Crafting a Plan for Success [A Public Brainstorm]
Now that I finally find myself with some free time again, it’s time for me to get back into productivity mode.
As I previously mentioned, April’s income is probably going to show a very large drop from March’s, thanks to a big loss of traffic from one of my top income sources. With that in mind, I wanted to take this time to revisit some of my 2013 goals and come up with a plan to take my online income to the next level.
This will be more of a public brainstorm post, where I’m just going to write about what’s on my mind with respect to my passive income projects. I encourage you to do the same, either on your own blog, or in the comments below.
Every once in awhile, I find myself in this position – there are so many possible directions to choose from, that I become frozen and don’t take any action. It’s similar to analysis paralysis. The best course of action is to try and get everything on the table and come up with a plan of attack. It’s important to analyze, but not for long. At some point (soon), you just have to pick something and take action.
Without further ado, I’m going to go through the various “projects” or ideas that I have on the table, and see if I can figure out what’s worth pursuing, what isn’t, and what the priority should be for whatever I do pursue.
Article Writing with Squidoo
The goal I set for 2013 is to write at least 200 Squidoo lenses (i.e. articles). I have about 60 right now, but of those 60, probably only 10-15 currently have income potential (this is pretty normal).
Last month, I earned about $110 with Squidoo, but all of that income came from maybe 5 lenses. If I can get to 200 lenses, I think there’s income potential in the $500-1,000/month range, which I’d be happy with from that income source.
Pros: Lenses are fairly quick to create – I could easily do one or two per day. If I write them myself, they don’t cost anything to create. In other words, the only investment required is my time.
Also, the income expectation is fairly reliable in the short term. If I create 200 lenses (assuming I do the proper keyword research), I can expect that my earnings will increase by a significant amount.
Cons: The long-term sustainability of Squidoo lenses is somewhat questionable. If the site comes under scrutiny by Google, it’s possible that many lenses could lose their search engine ranking. As of right now, if you do good keyword research, you can rank a Squidoo lens on page 1 of Google without doing any backlinking. If this changes, it may not be worthwhile to create Squidoo lenses.
Also, creating lenses isn’t the most interesting thing in the world. If I decide to outsource some of this writing, there will be a financial investment involved, as I’d estimate each lens could cost me around $5.
Overall Analysis: In the short term, I think I will stick with this plan. I may not be able to write a new lens each day, but I think there’s a lot of value in creating whatever lenses I can now, so that by the time the holiday season rolls around, I’ll have a lot of people clicking through to Amazon (which is the primary way to earn with Squidoo).
Authority Site (Slow Carb Diet Experiments)
This is a project I knew would take some time to gain traction, because it’s a blog in the health/dieting/food niche, arguably one of the most competitive and saturated niches. The reason I still pursued it was because it’s something I’m interested in and enjoy blogging about. It’s been a lot of fun creating new recipes and writing about them (not to mention, I lost over 15 lbs. on the slow carb diet).
In addition to simply creating new content on a regular basis (I’m aiming for once per week), I think I need to start doing more link building. I’ll do this slowly and manually – I definitely don’t want Google to penalize the site.
Pros: Writing for this blog is something I enjoy, and if it does eventually gain traction and receive a lot of traffic, there could be a lot of earning potential (through affiliate revenue, my own information product, etc.).
Cons: There’s a chance this site will never make much money. Even if I increase the traffic 10-fold (going from 50 visits/day to 500 visits/day), it’s possible that the increase in earnings won’t be significant.
Overall Analysis: The success of this site will probably not occur in the short-term, so I’m prepared to stick with it while it slowly grows. As long as I continue to focus both on SEO as well as my social media efforts (Pinterest is huge for a site like this), traffic should steadily grow.
A New Niche Site?
Now we’re entering uncharted territory. Although I have projects in place, I’m always looking toward new projects and ways to diversify my online income streams.
Ever since Google came out with its “Penguin” algorithm updates and ever since I lost my AdSense account, I really haven’t tried any new niche sites.
Although niche sites aren’t what they used to be (you can’t just throw together a quick 5-page site, rank it, and watch the money roll in within a matter of weeks), there are still viable ways to produce quality, profitable niche sites.
Most likely, any site I create would initially be monetized with Amazon’s affiliate program. Before I create a site, however, I’m going to spend a decent amount of time doing keyword research, and make sure that any keyword/niche I get into is worthwhile.
The overall goal would be to create a site where all the content is outsourced. This wouldn’t be another site like my authority site where I need to be involved with it on a regular basis. The income potential of a site like this would likely be in the $100-500/month range.
Expected Upfront Costs:
- Domain = $8
- Hosting = Free (I’d use my existing hosting accounts)
- Website theme = Free (I’d use a free theme or one of several premium themes that I already own)
- Content = $70-100 (I’d probably start off with approximately 10 articles, and I’d expect each to cost $7-10)
- SEO = $100; This is my initial budget – I would probably do a bit of backlinking myself as well.
- Total = $180-$210
This site would clearly require an upfront financial investment, but hopefully won’t require too much of my own time. If all goes as planned, I would hope to make back the initial investment within 3-6 months of the site being fully built and operational.
I know Pat Flynn mentioned something about running a second niche site duel, so perhaps this would be a site for the competition. I haven’t decided yet if I’d want it to be a public project.
A Kindle Book?
It seems like this is the current trend in the blogger/internet marketing community. For right now, I don’t think it’s for me. It’s not that I couldn’t write a book, but I don’t think that it’s something I would enjoy.
Somewhere down the road, if my audience on Slow Carb Diet Experiments is large enough, I may consider putting together a book, but that’s a long way off in my opinion. Right now, I’m much more focused on writing shorter content that’s published online for free, and building an audience through that content.
A “Real” Online Business
At some point, I may look to combine my “offline” job (as a CPA) with an online business. I haven’t thought much into this yet, but I could see the potential for being a CPA who specializes in the in the internet marketing/blogger niche.
It’s an area I know very well, and I’m equipped with the right tax and accounting knowledge to really help people in this niche. This is a very long-term idea at the moment, but it’s something that I have in the back of my mind as a possibility one day.
That’s All for Now…
Thanks for taking the time to read through my fragmented ideas for current and future projects. It helps me to put everything in writing, so hopefully someone out there will find value in it.
If you have thoughts or feedback on any of the above ideas, please feel free to share them in the comments. I’m always open to constructive criticism.