In the book Lean Startup by Eric Ries, the core principle expressed is to create an MVP and test your ideas. This is done in a few manners, and one that I like to utilize before jumping into any venture is a SWOT analysis. Here is a super-fast way to create an effective SWOT analysis and MVP.
What Is a S.W.O.T. Analysis
S.W.O.T. is an abbreviation standing for
It is a simple mechanism best described by Jared Dun in the hit T.V Show Silicon Valley
S.W.O.T Analysis Example
Let’s use an example of a new side project that I’ve started creating, This Unicorn Life.
The purpose of this website is:
- Create outlandish content that makes me laugh and spreads positivity (The world sucks and sometimes we need to smile)
- Push myself to create content that generates a ton of organic traffic in an open niche
- Test new revenue streams and create profitability
- Have fun. (this one is really important for my own mental health
The “Unicorn” niche isn’t really one that I would deem as highly profitable. At most I would relegate it to an information website that could possibly sell affiliate items off amazon. Typically this type of content is relegated to the mom blogger category talking about cute unicorn cupcakes and stuff like that.
To make this a profitable venture I’m determined to keep my start-up cost low while I rapidly prototype and test various revenue streams.
The potential revenue streams I see are:
- Affiliate marketing
The majority of sites that focus on this content are old websites that are not mobile responsive, are not updated frequently and have low domain/page authority. They are not run by marketers or entrepreneurs but typically “mom bloggers.”
The challenge I see with these three revenue streams is I’ll need a lot of website traffic to make it profitable. Additionally, there are not “high authority” websites that would point to or focus on this subject. Generating links and domain authority will be difficult and any high purchase intent keywords are locked in by Amazon.
The positive is that according to my basic understanding of SEO there are a lot of long-tail keywords that can generate some traffic. Additionally, there is no authority on Unicorns and as such, I can create whatever the hell I want. The market can decide if that content is superior.
One of the few ways to generate backlinks, an audience, and for this to be an overall success is to be vocal and share the process. This leaves the ability of copycats to come in and move faster.
Creating an MVP
I created a magazine-style WordPress site with a theme that I already have the license to. This, in essence, cost me nothing but a day of setting up.
From there, some basic SEO research I was able to find a couple of keywords that I felt I could grab easily. Even with a DA/PA of 0, I feel like these keywords may allow me to get some initial traffic. I grabbed as many social media handles I could to squat on while I set everything up.
My first goal would be to create content and see if I could rank competitively with my content. I set a goal that if a few articles could generate 500 hits per month and rank competitively I’d put more effort into this project.
I created 3 blog articles and 1 manifesto with 4 unique keywords
I created a page/manifesto on How To Be A Unicorn. This has page has two purposes, I wanted to test to see if pages ranked better then posts and I wanted to start creating a movement. My hopes aren’t high but I wanted to see if people would go to the page itself.
After creating this content I waited…. Scratch that, I forgot that I even did this for like a year. Life kinda got me busy.
The Results of the MVP
Last week I checked back in and got the inspiration to continue. These are my results:
Website Traffic: Almost 500 Unique Hits 400+ of which are from SEO
- What does it mean to be a Unicorn generating 270 hits
- Types of Unicorn generating 131 hits
- Origin of Unicorn roughly 50 hits
My Google Webmasters tools showcased that I generated 1.24k total link clicks in 3 months and I’m averaging in 8.5 positions on the search engine.
Digging deeper, I see that on some keywords I’m averaging as high as 1.5 on the search engine.
My domain authority according to Moz is a 10 and my page authority is a 7 on my main page. (Not huge but not terrible)
This is with no internally linking, link building, or anything. This means that I am able to rank for niche longtail keywords and start generating domain and page authority.
But, these analytics don’t showcase just sunshine and rainbows there are a couple of key things they highlight. One of which is my insanely high bounce rate. This could be because I failed to keep the theme updated and a simple fix but this could also indicate content not being of quality.
Something to keep watch over in the months ahead.
Next Steps and Goals
With my initial goal of 500 unique hits and proving that there is the potential. I now need to look at the next steps, set goals, and build a team. The first would be to start creating merchandise and affiliate sales while keeping costs low. This may not net a huge ROI due to low traffic volume, the idea would be to just start giving myself some cash flow.
There are a number of service providers for print on demand shirts. I’ll be running with Teespring as they cover all upfront costs but do take a huge portion of the proceeds.
I’ll also be signing up as an Amazon affiliate, I may need to do this a few times as I’ve heard that it takes months to get your first few sales from Amazon and will likely have to recreate Amazon affiliate accounts.
Additionally, I will need to start creating a lot more content. My new goal is now to hit 10,000 unique hits.
To do this effectively I’ve hired on a creative writer who will be focusing on generating creative content for high traffic keywords. The first article is on Unicorn Poop. Weird I know but there is a decent amount of traffic for this term.
I’ve used fiverr.com to run a basic SEO report. My total upfront costs between setting up the business idea are under $500. My monthly expenses will be under $100. Therefore my goal would be to create $1000 in revenue in the next 5 months to break even.
In no way do I think I know everything, and I’d love to hear your feedback or any big areas I could improve. I also hope this piece illuminates my thought process as I build this project out. Love to know your thoughts.