the content

What to Expect from Detailed in 2018

An announcement, and a sneak preview

Part of me feels a little ashamed to be writing this blog post, and part of me feels that I should have written it sooner.

In July of this year I returned to England to spend time with my Dad for his 60th birthday.

After a meal with my family and my Dad’s closest friends, I vividly remember telling my brother before I disappeared to my laptop, “I really can’t do these daily updates anymore”.

Wanting to spend some time away from the computer, I had already stopped producing daily podcast updates (which I had never planned to do) and felt a lot of self-created pressure to make sure I updated this site like I had promised.

I hate to quit anything, and I know I have a history of unpredictable posting schedules, so I decided not to make any rash decisions and “give it a few more weeks” to see how things go.

Those few more weeks turned into six more months, and while I’ve had days where I haven’t written any updates, I am proud to have have written 152 case studies for this site.

When you factor in that I wrote 100 articles in 6 years for ViperChill (though I accept they are considerably longer), writing for Detailed so consistently has been a difficult but fun challenge.

On that note, I do have something important to say: This will likely be my last ever post for the Detailed.com blog.

I’m sure I’ll be writing future updates here about Detailed and Detailed Pro, but they’ll probably be hidden away on a /blog/ URL.

It won’t be the end of the case studies – I’ll actually be writing many more with my next ‘pivot’ – but I’ll get to that in a moment.

What I’ve Learned These Last Few Months

Detailed started with a simple idea.

As I often find incredible side projects or content ideas that have picked up a lot of traffic, I really wanted a place to share them with others.

One of my favourite case studies – the 15-word website that was shared over 500,000 times – is the kind of thing I love to discover, and I quickly realised that other people like reading about these success stories aswell.

Another personal favourite was the Mac Rumours Buyers Guide, which is a really interesting concept in the world of eCommerce, and actually has more backlinks than their homepage which is pretty incredible (and very rare).

Before I came up with the idea for Detailed I was blown away by the success of Unsplash.com. A simple, copyright free stock photo site that began life as a barely finished side-project and now reaches millions of visitors per month.

I love that their business model simply requires them to update the site with quality images each day, and people will come back in droves.

I thought that if I started sharing a new case study here every day, not only would I create the perfect companion to Gaps updates, but I would hopefully be able to grow my audience at the same time as people share each case study with their followers.

It’s fair to say now that things didn’t exactly follow that path.

Insight #1: Nobody looks at individual categories.

This was (and still is) surprising to me.

My thought was that when people come to Detailed, they’ll click on the niche that’s most relevant to them then look at the relevant case studies I share in that space.

This hasn’t really happened at all, and I think categories were quite prominent on the site (in the sidebar, and underneath each post) so I don’t think it’s because people didn’t see them.

Instead, almost every user of the site goes through almost every page here. It’s really interesting to see.

As I said in a more recent update, almost as many people end up on page 9 as they do on page 2.

I certainly have no problem with that – I’m happy if people are getting any value from the site at all – but it has made my database angle a little pointless if people aren’t navigating the site like they would a directory.

Insight #2: Nobody shares updates here…at all

On one hand I should have expected this, but on the other it has been surprising to me.

I know Detailed updates are fairly short, but the ideas are often so interesting and unique (or at least I think so) that I honestly thought people would have went crazy for them on platforms like Twitter and LinkedIn.

It shows that no matter how long you’re involved in a space, it can still be hard to predict.

Detailed has had barely any shares at all on social media, which hasn’t hurt my ego, but does make me feel like I’m not ‘going anywhere’ with my updates here.

Besides post length, I partly put this down to people not wanting more competition if they mimic a great idea. Then again, I wrote about an 8-page website making six-figures on Gaps and people shared it in the thousands.

If people didn’t want competition for that, I’m not sure why they are so worried (if they are) when it comes to content ideas.

My analysis aside, you can see how often people share Detailed updates on Twitter.

Spoiler: You’re going to the same two to three people in every scroll of your mouse wheel.

Again, I have no hard feelings about this (I have continued to write months after I knew people weren’t sharing updates) but generally people write to reach more people, and I can’t deny I do the same.

Insight #3: There has been no climb in visitors either

I didn’t expect Detailed to ‘blow up’ and become some phenomenon in the internet marketing world overnight.

However, I did expect that as the months go by, daily visitors would increase a few percent and keep increasing to the point that I had thousands of people waiting for each day’s blog post.

I guess that’s still possible, but it’s not looking likely. The number of daily visitors the site gets today is exactly the same number of daily visitors it got when I started.

I’m not counting traffic spikes, like when I rant about losing half of my audience or link to Detailed from a Gaps post, but just ‘normal’ daily traffic.

I’m happy to write and try to help people, but it would have been nice to reach more people each day, especially as I feel so much pressure to write.

I can live with my audience not growing, but it seems pointless writing so much when I know I can write far fewer articles that do get shared, and people tend to enjoy much more.

Which really leads to…

The Recent Turning Point Which Cemented My Decision

In the last few weeks I started putting together private SEO case studies for members of Detailed Pro.

As you may know, in these updates I don’t reveal the exact URL’s of the websites I’m talking about, but do reveal their traffic stats and more importantly, I really dive into their sources of backlinks and how they’re growing their sites.

I’ve found over 200 websites now which are dominating Google despite their young age (and often relatively few backlinks) and even with just three updates so far, their sources of links have made for some interesting discoveries.

The link building tactic I shared in the third case study last week has so much potential I know Detailed Pro members are going to use it to create a lot of backlinks for their own sites and their clients sites.

On a whim, I reached out to the owners of some of these sites I found, and asked if they would be interested in doing an interview in public on their revenue figures and their marketing angles.

The following is the exact type of reply I expected:

I hadn’t made the connection this person was a member of Detailed Pro.

Our customer count sits at a very low three-figure mark (now by choice as we limit new sign-ups) so the chances of that happening were incredibly slim, making that reply a nice surprise.

What wasn’t a surprise, was their response.

Who would agree to an interview on dominating Google when they’re just giving themselves much more competition?

Well, here’s the surprising thing…

I asked six different website owners if they would be open to do a public interview revealing their stats and their marketing strategies and five of them said yes.

The screenshot above was actually the only “rejection” I received.

Here’s an example of one reply.

In case you didn’t read every word, here’s a woman with a two year old site that’s getting hundreds of thousands of visitors per month from Google, and she’s suggesting I have advice to offer her on how to improve her search engine rankings.

It’s funny to see that she doesn’t even look at her backlinks either – she had commented on an article of mine a few years ago – and is purely focused on improving her website.

Also, she’s not worried about competition.

I love that, and can’t wait to share some of these interviews.

Once these positive replies started coming in, I had the strange realisation that I wasn’t sure where to share them.

They’re focused on traffic and marketing so Detailed makes sense, but as I have ideas for similar businesses you could create in their space (i.e. gaps in the same market) then surely I should write about those on Gaps?

On top of that, I’ve been in the mood to write much longer updates recently, such as covering how many people are killing it with survey link building, but I just couldn’t write such in-depth updates here on a daily or even weekly basis.

After much deliberation, and not one but two changes to the Detailed model to try and make it work, I have decided that all future blog posts will be published on Gaps.

I’m going to return to my usual style of writing incredibly detailed (no pun intended) and in-depth articles there.

ViperChill will eventually port to Gaps (one post has already made the journey) and Detailed will remain focused on Detailed Pro, which I’m increasingly excited about going forward.

To clarify: Gaps = my blog. Detailed = my startup.

I know this change is going to disappoint a lot of people, but I’ve once again proven to myself that fewer updates of a much higher quality are what I prefer writing, and what readers of my sites greatly tend to prefer as well.

Detailed is far from dead though. Let’s look at my plans for 2018.

What’s Next for Detailed.com

In no order, here’s a little teaser of what’s to come.

I hope it makes up for any possible disappointment you have about my news today.

Content Marketing for WordPress

One of the first things I’ll be launching in 2018 is Content Marketing for WordPress.

After multiple rounds with WordPress developers to get the plugin approved, it’s finally allowed on their plugin repository.

I talked about it a little in a previous update, but I haven’t had the time to add in as many headlines I would like to make sure the plugin is useful from the start.

My biggest fear is that people take the time to install the plugin and try it out, and then there are no suggested headlines based on what they’ve typed.

I need to make sure there are at least 500 entries in the plugin before I share it with the world and that’s going to take a bit of time to put together (since I’ve “only” written about 150 so far for Detailed).

Needless to say you’ll see me talking about that in January.

My Own Link Index

I’m a huge fan of tools like Majestic and Ahrefs, but despite their mass of data, there are always more things I wish I could do with their interface.

That’s why, from early 2018, I’m going to be primarily relying on my own source of backlink data to not only find link opportunities for Detailed Pro, but to monitor trends in the type of content people link out to and how often websites link out.

You can see a sample of my private database in action below.

She’s not pretty, but she works.

I haven’t designed the results at all but even just for my own personal use, I’ll probably make some changes so they look a bit prettier.

At this moment in time, this isn’t something I plan to sell.

I don’t have the funds (or the desire, to be honest) to compete with Moz or Ahrefs or Majestic who spend hundreds of thousands of dollars per month on growing their index.

Instead, I want to use the database to perform calculations I simply can’t make without full access to the databases of the prior-mentioned services.

For instance, I want to be able to check things like “The most linked to pages from photography blogs in the past month.”

No tool can do that for me.

To take it even further, I’ll be able to check things like “The most linked to pages from photography blogs in the past month, that were only published in the past month“.

If I really want to stay on top of my game when it comes to SEO, I think this is incredibly important for me to build, so I’m excited to see where it ends up.

There is a very real possibility I’ll open it up for free once it’s big enough (around 100,000 domains), but I’ll have to be careful that people don’t try to compare it to other tools in terms of size, as that is not my aim.

There have been a few hurdles in building this – like websites blocking our crawler already – but I’m finding the whole process really interesting, so expect to see me write about that in the near future.

More Incredible, In-Depth Blog Posts

I have absolutely no regrets about trying the ‘angle’ I have with Detailed.

The research for posts here actually led to a number of Gaps articles and I’ve enjoyed the challenge of doing something different.

That said, it’s clear to me that what I really want to write are not short blog posts each day, but in-depth guides that I’ve been known for over the years.

In preparation for a mass of new in-depth articles, I’ve started working with two writers – Nigel and Simon – who are both heavily involved in internet marketing to help me produce some of this content.

The updates I have coming to Gaps next year are going to be by far the best articles I have ever written.

Here’s a teaser for one…


It’s funny to me to look at the URL for that article and see I was going to publish it here on Detailed.

I actually had no idea where to post it (someone asked why I wasn’t sharing it on ViperChill) as it’s going to be huge and not a case study, which doesn’t really fit in with Detailed, but also not an ‘online business idea’ which doesn’t really fit in with Gaps.

To me it makes even more sense now to just have one blog and one place to share my writing.

A Revival of Technorati

This is the one I’m actually most excited about, but it’s the one I can talk about the least.

I used to love Technorati back in the day; it was by far the best way to search blogs (even better than Google at the time) and I would constantly check the top blog rankings in SEO and marketing to see how ViperChill was doing.

Sadly Technorati became slow to update, got overcrowded when they started tracking hundreds of millions of blogs and got hurt by Google algorithm updates (as many of their indexed pages were essentially search results).

They also had no way of actually monetising the 100 million people landing on their website each month. Like many tech startups of today, they vowed to figure out the making-money part later.

Once valued at $35m, Technorati was sold a few years ago for just $3m, with their technology now being used to power an ad network (which is a little ironic).

I have no plans to index (or make searchable) billions of blogs, but I do plan to bring back one of my favourite features of Technorati, which I think you’ll love.

The following screenshot doesn’t reveal much, but it’s a little hint at the new navigation I need in place to make it happen.

Detailed is going to look radically different in the New Year, and I have an incredibly busy few weeks ahead of me to get it ready.

I’ve you’ve been online as long as I have and also have fond memories of Technorati, I hope I do the original founders proud with my own take on what they did so well.

Thank You for Following and (Hopefully) Understanding

I know some people are going to be disappointed at today’s news.

As I said in the introduction, I feel slightly ashamed that something I put so much time and effort into has essentially failed to take off.

I don’t have any regrets, and I still believe in the idea behind this site, but I’m reaching so few people with each update that I really think my writing time is better spent elsewhere.

Detailed is far from dead – I think the updates I have coming in 2018 are going to be incredible – but Gaps is where you’ll find my writing (and a lot of it) in the coming year.

I said I had a lot more case studies to share, and you’ll be seeing those in the detailed (pun intended this time) marketing guides I’ll be sharing here, which were also hinted at in the navigation bar screenshot earlier.

They’ll be more static as I won’t be producing daily blog updates, but each page will be packed with a lot more value than just a few hundred words around a single case study.

Thank you so much for following this project, and I once again apologise for those who are let down by this update.

With that said, I think it’s the best decision for me, and if you don’t agree with it now, I hope I’ll be able to change your mind next year.

I hope you have a great Xmas and an incredible New Year.

Thank you, as always, for your support.

P.S. As a shameless plug, we have sold out of the $997 plan and have just a few spaces left in key categories (particularly Finance and Business) so if you want to get in on Detailed Pro before the New Year, now is the time to join.

I’ll be sharing two new incredible case studies there before the year is over as well.


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