Journey of My Own

Travel and Lifestyle Design Blog

The Marketing Divide

So, over the past several months, I’ve been really pushed out of my comfort zone and challenged to step up my game and take things to a bigger level than I thought I would ever really get to.

I’ve had the good fortune to meet some real game changers since my trip to Las Vegas in May.  It scares me to do this, but I think the timing is working out just right.

But first, I want to discuss something that I’ve observed in my own wandering across the internet.

The Marketing Divide

When I first started online in 2009 out of desperation to make some money (so my landlord wouldn’t kick me out on the street), it seemed to me that there were two very different types of people online making money.

There were the Awesome Bloggers who seemed like a optimistic circle of people writing blogs about things that they are passionate about.  They would write about personal development, lifestyle design, happiness, and otherwise just being awesome.  Most of them seemed to have big followings, internet fame, and an eBook for sale that was financing their whole lifestyle.  It seemed to me, as a newbie, that these people just focused on writing awesome content and didn’t worry so much about marketing.

There were also the Soulless Marketers, who made mind-numbing sites on tiki torch reviews, male yeast infection creams, online toilet paper stores, and other sorts of things that no logical person would ever make a website for.  They seemed to be overly concerned in backlinks or traffic with little concern for user experience.  Often times the content on their websites is poorly written (but, it was cheat, so it’s all good, right?).

What I’m calling the Marketing Divide is the seeming duality in philosophies on making money on the internet.  It seemed like there was this stark contrast and you had to pick one side or the other.  The power of awesomeness, or the power of running the numbers?  The power of the light, or the power of the darkness?  For the longest time, i seriously thought that these two groups of people were completely separate and never crossed paths.

Then I Made a Few Shocking Discoveries…

The past few months have been extremely transformative for me.

I’ve had the good fortune to meet some great people who have appeared to be either Awesome Bloggers or Soulless Marketers.

And let me tell you, the real people out there that are totally cleaning up are actually bridging the Marketing Divide.  They just give the impression of being on one side or the other.  I’ve talked to some well-known bloggers about things like backlinks and conversion rates; I’ve seen well-oiled conversion machines built by SEO masters that actually provide a good user experience.

To my shock, I actually discovered that the Marketing Divide is just an illusion.

The best marketing is invisible and the real players focus on both sides of the quality/marketing equation (even if they vehemently advocate only one side).

And this whole time I thought I had to choose one side or the other!

A New Challenge

So, what I’m going to try to do is to bridge this gap myself.

I’ve focused too much in the past on building niche micro-sites that earn affiliate commissions.

There’s nothing wrong with that at all.  I’m still going to do this in the future.  Truth be told, I think that this is an excellent way to test out a niche before jumping in head first.  And, even if you never try to “bridge the gap,” so to speak, you’ll still have a little website that will earn you some good money.

But at the same time, I feel like I’m spreading myself too thin by just building a portfolio of these websites.

Instead, I’m going to try to bridge the Marketing Divide by really putting together a quality website that truly engages visitors and has them coming back for more, but is also decent marketing machine that makes some money.

I’ll admit that I’m venturing a bit into unfamiliar territories here.  I’m really only competent at SEO.  Creating viral marketing, guest posting, twitter, and all that stuff are pretty alien to me, but I guess I’m going to be wrapping my head around that stuff in the months ahead.

This should be a fun challenge, and I’ll do my best to keep you in the loop on how this goes.

Let’s hope I know what I’m doing :)


  1. I am also looking to build some big authority sites but am unsure how to monetize them at the moment. One thing that really interests me is the concept of building some niche travel sites and monetizing them by selling ad space. The only problem with this model is that it takes a lot of time and effort building up the authority and rankings to warrant charging a decent amount for advertising.

    I have a friend who has been making high quality websites on interesting topics while traveling for a few years and she is clearing $6000 a month following the ad space model. I think the web has changed a lot since she started, but I am sure it can still be done with some time and effort. Building quality content driven sites on interesting topics is probably the goal of most internet marketers, but when starting out most of us get sucked in by the commissions offered by digital product vendors in clickbank, as well as the ease of collecting payment from just one or a few affiliate networks.

    I enjoyed reading this post Clayton. Im off to destroy my soul a bit more by writing some solar panels articles.

    • @Rodderz, Yeah, I’ve wanted to get into the travel niche too, but I think SEO would probably be way too tough with all the travel companies out there. I think you’d need a different approach in order to crack that one open…

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