Welcome to another Million Dollar Blog Project update!
We have some big news for you regarding our selected topic later on in this post. But up first, let’s talk about a couple of important housekeeping items.
(Special note: we’re also going to ask you to briefly share any progress you’ve made in the comments below, so be sure to read the end of the post and tell us where you’re at.)
Thanks to everyone who has already registered their blog as part of this project. Registration is free and almost 200 of you have already signed up with new blogs. How cool is that?
See the full list of participating blogs in the project here.
If you’re planning to participate in the project by creating your own blog along side us, just head over and register so your site can be listed as a participant.
New Twitter Hashtag: #TTMDBP
We’d like to make it easier for all of us participating in the project to connect on Twitter and share posts about our respective projects with each other.
Some of you have already started using the hashtag #TTMDBP on Twitter, and we’ll be using it as well for project updates going forward.
Just add #TTMDBP to your tweets about your own Million Dollar Blog Project and other people participating in the project will be able to find your updates.
If you’re new to Twitter hashtags, here’s the gist: whenever you use a hashtag (“#” symbol) in a tweet, anyone who searches for that hashtag can find your tweet. Hashtags are hyperlinked within Twitter as a special kind of search method. Read all about hashtags at the official Twitter site.
When Does The Project Officially Start?
Simple answer: the project starts now!
I realized I may not have been clear about the structure of the MDBP this week after a couple of emails and tweets from confused participants.
The Million Dollar Blog Project isn’t going to be rigorously structured, and there aren’t any specific deadlines or timelines you have to follow. If you’re planning to participate, you can proceed at your own pace.
The sooner you get started, the sooner you’ll start making progress with your own blog. Whether you started last week, you’re planning to start two weeks from now, or if you’re reading this a year from now, we want you to join us.
There is no deadline for participation. Of course, people who start much later will have a hard time competing with all of us who start within the next months, but this isn’t about competition, it’s about supporting each other. Perhaps we’ll run other rounds of the project in the future to let new people start together as a group.
To recap, if you’re joining us, here’s what to expect soon and what you should be doing now:
- Read all the posts in the MDBP series to get full participation details and to follow along with us.
- When you’re ready with your own blog, head over and register (it’s free) so we can track your progress and other people can find your
- Proceed at your own pace creating your blog and building your audience. You can follow along with us by reading new project updates here (sign up for email updates so you don’t miss any). We’ll be publishing new MDBP updates every week or two for at least the next few months, and less frequently after that.
- Update your accountability journal on a regular basis (you choose how often). Read all about accountability journals and how to create yours here. You can keep your accountability over at the MDBP registration site, or anywhere else you want to online, as long as they’re publicly available so other participants can read about your progress. Some examples of people who have already started keeping accountability journals: vegan is good, Awesome Your Life, Ramblings of a WAHM (offsite), Digital Nomad Path (offsite).
We have already started our project, which I’ll tell you more about in a minute. “Starting” the project doesn’t necessarily mean you have launched your blog already. As soon as you commit to participating, you’ve begun. Planning, choosing a topic, setting up your site, etc. are all important steps in the process long before launch.
Just make sure that you’re writing about your progress in your accountability journal (like I’m doing here). This is a requirement for participating. Trust me, you’ll want to keep the journal – it will make you 1683% more likely to succeed (not a scientific number). Update your journal regularly, even if there’s nothing to report. Read our full rules for accountability journals to see what you should include in yours.
It may seem at first like we’re taking things slowly, but that’s because we want to do this right, and because the planning and setup of a new blog are two of the most important success factors for later on.
Here are the next steps we’ll be taking for our case study blog, as a rough outline so you know what to expect:
- Announcing our final topic (done, later in this post)
- Developing our unique selling proposition (discussed later in this post)
- Selecting a domain name and brand (TBD, next week)
- Developing a epic content strategy for the site (when to post, what types of posts, sourcing guest contributors, etc., TBD – will discuss here soon)
- Building our site with a good looking design (TBD, soon)
- Developing our launch plan (discussed later in this post)
- Writing content for launch
- Networking with other bloggers
- Launching the site
- Experimenting with content types
- Building traffic
- Building our email list and improving conversions
- Developing a revenue plan
- Building a product or implementing other revenue sources
- Rinse and repeat, with regular progress reports so you can follow along
Don’t worry if this list seems a little daunting. We’ll walk you through all the steps and it will all be clear soon enough.
If you want to skip ahead, that’s fine too. However you want to build your blog for the project is fine with us. Just make sure you’re keeping your journal so we can learn from what’s working for you.
One last thing: we’re working on a “leaderboard” page where you’ll be able to see how many visits, subscribers and revenue each blog has earned, so you can learn from the most successful among us.
That should be available within a couple of weeks, so stay tuned. If you’ve already registered for the project, your site will be included on that leaderboard page as soon as it’s available.
Choosing Our New Topic
A few weeks ago, we asked you to nominate topics for the case study blog the Think Traffic team will be starting for this project. Then we asked you to vote. The results came in and we chose the #1 selection as our topic.
There was just one problem with the nomination/voting process.
Many of the nominated topics came a little too close to violating our self-imposed rule of not choosing a topic related to making money online. Perhaps we should have been clearer, or maybe we should have eliminated any nominations that were too related to making money online before we asked you to vote.
Lots of people expressed dissatisfaction with the chosen topic (blog/web design) because it was too related to Think Traffic’s topic, and therefore wouldn’t be as useful of a case study.
After reading all of your comments and talking with several people for outside advice, we agree and will be selecting a different topic for our blog.
When we went back and revisited the topics everyone voted on, we decided this time to start by eliminating any topic that was related to making money online, entrepreneurship or blogging.
It turns out that about 10 of the top 20 choices could be considered to overlap with those categories. It seems that people were voting based on their interests, not necessarily on what would make the best case study or challenge for the MDBP.
When we eliminated the blogging- and marketing-related topics, here’s the new top ten after that:
- 30-day Expert Blog: Chose one topic for a month and learn how to be the best at it. (79 votes)
- Learning anything rapidly (60 Minute Expert: Using the 80/20 principle) (55 votes)
- Simpler Living (a blog that will explore and map a journey from a miserable 6 figure a year traditional way of living back to an often forgotten way of life.) (47 votes)
- Become an Expert Slowly (a site devoted to those people who take on worthwhile goals, huge goals, where they face years of failure between them and achieving mastery, skill, or success.) (44 votes)
- Self-sustaining lifestyle (grow your own food/ use solar power etc) (40 votes)
- Point and Shoot Photography (How to create incredible photographs with whatever camera you have in your pocket) (37 votes)
- The Great Recession (A blog based upon a sustainable lifestyle with a smaller footprint.) (34 votes)
- The Art of Getting What You Want (How to use confidence and technique to get what you want from life, your relationships and your career) (32 votes)
- Eating organic on a tight budget (32 votes)
- Home brewing beer (31 votes)
We thoroughly considered each of the choices.
We have personal interest in some of the topics (like point and shoot photography), others wouldn’t be easy for me to tackle because I travel six months per year (home brewing beer). Others we simply don’t have much of an interest in (eating organic on a tight budget).
Of these choices, one particular topic stands out.
3 of the top 4 are all related to gaining expertise, from small endeavors to very large ones (#1, #2 and #4).
I’ve always felt like a generalist myself and have always enjoyed learning and doing new things (recently: acting, sailing, learning languages, surfing, living overseas, writing, home fitness, entrepreneurship).
I’ve been called a jack of all trades by some since I was a teenager, and consider it a compliment. I think a lot of people like the idea of being more of a renaissance person than a specialist.
So here’s what we’re going to do. We’re going to choose those three topics related to expertise and combine them to create a blog about becoming an “expert” in multiple areas and learning new things.
We’ll be talking about how to learn small things quickly (the “60 minute expert” idea), how to learn bigger things (the “30-day expert” idea) and how to become an expert in a bigger field of study (the “become an expert slowly” idea). Any one of these blog ideas individually might be hard to pull off, but combining them should give us enough latitude to make it work.
The blog will not be related to making money online, marketing or blogging. If you were unhappy with our initial topic selection, I hope this one will work better. If not, we’ll gladly offer you a refund on what you paid for this project 😉
The general topic of expertise will present it’s own challenges and opportunities. It’s obviously not as specific as something like “brewing beer.” That will make it harder to pinpoint existing audiences who are interested in our topic. At the same time, it will give us flexibility to write about lots of different things and appeal to a broader audience (potentially creating a much bigger site, which would be fun).
We’ll also have to work out how to monetize the topic, although I’m not too worried about that. We will likely rely on affiliate marketing, writing ebooks, selling courses and advertising, just like most other blogs do.
Our next step is to turn “expertise” as a topic (which might be a loaded term) into something more concrete, and to develop our unique selling proposition. Then we’ll select a domain name/brand and get the site up, just like we showed you how to do in our tutorial recently.
Sound like a plan? If you have ideas about how we can refine the topic and differentiate our blog, we’d love too hear it in the comments.
Quick side note: I’m sorry for anyone who was looking forward to us using the original blog/website design topic. We’ll make it up to you by including more in-depth design tutorials here at Think Traffic. Thanks for understanding and for participating in the project.
Pulse Check: How Much Progress Have You Made Yet?
Aside from your accountability journals, we’ll also occasionally be asking you for a quick status update in the comments on these updates.
Today I’d love to know: have you made any progress yet on your blog for #TTMDBP? Have you chosen your topic, registered your domain, set up your site or anything else?
If not, what’s holding you back? How can we help?
Please share in the comments below.
If you’d like to comment on our topic selection, that’s cool too. Just keep it positive, we’re not going to change topic again 😉
Cheers, until next time,
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