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WEB/DIGITAL Is It Late Or Stupid To Start A Blog In 2021?

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eTox

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Long story short, I've thought of ways I could exploit my family and realized my mom is passionate about cooking. She's able to create a lot of recipes and take some decent photos. The problem is: she's got no English even though she is in Canada for 10 years or more.

That's where I step in and a food recipe blog.

From my research, realized that the vast majority of bloggers are pushing traffic from Pinterest. Especially in the food niche. It's not uncommon to get to 100k monthly sessions within a year if you push some decent amount of content and have a solid traffic acquisition strategy in place. With AdThrive providing ~$25 revenue per thousand impressions and the ability to create custom products I could see how a blog could monetize at $60 RPM with free traffic in just under 2 years.

The question is:

Who's in the blogging space and can pitch in their honest thoughts of starting a blog in 2021?
 

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Who's in the blogging space and can pitch in their honest thoughts of starting a blog in 2021?

I would think a YT vlog would be better -- people would rather WATCH than READ.
 

Andy Black

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I've thought of ways I could exploit my family
I had to chuckle at this turn of phrase.

I'm probably going to start a blog this month or next. I’ll run ads to it and have companion guides people can download in exchange for their email address. It may work. I’ll only find out if I try.

Or were you asking if it’s possible to get organic visitors from Google or other sources if you create regular content on a website?
 

Ben Taylor

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I had to chuckle at this turn of phrase.

I'm probably going to start a blog this month or next. I’ll run ads to it and have companion guides people can download in exchange for their email address. It may work. I’ll only find out if I try.

Or were you asking if it’s possible to get organic visitors from Google or other sources if you create regular content on a website?
I'm obviously not the OP but I'm curious about the answer to the question you posed regarding organic traffic...?
 
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MTF

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I would think a YT vlog would be better -- people would rather WATCH than READ.

As a person tired of the world shifting to audio and video content only, I'm very happy when I find high-quality blogs that are text-based, ideally with solid long form content.

But yeah, most people would rather watch than read (which is sad, but that's another topic). I'd say that those who prefer to read are usually into more intellectual stuff, though, so only certain topics right now would work better in text than audio/video. For example, a blog on philosophy or science makes sense; a blog on fashion or music not really.
 

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As a person tired of the world shifting to audio and video content only, I'm very happy when I find high-quality blogs that are text-based, ideally with solid long form content.

But yeah, most people would rather watch than read (which is sad, but that's another topic). I'd say that those who prefer to read are usually into more intellectual stuff, though, so only certain topics right now would work better in text than audio/video. For example, a blog on philosophy or science makes sense; a blog on fashion or music not really.

I second this. Like you said, the majority would rather watch, but there's usually so much more meat in text and the ability to draw your own conclusions. I can't be bothered to use YouTube much these days besides as a way to empower my existing activity, like coffee shop background noise or jazz while working, or epic / rap music while working out. Every click risks sliding down a rabbit hole, and with likely trillions of clicks of data, they seem to know just how to get you.
 

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Written content has its place, as does audio and video.

I find a lot of videos have too much fluff. I might be hunting for one tip and the video is padded out to over 10 minutes and I don’t know where the tip is. It’s easier to skim written content.
 

Andy Black

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Oh, and people in this forum prefer reading to watching or listening. I suspect it’s the same in Facebook groups too. It’s much quicker to consume when reading, and it’s a lower (perceived?) initial commitment to start reading something.
 

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form vs essence

You're asking the wrong question.

You should ask "are people interested enough in this thing to read about it in a blog?"

Interesting content is never out of style.
 

WJK

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I had to chuckle at this turn of phrase.

I'm probably going to start a blog this month or next. I’ll run ads to it and have companion guides people can download in exchange for their email address. It may work. I’ll only find out if I try.

Or were you asking if it’s possible to get organic visitors from Google or other sources if you create regular content on a website?
I started a blog a couple of years ago. I just didn't have the time to keep it up. I had a lot of fun doing my own art for my posts. But, I found that posting once a week turned into an unpaid job. I was running to keep up -- which soaked all the fun out of it. So, in February, next month, the host wants big bucks for this coming year. I told them that I don't intend to renew. It's one of the casualties of my downsizing quest for my life.
 

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As a person tired of the world shifting to audio and video content only, I'm very happy when I find high-quality blogs that are text-based, ideally with solid long form content.

But yeah, most people would rather watch than read (which is sad, but that's another topic). I'd say that those who prefer to read are usually into more intellectual stuff, though, so only certain topics right now would work better in text than audio/video. For example, a blog on philosophy or science makes sense; a blog on fashion or music not really.
The Farnam Street blog shows you can create a wonderful text-only blog and monetize it but only if the quality is top-notch. In the same category : Brain Pickings
 

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Cooking websites are great for recipes, but unless they're coming from a big website (e.g. bbc good food piggy backs off the bbc website), they all seem to have two pages of irritating stories about the recipe, before you get to the recipe. I assume this is some way to game algorithms on google.

Anyway.

If you can offer something better than the competition, people will want it. If your mums recipes leave people thinking "wow that was awesome" then yeah, some sort of cooking website could work out.

But exactly how you make it work... that will take some trial and error.
 

Andy Black

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I started a blog a couple of years ago. I just didn't have the time to keep it up. I had a lot of fun doing my own art for my posts. But, I found that posting once a week turned into an unpaid job. I was running to keep up -- which soaked all the fun out of it. So, in February, next month, the host wants big bucks for this coming year. I told them that I don't intend to renew. It's one of the casualties of my downsizing quest for my life.
Yeah, that wouldn’t appeal to me. I’ll create a blog to house content I’ve already written in forums, Facebook groups, etc.
 

WJK

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Yeah, that wouldn’t appeal to me. I creating a blog to house content I’ve already written in forums, Facebook groups, etc.
Yelp, I've been saving my forum content. I'm not much into FB. But, I've just never gotten back to putting it on the blog pages. I've spent last year saving my little corner of the world -- or at least watching the sky fall around me. I'm in the RE business and we have these "crash" seasons in regular cycles. I never guessed it would be in the form of a worldwide, bio-weapon type of virus attack!
 

Andy Black

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Cooking websites are great for recipes, but unless they're coming from a big website (e.g. bbc good food piggy backs off the bbc website), they all seem to have two pages of irritating stories about the recipe, before you get to the recipe. I assume this is some way to game algorithms on google.

Anyway.

If you can offer something better than the competition, people will want it. If your mums recipes leave people thinking "wow that was awesome" then yeah, some sort of cooking website could work out.

But exactly how you make it work... that will take some trial and error.
There’s massive long tail search volume on Google for recipes...
 

j0elsuf

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Isn't asking this question a massive action fake?

To me, if you're asking, then the answer is yes.

That's because asking that question almost sets you up for failure since you secretly want it to fail so you can just add it to their excuses to just call everything a scam while they continue to fail at life.

I mean, it's both late and stupid to make anything if you just speculate and mentally masturbate about it, no?
 

Thinh

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Long story short, I've thought of ways I could exploit my family and realized my mom is passionate about cooking. She's able to create a lot of recipes and take some decent photos. The problem is: she's got no English even though she is in Canada for 10 years or more.

That's where I step in and a food recipe blog.

From my research, realized that the vast majority of bloggers are pushing traffic from Pinterest. Especially in the food niche. It's not uncommon to get to 100k monthly sessions within a year if you push some decent amount of content and have a solid traffic acquisition strategy in place. With AdThrive providing ~$25 revenue per thousand impressions and the ability to create custom products I could see how a blog could monetize at $60 RPM with free traffic in just under 2 years.

The question is:

Who's in the blogging space and can pitch in their honest thoughts of starting a blog in 2021?

What's the goal?
Is it to share cool stuff and help others out?
To raise brand awareness?
To make money?
 

eTox

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I decided to look into this blogging thing.

My mom loves to cook but she doesn't have any English. So I looked into the food recipe blog niche.

It turns out that it's almost impossible for an average joe to rank on google with that. After digging around and finding different blogs I saw that even with an English actor and good quality production your typical food recipe videos on YouTube don't get much traction at all. Obviously, because you search for these and the results you get are the popular results. The videos that do well are some pretty faces with clickbait titles related to current trendy niches. So YouTube and Google search are a dead-end for us.

How I categorize our ability:

1. I can write decent food recipe posts. Not the best because I won't go into details with all different variations and shit. So there's not much value I can offer. We aren't content writers and probably won't be.

2. We can have decent photos. We aren't photographers, so the photos will be decent good because we've got a DSLR and found some nice ways to compose the shots for them to look good.

3. We're never going to push video content. Mom doesn't have English. No one is a great speaker. The kitchen looks like shit.

If you think about it: then what can you offer? Just another average recipe blog? I guess...

How do recipe blogs get traffic?

It's no surprise that 95% of traffic to these blogs come from Pinterest.

Pinterest is perfect for this. The pins that look great and the creators that publish 50+ of them per day and have 300+ recipes in a specific niche do quite fine. Some blogs that I've researched are capable of achieving 100k+ sessions per month. However, you have to note that the traffic they get is from 2017-2019 data. Pinterest back then was less crowded than today.

The problem with Pinterest

Food bloggers seem to be these moms that were into blogging for several years. Most migrated from wix sites and the likes. They have hundreds of recipes that were written on enthusiasm. To me it seems that because they have so much content that they then took to promote through Pinterest in 2018, 2019 has paid them off because they didn't have to start from scratch at all. They just pushed thousands of pins on to the platform. There's volume.

Once they've made it to 100k or so sessions, they realized it's not scalable at all.

If you do your research you realize that the earnings are thus:

1. <3% are Amazon affiliate commissions.
2. 10% are either sponsored posts or photoshoots for other people
3. 85%+ is ad revenue.

The bloggers that are doing more money are the ones that are selling "How to make 10k/mo from food blog in a year through Pinterest".

No wonder that's where the bulk of their revenue comes from.

Advertising networks

Are prone to the seasonality of course. Large swings from Q1 to Q4 in monetization.

1. Google Adsense - pays trash to US traffic $2-4 at best
2. Mediavine - pays $10-20 on US traffic. What's interesting is it has raised it's minimum monthly sessions requirement from 25k to 50k (I wonder why lol)
3. AdThrive - pays the most $15-30 for US traffic. Has a minimum of 100k monthly visitors requirement.

Now let's look at the numbers.

From my analysis on average blogs need 300+ recipes and at least 1 year to make it to 100k sessions a month through Pinterest (traffic acquired from start of 2018-2019 meaning it's probably much more competitive now)

You work your a$$ of creating average (in our case) recipes and hope that you can pull off 300 in a year (possible). Then you assume that the Pinterest landscape hasn't changed much and you can actually achieve (100k mark).

At 100k a month with average $20 revenue per thousand impressions on AdThrive you can get $2k mo on average.

Let's say we get "luck" or something like that and do this for 2 years. We have 200-300k sessions and monetize at around $6k mo. Let's say we launch some ebooks and get another $6k from that (optimistic lol). Now you're making $12k for two people that have worked full time for 2 years.

This shit is just stupid.

It requires so much effort from two people working full time producing mediocre content and average at best competing with thousands other wanna be moms out there. WTF?

The verdict

Unless you can be exceptional:

1. Produce quality videos on YouTube related to trendy diets with clickbait content
2. Create courses, diet plans, or cook books for them
3. Push recipes and articles to your blog

Then it's worth doing it. At this point the herd is following you for your persona and will eat any "quality" shit you throw at them.

In our case. The idea is stupid at worst and mediocre at best.

Prove me wrong.
 

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Prove me wrong.
Why?

You've simply proven @j0elsuf right. You started this thread so people could talk you out of it and instead talked yourself out of it.

Are you already making $12k/month between 2 people? Do you have a way to make that if you don't already make that? You've laid out a whole 2-year plan.

2 years will pass whether you start or not.
 

MTF

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I've always thought that out of all the blog niches, food recipes is one of the most difficult there is.

Being a food blogger is a full-time job for a low pay. Writing a recipe post alone probably takes up to a few hours, and you need hundreds of them for your blog to be "respected."

But writing the recipe is just one thing. There's also tons of shopping, prep work, cleaning, trying different stuff, aesthetics (I can cook good food, but making it look nice is SUPER hard), photography, photo editing, responding to comments (and there are usually tons of them), etc.

I wouldn't go into this niche unless you were 100% obsessed about food and you'd do it for free anyway.
 

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eTox

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I decided to look into this blogging thing.

My mom loves to cook but she doesn't have any English. So I looked into the food recipe blog niche.

It turns out that it's almost impossible for an average joe to rank on google with that. After digging around and finding different blogs I saw that even with an English actor and good quality production your typical food recipe videos on YouTube don't get much traction at all. Obviously, because you search for these and the results you get are the popular results. The videos that do well are some pretty faces with clickbait titles related to current trendy niches. So YouTube and Google search are a dead-end for us.

How I categorize our ability:

1. I can write decent food recipe posts. Not the best because I won't go into details with all different variations and shit. So there's not much value I can offer. We aren't content writers and probably won't be.

2. We can have decent photos. We aren't photographers, so the photos will be decent good because we've got a DSLR and found some nice ways to compose the shots for them to look good.

3. We're never going to push video content. Mom doesn't have English. No one is a great speaker. The kitchen looks like shit.

If you think about it: then what can you offer? Just another average recipe blog? I guess...

How do recipe blogs get traffic?

It's no surprise that 95% of traffic to these blogs come from Pinterest.

Pinterest is perfect for this. The pins that look great and the creators that publish 50+ of them per day and have 300+ recipes in a specific niche do quite fine. Some blogs that I've researched are capable of achieving 100k+ sessions per month. However, you have to note that the traffic they get is from 2017-2019 data. Pinterest back then was less crowded than today.

The problem with Pinterest

Food bloggers seem to be these moms that were into blogging for several years. Most migrated from wix sites and the likes. They have hundreds of recipes that were written on enthusiasm. To me it seems that because they have so much content that they then took to promote through Pinterest in 2018, 2019 has paid them off because they didn't have to start from scratch at all. They just pushed thousands of pins on to the platform. There's volume.

Once they've made it to 100k or so sessions, they realized it's not scalable at all.

If you do your research you realize that the earnings are thus:

1. <3% are Amazon affiliate commissions.
2. 10% are either sponsored posts or photoshoots for other people
3. 85%+ is ad revenue.

The bloggers that are doing more money are the ones that are selling "How to make 10k/mo from food blog in a year through Pinterest".

No wonder that's where the bulk of their revenue comes from.

Advertising networks

Are prone to the seasonality of course. Large swings from Q1 to Q4 in monetization.

1. Google Adsense - pays trash to US traffic $2-4 at best
2. Mediavine - pays $10-20 on US traffic. What's interesting is it has raised it's minimum monthly sessions requirement from 25k to 50k (I wonder why lol)
3. AdThrive - pays the most $15-30 for US traffic. Has a minimum of 100k monthly visitors requirement.

Now let's look at the numbers.

From my analysis on average blogs need 300+ recipes and at least 1 year to make it to 100k sessions a month through Pinterest (traffic acquired from start of 2018-2019 meaning it's probably much more competitive now)

You work your a$$ of creating average (in our case) recipes and hope that you can pull off 300 in a year (possible). Then you assume that the Pinterest landscape hasn't changed much and you can actually achieve (100k mark).

At 100k a month with average $20 revenue per thousand impressions on AdThrive you can get $2k mo on average.

Let's say we get "luck" or something like that and do this for 2 years. We have 200-300k sessions and monetize at around $6k mo. Let's say we launch some ebooks and get another $6k from that (optimistic lol). Now you're making $12k for two people that have worked full time for 2 years.

This shit is just stupid.

It requires so much effort from two people working full time producing mediocre content and average at best competing with thousands other wanna be moms out there. WTF?

The verdict

Unless you can be exceptional:

1. Produce quality videos on YouTube related to trendy diets with clickbait content
2. Create courses, diet plans, or cook books for them
3. Push recipes and articles to your blog

Then it's worth doing it. At this point the herd is following you for your persona and will eat any "quality" shit you throw at them.

In our case. The idea is stupid at worst and mediocre at best.

Prove me wrong.

Now since I've started doing this blog and did the due diligence required, the hate speech isn't with regards to the strategy, nor it's implementation.

No matter what the time required and the output is more or less going to be what is expected.

If I automate the system as much as possible, teach my mom to do research, write posts and work with Pinterest, then from her standpoint it makes absolute sense.

I think it's achievable.

Understanding that it's in the context of me putting in the time and effort to build a "dead-end" blog is rather stupid and ignorant because I am exposed to other options such as creating brands with physical products (custom or generic doesn't matter). The ability to leverage paid traffic sources is what makes this strategy for two people stupid.

I've started it as a thought experiment because I'm strapped sitting without cash at the moment. The f*cking province is on lockdown and I'm also too lazy to learn another skill and do some client work.

I know that for me it's a no go. As a result of this I learned that I could rather utilize Pinterest to run free traffic to a trendy jewelry store on Shopify dropshipped from Aliexpress and make those $500/mo this month without waiting a year or two and working your a$$ off. Yeah it's not sustainable, but who gives a f*ck if your initial goal is to learn and get the traction going.

For my mom, the strategy outlined is perfect. All she needs to do is learn the processes, follow through and her passion for this blog will itself in a year or two. She can and will do it. I just need to teach the process and automate most of it.

She only needs $1.5k a month to cover all of her expenses here in Canada while living in a nice apartment and eating + dressing well (she's blessed, really). So this will be magical for her.

For me, I have to move on.
 

eTox

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I've always thought that out of all the blog niches, food recipes is one of the most difficult there is.

Being a food blogger is a full-time job for a low pay. Writing a recipe post alone probably takes up to a few hours, and you need hundreds of them for your blog to be "respected."

But writing the recipe is just one thing. There's also tons of shopping, prep work, cleaning, trying different stuff, aesthetics (I can cook good food, but making it look nice is SUPER hard), photography, photo editing, responding to comments (and there are usually tons of them), etc.

I wouldn't go into this niche unless you were 100% obsessed about food and you'd do it for free anyway.

That's perfect for my mom because she loves cooking and is amazing at this. One other thing she possesses: is determination. If that woman wants something she'll get it lol.

She wants to sell her desserts through Instagram because "others do it" while I'm really skeptical about selling a $25 dessert with $5 ingredients and 2-hour commitment, she wants to do it. I'd rather channel her into this venture, which she is already super hyped up about and churning recipes like clockwork.

For her, the only thing she needs is to learn to write blog posts properly and follow through the process we are doing.

About the things required

You are right, it takes her around 4-5 hours per recipe in total. It takes another 3-4 hours to have the content produced and scheduled on Pinterest.

However, with food recipes, there is only so many out there. Because most are just variations of the same thing, this becomes easier. Take muffins for example: blueberry, chocolate chip, carrot, etc... same shit from different angle. What's different? 1 ingredient. So that shaves off a lot of time. Most content and ingredients can be reused. It scales.

The beauty is if you push out 300 recipes, you're guaranteed with Pinterest automation to get around 50-100k sessions monthly. Spin this off to 1,000 recipes in 2 years with the passion and dedication that she has and her life turns from living almost in poverty on 2k months to earning anything above that. Even 3k for her is gold. Think about saving an extra 1k a month lol.

For other wannabes: think about your mom too.

Maybe you have a mom that's passionate about something and needs little from life. Work out the process for her too. It ain't that difficult. You won't change your life, but you'll have the ability to change hers.
 

Thinh

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From my analysis on average blogs need 300+ recipes and at least 1 year to make it to 100k sessions a month through Pinterest (traffic acquired from start of 2018-2019 meaning it's probably much more competitive now)

You work your a$$ of creating average (in our case) recipes and hope that you can pull off 300 in a year (possible). Then you assume that the Pinterest landscape hasn't changed much and you can actually achieve (100k mark).

At 100k a month with average $20 revenue per thousand impressions on AdThrive you can get $2k mo on average.

Let's say we get "luck" or something like that and do this for 2 years. We have 200-300k sessions and monetize at around $6k mo. Let's say we launch some ebooks and get another $6k from that (optimistic lol). Now you're making $12k for two people that have worked full time for 2 years.
These numbers are not optimistic, they're borderline delusional.
Unless you know someone famous, or influencers, or already own a bunch of high-ranking websites from which you can send link juice, it's going to be extremely hard to reach 100k sessions per month in just a year.

So I understand you're doing it for the money anyway. Well you're 100% right. Starting a blog to make money is plain stupid.
 

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Alright, since I've started this mess, I might as well turn it into a progress thread lol.

The Goal​


Create thousands of recipes across different cuisines and diets. Simple and easy to follow. Lot's of pictures and simple to consume information.

Subgoal: reach 100k monthly sessions by end of 2021. How? Publish 300 recipes (1 every day). Execute traffic acquisition strategy through Pinterest automation.

What I've Done​


I researched.

I looked into how these blogs monetize. Ran the numbers. I have a spreadsheet outlining different paths and scenarios this blog can take in terms of traffic and monetization.

There was much more research going on in this, but before you commit to anything you'd rather fail in your mind by learning from what's available than to naively pursue a venture for the next 3 years to only realize you were a dumbass (personal experience, cough...)

I've launched the blog.

I looked into the best hosting solutions and how to craft a blog so that it wouldn't suck. The primary goal was to make it lightning fast because the number one issue with websites is the falloff from click to a page view.

I used Cloudways to host WordPress on a dedicated server. 1GB 1CPU on DigitalOcean at $10 per month (no-contract) is much better than prepay a year ($80) for shared hosting that will be 20x slower with SiteGround or other shit providers.

I bought a cooking blog theme ($80). I'll also use the other 2/3 available license for some other projects.

I've set up the processes


1) Production

The mother cooks her recipes. Doesn't matter which ones. The goal is to optimize the process not follow a researched path. The end goal is to have every piece of content. Mom is crazy. She'll get that done in a year or two.

Therefore she does the shopping, finds the recipes, cooks them, and takes photos. She then submits the recipe with photo outlines through a group chat for me. Yeah, shit. We'll optimize the process later. For now, that's what you get with a person who's non-technical at all.

2) Content Writing

I spend 1-3 hours creating the blog post and scheduling them. This heavily depends on the recipe. Some are dead simple, other's are simple but just require more steps and writing + research.

Each post follows the same outline that I've created. Lot's of images, simple and easy descriptions. I don't care about it being a detailed recipe page because 1) we'll never rank on google. 2) we monetize through page scrolls by showing ads. Lots of images and simple text make people scroll down and earn us money.

3) Scheduling

Mom shoots lots of photos. I process them in photoshop and create pins based on researched keywords in batches of 20-30 at a time. God bless automation.

I then use Tailwind (a free one for now) to schedule pins in advance. I write UNIQUE headlines and TEXT COPY for each pin. The goal is to provide the platform ORIGINAL UNIQUE content and not to get banned. I get the impressions and clicks. They get high-quality pins with unique text and descriptions. Everybody wins (unless they pull the plug lol).

Strategy​


The goal is to reach 50k monthly sessions within 6-8 months and apply for Mediavine. I will not implement Google Adsense anytime soon. There is no point. First, you get impressions, then you monetize them. Don't chase pennies. Chase massive action.

Pinterest

Pinterest wants high-quality unique content. It doesn't mind if you spam it (first warm it up) with content at 30-50 pins per day (safe limits). These numbers come from research.

If you're playing with fire and have 0 control over your fate you have to be safe and give more than you take.

The plan is to push 5 pins on the free Tailwind account to warm up the Pinterest account. Then the goal is to push 25 pins within a month and get up to speed with 50 soon after.

You have to be careful. Pinterest wants unique content. That means each pin is posted only once! No repins. To a single board. Each pin design is "unique-ish". Meaning different text or different image layouts. Not only is the hash different, but the design is too.

Remember, you are always playing with fire. Abide by the rules. They take 1 click to f*ck you over. Imagine writing 1000 recipes and relying 100% on Pinterest and doing black hat shit with them?

Automation

Use the official software. Tailwind is one of them. Use their guidelines. Follow the rules. Be active on the platform and don't do stupid shit.

For now, I'm manually creating designs and batch processing. Later I'll play with their "creator" tool. And see how that goes.

Also, I'm writing articles manually. Once we see some good numbers coming, then I'll set up a more rigid process for content creation. I'll outsource the writing and the publishing to a V.A. For now, the goal is to prove that we can get to 50k and start monetizing.

Final Thoughts.​


As others have pointed out. Whether it's a good or bad idea as long as there is a potential outcome that could happen then it's worth it. It's only whether you do it or don't. I believe it's worth a shot.

Worst case? I spend the time and fail again. Lol. Beat me naked with a whip and feed me shit. I couldn't care less at this point. The numbers and source prove it's possible. It's up to me to validate the idea and make it happen. I'm already 8/300 articles in for this project.
 

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