Of the 347,000 lifetime sessions TheFlexibleWorker.com has received, 324,000 sessions have come from organic Google search.
In other words, Google search represents 93% of my site’s lifetime traffic.
When the organic spigot gets turned off, my site is dead. Talk about platform risk.
You hear all the time that a “well branded” site is the antidote. It’s how you build something that lasts…remember?
But what does ‘branded’ mean in this context?
I always find it helpful to start with the painfully obvious and push forward from there…
A great domain name, logo and matching site color scheme is 0.0001% of the lift involved in creating a branded site. You know this intuitively by the sheer number of sites that check all three of these boxes and yet have zero brand recognition.
Brand recognition comes by establishing yourself as an authority over time. So, a well branded site is an authority site.
But how do you build authority? It’s this final observation that’s key:
Sites that demonstrate meaningful authority within their respective niche, unanimously do so by creating multiple forms of *quality* content distributed across multiple platforms.
For the OGs in this space, I’m not saying anything new here.
But I would argue most niche site owners today continue to follow the same old, out-of-the-box approach that I did. Their site’s sole purpose on earth is to drive organic traffic via 100% SEO content.
So, your site traffic distribution looks like mine – what next?
When I finally connected the dots above (to re-emphasize I’m not claiming to have discovered anything new here – this is just a case of having to learn the hard way by DOING) it felt like I had choice paralysis.
“I have to create multiple forms of content and distribute it across multiple platforms? Great. Where the hell do I even start?”
This more succinct call to action helped me narrow my focus and maybe it will do the same for you: Start by identifying ONE other reason for your site to exist OTHER than driving organic search traffic.
That brings us to the long-term, hard changes my site needs to survive…the so-called “bucket #2” updates.
I’m in the tech troubleshooting niche, so naturally my deep dive started there. The goal was to analyze the top players in my space and uncover the trends.
Here’s what I found.
Covering the latest news in tech seems to be the standout winner.
From Lifewire, DigitalTrends, TechRadar, MiniTool, IFixIt and beyond, they ALL cover the news.
And it’s no wonder. News is highly shareable content and it’s great for growing social accounts, especially on Twitter.
- The upside: You start generating a combination of social and direct traffic, while gradually building topical authority over time.
- The downside: The content is far from evergreen.
Many of these same sites host a tech troubleshooting forum.
In my mind, “forum” and “community” are in many ways synonymous.
By creating an effective and useful forum, you encourage users to come back time and time again for advice.
Eventually, forums start to organically build brand loyalty. Brand loyalty quickly snowballs into a genuine fan base.
- The upside: Building authority and direct traffic in the process. And oh yeah, what’s better than user generated content leading to long-tail, organic keyword traffic?
- The downside: From the outside looking in, filtering low quality content and spammers seems like a full-time job (and a nightmare).
To be clear, not all products are created equal. And yes, it goes without saying that many products are only offered as a direct result of already having traffic.
Nonetheless, whether it’s repair software or physical tools to clean your electronics, nearly all leading tech troubleshooting sites sell a product.
- The upside: Revenue and authority.
- The downside: Significant time suck due to customer service and payment problems.
Wrap It up Already
Most of you operate a site in a different niche.
I encourage you to perform the same analysis of the “winners” in your arena and ask yourself the same questions.
Yes, the content and the distribution mediums may differ, but you’ll uncover the same underlying truth – they ALL have at least one other reason to exist.
In the gardening niche? Kevin Espiritu over at epicgardening.com has the perfect YouTube channel for you.
And this barely scratches the surface of the types of content and the distribution mediums that both these guys pursue.
News, forums and products.
The fundamental question I am grappling with lately: Is this truly the niche that I want to spend the time and energy required to successfully build out any one of these three verticals?
Let’s all take the weekend to mull it over.
Until next time. ✌️
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