I want to talk about living in the middle in this blog post. What does that mean?
Well, this is how you should think about your blog when it relates to the competition when it relates to big businesses, small niche sites, e-commerce brands, and other competitors.
Where does your blog live? Where are you competing, and what is your strategy?
We’re going to cover a lot in this article.
The first point is pivoting. Pivoting is the opposite of pigeonholing yourself. Pivoting is testing and tweaking blog posts and updating your content strategy based on what is actually working, not on a guess or a hope or a dream that is going to work.
When it comes to living in the middle, you have to kind of conceptualize this as like who are my competitors, what is my blog, what kind of articles am I even writing?
You have to get it to that basic level when you think about your content strategy.
When it comes to blogging now, it’s not like it was in 2010. Back in 2010, many small niche sites could survive because there was just no competition and websites entering the market.
Now anything that is really competitive and that makes a lot of money is going to have both blogs in the mixed ranking on google, and it’s going to have big companies ranking in the mix on google. So you’re going up against companies, brands, and small sites.
Living in the middle is really finding the brand of you, realizing you’re not CNN, cnet, tom’s guide or Travelocity, or some major site.
There are blogs and sites like nerdwallet. Nerdwallet’s a financial blog. They probably have hundreds of employees, and they have super bowl ads crying out loud.
I’m not going to go up against them with super bowl ads. Now I might actually be able to beat them on some keywords though not all of them. But where does that blog live, where do you live>
On one hand, there are huge websites out there—major websites with hundreds of employees; CNN, cnet, nerdwallet, etc. We don’t want to go directly head-to-head with them, but you’re not a small niche site either.
I think many of you know traditional blogging courses, and blogging advice tells you to go after the low-hanging fruit, go after the long-tail keywords only and claw your way through them.
That’s not a way to create a sustainable business.
With these new startup methodologies that I’m teaching, there are ways that you can compete on a higher level. You want to elevate your ceiling. You’re not a small niche site. You are the brand of you that can cover multiple niches, not multiple broad niches but multiple sub-niches.
For example, let’s think of a really competitive niche, the best VPNs. VPN’s virtual private networks are software that you can use to hide your internet location and mask your IP address to use Netflix and other websites in different countries.
They are suitable for security and privacy. They are very wide, widely used, and widely known tools.
“Best VPNs” has 192,000 searches a month in the US and almost 400k globally. It’s got a keyword difficulty of 84; pretty tricky. The top-ranking websites for this term have a domain rating of over 70. It’s tough to rank for this.
We see that there are major technology sites like tom’s guide, cnet, TechRadar, pcmag, and there are also VPN-specific sites.
Let’s try another example from my niche. One that I found was super competitive. “Best web hosting. Web hosting has been around since there were websites.
If I’m trying to write an article on web hosting now, I’ve got many years probably to catch up on some of the top-ranking sites.
The search volumes have been stagnating over the last five to six years. It’s a very hard keyword. When we talk about riding the wave in your niche, that’s what happens.
Did we miss the wave? We probably missed the wave here. I probably totally missed it and fell in the water.
The site ranking for the term “best web hosting” are pcmag, cnet, quick sprout, TechRadar, Bluehost, a web hosting company, etc.
Again, all these websites have super competitive DRs in the 80s and 90s, URL ratings averaging out in the 40s or 50s.
This is where the big fish, the sharks, and the whales live. So pcmag, cnet, and all these technology sites have hundreds of employees. They created this article probably a decade, so why would I ever try to compete with that?
so that’s the high end of like
These websites cover everything in the area; they cover it because there are such huge websites with high domain authority. I don’t want to go head-to-head with them.
In my niche, marketing, for example, or business software, I too ride the newer wave that’s not as competitive, that’s up trending, and that they haven’t written about.
This is where the brand of you comes in. If you can outsmart the pcmag, cnet, and all these big sites by saying they’re writing about so much stuff and they’re making tons of money with these posts, but let me find mine, let me find what I can actually rank for that they haven’t even written yet.
There are still those opportunities out there, and with the right keyword research, you can find these opportunities.
Suppose I looked at it as like a big picture. In that case, there are the big major sites that kind of blanket everything and kill the huge old authoritative money-making crazy high-value keywords VPNs and web hosting or the major product categories in any niche.
For example, if it’s kitchen stuff, it’s probably like refrigerators and dishwashers. Anything that has a lot of search volume and can make a lot of money has been dominated by probably major players.
We’re not going after that because you will need to build hundreds of links to these articles to outrank the big sites.
Do I have the time? Maybe. But I only have a certain number of links, and I can get a certain amount of time, so why put it at something very competitive.
That’s on one end. We don’t want to go after the vast, insanely competitive keywords. We want to live in the middle. We want to find those areas where maybe they’re not there. On the other hand, we don’t want to live in a little niche site world.
One really low competition keyword we found is the best paintball guns. Paintball guns are pretty expensive products.
The keyword has a trending down search volume, but the websites ranking for this have very low domain ratings, and with just a little bit of link building and the right content strategies, you could outrank all these sites.
It wouldn’t be that difficult. But what happens if you named your website proprosepaintball.com or paintballer.co or getrealpaintball.com? Then that’s all that you could write about on that site. You could cover some related things, but it’s pretty much you’re the paintball guy.
Well, guess what, Even if you love paintball and love shooting kids and 12-year-olds at paintball, and you want to elevate your personal brand to be the outdoor guy.
Why not test paintball and test like outdoor survival stuff or camping or archery. There are so many other sub-niches that you could fall under, elevating yourself and living in the middle.
Because if you live in the small world and are only going after the small stuff, the niche site, and long-tail keywords, you’re going to be stuck there. These sites like getrealpaintball, paintballer they have to stick in paintball because:
- They pivot their content into a tiny area
- it limits the number of partnerships and link building
Now, it’s probably easier to rank in some of those areas quickly, but we want to elevate your blog and your personal brand to go a step above just paintball, and you can be like the outdoor guy.
It’s the brand of you. Your face is on that blog. You cover the best paintball guns, but you also cover maybe the best airsoft guns, the best outdoor survival gear, the best camping things, the best archery tailgating, etc.
You can find it over time but with the brand of you, not just a tiny niche site. You’re elevated to another level. That’s kind of what I did. I said I was in e-commerce, but I didn’t.
I’m not the e-commerce guy.com. I also tried web hosting and website builders, and these things that have been around for a really long time and were way competitive.
But I elevated myself not to be too small and in one sub-niche, which is traditional advice; go after the niches that are in the niches.
It doesn’t work, 99% of blogs are failing, and it’s because they try a small niche. It doesn’t work, and they quit. If you elevate it based on the brand of you, tying your identity to the blog, you will never quit, and this will build your brand online.
It’s that simple, and you don’t have to talk about a tiny niche. It’s not about just a single individual small niche anymore; it’s what Google thinks you’re good at. It’s the brand of you and figuring out that, yes, you can elevate it.
The domain name isn’t as important as writing good content in multiple sub-niches, getting links to it from reputable sites in those niches, and scaling up.
That’s where your blog lives; your blog lives in the middle. It’s not a major site like CNN, and it’s not a small niche site. But it would help if you found your blue ocean.
It would help if you found an area that isn’t as competitive. This area exists in any niche. Like I tried web hosting, it didn’t work; it was too competitive.
I would have to build hundreds of links to that area, but I didn’t stay small, I didn’t play small ball, I found areas that were open fields where maybe those major sites haven’t written about it yet.
I elevated my niche to be starting in technology, business software, and marketing.
I’m not going after like gardening and technology, or I’m not going after outdoor grilling and child care or something like two completely separate niches.
But you start with a broad enough niche. You look at it like cnet. What is every single category they write about? They can rank for that because their domain rating is so high.
Small niche sites rank for tiny things in a tiny market with a low domain rating. With the right content and link-building strategies, you can live in the middle because you will elevate yourself above all the other niche sites. That’s what I did.
You elevate yourself above niche sites with these new tactics and the brand of you and dominate all these smaller submarkets.
There are plenty of niche sites like online courses, podcasting, email marketing, and website building. They’re in their little niche, they’re stuck there, and I outrank all of them because I did better link building.
It’s straightforward. You can elevate yourself and live in the middle.
Finally, we want to hit home runs. We don’t want to hit butts. If you’re just going after only long-tail keywords and not doing link building and want to be that site like the paintball site, that’s okay, but you’re going to make $500 a month or something, maybe.
We want to make a thousand, five thousand to ten thousand, fifty thousand and more a month with a blog.
The only way to do that is to swing for home runs. Swing for effective home runs, maybe triples actually, because again, we’re not going after VPNs and web hosting, insanely competitive things where you missed the wave.
But we’re going after product categories that you can potentially rank for. Not long-tail keywords. Not all these versus posts and reviews and staying only in verses and reviews.
- This is because they’re tough to get links to.
- They’re not going to make as much money.
- They don’t have search volume.
All you need are a few home runs. When I think of my blog, I have 20% or so articles that are actually making good money. And maybe only 5 to 10 of those are killing it.
You don’t need every single article to work that well, but you need to swing for home runs because if you swing for a home run, you hit it 450 yards, you score a point for your team.
If you constantly bunt, your success rate might be a little bit higher, but you’re getting out at first every single time, right. There’s no point to it; it’s a lot harder.
I just want you to think of that when you’re framing where your blog lives when you’re the brand of you. The brand of your own personal identity online and thinking like a startup and building this like a business.
Your business lives in between the major sites with 100 employees and small niche sites because we don’t have 100 employees. We’re not a major brand, but we’re also not going to live in a world of thinking small.
I hope you found that helpful. That’s considered living in the middle, and it dictates your content strategy and the things you go after.
We have a ton more to cover, and please, if you haven’t yet joined that VIP list, there’s a lot of good content on. You need to think about specific things when it comes to content strategy, keyword research, link building, guest blogging, and affiliate marketing.
There’s more in-depth content there. It is free to join the VIP list.
That is what I call living in the middle, and I hope it helped you frame where your blog lives and how you can monetize it to the best of your ability. Talk to you soon.