If you were starting all over again, what would you do differently?

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For those of us who have been running websites for 10 years now, if you were launching a new venture, what would you get into? If you were launching a new site, what would you do differently? Pursue a different niche? Optimize for social rather than SEO? Different content strategy?

I ask because when I first came into the BUSO community, I had 5+ projects. I sold (or shuttered) all of them except my biggest site. Now, years later, I am ready to move on. There is a panoply of advice out there on the "best businesses to start", but I cant see the scams for the real viable businesses out there.

So if you had to start all over in this environment, how would you and what would you do?
 
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I haven't worked with this for 10 years, not even 5. But I hope I can contribute anyway.

I would still do SEO, like I do now. My "mistakes", that ended up being valuable lessons, were that I:

- Followed my interests instead of the money
- I did informational posts instead of money posts
- I didn't educate myself enough about keyword research

Basically what I did was I created magazine-type of sites with very broad topics. Instead of aiming for money keywords, I wrote meaningless articles like "how to small talk better". It could probably bring in some dough through adsense in US, but I work in a small country where these type of keywords have like 60 searches a month. I tried to sprinkle in affiliate links in these articles, but it of course didn't work.

I'm looking forward to see the other guys perspectives in this subject.
 
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Learned to code. It’s not a sexy or fun as sales/marketing but now I can’t imagine a more practical skill.
 

Ryuzaki

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Simplify Everything
Remove as much friction as possible everywhere, because friction and complexity are the enemies of scaling. Create a general post template type for your site and stick to it. Make sure image posting and formatting is simple, interlinking is simple, headings are simple. Everything must be simple and similar. Because...

Outsource Heavily
By this I mean scale right off the bat. Because everything is simple, you can get content written and posted easily and fast. And you can train people to do every step along the way for you. This will let you focus on big picture tasks that inform the simple, scalable tasks.

Start at the Conversion
Don't start a site and then figure out how to make money. Figure out how to make money and then start the site. Build everything around that conversion, whatever it is. This also needs to be simple, for you and the user. If you're going to demand a lot out of yourself and the user, then the revenue per conversion needs to be astronomical. This will interfere with scaling unless you dominate that friction through more outsourcing and automation. Otherwise, make the conversion simple so you can focus on scaling.

Are you better off making $25 RPMs at 100,000 visits a month, or $100 RPMs at 30,000 visits a month? The latter is more money but how long did it take to get there and how close to your traffic cap are you? I'm doing the earlier version this time around so I can keep things simple. Because everything is narrow in focus and simple to do, all I have to do is focus on scaling content production.

Link Acquisition Sucks
I grinded my last site out to a current DR 50 from a freshly registered domain. Screw that. It doesn't guarantee a thing in today's SERPs. Shortcut that and buy a non-dropped, aged domain with juicy links. Then you don't need to worry about links and when you start to need to worry about it, you'll be getting them naturally from SERP exposure plus your other marketing you're doing.

Buy Interested Traffic
Social media is where the traffic is, and you want it on your site. You can play around trying to do organic marketing or you can just use the PPC platforms to buy the traffic. If you did everything else right, you should be able to get an ROI, which means you can print money. If you do it real well it's almost like arbitrage. This mass exposure will net you links too.

Have Milestones, Track Metrics
You have to know where you're going. This also stops you from getting distracted and off-course. You need to track the metrics from everything so you know what's effective so you know what to scale and what to stop spending time on.

Forget Interest, Seek Money
Since you're barely in the trenches due to all the outsourcing, who gives a damn if you care about the topic. Get paid. I don't even care if the writers care, they're getting paid to get the work done, not care. When you care, you start being a perfectionist and completionist, which will interfere with scaling.

Scale Hard & Fast
Competing is absurd when you can dominate completely. You can do this by outpacing your current competition, grow past them, and then double down even harder. Your output should be so monumental that they get exasperated, panic'd, freaked out, and despondent, which leads to them lowering their output. Later you can even buy them out. But you can't do this without coming out of the gates like a mad man and keeping that pace forever, never slowing down.

Invest, Invest, Invest
All this outsourcing means investing. Go deep into the red at the start. Pour the revenue right back in for a while. Do everything you can to hit where you normally would in 3 years, but hit that in 3 months. You might lose some money, but you saved 2 years and 9 months finding out it doesn't work sooner than losing all that time which you can never get back. And since you're not a complete bafoon, you'll eventually re-coup your money on the project anyways. It may just not be the one you can sell for a million, but you can probably sell it for $250k after you get back your investment. It'll be a win regardless.
 
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Your output should be so monumental that they get exasperated, panic'd, freaked out, and despondent, which leads to them lowering their output.
Man, just reading this sentence makes me panic because I know that sooner or later I'm gonna have to compete with someone like you. But it's good panic, the "get-your-shit-together"-kind. Great post.
 
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Why are you getting out of your main site?

Or just looking for a 2nd to start?
Its a political site. Need I say more? LOL. And not necessarily politics I agree with. I was just trying to cash in on the Ron Paul revolution and now that train has left the station. And politics exhausts me to be honest.

This was based on an interest of mine, but as @Ryuzaki said "Don't start a site and then figure out how to make money. Figure out how to make money and then start the site."

Simplify Everything

Outsource Heavily

Start at the Conversion

Link Acquisition Sucks

Buy Interested Traffic

Have Milestones, Track Metrics

Forget Interest, Seek Money

Scale Hard & Fast

Invest, Invest, Invest
As always, @Ryuzaki drops gems that make you sit back and re-examine your whole existence lol
 
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I spent a few years (yes, years) goofing off with shiny object syndrome.

I had to learn the hard way what lack of focus does to your results.

Spinning my wheels with this and that. Making some cash along the way. Not big $$$ though.

My game in life stepped up once I stopped listening to all the noise. It's a bunch of hypey garbage usually. Bloggers' versions of clickbait. The beast that is the entrepreneur/marketing news cycle is kinda like a sports announcer on the sidelines calling the game. These people don't know shit. They just write about events later on with 20/20 vision. Get a lot of these marketers & journalists in the arena and they won't know wtf to do. I know many of them personally and I'd never partner with them on a venture.

The Man In The Arena

"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat." -- Theodore Roosevelt, US President

One of my biggest lessons was once I figured out who is good to listen to and who is a waste of energy. Find a few golden sources of info and ignore the rest. Focus on getting your biz better 1% every day and the rest takes care of itself.

Information is THE most important part of this game. Many will (sometimes purposely, sometimes accidentally) lead you to the wrong information. Arming yourself with a model of what success actually looks like is far more superior than a skill like coding/designing/marketing/copy/etc.
 
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If I was starting all the way over, I wouldn't. I'd buy a powerful domain, or better yet I'd buy a site that's already chugging along but can be better optimized and monetized.

When you find yourself in the position of starting over, you need to leverage all of the experience you've gained so you're not only not starting at ground zero but you're moving way faster than you ever could have before. This can be done with confidence if you choose the right properties to buy. You can lower risk and deploy more cash to ramp things up faster.