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Finding Your Niche


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47 replies to this topic

#16 Jill

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Posted 24 July 2003 - 07:04 PM

I figured you had that market pretty locked up.


Me? :hehe:

I'm not an SEO copywriter. Just an SEO.

It's a wide open field with only a few that I know of who specialize in it. Of course, you'd need my nitty-gritty report and LOTS of practice!

Jill

#17 stoli

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Posted 24 July 2003 - 09:40 PM

IMO, any true expert in any field would never classify themselves as an "expert". Most successful people possess a love for what they do and that in itself drives them to PERSONALLY achieve certain goals.

As we all know success can not easily be measured. Money does not necessarily equal success. True Success is a constant changing state of mind.

Writers are their own worst critics!

#18 dragonlady7

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Posted 24 July 2003 - 11:24 PM

>my nitty-gritty report

See, that's where I got the idea that you did copywriting. :)

I've had my eye on it for a while but my day job doesn't pay nearly enough (that and me buying plane tickets for me and my boyfriend to go see his sister in California-- my first vacation ever on my own dime. Ouch!). If I'm really going to go into the biz, though, i could probably justify it.
Either that, or ask for it for my birthday. It's on my list. (I'll be two dozen in a month! That's a nice round number. Maybe people will buy me presents. Mommy?)

stoli, it's very true: the only time you stop learning things is when you're dead. :trash: (I couldn't find a smiley for dead. Sorry, honestly, i will stop with the smilies when the novelty wears off.)
But my problem is presenting myself fairly. I always think I don't know anything, so I belittle myself. Then I see what other people are doing and think "Hey, I know more than those twits", and I set out to do it. And eventually I become too overconfident, take on something I don't really know, and have to retreat. So it's not easy to classify yourself. Especially not on the Web, where so much knowledge changes so quickly and a whole day can be an eternity. There are so few accredited sources of knowledge, and those that are can often be so out of touch with the shifting realities out there in the real world...

Which is why I figure writing is a good one for me, because at the very least, i have a piece of paper (and a hefty, hefty debt) proving that come what may, i at least have a formal education in it. (B.A. in English/ Creative Writing, U of Rochester, 2002) -- It doesn't mean I know anything, but it means I invested more money than I'm going to make in the next five years in getting a piece of paper with a gold-embossed seal, I spent four whole years sitting in lecture halls, i wrote about 1,300,000 words in papers and projects, I freaking learned Japanese and forgot it all, I pulled not just all-nighters but all-weekers, I actually drank moonshine from a jar, I also actually drank Mountain Dew with Tang powder in it, and so at least if I'm a shyster I'm a somehow-accredited one. (I also wrote a kick*** paper exploring the role of humor in medieval Irish epics, and I wrote half a novel, and I wrote a darn fine essay about alien sex for a class of that title.)
Lots of people don't need that on the Internet. I mostly need it for my own confidence. And that's been something I've been able to fall back on in the brief span I've had it (relatively)-- at the very least, I can write about things!
If only I could write about my troubles as amusingly as this guy... I'd be all set. (Actually that webpage has been made into a book.)
Ah, well. My personal journal would probably rank very highly for the phrase
"man, today s*cked!" if I didn't have it blocked from spiders. Too bad; glib humor is not for all of us to casually master. Which is why perhaps SEO would be better for me after all. :type:

#19 deborah2002

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Posted 05 August 2003 - 09:41 AM

To put a fine tune on it, I read an article recently about being "locally famous". Not necessarily in the regional sense, but in the market sense.
For instance, Jill is known throughout the SEO community as an "expert" in her field. Does my dad know who she is? No (sorry Jill--he's retired and spends his days hanging out at his pool :dance: ).
That's what is referred to as the "locally famous". I think that's worth more in the long run. Maybe that's too simplistic, but it seems that being known in your market community as tops is what to shoot for. JMO.........

deb

#20 Jill

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Posted 05 August 2003 - 09:58 AM

Yes, locally famous. Never heard it put that way before, but it makes sense.

It's actually pretty interesting being in that situation. You get to go out in public without having to be incognito, like movie stars have to, but you still get to have a little bit of fame and glory.

It's pretty fun when I go to a conference and many people DO think I'm somehow famous. I've had people nervous to approach me until they've had a few drinks in them. Go figure! I just have to laugh at that because I'm really a very shy and quiet person in real life.

Jill

#21 deborah2002

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Posted 05 August 2003 - 10:05 AM

Jill, that incognito thing won't work if you keep your picture up! I am looking forward to meeting you if you come here to Florida (I haven't given up trying to convince you!), and a few drinks would be okey dokey too1 :dance:

deb

#22 dragonlady7

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Posted 05 August 2003 - 11:53 AM

Ooooo, fame and glory! Where do I sign up?
I'd be nervous to approach you too! I almost fell out of my seat a couple months ago when I sent a question to you after reading one of your newsletters and you responded-- personally-- in less than five minutes! I was all star-struck. :dance: Must be nice!

I think I'd like to be locally *infamous*. Then people would hide from me in the grocery store. :rotf: :D

#23 Jill

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Posted 05 August 2003 - 12:06 PM

Yes, answering email questions the split second they come in, is actually more my claim to fame than anything else. People are always so surprised, which in turn, surprises me!

I have to either answer email right away or I never answer it.

Jill

#24 mcanerin

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Posted 05 August 2003 - 12:26 PM

I just finished reading the website in your link dragonlady, and it's one of the funniest things I've read - thanks, I needed that!

Locally famous is a great term / idea - I've found personally that by focussing on one city at a time I'm getting way more work than advertising to the net at large. People trust specialists, and they also trust specialist's recommendations.

If I go to a friend for help and he or she says "that's out of my league, but I know this guy who's the best available - here's his email." I'll definately consider that guy to be someone to help me, even though I've never heard of him.

Case in point, a friend was talking about learning SEO, and one of the first things I did was refer her to highrankings.com and this "Jill" there who may soon be annoited patron saint of the SEO industry.... omg :halo:

Ian

#25 idrive

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Posted 05 August 2003 - 02:06 PM

For instance, Jill is known throughout the SEO community as an "expert" in her field. Does my dad know who she is? No (sorry Jill--he's retired and spends his days hanging out at his pool omg ).


This is something that I have been giving some thought to since I heard about these (this?) forum (is a forum a group of boards such as the "highrankings forums" or is "finding your niche" a forum?).

I am going to target this towards Jill *grin* I don't know how you have time to do work for your clients as you are always in the public eye! Your newsletter, these forums, conferences, and you always seem to have made a new "efriend" that writes articles for your newsletter....and then there are kids and a hubby on top of that! Yikes! "We" the people who read your material...are many of us potential clients? I see many of us as learning from you and doing much the same job, albeit on a smaller scale perhaps.

So my question is, would it be beneficial to become the Canadian equivalent of Jill if you are only known as an expert by people who know what SEO is? My clients have never heard of SEO - all they knew is that they wanted more traffic at their website and usually someone such as their designer or ecommunications expert referred me...

Man I feel like I am rambling...no wonder I am not a copywriter *grin*

#26 Jill

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Posted 05 August 2003 - 02:19 PM

Welcome, Idrive! omg

I think it could definitely work to be an expert on a smaller scale, like say, Canada, or even just in your local city/town, or whatever. There's plenty of local work to be had, and if you get known around town as that person who knows how to get sites found in the search engines, you could stay pretty busy, and be a "star" when you go to the supermarket, etc.! :D

As to how I do it all...well, I don't take on that many clients any more, which helps. And I do have to admit that my client work can often be late because I'm too busy "playing." For instance, I was supposed to have a client report done last Friday, but I told them it would probably end up being finished either this monday or tuesday. So, is it done yet? No. I really have a hard time doing real work these days because it's just not as fun. The report will definitely get done and the client will be very happy with it, but I'm not real good about staying on schedule.

And I'm sure my family suffers a bit too. The most conversations we have is via email and IM! But you know, the kids are all computer addicts too, so that helps. My husband and I have also saved Saturday nights to watch a video together. We've been doing that for at least 10 years or so now. It's the one night where you generally won't find me online. It's good to get away from the monitor now and then anyway. But I really am happiest when I'm at my computer "playing." Thankfully, most of my work really is just like playing to me, so you really can't beat that! :D

Jill

#27 Drew-z

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Posted 06 August 2003 - 01:52 AM

A narrow niche can help as long as it's not so narrow that it has no demand.

great point.

And, often clients don't even know that they need or would benefit from from a particular specialty.

CSS web design, for example, is a huge asset but clients don't have the patience or interest to learn why. CSS web design was searched 29 times last month on Overture (0 for CSS web designer). And I presume 90% were by designers, not sales prospects. I don't see much cha-ching as an independent CSS web design expert given the demand, interest, and education challenge.

Also, great web design inherently includes solid graphics, tight HTML, SEO, CSS, arch, etc. If your a web designer that is only good at CSS, then you're are not a CSS web designer to me, you're a CSS specialist.

Jill, I definately agree with your point very much in principal, but I don't don't know about it bringing in the $$$.

I would think web design expert in whatever area might be a more prosperous focus. That being said, I am going to definately give this more thought and maybe circle back with a new thread because I sure could use some personal advice on this very topic.

:chef:

#28 omahonydonnelly

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Posted 07 August 2003 - 04:49 PM

I'm now focusing on SEO (after reading an article somewhere else by Jill - thanks). I am thinking of working more like a project manager, bringing together other specialists to do the best job in the other areas.

I had been worrying that I don't have time to learn all of the technical aspects to be "expert" in everything -- database development, ASP, PHP... Most of my clients also wanted me to set up their Outlook Express and coach them in Word, etc. Specialising makes it is easier to avoid all this.

My challenge is my location, County Cork Ireland. While the internet lessens the need to be near clients and collegues, I still need to develop techniques to best work this way. Any advice here? For now it suits me to be low key, as I am working from home with three kids (ages 5 and under) running around me; but I am planning for World domination in the future!

Also, are you concerned that the internet may develop in a way that will lessen the need for your specialty? Is there a future in SEO? Is it dangerous to put all your eggs in one basket?

#29 websage

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Posted 08 August 2003 - 10:43 AM

While I agree that having a niche is the easiest way to become an expert, for all practical reasons it seems to me better to have a crossover expertise in two disciplines.

For example, there are many web developers who would produce robust web application, whether it is based on ASP or ColdFusion or PHP, but very few of them think about the usability of the site and how "findable" it is via search engine. Extending SEO services to these developers can be a great combination.

The same is true of Flash developers -- many of them are so in love with the whole rich user experience that they forget how would their site be promoted and used.

I think the combination of technical knowledge plus understanding of usability issues plus SEO is very powerful.

My 2 cents,

Mitko

#30 Drew-z

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Posted 08 August 2003 - 10:59 AM

I think the combination of technical knowledge plus understanding of usability issues plus SEO is very powerful.

Mitko

Very well said Mitko.

The challenge then becomes how does one with multiple skills such as those position themselves.

From a marketing perspective, the answer seems quite easy by simply explaining it in your web site content since you have attention.

With search engines, however, you need to be there for something that is being looked for. And since very few prospects search for "flash SEO" or "CSS web Design" or "SEO Web Design", it is very hard or impossible to pull in specific requests because they don't exist.

Thus, it seems one has to cast a wide net with a position such as web design in an area to pull the customer in and then once the attention is attained push the specific expertise.

Not ideal at all because of the competition, but is there any other option with pulling propects from SEO for specialties people are not searching for?




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