Screw Your "Self-Improvement" Website
This is the first official post in our new (developing) 'Get Paid' section, which will likely become the primary focus of Good Looking Loser in the coming year(s).
I discussed this section and gave a small preview (and a few income numbers) in "The Best of Good Looking Loser 2014 & State of the Union". There's a lot more numbers to come, especially around tax time when we close out fiscal year 2014.
I will make enemies with this post.
It needs to be said though.
It's something that ALL OF US have been thinking for 3 years.
I bet you will feel the same way.
Before I begin I want to say two things -
#1 My hope with this post is to IMPROVE the 'Red Pill' and non-mainstream self-improvement sphere, raise the integrity and literary standards. Not to "call out" any obvious guilty parties or to simply "talk smack".
#2 I also want to mention again that this discussion certainly doesn't pertain to "ALL" not-yet-established first or second year self-improvement blogs. Some actually have good potential and accomplished/insightful authors behind them. Many are written by guys smarter and more eloquent than I. Whether they ultimately succeed, is a topic for a later date.
The vast majority of 'self improvement' websites, however - DO NOT and WILL NOT SUCCEED.
How do I know which camp I fall in? Am I a 'clone'? Will I succeed?
(I'll tell you later)
If there is one thing that I really hate (and even taken legal action against) is copycats and content repackagers.
People who blatantly steal or spin, in-part or in-whole, other people's hard work as their own in seek of financial reward and influence.
Thankfully, the Good Looking Loser Community is so specific and unique (often filthy) that this hasn't been a weekly issue.
(if you see other 'gurus' writing about 'Screening', 'Killer Instinct' or 'Sense of Entitlement' - without referencing me, you know who they stole it from)
There's been some measures I've had to take against "new gurus" that would absolutely shock you though.
Origins of Copycat Red-Pill/Self-Improvement Websites
Ever since Victor Pride started offering his tremendous website starter package, where his crew will basically setup your entire website so you can immediately start publishing content and Mike Cernovich started encouraging people to start their own personal development (or other) websites to help expand our sphere of influence - there's been a liquid diarrhea storm of new self-improvement gurus.
A lot of these sites, in appearance and content, look virtually identical to Bold & Determined and Danger & Play.
Everyone sees this.
I made light of this issue on Mike's "Open Letter About Your Website" -
Without turning this into an unproductive rant, let me tell you why the repackaged Red Pill self-improvement "clones" and their "gurus" will fail miserably (both in readership and financial terms) and isn't worth doing.
Why Your Version of Danger & Play and Bold&Determined Suck
(Why New Bloggers Don't Succeed)
Here's a 10-item list that I made in under 189 seconds of why the clones don't and won't succeed.
If you 'realize' you are a clone, there's hope.
Change your website NOW.
Don't let everyone see your website first.
If your website does get shared and passed around for some reason other than being an obvious ripoff, being seen as a Danger & Play or Bold & Determined clone is INSTANT DEATH among readers.
As it should be.
A self-improvement author that has to recycle someone else's personal development content is a fraud in the very worst.
#1 Your Domain Instantly Identifies You As A Copycat
Sometimes, you don't even have to waste 3 seconds to see that a self-improvement website is a ripoff.
You can see it in 1 second.
The domain literally suggests that.
If your domain is something like -
Play & Danger
Determined & Bold
Good Looking Winner
Then do this -
- Take down your website immediately.
- Register a new domain.
- Start over (because you were probably copying/repackaging the content too).
- Stick your finger in a cup of water and then put it in the nearest electrical socket. (mandatory)
Why on earth people who repackage/copy websites don't even make the attempt to have a unique domain is beyond me.
#2 Your Website Theme (Presentation) Instantly Identities You As A Copycat
While the domain name gives away some copycats in 1 second, the website theme (how the blog looks) gives away some copycats in 3 seconds.
(or depending on how fast your Internet speed is)
There is one theme that EVERYONE keeps using.
All the blogs look exactly the same.
STOP (OR MODIFY) USING THIS THEME IF YOU WANT TO BE TREATED SERIOUSLY.
I recommend this one instead -
You can customize it and it won't look like anyone else's website unless you are trying to be a copycat.
It's Google-friendly and hella good for SEO purposes too.
Good Looking Loser was appearing on the first page for certain prominent keywords within the first 45 days (and only 9-10 posts). That is almost unheard of for a new website.
It's also fairly easy for newbies to learn. I did a decent job and I'm hardly good with this stuff.
(although the site looks yucky, that capture is from November 2012 when Good Looking Loser/satellite sites topped $20,000/month)
We do not use that theme anymore though.
We don't even use Wordpress.
We use Joomla!.
Wordpress is definitely good for beginners though, I do suggest you use that.
Just stop using the identical theme AND COLORS as Mike and Victor.
#3 Your Website Content Instantly Identifies You As A Copycat
- It takes 1 second to spot a 'clone' (to be nice) by the domain name.
- It takes 3 seconds to spot a 'clone' by the website theme.
It takes 10 to 20 seconds to spot a 'clone' by the website content.
If you are using the posts on Danger & Play and Bold & Determined as "motivation" to "inspire" your content...
Chances are, whether you know it or not, you are repackaging Mike and Victor's content.
We all see it.
Sometimes the title of the posts suggest this -
Bring Out Your Inter-Entrepreneur!
How to Conquer the Fear of Success.
Take Action - The Key To Success!
Sometimes the writing style and formatting gives it away.
For example - GLL style: short 1-line paragraphs, CAPITALIZATION of significant concepts; Bold&Determined style: concise statements, long-tail keyword links; Danger&Play: simple thumbnails/bold-centered formatting of important concepts)
Sometimes the body of the content gives it away.
It reads the same as a Danger & Play or Bold & Determined post. Only it sucks.
A lot of readers often know the EXACT post that "inspired you" (you copied) to make your post.
Angry readers show us these posts in emails and private messages in twitter or our forum. It's not publicly discussed to avoid giving sites attention - that don't deserve attention.
But How Do I Prevent This?
- Don't repackage someone else's content.
- Just because you aren't plagiarizing word-for-word doesn't mean you aren't copying someone.
- Write your own content based on YOUR life.
If you have to copy Mike or Victor to write about "success", then you don't have enough success/experience in your real life.
Leave the house and go get good at something.
#4 You Wrote An eBook Without Having An Audience
The people that successfully sell their eBooks already have an audience.
The people that are unsuccessful have an eBook but no audience.
I've said this for years now (14:50), yet people continue to build clone sites and try to sell their eBooks (full of more repackaged material) to the readers they don't have.
This "no audience = no eBooks sales" realization may be very deflating to many bloggers that somehow envisioned there would be buzz around their eBook if they could only "sell it".
Hope is not lost though.
If you are in this position, do this -
Take EVERY PAGE of your eBook and post it on your website.
Give it away FOR FREE.
If it's good, you will gain a readership and be able to sell them bonus content or stuff in the future.
(you can even sell the same book - but let them know that the content is on your website)
This is the exact advice I gave a certain cutie-pie redhead fitness girl I used to see.
She took my advice, published every page of both her eBooks on her site for free and now has a significant readership/YouTube channel. She makes more money selling her dietary supplement line to her audience than if her eBook "succeeded".
Had she not listened to me and kept trying to sell her eBook to people who didn't know her, she would still be working at Crunch Fitness earning $8.33/an hour. Before taxes.
(you're welcome Kerri)
When was the last time you bought a random eBook from a random author that offered you no other free content?
Neither has anyone else.
Give away FREE content for as long as it takes to get a solid readership and legitimate buzz.
Then consider charging for an eBook.
#5 You Have No Face or Identity Because You Aren't ALL IN
Long gone are the days that you can build a website (that reaches its potential) without SHOWING people exactly who you are.
Victor Pride was the only self-improvement authority I know that had a significant readership before showing his face. But even he knew that his anonymity likely put a ceiling on Bold & Determined.
We need to see your face.
We need to look into your eyes.
We need to hear your voice.
Then we will know if you are successful (or not) at whatever you profess and form an emotional connection with you.
YOU will reap the benefits.
So enough with your "privacy" and your paranoid Red Pill concerns.
Nobody gives a shit about you until you get known.
Once you do get known, you will have the money and audience-backing to sue whoever is trying to wrongly harm you.
But most "bloggers" simply aren't all in.
They are scared to show their face because their Plan B is to go work a job and/or they are ashamed of their own content and won't attach their REAL name to it.
You don't have to show your penis and face in the same picture (NSFW), but you do need to put yourself out there. Especially if you are giving success, dating or fitness advice.
Stop hiding from people that don't read your website.
Be ALL IN or go do something else.
#6 Your Website Is All A Bunch Of Useless Non-Applicable Theory Because You Are An Inexperienced Egghead
People without real experience hide behind intellectual theory because they can't give personal examples.
They don't even know it. They think their shit is dope.
You HAVE TO discuss specific personal experiences from YOUR life and not "what others need to do".
Writing content from experience is easy.
Researching stuff you are unfamiliar with and spinning it is hard.
If you find yourself having to make up stories to try and bridge your content to your identity - go work on another subject. It's not easy to make a lifetime project that requires you to continue making up stories and thinking, "Will people believe this?", "Is this how it could happen?", "I hope I included everything...".
I could make a website about the life of being a rockstar or a 32 year old World Series of Poker winner, but it would be exhausting to do Google research to make sure my stories were believable to the people with real experience.
You would see right through my bullshit so quickly.
#7 You Go Looking For Traffic Instead of Letting It Find You
A lot of aspiring bloggers think they are being smart and "getting traffic" by posting on forums that allow links in their signature.
They check their Google Analytics (a platform that shows how much traffic you get) everyday to see how much insignificant traffic they got from someone else's forum.
IT IS A WASTE OF PRECIOUS TIME.
(unless you ALREADY have an established account/readership on a forum)
Stop doing this and spend your time producing QUALITY CONTENT or GETTING GOOD AT SOMETHING.
If the content is worth a shit, people will automatically share it and Google will rank your material high because they will know that people are reading it and not just 'bouncing' (clicking away).
When I started Good Looking Loser, I literally just sat down and started writing.
I didn't even have Google Analytics setup and didn't care.
Mike, Victor and I never did any "SEO" and never will.
Good Looking Loser was (and still is) a long-term project and any small amount of forum traffic is - insignificant.
In fact, I didn't seriously network with ANY other bloggers/communities for well over 18 months.
It wasn't until late 2013 that I found Danger & Play (I found Mike because he linked to me in this post) or Bold & Determined when I found Victor's site by doing a Google search for Modafinil.
I'm happy I never saw Danger & Play or Bold & Determined while I was creating Good Looking Loser.
I wanted to make a website that could generate a readership and traffic ON ITS OWN.
No help. No outside influences. No temptations to use other people's ideas.
That is my advice for newbie bloggers -
Make your own site and forget about trying to network/temporarily divert traffic from established bloggers until you have something significant to offer.
If your material/product is good, people will find you and tell others.
Create a quality site that will have a strong readership if NOBODY EVER links to you.
If you do that - everyone will link to you.
#8 You Focus on Internet Marketing Garbage Such As "Backlinking", "SEO" and "Call To Action"
People often ask -
What is the most important thing I need to do to have a popular website?
Is it content, backlinks, speed, 800-1200 word posts, SEO?
What do you think?
HIGH-QUALITY, UNIQUE, ENGAGING CONTENT.
When was the last time that you bought something (or even revisited) a site because it just so happened to be on the first page of Google? Or because the page loaded quickly?
My advice is -
STOP BEING AN INTERNET MARKETER THAT RELIES ON TEMPORARILY MANIPULATING GOOGLE TO TRICK PEOPLE INTO TEMPORARILY VIEWING YOUR WEBSITE.
Stop modifying your content because you 'think' that Google will temporarily give you a slight priority over better websites that will eventually crush you.
Build something REAL.
'How Good Your Website Is' is the only thing that matters to readers.
#9 You Care More About Making Money Than Providing Quality Content/Product
Many aspiring bloggers enroll in Google Ads or the Amazon Affiliate Program before they even purchase their webhosting.
Their website literally has more advertisements than posts for the first 6 months.
This says a lot about them.
They are hungry to "cash in" on the 4 cents per click that Google entices or the whooping 23 cents that Amazon seductively teases them with.
DO NOT SELL ANYTHING ON YOUR WEBSITE UNTIL YOU HAVE AT LEAST 1,000 VISITORS A DAY (50% OF THEM, RETURNING READERS) OR BEEN ACTIVE FOR 6 MONTHS - WHICHEVER COMES LAST.
I have never used Google ads on Good Looking Loser (they wouldn't approve our site) and wouldn't if I could.
Until you have a significant readership and a lot of traffic (20,000+ via search engine), like Return Of Kings, do not even consider putting up 'pay-per-click' advertisements.
#10 You Aren't Mike. You Aren't Victor.
The main reason that your version of Danger & Play and Bold & Determined sucks is not because of the "similar" domain name, website theme or even the "inspired" content.
It's not even because of the tacky advertisements.
It's because -
You Aren't Mike.
You Aren't Victor.
All the stuff they talk about is a product of DECADES of specific life experience, success and failure.
Mike is a millionaire lawyer who has the courage/nerve to stop practicing in the prime of his career to build his website and do what he wants. He has decades of life experience and insights that you have not. Besides, he is a fucking Gorilla.
Victor is a savvy, relentless businessman that abandoned life in the United States and a six-figure income in real-estate to build his brand. He has decades of life experience and insights that you have not. Besides, he is a fucking Werewolf.
Both of them quit what they were doing and went ALL IN to create their brand, knowing full-well that there was no Plan B or security blanket to return to their former jobs/lives. I did the same when I posted naked pictures on the Internet.
Reading Danger & Play or Bold & Determined does not make you think like Mike or Victor either.
Only APPLYING what they tell you to YOUR FUTURE life experiences will make you to truly understand what they are talking about. That is how learning happens.
You read their blogs.
You get excited.
Now you think you comprehend success.
Now you think you can teach success.
The good news is - although you are not Mike or Victor, you have 2 advantages that they do not have.
#1 You Are You and That Is Unique
Victor already discussed this.
Just as you cannot be Mike or Victor, they cannot be you.
You are made of different genetic material, whether on purpose or not, created by two different people that had unprotected sex.
By default, you are unique, you are special.
You have had your own life experiences, achievements, failures or can have future ones that are different than anyone else.
Get really good at something and tell us how you did it.
Even if you build a "success" blog, it will be different than everyone else's simply because you have done different stuff with your life. If there is a DEMAND for your material/product, it will succeed if you are legit.
#2 You Are Probably Younger Than Us
Mike just turned 38 and Victor is my around age (32).
You are probably younger than us and there's no reason that IF YOU TAKE ADVANTAGE OF YOUR 20's (as we have, for the most part), that you can't create something bigger, better and stronger than our businesses.
We didn't grow up with or have resources such as Danger & Play, Bold & Determined or Good Looking Loser in our 20's. That gives you a significant advantage. Go do the stuff we suggest before you try to create a "website" that tells other people what to do. You will be a lot better off.
These website were created to produce WINNERS. Not just bloggers.
So Is Everyone Really Copying Danger & Play and Bold & Determined?
This is a good question.
6 months ago, I would swear that - behind EVERY clone there is a faker who is blatantly copying Mike and Victor and knows it.
I have experienced plenty of my own copycats that were literally rewriting my major posts and reviews. Some were even using my videos and naughty pictures.
However, since there are SO MANY look-a-like D&P/B&D clones, it suggests to me that -
NOT EVERYONE is blatantly copying.
My theory is -
Behind a lot of the clones are just younger kids that simply don't know what they are doing. They don't even know that their repackaged creation completely disgusts everyone because there are no blog comments that tell them.
Giving them the benefit of the doubt, they are just building similar sites because they don't know where else to start and think they are qualified since they "understand" what it takes to be prosperous and successful.
But perhaps I am wrong and every clone is just consciously and blatantly ripping them off.
I'm not entirely sure.
But I'm not copying, but now I'm worried that people will think I'm a clone!
You'll probably already know if you are a clone.
If you think you might be - then everyone else does too.
If you have to read a Danger & Play or Bold & Determined post to create your own "unique" content, chances are - you are a clone.
In the off-chance that you are not a clone but are worried that you will be confused as such, here is my advice -
- Make sure your domain doesn't mirror Danger & Play or Bold & Determined.
- Make sure your website doesn't look like Danger & Play or Bold & Determined.
- Make sure your content doesn't look like Danger & Play or Bold & Determined. (For God's sakes)
- Put your face out there.
- Talk about different concepts that you have experience with.
- If you do 'borrow' a concept, link to the appropriate author out of respect.
* A good way to get blacklisted for a lifetime is to not give credit to others.
- If you still don't know - ask inside this forum if your site looks like a ripoff.
- Start over.
Perception is reality, especially on the Internet, so don't have ANY copycat elements or you'll get lumped in with the clones.
Chris - Are You Talking About My Blog?
Just Who Are You Calling Out?
The whole point of this post was to attempt to raise the standards (and voice what everyone is already thinking) in our sphere of influence.
Besides, I'm way too busy and I don't read any other blogs. Certainly not self-improvement/dating blogs.
I already know what I'm doing and all I need to do is DO.
Learning self-improvement is a launching pad to success, not a lifestyle in itself.
Success is the lifestyle.
If you've been doing 'personal improvement' in order to "change your life" for 5+ years, it's time to quit and just accept your average self. You aren't cut out for it. It's not meant to be.
If you can create a good self-improvement website - do it.
I sure wish some good personal development websites were around 5 or 10 years ago. I had to pour thousands of dollars into the PUA Community for help.
Will I Succeed?
And That's the big question.
Anyone with legitimate experience can build a successful blog (any topic) that earns plenty of passive income, but not everyone can.
You can't fake it.
At least not in the long-term.
It's too time consuming and difficult to write about experiences you've not had or advice you've not actually taken.
Your website will only be as good as your real life experience.
I'm not even a great writer and I wouldn't have to work another day in my life if I decided to never post again.
If you really want to go the 'infopreneur' route (not recommended, sell a product), you should pick a subject that you DO (not know) better than 99.9% of guys at.
If you sell a product, you should be a total expert with the product and have some idea of how the industry works. You will learn what you need along the way.
If you currently have neither - it's time to dedicate yourself to something.
I'm usually not so harsh.
But it's better to tell you now before you build a meaningless clone and wonder why it doesn't work.
And I'm simply highlighting what 99% of us are already thinking and hoping to make a negative (copycats) into a positive (raise your own standards, go create something REAL).
I'd LOVE if guys created amazing unique business/websites and told me that Good Looking Loser was their motivation or share mutual traffic.
What I don't want is to see another diarrhea blast of copycat websites as we begin the 'Get Paid' content on Good Looking Loser.
You are better than that.
Build/sell something unique that helps people and that you can be proud of.
That's how you succeed.
I never once asked guys to share specific posts, but I want this discussion sent up and down our community and the greater-manosphere.
The last thing I want 'Get Paid' to create is more blatantly repackaged websites. We can do better.
Please share this one.
The reply to the "negativity" that surrounds this blog post (Added January 24) -