I flopped around the Internet for years, learning the ropes and learning how to write. If you count posting on internet list-serves, I’ve been writing online since 1999, and I started my first blog in 2003. Oh how time flies!
In 2014 I had a great year, with my websites getting millions of page views and almost two-million unique visits.
This traffic may seem small compared to, say Vox Media or the Washington Post. Or it may seem like a lot of traffic if you are just starting off.
There’s a difference between your sites’ traffic and a mega-site’s traffic.
Let’s say you’re in fitness and you write an article for a fitness site that does more views in a couple of days than I do in an entire year.
That site is the place to be. Well, it’s a great place to write if you’re the corporate overlord. It’s not a great place to write if you have your own brand and don’t want to insert links to products you might not believe in.
Or maybe you write for Men’s Health. You pretend that the cover models are 100% all-natty-brah so that testosterone boosters can be sold to teenagers. No thanks!
Why not be your own brand?
I am my own brand. People who come to my sites go there for one reason – to read what I write.
I also earn money when I endorse a product. If I sell an eBook or affiliate market a product, the money goes into my pocket.
There’s nothing magical about what I do. In fact, if you are in the fitness industry, you could blow away my traffic as people love reading fitness articles.
Hint: The three most-common New Year’s resolutions concern health/fitness, making money, and relationships/getting laid.
Write about those topics and watch your audience grow.
Political articles are especially popular. If I wrote about socio-political matters, my traffic would increase by tenfold.
My traffic isn’t to make me look cool. It’s to prove that, yes, you can do whatever you want on the Internet.
When “writer x” loses his job at a magazine or mega-blog, he loses his audience.
One “writer” for a Gawker site lost her job. She had to start a Tumblr site, as she had no idea how to create a webpage. After begging for freelance work for several weeks, she was able to land another job as a corporate slave making barely above minimum wage.
I will never lose my audience.
These stats emphasize why you should write under your own name rather than pitch articles.
If you do pitch an article to a mainstream organization to obtain social proof, make sure you have your own web presence.
- Step 1: Sell out to get your name out there.
- Step 2. Have a website so when people read your articles at Mega Corp Dot Com, they’ll follow you to your home.
- Step 3. You never have to sell out again!
The end game is for you to become your own brand.
You want people coming to a website for one reason only – because YOU are the main event.
You can be a one-man operation and still have millions of visitors to your websites.
Pretty cool, isn’t it?