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It’s never a good sign when a blogger disappears for weeks, “neglecting” their readers and doesn’t take the time to give a reason why. It’s also very common for bloggers who apologise for their infrequent posting to quickly find themselves at a stage where their blog does not get updated at all.
I’ll be the exception to that rule and apologise for my lack of updates over the last few weeks – stating that I’m genuinely back for good – and with a big announcement to make: As of the end of this month, I’ll be living in Thailand. Bangkok, to be specific. Despite that possibly surprising announcement, this post is not going to be very personal. Let’s talk business.
For the last few months, I have been working on some projects with friends that took up the majority of my time. These are projects that needed my full attention because of the amount of money that had been pumped into them, which became the main reason I wasn’t able to update the blog as often as I would like.
The reason for this change now is that as of yesterday I’m no longer involved in anything outside of my own set work – after parting ways amicably with my partners – and I’m back to focusing entirely on my own things. I love the learning experiences of trying something totally different to what you’re used to doing from time to time, mostly because you can apply the lessons you learn to your favourite endeavours.
However, you always have that longing to return to what it is you do best and enjoy the most.
After selling most of my small affiliate sites towards the end of 2009 and ending my partnership on a number of other jobs, I’m now only working on a very small number of websites. This means that for the first time since I re-launched this site, ViperChill is one of my top priorities.
You can expect big things on this site in the near future.
One of the real reasons I’m writing this post – and the main reason I’m about to be so transparent right now – is because I wish other bloggers did this. Maybe I’m just nosey, but I would love to know how Everett is planning to grow his blog traffic, how Corbett is going to make money and what Adam’s plans are for the next year.
In fact, I would love to know what most bloggers are getting up to.
The business plan for ViperChill is not really a business plan at all. It should be called a strategy plan, because that’s all I have right now. The strategy comes in three parts: monetisation, traffic, and branding.
Over the next few paragraphs I’m going to share what you can expect in terms of me making money with this site and increasing the size of the audience, before I’ve even done it. I think it’s far more enjoyable to watch someone on their journey while it’s happening, rather than look back on it months later.
I hope all 8,200+ of you enjoy following along.
The first thing I want to say is that I have absolutely no plans to write another eBook. I haven’t owned Cloud Living for almost a year now, so it would be nice to have one to my name, but there are just far too many of them on the market for me to take many of them seriously. If I’m feeling overloaded by how many there are, and I rarely buy any, then I can’t imagine how other people must be feeling.
They can be a great source of income – and people have even sent me emails saying they wish I would write another one – but that’s not on the cards anytime soon. My plan, which is quite different to what anyone else is doing – is to focus on software. More specifically, web software for internet marketers.
I have been refining my dev team over the last few months, doing “practice” products such as the reputation management plugin for WordPress I released, but I’ll soon be ready to take things to the next level. I’m very excited with the first product I’m going to release as it’s going to solve a huge problem I have and there are no other solutions out there. I don’t think there is anything better or more likely to sell than a product which solves your own problems.
On top of that, the worst-case scenario is that you don’t sell any copies, but at least have a solution for yourself.
To start with I’m just going to focus on one core product and make it amazing, rather than be a jack-of-all-trades and have a lot of mediocre things which do a lot of tasks well, but nothing remarkably.
I’ve been involved in selling web software online for years; just not in this industry. Because of that, I know that having amazing customer support is almost as crucial as the product you’re selling. I’m far more likely to buy from someone who has an email address, phone number and live chat option on their website than someone with just a basic contact form. Even if the other product is slightly better.
That’s all I’ll say on the topic for now. I’m working with some people that I know personally in Cape Town which I think is the best way to go about a product of any substance, so expect more information on that over the coming weeks and months.
Now that ViperChill has a substantial audience, I don’t really have to do much to continue to receiving a lot of traffic. In July for example, I only wrote one blog post, but consistently had over 1,000 people per day landing on my articles. Over the next few months I’m not going to focus on any traffic source in particular and just rely on that, but focus on something that helps bring traffic over the long-term: networking.
Although I do have one of the biggest blogs in this industry, I literally have no connections with the top bloggers that I would call strong relationships. I’m not like Johnny or Jade or Dave who just seem to become best friends with the A-listers overnight. Thankfully I do have great relationships with people who write content I love, like Pat and Tamar.
Networking in terms of blogger relationships is one thing that I really, really suck at. If there is anything I would like to be better at it’s creating and maintaining these relationships online. I’m not sure how well this will work out, but I will be sure to share with you all the things that actually work for me.
If you don’t know the importance of blogger connections, you may enjoy this article. Of course, it’s a little “risky” writing my plan like this here, because if I get in touch with someone now – who reads the blog – they’re just going to think they’re part of my experiment or strategy.
This won’t be the case. I’m going to try to build closer bonds with people that I’ve spoken to in the past, and perhaps they’ve tried to contact me but I wasn’t available at the time, and put more effort into those connections.
I’m continuing to focus on different SEO efforts as I am a bit of an SEO geek if you haven’t noticed from many of the articles I write here. I like testing a vast array of different ideas – though the basic fundamentals still work the best – so I’ll continue to use ViperChill as a testing ground and see if I can increase this sites rankings for some very popular terms.
I’m not naive enough to think that people should still trust my advice if I can’t even prove that I can get rankings for myself. (Though I think ranking 4th for ‘Viral marketing’ is quite an achievement, so far).
In order to really leverage sites like Facebook, Twitter and Stumbleupon, at least for a blog, I think you really just need to focus on writing the best content you can, which is what I will continue to do. This has been my strategy since I started the blog, so I won’t be changing anything in regards to post frequency, length or style. Hopefully the value I provide in posts will be the same or even bigger.
I believe the brand that I have now, and the one I want to sustain, all depends on how I spend my time. I don’t want to be the blogger who you can expect to post a few times in one month and then none the next. Similarly, when I release products, the last thing I would want them to be known for is being full of bugs and coming with lacklustre support.
These two things, if I’m going to run this blog as a business, are crucial. Now that ViperChill is one of the few projects I run, I can literally spend as much time on it as I want. It would not affect my other websites – which are ran by virtual assistants – if I worked 9-5 on it daily. I won’t do that, as I don’t need to, but it will definitely get a lot more attention from me.
From the beginning of this blog I’ve always stressed something I believe strongly which is spending time on your content is the most important thing you can do. Similarly, I don’t just want to publish a blog post for the sake of having one out there. I want them to be the best articles I can write on a variety of topics. Your blog is nothing without your content, so I don’t think there’s any smarter way to be.
I will then spend time that isn’t directly related to writing content to:
There are probably more things I’ll add to this list over time, but those are the main ones for now.
I’ll continue with the little white men I have going on in each post, as they’re often very relevant to what the article is about, though I see a lot of marketing bloggers now mimicking that idea and using them on their own sites. Sure, I wasn’t the first person to use them, but I would never see them in every post.
I had a unique idea for the other graphics that I include in my articles, that I think would be awesome if a lot of bloggers became involved with. Instead of just choosing random images from Google and Flickr, why not “team up” with a photographer and use only their photos for your blog. They get exposure from your audience, and you get great images where you don’t have to worry about licensing issues.
I think this could really benefit both photographers and bloggers in a big way. I have someone in mind for me so I’m going to approach him today and see how that turns out. I’ll let you all know.
I hope I’ve revealed enough information in this post which kept you interested and excited for the future of this blog. To take transparency to the next level, I want to open up the comments to any ViperChill or blog business related questions you want to ask me that you were afraid to before or the question just didn’t seem relevant to the post.
I’ll be as open as possible – though please don’t ask for links to my other sites (I’ve mentioned reasons why on multiple posts) – in income estimations, traffic figures, or anything else you may want to ask me about.
It’s good to be back.