by Juan Robin II
“Success is neither magical nor mysterious. Success is the natural consequence of consistently applying the basic fundamentals.”
This timeless quote by Jim Rohn, one of my favorite motivational speakers, is true for every business in the world, including niche marketing.
There’s no shortcut to affiliate marketing success.
And, as Jim said, there’s nothing mysterious about it.
Yet, when you’ve never tasted success, you believe those who’re successful are hiding the real stuff from you.
That’s when you start making assumptions and asking useless questions instead of focusing on the proven path.
Questions about things that have no impact on your success or failure.
Things that you don’t need to copy from others.
Things that you don’t need to worry about.
I see newbie marketers do this all the time in NicheHacks Facebook Mastermind.
For example, what do you think about the question in the screenshot below? Do you think it matters?
Stuart’s response to this question sums up my point quite well.
But there are SO many other useless things people constantly worry about instead of focusing on the right stuff like understanding the needs/problems of your audience, creating problem-solving content, promoting content on the right platforms, etc.
In this post, I’ll list down all such questions and things, and tell you exactly why you should stop worrying about them.
Let’s dive in.
What You’ll Learn In This Article
- Why most newbies ask the wrong questions
- How to find the right publishing frequency for your site
- The thing that most people don’t understand about long-form content
- The only thing you need to succeed in niche marketing
1. Obsessing Over Exact Match Domains
BuyRunningShoesNow.com, BestEmailMarketingTool.com, BestDigitalCameras.com
These are examples of exact match domains (EMDs)
EMDs are domains that use the exact keywords they intend to rank for.
Till 2012, they gave you a better chance of ranking for your target keyword. As a result, hundreds of thousands of cheap one-page niche websites with thin and useless content used to rank for high competition keywords just because they used an EMD.
But Google plucked this loophole and completely nullified the impact of exact match domains with an algorithm update.
Today, EMDs don’t matter anymore and have no impact on your site’s success in terms of SEO.
Why, then, do you think people keep asking questions like the one in this screenshot (also read the response to the question which hits the nail right on its head)
Does that mean EMDs hurt your ranking? No
They’re completely irrelevant.
They neither improve not hurt your rankings.
They’re not a factor to consider.
Although EMD sites with thin content and shady backlinks are often penalized faster because EMDs sound spammy as well.
If you have an EMD site but publish great content and give your audience what they want, your site will do great. Having an EMD won’t stop you from ranking (but it’ll be harder to get backlinks to an EMD site because, once again, EMDs sound spammy and high-quality sites are often reluctant to link to them)
But if the content is poor, thin, copied or spammy, an EMD won’t be enough to move the needle for your site’s rankings. And unfortunately, most EMD sites are cheap and spammy because they’re mostly run by people with the wrong mindset about marketing.
They just want to rank based on their domain and make quick money with ad clicks or hard-selling product reviews.
It doesn’t work anymore.
Choose a brand name as your domain that’s memorable and connects with your audience. It can include your target keyword as well. But it needs to be short, easy to remember and sound like a brand name.
ProBlogger, Backlinko, AuthorityHacker, SmartBlogger, etc. are all top blogs with brandable domains that include their target keyword/niche as well.
NicheHacks, for example, is an easy to remember brand name.
Imagine if Stuart had used an EMD like ProfitableAffiliateNicheReports.com.
Not a pretty name, right?
Plus, it also limits the scope of the site.
With a brand name like NicheHacks, we’re open to writing about everything that comes under the umbrella of digital and niche marketing.
Talking about brands, there’s another useless thing people waste a lot of time thinking about.
Let me explain in the next point.
2. Spending a Fortune on Logo Design
A site’s logo is a big part of its brand identity.
Every legitimate and high-quality niche site has a good logo.
But should you spend hours and hours designing an amazing logo or spend thousands of dollars on fancy designers to make one for you?
Never, especially when you’re just starting out and have no money.
You don’t need a masterpiece. A simple clean logo is good enough to start.
Having even the best logo in your niche has absolutely no impact on your site’s success or its money-making potential.
As long as it isn’t plain bad, you’re good to go.
Logos don’t make great brands.
The value you offer ultimately makes your logo look good.
There are countless examples of this.
Look at Google’s logo when they first started the company as their Stanford University graduate project.
This is what it looks like today
In all those years, it only got a bit cleaner.
There’s nothing fancy about it.
This logo isn’t the reason why Google is a top company. It’s their work.
The logo was just good enough to start, and they did.
Look at SmartBlogger, a blog that earns way more than a million dollars every year.
Do you think Jon Morrow, the owner, spent too much time thinking about the logo?
Here’s another leading blog with a stupidly simple logo.
Do you think you can make something similar for your site?
None of the sites or businesses I’ve shared became successful because they had a great logo.
It’s the other way around.
Their logos look classy because they are just great sites.
So here’s what you should do.
Stop overthinking your logo design and simply hire a designer from Fiverr with a good reputation and ask him to create a simple logo for you (make sure it’s not copied because that’s one of the risks on Fiverr).
If you’re totally broke or like doing things yourself, create a logo yourself using Canva.
A clean logo is good enough.
Speaking of design, there’s another useless thing that people overthink.
Let me explain in the next point.
3. Trying to Find a Magical WordPress Theme
There’s no denying the importance of a clean and clutter-free WordPress theme that makes it easy for your visitors to read your content.
But can a theme make or break your niche marketing business when you haven’t even published a single post?
Not at all.
WordPress themes don’t solve your readers’ problems, your content does.
Themes don’t make you money, your monetizations strategy does.
Themes don’t make your site successful, achieving your business goals does.
When you overestimate the importance of a blog theme and believe that a certain site makes more money because of its theme, you ask questions like the one below (notice what Stuart says in response).
I’m not saying your site’s design isn’t important.
But getting it right doesn’t require any rocket science especially when you’re just starting a site.
You just need to see three things in a good theme to get started.
- It must be secure and developed by a reliable company
- It must be f ast and optimized for mobile users
- It must have a clutter-free design
You can find free and premium themes that offer all these things.
In my opinion, simply start with free themes like Twenty-Seventeen or Twenty-Nineteen, the default WordPress themes. They are fast, clean, well-optimized, and responsive themes that are good enough for any new blog.
Install them and focus on the real work that’ll make you money.
Once your site starts getting traffic, and you’ve grown to a certain extent, you can start experimenting with different theme changes.
But don’t waste your time on this at the start.
Look at the clean, simple, and basic design of MakingSenseOfCents. Do you see anything complicated or fancy in it?
This site makes more than $100K per month.
It makes money because it publishes useful content and sells products that solve problems.
All with a simple blog design.
4. Looking for WordPress Plugins To Make You a Fortune
Plugins are among the best things about WordPress and most newbies love playing with them.
There’s a WordPress plugin for almost everything you want to do on your site.
I remember I used to spend hours trying different plugins and it made me feel really resourceful.
But here’s the problem.
Plugins can add functionalities to your site but there are no magic plugins that can automatically make you money or turn a useless site around.
Content gets shared when it’s share-worthy.
When it offers insanely useful advice, connects emotionally with the readers, or gives them new knowledge that they’d like to share with their friends.
A good plugin only facilitates social sharing but it can’t force people to share useless content.
The same goes for email marketing and blog comment plugins.
To get started, you need a few basic plugins for website security and SEO.
The rest are all additional features that can be added when needed.
5. Sweating Over Keyword Density
“How many times should I use the primary keyword in my content?”
“Is X% keyword density okay to rank on page 1?”
“Page XYZ ranks high because it uses the target keyword X number of times”
Seriously, I don’t know when people will realize that Keyword Density is an outdated and irrelevant concept.
Google will not rank you anymore just because your content has a certain keyword a certain number of times.
So stop asking the wrong questions (like the one below)
Source: NicheHacks Mastermind
This is not how Google works now.
Its algorithms have evolved and the only thing it now considers while determining the search ranking of a page is whether the page/content answers the search query of its users.
In fact, user experience has always been Google’s number 1 priority. Over the years, it has just got better at judging it.
Have a look at what Google’s core philosophy says about user experience.
Your sole focus should be on creating content that answers the questions of your audience.
When you do that, your target keywords will feature naturally in it.
On the contrary, if you try using the target keyword too many times so that you can rank for it, you might get penalized for keyword stuffing.
I’m not saying keywords aren’t important, they are. But they’re not a factor that you should think about separately from your content.
You’re going to use relevant keywords anyway if you focus on answering the queries of your audience.
Your mindset needs to shift from writing for Google to writing for users.
Which brings me to another important point.
6. Losing Sleep Over Keyword Placement in Title
As I said, Google ranks pages because it feels they’re useful for its searchers.
It doesn’t rank them just because they’ve used a keyword in the title or body text X number of times.
Look at the screenshot below and tell me how many times does my search query feature in the top results.
I searched for a long-tail keyword “how to maintain fishing rod”
And not even 1 page in the top 10 use the exact keyword in its title.
In fact, most of the results didn’t even use the word “maintain”.
But they still made it to the first page? Why?
Because Google is intelligent enough to know what the searcher is looking for and realizes that these pages answer the query well enough.
Does this mean you should never use your keyword in the title?
No, I’m not saying that.
Using your main keyword in the title is still useful because it catches the searcher’s eye and gives you a good chance of getting a click.
If you can create a title that reads naturally and still has the keyword, great.
But if you can’t, don’t push it in just because you think it’ll improve your chances of ranking for it.
If your content is relevant, you’ll still rank.
7. Relying on Content Word Count To Dominate Search Rankings
Ah! this is one of the most misunderstood concepts that stop newbies from being successful.
Over the last few years, most marketing blogs, including Nichehacks, have strongly advocated the use of long-form content.
It works really well for us.
You must’ve seen this study about content length as well (we’ve shared it several times)
It found that the average length of the top 10 Google Search results is around 2000 words.
But correlation does not mean causation.
Newbies confuse long-form content with word count.
It isn’t about the number of words at all.
Long-form content creation is about answering the query of your readers more comprehensively than any of your competitors.
The top-ranking sites do that on a regular basis.
In doing so, their content naturally ends up with more words than the other sites.
But word count isn’t the driving factor here.
Take as many words as needed to give your readers the best resource on your topic.
But don’t add words just to reach a certain word count.
Because useless fluff will reduce the quality of your content and negatively impact the user experience.
Plus, it’ll make your content boring and less persuasive which means it won’t be able to drive conversions.
And you’ll end up like this guy who probably only focused on churning out articles with a certain word count.
That can be done even if your word count is lower than your competitors.
It only has to be more useful than your competitors.
So stop over-estimating this factor.
8. Running After High Traffic Commercial Keywords All the Time
Commercial keywords are search queries with buyer intent. These are the terms that people search when they’re looking to buy a specific product.
For example, “buy Asus gaming keyboard”, “buy Bluehost hosting”, “ClickFunnels pricing 2019” etc.
Ranking in the top 10 for a high traffic commercial keyword means you can attract visitors who’re ready to buy the product you’re promoting.
As a newbie, it’s really tempting to target only commercial keywords because they’re the ones that apparently make you money.
In fact, most newbies do that.
They publish product reviews, comparisons, and hard sales content only to target such keywords.
But they rarely make any money.
Because commercial keywords have a lot of competition.
To rank for such keywords, most sites publish product reviews only. But it’s really hard to get backlinks to product reviews since most high authority sites see no value in linking to an affiliate product review.
As a result, sites that publish reviews only struggle to rank for high traffic buyer intent keywords even if they publish insanely detailed content.
The belief that you can publish hard sales content only and make money is fundamentally flawed and almost always leads to failure.
What’s the right strategy?
Creating a content funnel.
A content funnel is comprised of different kinds of content for different types of traffic.
It has three main funnel stages:
- Top of the Funnel Content (TOFU)
- Middle of the Funnel Content (MOFU)
- Bottom of the Funnel Content (BOFU)
Here’s how a typical content funnel looks like.
Source: Shopify Blog
Top of the Funnel (TOFU) is made up of informational content that targets broad topics and long-tail keywords.
The objective of TOFU content is to attract people who’re seeking information about the problems your product solves.
For example, TOFU content for a site promoting digital cameras and accessories can include topics like
- 17 Ways To Capture HD Photos With an Ordinary Camera
- 11 Poses That Capture You In a Positive Way
- 7 Easy Ways To Look Pretty In Photographs Even If You’re Not Photogenic
Middle of the Funnel (MOFU) content targets people who’re aware of the problem and are currently evaluating different products. The content you publish in this stage of the funnel mostly promotes the features of your product with case studies and specific how-to tutorials.
Here are a few possible titles
- 11 Steps To Capturing HD Photos With Canon Digital Camera
- How Diana Grew a 6-Figure Photography Business Using Her Smartphone Camera
Bottom of the Funnel (BOFU) content targets buyer intent keywords where the audience is actively looking for a certain product. This is the stage where you publish product reviews and hard sales content.
Successful affiliate sites that rank for high traffic commercial keywords do so because of a holistic content marketing strategy.
They drive traffic and build their audience by publishing TOFU, MOFU, and BOFU content in a strategic manner.
Their TOFU content funnels traffic to the MOFU stage, and from there the traffic is sent to the BOFU stage where it converts into buyers.
If you publish BOFU content like reviews and comparisons only, you won’t be able to complete with the sites that follow the complete content marketing funnel.
Therefore, don’t waste your time focusing only on commercial keywords because it won’t work. Adopt a 360 content approach to build a long-term and sustainable content strategy.
09. Spending Hours To Craft Witty Content No One Understands
Let me tell you a secret.
No one takes your content seriously.
Your readers don’t have time to understand the between-the-lines messaging in your content or enjoy the witty language of your headlines.
So stop wasting your time trying to craft a masterpiece every time you start writing a blog post.
People want solutions to their problems. Give them what they want in plain, simple, uncomplicated language.
So many marketers unnecessarily doubt themselves and believe their writing skills aren’t great.
Like this NicheHacks Facebook Mastermind member (whose writing skills are clearly good enough)
Your writing doesn’t need to be great to make sales.
It just needs to be good enough (grammatically correct and focused on the solutions)
I’ve written a detailed article on how to write a blog post that goes into a lot of detail of how you can craft content that’s good enough.
If you’re unsure about your grammar skills, use Grammarly, a free tool that autocorrects your content.
When it comes to selling, a simple and to the point approach always works better than complicated content.
You can achieve that even with basic writing skills.
So stop doubting yourself and start writing.
10. Trying to Find the Perfect Publishing Frequency
Here’s one of the favorite newbie questions about niche marketing
“How many posts should I write every week? 2,3,5?”
“What is the best publishing frequency?”
“I can’t commit to writing 5 articles a week. Can I still make money online?”
Instead of answering these questions, let me ask you something.
Are you in the online marketing game to make more money, work less, and enjoy more free time doing things you love?
Or you’re in it to ride the content hamster wheel?
The only reason you’re losing sleep over publishing frequency is that you believe you need to churn out articles on l the latest happenings around you.
You’re focused on trending content that usually has a very short life.
Let me make this clear.
You cannot outperform your competitors based on publishing frequency because they are spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on content creation, content promotion, and lead acquisition.
No matter how many articles you publish, they’ll publish more.
The only way to claim your share in a niche is by publishing evergreen content.
When you do that, you don’t need to join the rat race. You can focus on the core questions and needs of your audience, publish the best content in your niche, follow your own frequency, and still dominate search results.
Backlinko is a great example of this.
It is one of the top sites in the SEO niche and has thousands of backlinks and hundreds of thousands of monthly visitors.
Look at the number of backlinks pointing to it.
Do you know how many posts Backlinko has in all these years?
Less than 50.
But it dominates every high traffic keyword in the SEO niche.
Because it publishes the best and the most comprehensive content on every topic it addresses.
Backlinko has no fixed publishing frequency, And it has been this way since the start.
Another six-figure blog, SmartBlogger, publishes 1 post/week (sometimes not even that)
At NicheHacks, we publish 1 post per month.
But if we don’t have anything good to write about, we stay quiet.
The point here is simple.
There is no magic publishing frequency.
Nobody can tell you how many posts you should publish in a week or a month.
To find the right approach, understand the problems of your audience, list down their most burning questions, turn every question into an article (or a series of articles) and create the most comprehensive and detailed content about it on the web.
This will take time and it won’t allow you to publish 5 pots per week.
But guess what, it doesn’t matter.
As long as you’re creating value-driven content (and promoting it in all possible ways) you’ll generate traffic to your site even if you don’t have a fixed publishing frequency.
11. Wasting Money on Cheap Fiverr Link Building Gigs
Have you ever used a Fiverr Gig like the one below?
This one’s offering 15000 genuine backlinks for just $5!
What’s even more shocking is that it has almost 10,000 reviews and 27 order in the waiting line.
In case you didn’t know, all such services give you cheap PBN links that can be fatal for your site’s search rankings.
They can get you penalized so hard, you won’t be able to recover from it.
Plus, there can be other unusual consequences of using Fiverr.
Look what one NicheHacks reader had to go through.
Yet people still order such gigs because the thought of getting 15000 backlinks for $5 is just too tempting.
The same goes for gigs offering bulk social signals, reviews, comments, etc.
They’re all easy ways to get your site penalized.
They might work for a few days but they’ll eventually get you in trouble.
So stop paying for them and instead focus on genuine link building techniques that remain effective for years.
12. Obsessing Over Google’s Algorithms and Looking for Loopholes
If you’re one of those wannabe marketers who’re always looking for loopholes in Google’s algorithms so that you can make quick money, you’re walking on thin ice.
Google is one of the world’s most innovative companies and even when there are flaws in its algos, it overcomes them pretty quickly.
If your business relies completely on taking advantage of Google’s flaws, you won’t go far.
The right way is to stop obsessing over what Google does.
Think of your audience, their problems, their needs, and their preferences.
if you align your business with the needs of your audience, Google will automatically start favoring you.
Because at the end of the day Google also wants to satisfy its users.
So stick to the genuine white-hat stuff and diversify your traffic sources instead of putting all your eggs in Google’s basket.
13. Trying To Make Everything Perfect Before Taking the First Step
The last point in this post is the most important one.
Many talented people never achieve anything significant in life because they keep waiting for things to be perfect.
That never happens.
We live in an imperfect world and there will never be a time when everything becomes the way you want.
No matter how unsure you are about your skills, your schedule, your abilities, your knowledge, or anything else, just start taking action on what you already know.
Keep improving with time.
This is what all successful people and brands do.
No one’s perfect on day 1.
You don’t need to be perfect to make money and live a good life.
You just need to put in the hours and do work that’s good enough.
Are You Ready To Be Successful?
Your audience, their problems, and their needs are the only things that should matter to your business.
Everything else is a distraction.
Stop holding yourself back because of useless things that have nothing to do with your success or failure.
This is just another form of procrastination.
Shed the doubts, and start taking action.
Success is waiting for you with open arms.