While you may look at my latest income report for the case study sites and think, “Damn, she’s got it all figured out!” – my site efforts were not always a success. In fact, I struggled at first.
Back when I started, made-for-AdSense (MFA) sites were all the rage and this SEO sage going by the name of Griz (Griz?) was delivering epic content about crushing it with ugly Blogspot sites…via an ugly Blogspot.
I devoured all those posts. And the posts of everyone else I could find who was talking about MFA sites.
And I made a lot of ugly Blogspot sites. A fucking lot of them.
I was doing exactly what all those bloggers taught as the magical formula to success (or so I believed at the time) only to have sites that didn’t rank for shit. Then I’d find someone new talking about their success and follow their teachings with the new sites I made.
And I failed time and time again.
It was soul crushing, but I’m stubborn so I kept at it. I just knew that if those idiots could do it, then so could I…but for years I really couldn’t do it.
So when I couldn’t make it work, do you know what I did? Do you know what I thought was the missing puzzle piece?
I thought, If I can just find some of <insert successful blogger’s name here> sites, then I can see exactly what they’re doing and THEN my sites will finally start to rank.
I was convinced that all these people were withholding some big secret that I needed — and that if I could find it, then everything would magically fall into place…if I could just see some of their sites.
Do you know how much fucking time I wasted on that pointless quest? And my dumbass did this for years early in the game.
This is the roadblock most site builders experience. Maybe it’s in your path right this very moment.
Man, looking back that was so many hours of lost productivity searching in the wrong place for that missing puzzle piece.
Does this sound familiar to you? I bet it does because ever since I started writing here about having success with niche sites, people have regularly contacted me with a site (or sometimes a list sites) that they found and are convinced are mine.
They just want to know if they’re right.
Y’know, this roadblock is a really interesting one. I feel like it’s made of up a few different things:
- part comparison to others
- part FOMO
- part curiosity
- part desperation (for success)
I feel like I spent at least a couple of years with this roadblock in my path. Even now, every so often, it rolls back into my life.
I’ll see a new listing go up on a broker marketplace where someone is making way more money than me in a niche that I’m in, and BAM, there it is. I get a bit frantic, start thinking about how I can reverse engineer what’s in the listing to find this site.
Y’know how this usually plays out? Not well, my friend.
In fact, I can give you a real example. A little over a year ago I saw a listing for a gaming site on the Empire Flippers marketplace…and I was in the gaming niche at the time. The site in the listing was making almost $7K a month, while I was stuck at around $2K.
So, I spent far more time than I should have looking for this site. Finally, I was confident that I had found it — it was a site focused 100% on Fortnite.
I had zero Fortnite content on my site. And wasn’t interested in putting any on there.
What a fucking waste of my time, eh? And what did I accomplish? I got zero value or benefit from it.
In fact, I lost real time that I could have been using to improve my gaming site. (note: I sold that site last year and am no longer in the niche due to a still-valid non-compete)
Last week, after sharing my latest case study and income report update, I got several emails from people wanting to know if some sites they found were mine.
So, let’s get serious for a moment — if you do this to anyone, then you gotta know this is a dick thing to do. No one, including me, is ever going to confirm or deny this because your intentions aren’t clear.
Yet, at the same time I almost sort of get this mentality (though I’d never email Diggity or anyone to ask if a random site is his). Like I mentioned above, I used to be one of these people who wasted precious productivity hours on a quest to find that one thing that I thought other people were keeping from me that I need to become a success.
Hell, I just told you that I still even reverse engineer site listings from the broker marketplaces every so often. It even takes me some time before I realize what I’m doing (wasting time) and I stop myself.
But you know what? I knew that as soon as I started talking about income that I would see an increase in people sending me these emails. We’re all attracted to success and when we see someone having success, we just want a piece of whatever they got going on.
But you’re not helping yourself.
I can tell you with 100% certainty that finding someone else’s site or reverse engineering an broker listing has never helped me grow my sites.
And you should know, if you’re looking for my sites by searching for my name then you’re finding a bunch of sites that I’ve worked on for clients. I’ve been doing outreach for other people off and on for like two years or so now.
But real talk – you really should already know that I do outreach for clients, because I’ve mentioned it here on this very blog multiple times.
You’ll also find some sites that I sold years ago; back before I started blogging here and actually used my name on all my sites. Cause the buyers of those old sites just left my name up on the site instead of changing it. 🤷
If you use those sites as a guide for creating your site, then you will fail because I don’t build sites like that these days cause they just don’t work like they used to.
I don’t want you to fail.
I started blogging here about my success to help other people have that same level of success. But if you want to spend your time searching for my sites because you think that will help you succeed, then go ahead.
And when you proudly send me what you found, asking for confirmation, then I’ll reply with the same message that I sent the last person…and every person before this one. (also, do any of who you do this use real email addresses?! it’s almost like you know even asking is a dick thing to do)
Not a single person who I’ve sent this reply to has taken me up on my offer to reflect on what’s keeping them from success so that I can help them get on the right path. Not a single one.
Update: Okay, that’s no longer true as one of the people I mentioned who emailed me last week actually responded. Just one person though.
I don’t have any super secret tips to making a successful site. Everything that I do with my sites is on this blog, my private Facebook group, and in my course.
But if you still want to go on that quest to possibly discover some of my sites, then I have one thing to ask of you. Please don’t send me emails asking for confirmation.
Because even though I send everyone the same response, it still takes time away from working on my sites. So, instead just assume you’re the best internet detective in the world and carry on with your day.
But if you’re stuck with your site and don’t know what to do about it, then just fucking ask for help, man. Seriously. Anyone who has emailed me for help can tell you that I reply with fucking novels of information.
I’m not trying to guard some secret formula from you. Just fucking ask.
I like helping people succeed. And I will answer your questions and give you tips by email….even if it takes me a few days to get around to responding.
But if you’re going to need more intensive help that will be hella time consuming, then I may have to tell you to go through my course first or pay me for an hour of consulting. Cause I only have so much time in the day, and even though I enjoy helping and teaching people, I do need to spend some of that time on my own shit.
And if you’ve read this far, then let me remind you that I’ve built more than one case study site in my premium Facebook group. Literally any of you can pay to join the group (assuming we’re not at the limit I’ve set) and see those sites + the new site that I’ll be sharing there later this year (and you’ll have access to me basically all the time).
So, get to work getting that roadblock outta your way. Cause we’ve got less than 6 months until the Christmas shopping season you gotta get your sites ranked and ready!
Hey, I’m Shawna. I make a living working from my laptop in places like London, Sydney, Dubai, Rome, Oslo, Bangkok, Las Vegas, Barcelona, and Amsterdam. I share how I do some of that on this website.