Focus on Content and Readability to Make Money Online

Your income strategy should never come at the expense of well-written content and its readability.

Focus on Content and Readability to Make Money Online
Photo by Michał Mancewicz / Unsplash

Many thoughts have been stewing around in my head for the last few weeks. Most notably what's driving recent anomalous web traffic to my site. Then I remembered I'd seen this before and it's all good news. What's driving this traffic? It's hard to prove this very moment as the metrics are still being collected but if past performance is an indicator of future success then my site is starting to catch on.

While it will be a few months before I know the real reason, I can look back at what I did differently and what my motives were. Simply put, I focused on writing good content that's readable. My motive? Share this readable content with you as a way to make money online. Yes, I've turned my blog into another experiment, one where I try to make lightning strike twice. You see, this blog has made me more money than I could ever imagine offline because of the content I once wrote.

Back in 2014, I went to work for RapidMiner as a Sales Engineer, which opened up the doors to a lucrative and financially rewarding career. This all happened because I took the time to learn something new and share tutorials about what I had learned. That led to introductions with the Founders and ultimately a position when they got VC money and moved to Boston. I've been living the gilded life ever since.

Since 2014 I've learned a helluva lot, not just in the AI Startup space but in running online marketing, sales, and controlling your message. I got to see what works and what doesn't work in a fast-paced environment. I've learned how to use code and infrastructure to build products or use them for competitive research

What Works Best For Startups
An important lesson I’ve learned while working at a Startup is to do more of what works and jettison what doesn’t work, quickly.

All in all, I had to spend sleepless nights toiling away, waking up on airport floors because my flights were canceled, and turning my hair from brown to gray, so I could get back here where it all started and learn to make money online...again.

Here are two big things that you should focus on or avoid as you start your own journey of turning your website into a goldmine.

Over-optimized SEO sucks

I despise over-optimized SEO-written articles. Don't get me wrong, SEO has its place and it is valuable but it drives me up the wall when it's written just to game Google. You can tell the moment a website loads!

Here's an example. Let's say I'm interested in finding the best chocolate chip cookie recipe. I plug that search term into Google and I get a bunch of results. I might click on the first or second result and it leads me to a webpage.

The first thing I notice is that it's all over the place visually. I can't find the recipe itself, it's buried somewhere on the page, forcing me to hunt for it. Then there are three to four paragraphs that make no sense. They have section names like "Preparing to make the best chocolate chip cookie recipe" or "Sourcing ingredients to make the best chocolate chip cookie recipe."

The entire article is written in a way to uses the focus word of "best chocolate chip cookie recipe" in superfluous paragraphs all over the page.

I’ve Given up on SEO in The Age of GPT
Your authenticity can never be replicated by a large language model (LLM), no matter how many parameters it was trained on.

In other words, SEO content writers just wrote 1,000 words of confusing garbage when only 100 would suffice, just to game Google. If you were to ask me, those days are coming to an end because of GPT. Google already knows how much SEO GPT-generated garbage is being created and they'll change their algorithm to favor better content than over-optimized SEO-written junk.

Focus on Content & Readability

I shared my SEO pet peeve with you because it's important and has financial consequences. Your goal should be to focus on writing top-notch content first and then focus on putting it on a website that's clean, easy to navigate, and ultimately easy to read.

If you're writing recipes, make it easy for people to click through to find your recipe. Instead of writing several paragraphs that repeat the focus keyword over and over again, add a comment or rating section. I've always believed that the status of your website is confirmed and enhanced by the comments and ratings of your readers and users. Building a community should be a goal of yours.

What about this SEO stuff and making money online? Shouldn't that be a goal too? Of course! I have nothing against writing content with SEO in mind. In fact, you should organize your content in a way that enhances it and its readability. SEO should be a goal but never the goal in my opinion. Likewise, your income strategy, whether it's through display ads, affiliates, or targeted email campaigns should never come at the expense of well-written content and its readability. I hate display-type ads that are dropped all over a page, it feels slimy! However, there's nothing wrong with a few well-placed ads that don't detract from reading an awesome article.

In summary and distilled down to five listicle tips:

  1. When in doubt, focus on brevity and clarity. Don't write 1,000 words when 100 will do
  2. Think about how the reader wants to consume your information. Make it easy for them to find it
  3. Build a community, include comments and/or a rating section to allow for feedback
  4. You can focus on SEO as long as it doesn't detract from the content and its readability
  5. Make sure your income strategy doesn't conflict with the content and it's readability

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