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Old 11th July 2011, 10:20 AM   #1
Sanity Check
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Default 100% Open "Follow Me" Project To Prove You Don't Have To Acquire Backlinks To Succeed

I'm starting this thread to carry over a discussion that popped up between BeTheBest and myself over on the thread, "Are Long Tail Keywords A Thing Of The Past?" I felt we had strayed too far from the original topic, and this conversation needed a topic of its own. When Spider chimed in that he liked the flow of ideas, I realized we needed to make this conversation into its own thread.

I floated the idea of starting a "follow me" type project where I would show people how to build a website to sell some kind of product line online, probably based on something like an affiliate, affinity, or referral basis so that I don't have to handle inventory, while refusing as a matter of policy to do anything to actively seek backlinks. The purpose of such a project is to demonstrate that if you build your site right, interlink and optimize its product pages properly, and do nothing else except to announce what you're doing in various social media, the site will turn profitable within a short period of time.

BeTheBest reacted well to my idea, and proposed the idea of selling access to the project. I responded that I really wanted to make it free for all, in part because I know what it's like to have a failed online project and know what it's like to not be sure where my next month's rent was going to come from. With an "official" unemployment rate of 9.1%, a "recognized" (U-6 by the Bureau of Labor Statistics) unemployment rate of 16.2%, and a likely real unemployment rate over 20% today, there's a crying need to show people how to succeed online in huge numbers.

I then expanded the idea to suggest that the project be opened to participation to anyone willing to do some of the work, in order to share in the rewards. This would be a great way for a newbie who is afraid to test the waters himself or herself to learn while they earn, so to speak.

That's when Spider chimed in that he like the conversation and the appeal of an idea that got away from acquiring backlinks.

You can read the original conversation by clicking the above link. After that, you'll be caught up on the conversation.

UPDATE: I just bought the domain name nobacklinks.com to use with this project. I figure, if the whole idea is to publicize that we're trying to prove that you can succeed without trying to acquire backlinks, why not brag about it in the domain name? I also like the idea that the domain name discourages people from giving backlinks, so if they give us a backlink anyway, they'll do so knowing that they're doing so despite the project's premise, thereby reinforcing the truth we're trying to demonstrate. Further, this domain name deliberately undermines the idea that you can only succeed if you acquire a domain name that contains your main keyword, since no one searches on "no backlinks"! And for those who search on "backlinks", maybe they'll find the site (once I launch it) and either follow it or join it. What do you all think?


Last edited by Sanity Check; 11th July 2011 at 11:22 AM.
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Old 11th July 2011, 05:51 PM   #2
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Super! Talk about making life difficult for yourself. Have you tried having sex standing up in a hammock? Should be a doddle for you!!!!

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Old 11th July 2011, 08:37 PM   #3
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Hi Sanity Check,
Great news to see you're taking this seriously. Just for the record... I fully understand the concept you're shooting for and I am all in for helping others learn. When I read through your post, (I know you didn't mean it... so there is no problem) but is sort of made me feel foolish implying that there should be a charge to see the results.

I further understand your comments and information about 'the next buck'. Although I didn't specifically mention it, I was sort of thinking a real 'token' amount... something like a buck or so.

I had a lot of ideas running through my head... and I only looked at the difference between pay and no pay as a method of being able to demonstrate how a site could be set up to encourage visitors to 'sign up' and become a member. That's all that I was aiming at.

With respect to the actual product, I have to tell you that I am not an 'affiliate' type person. I always created my own content, eBooks, video, etc. I never really looked into what is available. For that reason, I really have no recommendations.

Also... for the record, I have had online failures too! I don't think you can be a success until you have 'eaten pixels'! Luckily, the downside costs have never amounted to anything that 'hurt'.

One other aspect that I talk with clients about and I think is important in this project is the matter of DOING SOMETHING as opposed to sitting and trying to get EVERYTHING PERFECT before you release.

I am not trying to promote or support people who only want to do mediocre work. What I think is a HUGE stumbling block is (and I know I have had comments about this in other posts on this forum) is that so many people want to tinker and tweek their ideas until they get it to a point where they think it's perfect. Typically, that means it never gets launched.

I am pretty quick to point out that if all products were released ONLY when they are perfected... we would all still be working on Windows for Workgroups 3.1! Ha! How many revisions and updates have there been since??

The point is, you have to start. You put your best effort into it and continue to move forward making changes and revisions as needed. The end result is typically nothing like the way it started.

So having said all that... what do you need next?

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Old 11th July 2011, 09:40 PM   #4
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Oh! Sorry! You're right, I certainly didn't mean to suggest you were foolish for suggesting a nominal payment. If possible, could you pinpoint for me the phrasing where I inadvertently suggested that it was a silly idea, so I can avoid doing it in the future? I try to write accurately and clearly, and if I'm suggesting something by accident, I want to know what I did, so I can correct it.

Your comments suggest that you figured out that I was only intending to tell you where I was coming from and what my motivations are, so I'm glad of that.

Yes, I see your point about getting started rather than tweaking everything before you start. I do tend to take a lot of time before I start something. Personally, I'm comfortable with my slow and careful approach to an extent, because I feel that I'm covering the bases better. I find that when I jump in too quickly, I tend to be a bit scattered in my approach. Still, your point is well taken.

I guess you haven't had any more experience with affiliate programs than I have. Oh well! Hey, it was worth asking. That's great that you've been able to create all your own products to sell. It demonstrates both creativity and a willingness to bend and shift to the needs you perceive in the marketplace. That's an art form!

Do you think my domain name is too wacky? I bought it on the spur of the moment...sort of a case of what you were suggesting: taking action without thinking too much about it.

As I'm typing all this, I'm realizing that part of my normal method involves what most people would call visualization, although for me it's more like conceptualization than any particular "mental picture" viewing. I think a primary reason why I take it slow before I leap (most of the time) is that I need to play through various scenarios before I feel confident that move X (no matter what X is) is a good bet.

Right now, my biggest stumbling block is what to sell. In order to do a project like this, I need to get excited about doing it. So far, the idea of pursuing an Amazon affiliate project isn't exactly getting my blood going. I guess I'm going to have to do some homework on it first. I may try floating the idea at some of the bigger forums, to see if I can get any good suggestions that way.

Thanks for the input, and if you get any more insights, don't hesitate to share them!

Attention: lurkers. That goes for you, too!

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Old 11th July 2011, 10:08 PM   #5
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Quote:
Oh! Sorry! You're right, I certainly didn't mean to suggest you were foolish for suggesting a nominal payment. If possible, could you pinpoint for me the phrasing where I inadvertently suggested that it was a silly idea, so I can avoid doing it in the future?
No... not to worry. It wasn't anything you said. It's just that when you mentioned (correctly) that I suggested a fee to see ALL the results... I just felt like the proverbial 'bad guy' looking to make a buck. Not to worry.. I just felt I was standing in the wind all by myself. It's a personal thing. No harm.

When I talked about 'getting started' I was on a thread where the person with the website was trying to put 'packages' together. You know... like buy this for $X... or buy all three and save! You could think about packages all day long... and never get it right for everyone. My suggestion was to get it out there and TRY one or two. After all, nothing on line is carved in stone. That's really what I was talking about.

Just like writing content. People get hung up. Start with a few solid points; fill in those points to make good sentences; of course, a healthy sprinkle of key words and phrases... and let it go. I guarantee... .when people start asking questions... you will quickly know what you missed. That's really what I was talking about.

I think your approach is good. You MUST have a strategy. You must know who you are looking to sell (or your target) and then speak to them. Give them the details and info they need; back it with information that lends to your credibility; and ASK for the sale!

With respect to your stumbling block.... I agree. I thought of suggesting some of the popular niches... weight loss... things like that. I know it's over populated... and it may not be the best place to set the example... but it's a thought.

I don't have any particular interests... like gardening or stamp collecting... so I am not a good source of suggestions. I haven't looked at affiliate programs in years... so I really don't know what is selling or working.

If you have an interest in marketing/online help/building your business, I have short reports that may be of some interest, but I think that is an area that is a little over populated too (actually, I am rethinking the overall plan for one of my current sites).

So I know I am not being a lot of help right now. But, for the record, have you considered digital product? Like possibly... a book about what the site is actually talking about... building a business online... or taking your bricks and mortar business online.. and marketing it?!? That alone could get into SEO issues, branding, building sales leads, promotions.... it could go on and on. Just a thought... but there would be a ton of work just getting all the info put together.

Are there any good (read that as reliable) drop shippers out there besides the Amazons?? Just that you could do well exposing a product that is not mainstream. Once again... another thought.

If I can... I would suggest that you set the site up with a StatCounter account to track visits and where they come from. I have worked with StatCounter for years and find it to be simple and really reliable. The stats are great... and would be key information to share and prove your growth. Also, setting up an e-mail list would help... where you demonstrate how to do it and reveal the number of subscribers. Just some food for thought.

Keep me in the loop. I am subscribed to this thread... and look forward to the progress.

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Old 11th July 2011, 10:13 PM   #6
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Ok... now you're going to think that I 'lost it'. Duh!

I do have a hobby... and this is going to sound a little strange... but I am a collector of fountain pens. Yes... I use them daily. Myself, I purchase limited editions that are not your normal 'bic' stick pen.

The product could be the ink. There are not a lot of sites to purchase the inks from. I am not sure if any of the retailers would be interested in 'filling' and drop shipping.. .if you actually want to sell the product... but it's enough of a niche to get your point across... and could become profitable enough to make it worth your while.

Now... that's coming from a pen collector, ok? So when you quit laughing and pick yourself up off the floor... you can say whatever you want.

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Old 12th July 2011, 08:44 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BeTheBest View Post
Are there any good (read that as reliable) drop shippers out there besides the Amazons?? Just that you could do well exposing a product that is not mainstream. Once again... another thought.

If I can... I would suggest that you set the site up with a StatCounter account to track visits and where they come from. I have worked with StatCounter for years and find it to be simple and really reliable. The stats are great... and would be key information to share and prove your growth. Also, setting up an e-mail list would help... where you demonstrate how to do it and reveal the number of subscribers. Just some food for thought.

Keep me in the loop. I am subscribed to this thread... and look forward to the progress.
Quote:
Originally Posted by BeTheBest View Post
I do have a hobby... and this is going to sound a little strange... but I am a collector of fountain pens. Yes... I use them daily. Myself, I purchase limited editions that are not your normal 'bic' stick pen.
Yes, I must confess, I did laugh when I saw the fountain pen idea, but I laughed in a kind way. It's so quaint!

Thanks for sharing your suggestions. There's really no such thing as a bad suggestion, except for the suggestion that isn't floated because of fear of being rejected. So thanks!

I think you're right about drop shippers. I'm just going to have to find some sources for that kind of thing and start investigating them. I have a client to whom I consult who sells marketing supplies for auto dealers. It's stuff you'd think wouldn't be worth a hill of beans, but he does over $300,000 a year gross.

So, I'm going to start looking around with an open mind. And who knows? Maybe I'll end up going with Amazon anyway.

One thing does occur, and it came to me when you mentioned weight loss. While I really don't want to offer yet another weight loss product, there is a lot to be said for focusing on a product that is already hot, in part because it's so hard to break into such a market. Let's say, for example, I decided to go after consumer electronics such as electronic tablets, cell phones, etc. Clearly, that's an extremely difficult market, perhaps even saturated. So an experiment like this one that actually managed to succeed in an area like that would be quite remarkable. On the other hand, I don't want to set myself up for failure.

Gotta shop around, I guess!

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Old 18th July 2011, 11:39 AM   #8
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Default Integrity vs. Income

I really like your project idea. I tried to do the same thing when I re-created the website for www.tradeshowdirect.com in the sense of not going after any backlinks, but eventually had to give in to working on getting some backlinks to increase SERP position in a very competitive market.

The need for additional income finally outweighed the integrity of spending 100% of our time writing new content and improving our product line. I think it will be easier to maintain the integrity of your project if it is not your primary source of income.

I also think that what you have to offer on your site will be the ultimate factor of your project's success. If it's something that people will get excited about and want to share then it will grow on its own.

Anyways, I'll certainly be interested in hearing updates about how it's going. Best of luck!

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Old 18th July 2011, 12:47 PM   #9
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Yes, you hit the nail on the head. The problem is always how to keep earning a living while you build the site, because depending upon the market niche you're in, it can take quite awhile to reach the tipping point where you break through on the SERPs. Until that happens, you end up working for nothing. The hardest part is paying the bills while you continue to work for nothing, knowing perfectly well that you'll eventually win. It can be quite a test to do a project like this one.

I still plan to pursue this project, although I'm not going to be able to do it as quickly as I would like to. Right now, I'm working on my other sites to produce a sustained income stream.

So make sure you're subscribed to this thread, and I'll update it when I'm ready to take the next step...and every step thereafter.

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Old 18th July 2011, 10:20 PM   #10
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I hear what you're saying. If I can make a suggestion... I would strongly suggest that you take the time now to select the product and actually start hosting the site (your business is hosting, right?)

A simple home page, good titles and meta descriptions with a home page of point form and short paragraph content to get started.

My reasoning was always to get the page up with the basics to get the search engines to find you. That alone could take a couple of months to get indexed and 'be there'. I typically start a site about 4-6 months before I want to see real results. So that little bit of work now could make it (probably will make it) a lot better when you're ready to fire.

That also leaves you some time to finish your important work while the search engines are doing theirs.

I trust you're still on the fence about a product. I understand. But I think you will do really well with the 'advance' hosting with titles and home page content... and then fill it in later.

Hope this helps!

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