Your web content will be derivative and boring, unless…

key to original contentMillions of new content pages are published online each day. Most of them are derivative and boring.

How come? Several reasons. But perhaps the biggest reason is that the environment of marketing online demands that we keep publishing new posts and new pages, at an ever-increasing rate. And photos. And videos. And slide shows.

If we don’t keep publishing, we look like we’re falling behind our competitors.

Plus, Google has made is clear that it likes “fresh’ content. And social media is driven by what’s new, and what’s happening now.

New, new, new. Publish, publish, publish.

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The topic for your own money-making website is right there in your head.

money making website ideas in your headAs you may know, outside of my regular work I also have a hobby website about coffee. It’s called

This is a site I started 7 years ago, and I’m still adding to it and improving it today. How come? Because I’m a huge coffee lover and enjoy writing about it and helping people brew a better cup of gourmet coffee at home.

Another reason to enjoy writing my site is that it has become a second source of income for me and my family. Best of all, it’s pretty much passive income, through ads and affiliate partnerships. I don’t have to sell or ship anything. I just have to keep writing and adding great content to the site, which I enjoy doing.

Anyway, a few years after starting the site I decided to share what I had learned with other people by writing a program which explains, step by step, how to write your own money-making website.

Over a thousand people have now taken the program, and hundreds of new websites have been published. And some of those sites are now coming close to or even exceeding the income I make from my coffee site.

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An easy way to improve every page of copy you write.

easy copywriting secretWouldn’t it be nice if there was just one easy way to improve every single page of copy you wrote, regardless of the product or service you were trying to sell?

It turns out there is.

It works for homepages and sales pages. It also works for emails and newsletters. Product pages. Shopping carts. White Papers. Radio. TV. Direct mail. Whatever.

It works whether you are selling weight-loss products or industrial fasteners. It works whether you are selling vacations or dental services.

Best of all, it’s incredibly easy to include this “secret” in everything you write.

I’m not saying this little trick is all you need to know about copywriting. Nor am I saying its use will cure bad copy.

But it will help.

Here it is…

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Monday Spark: Why working is like sleeping [VIDEO]

deep sleep deep workWorking is like sleeping? Absolutely.

I wish I could take credit for the insight, but I can’t. This is one of the observations shared by Jason Fried in the video below.

Incidentally, Jason is one of the people I really pay attention to when thinking about business. He is one of the founders of He is also the co-author of Rework, one of my favorite business books. And he is the co-author of a second book, Remote: Office Not Required, which I have pre-ordered and is slated for publication later this year.

In the video he makes a number of points about getting work done. But the point I want to share with you is the one he makes about comparing sleep to work.

When you nod off, you don’t instantly arrive in a state of deep, blissful, restorative sleep. You move through different stages of sleep. And to get to the really good part, you have to move through the parts that precede it. And as Jason points out, if you wake up several times during the night, for whatever reason, you can’t immediately get back to that place of deep restorative sleep. You have to go down through all the stages again.

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When quality content serves no purpose at all.

rubbish web contentWhen the topic of web content comes up, whether I am talking with a solopreneur or someone at a large company, I ask a simple question: “What is its purpose?”

Right now everyone seems to be focusing on the quality of content. I get that. Quality content is good for your readers, and good for increasingly picky search engines.

In particular, quality content builds reputation and trust.

However, we still need to come back to the question of purpose.

Let’s look at this at the page level and at the strategic level.

What is the purpose of that individual page?

Yes, you want to wow and impress your readers. You want to entertain, surprise or educate them. No cut and paste. No boring stuff. Each page of content you publish needs to add to your reputation.

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Monday Spark: You don’t have to start at the bottom.

bottom of the ladderLast week I was speaking at an event in Austin, Texas, and had a chance to talk with dozens of freelancers at various stages of their careers.

I was particularly interested by what I heard from those people who had high-level, professional careers behind them and were now on the verge of starting a freelance business.

Here is the part that got me thinking. Several of those people seemed to assume that they had to get started on the bottom rung of the ladder as a freelancer. It’s as if a switch in careers somehow required that they start over and look only for low-paying, low-challenge projects.

Well, I don’t think that is necessary.

If you have some solid business experience behind you, why not start closer to the top?

OK, so you don’t yet have a ton of experience as a freelance writer or copywriter. So your first client probably won’t be with a sophisticated direct-response company that is used to working with A-level copywriters.

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