I’ve spent the past few months thinking deeply about my next niche site idea.
In fact, my heart has been set on trying something new for a while now.
One December morning in 2022, I woke up and decided to purchase the domain “printingpioneer.com”.
A few months prior to buying the domain, I shared a blinded data output of my average RPMs by content vertical for The Flexible Worker.
You guessed it, “boats” was actually printers. At an average RPM of $58.42 I thought, “screw it, I guess I’m just The Printer Guy now”.
I slept on it for a few days.
The lesson of my first site has been that chasing the money is unsustainable.
Writing tech troubleshooting posts was literally sucking the life out of me. Now I’m planning to start a site all about troubleshooting the most boring tech vertical of all time?
Have I learned nothing? No chance. Back to the drawing board.
I kept noodling on it.
Occasionally I’d call Mike out of the blue and bounce ideas off him.
Like the time I tried to convince him *tried to convince myself* that a site all about how to tie different types of knots was a great idea.
I went down the rabbit hole on this one…deep keyword pool to pick from, strong search volume and low competition. I even started talking to a graphic designer who was proficient with animations. After all, can you even enter the knot content game without dope animations? 🤣
I think this is the same struggle most people go through when they’re trying to pick a niche. After a while, you get lost in the sauce.
In the end, it was an obvious yet critical realization that led me to the answer: this is a project I WANT to spend years working on.
That meant only one thing. I had to choose a topic I love.
I know, I know. This the cliche you hear all the time. It just so happens to also be true.
Since 2011 I’ve been working for and with startups. In my current role, I speak with founders of emerging to mid-sized companies nearly every single day. It’s the best part of my job hands down.
In my free time I endlessly consume content about business, solopreneurs, founders and startups.
As it turns out, this is what I love.
I had my answer.
On May 23rd I bought the domain I plan to work on for years to come…
“No great success was ever achieved without failure.” You hear it all the time. Anyone who has ever achieved anything unanimously agrees on this point.
And yet, content that digs deep into business missteps is often hard to find.
Part of me fully appreciates that this is expected. After all, announcing your fu*kups to the world isn’t for everyone.
But at the same time, I genuinely find the founder’s struggle to be far more relatable, interesting and informative.
This site is me placing my bet that others feel the same…
Here are a some things in no particular order that I already love about this site:
1.) The domain name – ‘StartupStumbles.com‘. It’s two words and easy to remember. It tells you exactly what the site is about. And who doesn’t love some alliteration? According to the Wayback Machine, this url hasn’t been in use before. Which was important to me after all the expired domain issues I faced with The Flexible Worker. Shoutout to Mark and Gael over at Authority Hacker. Their free AI-driven, domain discovery tool brandsnap.ai helped me land this url.
2.) This project affords me far more creative freedom. After publishing over 160 tech troubleshooting posts, I found myself asking my readers “did you try unplugging it, and plugging it back in?” over and over and over again. It’s challenging to excited about that kind of content. Not impossible. But challenging. This time around, I get to tell a story. And since the majority of my competitors tend to just state the dry facts, storytelling becomes my competitive edge over time. I’m also being far more intentional about the underlying “voice” of my content. I always want my posts to be informative. But it’s important to be that my content is more digestible and light-hearted than what’s out there. In some cases that just might mean MOAR memes…
3.) I’m also spending a lot more time on design. I used to think your content was pretty much all that mattered. And I still believe there’s a lot of truth in the spirit of that message. But when it comes to creating a branded site that’s built to last, “look and feel” matter. There will always be more updates and tinkering to do, but I like the vibe I’ve landed on. Shoutout to Sam Parr and Hampton for the color scheme inspiration.
4.) As it turns out, doing research and writing content is a lot easier when you have some foundational experience to draw on. No, I am not referring to E-E-A-T here, so put your pitchforks away. I’m just pointing out the fact that because I’ve looked into hundreds of companies for my day job, I feel better equipped on the research and content creation side of things.
5.) I’m loving the evergreen content potential in this niche. In tech troubleshooting, one new model release or software upgrade and your entire article is rendered useless overnight. But when you write about why a company like Pets.com failed, there is very little information (if any) that will ever need to be updated. That’s a beautiful thing.
6.) This niche also naturally lends itself to highly linkable content. I’ve already spent countless hours listening to podcasts, watching interviews and reading press releases and university case studies just to generate these first two posts. My hope is readers who come across my content won’t want to put in the same amount of rigor, and choose to just link to me instead.
7.) I’ve banged the drum for a while now on having at least one reason to exist, other than driving organic search traffic to your site. I plan to tackle this side of the equation with founder interviews. The format will be written transcript to start. Questions will focus on the challenges and setbacks solopreneurs and founders have faced and what they’ve learned in the process. Selfishly, the best part is this gives me a great excuse to interact with all sorts of interesting people. If you think you or your business (no matter how small or niche) would be a good fit for the interview showcase, I’d love to hear from you. Hit me up at [email protected].
8.) There is a ton of potential to build up a legitimate following on a few primary social accounts. I’m comfortable with Twitter and most of the audience for this type of material already lives there so that’s where I’m starting (@startupstumbles). Fish where the fish are. More recently, I’ve been experimenting with videos edits. I had one tweet reach 70,000 impressions organically, before promoting it and topping out at 161,000 impressions. Not bad for having less than 100 followers at the time. And yes, I’ve interacted a bunch between my two accounts…I’m trying to get that algo bump baby!
9.) In my mind, there is also a clear path to grow a meaningful newsletter. And in the spirit of “create once, publish everywhere”, I think there are a lot of interesting ways to repurpose content. For example, a startup failure story and the 3 key lessons learned would make for a great 5 minute newsletter, that could later by recycled into a tweet thread and then built out further into a blog post.
10.) It’s EARLY days, but I’m already seeing some great signs. After just a few weeks of publishing my first two posts on a brand new domain, I’m in the fight to breach page 1 on the Google machine.
All that’s left to do now is execute.
On the content creation side of things I plan to pace myself. No more 40 posts in a month nonsense. Quality over everything.
The old paradox of slowing down to go further rings true.
Ok, that’s all for now.
Explore the site and let me know what you think…
Have a Friday! ✌️
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