What Is Your Secret Weapon for Succeeding Online?

By Daniel Scocco

questions and answersThis post is part of the Friday Q&A section. Just use the contact form if you want to submit a question.

Wahyu asks:

I am so glad that I’ve found this valuable blog. After reading it, I’ve got so many lesson about SEO. I am already practicing a few tips from you, but why I still don’t have link popularity from Google. Please tell me your secret weapon just for me, please. Because I saw your blog had a huge number of Google link popularity. I need your help so much.

I get similar emails pretty much every week. Sometimes they ask about getting Google traffic, other times about making money with their websites. Overall it is always the same thing, though. Someone who wants to know what is my “secret weapon,” my “special and secret strategies” and my “most effective tricks” to succeed online. I decided to finally reveal everything, so from now on I will just send the link to this post to people who send those emails.

So here we go. My secret, ultimate and bombastic weapon for succeeding in pretty much every endeavor is… drum roll please… believing that there are no secret weapons, hidden tricks or shortcuts.

There, I said it.

If there are no secret weapons, hidden tricks and shortcuts, what does it take to achieve success? Two things, basically: hard work and persistence.

And that is why having this belief is a secret weapon in itself. Because it forces me to get off my butt every single morning and work hard. It also gives me the motivation and energy to keep working hard over the long term, because I know that if I persist, eventually I will achieve my goals. In fact I don’t consider myself that successful yet, but I am sure I will arrive there.

Obviously there are many more factors involved. You need to study and master your trade. You need to develop the right set of skills. You need to network with the right people. But hey, if you are willing to work hard and persist I am taking for granted that you will also have all those complementary factors.

That is my opinion, at least. Feel free to share yours on a comment.


43 Responses to “What Is Your Secret Weapon for Succeeding Online?”

  • Andrew @ webuildyourblog.com

    Admitting there are better people at certain things than me and then outsourcing work to them.

    Too many people think “no one can do it as good as me”. Total RUBBISH!

    Use your strengths and outsource your weaknesses.


  • Vishal Sanjay

    I know that hard work is really important, but you see there are many bloggers who work very hard but still do not succeed. I believe that you can build only huts with hard work, not beautiful mansions. This does not mean that i don’t work hard, all i meant to say was that there is a need for a short cut, or a secret formula for success. This is accepted by many successful people. I believe that life is filled with injustice and there is nothing you can do, but you can do a bit of injust to others and to the world to come up in life.

  • Daniel Scocco

    @Andrew, delegating is key, but I would include that in the “complementary factors” I mentioned. If a person knows how to delegate but is not willing to work hard I believe she will still have problems.

    @Vishal, we have quite different views then.

  • jan geronimo

    That’s the most sensible, surefire but well-kept secret weapon of all. Anyone who doesn’t agree needs to shift his trade to being a magician or being a shaman so he can keep his pursuit of magic bullets and secret mantras.

    My best kept secret? Coffee! πŸ™‚

  • Andrew @ webuildyourblog.com

    @Daniel I meant to agree with you about hard work, persistence etc, I just didn’t want to repeat what you had already said!

    So I work hard on what I’m good at and outsource what I’m not so good at (and the mundane stuff of course!).


  • Daniel Scocco

    @Andrew, gotcha, and it makes sense :).

  • Connor MacIVOR

    Absolutely Correct! I love your honesty and I have to agree. I have other Real Estate Agents wanting to know how our Team is rising above others in the same Real Estate Venue. When I tell them that I have several posts researched and written before 0700am – they tell me that sounds like a lot of work… I just grin – I say, “Yes it is a lot of work, but if you want to get yourself on the map – then that is what it will take”.

  • Matej


    I agree with you completely, definitely the outsourcing part. Since I started to use that practice, my sites/ work online improved in every part.

    @Vishal @Daniel

    I believe that the “secret sauce” is to answer people’s problems/questions/wishes BUT which aren’t already answered. You gotta be among first. Have knowledge, follow trends and respond to these trends on time.

    There are people who can build the same but better service than Twitter. Just, they won’t succeed now, they are to late.

    I think that hard work is only the piece of puzzle, you gotta have more qualities to succeed, online or offline. Everyone can be a hard worker, smart or dump, it’s not the ultimate solution.

    And off course, not everyone thing of “success ” the same way …

  • Daniel Scocco

    @Matej, in my opinion the “first mover advantage” theory is a myth.

    When Google entered the game you already had 10 search engines around.

    Before Amazon was founded you had 3-4 online bookstores.

    Facebook? Entered the game years after the first social networking sites.

    I could go on and on.

    There are some segments where being the first is essential (i.e. electricity supply), but on most, and definitely on the web, it is not.

  • Matej

    @Daniel, I get your point.

    I haven’t said that you gotta be first, I said you should be among first.

    There’s no business without competition, at least not for a long time ( that’s where hard work and innovation steps in ).

    Can you beat those guys now?

    Offering organic text search, private social network or online book store?

    Why Gmail has much less users than Yahoo or Microsoft ? Gmail’s better πŸ™‚

    Myspace and Facebook were founded in 1 year range, that’s not that much,neither sites are the same. ” social network ” term sucks, the service is important. Facebook is no way the same as Twitter.

    Even Bing, with frikin +80 million$ ( or something ) advertising from Microsoft, with all that innovation will have hard time to take % of Google’s search share. Imagine that Bing’s startup …

    IMO following trends, i.e. being on time is very important. There are better bloggers , marketers than John Chow, but for them to be as popular as he is gonna take 10x more work than John Chow did. Being among first matters.

    ok, I’m babbling to much, gotta stop now … ( I need to develop skills to write short comments lol πŸ™‚ )

  • Keith Davis

    Daniel, “hard work and persistence” is not what we wanted to hear LOL
    But I know what you mean.
    Most of us don’t want to write a post every day… we would rather keep hoping to find the next big secret.

    Thanks for letting us know that the secret is…. there is no next big secret.

  • Robomaster

    @Vishal, I see your point but disagree with it to some degree. The only people that work very hard and fail are people that aren’t focusing their efforts on the right thing.

    @Matej – Good point you have there. While Daniel is true in saying that a focused, hard worker can get nearly anything done (though it helps to also have natural ability + skill), it is often much, much easier to win by simply offering a innovative new idea and be among the first of those to release it. Then, the only thing that’ll really make you win is branding. That’s why Bluray won and HDDVD got their butt kicked. It’s why Cheerios is considered okay but wheaties is almost a joke.

    I’m sure my argument is not a solid-metal “there is no other way” type point, but I believe there is some truth to it.

  • Iris

    Hard work and persistence are two of the most vital factors one must have to be successful online and offline. There is no secret formula, just plain old hard work, perseverance and dedication. Unfortunately, too many people think that there is a secret weapon someone must be using that they don’t have. NOT!!

    Some folks want to make a lot of money online WITHOUT doing the hard work necessary to make it happen! There is no magic bullet or secret ingredient that you’re missing. Daniel has laid it all out for us to see . . . either you accept it and buckle down or you continue to look for the next “get rich quick scheme”!

    Daniel, thanks for keeping it real and sharing all your not-so-secret weapons for success.

  • GetBrowser

    It is easier said than done, isn’t it?

    I guess most friends here have relaized of the meaning of “hard work and persistence”, but few of them can put it into practice. Of course, if one can put it into practice, then it is obvious that he/she can achieve success at last.

  • Dana @ Online Knowledge

    From my own experience, Google surely will love you if you perstistent to write, write, and write a good quality content. Google still like even our content not so good as long as we write, write, and write.

  • hafiid

    Couldn’t agree more with ‘work hard’ and ‘persistence’. there is no secret at all.
    Specific step that I take matters a lot to me.
    I’ve happened to work hard and persist but still got no where to go for three years when I started my job, till I found what exactly I want by working hard and persisting.

    Just to remind before you work hard and persist, Is the goal really satisfying you?

    Thanks a lot for sharing your secret weapon. πŸ™‚

  • AnastasiaCarroll

    Persistance, belief are good but, Daniel, I’m sure you know where to submit your site or how to promote it effectively πŸ™‚

  • Phaoloo

    Totally agree. Hard work and persistence are also my secret weapons. But to keep these weapons always ready to use, I need some zen habits.

  • Antti Kokkonen

    Great answer to that question Daniel! People are always looking for the easy way out, whether it’s weight loss, money or getting traffic for your blog. When you see someone advertising new secret technique or special tricks, don’t dive in thinking that it will solve all your problems.

    Some of these techniques, “tricks” and tactics do work, but none of them is the “one solution to rule them all” and the fact is that there is no silver bullet to success online. There are many ways, and YOU will have to find yours, no one else can do it for you. Yes, you can get help, guidance, mentoring and coaching – but in the end the biggest obstacle on your road to success looks back at you from the mirror.

  • Keith Davis

    @Antti, well said.
    People want to learn “the secrets of the trade”, instead of learning the trade.
    I’m just the same though and am always looking through the various blogs to find “the secrets of the trade”… fortunately, along the way, I’m beginning to learn the trade.

  • Redy

    Provide high-quality articles and useful, people will record and try to remember if your article is useful. If I find the links useful and could solve my problem, I would make a review and make a link to the website. If you have problems again I live search on my blog without the hassle of browsing again. If there is something useful and can help others I would be posting on my blog. Perhaps with this is the way to make us popular blog.

  • Kok Siong Chen

    I’m quite agree with you that there is no secrets to be successful. I have tried to find the secrets for these two months, but i what i found are the tips that need effort and patience. If you do not wish to put on any effort, you will not succeed in the world of make money online.

  • alam

    Yes, action and action. Many people download ebook, subscribe to paid forum etc but refuse to work hard. Try update blog regularly and keep persistence πŸ™‚

  • Bill Bolmeier

    I just finished reading “From Blog to Small Business: Tips for Taking Your Blog to a Whole New Level” over at Problogger http://b5m.cc/jhN. Seems to be the theme for the weekend.

    Great points in this article and Problogger’s article. It applies to a lot of things in life.

    Example: I considered myself a professional musician from the ages of 15 to 30 because I got paid for playing music. That’s what I did.

    Leading up to that and during, I spent a ton of hours practicing and studying music, hanging out with the right people, being on time or early to jobs, practicing, practicing, practicing, being professional, etc.

    I found myself being first call on a lot of shows that came through town because of some of the traits that I developed. That’s what can happen when you pursue something that’s important to you. Something you have passion for.

    Those traits, tactics, strategies, whatever you want to call them, become second-nature when you’re passionate about something. They’re NOT considered work, although it might seem like it at times when you’re climbing the ladder.

    Anyway, here’s to everyone’s success. The keys are simple as Daniel outlines above. Be confident that you can do it and seize the day.

  • Darni

    You said what’s on my mind: I know that if I persist, eventually I will achieve my goals. In fact I donÒ€ℒt consider myself that successful yet, but I am sure I will arrive there. That’s what I think now. πŸ™‚

    Still I have some problems.My biggest problem now is how to get traffic.My blog is a fairly new blog and there is only a few visitors visit my blog everyday.Now I use two ways to promote my blog.One is article marketing,the other is commenting on other blogs.But it seems that they have little effect.I wonder how long did it take you to get 100 visitors a day from the beginning?

  • Fatin Pauzi

    Yes, Daniel. I believe, there’s nothing worth whenever you get things easily. Congratulation for all your hard work all this while.

  • Paul Coughlin

    Hi Daniel, and congratulations on a great site.

    Ref the secret weapon – I think you’re right in terms of there being no specific secret weapon, shortcuts etc. But then you mention a few in your last paragraph πŸ™‚

    -> You need to study and master your trade.
    -> You need to develop the right set of skills.
    -> You need to network with the right people.

    -> “But hey, if you are willing to work hard and persist I am taking for granted that you will also have all those complementary factors.”

    The last one isn’t true. Many people work hard, but it’s like running in the wrong direction – doesn’t matter how fast they run, they’ll never get there. Persistence doesn’t equal wisdom. Unskilled idiots can become exceptional idiots.

    Also, people are very different, they experience and perceive their worlds very differently – what works for one person is absolutely the wrong thing for another.

    I think if there was a secret, it would be a two part secret, not a million miles away from yours:

    1. Be willing to constantly take action steps towards a goal.
    2. Be willing to constantly adapt according to your results.

    all the best,

  • Hal Brown

    Ever since I read Malcolm Gladwell’s “10,000-Hour Rule” In “Outliers” I have looked back a my own success (in other endeavors) and believe it to be true. The Claim is, that the key to success in any field is, to a large extent, a matter of practicing a specific task for a total of around 10,000 hours.

    How many are willing to put in half that time learning? On top of that, there are many assumptions about blogging. Examples: You can write well, you have unique ideas, a modicum of talent, prolific production, etc.

    As mentioned, promotion and competition must be addressed. Are you better than others doing the same thing? Are you really creative?

    I know this sounds negative; I see it as realistic. Considering the huge number of well established blogs, what is the actual chance of succeeding in a given niche?

    I see this like someone who wants to be a movie star, or publish the great American novel. We work in a saturated environment.

    It is possible to succeed as a blogger. It is also possible to become president or win the lottery. Is it probable? I believe time and chance have a place in all this, just as valid as any other pieces of the puzzle.

    This won’t keep me from trying.

    Thanks for a fine post.

  • George Serradinho

    I have seen many users come and go and you can really see the difference to any blogger after a year or two. The blogger will be more mature and know where he/she comes from and where they want to be.

    Yes, we all want to be at the top and it is hard work. I just run one blog and that is a handful already, never mind having more blogs. If things are done right then you will ber able to see profits very early and will succeed.

  • Sparrow

    My secret weapons are;
    1- Passion for my niche – over 2000 posts in 2.5 years
    2- Empathy for my readers – writing about their expressed needs and in a manner that is engaging.
    3- Persistence and continuity.

    My skills are;
    High level; WordPress, writing, internet, SEO.
    Moderate level; cPanel, graphics, monetising,
    Low level; coding (PHP, CSS, MySQL), technical,

    And; Good backup personel

  • Web Marketing Tips

    I do not think that only one weapon can bring success to you. To get success you should enjoy what you are doing and you should have passion for that.

    Always adopt those things which are latest and useful (in short be with time)

    I mean there are too many things which plays great role in achieving your target and success.

  • Himanshu

    Agree with Daniel, hardwork persistence is the most necessary thing for success. I noticed from my day to day work that motivation is very necessary to do your work and fortunately you can get many people to get motivation. Also there is lots of competition so select any blog in your niche having good rank and start competition. You will sure get your goal. But remember to follow every single required strategy to make a better blog.

  • Eric C

    I think I see so many people clinging to this idea of a magic bullet, or some secret formula. It isn’t that simple. If there were a secret, every one would be doing it.

    It is just like making money, losing weight or being happy, hard work and determination are the only secrets.

    I guess my only complaint is that so many blogs make money off this hope. I’m sure you could make thousands of dollars tomorrow Daniel if you published a book linking a guide that “tells the six secrets to making money online” I’m glad you’ve blown this myth out of the water.

  • GoBusiness101

    This is the most basic form. others maybe patience and patience and more patience. LOL.

  • Chip

    A lot of hard work and clean blogging. Valid structures, strong backlinks and a lot of updated content. Corporate websites don’t count.

  • lucnypes

    I sincerely hope there is NO secret weapon the SEO business. It would break my heart is there was.

  • Chris Peterson

    I am so glad that IÒ€ℒve found this valuable blog. After reading it, IÒ€ℒve got so many lessons.

    According to me, my secret weapon to online success is very simple. Find a partner. A buddy. Someone who is as committed as you are to making money from home. You don’t have to BE a partner in the sense of going into business together. What you need is someone to help you stay focused. To lift you up when you get discouraged. To cheer each small success and accomplishment and to help bring perspective to the failures and setbacks.

    The right kind of partner can do this for you and you can return the favor and help them as well. The best place to find this person is online. Few people already have a friend that will be able to help them in this way because it takes someone who is also working on a business online to understand. If your partner is also working online, they will be more likely to be there when you need them whether you communicate by email or instant messaging. They will also understand the environment that you are working in.

  • Samantha

    Hi guys

    Persistence and Hard work will be the great weapon in ones’ success. I totally agree with that and no doubt that this is the best weapon when entering into such challenge.

    Outsourcing definitely helps! You may outsource with things that you don’t know or when you’re busy with other things. Let others do it for you.

    Kind Regards


  • Gabe | freebloghelp.com

    So true about no secret ingredient. Just plain old quality content that’s fresh and unique does the trick almost every time.

    The problem is that many blogs have terrible content, are not updated regularly enough, and/or slapped together for “overnight success”.

    Just post good articles and you’re most of the way there!

  • NintendoWii

    I think day to day work with continuos learning and motivation are the only “secrete weapons”
    And also one or two niche sites help to float over the search engine ocean!

  • joncravefit

    Morning Daniel,

    Wondering if you could just simply define hard work and persistance. I feel I am spending an ample amount of time on my project, considering still a full time job… approx. 2 to 4 hours a day after work. but I dont know if i am focusing on the correct things. My site is an affiliate based site, so it took me some time to develop web design skills and researchnig affiliate marketing, but while working i feel i am missing the concept of hard work… it does not feel like work coming from a labor job, but as i stated i am putting in serious time daily…. could you offer some advice on maybe time management or targets for affiliate marketing (daily or weekly) thanks

  • Jeff Sabo

    With hard work, persistence and dedication, a blog can be considered a success. I agree there is no secret formula to success but there are ways in which people have made a blog become popular. People have added humor, been consistent with their writing, have provided guest posts on other blogs and have promoted the blog utilizing several different strategies.

    What motivates me to write my blog is just my passion for my topic (which is sports). I enjoy talking sports with people and have a lot on my mind in the morning when I sit down to write. Being able to share my thoughts with other sports fans is what motivates me to write my blog on a daily basis. Knowing my friends will be reading also motivates me as well.

  • seo

    The strategic planning is very important including what your competitor doing. It is not a one time work it requires hard work and dedication as it is a continuous work. According to me “strategic planning & its implementation ” is a sharp weapon for online marketing.

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