Peter John McLean

Website Copywriting for Humans (Writing)

Search Engine Optimization is all the rage these days but it’s kind of funny because all the best sites don’t care about it and all the worst sites are obsessed with it. Hmm, there might be a connection here. I’m not saying that SEO isn’t real or important. SEO is very important. Without decent onsite SEO and other people who know about you and like you enough to link to you what will you do? Float around the Internet without any visitors, that’s what. And that sucks.

Knowing how to attract readers is obviously vital but a focus on SEO optimization first and content second is absolutely dead. It’s worthless and you won’t find a single major blog or website that puts SEO before writing. So you shouldn’t either.

I first got serious about blogging in 2011. I built a blog from scratch that taught people how to make coffee using a bunch of awesome stuff like a Hario v60 dripper and a Chemex. I love making good coffee at home and I had a ton of fun doing it and it even made me my first passive income. I learned a lot of really important stuff from that project including how to build websites that are valuable and how incredible passive income is. Once you develop a passive income mind it is easy to start seeing smart business ideas instead of just ways to make some cash. Cash doesn’t last long, but passive income just keeps coming in. It’s great.

Target Problems, Not Keywords

Ok so I was building this awesome coffee blog and all I wanted to do was play with all of my coffee toys and write about how much fun I was having. But that is worthless. No one cares to read 750 word blog posts about just making coffee – I mean, if they are really entertaining they might stick around – but in general you can’t build an audience of readers for your blog if all you do is tell them random stories about stuff.

You have to bring them value. You have to teach them how to do shit.

So once I figured that out I started using a bunch of fancy keyword mining tools and creating massive lists of keywords that I needed to target. I targeted a bunch of them. It brought some traffic too. But it wasn’t organic at all. I had to go out of my way to include extra terms that weren’t necessary and find a way to fit in terms so they would theoretically drive more traffic to my site. It meant sacrificing my potential to be awesome for the sake of a few more potential readers.

And that is a really stupid thing to do.

Eventually I made another shift in my blogging strategy. I gave up on keywords and started focusing on problems.

I thought about all of the things that were confusing about my coffee gear. I brainstormed about what other people would need to learn. I stopped focusing on ranking for various keyword phrases and started targeting real problems and just focusing on creating the most valuable blog that I could. And that worked really well.

It was one of those eureka! moments that you get when you work on something for a long time and then – out of nowhere – take a step back, change your approach, and see amazing gains. Targeting problems was my water displacement discovery. It was cool.

When you change your focus to website copywriting that is pure value it actually attracts tons of visitors that say, holy shit this is what I needed. And when you have the holy shit this is what I needed audience then you have everything.

Because that audience grows.