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Forget the positivity claptrap you’ve read on other guides. Let’s nail the nuts and bolts
“If you want a guarantee, buy a toaster.”
Keep this as a reminder in your back pocket...Having baked a few good blog cakes, I can tell you that a winning recipe is a combination of 3 things:
- Who you know.
- How well you read the tea leaves.
- Random twists of luck.
Many successful bloggers don’t know how they were successful. Their advice seems generic because they couldn’t actually repeat their results today.
The above 3 factors are essential. If you don’t currently know influencers, you’ll need to find a way to guest post (see phase #3). As for KWs, you need a basic know-how.
For example, ‘22 cake recipes’ makes for a saturated search query.
‘Cake recipes sponge’ is far less competitive, however (only an 18 SEO difficulty rating). It also has an immense traffic volume—‘delicious cake recipes’ has a slightly better rating but much lower volume.
With this in mind, using an SEO tool and plan (phase #2) is the only way to have a chance of actually demystifying the landscape.
I’ll say the word ‘actually’ a lot in this guide.
Table of Contents:
How to Write a Successful Blog Guide 🇬🇧
Notice that I’m not talking about writing, that’s because it plays second fiddle to what people care about.
Playing the Numbers Using a Data Driven Plan
If you stick to what people are actually searching for and make sure there’s a low supply—not only is successfully blogging possible—blogging can form a lucrative semi-passive income in the longer term.
It’s very important that you keep your feet rooted to the ground, rather than relying on your imagination. Not doing so can be an immense time waste.
Is Blogging Dead / Worth It?
Some key ways people make money from online blogging are:
- Affiliate marketing.
- Direct sales of related products.
- Reputation building and networking.
The more technical the topic (in my experience), the better the chance of you exploiting its demand.
The moment that you create a visible website (we will talk more about authority in tip #3), you will be able to attract all sorts of business. People will want to advertise there and be more likely to trade/pay for guest-posting privileges. Don’t forget your SSL. And if you are uncertain of what is an SSL certificate, you needn't worry as we got you covered.
Phase #1: Low Invest, High Return
“Luck always seems to be against the man who depends on it.” - Ukrainian proverb
Test, test, but never invest.
You Need Bet Spreads
Successful blog projects are full of complicated parts orchestrated well together. You can see 10,000s of organic views per month, but we’re talking a scale of six months here, not days or weeks.
We’re playing a game of roulette here. We just need one horse to show it has legs.
You Need Data
First, you need to test out your ideas and keywords; start on a small, heavily targeted scale. Here’s a practical process:
- Diversify your portfolio. Create 4-5 keyword clusters: see phase #2 for more.
- Make 1 showpiece article for each cluster and be done.
- Now, get search engine visibility by strategically guest-posting: repeat this for 2-3 months with the aim of seeing a traffic blip.
You won’t be investing much time, not until an article has proven itself.
Feedback is Vital ℹ️
After setting everything up, you will need a path between you and your audience to be accessible in a simple yet professional way.
Use JotForm to embed forms on your blog; collect contact information, receive requests, get feedback from your audience, without a fuss.
Their feedback could inspire you while creating your next content or help you improve your blog!
Watch what happens after 2-3 months of doing small guest posts that backlink to each showpiece article.
- Has anything popped? Don’t pop the question until the metrics do.
- Are you getting results from a particular cluster or is there absolutely no impact?
Let’s look deeper into keywords…
Phase #2 - KW Clusters (Sub-Sub Niche KWs/LSIs)
“80% of wealth is owned by 20% of people.” - Pareto Principle
Just imagine if the internet was set in stone. What if all of the most important keywords that existed were all eaten up by the Yahoos, Forbes’, Gizmodos, and Cosmopolitans?
This is not a particularly useful way to map the landscape conceptually. I prefer to see it as a constantly moving stream of information. As new events emerge, new innovations are created, new keywords enter into the market...and you gain a new access-point.
Super Focused KWs and LSIs
These are the “secret sauce” to attracting viewership.
Sub-sub niched (niches within a niche) keywords (KWs) and LSIs give you a backdoor entrance into the game. These are most commonly seen within highly technical areas like computer programming.
Your job is to search for new and emerging “keyword clusters” that are yet to be dominated by the goliaths. These pop into existence as people search for them. It is one of the key parts of learning how to do effective keyword research.
They could be long tails or short tails. Whatever the deal, they are high in demand of interest but low in any supply of answers. Google, DuckDuckGo, and other search engines will give you some shine for servicing this unmet demand—allowing you to slowly but surely enter into the market.
As time goes on your authority increases, meaning you can compete better for keywords.
How LSIs Differ From Regular Keywords (KWs)
LSI’s paint a picture that the various search engines can understand, in order to sort and categorise your content.
The more associative keyword strings you include in your post that relates to your main topic, the more certain search engines can be that they are recommending web surfers to the correct source for their particular problem or question.
For instance, the adjective ‘layering’ can be used to describe decorating a cake or equally as well for compositing in After Effects or Photoshop. There’s even a movie called Layer Cake.
However, ‘layered cake decorations’ is very specific to professional baking.
You should generously integrate LSIs into your articles.
Choose 4-5 Keyword Clusters
I’m yet to explain “sub-sub niches” and choosing KWs/LSI’s that fall inside it.
So let’s assume you want to write in the ‘Blender 3D Modelling’ niche (Blender is a tool that allows you to create three-dimensional graphics and movies).
Creating your article with the title blender would be the least focused way of attracting an audience.
What kind of blender? Fruit smoothies, a Blender loan? - No wonder that this has an enormous SEO difficulty score.
Most people will tell you to focus on your niche. In our case study case, this would be for people who want to learn how to do 3D modelling using the application Blender.
This still isn’t enough…
Creating a Sub Niche
We want to create a sub niche inside the above, and then a niche inside of that!
Here’s a quick search that I did on Google for questions related to the blender 3D modelling niche.
A further search brought up specific blender modelling techniques, ie. sub niches:
I did a quick SEO search for free on each of these terms, using UberSuggest. But I need to know what range of difficulty score is worth my time trying to compete in.
This is a conservative estimate of difficulty scores. Some rubrics are more optimistic, but you can use this version to ruthlessly, critically hone in on the best keywords to target. Based on this, I explored ‘photogrammetry’ to find my first sub-sub niche keyword branch.
‘Photogrammetry definition’ is just one leading opportunity that stood out. It’s especially good because you can position yourself as an expert on the matter, and begin to dominate this sub sub niche.
I would suggest looking for topics with organic monthly demands in the 1000s (perhaps over 4000 per month) or even higher.
You will need to look around and decide where you are willing to invest the time in learning to write on the topic, or paying for a technical writer.
Useful Tools for LSI
As for LSI’s, tools like Ubersuggest allow you to export Excel CSV spreadsheets which contain a whole bunch of useful keyword strings associated with the main branch.
For instance, here are a few results that I exported and highlighted. This is just a 5 minute example representing the early formation of one keyword cluster.
You should make sure yours has a much higher volume for the top ranking two or three keywords (primary/target KWs).
Add more LSI by typing various KW strings into Google and seeing what the search bar recommends.
Phase #3 - Write Then Feed It Backlinks
Now it’s time to actually write.
The final phase to your low investment, high return blog making campaign is to 1) Craft your 5 high-demand articles (make sure there is strong demand; your leading cluster KW should be a few thousand in traffic with good trending activities) and 2) Get backlinks.
Get your content up for free/cheap, and without much time involvement. Wordpress is good, as well as many other competitive website builders.
What Are Backlinks?
Backlinks aren’t just about increasing your search engine visibility...
Guest posting allows you to build relationships inside your niche and to shorten the sales cycle.
All thanks to the social proof (ie. authority) involved in being trusted by someone who the customer already does.
Whenever a website links to yours (for instance, makes a blog post that contains a link to one of your articles where you went into greater detail on a specific point), we call this a backlink.
You should, in fact, craft your content with in mind how shareable or mentionable it could be in other interrelated locations. Going back to our Blender 3D example, you could target websites with articles for tutorials, and offer to go into more detail on photogrammetry because you’ve noticed that they don’t have many posts covering it.
This is very important that the information you offer is actually valuable. Splattering your content with badly integrated keyword strings will only make you look spammy in the eyes of the various search engines.
You must also therefore learn how to make your writing engaging; One benefit of focusing on highly technical topics is that people who visit will only be there for the accuracy of information.
If you’re not a good writer, just make sure your content is very useful.
This is a process of targeting potential spots where you can post. A few things to keep an eye on when strategizing:
- What kind of culture is this website cultivating?
- Who is their audience, eg. education levels, industries?
- Does the company have any guest posts or is it all in-house?
- Is there a guest posting policy, what are the backgrounds of current guest posters?
The answers to these questions will all influence whether and/or how you should approach your target.
Think first of the website owner. They will be concerned with creating content that serves the audience. Your job is to assess whether and/how you can add to that website’s offerings.
Paying for guest posts is also possible. Protect your content from hackers by using a top password manager.
Our first example keyword cluster was on keywords and LSI is related to photogrammetry, with photogrammetry definition as the target leading keyword.
Your KW clusters should each be a completely different sub-sub niche. Why? At this point, we really don’t know what will pay off.
You want to diversify your eggs, see what hatches
To be blunt here for a second, the archaic way of going about successful blog creation is to throw something heavy at the wall over a long period of time and to hope that it sticks.
This is crazy to me, in the final analysis all we really have is time and what we do with it. You want to maximally limit the amount of that time that will be wasted if the enterprise fails. Spread your bets. Blogging still works. Earning a lucrative, semi-passive income by blogging is still possible and realistic in 2023.
But the intelligent way of going about this is to be massively reserved about expending any energy. Target 5 super value, sub-sub niches (KW clusters). These are your dogs in the race. Allow the pack 2-3 months to generate some traffic.
Your job—during that time—is to do whatever else it is that makes you money, backlink the heck out of each dog with short guest posts, and assess which favourite to fully back.
If you get zero traffic, go back to the drawing board and find better picks.