Sometimes I give quite bad advice. And the reason is that not everything applies to everyone. One of the bigger flaws in the advice that I give is that I am quite ambitious. And thus when I enter a market I try to come up with ideas that will eventually allow me to get a dominate long-term self reinforcing position. Endless Ambition:
I try to rank sites for queries like SEO, Forex, and other exceptionally competitive markets. And then I have worked with some of the largest sites on the web, which further reinforces that line of dominate big markets thinking. And as my income has increased it is also quite easy for me to have a value system which is quite inaccurate when compared with people new to the web trying to dig into a market (just like I was a couple years ago).
For example of my overly broad ambitions, a person might have a site about car engines, and on occasion I may respond with something overtly ambitious like these are the keys to dominating the automotive vertical.
The reason it is so hard to give SEO advice are:
- the rules are ever-shifting, people read and believe old content, and many sources intentionally publish misinformation
- many people take everything literally
- many established authorities trade on inflated income levels based on past reputation, and some likely are not even competent in the current market
- in an industry where most lack credibility one of the quickest and easiest ways to try to build authority is to call out an established authority as being wrong
- controversy breeds links and authorities, even if it is created under a false pretense
- business risk profiles, brand strength, financial and technical resources, and competition levels are vastly different from company to company and market to market
Doing Well is an Iterative Process:
Sometimes I give that dominate a broad market type of advice to other people, but many people who are new are just trying to carve out a niche, so they can quite their job and then reinvest into the web. And when you are doing many things at once you are rarely going to be able to start off with a near perfect market position. I still have my earliest websites, but relative to this one they were all failures, but eventually they led me to create this one (and other profitable sites).
Most Markets Are Easier:
I recently gave a friend some advice, and then after I did a bit of in depth market analysis, I realized that my advice was garbage, and that they did not need to do ALL (or even most) of the things I suggested. Their market is low hanging fruit. In many markets doing this or this is really all you need to do, as long as you establish a bit of trust right out of the gate. Part of the reason that seemingly expensive SEO services may be worthwhile is that you don't just get answers, but answers that are tailored to your business, website, market, brand, and resources.
Most businesses (and most markets) are not well integrated into the web. That is part of the reason someone who is actively involved in discussions about the web can easily dominate their vertical in search. If a bath tub website gets link love from popular blogs because the owner speaks at webmaster conferences then he has a distinct advantage over competing sites, especially because those links will be hard to replicate.
Instant Success, Just Add Blog!
After a person writes a blog for years it is easy to assume that blog juice is the answer to everything, but it really depends on what you are good at. Many leading blogs are only leading blogs due to market timing, and only keep their position by selling white lies.
It also didn't hurt me that blogs work well as a marketing tool for those in controversial topics which rapidly change (like SEO).
The Bias of Self Preservation:
Unless you are a whack job nobody wants to feel like they are a bad force. Any source of advice, business, or topical authority is typically going to biased toward the goal of self preservation. With that in mind, many bloggers will keep blogging long after they no longer have anything original to say, and will error on the side of making the importance of their trade (or blogging in general) far more important and complex than they are. Especially if their goal is to sell a how to information product that is sold as a way to make sense of the space.
A Lack of Traditional Business Costs:
Another error or bias in advice that I give is that I still have almost no traditional offline business experience. Being in the military does not count because it is so dysfunctional, and other than that I only had one middle level management job for about 8 months before jumping on the web. I create partnerships, but have no employees or product costs, so it does not hurt me much if I take far bigger risks than other people do because my lifestyle and business are fairly immune to huge cycles in my level of exposure or income. I have roughly the same amount of work to do with this site each day weather I sell 0 or 25 ebooks.
A Lack of Respect for Most Self-Imposed Authority:
After hating living on a submarine and then working 70 hours a week as a middle level manager I grew to hate authority and traditional jobs at a young age. Watching things like The Money Masters and Manufacturing Consent, reading authors like George Orwell, and books like A Thousand Years of Nonlinear History have made me highly suspicious of authority.
In some ways some of my biggest weaknesses may also be strengths, depending on your perspective. But, what other common biases / flaws / errors do you see in the advice I give or logic I use to dispense it? What do I do that you really like? What do I do that you really hate?
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