Regular readers of John Chow dot Com know about the plethora of resources and tips on this site. I have been a fan of John’s since the beginning and I am happy to say I have gotten to know him on a personal level the past two years as well. While John is known as “the blogger who makes money online by telling people how he makes money online,” I am known as the blogger who “makes money online by eating hot dogs online.” Another big fan of John’s is Kirk Taylor, in fact, Kirk and I met through John. We were both Gold Pass recipients in John’s Affiliate Summit contest for ASW 2011. We have kept an open channel of online correspondence over the past two years and this year, at Affiliate Summit West 2012, we solidified our friendship and became business partners.
Both Kirk and I have entrepreneurial backgrounds, albeit in different industries, but we share the passion of the pursuit. We both like creating things out of nothing to create a business. After Affiliate Summit, Kirk started a website called The Shark Tank Blog. He noticed that posts about the Shark Tank TV show were getting a lot of page views and commentary on his personal site, so he spun it into a site based solely on the show. The site grew at a rapid pace due to the show’s growing popularity and Kirk’s relentless SEO work in the WordPress platform. Before long, he realized he needed some help to keep the site moving forward, so he reached out to me.
Now both Kirk and I have similar skill sets. We can both build a WordPress site, SEO it up and create content, but within those skill sets are different levels of skill. Kirk is a whiz at SEO and I am a prolific writer. We realized that these are complementary skills for creating a high traffic website, so we decided to team up and go into business together with The Shark Tank Blog being our first joint venture. The site has blown up. We have upgraded our server capacity twice in a month due to the traffic spikes on show nights. We are ranking “above the fold” for many keywords- sometimes even higher than the ABC site about the show.
Teaming up with another blogger with complementary skills is a good formula for success, particularly if you need to build a site out quickly. Some people will outsource portions of building out a site, but we didn’t need to because we have all the skills needed to be successful between the two of us. My typical day working on the Shark Tank Blog has me writing two to four posts a day, interviewing people who have appeared on the show, soliciting advertising sales, and assisting Kirk with SEO duties. Kirk spends his day mired in Meta descriptions and code while writing the occasional post and double checking the SEO on my posts prior to publication. There is a synergy here that is working.
Other bloggers can learn from this. I know how hard it is to do everything for a website; it is an overwhelming task at times (especially when you consider I run about a dozen sites). Often times, the lack of time can lead to undone tasks which can ultimately cost you in traffic, readership, and MONEY. Once a site’s income justifies outsourcing, then you can take some burden off yourself, but up until that point, it’s comforting to know you have back-up.
I also know about leveraging traditional media as a means for boosting traffic. As the lines between traditional media (i.e. TV, Newspapers) blur in the online world, it has become more common for traditional media to reach out to “expert” bloggers for material and partnerships. While we don’t have a partnership with ABC, we do, in a sense, partner with the entrepreneurs who appear on the show. We give them a platform to speak to fans and a channel to get their marketing message out. What more targeted place to get a marketing message to people who are fans of Shark Tank than a fan blog- especially a fan blog that ranks high for the keywords the entrepreneurs are trying to rank for?
I am a firm believer in spending as little as possible to get a website going, so having a like minded business partner is a fantastic way to grow a business. Through working together the past two months, Kirk and I have come up with other online projects we are embarking on. The success of our initial project together insures we will be able to hire people to assist with the build out of new sites.
So if you are struggling with “putting it all together” while building your online empire, you may want to consider teaming up with another blogger with complementary skills. You never know where you will find new team members either; it could even be in the comments section of JohnChow.com!
Rob Merlino is the Hotdogman and Kirk Taylor is The Serial Entrepreneur. They have started a business together creating niche sites and building websites for small businesses. They “met” on John Chow dot Com!