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Jan Q/A Roundup
Hey it’s Opossum here! Welcome to my free monthly Q/A Roundup. Today’s post is on some of the best questions in the last month. Each week I write about a new topic or analyze a new digital business. If you’re not a subscriber, here’s what you missed this month:
First, thank you. I love seeing this project grow and help people.
Secondly, I feel like many of you are missing some context about this Substack and Twitter account. It is not designed like a normal newsletter. I’m not going to send out emails just to send out emails.
Every new subscriber should read that post to catch up on why this Substack exists. Don’t skip it. If you’ve been a subscriber, go read it before you do anything else.
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Should I build a site around this new trending topic?
I won’t say what the topic was but it was related to a really big new story that was going to have a long tail of interest for a few years.
The question that needs asked is the trend on the uphill or downhill and how long do you think the trend will realistically last.
Anybody familiar with the supplement space saw what happened to Apple Cider Vinegar over the last 10-15 years. It was a long trend that saw a long tail with a ton of demand. Plenty of market opportunity and plenty of money to be made.
The Amber Heard Johnny Depp saga saw a huge spike in demand. Once it was over, the demand died down fairly quickly.
Using these two examples, there’s some questions you need to ask yourself.
Can you monetize the niche with a product/service/affiliate? Display ads is not what you want to do.
Is there enough demand to make the monetization worth it? Read back to basics if you can’t figure this out.
Can you get in front of the traffic before it dies down? Anything newsworthy is going to have domains far stronger than yours competing in the space.
Is the interest in the topic sustainable?
If it stays around, does it have long tail keywords that you can rank for? If not, can you build social media following around it to drive traffic?
If all of these aren’t a resounding yes, then it’s likely best to stay away.
There’s always exceptions though. You could make short term money selling Amber Heard meme T-shirts I’m sure.
Do you have any tips and tricks about Indexing on Google? It’s taking forever. 3 days and counting.
Google hates you. That’s actually the real answer.
The more complicated answer is that Google doesn’t trust you and/or your content is bad.
Did you submit them to Google search console? If not do that first. And again and again every week.
Make sure you have your sitemap updated in search console.
That’s all you really can do until you build up trust. How do you build up trust?
Create better content
Create more content
Get more links (internal & external)
Get more brand searches
This is basic SEO 101 stuff but it’s all you can do and all you should focus on. If you’re having an indexing problem, your site is new and you shouldn’t be spending time on these minor problems. You should be spending time building the authority and trust in Google’s eyes.
What are some good resources for setting up the legal and tax side of my business? (I'm in the United States btw) How do I pay myself and run a business where I'm the only employee? Any other tips or advice?
I’ve touched on this topic in “When to Setup Your Biz Entity” but one thing I hammer repeatedly in the post is to get an accountant. Pay them $500 to talk to them for a few hours and answer all of your questions. A small business accountant may not know *all* of the legal stuff that a lawyer will know but they’ll know enough to get you off the ground.
They won’t know all of the legal loopholes but they’re dealing with tens or hundreds of small businesses a year. You’re likely not more “special” then their current clients.
It’s been my experience that if you actually need a lawyer for your business/entity work, you have enough money to pay for a lawyer’s advice. If you don’t have the money to pay a lawyer, then you likely don’t need one and you’re overcomplicating everything.
Does this website constitute an affiliate website?
For those that don’t know what Uncrate is, it’s a buyers guide for upper income men. They curate products from around the internet to show to their selected niche. Their niche of customers comes directly to them as they’ve built up an 18 year relationship with their audience.
The site has at least 2M visitors a month and an unknown amount of app users.
Uncrate is an awesome example of a website/app that doesn’t follow the typical monetization method of most sites. If you look closely at the links to outside sites and the inner links, you can figure it out.
I don’t know if Uncrate actually caries any inventory to be considered traditional ecom but here’s the monetization methods that I can easily spot.
Note: My company was once in talks with Uncrate to have some product on their website.
Drop Shipping - If you look at this link and add to cart, the user thinks that uncrate is carrying the inventory. That’s probably not the case. It’s likely a drop shipping model coming from all of their suppliers.
Affiliate - This is actually debatable as I don’t know what deal was struck between the brands. It’s not always as simple as ripping affiliate links and placing it in copy like it is for smaller sites. If you go to this link and click on “Buy from James Allen”, look at the URL parameters of the landing page. Also look at the link redirect trace between the two sites. That’s your hint that it’s affiliate.
However, it could just be tracking links for reporting purposes and they have a private placement deal instead.
Private Placement - This is where it gets complicated. Two brands can create whatever deal they want.
$30k to be on the site in a certain way without a revenue share
$20k to be on the site with a 4% revenue share
$25k to be on the site with a 0% revenue share until $50k in sales are attributed and then 5% after that
$10k to be on the site with a $20k kicker if there’s more than 1k clicks
There’s a lot of different ways to structure a deal. I doubt there’s a revenue share agreement between Corvette and Uncrate given the type of product and the marketing tracking difficulties.
Looking at the below link trace confirms my suspicions. The links aren’t going through a neutral 3rd party (to keep both brands honest) and Chevrolet isn’t tracking who lands on the site via URL parameters. I assume this is just a private placement with potentially a kicker. The kicker is doubtful as most brands aren’t going to trust their partner to report on the clicks.
I didn’t click through all of the links on the site or sign up for their email list. There may be other ways they’re monetizing but those look like the big 3.
Starting my Wifi money journey with local consulting (copywriting & email marketing). Is it necessary to have a location for the SMB listing?
There’s two things to unpack here. The first is with those skills, you don’t need to stay local in today’s age. If you do decide to stay local, then the answer is more nuanced.
Yes and no. Not necessary to have an exact address listed but you want to narrow it down to an service area. Remember local seo is all about local... You'll have to tell Google your location but you can set it to not show it.
The problem arises when building local citations. You want to build up trust with Google that you’re a real local business. You won't have an address to build citations to…
This is mostly an issue in the beginning. Once you get enough domain authority, you can say your service area is whatever you want. This is why you see so many marketing agencies pop in in a city where they have no real presence in.
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Your boss and company, no matter how nice, doesn’t care about your future. Nobody outside of a few family members and select friends care about your growth and your future.
You are the only one that can save yourself and make your life what you want it.
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Disclaimer: Nothing written here should be construed as legal for financial advice of any kind. These are opinions and observations, written by an anonymous cartoon Opossum, built up over years working in e-commerce & affiliate marketing.