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How to Systematically Build a Six Figure Website

Todays post is from Adam. He is an impressive guy who I have learned a bunch from on a topic I consider one of my strengths – systems! His focus on systematically building a six figure website in 2015 is fantastic. If you read this entire post you will get a good insight into the details of how the members of the six figure challenge are building profitable websites in 2015.

Get the free six figure attack plan we are following here & join the free public group here.

Adam so far has by far the most successful site…in a little over 1 month he has built a site in an extremely competitive niche that is generating HUNDREDs of visitors per day! He keeps sending the group success stories like this one…

adam-success

Likely if you are on my site you either use systems or want to use systems to build a profitable website. Well todays post we can all learn a lot from!

Take it away Adam…

My name is Adam Trainor, and I’m thrilled to be part of the Six Figure Challenge. Of all the people in the group, I think I’m probably the least tech savvy, and probably the newest to Internet marketing. However, I do have a lot experience when it comes to building a business from the ground up. I managed to orchestrate my own escape from the 9-5 several years ago by building my own offline business, a private tutoring company based in Boston, MA. The formula is actually almost identical for building an on-line business: start as a freelancer, build a client base, hire other service providers as you scale, and then transition from being a service provider to managing other service providers as you continue to build out your business.

All that to say, I’ve gotten really good at building systems that have allowed my business to continue to grow over time, and so systems are going to be the focus of my first contribution here.

When I started to mess around with learning to build some basic Adsense sites in my spare time, I think I made a mistake that’s pretty common in this space. I saw what I was doing as kind of a side project, more of an experiment or hobby than anything else, and I would say that my results matched my expectations- a few dollars a month here and there, but nothing substantial, and certainly nothing I would call a business.

While I’ve been successful in what I do in the off-line world, for whatever reason there had just been a gap in applying the same mindset to running an online business; I didn’t really think of it as a business. When I got involved in the Six Figure Website project, something clicked for me, and it pretty quickly became apparent that this mindset would have to change- I’d have to treat this on-line endeavor with the same structured approach that I apply to my work in the real world.

Adam Trainor

One of the basic principles in which I firmly believe is that there are a limited number of things that only I can do. (I think this is true for everybody, by the way.) In terms of the 80/20 principle, these are the 20% of my efforts that are going to yield 80% of my results. Since these are the areas where I can make the most impact, they are where I should be spending most of my time. Everything else should be outsourced.

Once you’ve identified the things that are really uniquely your area of expertise, you should have a pretty short list, which is great- it gives scope and definition to your workload, and helps to identify all the things that you shouldn’t be doing (which I would argue is way more important than its inverse.) Am I an expert at WordPress, or Photoshop? Not really. Could I become one in time? Probably. Is that the best use of my time? Absolutely not. The opportunity cost of the other things I could be doing with that time would be too great.

At the end of the day, we all have one of two major assets: time or capital. (Some lucky few have both.) For a project like this, you can choose to invest time, or you can invest money, and obviously this choice is dependent on your resources. For me, most of my time is already tied up by my off-line business, so it only made sense to leverage money to hire other people that could build this web business for me. Hiring other people would give me the freedom to focus on what I happen to be really good at, which is breaking down a large vision into actionable component pieces, and then breaking those components down into repeatable processes.

 

The Team

Six Figure Challenge Team

  • Project Manager
  • Web Designer
  • Graphics Experts
  • Social Media Experts
  • Writers
  • Various Virtual Assistants

The Project Manager

I knew that a really capable project manager needed to be my first hire. There is really a limit to the number of people that you can manage effectively, particularly if you’re short on time. I knew that I didn’t have the time to manage a huge team, so I needed someone I could speak to directly that serve as a buffer between me and the rest of my staff, and help to keep things organized and running smoothly when I was otherwise engaged. After interviewing several people for the position, I feel really fortunate that I’ve found an amazing PM that is helping me to fulfill the vision I have for this project.

To get the most out of your PM, you have to be really good at delegating. I think it was in The Four-Hour Workweek that Tim Ferris said that usually the reason your VA did a bad job is because you gave bad instructions. I think the three keys to really good delegation are:

  1. Make sure your own thoughts really well-organized
  2. Give clear instructions, with steps that are specific, measurable, and tied to a time-table.
  3. Maintain clear communication throughout the process, with regular check-ins on progress, and have the ability to flexibly adjust your plans based on actual results.

It’s also important not to micromanage- that completely defeats the purpose of delegating. You need to be able to give a clear idea of what you want to be accomplished, and then empower your PM to get these things done- this is why you hired them in the first place. Giving more autonomy to a good employee also tends to yield better results- they feel more invested in the success of the project if it’s a direct reflection of their choices and efforts.

 

Systems of Success

system of success

My niche is in the health vertical, and what I wanted to see was an informational blog that would be monetized through AdSense and affiliate marketing. In the built to sell model, I wanted to start this project with the endgame in mind, and always find places where I can remove myself from the process. If you find yourself doing something more than once, come up with an SOP and see if you can outsource it. To start, I broke the major components of content marketing into 4 main phases:

  1. Research
  2. Production
  3. Promotion
  4. Optimization

These phases can each be broken down even further, essentially creating a sort of assembly line, where I can plug a content idea into the machine, and my team can take it from idea to a successful piece content.

 

How This Works

the way the system works

This whole assembly line process works with a team of virtual assistants.  It’s easier to train one person to be really good at one thing than it is to have them try to do five different things. It makes onboarding new staff much easier. Turnover with VAs also tends to be pretty high, and it’s guaranteed you’re going to lose someone along the way. If you’ve got one person (or a couple people) on each different task, then when you lose one person your entire operation isn’t going to fall apart.

It All Starts With Me

The one thing I haven’t really been able to outsource is keyword research. So my main role in this assembly line is to do the research to find content ideas that I think will be successful.

In the Hands of the Project Manager

I plug these topics into an editorial schedule, and from there my PM is responsible for assigning the content idea to a couple different VAs. He walks the content through the entire process from start to finish, so after I plug in an idea, the process is more or less hands-off for me.

  • First Step- Virtual Assistant Research – I have one VA whose only job is to go out and find articles similar to our content idea that our writers can beat. He then researches the backlink profiles of those competitor articles, and populates a spreadsheet with all of the target backlinks. Another researcher is dedicated to content research for the article that’s been assigned, to make sure that our writer has the ammunition to produce better content than what’s already out there.
  • Turing Ideas and Research Into Content – Once those two phases are complete, all the information gets sent back to my PM, who then gives the article assignment to the writer, and the graphics assignment is sent to the graphics VA. So for each article I’ve got great people working on graphics, extremely talented writers, and an awesome team of research assistants. Together they are putting together great pieces of content that can hopefully beat whatever else is out there.
  • The Final Stages – When we’ve got the final piece, it’s the job of the PM to proofread and request any necessary revisions. He then monetizes it through the use relevant affiliate links. Once the final project is polished and appropriately monetized, it gets published to the site.

 

Content Promotion

content promotion

Now, you can produce the best piece of content in the world, but if nobody knows about it, it’s pretty much worthless. So once we’ve gone through the publication phase, it’s time to move into the promotion phase. There are different kinds of promotion depending on the type of content, but the main categories I’ve broken promotion down into are:

  1. Social Promotion
  2. Email Promotion
  3. SEO Promotion

I’ve broken these three categories down further into separate roles. I’ve got a social media manager who’s responsible for coordinating social outreach across all the social media platforms. Email promotion is something I handle personally. I want to build a personal relationship with my audience, and to do that authentically, I really want to be involved in the direct e-mail communication.

In terms of SEO outreach, there are a couple of different roles that go along with this part of the whole campaign. I have one VA whose job is send e-mails using a template I designed to each website owner on the target backlink list, asking them to check out our content, and to consider sharing or linking to it.

I’ve got another VA who is responsible for regularly commenting on other blogs in my niche throughout the week. This is all done under my name and is intended to start a network, creating a deeper sense of community between me and other bloggers. I set it up so that any blogger replies go back to my personal e-mail, so that I can interact directly with the blogger.

When it then comes time to publicize my own content, I’ve already got this network of people that I’m connected to through blog commenting and other social media sites. This gives me a chance to say kind of say “Hey, check me out, check out my post.” I can let them know I’ve mentioned them or have something they might possibly be interested in. Once this relationship becomes stronger, I can ask them to please share it or link it back to their own site, and explore guest posting opportunities.

So far these processes are bringing in a few new backlinks each day (a few of them DA 50+), and I’ve also already gotten 2 guest posting opportunities, and my site’s been live for less than a month.

 

An Automated System

automated system

What I’ve got in the end is all these systems that are more or less automated. All I really have to do is press play and the machine takes care of itself. Then, I can simply check in with my PM throughout the week and make sure things are happening and running smoothly. Of course, it would be disingenuous to suggest that I didn’t have to troubleshoot occasionally. While everything is still in relatively early stages, I trust that in time I’m going to be able to hand off even more of the responsibility to other people under me. If this “machine” proves effective, it should then be relatively easy to take this team I’ve built, and apply them to new projects.

The Necessity of Capital Investment

capital investment

The one downside of all this is that yes, it is costing me money. Right now I’m probably running at a burn rate somewhere between $1000 and $1200 a month. Not bad for 60+ hours per week of labor, but this obviously isn’t sustainable for the long run, so the goal is to reach some sort of critical velocity as soon as possible.

I think it’s a solid model, although it does require a pretty big upfront investment of capital, which may not be practical for everyone. Which is fine- when I first started the tutoring company, I was easily grinding out 80-100 hour weeks. Sometimes, when you’re starting out, all you have to leverage is time. However, once you’ve got the money to spend, I think that it’s completely possible to create a business that can run more or less without you. Even in my real world business, I really try to replace myself whenever possible. My most valuable asset is my time. If I value my time at X dollars per hour, then if I can outsource something for less than that, I’ve automatically made money on that time, and I’m free to go work on the next project. I’m having a lot of fun so far, and can’t thank Jon enough for inviting me in to be a part of this project!

Happy to answer any questions in the comments.

About the Author Jon

I am a 33 year old husband, father of 3, engineer and a huge fan of developing systems to build useful and profitable websites. The reason I build online businesses is to provide financial independence for my family and yours AND so I can spend time outside skiing and biking with my family.
Jon Gillham, Online Entrepreneur

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