AskPat 358 Episode Transcript
Pat Flynn: Hey, what's up, everybody? Pat Flynn here, and welcome to Episode 358 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. We have another great question today from Will. Fantastic question, actually.
All right, let's get to today's question from Will.
Will: Hi, Pat. My name is Will, and I'm a new listener to your podcast. I've been listening to all your older episodes and I've been looking on your website quite a bit. I've learned a lot from you. I'm interested in starting my own website. It's similar to your security guard website. I'm trying to get a feel for what the total startup cost would be for a basic website such as that. So, if you could break down the total cost for one of your earlier websites, such as your security guard training one, I think that would be a huge benefit to all of your listeners. Looking on your website, you have a lot of resources that you use and pay for for all your websites, and it's a little confusing as to what it takes to get just a very basic website off the ground and monetized and making you money. So, anyway, if you could just break down those resources, tools, and the cost for each one, I think that would benefit everybody that's listening to your show. Anyway, keep up the great work, and I can't wait until your next podcast.
Pat: Hey, Will. What's up? Thank you so much for the question. I really appreciate it. SecurityGuardTrainingHQ.com was a great experiment that I did back in 2010 and '11. It's still running strong. It's still generating a few thousand dollars each month from the work that I did back then. Obviously, the environment has changed and I've since done other experiments like FoodTruckr.com and built them in a similar, but also different way. In terms of startup costs, for that particular site, it was not much at all. Most of the cost was just the time and research put into it. Now, actual cost, I will say that I did use a tool to help myself with keyword research. That tool was called Long Tail Pro. There's also another one called Market Samurai. They're both equally good. But I prefer Long Tail Pro now. Especially for the beginners out there. If you go to AskPat.com/longtailpro, you'll see that there's a discount for you offering $30 off if you want to check that out.
Essentially what that allows you to do is do keyword research. Which you could do for free if you wanted to. You can go to Google AdWords. You don't have to use ad words but you can just use their Google keyword planner tool to discover how many people are searching per month for all the different keywords that you're going to research to find that niche that you're looking to get into and serve. And how much competition there is related to that particular niche as well. Long Tail Pro and the other tools that I mentioned earlier just make that process so much fast, and allows you to almost like, when you're mining for gold, well not mining for gold, but panning for gold, to put a whole bunch of dirt into this pan and swish it around until you find those golden nugget keywords. When you're doing it with Google keyword alone, you're using a smaller pan. When you're using Long Tail Pro, for example, you're using a larger pan. So you're able to put more dirt in there and find more golden keywords much faster. Again, that's askpat.com/longtailpro.
Really, the only other cost that went along with that in the beginning was for domain and hosting. I used Bluehost. I still use Bluehost on a number of my other niche sites. If you go to AskPat.com/bluehost through mid-month, you can get it at a super discounted rate, which isn't available anywhere else for now. That is AskPat.com/bluehost. You can get domain and hosting for $2.95 per month. When I was doing it, it was $5.95 per month, so it's even cheaper now. $2.95 per month, AskPat.com/bluehost. That was just a monthly cost that, I mean, you will pay the annual rate, but at that monthly cost. That was it. Just the keyword research tool and domain and hosting. That was it.
Then it was just, literally, writing the content and putting it together. I used a free theme. I found a free theme called Simple Folio, which I used on the site. There are a lot of other great free themes that you can use now, which are fantastic. Then, finally, after I started to build a little bit of a following and get some traffic, I started to build my email list. That cost a little bit as well. I used AWeber for that. Askpat.com/aweber. No, excuse me. AWeber.com/askpat, if you want to check that out. The cool thing about that is you pay for … Payment is based off of how many people are on your list. So when you're just starting out, you're not paying very much at all. I think I was only paying like $12–17 a month after I initiated that. But that wasn't until after a couple of months after I built the site. Because most of it was just the research and finding the niche. But then also just building out the site on the domain and hosting plan that I had. And also just the research in writing that content myself. I wrote about 17–18 articles on my own in the beginning. Then it was only after 73 days that I got to number one in Google because I was … I did the right research, I wrote the right articles, I did some good SEO, search engine optimization, which was …
And then from there, then that's when I added the email list, and what else? Oh, then I actually paid for somebody to write out the rest of the articles. Because my goal was to write an article for each of the 50 states, because every state in the US has a different set of security guard training requirements. I had wrote 17 before I got to number one and then I stopped. And that was a big mistake. I actually stopped for a few months and I should have kept going. I could have gotten a lot more traffic and gained a lot more traction faster. But I let it sit there because I had reached my goal of getting to number one. But my goal should have been to get to 50 articles. When I finally got my head on straight, I paid somebody on elance.com, about $20 per article for the rest of the 30-ish articles. So I paid about 600 bucks to have somebody else fill in all that content. Then after that was done, I had somebody else write 50 articles; actually, it was the same author. I had her write these articles for armed security guard training. So the first 50 articles were for unarmed security guard training, but the next 50 articles were for armed security guard training. At that point it was making enough money to cover that cost of hiring a writer.
There wasn't else much that I did. Yes, I had a lead magnet but that was built from scratch and on my own and completely free. Even the 3D graphic, that was created using myecovermaker.com, and they have a few free templates you can use to create ebook covers that look 3D. Again, you don't need to pay for that. So again, there isn't much cost at all. It's just the time that you put into it, in doing the research.
As a reminder, when I was building out that site, obviously I'm not a security guard myself. So how did I find out what to put on that site? Well I did the research. I literally called security guard companies in each of the states and I asked, “Hey, how do I become a security guard in this state?” They would give me the resources and I would just put that information together and put it on the website and it was the exact information that I needed, that my audience needed, that my target audience needed, that when they found my site through those keywords, they have the information they needed. So that's why it's been working out very well. In terms of monetization, most of the money is coming from AdSense, and it's free to use Ad Sense.
So again, not much cost at all. We're talking, even with the email list in there, you know, less than $30 a month to start out with. Even in the very beginning, after getting Long Tail Pro, it was only, it was less than $10 a month. So it's not much at all. It's just a matter of finding and doing the right research and finding the right niche and writing the great content. And continually publishing. I think another big thing that helped that site get off the ground was I continued to publish once I got my head on straight and added more content to the site. Even though I wasn't writing it, it could have very well been, and I could have saved even more money there. But my time is valuable, so I was willing to pay for those articles. But once I published those articles, because there was so much more content, I kept being found by newer keywords. And long tail keywords. By long tail keywords, I mean keywords that are more than 3 or 4 phrases in length, which, maybe you'll get one or two people who find you through those keywords every month, but, they add up. Most of my audience and my traffic was coming from long tail keywords, not even my primary keywords, and that's been really cool. The site's been able to stay number one in Google for security guard training for quite a while now, and it definitely had humble beginnings. It's still doing very well.
So, Will, I hope that helps you, and I wish you all the best. Thank you for calling in. We're going to send you an AskPat t-shirt for having your question answered here on the show. For those of you listening, if you have a question you'd like potentially featured here on the show, just head on over to AskPat.com. You can ask it right there on that page, thanks to the Speakpipe.com widget.
Again, thank you so much for listening in today. As always, I love to end with a quote. Today's quote is from none other than Martin Luther King, Jr. He said, “the ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” Cheers, take care, and I'll see you in the next episode of AskPat. Thank you so much. Bye.