fighting back!
Finally don't forget that SEO for YouTube is a thing!
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