AskPat 457 Episode Transcript
Pat Flynn: Hey, hey. What's up, everybody? Pat Flynn here, and welcome to Episode 457 of AskPat. Thank you so much for joining me today. As always, I'm here to help you by answering your online business questions, five days a week.
Before we get to today's question from Estevan, I do want to thank today's sponsor, which is FreshBooks.com, a company that is serving over 3 million small businesses, with helping their business finances stay straight, in the books, and in the way they should be. They help manage your business finances from your income to your expenses to also invoicing. If you have any clients or students or do any consulting, they make it incredibly easy for you to create professional looking invoices, to then send to your customers so then get paid. So, check it out. You can check it out for 30 days for free, by going to GetFreshBooks.com and by entering “Ask Pat” in the “How did you hear about us?” section. Again, that's GetFreshBooks.com, enter “Ask Pat.” Sweet.
Here's today's question from Estevan.
Estevan: Hey, Pat. This is Estevan Montoya. Thank you for all that you do and taking time to answer questions from your audience. I was wondering about niche sites. When I first started following you several years ago, niche sites were the thing, and obviously, your niche sites, to me, were superior than what the other people were teaching. They offered actual value and content. In the current landscape of search engine optimization, and just all that Google has to offer and really connecting, and how things have changed, and things have become more social, are niche sites a thing of the past? I know in your FoodTruckr website you started a niche site; in reality, it's a very niche, but it's also very authoritative. Is that the way to go for niche sites? And, not only that, but, how does one come up with content for such sites if they don't have the ability to outsource content, as you've done in the past? And, you know, especially in an area that you may not be an expert in. And, so thank you taking time to listen to this question, and I hope that you have a great day.
Pat Flynn: Hey, Estevan. Thank you so much for this question. First question: Are niche sites a thing of the past? And … It's difficult to answer this question because, what is a niche site, really? We can get into the semantics of it for a while. There was always this huge debate between, what is a niche site? What is an authority site? And all these kinds of things. These things don't matter. What matters now is that you, if you are creating any kind of business or website online, you need to deliver what your audience wants. And, that comes in several different facets, of course, and we'll get into that in a little bit. But, niche sites have gone through an interesting journey over time. In the beginning, a niche site could be very successful, with one page, with just the right meta-data, the right back next to it, and that's it. There's a website out there at howtobakeapotato.com, which was a classic SCO example back in the day that I remember. Because, it's just one page, pictures on literally how to bake a potato. You can actually still check it out, it's alive today, HowtoBakeaPotato.com.
Now, I'm currently on SEMrush.com. I typed in this website, HowtoBakeaPotato.com. This is a tool that allows me to analyze this site a little bit deeper. It shows me that, over the past five years, a lot if interesting thing have happened with this site. So, between January of 2010 and July/August 2012, the site was getting about, I would say an average of about 20,000 visitors per month. Which is pretty insane, and all the way up to 41,000 visitors per month in February 2012. And, it was because it was ranking number one for how to bake a potato, and it was just this classic example of how with the right structure, with the right images and meta-data and backlinks to a website, you can get something like this up. And, this is why you started to see a lot of one-pagers up there ranking really high.
Now, currently, this page ranks number 17 for the term “how to bake a potato.” And, as a result, the organic traffic has just plummeted. In 2005, the average …. In 2015, excuse me, the average monthly traffic to this site, from organic traffic or coming from Google, is like 200. And, it's because it's on the second, the bottom of the second page on the results page on how to bake a potato. And so, it's just nonexistent anymore. And, it's because those one pagers don't work. It's just, Google has understood that you can't give value in one particular page in a way … And, there are exceptions, of course, still, but, in general, you need to have a site with a lot more relevant content to show Google and the people who visit that site, that this is actually a site that is useful.
And so, going back into my own history with niche sites, SecurityGuardTrainingHQ.com started in 2010. It was a website that I built. You can find out the information behind this website and all the steps that were taken to create this website at NicheSiteDuel.com. It's actually a challenge that me and a friend of mine back then, we battled each other to see who could create a website and make the most money from it. And, still today, five years later, this site is generating between $2,000 and $3,000 per month. But, it was a “niche site” back then because it targeted a specific niche. It had a limited amount of content on it, and it was ranking really high in Google, serving this particular audience. But, it's still ranking really high, I believe it's still ranking number one for security guard training. And, the reason is because there are still no better websites out there to deliver value to this particular audience. This website was created—I created it in a way that I knew was going to be exactly what this person who landed on this site, through Google, would want. And, that's why it's still ranking really high. And, that's why it's still making a few thousand dollars per month, mainly on advertising. But, I am working with another company to see if we can figure out new ways to generate income, through products and more affiliate marketing opportunities and things like that. I am making a little bit off of affiliate marketing currently. But, anyway, the site is still doing very well, which really cool.
Later, I created FoodTruckr.com, a couple of years later, three years later I think, targeting people who are starting or who have a food truck business. And, this was a lot more in depth, in terms of content; it was a lot more consistent. A community was starting to be built around this as well. Because, this is what this particular audience would want. There's also a podcast that came along with it too, FoodTruckr School, that's done very well. And, actually people preferred that content, because people who own a food truck, are in their trucks all day long. They don't have time to read, but they do have time, while prepping, to listen and all that sort of stuff. So, that's why a podcast is involved. And, this is why FoodTruckr is one of the top food truck websites out there.
And … we could get into this whole debate on semantics: is it a niche site? Is it an authority site? Well, it doesn't matter, you just … I think a successful website today provides the best value and the right information, to people who are looking for particular solutions. There are going to be a specific group of people that you can then provide a solution to. And, that's always what's going to be successful, or most successful. Especially when you first start out. That's how you need to think about it. You need to select a niche that has a particular targeted problem that you can then create a targeted solution for. That's really what it comes down to. Are you able to provide that best content to your audience? And, again, you want to make sure that you write and create for the humans. And, when you do that, as Neil Patel says, the search engines will follow.
Now, the second part of your question was how do you create that content, if you aren't an expert or even have no idea about this particular subject matter. Well, let's go back to SecurityGuardTrainingHQ.com. I'm not a security guard, and, fun fact, my mom is actually, is what sparked a little bit of this, but not really. But, I wasn't a security guard, so how did I find information about this? Well, I did the research. I literally made phone calls to companies to ask them, how do I become a security guard, in your particular state? Because, through the research, I found out that every single state in the U.S. has a different set of requirements to become a security guard. So, it was very easy. I call a couple security companies in those states, and asked them what it takes, and I write that information down. And, I report that on the website. And, that's exactly what I had done and it has become a database that people use for finding out what to do if they want to become a security guard in a particular state. And, that's why the website is ranking really high. It does that very well, in a very quick manner. And, that's exactly what those people want. For foodtruckr.com, it was more of an outsourcing sort of project, so I hired a writer to do a lot of the research for me. But, the way that she did the research was to actually have the conversations with food truck owners. Now, you don't have to outsource somebody to do that. You can do the research yourself by talking to people who are in that particular space, who are already successful or who have gone through the struggles of pains that you are trying to provide solutions for.
So, with foodtruckr.com, these podcasts that I created, that I hosted, were a great example of a way for you to help provide expert information, without you having to be the one to provide the expert information. I mean, I'm even thinking of John Lee Dumas from Entrepreneur on Fire, when he started, he started by interviewing experts. And, as a result, through association, he became an expert. And then, now he is an expert and is able to help thousands of people with various things across the web. And so that's another thing you can do. You can interview people who are experts, and, through association, you become an expert. And, also you'll build these relationships at the same time, which can help you and your business and your website grow, to help better serve that niche market with that particular solution, or solutions that you have to provide to them.
So, those are some things you can do. And, Estevan, I wish you all the best. Thank you so much for the question. And, I look forward to send you an AskPat t-shirt, so you're going to hear from Jessica, my assistant, in the next couple of weeks. She's gonna collect your information so we can send that to you, free of charge. For anybody else out there who has a question you'd like to ask on the show, just head on over to AskPat.com; you can ask right there on that page. Just hit the big red record button, I think it's red, and you can ask your question right there. And, thank you again so much for all of your time and attention today.
I also want to thank today's sponsor, which is FreshBooks.com, which helps us manage our business finances. I've used them, and I continue to use them because they just manage your books. Income tax season, it makes it really easy to organize everything. Plus, they have an award-winning mobile app, so you can check the financial health of your business on the go too. Just … I mean you can get really ninja with FreshBooks in terms of figuring out, okay, where can you save money? Where … What's working? And, what can you do more of? And also, they have a great invoicing system as well. So, you can get paid if you have clients or if you coach students or do any consultations and things like that. So, if you want to check it out for 30 days for free, head on over to GetFreshBooks.com and enter “AskPat” in the “How did you hear about us?” section. Again, that's GetFreshBooks.com, enter “AskPat.”
Thanks so much, and to finish off, to commemorate October 21st, for those of you who know why this date is very special, this is a quote from Dr. Emmet Brown: “Roads? Where we're going, we don't need roads.” Take care, guys. Bye. Such a jerk.
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