Welcome to the first update of this journey.
I have not decided on the exact structure of these updates yet, so I am going to start by testing the simplest one - just providing information on what's been going on.
The Lab's Projects - What's Been Cooking?
At the moment, I am currently running a few different projects.
Project #1 - Automated Link Selling Sites
This is the project that I have started back in 2019.
4 years later these sites are going stronger than ever, and to this date, this has been the most successful project I pulled on my own. I count this as 1 project, but the project currently holds 5 different websites (with 3 more previously sold) that I built throughout the last 4 years.
I haven't talked much about them on the website yet, but they are likely to be part of the regular updates for the foreseeable future.
Even though I've automated about 80% of this business, I still spend considerable time on it every month. This time is divided between:
- Publishing regular link orders that come through 3 different email inboxes.
- Ensuring the websites run optimally (from the technical standpoint).
- Ensuring the websites hold and/or continue to improve their traffic numbers.
- Building additional 2 websites that are yet to make their first $.
- Executing on new improvement ideas that don't require a significant time or financial investment.
Outside of the first task, not all of these are being done every month.
But in October, I've been quite active with them since Google has been on a killing spree - launching update after update, often resulting in diminishing traffic for content-heavy websites (like the ones I built here).
The last core update rollout completed on October 19th, and luckily for me, all of my websites have traffic going steady or increasing.
However, 2 out of 3 of my sites were hit last year in one of the updates - mainly because I've gotten too lazy to keep updating and giving these websites the little love they need.
But I am now set to make this right, and get these websites back to the income I know they can have.
Last 2 weeks update
- Updating smaller technical errors on 3 of the sites.
- Updating content for new posts that are getting traction.
- Updating content for new posts that have lost some rankings.
Next 2 weeks plan
- Updating content only for the website that lost traffic.
- Creating a new KW research plan with keywords that this website can easily rank for.
- AI content generation - I am leveraging Cuppa.sh, ChatGPT and a new workflow I am developing to produce quality AI content that can rank and stay ranking.
Wins and struggles: Surviving Google updates on almost all of my websites is what I consider to be a huge success right now. I am dependent on the income coming through this venture, therefore, I need to keep these websites in a good condition.
What I am currently struggling on this project is whether to start purchasing additional websites.
We are currently experiencing a buyer's market - with the big changes in SEO happening, a lot of people are looking to sell their websites. Prices are significantly lower than what they've been a year or two back, and I could be looking at getting a good deal on a ton of websites or domains that could be used for this project.
All of that sounds like a no-brainer - but this is a serious investment for a project where I have mostly exhausted my inspiration and creativity in.
I don't feel like adding more websites in the mix is something that would get my worked up, and I'd rather spend my time elsewhere at the moment.
Project #2 - Building an Info Product - The Link Selling Playbook
Around the time I decided to start building Digital Media Lab, I also decided one of the projects that I want to do is a creation of an info product.
For an audience I am building here (subscribers) as well as followers on Twitter, I want to ensure I have a product that I can offer to them (you).
I have a considerable amount of experience and skills in SEO and marketing that I have acquired in the last 12 years of working in these fields.
I worked as a freelancer, consultant, in-agency SEO, built affiliate websites and done a whole lot in between.
I could be looking to share a lot of first-hand knowledge in all of these - but the number of good and quality info products in these areas from established brands and people already exist.
What doesn't exist is a product around building automated link selling websites - something that I have been doing successfully for the past 4 years, and that resulted in a 7-figure annual revenue YOY.
Last 2 weeks update
- Creating the content for this product - mostly text and visuals. I have written nearly 12,000 words of content that goes in-depth on how to create these websites.
Next 2 weeks plan
- Finish writing the content - my expectation is that this content won't go over 15,000 words, and I am hopeful that by the end of October I can get this finished.
- Create videos for specific sections - for some sections, I feel like written word doesn't provide enough explanation, so I am adding supplementary video content.
- Edit and publish - Hopefully, I won't spend too much time on editing. I like my first iteration to be live ASAP, gather feedback, and improve as I go.
Wins and struggles: I have never created an info product, and getting 12,000+ words out in a few weeks of time is what I call a solid win. My main struggle; I feel they suck. I have no doubt about the quality of the information that I am sharing, but I am not a writer, and I don't have any experience creating info products and explaining complex concepts to people.
I am also still figuring out how I am going to market and sell this product, and I think I may receive quite a bit of a backlash from the SEO community that tends to throw shade at people who build these websites, as well as people who tend to buy and sell links (which has been legitimate and consistent practice for a long time, get of your high horses people).
If you want to get notified about my product coming out, please subscribe to this newsletter (it's free!). For people who are on my list, I'll be offering a very hefty discount.
Project #3 - Growing Digital Media Lab
My last project at the moment is the website that you are currently on.
I've decided to start Digital Media Lab, because this is something that gets my creative juices flowing. It involves learning new things on a daily basis, testing, implementing and iterating.
It involves being vulnerable and sharing my mistakes. But it also involves sharing my wins and knowledge I gather along the way to an audience that might have a use from it.
My main goals for DML is to:
- Share my own journey of building different digital businesses - radical honesty and raw insights from what it actually takes to build a business online, while also sharing a ton of useful information that helps you execute the same.
- Share the journey of other creators and founders - Similar to Starter Story, I want to share the journey of other creators who have built digital businesses before.
- In-depth information rich guides - I've been in SEO for the last 7 years - I simply need to have a guides section designed to drive traffic from Google. \
- Tools & course reviews - Since I am a solo operator, I heavily rely on tools as well as purchasing useful information (in form of courses, info products, consultations etc.) in order to get me where I need to be faster.
In my initial post, I also set a goal of attracting:
- 10,000 email subscribers in 1 year's worth of time.
- 10,000 twitter followers in 1 year's worth of time.
I am only starting to work on these, and I have many, many things in plan - a lot which I'll be testing and sharing in future updates.
Last 2 weeks update
- Setting up this website - I've decided to use Ghost.org as a platform. It was a fairly quick and easy setup, running less than 10 pages at the moment of writing this update. I also set up Mailgun for bulk newsletter delivery to my grand audience of 3 subscribers (all 3 being my own emails that I added for testing purposes).
- Design and messaging - I went with a fairly basic design in the first iteration, and sort of a clear messaging of what the website is about. I intend to improve on both of these, but I don't want to spend too much time on it right now.
- Building a sales page for the Link Selling Playbook - I already started working on the sales page for the link selling playbook even though the product is not ready to be sold yet.
Next 2 weeks plan
- Start publishing my journey on Twitter - I intend to be a bit more granular with daily updates on Twitter than what I am doing here on the website. I also plan to make Twitter my initial traffic and subscriber driver.
- Publish my first 1 guide on the website - I already have a list of dozens or so content ideas, and I want to get going with this section of my website.
- Figure out a content plan for founders case studies - I need to create some sort of a content plan and execution for this section of my website. I don't have a clear vision or a plan here yet, but I am looking to start developing.
Wins and struggles: Having the website up and running with the technical back-end figured out, 2 productized services, and an initial draft of a sales page for my info product are my biggest wins so far.
Where I am struggling is starting to publicize my journey on Twitter. Building an audience and becoming a figure on a social media has never been my game, and I even hate certain parts of it.
I believe, however, that I can find an authentic way of building an audience on Twitter - one that feels closer to who I am.
In need of your feedback
As I am getting my toes deeper into the water on this journey, I would love to hear honest feedback - what would you like to see on the website? What don't you like about it? Are the updates too long/too short/not detailed enough?
Let me know, I am all ears (feel free to email me here as well: firstname.lastname@example.org).