The Thirty Day Challenge – The End?

If you haven’t heard, the Thirty Day Challenge was a huge “event” happening throughout August 2007; the basic idea – how to make your first $10 online without spending anything. By the way, I’m truly sorry for not posting about it earlier – for some inexplicable reason I kept delaying. Maybe the topic just seemed too overwhelming and important to “just” write about it, so I never really got around to it. Now, when the “official” challenge time is over, I feel I can finally get some kind of summary out.

How It Works/Worked

It’s all free. Anyone can register and no, you don’t get spammed. I even didn’t see a single affiliate link anywhere. The people running the challenge (Ed Dale, Dan and whoever else 😉 ) created a lot of learning material – podcasts, videos, PDF’s and even a Firefox toolbar – with new resources appearing almost every day, available either through the blog or the members area. There’s lots and lots of info and step-by-step guides about

  • How to get ideas (and associated keyword phrases).
  • How to analyze niches.
  • How to find out exactly how many people are searching for the phrase on Google (a neat idea for using Google Trends, there’s even an automated tool now).
  • How to see if there’s money to be made in the niche.
  • Places where you can host a site for free.
  • Social bookmarking and all the Web 2.0 stuff (TDC was very focused on this topic).
  • Getting traffic, getting ranked in Google and maintaining good rankings.
  • And more, way more.

And there’s a forum, too. And teams, and blogs, and custom software, and god knows what else. There’s a huge amount of valuable (and free) info in TDC.

How Hard Is It?

So-so. Most of the techniques and tactics are fairly easy and completely actionable – you can “just do it”. All technical stuff is explained in sufficient detail, so you will be able to follow along even if all you can do on the Internet is browse sites and check e-mail.

Personally I think the most complex part was finding a suitable niche and creating good content for it. To find a niche you need to somehow discover a topic that lots of people are interested in and with an acceptable amount of competition. This quickly rules out most trivial or overly general niches like health care, anti-spyware, credit cards… in short – if you’re getting spam e-mails on a particular topic, it’s a bad idea to try and move into that niche 🙂

TDC provides lots of resources to help finding niches (and still more are discussed in the forums) but it’s largely a “hit and miss” process anyway. The approach I found most effective for me was to go to Wordtracker GTrends and type in “partial” keywords. For example – “how to”, “learn”, “fix”, “help” and so on. A niche keyword phrase might be “how to [do something]”. The [do something] part can be very hard to figure out because you only know about a limited amount of “things to do”, plus most of them will likely be some popular high-competition topics. So it can be better to use “how to” and see what “somethings” people are actually searching for.

The content creation part was hard for me because, for many niches, I knew nothing about the topic, or, more accurately – didn’t care about the topic. Don’t get me wrong – TDC has enough information about how to do research, find topics for niche articles and become an expert (of sorts) quickly on any topic, but that is of little consolation if I find a promising niche like “how to make a widget” and realize I could care less about widgets. I think that while it definitely is possible to make money from a topic you find uninteresting, it’s not the best way. Thankfully I managed to find some computer-related niches that I’m interested in.

Does It Really Work?

See for yourself (and this, too). Of the two sites that I created during the TDC, one is already getting around 45 visits/day, after being online for less than a week. It’s not on the first page of Google, but it may get there eventually. I’m also going to use the strategies I learned to promote this site (which might be slightly harder because it’s not focused on a single topic). I haven’t made any money from this affair yet, but it doesn’t cost me anything either apart from the time invested, so that’s fine. BTW, on the topic of time – it’s going to pass anyway, so it’s better spent on something worthwhile, not joyful procrastination.

What Happens Now

The “thirty day” and “challenge” parts of the Thirty Day Challenge are over, but somehow the TDC lives on. While there is no more time limit for making $10 and no more “winners” will be announced, the site is still there, the forums are active and Ed, Dan and the rest are going to put even more resources on the site with time. I’ve heard they’ll talk about creating your own products in September… If you want more info, listen to this podcast about the future of TDC.

Hey, you have made it this far, all the way through my endless writing! Here’s something nice for you – The Summary Of Summaries about the Thirty Day Challenge, full of links, tips, articles and more. Good luck 🙂

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