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SpongeBob13 30th November 2005 09:12 AM

Great project, but is it real?
 
[ADMIN NOTE: This thread was split from the Zero Cash thread.]


Hey what a wonderful idea!

I've been working on building a Small Business web site for the better part of six months... full time ;)

I've learned some great tricks from your work.

But I do have to ask -

a) Is it real that the common Small Business Person has access to all the Blogs that originally created your Viral Marketing traffic?
b) The event itself generates traffic, how can the average Small Business Person expect to repeat that effect?
c) Is it real that you received Google indexing at day 10? My experience, and maybe others, Google indexing and Google traffic takes months to acquire! Personally I've sent out over 400 emails for recip links. This has resulted in about a dozen responses, of which, Google has tracked only 1!

There is much more to discuss put I think you get the point.

I came into this bright eyed and bushy tailed and am gathering a different feeling. This exercise seems more akin to Martha Stewart saying to the girl scout, watch how I sell brownies. Martha immeadiately goes to her speed dialer and starts making calls ;)

None the less, its a fun read!

PS - I've started a small business web site and have worked it on average 65 hours a week. It's a good unique idea that produces content. Currently I am seeing 40 unique visitors a day and have a Google Page Rank of 1. Sadly I find myself spending 85% of the time wearing a SEO hat, and 15% of my time creating content.

Logan 30th November 2005 09:39 AM

Welcome to the forum :standingw

Couple comments to help you get on track hopefully. You may want to start your own thread so we can discuss your situation specifically.

Quote:

Is it real that you received Google indexing at day 10? My experience, and maybe others, Google indexing and Google traffic takes months to acquire! Personally I've sent out over 400 emails for recip links.
Jen's experiences are tied into CafePress being a preexisting site within google. Much of your issue might be related to a focus on recip links. Notice Jen hasn't gone that route, and I recommend you consider the same. Recip links are not a good approach currently based on my experiences. You need to focus on building links based on promotion of your unique story, not on i'll pat your back if you pat mine. Many/most believe recip links can even be a big negative to search rankings as the algorithms are advanced enough to spot them and they are commonly considered an seo tactic that the engines do not approve of for manipulating rankings.

Quote:

85% of the time wearing a SEO hat, and 15% of my time creating content.
Flip that around immediately. Don't forget about seo, write with seo in mind ... but you need to spend more time on creating high quality unique content. It's hard to have a site be considered an authority on a keyword if you don't have the content to support it.

Quote:

b) The event itself generates traffic, how can the average Small Business Person expect to repeat that effect?
As an outsider, I tend to fall on Jen's side of this. The folks generating traffic from Search Engine Guide are not her audience. It's like me sending folks looking for ice cream to your site. They and I most likely won't be buying a tee that says Milk Jugs

Quote:

a) Is it real that the common Small Business Person has access to all the Blogs that originally created your Viral Marketing traffic?
Nope, most don't have the audience that Jen does. The area I haven't heard Jen address, which I do think is an unnatural advantage, is linking to her site. While the traffic doesn't help sales, the one way links from other authority sites established in Google plays some role and has a positive impact that is not an avenue others can create as easily. This is because of her presence within a community for a long period of time. I'll give you that, but ... on the flip side, don't we all have some contacts and networking established. She's taking advantage of her pre-existing networking within the seo community and breast feeding forums. I have similar networking contacts within my own circles. I think that's my take, none of us live in a vacuum... and just like Jen has networked we all can do the same within our own circles to get initial buzz going.

That's my two cents on some of the comments regarding objectivity. Regarding the expirement, I am a peer of Jens and its been great to follow along. I'm glad she broadened things to include adsense and cafepress in the mix ... i've learned a thing or two myself. Keep at it!!

Robert 30th November 2005 10:50 AM

SpongeBob13! Welcome to the forum!

Quote:

Originally Posted by SpongeBob13
a) Is it real that the common Small Business Person has access to all the Blogs that originally created your Viral Marketing traffic?

Yes, it is real. As Logan pointed out anyone can network, get involved with forums, blogs, etc.

A small business person has to learn to get out there and get known. And for the shy folks among us (me included), it's not as scary as it may sound. A great way to get known is hanging out in forums and contributing your time and energy to helping others. Even if you are the person that just greets every new visitor and says hi. Lisa Spaulding (divshow) is the perfect example of this. She became a member last year when our forum was brand new. She welcomed every new visitor that arrived. We got used to seeing her name pop up all the time and would check out her site. I ended up buying a bunch of gifts from her store last year for Christmas because I knew about her and she carries neat gifts that I can use for my "hard to buy for" list of gift recipients.

Another example is a lady named Kelly McCausey. She has a site called Work at Home Moms Talk Radio

Kelly's name pops up all over the place in work at home mom blogs and forums. She consistently contributed her time to helping others and built a name for herself. Now she is the wahm talk radio lady.

I could easily provide a dozen more examples of people that built their name by giving their time to others first. Anyone can do this.

Quote:

b) The event itself generates traffic, how can the average Small Business Person expect to repeat that effect?
Create your own event. Come up with your own article series. Hold a contest. Etc. Do something that creates buzz.

Quote:

Personally I've sent out over 400 emails for recip links. This has resulted in about a dozen responses, of which, Google has tracked only 1!
Which is why I don't send out recip link requests. I don't think I sent a single one for this site. Spending time creating content is much more productive, as Logan pointed out.

Quote:

This exercise seems more akin to Martha Stewart saying to the girl scout, watch how I sell brownies. Martha immeadiately goes to her speed dialer and starts making calls ;)
No, it's more akin to Martha handing the girl scout her brownies recipe, marketing manual, and list of contacts.

It's up to the girl scout to choose to either be inspired or discouraged because her name isn't Martha.

Quote:

I've started a small business web site...
If you'd like, you can add a signature file so your site shows up with each of your posts. You can find instructions on doiing so here:

http://www.smallbusinessbrief.com/fo...hread.php?t=56

By the way, I'm jealous of your avatar. :p

thejenn 30th November 2005 11:30 AM

Wow! I was all ready to respond and then read Logan and Robert's posts. I think they said most of it better than I could have. ;)

Welcome to the forums! Glad to have you here and appreciate you taking the time to ask questions. All of the ones you asked are excellent and likely ones that lots of readers were asking themselves but that hadn't yet been brave enough to post in the forums. I'd imagine they are all thanking you silently right now. ;)

Quote:

This exercise seems more akin to Martha Stewart saying to the girl scout, watch how I sell brownies. Martha immediately goes to her speed dialer and starts making calls.
Gotta tell you, this made me crack up. Mostly because I can't even dream of someone comparing me to Martha Stewart. If you'd ever meet me in person you'd know why that was funny. (why just last week I was pulling snot strings out of Elnora's nose with my bare hands because she had such a bad cold...I don't guess Martha does that very often.)

But Robert answered that one very well...there's no denying that I have an advantage over most start-ups, but I'd argue that the real advantage is that my real job is to teach people about marketing. It's my background. To be quite honest with you, the idea of starting this project was sort of terrifying. Can you imagine how embarrassed I would have been if I was sitting here on day 15 without a drop of profit? Who would want to listen to me anymore? It was a pretty big risk to write this series, but thankfully, it's been going very well.

Quote:

I've started a small business web site and have worked it on average 65 hours a week. It's a good unique idea that produces content.
This is where I really feel for you. Believe me. I've spent more than two weeks working almost non-stop to make the amount of money that I'd make from an hour of consulting. If I didn't "get it" before about the struggle of small business owners, I most certain get it now. ;)

Hope you stick around! :thumbsup:

SpongeBob13 30th November 2005 02:44 PM

Thanks!
 
Thanks for the welcome. I am glad we're all interested in answering the questions rather then complain about the difficulty of the question!

TheJenn - I had another analogy involving Donald Trump... well... :)

This will be my last post on this thread about my thoughts (and perhaps other Start Up's thoughts?) on the exercise. I don't want to break the GREAT fun of your exercise. However, I still would like to respond to the comments my original post brought. Perhaps we should commence another thread?

Before I begin, again, I think watching Jenn work her magic is fantastic. However, as someone who's living, breathing and NOT eating (:)) working on an Internet Startup, I've got to ask some real relevant questions.

Logan -

a) CafeExpress linkage is an asset. This asset isn't readily available to some Start Ups (service industries, portals, etc.). I will gladly hang off a visible site to improve my visibility and I am sure others would to.

b) To say links aren't mandatory to climbing search engine flies in the face of even the search engine's recommendations. Yes, relevancy is very important. However, I am confused - I see that 'thelactivist' site is back-linked from sites in the Netherlands (higherlevel.nl, marketingfacts.nl, mediafact.nl, etc.). Is the data wrong? If not, how does a Media Fact site in the Netherlands relate to Breastfeeding T-Shirts? Some of those lil quips are fantastic - but I am not so sure they will translate well in Dutch.

In addition, are you suggesting not seeking relevent/quality links?

c) Spend 15% of my time on SEO work? This too is confusing since Jenn created 1000 uniques in 8 days, demonstrating her SEO skill. My data point is 1000 uniques per month, after 6 months work. I sent you an email with the specifics, and will gladly provide further info on another thread. Summarily speaking, I will put my content up against any of the top 10 Subject Keyword, Google Ranked sites. As mentioned before I am not ranked on Google.

d) Yes the traffic from peepers to the exercise will not result in sales. But buzz is buzz and it does make it difficult to sort the wheat from the chaff. Conduct the exercise, and then post the diary?

e) Re - Linking the 'thelactivist' to 'smallbus....'. It would be very nice if we all had GPR 3 + contacts. No, my network or my community does not include GPR + contacts but I am spending a lot of time attempting to fix this problem. But again, are we attempting to get back links or not? Are we trying to get relevant links or not?


Robert - Care to share how Patrick got in that jam??? 2 x 4 nailed to the forehead?

a) I concur with your comments about building name or brand as the case may be. However this formula isn’t a fit all. Giving it a quick thought, seems like a great formula for the cottage or niche business out there. Do you think Tirerack.com got started this way? In my industry, it’s not too applicable.

b) CafeExpress + Quality Pre existing BLOG Contacts + Small Biz/High GPR Rank Backlinks + etc. are ingredients that are key to the recipe!

Final Thoughts –

Confusion Area #1 - I ran Jenn’s web page through WEBCeo . There were no meta keywords, or keywords period. Is this a strategy?

Confusion Area #2 – What is the link strategy being advocated, no links, quality links? If links, how does the Small Biz link help the Breast Feeding site? To say nothing about the .NL sites, if the data from WEBCeo is good.

Not to get to far ahead, but I have extreme confidence in Jenn and her magic ;) Given success, it will be interesting to assess the success factors? Who wins the biggest wedge in the pie chart?

The Industry Folk would like to believe it looks like this…

Content - 90%
SEO Tuning - 10%

Current Reality is -

Content - 10%
SEO Tuning - 90%

Isn't Jenn demonstrating that SEO Tuning is key? The greater the success of the exercise the more this is demonstrated!

Thanks for the ton of fun and ton of learnings ;)

Robert 30th November 2005 04:40 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by SpongeBob13
This will be my last post on this thread about my thoughts (and perhaps other Start Up's thoughts?) on the exercise.

Don't stop. I know I for one appreciate your input.

Quote:

Robert - Care to share how Patrick got in that jam??? 2 x 4 nailed to the forehead?
LOL. I think it's from the episode where he helps rebuild SpongeBob's house.

Quote:

I concur with your comments about building name or brand as the case may be. However this formula isn’t a fit all. Giving it a quick thought, seems like a great formula for the cottage or niche business out there.
True. It's not a fit all.

Quote:

Do you think Tirerack.com got started this way? In my industry, it’s not too applicable.
I'm not familiar with Tirerack.com so I checked their site and it looks like they are a huge company that sells parts and upgrades for cars. There are a ton of car enthusiast sites, forums, and blogs out there. If I was in that industry with no starting budget competing against a giant, consistently hitting those forums, blogs, etc. is exactly where I would start.

Just using this forum as an example, if you were regularly here and I needed a special light or something for my car, I'd feel more comfortable purchasing from you than tirerack.com. This is because I'd be more familiar with you.

Keep in mind, I'm not a car guy and I'm not certain that is the industry you are in so I'm kind of shooting in the dark here.

Quote:

CafeExpress + Quality Pre existing BLOG Contacts + Small Biz/High GPR Rank Backlinks + etc. are ingredients that are key to the recipe!
And all of the key ingredients are free.

Anyone can set up a CafeExpress shop, post comments on quality blogs, and submit articles (including your byline and link to your site) to high quality sites.

So, now you have the recipe and the ingredients. For free.

And that's just one recipe. There are plenty of other approaches.

I'll let the others answer the questions addressed to them, with the exception of....

Quote:

The Industry Folk would like to believe it looks like this…

Content - 90%
SEO Tuning - 10%

Current Reality is -

Content - 10%
SEO Tuning - 90%
No, the reality is content is more important than the SEO tuning. Don't get me wrong, SEO is important, but not 90% of your time important. (Ironic that the SEO/SEM people are the ones saying "throttle back your SEO time" :))

Quote:

Isn't Jenn demonstrating that SEO Tuning is key? The greater the success of the exercise the more this is demonstrated!
No. She's showing that a multi-pronged, bootstrapped marketing approach is working. This isn't all about SEO. It's SEO, PPC, Viral Marketing, Networking, etc, etc.

thejenn 1st December 2005 12:41 AM

Quote:

Before I begin, again, I think watching Jenn work her magic is fantastic.
Thanks!

Quote:

CafeExpress linkage is an asset. This asset isn't readily available to some Start Ups (service industries, portals, etc.). I will gladly hang off a visible site to improve my visibility and I am sure others would to.
There are a million different ways that I could have gone about starting a business. The fact that the business that I chose to start doesn’t directly match up with the type you run doesn’t make the experiment unrealistic, it simply makes it different. I’m not saying this to be defensive, simply to point out that this was simply the route I chose to go. In fact, I’ll even point out that I chose CafePress for that very reason…because they were already established. It’s the same reason why I might have selected eBay or Yahoo! stores as an option…built in traffic.

Quote:

To say links aren't mandatory to climbing search engine flies in the face of even the search engine's recommendations. Yes, relevancy is very important. However, I am confused - I see that 'thelactivist' site is back-linked from sites in the Netherlands (higherlevel.nl, marketingfacts.nl, mediafact.nl, etc.). Is the data wrong? If not, how does a Media Fact site in the Netherlands relate to Breastfeeding T-Shirts? Some of those lil quips are fantastic - but I am not so sure they will translate well in Dutch.
That data is not wrong and the site does have links coming in from those countries. Those links are coming in because the people running those sites are interested. If you think about it, it also makes sense that a marketing site would talk about this project. Do you think that I would have gotten the links and blog discussion about the project that I have if I was selling ink toner? It’s doubtful. Part of the reason that this series has taken off and that these links have come in is because I’ve picked a topic that can spark some real conversation and presented it in a way that is entertaining. I wrote in the early days of the series about the need to pick a very niche market if you want to have any shot at all of starting a business on a shoe-string.

Quote:

In addition, are you suggesting not seeking relevant/quality links?
I don’t think anyone is suggesting that. I think what’s being said is that sending out zillions of requests for reciprocal links is unlikely to do you any good. Throughout this entire project I’ve asked for a total of two links. The first was the link from Jason Dowdell at Marketing Shift. The second was from a friend that used to run a blog about funny t-shirts. He’d shut that blog down, so I didn’t get that link. Every other link to the site is unsolicited.

That shows the power of creating content that is interesting enough to attract links on its own. Search Engine Guide has like 75,000 backlinks showing in Yahoo!. Do you know how many of those are reciprocal links that we requested? Pretty much none. People link to our site because they like what we have to offer. This is what you want to focus on when building links for your own site…building one that is worthwhile enough that you don’t have to “trade” links. I covered this pretty in-depth in an article at Search Engine Guide.

http://www.searchengineguide.com/laycock/003482.html

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Spend 15% of my time on SEO work? This too is confusing since Jenn created 1000 uniques in 8 days, demonstrating her SEO skill.
This is where your assumptions are off. I created 1000 uniques in 8 days without a drop of Search Engine Traffic. Search Traffic didn’t start coming in until the second week and even then, only 8% of my total traffic has come from search engine referrals. It’s the viral marketing efforts that have really launched this project. It’s the half dozen parenting forums where someone that’s visited to the site made a post about it, or the parenting blogs that have started adding The Lactivist to their blogrolls… Those are the links that are generating the success for this product. I’d argue that my SEO skills have had almost nothing to do with it so far. (though that will obviously not be the case over time as I expect search traffic will start to make up at least a third of my referrals…)

I’d say that Logan’s estimate of 15-20% of time on SEM is about right for what I’ve done so far. Content creation has sucked up the majority of my time. From t-shirt ideas to blog posts to actually setting up the store and web sites…that’s likely more than 50% of what I’ve spent time on.

Quote:

Yes the traffic from peepers to the exercise will not result in sales. But buzz is buzz and it does make it difficult to sort the wheat from the chaff. Conduct the exercise, and then post the diary?
Possibly, but why not take advantage of whatever buzz you can generate? I had an incoming link show up the other day from an Architecture firm that is doing almost the exact same thing that I am… http://www.alanebyday.com What’s wrong with wrapping your business launch in an information project as a way to generate buzz. Some might say that the very fact that I’m doing this article series is nothing more than a brilliant marketing ploy for launching a business. ;)

Quote:

Re - Linking the 'thelactivist' to 'smallbus....'. It would be very nice if we all had GPR 3 + contacts.
That’s true…and it would be nice if I knew anything about running a business, or could spell for a darn or could write CSS code.  I don’t do any of those things well…so I’ve had to find help where I can find it, or learn it as I go. Isn’t that part of running a business? Couldn’t we all come up with areas that we “lack in” and claim those as a reason for our failures? Or…is part of being an entrepreneur figuring out a solution to the problem at hand and making lemonade out of your lemons? ;)

Quote:

I concur with your comments about building name or brand as the case may be. However this formula isn’t a fit all. Giving it a quick thought, seems like a great formula for the cottage or niche business out there.
Of course, and that’s my whole point! You’ll note that in the very first article I said that I knew if I wanted to start a business with zero dollars it had to be a business that was very focused on a specific niche. It had to be something with a built-in, un-tapped audience. In other words, if you want to launch a business on a budget, then cottage industries are the way to go. Why does that make this series any less valid?

Quote:

Confusion Area #1 - I ran Jenn’s web page through WEBCeo . There were no meta keywords, or keywords period. Is this a strategy?
LOL! You caught me! I never dreamed that Google or the others would start indexing www.thelactivist.com so quickly, so I simply hadn’t gotten around to throwing any tags in there yet. Heck, the title tag of every page was still showing as “the lactivist” up until this afternoon. Is that proof enough that SEO really has been a secondary part of this process? ;) And to note…while I’ll throw meta tags up just to have them there, they are far from the secret to search engine marketing success. I’ve never had a problem getting great rankings without them. (note…I mean keyword tags, not the title tag…title tag = moocho important!)

Quote:

Confusion Area #2 – What is the link strategy being advocated, no links, quality links? If links, how does the Small Biz link help the Breast Feeding site? To say nothing about the .NL sites, if the data from WEBCeo is good.
Quality links. Quality incoming, non-solicited links from authority sites. What’s wrong with a marketing site linking to a business? Wouldn’t it make sense that sites that discuss business and marketing might point to the sites that are doing a decent job of it? Why would Google find that irrelevant? At the same time, consider all those links coming in from the parenting forums and the blogs written by moms. How could you get any more relevant than that? 

Quote:

Not to get to far ahead, but I have extreme confidence in Jenn and her magic Given success, it will be interesting to assess the success factors? Who wins the biggest wedge in the pie chart?
Links from other web sites…hands down. My guess is that by the end of this game, if I discount the Search Engine Guide links, discussion forums and blogs will still be driving more traffic than search engines…

Quote:

Current Reality is -
Content - 10%
SEO Tuning - 90%

Isn't Jenn demonstrating that SEO Tuning is key? The greater the success of the exercise the more this is demonstrated!
Not at all…but I’ve already covered that above. Also, toss aside Web CEO. You don't need it...no computer program can replace the human brain when it comes to thinks like search marketing. They make it to easy to get caught up in formulas rather than guidelines. :)

Loving this conversation. I hope you stick around.

Vacation Mamma 1st December 2005 11:02 AM

So glad to see these questions come up! Jenn is doing a serious business experiment with an in your face product and fun approach. This is PR of the new generation at its finest. I straddle this generation, since I'm just over 40 and though a marketer of the old school, who "thought" she was current, I'm learning how out of it I am. Let the learning begin.

Quote:

In fact, I’ll even point out that I chose CafePress for that very reason…because they were already established. It’s the same reason why I might have selected eBay or Yahoo! stores as an option…built in traffic.
I didn't even know CafePress existed b4 this b/c I'm not in retail, but I certainly knew about eBay and Craigslist. The point is that we can work harder or smarter. The advantage Jenn brings that she doesn't fully realize is that she knows about these forums, blogs, and established places when many of us spend months trying to find them (my case). Her experiment shows up that there are quick ways to get going.

Quote:

Do you think that I would have gotten the links and blog discussion about the project that I have if I was selling ink toner?
But Jenn, many of us do sell or are trying to sell the equivalent of ink toner. Your lessons are still valid though. No one said it would be easy.


Quote:

Every other link to the site is unsolicited.
Which mean she has quality content. In her blog! Not the web site, YET. The marketing world has change and Jenn knew how to take advantage of that from the get go.

Quote:

It’s the viral marketing efforts that have really launched this project. It’s the half dozen parenting forums where someone that’s visited to the site made a post about it, or the parenting blogs that have started adding The Lactivist to their blogrolls… Those are the links that are generating the success for this product. I’d argue that my SEO skills have had almost nothing to do with it so far. (though that will obviously not be the case over time as I expect search traffic will start to make up at least a third of my referrals…)
Jenn, this all seems so natural to you. I'd never heard of viral marketing (that's what happens when you are a SAHM for 8 years and a WAHM for 3), though I certainly knew of the concept. I lumped this technique in with SEM/SEO b/c I already have a web site and am trying to drive traffic to it to drive business. So in a way, your SEM knowledge is a huge advantage, but like you said, someone elses business knowledge, CSS, or contacts file, can also be advantages. Hopefully anyone starting or running a business has something unique they bring to the table, and they either learn or hire out the things they don't know. I personally find the challenge of shoestring budget and time business is that I can't afford to hire, so everything takes a bit longer b/c I have to learn it myself (SEO, SEM, CSS, WebDesign, Photo Editing). It's also what keeps a former geek/marketing gal's brain alive on mundane SAHM tasks like laundry.

Quote:

Possibly, but why not take advantage of whatever buzz you can generate?
Old marketing quips still rule "no publicity is bad publicity"

Quote:

Some might say that the very fact that I’m doing this article series is nothing more than a brilliant marketing ploy for launching a business. ;)
Go get em girl!

BTW - I'm thrilled you are using a couple of my ideas on the t-shirts. I may end up getting one of those shirts for when I'm out exercising - my preteen kids would be mortified if they saw me in it! But I love to mortify them...

Jenn,
I want you to go to Ask Dr. Sears he's our pediatrician, and a renowned breastfeeding and attachment parenting activist. If you need me to hook you up with his tel# & such, I will. I can picture the whole office wearing your shirts. :D

thejenn 1st December 2005 11:32 AM

Melinda, are you serious? Dr. Sears is your ped? That is fantastic! I feel like I now know someone that knows a rock star! :) Dr Sears' birth book is fantastic (I'm a natural birth proponant as well...) and the quality of information that he has on breastfeeding is top notch. (I've also got his Discipline book)

(For those who aren't familiar with Dr. Sears...he's is to Pediatrics and Parenting as Danny Sullivan is to SEM.)

I would LOVE to get in touch with Dr. Sears. My dream is to get someone like him helping spread the word about the milk bank shirts. I was just talking to the milk bank director yesterday and they are still at the point where even a $20 donation is a God-send. If I can get The Lactivist built up to the point where it can generate some actual dollars for them, we can really go a long way toward helping spread awareness of this.

Please drop me an email about this... jennifer at search engine guide dot com

Robert 1st December 2005 11:35 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Vacation Mamma
...I may end up getting one of those shirts for when I'm out exercising - my preteen kids would be mortified if they saw me in it! But I love to mortify them...

:laughing:

SpongeBob13 1st December 2005 01:44 PM

Sure - a T-Shirt expert would have done a better job then Jenn
 
Rather a T-Shirt expert set up an Online Site, Or a SEO expert? Isn’t that what we’re asking?

How much help does a startup need from a SEO - Alot!!! In fact, I'll retrofit a SEO to any industry rather then dream of taking a industry expert and tossing him/her online.

As you read on, what T-Shirt expert would have done what was done with ‘Thelactivist’?

Furthermore, what T-Shirt expert would have the resources that were used with ‘Thelactivist’? For some of us, those options don’t exist.

Finally, ‘content’ heretofore has included the product itself. What about those who’s content isn’t quite as glittery, or isn’t a novelty item?

Jenn I realize we are pushing the scope of your ‘30 day exercise’. However, for the exercise to be ‘real’ for situations similar to mine (am I alone here?), certain questions beg to be answered.

Rather then beat around the bush, I’ll offer up my current business situation as an example of the naiveté of the T-Shirt expert – ME! I don’t deal in T-Shirts, I deal in selling software, thus there are other challenges which are noted.

***My business is www.Online-Poker-Tools.com and live information on the website is available here... www.Online-Poker-Tools.com/lactavist.asp. No the site is not a gambling site! The site provides tools that help people learn and play better Poker ;)

SEO Tactic - Café Express Association

‘Thelactivist’ learning - Associate with established e-store.
Online Poker Tools application - ? Unaware of any similar arrangement available.

SEO Strategy – Back-links

‘Thelactivist’ learning
Buzz is buzz and buzz is good. “People link to our site because they like what we have to offer” Dutch marketing related websites linked to a T-shirt website is good. Small Business development websites linked to a T-shirt website is good. The Google algorithm understands that these are relavent links?
Online Poker Tools application
Given a product with less buzz, what should be done? No buzz, no good. Should we have faith in the Google algorithm understanding that most of the software being sold is written in C+ language, therefore a link from Microsoft is okay? I realize this is an extreme example, but with the penalty of the ‘Sandbox’ hanging over heads, where is this line?

SEO Tactic – Soliciting Links

Thelactivist’ learning
“Throughout this entire project I’ve asked for a total of two links. The first was the link from Jason Dowdell at Marketing Shift. The second was from a friend that used to run a blog”
Online Poker Tools application
“sending out zillions of requests for reciprocal links is unlikely to do you any good.”. Could you recommend any link strategy? Sadly, I do not have any friends relatives, aquantainces that have a GPR > 0 :confused:

NOTE - Online Poker Tools heretofore has attempted to solicit approx. 500 back links from within the industry. This has resulted in approx. 6 or so good back links. Of these back-links, only one has registered in Google in 3 months.

SEO Strategy – Viral Marketing

‘Thelactivist’ learning
“It’s the viral marketing efforts that have really launched this project. It’s the half dozen parenting forums where someone that’s visited to the site made a post about it, or the parenting blogs that have started adding The Lactivist to their blogrolls…”
Online Poker Tools application
We’ve installed a BLOG and will be blogging to death. If BLOGs be the way of the world so be it. If I have to wade through pictures of Matt Cutts in his Halloween costume to get business, I'll do it! :looney: Now, if you you get Online Poker Tools on the Blogs in your MS’s Living circle…( :laughing: ) Seriously, any thoughts on purchasing ‘Viral Marketing’?

SEO Strategy – Viral Marketing

‘Thelactivist’ learning
Utilize AdSense to generate cash flow.
Online Poker Tools application
Been rejected by Google’s AdSense program. Reason – gambling content. (sidebar – We wrote and told them that all content is Poker related and Poker educational, which is true, they stated,in sum-they don’t care. Also, if you do a Google search on Poker, you will find plenty of ‘Sponsored ads’. Their explanation is they were pre-existing in the system and are looking to remove them. Honestly. this is difficult to stomach. Poker 'Sponsored ads' have grown in number since Online Poker Tools applied!)

SEO Strategy- Keywords

‘Thelactivist’ learning
“Heck, the title tag of every page was still showing as “the lactivist” up until this afternoon. Is that proof enough that SEO really has been a secondary part of this process? And to note…while I’ll throw meta tags up just to have them there, they are far from the secret to search engine marketing success. I’ve never had a problem getting great rankings without them. (note…I mean keyword tags, not the title tag…title tag = moocho important!)”
Online Poker Tools application - This is quite stunning. In fact I need to break format to discuss this ;)

A phenomenon exists amongst those in the know and those that aren’t in the know. For example, I happen to know Excel spreadsheets pretty good. Last week someone asked me how to sum up a string of numbers. In about two seconds I had remedied a problem they had worked on for two hours. What’s the point? The point is, you need un-told SEO experience to proceed as you state with no concern to Keywords?

Now, since you’re extremely more versed in SEO decisions, does that mean the time non-experts spend on these areas is not SEO time. Does this mean the week or month that we spend researching keywords, researching KEI, visiting NicheBot, daily visits checking rank on keywords ( not ranked for ‘online poker tools’ on Google for one year now… yeah, go figure,… and look at the ‘content’ of the listings that come up… sad) is time wasted?

Could you clarify ‘thelactivist’ strategy on keywords?

In sum, I would rather have Jenn, amateur Novelty T-Shirt businessperson / Expert SEO create an Online Novelty T-Shirt business then vice versa. By default, this means an Online Startup needs a lot of SEO help.

Does anyone agree?

I am personally vested in this. As mentioned I have labored long for little results. Fact - Online Poker Tools is the only site on the web that reviews over dozens of Online Poker Tools. However, do a search with the keyword ‘online poker tools’ in Google, and tell me what you see. I need to invest my time in more content? It's been this way for nearly a year. Please do educate me…Google, Matt Cutts, industry - I understand you’d like content to be king. From my view, for reasons explained here, it just ain’t so :mad:

This T-Shirt expert appreciates your time. Thank you.

thejenn 1st December 2005 11:27 PM

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Rather a T-Shirt expert set up an Online Site, Or a SEO expert? Isn’t that what we’re asking?
As I've said, no one is denying the fact that if you take a marketing expert and set them to task at starting a business, they are going to have success faster than someone that knows nothing about marketing. I guess I don't see why this is an issue.

The whole point of this experiment was to help people learn how to market their business. Notice that these articles aren't about taking care of inventory or hiring staff of even getting a merchant's account. There are plenty of other folks that tell you how to do that. These article are being written by a marketing person to help people that don't know anything about marketing. Again, I ask how that makes this experiment any less valid.

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How much help does a startup need from a SEO - Alot!!! In fact, I'll retrofit a SEO to any industry rather then dream of taking a industry expert and tossing him/her online.
I dunno, lots of companies out there making a go of it without SEOs.. there's no denying the value of SEM knowledge, but I also think you undercut the ingenuity displayed by most entrepreneurs by claiming that they could never make a go if it on their own. That's just not true.

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As you read on, what T-Shirt expert would have done what was done with ‘Thelactivist’? Furthermore, what T-Shirt expert would have the resources that were used with ‘Thelactivist’?
Again, I'm not sure I understand your point with this... Do you want to read an article series about someone that doesn't know what they are doing? Would that someone make for a more valuable resource? I'm not trying to be sarcastic, I'm trying to understand why you want so badly for me to admit that this whole project is completely and utterly flawed and unrealistic.

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Jenn I realize we are pushing the scope of your ‘30 day exercise’. However, for the exercise to be ‘real’ for situations similar to mine (am I alone here?), certain questions beg to be answered.
Yes, but I have answered them. I've explained several times that it's my belief that if you want to start a business from nothing, you simply HAVE to pick a niche idea that you know enough about to be able to succeed through things like viral marketing. Why does that make it 'unreal'? I didn't tell you to start the business that you did...you made that choice yourself.

You've chosen a VERY competitive industry. That's going to make it really hard to compete, even if you have solid marketing knowledge. (and I don't know if you do.) I'm an SEM with about five years of experience. I've got about 10 years of experience as an online marketer...yet when I decided to setup a business, I picked a VERY niche area that I knew I had a great shot at being successful in. Don't you think there's a reason for that?

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SEO Tactic - Café Express Association
Online Poker Tools application - ? Unaware of any similar arrangement available.
Maybe this is the point at which I need to make it very clear that the article series serves as a learning GUIDE that seeks to offer up general concepts in how to market your business. It is not meant to be followed as a step-by-step Bible of online business success. Marketing is an art, not a science. What works for me isn't going to work for you unless you put your own relevant spin on it.

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SEO Strategy – Back-links
Given a product with less buzz, what should be done? ... with the penalty of the ‘Sandbox’ hanging over heads, where is this line?
The penalty of the sandbox eh... I dunno, TheLactivist.com showed up in Google a week after it went live. It even ranks for some phrases. Nothing competitive yet, but then, I never even added Title tags to the site because I didn't expect it to be spider for another week or two and I hadn't had time. Doesn't sound like a site caught in a sandbox to me.

That doesn't mean that I don't think the sandbox exists in some manner, but it does show that a brand new site can still get traffic from Google.

As for buzz and back links... How popular is poker right now? Umm...pretty darn popular. Are you telling me that there are no discussion forums that you can take the time to build a reputation on? No blogs that you can associate with? No online community to tap into? If so, I honestly don't buy it. ;)

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SEO Tactic – Soliciting Links
NOTE - Online Poker Tools heretofore has attempted to solicit approx. 500 back links from within the industry. This has resulted in approx. 6 or so good back links. Of these back-links, only one has registered in Google in 3 months.
So quit trying to solicit backlinks. Do some work to make people WANT to link to you. Create a blog and fill it with great content. I've already got TheLactivist showing up on half a dozen blogrolls...people found it via blog search engines or parenting discussion forums. All it takes is one link to get the ball rolling...

Build and offer some free tools, or a catchy game and use that to get people to start linking to you. Write some how-to articles and submit them to the article archive sites like goarticles.com.

You just need to get creative. Stop asking for links and focus on EARNING them.

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SEO Strategy – Viral Marketing
We’ve installed a BLOG and will be blogging to death.If I have to wade through pictures of Matt Cutts in his Halloween costume to get business, I'll do it!
What does Matt Cutts in a Halloween costume have to do with getting business? Blog about things that matter to you, that matter to your business that matter to your target audience. They'll find you. For instance, when I did the post about the guy who compared breastfeeding in public to masturbating in public...I picked up some nice traffic. It was a post that was interesting to my target audience and it was a great chance to link them to the breastfeeding in public shirts that I sell. You just have to take that same content and put it to work for you.

Don't think that simply blogging is going to do it. Blogging is not some magical tool that sends customers flocking to your site. It's like any other tool...it's how you use it that will determine whether or not it works.

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SEO Strategy – Viral Marketing
Online Poker Tools application –
Been rejected by Google’s AdSense program. Reason – gambling content.
Obviously can't help you there. Again, you can't expect to duplicate every single thing I do and have it magically work for your business. Instead, you have to take what you can and leave the rest. If I honestly thought I was writing a how-to guide that would guarantee profitability to every company that followed my pattern, I'd be charging a lot more than "free" to access the articles. ;)

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SEO Strategy- Keywords
Now, since you’re extremely more versed in SEO decisions, does that mean the time non-experts spend on these areas is not SEO time. Does this mean the week or month that we spend researching keywords, researching KEI, visiting NicheBot, daily visits checking rank on keywords ( not ranked for ‘online poker tools’ on Google for one year now… yeah, go figure,… and look at the ‘content’ of the listings that come up… sad) is time wasted?
Why are you checking rankings? You'll know when the rankings appear because you'll start getting traffic. The only rankings I ever check are the ones I see when I follow a referrer in my stats.

"Hey look...I'm getting a lot of traffic for "breastfeeding clothes" in Google. Well what do you know! I rank #5, cool!"

or...

"Hmm...milk banks has actually sent some traffic from MSN. Let's see what variations of that get searched. Wow! "human milk bank" gets searched five times more than plain old "milk banks" Let's check...nope, I don't rank for that. Ok, let's go edit the site to use "human milk bank" instead of "milk banks. No need to check rankings after that, I'll know when the rankings show up because traffic will start showing up."

Seriously...throw away the rank checkers. Watch your stats instead. They'll tell you SO much more. :)

[quote]Could you clarify ‘thelactivist’ strategy on keywords?[quote]

I think I mostly did above...but if you have more specific questions, please clarify.

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In sum, I would rather have Jenn, amateur Novelty T-Shirt businessperson / Expert SEO create an Online Novelty T-Shirt business then vice versa. By default, this means an Online Startup needs a lot of SEO help. Does anyone agree?
Hmm...who is this "Jenn" person that you speak of? Only person I see around here is "Jen." ;) (Don't let "thejenn" fool you...it's Jen with one "n"... ;)

I digress... If you are talking about an online business that is being run through some type of affiliate system, then yes, I'd take an SEO expert any day. That's why so many of the really skilled SEO folks have stopped working for clients and make a fantastic living running affiliate sites.

But that's not who this series is for. This series aims to give people like you a look into the way that people like me would try to launch a business. The hope is that this series will help people learn something...that it will inspire them and that it will spark discussion and debate within the community. Thus far...it appears to be doing all three. ;)

I can't make your business be successful...I can only offer up my experience and my advice on things that have worked for ME and hope that you can find some way to apply them.

SpongeBob13 2nd December 2005 04:44 AM

We Agree
 
Jen - (or 'theJenn')

A Recap?

There is no doubt an attempt has been made to stretch your '30 day' exercise learnings to apply to other business situations.

"The whole point of this experiment was to help people learn how to market their business. "

The stretch was/is an attempt to take the learnings and challenge them where

1) The product in itself does not create 'buzz'.
2) The industry is more competitive then a niche or cottage.
3) Prior internet connections (BLOG contacts, or high GPR contacts) were unavailable.


Agree?

1) Viral marketing is essential. Viral marketing is BLOGging. Connect your BLOG to popular BLOGs thus your popularity increases.
2) Pick a product that is unique or quirky. This will provide un-told buzz which brings business.
3) If an event can be made out of the process, thus creating more buzz, great, do it.
4) Links from high Goggle PGR are important.

Maybe Agree?

1) The more competitive the environment, the less prior internet connections (BLOG contacts, High PGR contacts), the more essential a SEO is. (my view, I'll take an SEO anywhere, anytime).

Questions still remaining(admittedly beyond the scope of the original exercise)

Where product 'buzz' is less apparant, given less Internet contacts (BLOG/High GPR)

1) How do you get back links? Should one concern themselves about the relevancy of the back links? (theLactivist relys on un-solicited back links, not greatly concerned with relavency)
2) How important is keyword? (theLactivist is not concerned with keyword, at least not in the early stage)
3) Viral Marketing impact is related to the 'buzz' of the product or an event surrounding the product. Given lack of buzz, how can Viral Marketing be used? Should Viral Marketing be bought? (theLactivist has good buzz)
4) What do you do when your site is Ranked 1 on MSN, but not Ranked at all on Google, for close to a year? (theLactivist on day 15 or something, give em a chance, will ya!)

A solution! When your done with these 30 days, you can start a new series entitled '30 days to increase hits 10 fold in a competitive situation'. '30 days to increase GPR when none of your friends have GPR'.


Necessary points of clarification -

1) Online Poker Tools is a niche business. Albiet, it hangs in a very competitive industry.
2) Online Poker Tools has no known competition. However, this may be suspect, since Google searching brings totally irrelevant results!
3) Online Poker Tools GPR is still 1, and hits are still 40 a day. I am still going to spend my time wearing an SEO hat. Content is irrelevant based on current content compared to competition. I will be seeking answers to questions 1-3 above.
4) Online Poker Tools visits 6 of the most popular Poker forums on a weekly basis. Dodging bottles labeled 'spam', we try to make twice weekly posts.
5) In the last post, affiliate is downstream of getting hits, thus, irrelevant to the discussion here.
6) Matt Cutts in a halloween costume was from a moment I had. The moment was about 3 am, looking for ways to get Google recognized. I found Matt Cutts BLOG. I worked my way through pictures of his Halloween costume - a middle aged man brandishing a sword or something. I asked myself, 'what am I doing'?
7) My voyage for answers continues. From middle aged men in pirates costumes, to lactating lassie t-shirts,... where next... where are the answers... off I go!

For anyone who's made it this far... a rant! I think I am entitled, if you don't think so, don't read on. Ah, rant supressed.

Thanks for your time.

thejenn 2nd December 2005 08:22 AM

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1) Viral marketing is essential. Viral marketing is BLOGging. Connect your BLOG to popular BLOGs thus your popularity increases.
Viral marketing is NOT blogging. Viral Marketing is nothing more than a fancy way of naming the phenomenon of having other people talk about your business.

Viral marketing CAN be blogging.
Viral marketing CAN be having an awesome commercial that people forward via email
Viral marketing CAN be a unique giveaway
Viral marketing CAN be a satisfied customer that tells two friends
Viral marketing is public relations and branding on steroids.

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2) Pick a product that is unique or quirky. This will provide un-told buzz which brings business.
Perhaps. The buzz doesn't come just because the product is quirky. There are other CafePress stores that sell pro-breastfeeding shirts. The buzz comes from how you present it. I've since found a few other shirts selling "boob man" shirts. Great! I'm not original, that's no surprise. ;) But I haven't found other sites that have the variation in shirts, or some of the slogans (nip/suck, milk jugs) slogans that I do and I've yet to find one that has a daily updated blog to go with it. Thus, buzz can come from HOW you do something.

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3) If an event can be made out of the process, thus creating more buzz, great, do it.
Agreed.

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4) Links from high Goggle PGR are important.
I disagree. See previous posts. I'll take a link from a mother's discussion forum with a PR3 over a PR9 link from a business journal any day. I'll say this one last time, then I'm done with this topic.

SEEK LINKS FOR THE TRAFFIC THEY CAN SEND. NOT FOR THE PR. :)

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1) The more competitive the environment, the less prior Internet connections (BLOG contacts, High PGR contacts), the more essential a SEO is. (my view, I'll take an SEO anywhere, anytime).
Perhaps. But again...there are many, many, MANY successful businesses out there that have no idea of what SEM is. They're doing just fine. Doesn't mean they couldn't to better...but it does show that you CAN run a business without SEM, the same way that you can run one without Public Relations or a Marketing staff.

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1) How do you get back links? Should one concern themselves about the relevancy of the back links? (TheLactivist relys on un-solicited back links, not greatly concerned with relevancy)
2) How important is keyword? (TheLactivist is not concerned with keyword, at least not in the early stage)
I'd like to suggest a few articles that you might find helpful:
The Number One Rule of Search Engine Optimization - http://www.searchengineguide.com/laycock/004379.html
The Number One Rule of Pay Per Click - http://www.searchengineguide.com/laycock/004414.html
Incoming Links Aren't Hard to Come By With the Right Content - http://www.searchengineguide.com/laycock/003482.html


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3) Viral Marketing impact is related to the 'buzz' of the product or an event surrounding the product. Given lack of buzz, how can Viral Marketing be used? Should Viral Marketing be bought?
Some would say that if you are trying to buy viral marketing, you don't understand viral marketing. I think that I'd probably agree with them.

You can buy the "stuff" that starts viral marketing, but you can't buy the viral part of it. For example...

Gap paid big money for those "Khaki's Swing," "Khaki's Rock," "Khaki's Boogie" commercials a few years back. BIG money. But, they may have never dreamed that they'd set off a resurgence of swing music and generate buzz that had people seeking out the commercials to watch.

Burger King paid good money for their Subservient Chicken web site, but they never could have paid for the gazillion emails and "have you see the?" comments that every day people sent or said.

This is where I'm just not sure that you understand what I mean when I say viral marketing. You are close with buzz... but I'm just not sure I'm making it clear enough that viral marketing is something that you "aim for" not something that you can DO.

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4) What do you do when your site is Ranked 1 on MSN, but not Ranked at all on Google, for close to a year?
You thank your lucky stars that almost half of the people online use a search engine other than Google!

Seriously though...do NOT let the success of your business rest on a Google ranking. That's just bad business practice. You've got to diversify. If your search engine traffic stopped tomorrow, could you stay afloat? If not, then you need to work on broadening your base.

Seriously.

Several years ago when the infamous Florida update hit Google...people went out of business left and right. Why? Because they put all of their eggs in one basket. They got so used to the free traffic coming in from Google that they got lazy. You can't be lazy and be a business owner. (If you want to be lazy you have to work for someone else...)

You need to be setting up multiple channels to drive customers to your site. That's why TheLactivist doesn't focus on SEO. As I see it, here are my current channels for the site along with a list of upcoming ones that I hope to add...

1.) Search Engine Advertising (Google AdWords and soon, Yahoo! Search Marketing)
2.) Search Engine Optimization
3.) Link Building
4.) Viral Marketing (perfect strangers marketing the site)
5.) Networking (LaLecheLeague, Milk Bank Donors, Friends and Family...this differs from viral marketing because they are people that I am having personal contact with...thus I'm driving the networking, not strangers...)
6.) Event Sales (There are some upcoming conferences for Lactation Consultants, I'm looking into getting a booth and taking some shirts there to sell.)
7.) Newsletter (I've got a newsletter sign-up box on the CafePress store, though I haven't really promoted it yet. Looking to get a list setup before too long so that I can send once a month newsletters.)
8.) Blogging
9.) Public Relations (working on releases that target parenting and pregnancy magazines)

It's like running a consulting firm and having one client make up 90% of your business. Sure, some people do it and have no problem, but it would scare the bejezzus out of me. I never wanted to have more than 10 or 15% of my income showing up from one client, because sometimes you lose clients. Why would you set yourself up to fail if that happens?

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A solution! When your done with these 30 days, you can start a new series entitled '30 days to increase hits 10 fold in a competitive situation'. '30 days to increase GPR when none of your friends have GPR'.
LOL. Not a solution. I could care less if my "hits increase 10 fold" or if I "increase my GPR."

What I care about is increasing my sales. You seem to think that if you do the above, your sales will go up. That's not really how it works. (sometimes it works that way, but not always.)

You seem to be hung up on SEO as a way to generate a TON of traffic and you seem to believe that a TON of traffic will help you make lots of money. That's not how SEO works.

You have chosen to start a business in an industry so competitive that it is overrun with scammers and spammers. That's not something that I can help you with. In fact, if you called me and asked me to consult for your business, I'd tell you no. I don't "play" in those areas because I'm neither willing, nor skilled enough to spam to the levels required to rank a site in that industry.

Think about it like this...you could be an amazing singer...I mean just fabulous...and NEVER get a record deal. Why? Because the industry is so competitive that the true talent doesn't always rise to the top. That's just the way it is. The same goes for anything related to gambling or poker and web sites. Me writing my little old article series isn't going to change that.

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I think I am entitled...
...and in my opinion and with no malice intended...that seems to be your biggest problem. No one owes you anything.

Life entitles you to "a chance." It doesn't entitle you to success.

SpongeBob13 2nd December 2005 08:33 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by thejenn

...and in my opinion and with no malice intended...that seems to be your biggest problem. No one owes you anything.

Life entitles you to "a chance." It doesn't entitle you to success.

Cmon Jen. You've got people out there who have spent 6 months sweating out getting 40 uniques a day. Up pops someone who gets that much in 8 days with no money. Geez.

Why do these discussions always degenerate :(

I do agree, no one owes me anything. :(

And I don't get involved in flame drills.

Robert 2nd December 2005 10:09 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by SpongeBob13
2) How important is keyword? (theLactivist is not concerned with keyword, at least not in the early stage)

Actually, if you go back you'll see that she is concerned with researching/monitoring keywords and phrases that are important to her audience.

Don't confuse not being concerned with immediately putting up Meta Keyword tags with not being concerned with keywords.

Meta Keyword Tags = Not so important.
Researching/Monitoring Relevant Keywords and Terms = Very important.

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4) Online Poker Tools visits 6 of the most popular Poker forums on a weekly basis. Dodging bottles labeled 'spam', we try to make twice weekly posts.
This sent up a red flag for me because I'm not sure I was clear about what I meant by using forums to further the awareness of your site.

Go to relevant forums that allow you to have a signature file like we do here. Don't directly promote your site in any of your posts. Instead, be there welcoming newcomers, answer questions about becoming a better poker player, give tips on the best places to stay in Vegas, let people know when another casino is having a special, etc, etc.

You shouldn't ever have to dodge bottles labeled 'spam' because all you should be doing is helping the visitors at these forums.

Every time you help someone, you get a chance to have your site appear in your signature file with that post.

Visitors will come to respect and appreciate your opinions and the forum owners will love having you around for the time you put in supporting the community.

(Oh, before I forget, I made the link to your site live in your signature file. This gives me a change to remind everyone that instruction on adding a signature file can be found here:http://www.smallbusinessbrief.com/fo...hread.php?t=56 )

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5) In the last post, affiliate is downstream of getting hits, thus, irrelevant to the discussion here.
Even if you don't have a product and run strictly an information site, you can have an affiliate program. We do. It's yet another tool to build awareness of your site with people who have never heard of you. Set up an affiliate program for your site through http://www.linkconnector.com/ and pay a few cents for each visitor a site refers.

This will increase your links in a couple of ways. First, linkconnector will submit your site to all of the affiliate directories you may not be aware of. There are a bunch.

Second, there a plenty of small sites that monitor those directories and will find you and link to you for the chance to earn a few cents a visitor. All of these little links can and will add up over time.

Don't be concerned whether or not these links show up as backlinks on Google or any other search engine. Instead look at these links as another way to bring qualified traffic to your site.

Heck, even the mighty Google had an affiliate program in the early days. You could place their search box on your site and they'd pay 3 cents per search. (maybe 2 cents, it's been a long time) The point is, for a few cents a pop, plenty of people were willing to provide that link.[/quote]

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Originally Posted by thejenn
Hmm...who is this "Jenn" person that you speak of? Only person I see around here is "Jen." ;) (Don't let "thejenn" fool you...it's Jen with one "n"... ;)

LOL, don't feel bad Chris, I didn't know that either. Sorry about that Jenn, er, Jen. :p

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Cmon Jen. You've got people out there who have spent 6 months sweating out getting 40 uniques a day. Up pops someone who gets that much in 8 days with no money. Geez.

Why do these discussions always degenerate :(

And I don't get involved in flame drills.
Chris, she didn't mean that as a flame (not allowed here) or any type of personal attack. The discussion isn't degenerating and it's been really productive thus far.

thejenn 2nd December 2005 10:20 AM

Quote:

Cmon Jen. You've got people out there who have spent 6 months sweating out getting 40 uniques a day. Up pops someone who gets that much in 8 days with no money. Geez.
As Robert said, no malice or flaming intended. Just trying to make sure you (and anyone else reading this) is being realistic.

I understand that you don't think it's realistic to get that much traffic in 8 days, but it DOES happen. My blog? The Lactivist Blog? It's getting that many hits a day just from blog search and getting on the blogrolls of other parenting blogs. Those links and that traffic have nothing to do with my "industry connections."

I understand your frustration. Really I do. Keep in mind that I've dedicated about 30 hours a week (on top of being a work at home mom that edits Search Engine Guide and being in process of selling my house) to building this business. In exchange for that, I've earned a whopping $120.

$120. Divided by 60 hours? Not exactly something to write home about. But it's a start...and it could grow into something more.

I'm trying to help you, I'm sorry if I've offended you. I hope that you'll continue to learn and participate here. :)

bluespider 7th December 2005 08:30 AM

Chiming in
 
I just have to jump in here. I've found this debate almost as interesting as the experiment.

I just have three points:

1) Traffic - Although the "experts" discount the industry exposure as non-targeted traffic, I think it has a substantial amount to do with the quick success of the site. I'm a prime example. I read about the experiment and visited the sites, never intending to buy. However, Christmas is coming and I started thinking it might make a cute gift for my breastfeeding SIL (or her 20+lb 5mo). So now I'm a potential customer, even though you're discounting me as non-targeted traffic. :)

That being said, I believe Jen herself, separate from "her name" or reputation, is what is making the site such a success. Here's why:

2) Her personality. She has the self-confidence to put herself out there. She's confident she'll succeed when too many others don't even try because of fear of failure. (ex. partnering with the Ohio milk bank and doing a fundraising event, etc) She also has incredible drive and energy. She seems to get more done in a part-time day than most people do in a full-time week.

3) Her experience. She has 10 yrs of experience thinking "out-of-box" for marketing ideas. She calmly says the only limit to marketing is your imagination. I think she fails to realize that her imagination in this field is considerably more developed than the rest of us. (But what she says is still true.) She also already knows what has a better chance of succeeding - hence her initial business decision. (Lesson for SpongeBob - maybe this means that you could try to gear your poker tools towards other popular but less competitive card games. Take what you've learned thusfar and apply it to related areas.) She's also familiar with PR and marketing campaigns and doesn't shy away from the "threat" of exposure. She dives in to capitalize rather than sitting in a daze and not knowing what to do with the extra exposure (as I have done (although on a MUCH smaller scale) :o )

I believe her 30-day trial is a real-world example in microcosm - at lightening fast speed. Each of her days might be more like a week to a normal mortal, which still means success at the end.

Any chance of a condensed "Here's What I Did" version at the end, or will that be left as an exercise for the reader?

Debbie

Robert 7th December 2005 09:02 AM

Hi Debbie and welcome to the forum! :standingw

thejenn 7th December 2005 06:06 PM

Debbie,

Welcome aboard! :) So glad to see you here and I very much appreciate your thoughts and compliments.

Despite popular rumor, I'm not an energizer bunny, nor a robot. I'm just living with the benefit of having a one year old... I have the ability to function on zero sleep. ;)

Your points are excellent though...there's no doubt that my background give me a boost in this, even I won't argue that one. But that's the whole point...to use what I know and what I learn through this experiment to help other people figure things out.

As for a wrap-up...there's a chance (hint...hint) that when the series ends, I'll be asking if anyone's interested in some on-going updates. There's a lot on the burner right now that I don't think I'll get to by day 30 and I hate to leave folks hanging. If there is interest, I think I may go to once a week updates for another month or two...

Razzaq 18th August 2008 12:02 AM

Hi everyone,

Nice to find the interesting place with lot of useful information...

thanks to all the members for posting tips, ideas, information and links ...

keep posting


Take care
:)

gudrunsmith 15th October 2011 08:37 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by SpongeBob13 (Post 13123)
[ADMIN NOTE: This thread was split from the Zero Cash thread.]


Hey what a wonderful idea!

I've been working on building a Small Business web site for the better part of six months... full time ;)

I've learned some great tricks from your work.

But I do have to ask -

a) Is it real that the common Small Business Person has access to all the Blogs that originally created your Viral Marketing traffic?
b) The event itself generates traffic, how can the average Small Business Person expect to repeat that effect?
c) Is it real that you received Google indexing at day 10? My experience, and maybe others, Google indexing and Google traffic takes months to acquire! Personally I've sent out over 400 emails for recip links. This has resulted in about a dozen responses, of which, Google has tracked only 1!

There is much more to discuss put I think you get the point.

I came into this bright eyed and bushy tailed and am gathering a different feeling. This exercise seems more akin to Martha Stewart saying to the girl scout, watch how I sell brownies. Martha immeadiately goes to her speed dialer and starts making calls ;)

None the less, its a fun read!

PS - I've started a small business web site and have worked it on average 65 hours a week. It's a good unique idea that produces content. Currently I am seeing 40 unique visitors a day and have a Google Page Rank of 1. Sadly I find myself spending 85% of the time wearing a SEO hat, and 15% of my time creating content.

You are on a good track toward success, the biggest challenge you are doing already great to get traffic to your site. As you may know, the more traffic you get to your site so more you will make money, but no traffic means also no sales.

Hampers 6th December 2011 11:50 AM

I agree, most small business get into seo out of exasperation after having been burned by a ruthless seo 'expert' who has drained the advertising budget.

And then seo is a total distraction to what the small biz person actually does, ie make pies.

Also agree most sites are 90% seo and 10% content - although this is changing.

BEST thread I have read on this forum for ages - well done all involved!

BoBo_184 4th January 2012 07:19 PM

SEO is not rocket science.. there are a lot of things to do but each thing is actually quite simple in concept so is very easy to learn... when it comes to SEO, it's about repetition and perseverance...

My friend was recently seduced by the SEO division of a well established business directory publisher here in the UK.

He paid them Ł800 to help him create a Adwords PPC campaign. This company purchased ads for keywords in this configuration: Business+Name+Town for each of his 3 shops

The thing is his own retail website was already No. 1 organically when people searched using 'Business+Name+Town'

disgusting

To avoid getting ripped off like that, just devote the time to learn the basics of SEO. It's really not that difficult. You can still hire people to do the job for you but you should always know what need to be done.


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