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Too Proud for AI?

Pride is one of the worst things you can have when you build websites. I’ve left a lot of money on the table over the years because I was too proud to follow the crowd.

I never chased exact-match domains. I’ve been tempted by but never took the plunge on dozens of tools with ‘nuke’ or ‘spinner’ in the name. I’ve never spent a single cent on a link. It’s expensive to do things the right way.

I suppose part of that comes from being a writer at heart, not a marketer or website builder. I liken the asset-building side of websites to owning houses, except this time, you’re responsible for everything from laying the first brick to replacing the washing machine outside warranty. Ad revenue is the rental payment, and selling a website is, well, selling the house to free up that cash flow.

Like 99% of people that do similar things to me, I’ve been hooked on AI lately. ChatGPT could shake up this business more than any Google update.

It makes me think back to many years ago when I made a decent living writing relative trash for $0.03 per word. That’s the kind of rate that would make most writers pass out to look at, but it worked for me.

The trouble with selling cheap and fast is, inevitably, you’re trading time for money. That’s not a business. If you’re not typing, you’re not earning. Make a coffee? Zero income. 20 minutes browsing Reddit in the bathroom? Zilch.

Crucially, there’s no wiggle room for outsourcing. The easiest way to scale as a writer is by outsourcing. Someone else does the hard yards, and you step in with a dash of magic (expertise) to finalize the document in a matter of minutes.

There was no margin to hire someone else. Few people were faster than me, but that meant the rate mattered more. I couldn’t bring myself to pay more than I charged for writers on my own sites because it just felt wrong. Was I willing to pay $0.05 to someone to write things I didn’t enjoy, knowing that I received $0.03 to write things I did? Nope.

ChatGPT changes that. For around $20 a month, I can have all the words I could possibly want. In fairness to the tool, the writing quality is arguably better than a lot of $0.03 writers nowadays. And it takes seconds.

I started my typical setup with every intention of making a full-AI site. Domain registered. Siteground engaged. Theme deployed. Plugins plugged in.

My dearest ChatGPT:

  • Find me some keywords about x
  • Find me some related keywords to each of those provided for clusters
  • Create an SEO article outline about y
  • Write an article based on that outline

And repeat. Potentially for thousands of articles.

Then I found I couldn’t do it.

There’s enough crap on the internet. ChatGPT probably uses some of that crap in its training. As things stand, the technology behind the tool means that ChatGPT can’t write something that hasn’t already been written.

There’s still scope for success. I have no idea if the training materials were keyword focused, deployed on high-authority and contextually relevant sites, checked for plagiarism, or structured with Neuron Writer.

But that did nothing to change my mind.

Right now, to me, I think of ChatGPT more as a specialized virtual assistant, not a writer.

It gets things done quickly, freeing up my time. However, it doesn’t have the experience, opinion, and knowledge that make articles worth publishing.

I still use it every day, but the content mills will likely remain in business for a while yet. Then again, most of the content mills have already started moving towards AI generation.

If there’s one thing for sure, the amount of crap on the internet is likely increasing faster than ever before. It might cost me, but I don’t intend to add to it unless the crap in question came directly from my brain and through my hands.

But I’m not against using a virtual assistant, human or otherwise, to organize, plan, and structure content.