[Note: Elance has merged with oDesk to create Upwork.com. New name, same services.]
AskPat 80 Episode Transcript
Pat Flynn: What's up, everybody? Pat Flynn here. Welcome to Episode 80 of AskPat. Thank you for listening in today.
Today's sponsor is LegalZoom. LegalZoom is a great company I've used several times to do things like set up my LLC, to trademarking, to my DBA for another company, another LLC for a partnership that I have. I also use it to help create my will and stuff like that, really important stuff. If you go to LegalZoom.com make sure you enter Pat, P-A-T at checkout. That's the referral link. Again, highly recommend it, it makes it incredibly streamlined and easy, and you save a ton of money as opposed to going to an attorney. It's again, LegalZoom.com. I cannot recommend it enough. Now, today's question comes from Heath. He's asking about my niche sites and also where I get the information to put on those sites. Let's hear from Heath right now.
Heath Redding: Hi Pat. This is Heath Redding from RedBuffaloStudios.com. I am a young and budding entrepreneur myself and a huge fan of your show. My question to you is, how did you go about finding the information that's on your niche websites like SecurityGuardTrainingHQ.com? I'm interested in understanding the process that you acquired all of the necessary information to build this niche website and make yourself an authority in that field, as I understand you're not a security guard yourself. I would love to know the process. Did you go out and interview security guards? Did you interview people in that field? Did you do an amazing amount of research? Furthermore, how do you keep the website updated with the latest and greatest information, or do you? Do you outsource that responsibility at this point since you're so busy doing so many other things, updating with new information and all that?
I would love to hear your response to this. Thank you so much for your show, Pat. You are a huge inspiration to me and the millennials of my generation. You're invaluable, and I love, love the podcasts. Thanks.
Pat Flynn: Heath, thank you so much for your question and also your amazing support. Now this is a really great topic because you're absolutely right, Heath. I have a site about security guard training, and becoming a security guard, and getting into that industry, but I'm not a security guard myself. The first question a lot of you might have is, how does that even qualify you to create a site like this, and how do you know it's going to be useful? I will tell you exactly all that and how I was able to come up with the content and do the research to put on that website. Before that, I will tell you the results of the work I did.
The results have been amazing, not only in terms of earnings. The site has been earning over the past three years about $2,000 to $3,000 a month passively with just a couple hours of work because I did all that work upfront. Beyond that I know the site is being used and is helpful to that particular market. I am serving them with the information I put on that site. How do I know that? There's a couple of things on the site that are being used that would only be used by people in that industry, like the job board. The job board, which I earn a little bit of an affiliate commission from every time somebody uses it or finds or hooks up with an employer through that job board which is actually run through Indeed.com. They have a plugin you can put on your website or some code to tap into their job board. It automatically, on my site, shows people security job guards close to their area once they type in their zip code. Anyway, I know that's being used because I am earning money from that job board every single month which means people are using the job board on the site to their career in the security guard training industry which I think is amazing. That's huge for me and my fulfillment factor, knowing that I'm actually providing value to that audience as well. Beyond that, I'm actually getting emails, direct emails from people who are using the site, finding the information that they need. As a result of making it easy for them, a lot of them—not all of them and not even a very large percentage of them but a small percentage—will actually take the time to use the contact form to say, “Hey, thank you so much for this information, it's been really helpful.” I think that's huge.
Those are the ways that I know that the site is doing really well and is actually providing the information that's required. How did I know what information to put on the site? I approached the site, and I think anybody can approach any site in any niche as somebody who . . . I approached this niche as somebody who is trying to actually trying to become a security guard. I did the research. I pretended and actually acted as if I was looking to become a security guard. I did some research online which is what most people would do. I typed in “how to become a security guard in California,” and I found some websites that were not . . . It wasn't complete. I did that also during keyword research, so I understood that there was an opportunity to provide a better solution out there. When I put myself in the shoes of somebody in this industry or somebody who wanted to get into this industry, I saw that there wasn't a lot of great information out there.
Now there is a lot of information on a number of different sites that was the same like, “First of all, go to this government website and fill out the forms.” I kept track of all those things and also during this research I understood or found out that every state in the United States has a different set of requirements in order to become a security guard. It's funny because at first I was like, “This is going to be a lot harder than I thought. I'm going to have to create fifty different versions of the how-to.” I actually didn't like that at first, but then I realized, “Wow, this is a great way to make a lot of content on the site and have it become an authority site, something that I can provide no matter what state you're from.” I saw it as an opportunity to create more content. It actually guided me in terms of what I was going to create and write and even outsource, which I'll talk about in a second. It filled out the site, it made it become an authority site. It's ranking number one right now for security guard training and it has been for the last three years.
Beyond that basic content that I found online that I kept note of . . . And of course I wanted to put that in my own voice which I think was actually very helpful because a lot of these people who were writing this information online about beginning steps, steps one, two and three to become a security guard, they weren't people who were looking to become security guards. They were people in the industry already. They have what they call the curse of knowledge, meaning it's really hard to understand what a total beginner who doesn't know anything about that industry, it's hard for them to understand where to start or what to do. We all have the curse of knowledge. It's really hard to teach somebody who is just starting out doing what you do and what you're trying to teach. You have to really talk to people to understand what it's like. I put myself in the shoes of somebody, like I said, who is trying to become a security guard, and I actually made calls because that's what I would do. Look online, if the information is not there, I would make calls. That's exactly what I did. Also, just so you know, in the security guard-training industry first you should train to become an unarmed security guard. There's two classes, unarmed security guard, meaning you don't have a weapon on you, then after you're an unarmed security guard you could train for armed security guard training. I was really focused on, first, how do I become an unarmed security guard? I started with California. I did keyword research and found that California was one of the most popular states that was being searched for for how to become a security guard. New York was another one, and Florida, and Texas. Those were the first four that I started with, actually.
I called about four or five different companies, security guard companies, people that would actually hire somebody looking to become a security guard. I called four or five companies in each of those states. I simply asked them. I was like, “Hey, I'm interested in how one becomes a security guard. What are my steps?” They gave me the rundown. A few companies were like, “No, we're too busy.” They didn't want to talk. I moved onto the next one, and I think that's something that a lot of people should do, is make phone calls because you could send an email, and you may or may not get a response. I decided to call and make it quick. If somebody didn't want to answer, or if somebody didn't pick up, I moved onto the next one until I got the exact information I needed. I was able to fill out California really easily and get out all the steps. It was just me doing research, talking with people on the phone, writing down everything as it was happening and then being able to publish that information online in my own voice and in my own style, something that I wanted to make easy to consume and do. Hundreds, thousands of people have used those articles since then.
I started with those four states, and then I branched out. To be honest, I got up to, I believe it was seventeen different states before my site got to number one in Google, and I made the mistake of stopping. I stopped at seventeen states, and it was like that for six to seven months because I had met my goal. My goal was to get to number one in Google because I was creating the site publicly. You can again see all that at NicheSiteDuel.com. If you go click on the updates button at the top, you'll see this timeline of events that have happened since starting this site to where it is now. I made the mistake of stopping at seventeen because I didn't have any goals beyond that. I had reached my goal, but then after about six or seven months I said, “Wow, I have a lot more opportunity to reach a lot more people, help a lot more people in these other states that were missing, the thirty-three states that I didn't have yet.”
Instead of actually creating that content myself, I hired somebody on Elance to do that for me. I put out a bit on Elance. [Note: Elance has merged with oDesk to create Upwork.com. New name, same services.] I asked somebody to create the articles for the last thirty-three states. I wanted them to do it in the same way I did. They used the first seventeen that I did as a way to see the structure and what I wanted. Then I told them, do quick research online for the basic information and then call four or five companies in each of the states. I got bids between $1,000 and $8,000 to do that. I ended up choosing somebody for a couple thousand to fill out all the rest of that information. They were able to do it in a month, and I put those articles up there. In total I had fifty, one for each state. The site started to get a lot more traffic because the more content you put on your site the more opportunities you are to be found by those keywords, not only just the keywords that are in the title and that you're targeting but also long tail keywords.
I actually found out that my site was being ranked or being found on Google from over 15,000 different keywords. Now, most of them were being found or searched for only one or two times, but that's the beauty of the long tail. You can get a lot of traffic from a lot of those longer phrases, and because I had written so much content it was doing really well. Then I hired somebody else—actually, it was the same person for about the same price, actually—to do the fifty articles for armed security guard training. Then in total I had about 100 articles on the site. I haven't really added any more since. Now I have had a writer onboard to add more current information. I honestly wasn't seeing very much traction from those articles; they weren't bringing in much traffic. People weren't commenting on them, and people weren't actually staying on those articles very long. I understood that that was something that I didn't need to really do any more. The articles that I had written that were specifically for unarmed security guard training and armed security guard training, people were spending two to six minutes on those pages. They were actually using them and going step by step. At the end of a lot of those articles I have promotions for certain classes and courses in those specific states, specifically for California, actually, because that's the most popular one, and there's a lot of guard card-training courses that are online that you can sign up for and as an affiliate. That's the process of how I was able to create the content and put on the site. I started doing it myself, started with doing the research online, finding that that was totally bare bones and filling in the gaps by actually doing the research myself, again, putting myself in the shoes of somebody who is in that target audience. That was very, very successful. I think that actually worked out to my advantage, the fact that I am not a security guard.
Now your second question, Heath, was how do I keep it up-to-date, or do I? It's very difficult to do that, especially for me who has seven different websites, especially the blog and the podcasting and stuff. There's a few systems that I have in place that I recommend everybody do. You should always have Google alerts set up for your particular website. What that means is you can actually go to Google or Alerts.Google.com or look up Google Alerts. What it allows you to do is type in certain keywords, and Google will email you whenever those keywords are mentioned on a website. You can set the settings to email you every time something is mentioned, or every day they send you a report, or every week or whatever the case may be. I have it set up so that every day, at the end of every day, I understand if people are talking about or writing about or publishing information about the topics that I want to be notified about. I have, for example, “security guard training in California” as one of my Google Alerts. I hardly get those alerts because people aren't writing about them all the time, but if they are, I get a quick little summary in my email. I can see if there are any quick updates; I can put “security guard training update,” for example. I got that one too. Again, these emails don't come very often, but when they do I know somebody is talking about updates; I'll be able to see, are there any updates? I have the same thing going on for my site at GreenExamAcademy.com. That's for the LEED exam. I just got alerts, like 100 alerts the other day because the exam is being updated. That's why you'll see in my most recent income reports that the earnings from my study guides on that site have gone up, because more people are trying to pass that exam than before. That alert told me and, I guess, warned me that there were changes coming up because I'm not actively in those industries checking every day, reading the blogs every day.
That's my position in the crash test dummy world that I'm now in, of Smart Passive Income. For you, if you have one site, and you're really focused on it, that's your authority site. Then of course I would recommend reading all you can about the industry to stay up-to-date. Have Google Alerts set up and do what you can to make sure that people on there are up-to-date, of course. Again, I have Google Alerts there to warn me. That's the first thing you could do. You could also hire people to keep track and make sure, VAs, for example. You can hire some great VAs at VirtualStaffFinder.com. You can have VAs make sure. Maybe the Google Alerts go to them. Then they'll filter through those and then email you whenever something that is worth paying attention to comes up.
Heath, I hope that answers your question. It's a lot of information there. I hope that's helpful for everybody. I hope you can see how, even if you're not an expert, even if you have no experience in a particular niche, if that niche is being underserved then you have to make a commitment to do what you can to serve them. That's the same thing I'm doing with FoodTruckr.com, to help people in the food truck industry who are getting started or who are in the industry as business owners and food truck owners. That niche is completely underserved, and that's where FoodTruckr came from. It's doing really well. Again, the biggest barometer for me is the emails I'm getting from people who have listened to the FoodTruckr School Podcast or who read the blog, keeping track of stats like time on the site, number of pages people go through on the site. It's all very positive right now. That is a little bit of a slower process because I'm not doing any forced back-linking like I did with Security Guard Training, but it is going on the upward trend. I'm very, very excited about it, and I'm very excited for all of you who are following along. Again, you could check that out at NicheSiteDuel.com.
Heath, thank you so much for your question. An AskPat teeshirt will be headed your way. You'll get an email from my VA very soon about that. For those of you listening, if you have a question, head on over to AskPat.com. You can ask right there on that page.
Of course, I want to give a shout out to today's sponsor, which is awesome, LegalZoom.com. LegalZoom, love you guys. You've helped me out so much. For any of you who need anything done in terms of legal stuff, I would absolutely recommend you go to LegalZoom.com. Make sure you use the word “Pat” at checkout, so I get credit for that. LLCs, trademarks, doing business as, wills, any of that stuff. Power of attorney, all incredibly important stuff. The best and most economical way to do that is through LegalZoom. Again, as a reminder, they don't provide legal advice, but they can help you by finding an attorney to give you legal advice.
Of course, I want to end with a quote. Today's quote is from Babe Ruth, the amazing baseball player. He says, “Every strike brings me closer to the next home run.” Thank you, take care, and I'll see you in the next episode of AskPat.
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