Where I am after 4 months posting: good and bad
I started posting seriously back in November 2016.
To date, I'm still trying to build traffic and have not earned a dime.
I've sent more than 70 link clicks to Amazon but no sales yet. I'm posting 3 times each week and spending most of my time building quality content. Focusing on low-hanging fruit keywords.
Posting to a page on Facebook and using their "Boosts" to boost traffic. Posting to Google +1 and Twitter, but need to put more effort into building communities in all three.
Not ready to give up, but dealing with some frustrations.
Even with its flaws, WA is in my opinion a good place to be, at least in one's startup phase. I never could have gotten this far without WA. I'm very grateful for that. Unlike other options out there,
I would characterize WA as being run by honest people who provide quality information. In this day and age, that is not a small thing.
The initial certification training is great. As promised, I got a website up and running and started getting ranked on Google pages. I setup affiliate links with an Amazon account and all systems seem to be running ok. (although tinkering with WordPress constantly is a bit of a pain)
I would not be this far without WA. The community aspect is great. Kyle recently answered a question I posted in less than 24 hours. That's pretty great. There are lots of things to love about WA.
And since I generally like WA, I'm going to go out on a limb and give my frank opinions on what I think could be improved or better explained.
The Not So Good:
After the initial certification training is over, further education becomes a hunt and peck affair.
I'm not interested in selling affiliate marketing. My niche is about health and I feel that promoting something so off topic would be off-putting to my audience. So, I'm not in the Bootcamp phase. I miss the structured roll out of the previous training.
Plus, I wish the site was better suited to use with a smartphone. Very difficult to use away from the laptop.
The Training - Good:
There are some GREAT modules created in the community. My favorite author is Marion Black. Always delivers what she promises. Crisp, concise, accurate and up to date delivery. Responds to inquiries quickly. Awesome.
The Training - Not so Good:
The modules created by various members can be hit and miss in effectiveness. And they don't seem to be vetted for basic things like being up to date. It can be very frustrating to get half way through a long module and realize it's not going to help.There are some who provide less than stellar output. Less than promised in the offering ("everything you need to know" but not really), poor production quality in audio, etc.
It makes me wonder, are they cranking it out primarily to score WA points?
My Rank keeps dropping like a stone.
I was around 500 at one point, it's been dropping steadily ever since.
I could be paranoid, but I've sometimes wondered if, because I'm not in the Bootcamp program, it has an effect on my status or the way Support responds to a ticket.
I'm not entirely sure why my rank drops or that I really care any more. I'm more concerned with my ranking in Google than in WA. And I'm putting full time into creating content to raise my Google status.
Helping other members: Frankly, the questions that arise from others are often best answered by someone other than me. If I can't answer what they are asking in a definitive way or would only be submitting a weak answer simply in order to score points, I'm not going to answer it for sport.
I think a percentage of respondents are just scoring points, not really helping.
To some extent, the setup encourages noise. Respond! Should be quality not quantity.
I have to say I've been less than inspired by the Support responses. The last couple were worthless in terms of helping me. One was lengthy (cut and paste?) and off the actual point, the other was brief and made no sense to me.
I realize that I am still learning and sometimes the novice questioner asks the expert dumb questions. But...
I've found more success in writing directly to people like Kyle or Marion Black. Other members have also gone out of their way to help me at times. Of course, if they suggest writing a ticket...
Blogging within WA:
WA gave me good advice to get off Facebook in terms of spending too much time there. I kind of feel the same way about blogging inside WA. If I'm going to invest time in blogging, I want to invest it in my site. I'd like to get up to 4 or 5 posts per week vs. the 3 I am at now.
Writing true quality content at that level of output is nearly a full time job. It requires research, thought and effort. I'm also a former newspaper reporter and creative director. Creating content is not new to me, this is just a new format for delivery. Done right, creation is hard work and takes time. I actually enjoy it.
Continuing to learn about how websites work and web marketing fills up my remaining time. I do not relish this aspect. WordPress for all its wonders is a quirky pain in the butt and a sub-par creative platform.
Best Investment of My Time:
Truly becoming a leading expert in any niche requires that you were either already recognized as one before you started your blog, or you are investing in the effort as you go.
I have decades of personal experience in my subject and tremendous expertise, but in order to be recognized for that, I need to present my ideas in a compelling way that truly educates my audience and helps them solve problems. I need to earn the recognition.
That takes a tremendous amount of focus, time and energy. It is, in my mind, just as important as learning the mechanics of blogging and web marketing.
I'm at that point where I imagine most people question whether to stay the course or make a change.
My intent is to make a significant amount of money and I have invested full-time into this effort. It needs to pay it off with near 6 figures or better, eventually, or it's not worth full-time effort.
The WA Formula:
I know from the training that I am reaching a pretty typical point in questioning the future.
But I am wondering if, in my particular endeavor, I need to broaden my marketing approach?
In addition to other past experience, I am a former senior executive at a large marketing agency. I think I've got a decent handle on the potential for my niche and my market(s).
But I confess, I'm not sure that I've hit upon the right products to be selling them.
I think I may need to include coaching and training courses that I develop, not just affiliate links to products of specific interest to my audience.
If that is the case, then I need to be investing time and money into creating courses, webinars, etc., and all of the ancillary components of those: videos, slideshows, graphics, etc.
To date, I've solely been focused on blog posts. I use free sites to illustrate them. I like keeping spending at a minimum.
But moving into courses would take those needs up to a higher level and require production planning and investment. Screenshots and selfie sticks would not cut it for videos in my niche.
At the very least, I would need to engage others in helping shoot video. Perhaps even hire professionals, which would be a significant expense -- but potentially worth it.
If that is the case, I would shift some time to that effort and pullback on the number of posts I put up each week. Perhaps focusing more on deeper/longer posts of the highest quality vs. volume.
That feels to me, though, like a bit of deviation from the course set here at WA. I embraced that course up till this questioning phase.
The WA path seems to be: "If you keep posting quality and quantity, they will come."
Of course, your niche has to be viable and the products you offer have to be desirable. And maybe, mine are not. (Although, I'm pretty sure they are.)
I've been a believer and frankly would wish for the WA formula to be the right answer for me and my niche.
And I realize there have been various training modules posted by the community on other revenue-generating avenues like E-Books and so on.
But it takes time and effort for a one man band to do those things sufficiently in a niche like mine.
That's the cross-roads I am at presently.
Where to go?
The web is full of people selling, selling, selling.
There are gurus out there who are saying that posting tons of content is the wrong way to go. Some will say that investing in promotion of your best content and an email list is the right way.
Right now, I wish that this was not entirely virtual. I could use a thorough review and constructive critique. Are there services that do this?
I'm doing this completely on my own within the WA virtual world. Staring at my screen... sifting through the daily barrage of pitches, trashing most without reading. Reading a few on occasion and wondering.
Deep down, I really don't know if what I've built to date is great, good, bad or awful.
The only metric that matters in the end is $$.
So far = $0.