blogging mistakes

January… it’s that time of year when people are extra passionate about new beginnings.

For a lot of you, this might mean venturing into a new blog project.

In this post I want to share some tips with you on how to get started and how to avoid some very common (and crucial) blogging mistakes.

Deciding to start a new blog is exciting! I still get hyped up whenever I decide to enter a new niche.

The possibility of growing something from scratch, dominating a new niche, and building upon my monthly income hopefully a significant amount is an exciting feeling.

But it’s not like a few years ago anymore. We can’t just throw up blogs with the intention of building it to a few dollars per day, and then move onto the next project.

If you are, you’re leaving a lot of money on the table.

Your domain authority is a huge ranking factor, and with the way Google is improving their search results to include high authority, highly trusted sites, it’s going to lean even further this way in the future.

So what does that mean for blog creators?

How will this affect our overall strategy? How will it impact HOW we build out the site, and HOW we grow it out into a full-time income?

For one, when we’re just starting our new blog, all of our effort should be focused on two things, and two things only: Building trust, and building authority.

We build trust through high quality pieces of content. We build authority by building links to these pieces of content.

From then on forward, you can grow it by throwing on new pages and enjoying the benefits that an authority blog receives – new pages ranking instantly on the first page, and driving a ton of long-tail traffic to pages across your entire domain.

New blogs are started everyday, all with the goal of achieving exactly what I described above.

But most people fail.

And I’ll tell you first hand, that failing with a blog sucks.

blogs take a lot of work, and if you make some of the mistakes I’m going to discuss in this post, all that time can go down the drain.

Some mistakes are fixable, some mistakes are irreversible.

But all of them avoidable.

And hopefully this post will help you save a lot of time, money, and effort in building your next blog.

Here are the top 7 mistakes that people make when starting a new blog (and how to avoid them).

1. Publishing articles too quickly

The first mistake that I want to address is content quantity.

Most people who start blogs today almost seem as if they’re in a race to fill up their site with content. Usually, it’s so that it doesn’t look empty.

What ends up happening is that the site gets filled up with thin, low-quality content.

Apart from spamming a site to death with low-quality links, hitting a site with low-quality content is just as harmful.

You’re setting the quality on your site way too low right from the start, and this means that even if you do end up ranking, there’s no stability. It’s at risk of being penalized at any moment.

The most common mistake is publishing a bunch of short 300-word articles when you first publish your site.

It’s a waste of time. Don’t do it.

Nobody’s going to read them anyways, and they will play no part in your journey to kickstart this website with rankings and traffic.

What to do instead

Stop publishing content just for the sake of publishing content.

Instead, publish every piece of content with only two objectives in mind: establishing the quality of your site, and building backlinks.

They go hand in hand.

If you’re putting out thin content, you’re not doing anything for your site at all. It’s not going to magically drive traffic, it’s not going to rank (even for long-tail keywords), and it’s not going to help get you any backlinks.

Every page you build in the beginning should be done with the intention of building links to them.

Is your new article a linkable asset? Will people link to it? Does it provide any value? Is it the best guide on the internet about that specific topic?

Understand that an empty site is not a bad thing.

It’s natural for a brand new site to look like a brand new site, even if it only has one or two pieces of content.

A new site with 1-2 pages of thin content is bad. A new site with 1-2 pages of fantastic content is great.

It’s not about how many pages you have. It’s about how much traffic each one can drive to your site.

  • One article can bring in more traffic than 1000 articles.
  • One article can bring in enough traffic to make you a full-time income.

When you understand that, and build it out accordingly, you’ll have a much easier time actually driving traffic, and building up your authority.

2. Buying articles for cheap

This goes along with point #1.

If your plan is to order a bunch of articles for $5-$10 for your new blog, then stop right now.

There’s nothing wrong with ordering articles for cheap. I still use iWriter for my own sites, and I’m able to get decent quality articles for $5 each.

That’s… really cheap. A bargain.

But I would never start a site with these articles. These articles are only profitable to publish AFTER you build a level of authority to your site and you can start taking advantage of it.

A new site should ONLY have high quality articles.

If you’re going to publish nothing but $5-$10 articles onto a new site, you may as well save your time and money, and just not start the site in the first place.

It’s not going to build any traction… unless you can somehow build a ton of links to them. But even then, you’re risking getting hit for thin content in the future.

What you should do instead

Focus only on creating high-quality, in-depth articles over 2000 words long.

For the first 20 or so articles on my new sites, I always write all of the content myself.

That’s because I’m confident in my ability to research and write a super high quality post that’s optimized for my keyword.

If you’re a solid writer, then write it yourself. And don’t spend less than 3-4 hours putting it together. Researching, formatting, gathering sources, and making it perfect takes time.

And every bit is worth it in these beginning stages.

If you’re going to outsource it, make sure that you’re paying AT LEAST $50 per article.

Yes, the costs are going to add up, but it’s the price you need to pay for quality writing.

Remember what we learned from point #1: Every article published should be done so with the intention of building links.

And the only way to do that is to create something awesome that people would actually link to.

For some actionable tips on how to create linkable content, check out Thiam’s guide on content creation.

3. Focusing on multiple traffic sources

One of the biggest mistakes I see is people focusing on too many traffic sources – mainly through social media.

There’s absolutely no reason you should have multiple social media profiles for your new blog.

I still see a lot of people creating a Facebook page, Twitter page, Google Plus page, Pinterest Page, and a LinkedIn page.

social media profiles

What’s the point…?

You’re not achieving anything.

You’re not going to drive meaningful traffic from all of them, and even if you were to build them up, it’s more effective to do it one at a time.

When I’m creating a new blog, I don’t focus on anything except SEO – creating super high quality articles, and building high quality links to them.

Why? Because my main objective with the site is to build up organic search traffic. And spending time on anything else is a waste of time.

What you should do instead

In the beginning, ONLY STICK WITH ONE TRAFFIC SOURCE.

If your main goal is high rankings and lots of organic traffic, stick with SEO and focus ONLY on SEO.

If your main goal is to drive a ton of Facebook traffic, then focus ONLY on Facebook. And don’t build any other social media profiles until you grow a considerable audience on Facebook first.

The main thing to remember is that you should be focusing on one thing at a time.

Dividing up your attention is a waste of time and will prevent you from doing one thing optimally, and instead do multiple things sub-optimally and end up giving up.

4. Targeting niches that are too small

One of the best reasons to build a blog these days is due to how strong authority blogs rank in the search engines.

You’re probably tired of me saying this by now since I’ve said it so many times before: It’s harder to get to $100 per month than it was in the past, but it’s easier to get to $100/day.

That means, it’s harder to get a new site off the ground than it was in the past. But once you do, it’s so much easier to scale it to a substantial monthly income.

Google is all about authority now. If you can build a high domain authority on your site, then you have a huge advantage over your competitors in the search engines.

You rank new pages almost instantly, and you pull in tons of long-tail traffic.

The worst thing you can do is target a niche that’s too small.

Once you do ALL the work to build this authority to your site, you want to start taking advantage of it.

By entering a niche that’s too small, you’re putting a cap on your site’s growth potential and you won’t be able to scale when it’s most profitable to do so.

Meaning… you’re doing all the work for no reward.

What you should do instead

One of the main reasons why I was able to pass $20K/month in earnings from my blogs last year was because my blogs were in big markets. And I want to touch on two very important points.

First,I was targeting a niche with very high search volume keywords.

If you’re entering a niche where you’re targeting nothing but keywords that get a few hundred or few thousand searches per month, what can you really expect from its long-term growth?

Make sure the effort is worth the reward. If you rank #1 for your keywords, will it make a big difference in your traffic? Will it bring you a significantly higher income?

If the answer is no, I’ll usually dump the niche and find a better opportunity.

Second, I gave myself room to scale before I built out the blog

Before I even launch any blog, I make sure I do proper growth planning.

Like I said, once you build up authority to your site, the SEO game completely changes.

Most people who talk about SEO these days only discuss how rankings affect new sites. How much harder it is to rank in the past, how micro-sites are dead, how spam links are dead etc.

But once you build up authority, the game is different. You’re able to see those instant first page rankings just days or weeks after you hit publish without building a single link.

You’re able to see that rise in long-tail search traffic, and you’re able to realize the power that authority blogs have in the serps.

You need to understand this before you build the site, so that when you finally build this authority to your own blog, you can scale like crazy into a site that makes hundreds of dollars per day.

When you’re researching niches to enter, make sure that:

  1. It has plenty of search volume keywords so that ranking #1 will actually mean something significant in your traffic and earnings.
  2. You have plenty of room to scale the site into hundreds of pages.

5. Ordering link spam packages

Despite Google having changed completely to combat spam links, there seems to be no change in the number of people selling and ordering these link blast packages.

Most of you know what I’m talking about. They’re all over the place on Fiverr and in SEO forums.

Screen Shot 2016-01-22 at 5.07.05 PM

If you see things like this for the first time, you might feel lucky to have landed on a gold mine of link opportunities.

But once you really look behind the curtain… you’ll realize that there’s a reason these links are so cheap, and that ordering even one of them can seriously harm your site’s SEO.

Here’s a classic example: They’ll build you a link on a forum on a subdomain of a college site nested so deep in multiple directories that Google spiders probably never visit it. But because the official homepage of the college’s website is a PR9 (yes, they still refer to PR), they’ll call it a PR9 EDU link.

It’s useless. And if you order a link package and end up with a link profile that has nothing but hundreds of these kinds of links, that’s difficult to recover from.

What you should do instead

The most common scenario I’ve found is… you’ll work on your site passionately when it’s first launched. Then you’ll try building a few links, and run into a road block. Your rankings and traffic don’t rise.

Then you turn to these link packages hoping one of these link blasts will do the trick. I know because I’ve done this myself. It seems like the easy way out when you’re frustrated with your results, but it’s not.

In reality, you’ve just ruined your chances of ranking for anything any time soon, and you’ve either got a much steeper hill to climb or you’ll need to just start fresh on a new domain.

Understand that the only way for somebody to sell you hundreds or thousands of links for that cheap is by using software tools.

And also understand that links built with software at this scale are considered spam, and are easily detected by Google.

So how should you build links then?

Start learning how to do outreach, and get really good at it. Once you do, you’ll be able to build valuable properties on the web, and truly realize the benefits of doing proper white-hat SEO.

A single link that you earn from outreach is going to be way stronger than a package of 10,000 links ordered from one of these services.

And if you do decide that you need help with link building, make sure that whoever you hire doesn’t use software to build their links.

Understand the purpose of building blog comments and forum comments

Blog and forum comments are still one of the most popular forms of link building. Mainly because it’s easy, and it’s one of the only ways where you can go into a website you don’t own and leave a link to your website.

It’s probably the most common form of link building that I see people doing to their new blogs.

But if you’re going spend any time building blog and forum comments, do so with the understanding that it’s not going to affect your rankings much at all.

Does that mean they’re useless? No.

For my new sites, I still search out the popular forums and blogs in my niches and build links on them.

But I do so ONLY for traffic.

Don’t build a few blog comments and forum links and wonder why your rankings aren’t budging.

6. Over-optimizing content

When I first got into SEO, I was taught to pay attention to keyword density. I was told that I needed to have my keywords a certain percentage of times on my page in order for me to rank for them.

The “recommended percentage” changed rapidly from 4% when I first learned about the term to about 1-2% after Panda hit.

Today, the recommended density is N/A – meaning don’t pay attention to it at all. And this is exactly my opinion as well.

It’s still a common mistake I see people making, and I actually get a surprising number of emails from people asking me what the optimal keyword density for their pages should be.

The only time I focus on keyword density is after an article is written, right before it’s about to be published.

While under-optimization is not much of an issue, accidentally keyword stuffing is.

Write naturally, and just make sure that your article doesn’t sound like it’s been stuffed with keywords.

It’s an easy mistake to make without knowing it.

If you do feel that the article sounds strange with too many repetitions of the keyword, simply replace some of them with pronouns and LSI keywords.

Keyword density will vary largely depending on what you’re writing about

For instance, if your keyword was “coffee beans” in your article about how coffee beans are made, you’re naturally going to have a very high repetition. It’s just natural. You can’t avoid it.

And if you were to pay attention to keyword density and saw something like 10%, it would throw alarm bells in your face when it’s actually a perfectly well-written article.

Especially after Google’s Hummingbird update, the term “keyword density” shouldn’t even need to be discussed anymore.

Instead, your focus should be on user intent – understanding what someone is looking for when they search for your keyword, and providing a valuable resource that answers their question.

7. Having an ugly design

I know that a lot of people say that design isn’t important, but I completely disagree.

Sure, a poorly designed website can get popular. But a nice design can help it get popular faster.

Especially if you’re doing outreach link building, you need your website to look credible. It’ll increase your success rate significantly.

I don’t mean that you need to pay thousands of dollars for a flashy custom design.

You just need it to look professional, and credible. This also helps with ranking factors such bounce rate and time on site.

If you’re not a designer, always go for the clean and simple option.

Playing around with colors, background textures, and custom fonts and graphics are going to do you more harm than good.

ugly website

The only things you should be concerned with are:

  • Clean, readable text.
  • Plenty of spacing so that it doesn’t look cramped.
  • Proper formatting.

Text formatting is EVERYTHING

Not formatting your content is one of the simplest mistakes you can make that can have a negative impact on your site’s success.

Not formatting your content properly is, in my opinion, one of the worst things you can do.

By formatting, I don’t mean remembering to include your H1’s and H2’s.

I mean… properly designing your text layout so that your H2’s and H3’s are clear, and your paragraph text is spaced out and readable.

H2’s should look like H2’s. And H3’s should look like H3’s.

I personally spend way too much time on text formatting.

Just look at the RankXL article you’re reading now.

It’s clean, readable with clear header tags, spaced out with enough margin so you know that a new section is a new section.

Now, take a look at what this same article would look like if I ignored formatting:

no-formatting text

All of a sudden, the same article you’re reading now doesn’t look the same. If you landed on this site for the first time and saw that… I don’t think you would have the same impression.

I, for one, would immediately discredit the site as unprofessional unless I was familiar with the site already. It just looks thrown together without any thought.

Text formatting is more important than anything else when you’re focusing on design for SEO.

Pay attention to it. If you want to learn more, check out this typography guide from tutsplus.

Conclusion

There are a lot of moving parts in building and growing a blog.

And unless you’re an experienced veteran with a couple of high-income sites in your portfolio already, you’re bound to make mistakes.

When I first got into SEO and blogs, I made every single one listed in this blog post.

And I can tell you first hand that it is not a pleasant feeling to work on a site and find out that you’ve made critical errors that will prevent it from ever growing to where you wanted it to be.

One of the things I hate more than anything is having to give up on a blog mid-way because there just isn’t potential in it anymore.

Today, I feel that I’ve refined my strategy to the point where I’m doing everything in the most efficient way possible. But it took much longer than I would have liked, and a lot of trial and error to get here.

Hopefully, you’re able to avoid the mistakes I’ve made, save yourself time and money, and see positive results a lot faster.

What are some blogging mistakes you’ve made with your blogs? I’d love to about them in the comments.

121 Comments

  • Reply
    Confidence Macaulay
    January 25, 2016 at 7:16 am

    thanks.. i see this article is somehow culled from the niche site course as i have read it over and over again. about building my authority site in one of the evergreen niches. hope i succeed in making 5 figures per month..

    Should in any case i get stock, hope you will always guide me as i will be falling back right on you haha..
    thanks chris.

    • Reply
      Chris Lee
      January 25, 2016 at 3:23 pm

      Thanks for reading, Confidence! Best of luck with your site.

  • Reply
    Miguel Henriques
    January 25, 2016 at 12:43 pm

    Again, a 10/10 post coming from Chris. Thank you for all your efforts.

    • Reply
      Chris Lee
      January 25, 2016 at 3:25 pm

      Thanks, Miguel 🙂

  • Reply
    Nikola
    January 25, 2016 at 12:49 pm

    Great compilation of possible, easy to make mistakes. I am still in niche research phase and I am getting back to these articles few times per day. This one, “Print & Hang It On The Wall” list is exactly what we need for a new year.

  • Reply
    Stephen
    January 25, 2016 at 12:50 pm

    Great suggestions. My favorite is probably to focus on one traffic source and devote everything to that effort. Definitely something I need to remember. Thanks!

    • Reply
      Chris Lee
      January 25, 2016 at 3:28 pm

      Thanks, Stephen 🙂

  • Reply
    Sergey
    January 25, 2016 at 1:03 pm

    Thanks Chris!

    My mistake was that I went after a gaming niche and concentrated only on 1 game. Not only games tend to lose gamer base over time, this traffic also doesn’t pay much, and adding insult to injury – the game tends to change over time, which automatically outdates already posted content :). I gave up on that project months ago and I think I should have never started. Right now I have a website that still gets about 2000 visitors a day but at the same time content is hopelessly outdated :).

    However, it was good experience and beating established sites created by gamers and not marketers was very satisfying :).

    • Reply
      Chris Lee
      January 25, 2016 at 3:31 pm

      Thanks for sharing, Sergey! Yeah, the gaming market is huge, but does require a lot of maintenance to keep up to date.

      Still getting 2000 visits per day, months after you’ve given up is pretty awesome. You should consider getting back into it, or even selling it.

      • Reply
        Sergey
        January 25, 2016 at 7:41 pm

        I show it as a showcase to potential clients. They get easily impressed :). So, I guess it wasn’t a wasted time.

        However, the new website is from a proper niche and after 4 months it is starting to get traction like crazy. I’m ranking for almost every broad keyword I target. Which is unexpected considering how competitive this niche is. BTW, congrats for Neil Patel mentioning you in one of his posts :).

  • Reply
    Toki Tover
    January 25, 2016 at 1:11 pm

    Hey Chris!

    I felt that I was reading about myself. I did those same things. Especially the loss of focus, get frustrated and jump to the next thing.

    I mean, I’m still not sure I have a grip on things or if my site will thrive at this point.

    Focus is important, market and keyword research as well.

    I feel more better though doing email outreach and broken link building because the content is something I can be proud of and it’s personal.

    Thanks for the post!

    Toki

    • Reply
      Chris Lee
      January 25, 2016 at 3:35 pm

      Thanks for your feedback, Toki 🙂

      Getting frustrated and jumping to the next thing was probably my biggest problem. Proper planning and research before getting into any new niche helps a lot.

  • Reply
    Steve
    January 25, 2016 at 1:12 pm

    When I first got serious about building a niche website several years ago, I got lucky with an “under served” keyword phrase. Within a week or two of publishing the articles, I was getting hundreds of visitors per day.

    The problem was, I didn’t want to be pushy or salesy so I didn’t run any advertising and I had no call to action. Huge mistake! By the time I smartened up, the keyword phrase had run dry. (The company I reviewed quit buying radio ads.)

    The lesson here is, if you’re getting traffic, do NOT be afraid to monetize it!

    • Reply
      Chris Lee
      January 25, 2016 at 3:37 pm

      Great point. There’s nothing wrong with monetizing a site!

      Thanks for sharing, Steve.

  • Reply
    Maximillian Heth
    January 25, 2016 at 1:36 pm

    Hey Chris, thanks for sharing! I’ve been guilty myself of using a few of these tactics, and the sadder part is a lot of them are taught and espoused in online forums and communities where newbies are ripe for the taking. Experience is truly the best teacher, as they say. =)

    • Reply
      Chris Lee
      January 25, 2016 at 3:39 pm

      Thanks Max! Yeah, I honestly can’t believe some of the advice and discussions still going on in some SEO forums these days.

      I used to tell people these forums were a good place to learn and get started. Now, it seems harder to avoid bad advice than it is to actually learn something helpful.

  • Reply
    Ankit Yadav
    January 25, 2016 at 2:09 pm

    Chris great article, I agree with you completely quality always wins over quantity.

    • Reply
      Chris Lee
      January 25, 2016 at 3:40 pm

      Thanks, Ankit 🙂

  • Reply
    aaron
    January 25, 2016 at 2:50 pm

    So glad i found you man. Ive been spinning my wheels for years trying every quick scheme and tactic known. I feel relieved to find info that truly seems honest and legit. I bought your niche course and am psyched about building and fixing my sites the right way now.

    • Reply
      Chris Lee
      January 25, 2016 at 3:41 pm

      Glad to hear that 🙂 Thanks, Aaron.

  • Reply
    Bryan
    January 25, 2016 at 3:58 pm

    Good stuff Chris. That’s so true about the link building package! Sometimes I just couldn’t wait and hope those packages would help me push through. Fact is, they never really helped much and more harm was done.

    I’m still waiting for the content to be written and can’t wait for the outreach part, it makes me nervous too!

    Cheers,
    Bryan

    • Reply
      Chris Lee
      January 25, 2016 at 4:11 pm

      We’ve all been there, haha 🙂 Thanks for sharing, Bryan.

  • Reply
    Larry
    January 25, 2016 at 7:00 pm

    I’ve been guilty of some of them myself. I love that you included the things to do in detail. Often people just tell you what’s wrong and leave it at that.

    Chris, I like the part where you mention about doing outreach instead of purchasing link packages.

    I wanted to know if/when you use VAs to send outreach emails to other webmasters, do you give the VAs access to the email account?

    Or how do you go about it so it’s safe/secure for you at the same time you get the webmaster’s email reply should they do so?

    Thanks.

    • Reply
      Chris Lee
      January 25, 2016 at 7:37 pm

      Thanks, Larry 🙂 Glad it was helpful. I don’t outsource outreach link building, but an easy way to set it up is to create an email for them and then give them the details to connect it with their gmail: http://yooweb.me/blog/deggertsen/setting-your-cpanel-email-address-gmail.

      • Reply
        Larry
        January 26, 2016 at 9:18 pm

        Cool! Thanks for the link tutorial.

        BTW, I was curious, do you use the domain webmail when doing outreach or do you use a client like gmail?

        Am wondering which is better/more practical to use.

        • Reply
          Chris Lee
          January 27, 2016 at 5:53 am

          Thanks Larry. Always the domain webmail.

  • Reply
    JJ
    January 25, 2016 at 7:15 pm

    I make multiple social profiles for my sites just to test the waters and also since I don’t want to be 100% dependent on one traffic source: SEO although it’ll be my main source. However, I’ll usually narrow down to 1 or 2 networks once it’s obvious I’m getting better engagement on one than the rest.

    • Reply
      Chris Lee
      January 25, 2016 at 7:37 pm

      Cool, thanks for sharing JJ!

  • Reply
    john
    January 25, 2016 at 8:06 pm

    0. Poor keyword research – focusing on search volume instead of keyword competitiveness
    1. Publishing articles too quickly
    2. Buying articles for cheap
    5. Ordering link spam packages

    Im guilty of those pardon me……

    • Reply
      Chris Lee
      January 25, 2016 at 8:14 pm

      Thanks for sharing John 🙂

  • Reply
    Chris
    January 25, 2016 at 10:02 pm

    Hey Chris, fantastic piece here. I love your advice about not publishing too much too fast. I read a lot about consistency in your publishing schedule, though. How often do you suggest publishing content? What really happens if you aren’t consistent?

    • Reply
      Chris Lee
      January 25, 2016 at 11:27 pm

      Thanks Chris! I’ve pretty much ruled out publishing consistency as a ranking factor, or anything to be concerned with. It’s not going to boost your pages’ rankings just because you publish more often.

  • Reply
    Anand
    January 25, 2016 at 10:53 pm

    Hi Chris Lee…. I love to read your article much.

    I have small doubt.. please help.

    When ever i write my article in my Blog,Google Snippet showing in URL as http://www.myblogtips.com > Blog > Digital Marketing instead of http://www.myblogtips.com/best-blogging-tips-for-beginners

    I want http://www.xyx.com/myarticletitle but not http://www.xyz.com >categories in Google snippet..
    please help….Huge thanks in advance

    • Reply
      Chris Lee
      January 25, 2016 at 11:25 pm

      Hey Anand, you can learn more about that here: https://developers.google.com/structured-data/breadcrumbs but honestly, it’s not something you really need to pay attention to.

      • Reply
        Anand
        January 25, 2016 at 11:42 pm

        Thanks for reply Chris Lee..
        it is more useful to keep our target keyword in URL too,,,,thats why i am trying to get.
        I am using WordPress as CMS, so please help where to change settings???

        anyway your article writing is good…i made rankxl.com as Bookmark

        • Reply
          Chris Lee
          January 26, 2016 at 7:17 pm

          What Google decides to show doesn’t change your actual URL. It’s really nothing to worry about at all 🙂

        • Reply
          Tony
          January 27, 2016 at 6:06 am

          Hey Anand,

          Using bread crumb is actually the best SEO practice.

          Nowadays almost every WordPress theme adds breadcrumb so Google would detect it and show a cleaner URL rather than the naked URL.

          Like Chris said, don’t worry about it since your site is doing the right thing.

          Also, having keyword in URL is a good practice but the benefit has been dropping over the years. If you like technical stuff, you might want to check this searchmetrics study out.

          http://www.searchmetrics.com/knowledge-base/ranking-factors/

    • Reply
      Confidence Macaulay
      January 26, 2016 at 4:27 pm

      Go over to your blog general setting and locate the permalink. Click on it and change the way your link shows by choosing any of the options it will provide you.
      **cant post a screenshot** bt hope it helps

  • Reply
    Annie Lax
    January 26, 2016 at 12:00 am

    Hi Chris,

    You write eloquently about creating substantial, linkable pillar posts, and here, you’ve demonstrated the concept brilliantly. This article should be required reading for anyone who is ready to launch an (AUTHORITY) niche site.

    I think all affiliate marketers have fallen victim to these minefields, but armed with this information, there’s no reason to repeat the mistakes.

    I just wish that the search engines were more forgiving when I committed some of these fatal errors. 🙂

    Thanks again, Chris, for providing such invaluable insight!

    Warmest Regards,
    Annie

    • Reply
      Chris Lee
      January 26, 2016 at 7:18 pm

      Hey Annie, thank you for your insights 🙂 Glad that this was helpful!

  • Reply
    Amit
    January 26, 2016 at 1:07 am

    Awesome article. I loved it…

    Sir, i just want to know if a domain gain authority of 20+ , will it start attracting organic visitors.

    Actually i am working on my niche site, it is of DA Of 18 and it has some competitors too. Still i get some vistors from search engine.

    • Reply
      Chris Lee
      January 26, 2016 at 7:19 pm

      Yeah, you should start see some organic visits, depends also on your pages and what they’re targeting.

      • Reply
        Amit
        January 26, 2016 at 9:55 pm

        My competitor is having DA of 12 and i have DA of 18. Still he is ranking in front page. How do i outrank him to get the first page.

        • Reply
          Chris Lee
          January 27, 2016 at 5:54 am

          There are a lot of ranking factors, it’s not just about DA.

  • Reply
    Jan
    January 26, 2016 at 1:41 am

    Wow, I’m making more mistakes than I thought! And it explains my results.

    I have a question about thin content – most of the advice I’ve come across seems to be aimed at information based websites. I have a couple of online shops that aren’t ranking well, and the product pages only have short descriptions. Is it best to write a lot of content on each of these pages? I have around 50 products on each site, small ticket items that I can’t imagine writing a lot about. Thanks for any advice!

    • Reply
      Chris Lee
      January 26, 2016 at 7:21 pm

      Hey Jan, nope you don’t need a lot of content for these product pages, and it usually doesn’t make sense to do so. Obviously, things like full descriptions and reviews can help beef up the article, but these product pages aren’t targeting big competitive keywords anyways.

  • Reply
    Danny
    January 26, 2016 at 3:28 am

    Great post Chris!
    I have a 2 questions!
    1. When You say to pay at least 50$ for an article – You mean a 2000 words article for that price?
    2. I plan to launch my new niche site with 50 articles at the beggining. Its that ok?
    Keep on Chris!

    • Reply
      Chris Lee
      January 26, 2016 at 7:22 pm

      Hey Danny, yup I mean for a 2000 article. 50 articles is fine, but make sure they’re high quality and don’t focus too much on content production and rule out link building.

  • Reply
    Berto
    January 26, 2016 at 4:47 am

    Hello Chris, what if i start with 10 or even more pages with contents of more than 2000 words, will that harm my website in the future because i have started with many articles at once? Also great post, i have learned about so many mistakes i was making on my site from this post. Keep it up

    • Reply
      Chris Lee
      January 26, 2016 at 7:23 pm

      Nope, not at all. My point wasn’t that posting too many at once was harmful. It was about disregarding quality for quantity.

      As long as they’re high quality pieces of content you should be fine.

    • Reply
      khim
      March 4, 2018 at 7:49 am

      Hi Chris! I am a new blogger and I came across your article today while researching topics for writing my posts and I am so glad I found this. Great post! But i have a bugging question about my site looking very empty right at the moment. I am done with my first post (and only post so far) already but would you suggest I publish it right away? Or maybe should I write a couple more epic posts, and publish them altogether?

      Also, I am new and not all so familiar with the “trending” topics in my niche. Would you suggest I outsource some of my content writing at this point? My first post took me almost 3 weeks of research, learning-on-the-go, and writing, editing, etc to complete. Slow like tortoise 🙁

      Anyway, thank you once again for the awesome post! Cheers!

      • Reply
        Chris Lee
        March 8, 2018 at 12:49 pm

        Publish it right away.

        If it’s taking you 3 weeks to write an article, then either find a way to get faster/better OR outsource. That’s way too long! 🙂

        Good luck!

  • Reply
    Kate
    January 26, 2016 at 8:17 pm

    Hi Chris, just a quick question: Ive started my first website few months ago and every article looks cheap (yes from iWriter) on it. After, a friend of mine showed me “The Niche Site Course v2.0” and i was shocked, a lot of awesome info inside and he told me that my website is useless now, because i already build links for it, didn’t made a silo structure and so on. Now, I am following your steps from Niche Site Course. Ordered a 2500 words from textbroker and I really want to know whats the next step. Delete everything on my site (my site is a complete mess now) and put this new article and from there start building inner posts and so on or should I start another website from 0 with the new article? Thanks in advance and sorry for my English, not my native language.

    • Reply
      Chris Lee
      January 27, 2016 at 5:52 am

      Hi Kate, I really can’t tell you to delete everything or start from scratch without more info. But it does sound like it does need some cleaning up and re-organizing.

  • Reply
    Bhuboy
    January 27, 2016 at 12:36 am

    Hi Chris,

    thanks for this post and reminder, now I know that I don’t have to stress out myself in publishing content regularly, but instead publish quality content even if it takes time , and focus on link building.

    Social media is a good source of traffic for my new niche site as it is driving good traffic to it, more than 1000 visits when I have new article

    • Reply
      Chris Lee
      January 27, 2016 at 5:54 am

      Awesome! Thanks for sharing, Bhuboy 🙂

  • Reply
    Marcelo
    January 27, 2016 at 3:51 pm

    Hey Chris, can you share how many websites do you have to achieve your actual income?

    • Reply
      Chris Lee
      January 28, 2016 at 8:51 am

      Hey Marcelo, currently 5 sites.

  • Reply
    Chris Z
    January 27, 2016 at 5:28 pm

    Hi Chris!

    I have to say I actually get excited to see an email from you in my inbox because I know the content is always so good.

    Unfortunately after reading this I have made the mistake of using iwriter for the first articles, I used iwriter after you recommended it but don’t use the ‘basic’ writer option, I go for the next level up and check out the writers reviews before I let them write the article (I think paying $10.50 for 1000 words is worth it). I also ask them to include the sources and put them at the bottom of the article.

    Each article is at least 1000 words and I am building a niche site around a future technology so am aiming to have 10 1000 word articles to try and build authority. I have found a good writer, a guy doing a phd in computer science so I give him most of the jobs.

    As it is a future technology research is really difficult but I’m sure it will be a profitable niche as my keywords are around $5 cpc, each gets around 5000 searches a month at the moment but I know this will skyrocket as the technology becomes available.

    I am using a 13 year old expired domain and the articles get indexed in 2-3 days.

    I am not new to niche site building, I have one site which gets 100k views a month but the niche is a bit ‘gray’ so I can’t put adsense ads on it.

    What is your advice for the new niche site I am building?

    Many thanks
    Chris

    • Reply
      Chris Lee
      January 28, 2016 at 8:54 am

      Hey Chris 🙂 Sounds like it should be fine. I’m assuming you edited and formatted each article before posting them. If anything, you can always go back and improve/build upon your existing pages that target bigger keywords.

  • Reply
    Rob
    January 28, 2016 at 6:04 am

    “Over-optimizing content” – so you basically just research the topic and find what needs to be discussed in the article to make it high quality.

    That being said, do you still write meta descriptions and separate seo titles for each article? What sections in Yoast plugin do you actually fill out?

    • Reply
      Chris Lee
      January 28, 2016 at 8:58 am

      Yup, I always fill out SEO titles and meta descriptions for pages I’m optimizing and those are the only 2 sections in Yoast that I pay attention to.

      • Reply
        Rob
        February 1, 2016 at 6:44 pm

        Thanks 🙂 Two follow up questions:

        1. What about focus keyword, do you use this option? I wonder if it holds any weight with Google or it’s just an internal feature inside the plugin that helps with the optimization analysis.

        2. Do you think that including additional SEO titles makes any difference? If the research is done properly, the original title should be good itself 🙂

        • Reply
          Chris Lee
          February 1, 2016 at 7:26 pm

          No problem, Rob!

          1. I ignore focus keyword. Doesn’t hold any weight, just helps you with optimizing your post… but I don’t always agree with what it says 🙂

          2. The original title will be used as the H1 tag usually. By creating an SEO title, you can change up your title tag to be slightly more optimized for search engines while targeting some other keywords that are not included in your h1 tag.

  • Reply
    paul christopher
    January 28, 2016 at 5:28 pm

    Thanks for the lovely post chris. Its nice learning new things everytime you make a post.

    My niche site is on motion and ranking on top 30 already, thanks for everything, i just hope i reach $5000/month soon…

    • Reply
      Chris Lee
      January 28, 2016 at 11:14 pm

      Thanks, Paul. That’s awesome!

  • Reply
    Harry
    January 30, 2016 at 7:41 am

    Great post as usual.

    However there is one point I disagree with.

    You mention that you only focus on keywords with lots of searches, but I have found that low search volumes can also add up to quite alot of traffic when it starts to rank.

    For instance the variations of the main keyword temd to rank alongside the main keyword after a while from what I have found.

    Otherwise a fantastic article and I too have fallen victim to the lure of easy links, (those guys are pretty skilled sales folks to be able to convince so well!!!)

    • Reply
      Chris Lee
      January 30, 2016 at 10:50 pm

      Cool, thanks for your insights Harry. I focus on smaller search volume keywords too, just not in the beginning. For me I found that it’s more effective after you’ve built up authority using your main pieces of content targeting bigger keywords.

  • Reply
    D.W
    February 1, 2016 at 8:19 am

    Hi Chris,

    What happened to your monthly income reports? You used to post them up after every month, but you have stopped for quite a long while now.

    Can you comment on Google’s crap CPC for mobile that began last year and looks permanent? I know of people who after making their sites mobile friendly, lost a lot of earnings. Some big cases went down from $20k to $6k per month. Yes, it’s that bad, and it needs to be acknowledged more.

    • Reply
      Chris Lee
      February 1, 2016 at 7:22 pm

      Decided to stop doing income reports and focus purely on training articles on RankXL moving forward.

      Didn’t notice any significant change with mobile CPC, nor did I hear of it from any big publishers I know, so wouldn’t be able to comment on that.

      $20k to 6k is a giant humongous massive drop, though. There are other factors in play there, imo.

  • Reply
    Indra
    February 1, 2016 at 9:18 am

    This tutorial JUST NOT SUIT FOR ME. I lose from the very beginning, because my writing skill in english is terrible. Chris, Can you?? make tutorial how to create english article for poor guy like me?

    I try google translate, and the result is worst, and not readable, i think.
    I try local translator, still not satisfied.

    • Reply
      Chris Lee
      February 1, 2016 at 7:24 pm

      Sorry to hear that Indra. But I don’t know your language so I can’t translate it for you 🙂

  • Reply
    Marcelo
    February 1, 2016 at 10:04 pm

    Indra,if you can read in english, you can translate and polish for your own language! If you need help, there is a lot of freelancers with low cost to do that for you.

    I translate the best english articles on my niche to brazilian portuguese and there is no plagiarism or duplicated content detected by Google.

    • Reply
      Indra
      February 4, 2016 at 3:59 am

      Hi, Marcello.
      Translate from english to indonesian not problem to me. But if I running blog with indonesian language not benefit at all, cpc only $0.06 I think this value hard to make 4 figure a month with adsense. So I want make blog with english language. And that one the problem. Hahaha.
      But, I still loking for the best solution for my problem. Since great article is engaging and readable.

  • Reply
    Taranpreet Singh
    February 3, 2016 at 12:11 am

    Great Post, Chris.

    It’s common amongst beginners that they push themselves hard to write low quality ‘Content’ excessively than focusing on creating ‘High quality content’ no matter if it’s less in quantity.

    • Reply
      Chris Lee
      February 4, 2016 at 11:11 am

      Thanks, Taranpreet 🙂

  • Reply
    Kate
    February 4, 2016 at 10:42 am

    Hi again Chris 🙂 Ive made a deep cleaning on my website and made a new pillar post with my keywords. Do I have to link to sources that Ive used to write the article or I can leave it like that and start with inner posts. Now, my website has a blog structure, should I start from inner posts based on my keywords or should I start to build 20 links for my pillar post. Thank you!

    • Reply
      Chris Lee
      February 4, 2016 at 11:10 am

      Hey Kate. Please use the contact form in the members area for any questions about the course.

  • Reply
    sarina
    February 9, 2016 at 10:09 pm

    Hi Chris
    Your articles are so informational ( without any unnecessary jargon or too many confusing articles, so very clear for all to understand) and has benefited me a lot. congrats on this phenomenal site ; can i ask you a question ? would a very generic keyword rich domain name (eg. allrecipes.com ; travletips.com ) help me when i build up my authority site ?
    sarina

    • Reply
      Chris Lee
      February 10, 2016 at 10:05 am

      Thanks Sarina 🙂 Yeah, definitely. That’s the route I like to go for my domains.

  • Reply
    John
    February 12, 2016 at 2:31 pm

    Nice article, Chris!

    • Reply
      Chris Lee
      February 13, 2016 at 12:30 am

      Thanks, John!

  • Reply
    Mahesh
    February 13, 2016 at 10:55 pm

    Thanks,For the helpful post on niche sites strategy Chris.I love to read post on “Linkbuilding for niche sites”.

    • Reply
      Chris Lee
      February 14, 2016 at 2:59 pm

      Cool, thanks for the feedback Mahesh!

  • Reply
    Tarso
    February 23, 2016 at 9:52 pm

    Hi, Chris! I left you a message here a few days ago. Didn’t you get it? Should I write all that again?

    Hope you got it! 😀

    Thanks!

    • Reply
      Chris Lee
      February 23, 2016 at 11:13 pm

      Hey Tarso, I’m not seeing it here. Sure send it over or shoot me an email 🙂

      • Reply
        Tarso
        March 1, 2016 at 6:46 pm

        No problem!

        I’ve just sent you an email. 😉

        See you there.
        😀

  • Reply
    Paulie T
    February 26, 2016 at 2:34 pm

    Hi Chris, I bought your RankXL course a few months back, and also received your latest version. I must say I love your writing style. Simple, and to the point. And I also love how you spell things out in detail, not assuming everyone knows what you’re talking about.

    I’ve been running a ‘large scalable’ blog for nearly a year now, and I had spent a lot of $ on Facebook getting traffic to it. I’ve been slowly following your strategies re the content (have built a couple of 4000-5000 word content posts, and several others 1000-2000 words). Its marginally profitable with Adsense each month, but I’m now scaling back the FB ads and looking to increase the Organic growth, which seems to be working slowly. I’ve noticed the Organic visits have increased from 2-3% of total visits several months back to where they are now about 11-15%.

    I do have a question. I’m contemplating building a new niche site but I’m curious as to what you would advise;
    Should I keep (using your strategies) building out my existing niche site and keep the focus on that, or should I venture into a similar niche with lots of search volume and start a new site?

    Thanks

    • Reply
      Chris Lee
      February 26, 2016 at 11:13 pm

      Hey Paulie, that would depend on a few different factors – main ones being:

      1. Do you have a lot of strong backlinks built to your existing site? If you do, you would want to continue with that site or even consider building out your new niche site on top of your existing content.
      2. How is your content quality for your past posts? Since you were using Facebook to drive traffic – are your posts image heavy with few words? Are they scraped content from other sites? Is it unique? Are they long and in-depth? If your existing site is full of thin content, you’ll want to clean up before continuing or start on a new domain.
      3. How “similar” is this new niche? Is it not one that can just be added onto your existing site?
      4. Are search volume differences significant?

      • Reply
        Paulie
        February 27, 2016 at 1:37 pm

        Thanks Chris. The existing site has about 60-70 inbound links. Most are good. The site has an Alexa rank of around 350,000.

        I know I need to build more links to the site, and I’m beginning to do that.

        The existing content is mostly 90-95% original (self written) and predominantly very image rich and around 700 words minimum, with only about 5% of content scraped from other sites.

        The domain and the site has widespread expandability, but it is in a very competitive niche.

        My gut feel tells me this site could be worth a fortune in a few years, but I’m struggling to monetize it beyond adsense. The email list (650 members) isn’t very responsive to affiliate offers (20-25% open rates)
        Any advise would be most appreciated.

        Thanks

        • Reply
          Chris Lee
          February 28, 2016 at 5:50 am

          Based on that, I would build it out on that domain. If the other niche you’re considering is similar, then expand it onto this domain as well.

  • Reply
    Rob
    March 1, 2016 at 2:15 am

    Hello mate! When will be the course be opened again?

    I really want to build my first profitable website that will help me for years and years to come, not just boring websites that can eventually be killed by google. I really want to be successful. I really want to be on your course.

    • Reply
      Chris Lee
      March 1, 2016 at 11:04 am

      Hey Rob, will be open sometime in April. Not sure about the exact date yet.

      • Reply
        Rob
        March 1, 2016 at 7:24 pm

        Alright! I will wait for it until it comes. Thanks 🙂

  • Reply
    Nikolay Stoyanov
    April 8, 2016 at 9:19 am

    Great article Chris! I especially like the part about optimization. People who just started with SEO think that they should overdo it in order to rank well in Google. Instead, they should focus on LSI keywords instead. By the way, how much time do you usually take for LSI keyword research and which tools do you use?

    • Reply
      Chris Lee
      April 11, 2016 at 11:14 pm

      Thanks Nikolay! I mainly use keyword snatcher. Doesn’t take too much time. I just run through it once, check traffic volumes, and edit accordingly.

  • Reply
    Ekopa
    June 21, 2016 at 7:54 am

    Very informative article. Thanks. i will help me build my niche

    • Reply
      Chris Lee
      June 21, 2016 at 7:33 pm

      Cool, thanks for reading.

  • Reply
    Ihtisham Argan
    June 25, 2016 at 8:44 am

    Hi Chris, I am planning to start my first authority site. Thanks for this great post, it will help me preventing all these common mistakes.
    I think this list should be on my wall 🙂

    • Reply
      Chris Lee
      June 26, 2016 at 9:44 pm

      Nice! Thanks for reading Ihtisham.

  • Reply
    Abdul Rehman
    July 17, 2016 at 4:11 am

    Hey Chris,

    It’s a great article with mind changing points. I felt like you are talking about me, I really need to keep all this points to stick on my wall before starting again.
    Thanks Chris for such a eye opening article.

    • Reply
      Chris Lee
      July 21, 2016 at 4:24 am

      No problem! Glad it was helpful, Abdul.

  • Reply
    Imer Imran
    October 15, 2016 at 8:40 am

    Hi Chris
    Great post as always. Agree with all the 7 points especially # 1,3 & 5. I’ve found that are the points that reflected me. Thanks for the great advice.

    Keep up the great work!

    Imer

    • Reply
      Chris Lee
      October 18, 2016 at 9:56 pm

      Awesome, thanks Imer 🙂

  • Reply
    Moses
    January 31, 2017 at 1:38 am

    Chris, Great Article. I am planning on starting a niche site which I will monetize. I am new to this whole thing. Is your course still opened ? If not when will it be opened.

    What keyword tool do you use ?

    Thanks

    • Reply
      Chris Lee
      January 31, 2017 at 1:25 pm

      Hey Moses, yes the course is open now: http://course.rankxl.com/

      Using a variety of tools. I’ll be writing an updated post on this soon.

  • Reply
    Ann
    February 11, 2017 at 8:30 am

    It’s awesome! Definitely something I have to keep in mind, thanks!
    I have a question that whether social media effects Seo, I mean whether it makes any authority to improve my website’s ranking on Google’s search engine results and what if i don’t have any social media accounts for my site.

    • Reply
      Chris Lee
      February 12, 2017 at 3:40 pm

      Thanks Ann! Social media is an effective growth strategy, but only if you pay attention to it. If you’re just going to be linking to recent posts and not actively growing your followers, then it’s no point. It does take time, so I would focus on one channel first.

  • Reply
    Rory
    March 22, 2017 at 8:59 am

    Hi Chris,

    I have just discovered your blog and it’s amazing!

    I wish I could afford your recent course.. It’s actually affordable, but I’m just broke; from investing my money in domaining, while overlooking SEO and other important things.

    Anyway, I think you should do a post on text formatting(If you haven’t already). Can all formatting be done withing wordpress?

    • Reply
      Chris Lee
      March 30, 2017 at 4:26 pm

      Hey Rory 🙂 Yeah, all of it can be done within WordPress! It helps to know a bit of CSS.

  • Reply
    sithirailingam
    May 12, 2017 at 1:42 am

    Found your articles stream-seo and landed here. the goldmine for the new blogger. Already i have lot of failure here and there. I start the site fill it fast as i can. I learned Today some lesson thanks Chris

    • Reply
      Chris Lee
      May 12, 2017 at 10:38 am

      Awesome! Thanks for reading.

  • Reply
    Deb Chowdhury
    September 5, 2017 at 8:53 pm

    Hey Chris,

    Awesome. I am a first time visitor to your site, and I loved the article because you just spoke the truth, and so boldly.

    I am glad I came across this article.

    This is a prime example of how one article can get you hooked (or fall in love) with some one’s writing or viewpoint.

    Well, how many pages do you need in your niche site, I don’t know that and that’s what I tried to find out.

    [Google itself is a baby yes a giant one) and they are learning, and we will see lot’s of change to their business model I am pretty sure]

    I do not have tons of SEO experience or anything like that. But, my guts say, it is not about number of pages but it is about quality and usefulness to the reader.

    I have a brand new niche site, and honestly speaking my faith has been reinforced after reading this article. I will keep following you.

    Take care,

    Deb Chowdhury

    • Reply
      Chris Lee
      September 11, 2017 at 5:08 pm

      Great points, Deb! Best of luck with your new site.

  • Reply
    Dex Antikua
    December 14, 2017 at 12:21 pm

    Wow Wow Wow where do I start.?
    Chris I was to shoot an email to you last night to ask about this seo thing but,u’ve already tackled it.

    I was about to but those links,thank you for the information,I have already learnt from your experience.

    its true for me,I wanted to rank in my niche but I found myself randonmly filling my site with shallow but many articles something that outranked me. i tried those cheap writers but the case was not different.

    This article is my solution. I will work on my site alone,I promise to post here the results later.

    Regards.

    • Reply
      Chris Lee
      December 16, 2017 at 2:01 pm

      Awesome to hear that 🙂 Thanks Dex.

  • Reply
    Dex Antikua
    December 14, 2017 at 12:30 pm

    Infact Chris I have failed all those SEO traps but,I will take action now on my site. All my cheap writers will no longer write for me. no cheap quality on my site again.

    Be blessed Chris.

    • Reply
      Chris Lee
      December 16, 2017 at 2:01 pm

      Thanks Dex! Good luck!

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