What industry is your company apart of?
I’m an ex-startup owner turned webmaster. I was the founder of an online marketing agency focusing on difficult niches (payday loans, gambling, Forex, Viagra etc..) .
But now I’m making a living from my websites (5 different websites, one domain, 5 different niches) and closed shop. Here is my complete bio.
I own and operate the world’s number one gambling blog (just type in “gambling blog” in Google, my blog should come up on top).
It’s quite well known in the online gambling space.
What void does your company aim to fit in the industry? What gap in the market are you serving?
I’m focusing on difficult niches and as stated in my mission statement – ,which can be found on my homepage -:
“I create and manage successful blogs in difficult niches.
I do not use spammy marketing techniques.
All of my blogs are dedicated to responsibility, safety and I’m committed to providing genuinely useful information to my visitors.
I’m not just talking about this like most websites but I’m actually really committed.
Let me show you!
Here are two examples illustrating my commitment to bringing impartial, useful information for you even at the cost of blog monetization.”
The examples can be read on the homepage.
How does your company stand out from competitors in the industry?
I’m doing it 100% ethically.
For example – from my mission statement, example 2 -:
“If you type in Google “legal highs” I’m on first page (Google UK , US).
Unlike other blogs I got to first page not by spamming half the internet, but by providing useful information for my visitors and by continuously improving user experience. (The legal high guide is 20 000 words long and took about 400 hours to complete. )
I’m probably the only legal high blog, which is dedicated to safe and responsible legal high use and education.
I’m totally against research chemicals (also known as designer drugs, bath salts etc…) and I warn my visitors about them.”
What challenges/threats does your industry currently face?
Online marketing is one of the fastest changing industry.
What worked last week might not work today.
It’s a constant struggle to just to keep yourself updated.
And if you wish to be successful you have to be ahead of the curve, which is quite hard to do.
It’s a daily struggle.
How have you overcome these challenges?
I constantly experiment with new online marketing techniques and I constantly improve my websites.
Some of the guides on my websites are over 10 000 words and took more than 100 hours to create.
I constantly improve user experience and create content, which is useful for my visitors (e.g: calculators, polls, discount code aggregators, infographics etc…)
It’s a lot of work but that’s the only way to do it.
What trends are you currently seeing in your space?
There are less spammers now than when I started.
People are putting more effort into improving their websites and simply spamming forums or blog comment sections is not enough.
“Black hat” online marketing tactics are not working anymore.
Not even in difficult niches.
Where do you see your industry heading in the next few years?
Black hat marketing tactics will not work anymore at all. And slowly people will realize this and won1t even try.
This will hopefully improve the reputation of blogs dealing with difficult topics.
And hopefully this will put a stop to the barrage of negativity from the mainstream media aimed at us.
What have been the most prolific innovations or advances in the industry in the last few years?
For me, as a webmaster, the biggest innovation is the advancement in technical SEO and the incorporation of structured data (Schema.org) and HTML markup in the search results.
As for the niches I focus on, there has been a lot going on, too much to list here.
Mainstream media makes no difference between research chemicals – which are very dangerous ad people are rightfully scared about them – and ethnobotanicals, natural psychoactive herbs used by people for thousands of years.
So, when politicians, who don’t know better – and frankly just don’t care – ban legal highs in a country, then they ban everything.
These blanket bans make everything really complicated for average people.
Also all the half-truths and confusion – and outright lies – perpetuated by the mainstream media does not help.
This is just one example, there is always a lot going on in these difficult niches.
Is there a specific person or company that has been an influence on your career in this industry?
Mathew Inman from Oatmeal.com.
He inspired me to quit my day job and take control of my life and start my own company.
What do you aim to achieve with your company over the coming year?
My websites are very niche-specific. Only people, who are interested in that particular niche visit them.
Therefore, it is very hard to increase traffic.
My goal is to finally get over 100 K unique visitors per month before the end of the year.
Right now it’s 70 – 80 K/month.
It is not impossible but it will be a lot of work.
How do you think your company will change and influence your industry over the coming year?
I want each of my blogs to be recognized as authority blogs in their respective niches.
Right now only my gambling blog and legal high blog are recognized as authority blogs.
However, becoming an authority and an expert in five separate niches is a lot work.
Getting recognized as an authority in each niche will take a lot of time. But that’s the goal.
What advice can you give to newcomers to your industry, or the startup space in general?
Don’t quit your job to focus on your website unless you already make a significant amount of money with it.
One website won’t be enough to make enough money to support yourself. If you are thinking about making a living from your websites you need more than one successful website.
Thank you for the opportunity,
Simon’s Blog Park