A month ago, I wrote about the idea of taking a static niche site that is primarily informational and turning it into something more useful – a tool that can better help an end user achieve their goals:
I have since been taking action on that.
Here’s what I’ve been up to…
For well over a year, I did not publish any new content on my security guard training niche site.
A ton of work went into researching and writing the content that had been published, which is partly why I believe it was able to maintain its #1 ranking for 99% of the time, but to cut-off producing content for that long is definitely ill-advised.
The error was in my goal – my mindset – which was tied to the fact that the site was created out of a challenge.
The challenge was to get to #1 in Google, so when I got there, I stopped producing content.
Just because you’re #1 in Google doesn’t mean your site is complete, or even any good or useful. It just means you’ve done something right that pleases a particular algorithm.
Google’s algorithm isn’t going to email you to say “thanks for the help”.
…and that’s something I eventually learned.
Some sites, I’m sure, can have a smaller, limited number of posts and be completely useful, but then again you have to think about “long-tail find-ability” and content potential.
Fresh content can help end users find more answers to questions, keep people up to date on industry changes, help to make a site look like it’s active, improve SEO and increase find-ability.
Consequently, I’ve recently hired a writer to produce 12 blog posts per month that address many questions and concerns that people who are looking to get into security guard training have.
Already, I’ve seen an increase in traffic since the new articles have been going up – from an average of 860 unique visitors per day to now 904 unique visitors per day – and of course, as a result, an increase in Adsense revenue as well.
I’m proud that I’ve been able to provide enough information on the site to help people understand what steps are required to become a security guard, but one area in which the site is completely lacking is where people can get training.
How can a training site be useful if there is no information about exactly where one could receive training?
I’ve been scared to tackle this dilemma because it is a monster of a task.
There is no database of security guard training companies that I can tap into and there are potentially hundreds of companies in each state in the U.S.
How in the world can I recommend a training company if I don’t know who they are and where they are located?
The answer: create a database of my own.
My part-time VA (who has been with me for 7 months) is doing the research and collecting the data in a spreadsheet for me.
In about a week, she has already obtained information for over 1100 entries, which is awesome!
The company name, address, URL, phone number and specific page for training information is all being collected for my future use.
The question is, how exactly am I going to share this information with the end user?
How will Collin from San Diego, California know where in San Diego he should go for training?
Let’s talk about that…
Zip Entry Action Area
I’m going to attempt to shift the primary monetization model on this site from Google Adsense, to a lead-gen B2B (business-to-business) model.
If done correctly, this could be much more profitable and it will help a lot more people as well, both the end user and the security guard training companies too.
It could easily flop as well, but I’ll never know for sure unless I give it a shot.
Here’s my plan:
This is a sketch I did in my notebook for a new WordPress theme with various new elements to the homepage of securityguardtraininghq.com.
A new logo for branding purposes, a magazine style layout to showcase fresh posts and most importantly, a simple call to action area at the top that asks for a zip code and a zip code only.
The call to action will have to be strong, of course, but after a user enters their zip code and clicks “GO”, he or she will be taken to a results page that will reveal a couple of things:
- Information about how to become a security guard in that particular state. This information is already posted and organized on the site via categories (per state); and
- The security guard training companies closest to them in order of distance from zip. This will be configured in conjunction with the database that my VA has (and still is) collecting.
Each company on the results page will have a button or a down arrow (still figuring this out) to open up an area that will reveal text fields for a name, an email address and a phone number. When the user submits that data, I will store it and be able to hand that information over to that particular company (or rather, someone on my team will do that for me) for a fee (ideally).
This solves the problem of companies not wanting to do business with me (or buy space in a directory) because they won’t know if they’ll ever get traffic or leads, and it also solves the problem of sending leads through a special link, a coupon code or targeted phone number and trusting the other company to keep track of it all for me.
This is exactly what companies like 1-800-DENTIST do, a service that I’ve used myself and was extremely happy with. I called them, they set me up with a dentist in my local area, and the dentist gives them a small finders-fee commission.
The one thing to keep in mind is that when I went through that process, I knew that my data was going to be shared with a potential dentist, so I feel it’s important that I make sure those who are looking for a security guard training company know that their data will be shared too.
I’ve spoken to a few security guard training companies myself and I know that some are willing to pay for leads, which is a great sign.
In addition to direct lead gen (middle-manning), there are some affiliate marketing opportunities here as well.
Some states give people the ability to obtain training online, usually in the form of an online membership with X number of videos they have to watch, and then a test they have to pass at the end.
In these states, there are several companies that were created just to train security guards online, and after talking with them, some of them have an existing affiliate program.
On the zip results page for the states that offer online training, I’ll probably “bump” theses companies to the top of the list no matter what location within that state the person is from.
In the end, this solution will make it easy for everyone, and I’ll be able to give people the exact information they need to find a place to start their training.
In this industry, I envision an ultimate resource to have a store that sells various types of security guard gear – from boots to badges and more.
That said, I’m not going to buy supplies wholesale, keep them at my house or in a warehouse and start taking orders. That’s not the kind of lifestyle I want to live.
I did think about creating a store-like interface on the site and linking to those products via an Amazon affiliate link, but just last week I stumbled upon a specialty website that actually sells a ton of security guard gear, and guess what – they have an affiliate program!
They pay slightly better than Amazon, however I’d probably have to run a few tests because Amazon could still earn more since people are used to buying on Amazon already, there’s all of the upsells that I could get a commission for and the advantage of one-click purchases too.
We’ll see, but the point is, I can make the store happen.
There are some other things I’d like to implement too, but I want to do this in phases.
Phase One is what you see above and Phase Two will include a forum or community aspect to the site, potentially a Kindle book and the licensing of some online courses so that I can host them on the site itself.
As you can see, I’m truly determined to turn this site into something much bigger.
I’ve already been offered 5 figures for the site a total of 4 times now (up to $32,000) but I have declined each time because I know there’s so much more potential here. I might strongly consider a 6-figure deal though, but I know that can only happen if the profits are more than the $1500 to $2000 per month I’ve been seeing with Adsense.
Let’s see if we can make it happen.
So what are you working towards today?