Going From ZERO To Popularity – Real Examples

When your blog is already highly trusted by Google and has over 50,000 subscribers, it would seem that anything you say is instantly popular. For example, Shoemoney had free internet marketing guides, as does John Chow– and anything they put out immediately gets a ton of traffic. But what if you’re starting from zero? It’s a catch-22.

Consider the case of Keith Wilcox, a stay at home dad turned professional blogger just two months ago. He had zero experience blogging before, doesn’t have programming experience, but does know a lot about parenting, home schooling his kids, and fitness.

Consider Velina Lujan, a Boulder massage therapist whose business was struggling, after suffering a yellow pages rip-off. She put her site on wordpress, too, wrote articles, and started driving traffic.

Here are the steps they both followed– brand new to blogging– to start getting enough traffic to make a living. Not a crazy, superaffiliate lifestyle, but one that a normal person could sustain– one that is possible for you, too!

Are you following these simple steps that they did?

  • wordpress logoThey put up a wordpress site, which takes all of 5 minutes to do. Go to wordpress.org or use one of the many free or almost free hosting sites that can one-click install your blog. We don’t have to go into all the reasons why wordpress is great for SEO– it just works.
  • They wrote about a topic they know DEEPLY— in this case, parenting issues and how to do a great massage. Keith put up Hooked on Phonics video reviews, as he is good in front of a camera, while Velina wrote articles on Boulder elder care. If you don’t like to write, but enjoy making videos– do that. If you prefer doing podcasts, ditto. Just start creating great content about something you are passionate about, since odds are that it will be expert content that others will want to read and share with friends.
  • They connected with similar users: Most bloggers stop at the above and wonder why they don’t get traffic. Keith spent days assembling the Top 115 daddy bloggers on the web and attracted attention from those site owners. He developed relationships with these folks– and started exchanging posts between each other. Those guest posts back and forth demonstrated to Google that he was a trustworthy site, like the ones that he friended. If you aren’t connected to these other guys, Google will think you’re a spammer.
  • SatelliteTeaserThey began reaching out socially: Velina tied in her Facebook profile and added 157 friends. Granted, she doesn’t have thousands of friends, but the ones that are there are good quality and drive traffic to her site– especially clients that are repeat customers. She also started doing some Facebook advertising, setting up geo-targeted campaigns– and this was much more effective than traditional Google AdWords PPC, which is quite expensive in the United States.
  • They did not SPAM: Meaning no fake content, no paid links, no cloaking– just good old fashioned networking combined with solid information. The results grow over time and you build great reputation with the search engines and human users.

Sounds like magic? You’d be surprised (or maybe not) how many people WISH that they could be successful, but don’t actually take steps to do it.

How much effort does it take?

  • big-cap-vs-small-capFor a niche that is low in competition— such as for the term “unnecessary baby products“– 100 blog posts should be enough to start to get you traffic– so that’s just one blog post a day for 100 days, and each blog post will take you only 15 minutes. Can you do that?
  • For a moderately competitive niche, maybe “alaska garage sales“, you need perhaps 1,000 posts to get to rank on the first page of Google or Yahoo!.
  • For a term like free ringtones, that’s ultra hard– you might need 10,000 or 100,000 posts and links to be competitive. That’s the area where social media, linkbaiting campaigns, and large teams come into play.

But if you’re just one person and you don’t need more than a couple hundred dollars a day, winning on low competition terms– to dominate your small niche– should be more than fine. I wish you the best fortune on your blogging journey!

This post was guest blog by Dennis Yu.

72 thoughts on “Going From ZERO To Popularity – Real Examples”

  1. Dan says:

    Zero to hero seems to be the dream of all affiliate marketers just getting started in the game, I think though that too many people are giving it the all or nothing approach. If they can’t be a super affiliate earning millions, why bother.

    There’s always room to scale, but when you’re hitting $1000 a day and you’re not happy, just look at how far you’ve come (usually from zero) and you should need no further inspiration.

    1. Kalvster says:

      Reaching 1000 a day is really good already… lots of people try but never make it. By the way, did my comment just get deleted?

      1. Dan says:

        I don’t think so =P

        I’m aiming for $100 a day, setting a realistic goal is really important in my mind. Sure I’d love to be hitting $1000 a day in a year or so, but if I set that goal now it’s just going to feel like I’ll never hit it!

        Hmm I feel a blog post coming on..

        1. Lee Ka Hoong says:

          Dan, I agree with you, set a goal which is easier to be achieved and then set higher later. Otherwise you’ll just quit because you can’t even achieve the first goal if you set it too high.

          1. Benjamin Cip says:

            Someone can become a popular internet marketer without being the best. I have found some skilled internet marketers that aren’t very popular.. I think it also happen with actor, there are some very skilled actor that aren’t very popular because of bad exposure etc…

            I personally learnt a lot of thing about affiliate marketing, mental control, persuasion engeenering, but it doesn’t mean people knows me etc.

    2. $1,000 a day is my goal. I’ve hit it several times, but just not on a consistent basis.

      1. $1000 a day is pretty awesome. What plans do you have inplace to try hitting that on a more regular basis?

      2. Marco says:

        LOL I have a hard time believing this one coming from someone that has the same picture yet uses spammy keywords as a comment name.

        1. Weight Loss & Diet must rank as some of the most competitive keywords out there, so I feel that you should cut the man some slack, he is trying very hard, Marco!

  2. Wow, I love how the first guys “site” mekeliki.com is now mysteriously redirecting to Dennis Yu’s own local marketing firm website. Coincidence.. probably not.

    1. Yea, what’s up with that link. Where’s the Dad blog?

    2. I would like to see that blog as well…

      1. Yea, I’d like to see what the Dad blog looks like. Why is it redirecting?

  3. A very well written article!

    People are opening make money blogs when they don’t have a clue how to make money online

    Instead of blogging about making money, why don’t you blog about something you know well? Even if it is a small niche like guitar or piano, the ones who love guitar or piano will surely find you out!

    1. Benjamin Cip says:

      With all the informations about making money online available on the internet, I suppose those who are opening website about making money online already took inspiration into these site.

      1. Lee Ka Hoong says:

        Absolutely, that was what I was doing in the past and I got to know that making money online blog doesn’t really making money, perhaps other niche blog is doing well than MMO niche.

  4. The Don says:

    Not bad work by Dennis yu hes just as evil as John Chow

    One free guest post with 15+ links to his local seo clients 😀

    1. Lee Ka Hoong says:

      lol! As long as the link is relevant to the post and it’s helpful. Also, as long as John don’t ignore it, haha!

      1. Well if John is happy with that than who is going to issue an objection …

        Yes these links are do follow as well 🙂

        1. Lee Ka Hoong says:

          You’re right, all depend on John, John is the owner of this blog and he decides all the thing. 🙂

    2. You ought to read Shoemoney’s latest post! Really…

  5. Donny Gamble says:

    The hardest part about blogging is actually starting a new blog and getting traffic to your blog. You have to realize that your blog will not make you famous over night and it takes time to build quality backlinks and traffic to your blog. You must treat it like a business if you are trying to make money off of your blog. Once you begin adding valuable content to your blog, people will start to eventually start reading it and reaching out to you.

    1. Benjamin Cip says:

      You can make it becomes famous if you believe in what you are doing. You also need to know your stuff perfectly… Imagine you are not a surgeon, and you are going to oprate a patient because you believe you can do it, it will be very dangerous for your patient! What I mean is that you need to know well about what you do, otherwise people will notice it, and it will put your reputation under the line.

  6. Kevin Pasco says:

    I really enjoyed this post actually. Makes me feel more focused on where I want to be with my blog.

    Thanks Dennis!

    1. Benjamin Cip says:

      That’s a very well written post that is meant to encourage people and make them visit your blog to generate traffic…. “feed the hungry” with information they need.

  7. Zhu Zhu Pets says:

    I agree with what you wrote but you can make headway in the right niche with a lot less effort than 100 posts. We were number 1 for a major halloween keyword with only 8 pages…it works

    1. That is pretty impressive going Zhu Zhu. General consensus is that you should have a minimum of 100 pages worth of content in order to be effective, so doing it with 8 pages is truly impressive! Best of luck with your future endeavours!

  8. Lee Ka Hoong says:

    The link “Hooked on Phonics video reviews” that points to mekiliki leading to a 404 error page, please take note John.

  9. I do agree that for a competitive niche you’ll need more content and you’ll have to update your blog more often. But many bloggers say that as a startup 20 posts are enough and then you should use most of your time promoting.

    1. Benjamin Cip says:

      Hire people to do that work for you is much better 😉

      1. This is not the cup of tea for everyone … outsourcing and managing is also an art … if you do not know this than people will rob you.

    2. Lee Ka Hoong says:

      Spend some money and outsource your work, you can see how fast you can achieve it. Now I learned the power of outsourcing, and investment is important to get thing started fast and smooth.

  10. zero to here story always give big motivation for me.

    1. Benjamin Cip says:

      That’s a cinderilla-method to drive more traffic to your blog. Write a compelling success story about yourself, show some proof like your alexa rank, earnings etc, and you’ll become a hero. If he can do it, why not you?

      1. In this case let other people to talk about you … that will be more impressive and diplomatic.

  11. Hi John,

    After meeting you at blogword expo 2008 and the Market Leverage Dinner, I started seven blogs. Dieting, Skincare, Weightloss, Guitars, HubPages, Mesothelioma and iPods.

    Never could drive much traffic to anything but my “The Way To Success” blog on blogspot.

    I filled this space with stories of meeting and photos of you, shoemoney, Chris Brogan, Darren Riouse, Guy Kawasaki (on my avatar / gravatar!), and countless ads and Twitter-grader etc ratings and stuff. I have Chris Brogan calling me a rockstar, and Jonathan Volk saying that I am famous for a mashable front page Tweet I was exampled on.

    I still have only $20.00 to show for one and one half years efforts, so I guess not everyone is cut out to succeed at on-line marketing.

    Oh, I have made $2.77 twice on spontwts, Sponsored Tweets. Maybe with enough time I can retire on my SponTweets?

    Blogging cannot be the sole way to make money, what is required is mucho cash and PPC ads until something ‘catches fire’.


    Nicholas Chase
    Frustrated Blogger

    1. Benjamin Cip says:

      I don’t realy agree with that, you should keep blogging. You will get credibility only after at least, 1 years of blogging effort.

      If you show people you are struggling to make money, why would they trust you? You will only show them a weak person who will give up if he doesn’t see any results.

      I didn’t get much results in my first blogging months, and recently got a lot of traffic and generate some good money. I finally decided to create a membership site, including social media network, traffic exchange and forums.

      I have learnt everything I need to know about affiliate marketing, now all I want to do is sharing my knowledge with like-minded people.

      I believe you can succeed, you just don’t know how to market yourself. Ask John some advice about it.

    2. Get some backlinks, that’s probably your problem.

  12. Marcus says:

    I appreciate the article. I am still pretty new to the beast that is online marketing, and it is sometimes counter-intuitive to think of targeting a small niche. Thoughts of “Well, who would be interested in THAT?!?!” run through my head. However, there typically ARE people that are interested, and I will do far better there than the big niche spaces like ringtones, travel, weightloss, etc. I can’t come close to competing with the big boys. Not yet, anyway. Baby steps.

  13. It’s very true that many people want to succeed and they know their goals very well,but they never get to do what it takes to succeed.
    The traffic part is the greatest challenge to most marketers but you have put it very well that you need to take time away from your blog and connect with other bloggers. I just didn’t imagine that sometimes it would have to be as large as 115
    Kevin Njoroge

  14. neelmoney says:

    Really this will help me in case when I would get block with the situation like, what to do and what to not.

  15. Correct Dennis, it is easier to get successful in a narrow niche then in a wider topic, but I wouldn’t spend to much time with social traffic, what you really want is the traffic the search engines bring, that are the visitors that look for a solution to their problem and this problem solution often includes a buy 😉 SY

  16. Flek says:

    Yes, it is very competing now a days. Some times even good number of posts can’t help us getting good SERPs. It seems we need good number of links too.

    Great post. Very helpful. 🙂

  17. fas says:

    It tskeas time. yOU CANT BE NUMBER 1 IN ONE DAY!

  18. John Paul says:

    It’s funny, they say your first $100 online is your hardest. Once you learn that you can just repeat it.

    Great post.

    1. Lee Ka Hoong says:

      Once you know how to earn your $100 from online, then you will repeat the step and earn the second $100. Doing this repeatedly doesn’t really make you big money, you need to repeat the steps, at the same time, you figure out new way and improve your steps.

  19. Diabetis says:

    Social interacting is the key for everything.

  20. Just follow the basic rules and thumb rules and you will be able to get this position after continue hard work.

    Yes within 6 months people will start noticing you and will appreciate your work as well, if you keep a route which is progressive.

  21. Agung says:

    Very difficult to reach popularity. But don’t give up to posting everyday. More much we posting more growing our blogs SEO.
    Just do it what do you love to do. Me, I like to exploring the beautyness Bali

  22. Yea…it really isn’t hard for the motivated.


  23. Never give up! Continue writing more articles everyday with the help of google trends. That’s what I do.

    So far, I usually get on average 500 unique visits and 1,000 page views on a daily basis.

  24. videostar says:

    Getting $100 a day would suit me well! That does not mean I want to stay on that level for ever.

  25. Lester says:

    1000$ a day…wow..It seems like an impossible goal to reach for a person who just writes and shares things with others….hope to reach that goal one day with your posts. thank you john

  26. Funny about the Yellow Pages rip-off. The Yellow pages are dead why would anyone buy an ad in the phone book these days?

  27. Magaly says:

    So John made it up to the top with only 5783 posts so far. So it shouldn´t be so very hard to get there, let me calculate…

    Hm ok that are 15,843 posts a day and you´ll be there in just one year! Great I´ll start over now, let´s see where it will end!

    Is there Anybody who wants to join the competition?

  28. Great post, John. One of my article went to CNET and Lifehacker a few days ago. I’d never expect that to ever happen – it’s like from zero to hero in 2 years.

    If you are passionate about your topic, it will show and it will pay off 🙂

  29. Its not that hard to gain popularity but in other words you can say not too easy. All you can do is hard work for getting popularity from zero.

  30. Tom Howell says:

    It is all about passion and having that drive to where you want to go. Everything else will follow.

  31. gmarko says:

    It would seem that you could consider yourself successful, if you could replace your everyday job income, and just live off the profit created by any sidebusiness you put work into.

  32. Oh man. I sure hope Dennis paid a good chunk of money. John’s rep is plummeting for being associated with this scum bag.

    1. John Chow says:

      Dennis paid nothing. This post was posted before Shoe made his post. Whatever problem shoe and Dennis has is between them. This was a guest post submitted by Dennis and was treated as such.

      1. Paul B says:

        With followed redirected URLs back to his own site. Nice touch. There is no law against removing a post you know.

        1. Well if the Guest post have good tips and can help others than this should be published.

          But nice to see that date of this post is prior to Jeremy’s 4000 words post.

          1. Paul B says:

            But it doesn’t have good tips, it goes over some old ground again and then he makes up some figures about how many posts you need to rank for certain phrases (here’s a good tip, 1 GREAT post can rank for any phrase). It’s a nonsense guest post designed for the sole purpose of getting a followed link from John Chow via the sneaky bastard route of a 301 redirection.

            Rant over.

  33. Bored says:

    It is plainly clear that the post, although it had merit, was a setup. Numerous people mentioned to this blog’s owner that the links are dead and it seems to be an underhanded traffic scam.

    But the blog site owner did nothing…hmmmm! I have quickly realized that although this blog has some very good info, you better sift through with a mighty big bag of salt
    Its all so cleverly done…a learning experience in itself if you want to deal in backhanded methods

  34. Grok says:

    I really need to get back to reading this blog more. It’s a great resource and pretty inspiring.

    It’s no wonder you’ve been so successful John. Thanks for the good stuff 🙂

  35. Dean Saliba says:

    I think some of these tips might be of use tome in my attempt at driving traffic to my blogs. I’ll give them a go.

  36. Kajanova says:

    Thanks for the tips. I just started a blog a few days ago and I’m hoping for some success. I started it on blogger though.. do you think I should have went with wordpress?

  37. Ignacio Neil says:

    Reaching 1000 every day seems good. People try to set higher goals and are not able to reach them. They should instead aim for something that can be easily targeted.

  38. videostar says:

    $1000 a day will satisfy me perfectly well.

  39. hey,

    One of my site get’s around 1000 visitors daily purely from google. I am on the first page for 5-6 main keywords. Although, I have never thought of building a list and increase my subscribers. Is it a good practice? I really don’t see any returning visitors.

    Also, people do try to get 1000 people a day but they don’t achieve it. I think the main reason is that they concentrate less on the content and more on the backlinks. They are not balancing the whole thing which adversely effects the site.

  40. chester says:

    Nice, I’m definitely not going to write a blog on free ringtones.

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