Random, Our Latest Experiment

September 30, 2014

There is always at least one experiment brewing at Retro Mocha and the one we are kicking off this month is Random. Random is an experiment in SEO and improving our writing skills. The question we have is this: Can we make money creating random articles and content on RetroMocha.com?

To answer this question we are going to write long tail content on our website under the Random section. What is long tail content exactly? Well, long tail content is articles about very specific phrases or topics. Instead of writing about "Xbox One" and hoping to rank for that search, we write about how long it takes to install Xbox One games.

From my experience with SEO, I know that long tail articles are easy to rank for and also can provide better click throughs or conversions for advertisers, so there is potentially more money to be made there.

Aside from the money, it's also about just getting practice writing articles and staying in the practice of writing. To get good at anything, you have to make a deliberate effort to practice and improve your skill. Writing these articles gives us a lower risk way to hone our skills. We aren't looking for any of these articles to go viral or bring in a ton of links. They are merely a vehicle to share our knowledge about random things and monetize that knowledge via advertising.

The strategy

For this to make money, we are going to need traffic to our website content. The math works out to something like this. Say we get $10 CPM, which is $10 per 1,000 page views. To make $1,000 a month would take about 100,000 page views each month. That is just over 3,000 a day.

Right now our site traffic is small and we are getting zero traffic so far to the Random articles. My goal is to get each article to 50-100 visits a day and at that point once you have 50 articles you are right in that range. So far we have two articles, so there is a long ways to go on that front too.

To promote these articles we have a pretty simple SEO strategy. We write interesting, valuable articles on the Learn section of our website to attract links, shares, and attention from people using the internet. Then, the value of both the links and the general attention will be captured in two ways.

First, the links build authority and trust with the search engines and because the Random section is linked in the footer of every page on our website, it will over time flow the link authority to those Random articles.

Second, we are building up an audience via an email newsletter. We have 35 people on the newsletter currently, but each time we create and share our content, we pick up a few more email subscribers. If we were more aggressive with promoting our list via a pop up, we would get more subscribers, but that really isn't our style.

Those two things build up the Retro Mocha website property in general, which in turn promotes our Random website content to Google. We believe that over time this will get us a lot of traffic and thus a nice little revenue stream.

It's a passive and high ROI business

The best thing about this experiment is that it's about as close to "set it and forget it" as a business can be. When we have the time and energy, we can write an article about any topic we want and just publish it. If Google picks up that article and starts sending traffic to it, then it makes some money for us.

That is awesome, but what is even better is there is almost no overhead to maintain these articles. The incremental cost to each article is our time to write them. Otherwise, they can sit on our servers almost forever and cost us fractions of a penny each month.

Even better still is the fact that these articles can stay published for years and continue to provide value to our visitors and a steady source of income. For the kind of articles we write, there will be a lot of value for years to come. That means there will be potentially traffic and advertising revenue for years to come.

This is boring, but valuable

There isn't much glory in writing these random articles about whatever interests us at the moment. We aren't going to win any awards doing this. For us, it can even get a bit boring and so we don't push real hard on this experiment. It's more of a writing outlet that might make us a decent amount of money someday.

Our goal is not to revolutionize publishing or compete with a large site like Huffington Post or The Verge. We are doing this to see if it is possible for Retro Mocha to make some advertising revenue on our website. Maybe that will buy us a yacht, or maybe it will only buy us a toy boat to play with in the bathtub.

Either way, it will be interesting to see how this turns out.

- Brian

About The Author

Brian Knapp is one half of the dynamic duo that runs Retro Mocha. You can follow his hilarious puns on Twitter.