How to Find Your Web Publishing Strategy

Finding the web publishing strategy that's right for you is important. Here's how to figure that out.

Finding your way in web publishing can be challenging. You know that it’s working for others and desperately want to make it work for you – but how?

There’s more than one way to cook an egg. And more than one way to be a successful web publisher. I think I found my happy medium at this point and thought I’d share some insights on that.

Finding a strategy that works for YOU

Back in 1998, we began playing StarCraft – an ancient real-strategy computer game by Blizzard.

My husband and his buddies were avid Blizzard fans and used to play Warcraft and then Warcraft 2. I played a little of both, but StarCraft was my game.

In case you don’t know Starcraft, here’s a recap of what you need to do to win –

  • Gather resources
  • Create an army
  • Fight

That fighting part is where tactics come into play. Players who have a high APM (action-per-minute) rate – and who understand the specific mechanics of the battlefield – have the upper hand.

I sucked at that.

Micro-managing the forces was very difficult for me (not to mention boring). Yet I soon developed my winning strategy.

My Starcraft strategy

As soon as the game began, I would take one of my Protoss drones and send it across the map. Wherever it found resources, that little drone would launch a small resource-mining base there. It would then immediately seek the next spot and build the next base.

My bases were rudimentary. There are no defenses, just a hive of busy bees humming along and collecting minerals and gas.

While the other players focused on upgrading and improving their one or two bases, I would light up the map with small bases and gather resources. The more resources I had, the more bases I created.

Soon, I had a steady stream of resources that kept on increasing. At that point, I would switch to mass-producing troops. I would do that in batches, producing huge groups of troops at once, usually reaching the limit point of the game.

Then it was a simple matter of moving those forces over to my opponent’s base and wiping it off the map. I didn’t have to deal with battle tactics. I made it into a game of numbers.

I still recall how shocked my husband and his friends were during the first games. No matter how well they could micro-manage the battle, there was little to do against my massive armies.

Lessons for Web Publishing

There are several things that I’ve learned from Starcraft and are applicable for my web publishing strategy.

Have a solid strategy

There are all kinds of viable strategies in this business.

Me? I focus on creating a robust workflow where I can get other people to efficiently replicate simple steps that produce lots of posts, going after longtail queries.

Are these posts perfect? No.

Do they work? My six-figure monthly income tells me that they do.

The posts need to be good enough, and they need to get published. Again, and again, and again.

That’s how I got tens of thousands of posts published over the last three years, to the point where I now have a solid stream of revenue coming in every month.

It’s a lot like my old Starcraft strategy – I light up multiple sites, working on scaling the operation as a whole rather than paying too much attention to every specific site.

Is this the only viable strategy?

Just like with StarCraft – there is no single winning game plan.

Web publishing offers room for many successful and profitable strategies.

  • You can create one huge site or many small ones.
  • You can focus on multiple longtail queries, or go for fewer posts with higher search volumes.
  • You can write your own content, or outsource the writing.
  • You can monetize using display ads, affiliate links, info products, or any combination of the three.
  • You can build sites from scratch, monetizing them forever without selling, or you can go to the other extreme and focus on site flipping.

And that list doesn’t begin to scratch the surface.

The important thing is to find the combination that ends up being the right strategy for you – The one that works well for you, your resources, and your abilities.

Figuring out your strategy and sticking to it can be a game-changer in its own right. It means you can focus on doing. It allows you to stop wondering – and stop wandering about – and actually get things done.

Focus on the Big Picture

Understanding your strategy and sticking to it is essential.

There will be distractions along the way.

Your favorite affiliate program will cut down their rates; you’ll have hosting issues; a copyright troll will want money from you for photos you’ve used.

These things happen all the time. It’s good to understand the risks involved in this business and mitigate them.

However, you should always focus on the big picture without getting distracted.

Back to my Starcraft analogy. Sometimes, my opponent would attack one of my bases early on.

Blood-curdling screams would fill my headphones, and a corner in my screen would light up in red, showing me where enemy units were attacking mine.

Most players would follow their instinct, grab a few fighting units, head over there, and micro-manage the battle.

Me? I didn’t mind losing that base. I kept on with my master plan, creating more bases, collecting more resources, and eventually, more fighting units. While my opponent would get distracted with the skirmish, I would continue with my “big picture” plan.

I’m not suggesting that you should ignore business threats. Far from it. I’m just saying that you should always go back to your strategy. Re-assess and adjust, but never lose sight of your master plan.

Figuring out what Strategy works for you

With so many strategic options, how to find the one that works best for you and matches your personal abilities?

Starting out in this business can be challenging. So many YouTube channels, blogs, and forums around with so many successful people sharing their – often vastly different – strategies. Maybe you even purchased a good course or two. It can still be challenging to figure out what you should be doing.

Choice paralysis is real

If you’re a member of any web publishing forum that has a newbie section, then you’ve seen the threads—people who get stuck early on and cannot decide what to do next.

They have often read and followed multiple channels, so they know the basics – but they’re over-thinking it to the point of analysis paralysis.

If this is you, then here are the steps I would suggest for finding your strategy –

  1. Focus on the aspect of web publishing that you’re not sure about and make a list of the options. For example – writing your own content vs. outsourcing.
  2. For each option, try to envision you and your business down the road. What would it feel like after one week, one month, a year?
  3. Assess the pros and cons and how they apply to you.

    For example, if your strategy dilemma revolves around writing vs. outsourcing articles, ask yourself:
    Is writing something that you enjoy doing?
    Will you still enjoy writing informational posts for a content site?
    Can you keep writing like that for weeks on end?
    On the other hand, how would you feel on constantly paying others to write for you?
    Can you budget for all of that content?
    Do you have what it takes to keep investing for months on end with no profit?

    Remember to try and see yourself dealing with these questions for months down the road. Maybe even years.
  4. Give yourself 24 hours to “sleep on it” and go back to your list of pros and cons (remember, this is about how they apply to you), and now make a decision.
  5. Go for it! Commit to your strategy of choice. Put your nose to the proverbial grindstone and push forward.
  6. Set up a re-evaluation date. I would go for six months. Until then, just implement your strategy without heistation. Six months of hard work and/or investment should provide you with more valuable input than any course every will.

It can be scary, but I think that developing a solid strategy early on can contribute to the success of any business. And web publishing is that – a business.

What’s your strategy?

I’m always curious to hear about what other people do. I’ve love to read comments, so if you’re reading this, stop by and let me know if you feel that you’ve found your strategy by now. And don’t be shy about sharing what works for you.

10 Comments

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  1. Thank you so much for this!! I really needed to read it this morning. Loved hearing about how you think about building and your StarCraft explanation is really great (and very entertaining).

    You have managed to inspire me to get back at it this morning.

  2. Hi Anne

    Great post. I’ve lurked here for ages (I’m also in P24, and on Jon D’s forum) but thought I’d say hi. I used to play Dune 2 with similar tactics! 🙂 (this is probably revealing my age… lol)

    My strategy is/was to build one big, robust site first, so it can start to pay for other additional sites, one at a time. I do this full-time, but still get a site up to a minimal earning level before using the cashflow to start another.

    No matter how many times I start a project I always struggle with that leap of faith / ghost town stage. Kudos to you for starting multiple sites – it really does take a solid strategy (and confidence) to know that it’ll work out – and that you’re well-diversified if it doesn’t.

    All the best
    Gina

    • Hi Gina,
      Thanks for the comment! I’m glad you found the gaming analogy helpful. I think you have a sound strategy there! And yes, the leap of faith is difficult. I sometimes go back to my Leap Of Faith post from two years ago. I am so glad I took that leap!

  3. Loved the post. I’ve currently built a site up to a decent size (MV). Now I’m building more sites. For one site I’m planning to scale operations up so much so that I can publish 1000 articles each month. I think I have the budget to do this. I figure if it’s possible to make $100k/month from display ads, $1M/month should be possible too.

    • Cool strategy, Sammy! Love it! I can tell you that for me, scaling to 1000 a month is proving to be a challenge. I’m sure it’s doable, but it means a much larger team, working cohesively together. I hope to get there by mid-2022.

  4. I like the comparison to StarCraft. I think Matt Diggity had a similar poll on YouTube comparing SEO to different genres of games.

    I’d compare my SEO strategy to my entire Steam library. I’ll buy or build a lot of sites, half-ass 90% of them and leave them sitting on the shelf. The few that catch my attention and do well I’ll double down on.

    • I think that’s a good strategy, Chris, and could work very well if you like to experiment. Could be some real gems in that Steam library of yours!

  5. (I’ll then spend all the revenue from those successful projects on Steam games. Not an analogy. I’ll literally waste all the money on Steam).

  6. Okay, I am a long time lurker but HAD To make a post after reading your Starcraft analogy, BRILLIANT! I Also played Warcraft, Starcraft, C & C, AOE and so many others…your post put a smile on my face and brought back wonderful memories!

    I am fairly new to the blogging world (1 year) and learned so much, but I know I still have a lot to learn. Im going through and reading a lot of your posts and they are very well written with great information.

    Keep up the great work! (I was always partial to Terrain and those awesome siege tanks…)