Summer’s almost over and I’m feeling the urge to take on a big ambitious challenge. If you’re feeling up to it, I’d love you to join us too. Let me explain.
This is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time. Here’s how it’s going to work: we’re going to build a profitable blog (on a topic not related to making money online) and show you exactly how we do it, live, from the very beginning.
We’re also going to ask you to help us choose a topic for the blog we create, and even follow along and create your own blog at the same time if you like.
Update: We’ve specifically created a 13-week course for people trying to successfully launch their own blog that uses a proven strategy. How to Start a Blog That Matters can help you create a blog that will change your life and the lives of your readers.
The Big Idea (why call it the “Million Dollar Blog Project?”)
We’re going to create a blog and show you exactly how we build it, step-by-step, into a profitable site. We also want to inspire you to create your own money-making blog right along with us.
We (the Think Traffic team) will be showing you exactly how we select a topic, develop a brand, build the site, create the content, build the audience, become authorities on the topic and generate income from the site.
Keep in mind that the word “blog” can have many different definitions, depending on who you ask. For our purposes, the blog we create will be interactive with readers, and we will be producing new content on a regular basis. Other than that, we won’t place any restrictions on the format of the site.
There are two “million dollar” goals for this project.
First, the blog that we’ll be building for this project isn’t going to be a standard niche site or just an SEO optimized AdSense play.
Those are fun exercises, but there are two problems with niche sites: 1) they can be a little boring to build, and 2) earning $500 or $1,000 a month isn’t going to let you leave your day job.
We’ll be building an authority blog on a topic that we’re excited about. Our aim will be to build a blog that earns a million dollars in revenue over it’s life.
Does that sound crazy? I hope not. It only takes $100,000 a year for 10 years to earn a million dollars. This site earned over $100k in it’s first year and has earned more than that just six months into year two.
Second, I also want this project to spawn a million dollars in total value over the next two years.
If we help 100 people create blogs that earn $10,000 or more each, that’s a million dollars in value this project will have created. Whether it’s 10 blogs that earn $100,000 or 1,000 blogs that earn $1,000, either way we’ll be happy.
Tracking that second goal will be tricky, but I’ll be asking everyone who participates to share details with us.
Credit Due + Why This isn’t a Niche Site Challenge
Some blogger friends of mine have recently run niche site challenges. Pat Flynn built a successful niche site over the last year, and Chris Ducker is building one himself now. I want to thank those guys for inspiration for this project. Reading about their progress and success has been really fun.
As I mentioned before, this project will be a little different. We’ll be building a profitable blog as opposed to a niche site.
The main difference between making money from a blog and making money from a niche site is that a niche site relies heavily on SEO, and keyword research usually dictates the topics you choose and articles you write.
Niche sites are usually based on topics where an opportunity exists to attract visitors through the search engines and monetize them through Google AdSense or affiliate marketing.
For this project, we won’t be constrained by keyword research in choosing our topic. We’ll hopefully choose something fun, something that we want to write about and have experience with ourselves. We won’t be using pen names, and the team members’ personalities may be part of the content itself.
Also, this project may rely on several different ways to make money and probably won’t focus on Google Adsense. Anything goes: affiliate marketing, advertising, developing products, services, partnerships, etc.
And finally, depending on the topic, we will likely rely on building relationships with the readers of our blog, so they keep coming back over time. With a niche site, often you’re trying to monetize traffic the very first time visitors come to your site.
I have nothing against niche sites at all, I just want to do something different here, and I think the blogging world could use a project like this.
Reporting our Progress
We’re going to share everything we can about the process of building the new site here at Think Traffic.
In the beginning, you’ll be hearing a lot about the project. We may update once a month at the least, and probably much more often as we get started.
For the most part, we’ll be doing all the work on this new blog ourselves. If we use outsourcing to accomplish something, I’ll definitely let you know. Whenever possible, I’ll also suggest resources to use if you can’t do something yourself.
How You Can Participate
There are two ways I’d love you to participate in this project:
- Create your own blog with us and follow along.
If you’d like to start your own blog alongside us, we’d love you to join us. You’ll be able to follow along with our updates and learn strategies and tips you can apply to your own site.
And don’t worry, if you started a site within the past couple of months, you can participate as well. You may end up reworking some of your site based on what you learn, but we’d be happy to have you as well. Just mention your situation in the comments below as well.
We’d also like to hear about your progress along the way. All you have to do is document your progress just like we’ll be doing, either through a blog (the one you create, or another one, whichever makes sense), or by setting up a special page somewhere online as an accountability journal.
One special note: I’ve seen this time and time again, in Traffic School, The Hustle Project and elsewhere, people who set up accountability journals and regularly update them do 10 times better than those who don’t. If you’re really serious about making your new blog successful, we highly recommend publicly tracking your progress.
As a special incentive, for those of you who do document your progress, we’ll set up a special page here at Think Traffic where we’ll link to your blog and progress journal. We may even develop some kind of rankings of mini-competition out of this.
Just write us in the comments here if you’re interested in participating.
- Help us decide on a topic.
This Thursday, I’ll be asking you to nominate topics that we can choose from to create the million dollar blog around. That’s right, you choose the topic, we build the profitable site.
There is one rule about the topic we will select: it will not be related to “making money online.”
The point of this project is to show you how to pick a non-marketing related topic, something you’re interested in, and build a site around that interest. There are plenty of good sites out there about making money online, and we’ll be talking about that enough at Think Traffic already.
I also want to encourage you to think outside of marketing-related topics for your next project, because there are some incredible opportunities there.
So get ready, on Thursday I’ll be asking for your recommendations.
If you’ll be creating your own blog, you might just find the perfect topic here yourself from the suggestions on Thursday.
A Marathon, Not a Sprint
It takes time and smart decisions to create something with solid long-term value. We fully expect this to be a marathon, not a sprint. In the beginning, we’ll be focused on making the right long-term decisions, especially around selecting the right topic.
I want to set the right expectations before we jump in. If it seems like we’re going slowly, it’s because we want to do this right. I also want to go slowly enough so we can explain clearly how we’re developing this site.
Alright, that’s it for now! I can’t wait to get started on this, I hope you’re looking forward to it too.
Now the important question: who’s in?
Tell us below if you’re thinking about participating or if you have questions about the project.
Also, we’d love to hear which aspect of building a profitable blog you’re most interested in hearing about as the project gets moving.
(click here to leave a comment if you’re reading this over email)
Let’s do this!
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