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I happen to have a decent knowledge about a ton of very different topics.

I'd like to start a large blog website talking about them, but while some of those topics are more or less close, others are really alien to them.

In example, I'd like to post a series of blog posts about how to optimize wordpress, another bunch would be about OpenCart.

But I also know a good deal about configuring Ubuntu servers so I also want to create a series of posts about that (by series I mean 100 or so).

But I also know a lot about finance and markets trading, I could write thousands of posts about that.

But I also know a lot about online gaming (and coding), I could write a number of posts and make videos and so on.

I have read that the best way is to keep everything under the same domain so to build "critical mass" which in turn brings Google rank. But wouldn't so many topics diversity actually convince readers that the website is amateur-ish or too much "do it all" / unfocused and actually lead them to abandon it?

Also, I read that a best practice is to keep only one consistent theme across the whole website. I find it hard to setup one theme which is effective and good for such diverse stuff as wordpress and gaming or finance. I don't have problems implementing different themes as I got the full Genesis bundle.

As of now I had started creating empty websites focused on one task (i.e. www.wp-optimize.com for wordpress optimization) but I fear I'd easily end up creating 7-8 unrelated small websites that would never gain momentum to rank up.

Basically, I have the content, I have the quality (well, I hope so!) and even have some quantity. I am "just" asking, with this peculiar situation on my hands, if there are best practices to monetize my efforts (with ads) in a rational and effective way.

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I am sorry. While it is possible to cover several topics on a site, I do not fully agree with the notion of having several/many topics on a site unless they are related. Divergence from a theme comes at a cost. That is not to say that you have to spin off each and every topic. For example, all computer related topics can be on one website especially since you are only talking about 100 posts or so for each micro-topic. But unless there is a clear primary topic, such as gaming, the site would loose focus.

An unfocused site will yield an unfocused result.

You can create one site about computers/gaming with other topics then another on finance. These can be interlinked but the theme should follow the theme pyramid model. Kitchenware, Kitchenware->pots/pans, Kitchenware->pots/pans->frying pan, Kitchenware->pots/pans->frying pan->non-stick. Not following the theme pyramid model will create the following issues:

  • Inability to effectively compete in search.
  • Unfocused search results and CTR.
  • Difficulty in converting users via call to action.
  • Search traffic for one topic only that you have not chosen (usually a poor topic).
  • Inability or difficulty in refocusing search results/traffic (it can take a year).

Kitchen sink sites struggle.

It has been my experience that you will be spending time on topics only to find that your efforts on one topic can effectively compete while the others lag behind significantly. If you can be a bit more choosy and select complementary topics for your computer site, you will be rewarded. You can talk about finances on another site. Otherwise I fear that you will waste a lot of time running around on various topics that will yield little results.

Here is what I recommend: Write a few test posts per topic. (You can be somewhat sloppy.) A good sample would be best. Do not have to post them. Perform a keyword density analysis against each post and pay attention to your natural keyword usage. Use Google Trends at least to determine the value of each topic (not keyword).

This is done by gauging trends for the as many of the keywords for the topic as you can gather and then doing a search for these keywords in various conversational style queries such as How do I get more organic backlinks?. You want to see a trend that is at least not going down and search results that offer a fair number of results. If there are a very large number of results, then the topic space may be too crowded to compete unless you are tenacious and have time to spare. This is something you need to ferret out through researching your topic. It just takes a bit of time to understand the popularity of a topic and the competition and how you can compete differently.

Then see if you can create a theme pyramid for the most valuable topic(s). Fill in at each stage/level of the theme pyramid all keywords you can think of and find. Test these keywords again in Google Trends and any other tool that will:

  • Give you an idea of topic trends (up is good, down is bad, flat okay).
  • Give you an idea of a niche where you can complete in a small space.
  • Give you an idea if you are strong enough to compete on the topic.
  • Give you an idea of monetary value of the topic (an indication of demand).

It is not fully necessary that you create a trending site. Long-tail search is more profitable over time. However, you do not want a topic that is trending down and has been for quite some time. Why? The reason is more psychological than anything unless you want to make money with advertising. You create a site and want people to visit your site. You want people to enjoy what you have to offer and worked hard to create your site. You poor your heart out onto pages hoping that it finds value. It can be rewarding when people read your work and appreciate it. However, if your site is not popular and you cannot find an audience, then motivation to continue wanes and may die completely. I see more sites appear and disappear for exactly this reason.

Any site will grow over time and it is impossible to think of all the topics/sub-topics or to know everything about a topic/sub-topic. This is okay and quite normal. The important thing to do is to start somewhere and to be focused as much as you can be. I like to create, using notepad or other editor, a pseudo theme pyramid that I use as a guide. You can use other websites for ideas to build this theme pyramid. I put into it everything I can think of and then begin writing about what I know. After a while, there will be gaps in my writings so I refer back to the pseudo theme pyramid I created and begin to fill in the blanks. It may require some research, but in the end, you will be surprised by how much you know and how much you will learn. Pretty soon you will be an expert and that is where your site will really take off. Then it is time to find new topics and so on.

That will give you an idea what you should focus on and what you should just dream about.

Keyword/Topic Research:

Free keyword websites are by nature behind the curve. They can only report what happened. There are some exceptions to this rule, however, they are few and far between. One of my favorites is SemRush.com. You can look around their site for a number of queries for free. Otherwise this option is too expensive. So I will talk about what is free or most affordable.

The tools that I use are often the simplest and free. I do use a couple of SEO GUI based tools which I will mention later.

1] Google Search. I use the Google search page and begin typing in keywords, keyword phrases, and conversational queries slowly without hitting enter. I will try many variations of conversational queries typing somewhat slowly to see what Google will recommend. Google uses Ajax to query their search database and will give clues to keywords, topics, and searches that Google has found to be topical and important. You can find important keywords and topics this way.

2] Google Trends. I use Google Trends found here: http://www.google.com/trends/ to test various keywords and keyword phrases. You may go through plenty of queries before finding keyword/topic gold. What I pay attention to is the Interest Over Time graph and down at the bottom of the page the keyword lists. I prefer to click on Breakout and see the trends in keywords and topics.

3] Google Search (again). I use Google search to find competitors by typing in what appears to be the most valuable conversational keyword and topic queries. I look at how they appear in the SERPs. This is valuable information. The SERP link is the often the title tag for that page. The title tag will contain the most important keywords and topic. Sometimes, I visit the site and peruse the site and simply note what topics exist and how the site is put together.

4] Backlinks. Inbound Backlink profiles are important for any site. I prefer to use a tool. Two free tools (that also have paid versions) are Open Site Explorer found here: http://moz.com/researchtools/ose and MajesticSEO found here: http://www.majesticseo.com/. Both will give limited clues for keywords and topics as well as some clue to back link profiles. Backlinks will tell you what sites are interested in any particular topic and how they will link to a page. Look for links that link to a specific page rather than the home page. These links are more valuable. Study what you see and visit some of these sites for more clues. I also use my GUI based tools to study backlinks.

As mentioned, I use GUI based tools too. I use MarketSamurai found here: http://www.marketsamurai.com/ and SEO PowerSuite found here: http://www.link-assistant.com/. Both tools are will received. I use MarketSamurai the most. It is somewhat affordable and goes on sale from time to time for a really good price. As well, you can use it for a trial period which may be enough for you. SEO PowerSuite is much more expensive, but extremely good. You can use SEO PowerSuite for free to a point and I recommend doing this. This is not the forum on how to use these tools so I will skip that part.

The options: 1, 2, and 3 I use the most. It takes a bit of work, but these free tools tell me the most. Then I use MarketSamurai over anything else. The most powerful tool is clearly SEO PowerSuite, but that is expensive and may not be affordable to you. Again, use the free level for some clues.

The point is to find topics and look to other sites for this. Once I find sites that compete well, I study how they compete and set myself up to follow their example. But do not follow too closely. You need to carve out your own space.

Please note: No-one does SEO perfectly well and there is almost always missing opportunities. Use your judgement and experience and apply what you already know about your audience to ferret out new opportunities to not only compete differently, but also find a market space that is under-served.

Sometimes the leader is the leader for a good reason. Just keep this in mind and begin to compete. Just remember that any new site cannot compete with the big boys right away. Chose someone who competes well that you feel you can mirror their success. When you achieve that goal, find another site that raises the bar and begin to compete against them. Eventually, you will be hanging with the big boys just fine. It all takes time, planning, and patience. Just do not bite off too much. Do what is within your reach and compete on that level. Somewhere along the line, you will be comfortable enough to raise the bar and do more. Just be satisfied enough to do what you can do and know the day will come soon enough where you can do more.

Last advice. Be happy. Remember that song? Don't worry- be happy? That will be in your head all day! But that is good advice to follow. So follow it!!

  • Thank you so much for your commendable effort ad providing such a detailed answer! I wish I had enough rep on this sub-stack overflow website to reward you with something more than a thank you! If I may be bold, could I please ask you a bit more detail about the "I recommend" section? In example, how do I check the value of a topic (vs just keyword value)? Also, the "theme pyramid" concept is quite nice. Finally, I hope I am not doing it wrong but... you talk like the one important thing is to post "in trend". What if I have a lot of material on random bits of each topic? No rank for me? – Dario Fumagalli Sep 12 '14 at 17:33
  • @DarioFumagalli I updated that section for you. If you need more- do not hesitate to say so! I am here most nights till late and for a while in the mid-to-late mornings. Then I have to go do some work. Even on the weekends. Bummer! – closetnoc Sep 13 '14 at 2:42
  • Thank you so much again! It's close to 4am here so I strongly feel I am best to read the new suggestions tomorrow. A cursory look shows some great content to read! Wish I could at least put a +1. – Dario Fumagalli Sep 13 '14 at 2:50
  • @DarioFumagalli It sounds like you are keeping my hours! We are all here for you when you are ready for us. – closetnoc Sep 13 '14 at 3:08
  • I had time to read the text and digest most of it. Basically what you suggest is a top down architecture that I can implement with Wordpress categories and subcategories, possibly with lower tiers linking peer level posts (I have a "related posts" add on to help me where I don't link them myself, backlinking upwards and linking downwards as well. One thing I have some difficulty with, is finding usable tools for those checks and tasks you list. Most I find let me try a couple of searches and then want to charge money. Do you have some URLs to free ones? – Dario Fumagalli Sep 15 '14 at 8:28
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Also, I read that a best practice is to keep only one consistent theme across the whole website. I find it hard to setup one theme which is effective and good for such diverse stuff as wordpress and gaming or finance.

As long as the theme is content-focused, it shouldn't be an issue. Generic / minimalist designs are useful in the sense that they allow the user to focus on the content. If you look at many of the top content-orientated websites, you'll find that most of them employ a design that isn't reflective of the subject matter that they address. A lot of designers and webmasters make the assumption that a design has to reflect the topic that is being discussed, when this is simply not the case. For example, a football blog doesn't have to have a green / grass background. In the vast majority of cases, the user will only care about 1) the content and 2) how easy it is to consume said content.

Also, personally speaking, I would stick to one domain. Otherwise, you run the risk of spreading yourself too thin. Categories are useful for a reason and not everything deserves its own microsite. Plus, there are plenty of successful websites out there that deal with multiple topics.

  • Thank you for your answer. Do you see negative sides about your suggested choice? I mean: I see generalistic websites like about.com really doing as you say, but is it the norm or the exception? Are there no downsides to hosting etherogenous content on one website? Because that's my biggest concern: to put in months of efforts just to get caught in some SEO snag later. – Dario Fumagalli Sep 12 '14 at 9:35
  • The downside is that topic-orientated websites are usually better at attracting a following. – Wexford Sep 12 '14 at 9:45
  • Yeah I have shivers thinking about how I could create a Call To Action asking to join a mailing list for updates. How am I going to justify the guy subscribing for Wordpress updates the fact he'll actually going to get a MMORPG blog post in his mailbox the next day? – Dario Fumagalli Sep 12 '14 at 10:01
  • @DarioFumagalli You could create a mailing list by category? Are you going to cover enough content to justify multiple sites? If so, go for it. – Wexford Sep 12 '14 at 10:03

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