This is not going be a full blown post on how to create a passion site. Rather, it is a journey. One that I am starting now and one that you can follow on with a real example. Before all these algorithm changes that Google has introduced, I was already thinking about creating passion sites that can last. After considering deeply on who I am and what I really like to write about, I finally created a couple of authority sites. This case study is one of them.
Let me introduce to you: http://earlyretirementdiary.com/
This is a blog about a topic that is very dear to my heart: early retirement. After all, what is the point of making money online? It is to retire early and enjoy a life of financial freedom. So, if that is your dream, I welcome you to the new passion blog. However, to make this case study real, please don't link to it as it will skew the results.
Why create a passion site and why not to do itCreating a passion site has its pros and cons. I am not here to tell you what you should do. It is my personal choice and I am laying out all the stuff I was thinking about before deciding to embark on this journey.
Pros of creating a passion site:
- Promote your site openly: In niche sites, we need to hide our keywords because that are usually our only defense. If other folks knew about our niches and what kind of money they made, you can bet that they will come after it with a vengeance. This severely restricted our marketing choices as we need to hide their tracks.
- Explore other sources of traffic and diversify away from Google: Passion sites are driven by interests. You are genuinely interacting with others within your community to discuss issues, interests, news etc with regards to your common topic. You means you can openly market your site through all the social media channels and other relational marketing.
- Content creation is much easier: You are writing about something that you either have some expertise or interest in. It is so much easier to write interesting content when you are passionate about it.
- Stronger motivation: Maintaining a passion site is not as easy as watching TV but it is a hell lot easier than having to write for something that you don't care about.
- Niche restriction: With a passion site, you choose what you are really interested about, not by keyword traffic and how much money you can make.
- Crowded: Whether you believe it but most of us have similar interests. This is why there are so many blogs that talked about fashion, finance, parenting etc but very little blogs really talked about crime scene, industrial repair etc. So, choosing a niche means you are entering into a crowded field.
- No obvious monetisation: some passions are very easy to monetise. Space is an great example. Only with huge traffic can a site such as universetoday.com make any form of significant income if your passion is not commercial by nature.
How to overcome the cons of a passion site
Method 1: learn to spot where the problems are in your passion niche.
Every niche has its own set of problems and issues that are not obvious to people outside the industry. Take early retirement as an example. On the surface, it seems that every possible topic has been covered but upon reading and learning all the different retirement blogs, I realise there are a couple of things that existing blogs are not addressing.
You see, a common early retirement method is to reduce your spending to around 30k per year and start aggressively saving 50-75% of your salary. Using such an approach, a normal middle class person should be able to save enough money and retire early. This money should be able to yield 5-7% interest and be sufficient to cover the 30k living expenses.
There are two problems:
- 5-7% is not that easy to achieve consistently if you want a low risk investment
- what if your wife or family doesn't want to live on 30k per year budget?
Knowing the problems in a market means you can overcome the cons of a passion site:
- Niche restriction: The niche is not as limited as you think as there are always new problems (just like there are always new keywords) due to a changing environment bought on by technological, economical, political and social changes.
- Crowded: By identifying the problems in your passion niche, you are already differentiating yourself as you will be writing about something that is missing in your niche. This becomes your unique selling point and is something that you can market to other folks within the community.
- No obvious monetisation: The problems you identified become a monetisation path because people always pay for solutions to their problems. Whether that solution can be solved by content is problem specific but at least you know that is a pain there waiting for some smart guy to remedy and profit from it.
This has become a recurring theme for my blog but a new niche represents lots of untouched areas where good information is needed. I already mentioned a couple of such ideas in my post on how to build quality niche sites. The basic point, however, is that a new niche means unlimited sub niches and a non crowded marketplace. There might still be problems with monetisation but it is not a insurmountable issue as revenue models can be copied from existing niches.
How to know your passionThis is the hardest part but unfortunately it is also the first step. Think about it. If you are passionate about something, you will already be doing it. The fact that most of us are not pursuing anything in our lives means that there isn't anything that we feel strongly about. We are just living from day to day with no passion.
I though about mine for a long long time. After much soul searching, I realise this is what I am passionate about:
Creating online income so that my wife and I can retire early, and I want to enable others to do the same.
The above captures what my passion is. In that statement, there are a couple of niches that fit well into who I am.
- Making money online: already doing it with aaronchua.com and I love the results so far.
- Retire early: click that one off as well with my new blog
- Enable others: still thinking about that one but I might start a new blog that attempts to give readers 1000 blog topics that are emerging and have income potential. Aaronchua.com does this to some extend.
I hope you guys reading this really start a passion site. One where you can continue to work on after 5 or even 10 years.