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Interviews August 10th, 2015
Howdy fellow marketers! Today we’re talking to Stuart Walker, Niche Guru and owner of Nichehacks.com. Niche Hacks is a blog that focuses on helping readers and marketers to find profitable niches for their own websites and blogs. It also focuses on strategies that need to be executed for a successful of the niche blog.
A big thanks to Stuart for spending the time in answering my questions!
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Q. Prior to Nichehacks.com, briefly tell us about what you were doing and how you got started in Internet marketing?
A. I graduated from university with some useless degree and went backpacking. I got the travel bug.
After that, it’s all I wanted to do, so I would take dead end call centre or office jobs to get money, save up, quit, then go travel again until the money ran out.
After a while, I realized this wasn’t going to work, so I had to find something new.
I started risk-free and low-risk online casino betting and sports betting. There, I made decent money for a while and traveled some more.
Eventually, I stumbled across “Internet marketing” and realized this is what I should be trying. Took a while to make any meaningful money from it, but I got there in the end.
Q. Niche Hacks is a huge success. How did you accomplish this in such a short amount of time?
A. The site is doing well. We’ve been live for 18 months, but I wouldn’t call it a huge success just yet. There’s a lot still to be accomplished.
I dedicated my full attention to it and work on it non-stop 6-7 days a week and often 12+ hrs a day, especially during the beginning.
Now, I have a full team of staff – a VA, a writing team, 4 or 5 researchers, etc who help run it. I couldn’t do it all on my own.
Q. What are some strategies you learned during niche site marketing that you can recommend to Internet marketing companies?
A. Go niche, go niche some more, and then go niche again. Then, decide which very particular type of person you want to focus on.
When your website or business is all tailored around a very specific and focused topic and aimed at one very particular type of person, you have a much higher chance of success as you literally become the go-to person / website for that type of person.
Q. Tell us more about Niche Hacks and how it is different from other similar blogs.
A. I don’t know any other blogs revealing niches….let alone the thousands we have revealed and analyzed.
Q. From one of your previous interviews, I learned that you generate most of your website’s traffic via email list. Could you please share some of your strategies in building a quality email list? Also, how do you keep your audience and email subscribers engaged?
A. Category based lead magnets that solve my audiences #1 problem. So, if you’re on a blogging post you get offered a lead magnet about blogging and so on.
[Tweet “Your blogs must solve a real pressing problem the visitor has. Be relevant and solve it instantly.”]
And just really focus on collecting emails. You can’t just have some cute little side bar saying “subscribe for updates” because no one wants your updates. They want their problems solved.
Then, you follow up with more relevant information, in my case, a series of the most popular blog posts related to what they just subscribed for, mixed in with email exclusives and the odd promotion message.
I’ve just added in sales funnels to each opt-in. So now, whenever anyone opts in they instantly go through a sales funnel. The increase in revenue has been staggering and all on auto-pilot once the initial work is done.
Q. I have seen many niche sites that rank with the help of PBN. What are your thoughts about using PBN for niche sites and do you think it’s easy to rank in a short time for a competitive set of keywords?
A. I’ve never used a PBN in my life and pay much attention to SEO.
The type of “niche sites” I create are probably not what the majority people think of when the word “niche sites” is used. To me, a niche is just a very specific topic. Every site has a niche.
SurvivalLife.com (run by legendary marketer Ryan Diess) is in the survival and preppers niche. They are the #1 site in their niche and do $1 million in sales per month.
So they are both niche and authority.
To me, a “niche site” is a meaningless term. Most people think of those 5-10 page product review style sites plastered with affiliate links. I don’t make those types of sites.
NicheHacks is not and never has been about that. We barely cover it on the blog. Most of the posts and the most popular ones are about blogging.
I’m always telling people to create an authority site or blog, as it’s more long term and sustainable than a 5-page affiliate site.
Q. At TechWyse, a majority of our clients are interested in using blogs to attract traffic and generate leads for their more traditional products. Do you think small and medium-sized businesses can duplicate your level of success in their market?
A. I don’t see why not. As long as there are people interested in their product or niche, then I can’t see why a blog wouldn’t work to generate subscribers and customers.
Q. Moving forward, how much importance will you give for building your own PBN. In the long term, what are your thoughts about Internet marketing companies using PBN?
A. As I said above, I don’t use PBNs and don’t know much about them. I wouldn’t think it’s a good idea for companies to get into using them, since its risky business if they rely on rankings and Google finds out.
Q. What are the biggest challenges you faced at Niche Hacks since the beginning? How have you overcome them?
A. The amount of work it takes to run a successful blog – it’s staggering. If I was doing it all myself, there’s no way it could be where I am now.
The cost too. I spend over $5K a month in expenses to run the blog.
Hiring staff has been challenging, but I’m finally getting my processes in place and have a good team who work well and know what they are doing.
Content creating was totally burning me out. If I didn’t hire writers, I’m not sure if there would be a NicheHacks.
Systemizing everything that can be too. [Tweet “It’s amazing how much time you can save if you have a system and process in place.”]
Q. Finally, are you an advocate of work/life balance? How do you balance both?
A. I’m not the best manager of my time. Sometimes, I end up working far too many hours a day because I have set unrealistic deadlines or been unproductive on a day.
I’m getting better and have been working less recently as I improve on my time management and processes.
Hiring staff has helped. I was spending a couple hours a day dealing with emails and other small tasks recently, but have hired a VA now (from my own tribe, he’s been a supporter of the site for a long time) to deal with it.
Makes a huge difference!
Thank you very much Stuart for taking time to answer my question.
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