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When we launched our first site a few years ago, our budget was non-existent. By that I mean we had no money to spare.
What that meant was that starting a new business required us to do all the work ourselves. Outsourcing was definitely not an option back then, as it is for us today.
Looking back, I really made things difficult on myself, and I’m honestly surprised I made it through to see the greener pastures on the other side. Not only did we do all the writing ourselves, but I was churning out 3,000 – 5,000 word posts on topics I knew nothing about.
If I was starting over from scratch, this is what I would do today:
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As you’ll likely hear me say many times in the future, this is a numbers game. Yes, quality matters, but in many ways quantity matters even more.
You have to look at each article like a dart on a dartboard. The more darts you throw, the more bullseyes you hit.
With that being said, when creating a new site with a low budget, you have to look at the big picture. Today, you might have to do all of the work yourself, but 6-12 months from now, you will likely be able to outsource a good chunk of the content.
Knowing that outsourcing is in the cards down the road, focus your efforts on the easiest articles first. Write the really short articles that you can knock out in 30-60 minutes, and leave the 2,000 – 5,000 word posts for later.
This is exactly what we did on our third site. We took our list of keywords, picked the ones that we thought would be easy, then knocked them out as quickly as we could.
While a few of those articles likely reached the 2,000 word mark, the vast majority of them were between 700 and 1,200 words. Not only that, but the topics were simple, and we were able to write those articles with minimal effort.
By focusing on these quick and easy articles, you’re throwing as many darts at the board as possible, which gives your site a good chance of finding initial success.
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If I had the time to write 3,000 words, I would always choose to write three 1,000 word articles on separate topics over one 3,000 word article on a single topic. More articles simply means more possibilities that one will get traction and take off.
Those articles on site #3 did the job and started bringing in a trickle of traffic to the site. Many of them still bring in a significant amount of traffic to this day.
By writing those easy ones ourselves, we were able to prolong the burnout phase and get the site up and running with a solid amount of content. By the time it became a mental struggle to churn out articles, we’d already built the foundation for a solid site.
Eventually, we shifted gears and started outsourcing the majority of the content for that site, but by writing the early content ourselves, not only did we save money, but we also were able to make sure that our niche and keyword selection were good before investing cash into it.
Aside from attacking the easiest topics yourself, there are a few other situations that typically make sense to handle yourself as well. The first scenario is when the topic is difficult to research.
When you outsource a topic to a writer, that writer has to get the information for that article from somewhere. If that information is not readily available, don’t expect to get a good article back.
In this scenario, your options are to write the article yourself (if you already have the necessary knowledge) or to simply not produce the article at all. We’ve taken both paths, mostly based on the difficulty of the subject.
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The second scenario that I would lean toward doing the writing yourself is for an article that needs a personal touch. Think of things like recipes or really anything that requires step-by-step pictures.
Again, your options for these types of articles are to either to produce them yourself or to simply not produce them at all. There is value in producing this type of content, but I’ll address that in a future email.
To recap, don’t make things harder on yourself than they need to be. Launching a new site is hard enough, and it can take many months to see a return on your effort.
Create your keyword list, then pick the low-hanging fruit: articles that are low in competition and easy for you to write. Target those first, then save the rest for another day.