And that was the year I began writing my Coffee Detective website.
I knew pretty much the same amount about gourmet coffee as anyone else, and filled in the numerous gaps in my knowledge by reading a few books and studying the sites of real experts.
Takeaway #1: When you get started writing a hobby website of your own, you don’t have to be an in-depth expert.
Of course, things are different now. Seven years later, and after writing hundreds of pages on the topic of coffee, I now really do know a lot, and can hold my own in conversation with any coffee professional you might care to pick.
And now for the money part.
I launched my site with revenue in mind. I wanted it to be a money-making website. I added Google Adsense ads, affiliate links and so on. And the revenue began to flow. In fact, after the first year, the income from my coffee site began to make a real difference to my household finances.
That felt pretty good. I loved the fact that I could write on a topic that was interesting me more and more, and make some passive income at the same time.
Then something unexpected happened. After the first few years I began to focus less on the money and more on the pleasure of sharing interesting and useful information.
That isn’t to say that I didn’t want or need the money, or that it stopped flowing. Far from it. The revenue continued to grow. But my motivation was no longer fueled simply by the desire to creating content that would make me money. I spent less time finding keywords that might attract readers who were ready to buy high-ticket items.
Instead, I focused more and more on creating quality pages and videos that would be truly interesting to my visitors.
In a sense, the deeper I went into my subject, the more interested I became.
That felt good. In our connected world we are all in the habit of dipping our toes into the water, learning a little bit about a lot of things. We have superficial knowledge of 101 subjects. But we rarely experience the deeper pleasure and meaning of knowing a great deal about something.
Takeaway #2: When you immerse yourself in a topic and write about it regularly, you are rewarded with a deep level of knowledge and expertise. It feels good to know a lot about a subject that interests you.
Another huge reward, for me, is that writing my own site has hugely increased my expertise in what I do for a living…writing for the web.
As a professional online writer I have learned my craft from all kinds of sources, including books, conferences, hanging out with my peers, working with smart clients, and so on.
But nothing has taught me more than building and improving my own website about coffee over the last 7 years. When you create a site and want people to visit it, you are thrown into the deep end. You have to learn about site architecture, usability, page design, web content, social media, SEO, e-newsletter marketing, multimedia and a whole lot more.
While you are working hard to improve your site, keeping it visible through the search engines, making it visible through social media, and so on, you are learning an incredible amount.
This isn’t book learning, this is learning by doing.
As a result, when clients ask me to work on their sites, I have a much deeper and broader level of expertise than I would if I didn’t have my own topic-based website.
Takeaway #3- Writing your own money-making website gives you a depth of expertise and value that you can then sell to your clients.
If all this sounds interesting to you, check out my program, How to Write Your Own Money-Making Websites.
You can access the program right away, and then join my series of 7 weekly live training webinars beginning on June 18th.
I do the live training only two or three times a year, so if you want to kick-start your own website, get the program now, so you have time to go through it before the live training begins.