One of the things that fascinates me is how websites can become very popular in a short amount of time. For example, Problogger.net by Darren Rowse and Copyblogger.com by Brian Clark are two sites that rose to the top of the blogging niche in just a few years. I remember reading those sites when they first started out. They looked just like your average small blog but they quickly gained a wide audience.
The meteoric rise of these sites spawned many copycats. People saw Darren’s and Brian’s success and tried to replicate it by creating similar sites. However, only a few did well while the majority crashed and burned.
Why did Darren and Brian succeed while the others failed?
There are many factors to success and failure but I believe in the online marketplace, expertise plays the huge part.
A common business tenet is to follow the money. This makes sense because some niches are not lucrative at all. If you’re serious about online business, you should enter an industry where people are willing to open their pocketbooks.
But to earn money in any niche, you have to provide something of value. You can’t rely on rehashed content that can be found everywhere else. There is no real value in regurgitating the same concepts of the top authorities in your niche. Instead, you need to provide something unique.
To create something unique that others will value, you need to become an expert in your niche.
When people saw the success of Darren and Brian, they said to themselves, “Well, that looks easy. I’ll write a couple articles a week like they did and then I’ll be rich in a couple of years.”
What they didn’t see was the experience and expertise that Darren and Brian brought to the table before they even started their sites. Darren was one of the first people to make blogging a full time career. He spent close to two years blogging before launching Problogger.net to teach others how to do it.
Brian had a background in copywriting. He used copywriting to help offline business sell through the internet. His expertise in this craft allowed him to speak to bloggers from a different perspective than most.
Darren’s and Brian’s prior expertise allowed them to stand out from their competitors and quickly attract an audience that was looking for credible authority figures.
So instead of simply following the money, take into account your experience and expertise. Choose a niche where you have expert knowledge and experience or be willing to become an expert in the niche. If you need to develop expertise, realize that the process takes time and hard work so don’t expect quick success.
In the end, traffic and income are the rewards for those who have already put in the hard work of learning and gaining experience to become an expert. The online marketplace is very efficient in finding and recognizing the experts because of social media and global reach. Therefore, don’t focus too much on traffic and money until you become an expert. Instead, focus on increasing your knowledge so that you will have something worthwhile to give to your audience. When that happens, your audience will be grateful and they will spread the word about your site to reward you for your expert knowledge.
Dee Barizo runs The Best Degrees, a site that features the cheapest online degree programs in the US.