In 2007 I began a website, this website in fact. Back then it was a men’s lifestyle site. I covered lots of things like entertainment, sports, humor, you name it. It was very similar to Maxim at the time. It grew pretty fast within a very short period. And then in 2009 I started another website. This one was more in the video game and movie vertical. This site also grew pretty fast in a short period of time. It was also around this time that I started working with a partner. One of the stipulations of me working with said partner was that I was going to continue to own these two websites apart from our business, which at the time was brokering ads for other websites. When we eventually pivoted into owning and operating our own websites, things became a bit uncomfortable. Uncomfortable in the sense that we had some sites that overlapped with mine in terms of content. So it became a question of “where are we putting our best content?” It was a totally understandable point of view and my partner had every right to be concerned. We eventually decided to roll my sites into our company and manage them all.
What could have been
Now here’s the issue. While my partner was right in his concerns and the consolidation, where I think we made a massive mistake was in letting these two sites basically fizzle. We had decided that at the time it was more prudent to go after content that was more brand safe and could attract higher rates for ads. At the time Uncoached definitely had some questionable content that back then may have stretched the bar. Think Barstool Sports. At the time I had a similar writing style as a Dave Portnoy. While I wasn’t nearly as brash, I was becoming known in the men site sphere. Our video game site had some violence, but nothing too crazy. Here’s my point. We let the sites go to shit. These were sites that were getting 50-100K visits a day, literally, and we just let them fail. It pains me to think about where these sites would be today had they simply been updated regularly all this time. Who the hell knows. I do know they would have been large. If anything they’d likely be getting the same traffic which is excellent and could pull serious coin in today’s ad landscape.
The secrets to building a website
One of the biggest secrets in growing a website is consistency. If you’re posting content daily not for just months or a few months, but year after year, your site will eventually get found and grow. I’m not even joking when I say this but the content doesn’t even have to be all that great. If there’s enough of it and it’s good enough, it will eventually get out there. I’m not saying you should build a shitty site. By no means. I was and am extremely proud of the content my sites put out every single day. But I will say the reason most people who try to make a living with content sites fail, is because they don’t make money fast enough and they get impatient. Content websites are a long game and if you’re not thinking at least 3 years for a commitment you might as well not even start. Of course other factors come into play like marketing, building links, social media and 1000s of others, but if you were to ask me what I thought the number one factor of success is in the website business? I’d say consistently putting out content day after day and year after year, period.
So why mention all of this?
Well, first of all, nostalgia is just something I can’t help myself with once in a while. It’s cool rebranding this website and writing the stuff that I do right now, but I can’t say I’m not pissed that I didn’t continue on this path. Who knows what could have been? But the main reason I’m talking about this is to stress that we need to remind ourselves that consistency in the most mundane of things is far and away one of the best kept secrets to achieving success.
There are no shortcuts
I’ve argued about this in the past and I’ll say it again. Often times shortcuts can make things take way longer. I’ve been guilty of this a number of times in my career and personal life. Every single time I tried some kind of new method of reducing time it took to grow my websites, it eventually bit me in the ass. It may have worked briefly but 9 times out of 10 it didn’t produce long-term results. When I look back into my investing history, some of the biggest losses I’ve ever had were because I sold a stock too quickly. Or I tried to do a ‘trade” that lasted only a few days or weeks. The investments that have panned out for me the most? The ones I kept the longest and simply invested money into on a monthly or quarterly basis over the course of many years. Will there be lucky wins here and there? Of course there will. But in general I’d like to think luck is just a random bump in the road of consistently doing the right things.
“It ain’t sexy but it’s got teeth”
Ever see the movie “The Firm?” One of my favorite lines in the entire movie is when Tom Cruise reveals to the FBI that the way they’re going to bring down a Chicago crime family is through tax fraud. Ed Harris’s character complains about how that method of taking them down basically sucks to which Cruise replies “it ain’t sexy, but it’s got teeth.” A simple trail of consistent wrong doing in taxes eventually leads to the biggest takedown the FBI could ever make on this operation. Years and years of consistent small mistakes winds up being the most important thing in the entire case.
Look, the best athletes in the world don’t just get there by accident. Sure they have the talent but how do you think Steph Curry became the best shooter in history? By shooting the ball over and over and over again until his hands hurt. How do you think a great pianist becomes great? You think they didn’t put in the time with their scales and fundamentals? You’d be an idiot not to think so. Just remember that when something seems boring or mundane, you’re likely doing the right thing and it’s those that last longer at doing the right thing that make the biggest impact.