If you read Progress Report 1, you’ll know that the blog I set up for this case study is Cheap Electricity Options.
To recap, Week 1 of the blog development involved keyword research and identifying if the niche wasn’t too competitive and that there were enough products for it to advertise. Week 1 closed with the installation of the blog, selecting a theme and adding a home page and article. The blog is set up to use a static home page. So now to week 2:
If you’ve taken a look at my Cheap Electricity Options site, you probably noticed that there are no ads on the site and no affiliate links. That’s because I’m seasoning the site for the first month. By that I mean that new content will be posted to the blog every 2-3 days so that the search engines will see that it’s an active site and, when they spider it, they’ll see it’s a content-driven site providing real information for visitors and not an affiliate or ad-driven site trying to get money out of visitors.
Those first 4 weeks of any site affect how it will rank in the search engines, especially Google. By the end of the first month, the site won’t have been flagged as an affiliate site and so it will rank higher than similar sites that have been flagged as being affiliate sites. That’s the theory anyway. From anecdotal evidence, this does appear to be how things work and that initial impression of a site by Google seems to stick, even after the ads have been added to a site after a few weeks.
But I’m getting ahead of myself here as, at time of writing, the blog is in the 3rd week of its life and this post is reviewing what happened with the blog in Week 2.
1. Adding Content: Crucial to helping a new site rank better is adding some completely unique articles to the site. PLR (private label rights) articles are not suitable as many copies of those articles are probably in use across the internet. So the best course of action is to write some articles yourself. Yes, it takes a bit of time. But what if you don’t know enough about your niche to write articles about it?
Well, if you have some PLR articles about the niche, just rewrite them. Take each sentence in the article and rewrite it in your own words. While the overall topic of the article will be the same, the actual article content will be unique. Or you could mix ‘n’ match the content from a couple of articles, rewriting it as you go. You only need to write 8-10 unique articles.
If writing just isn’t your thing, you have a couple of other options:
a) Use The Best Spinner to spin PLR articles. Your articles won’t be 100% unique, but you should strive for at least 50% uniqueness. It’s a good idea to rewrite at least a couple of sentences to add to the article’s uniqueness. Simple synonym replacement only goes so far.
b) Use Instant Article Wizard: With this piece of software, you can search the internet for articles about a specific keyword. Articles are broken down by sentence with sentences about similar topics being grouped together. This makes it fairly easy and not too time consuming to build an article from snippets from several other articles. The combination of sentences you pick should make the article unique, but you could always put it through The Best Spinner for best results.
c) Have someone else write articles for you. I like to use articles that are about 500-600 words long. Getting a writer to create articles this long will cost in excess of $10 per article on the likes of eLance.com. The better writers charge $50+ for articles of this length. A cheaper alternative is iNeedArticles. They’ll write 350-word articles for $6 each. Those articles are a bit on the small side for my liking so think about having two articles written for each keyword (with little overlap) and combine the two articles into one larger article yourself with a bit of editing.
So, why should you not use freely available content? It’s a shortcut and you’ll pay for it down the line. Yes, you can easily find 8-10 articles on the article directories but using such articles means your site won’t have unique content. And it won’t be ranked as highly as a result. Of course, you could always use such articles as a source of inspiration and rewrite them yourself, and that takes you back into spending time crafting articles for your site.
So, the bottom line is that getting that initial unique content for your site is going to cost, either in time or money.
I spent a fair few hours in Week 2 writing 12 articles for the Cheap Electricity Options blog. I added them to the blog as Draft posts only because they would need further editing before being published.
2. Adding Images to Articles: Pictures break up the solid wall of text that would otherwise comprise an article. And people like pictures. They attract the eye. So I usually add 2-3 images to each blog post, with one image being above the fold (i.e. visible on the page when it’s loaded in a browser). I find images on Google Images (but I’m careful not to use any images that are marked as copyright) and Flickr. Sometimes I also buy images from stock photography sites like ShutterStock and DreamsTime. They usually don’t cost more than $1.
I look for images that relate to the topic of an article and position the images near the text that they relate to. So, for example, if there’s a paragraph in an article about wind power turbines, I’d add an image of a wind turbine to that paragraph.
Next, I added the Title and Alt tags to each of the images in the articles and put my page keywords into those tags to aid in SEO.
3. Adding Video To Articles: I also decided to put a YouTube video at the bottom of each post, with the video being about the topic of the post. So I had to put a little time into searching YouTube for the best video to use in each case rather than just using the first video that popped up in the search results. I added a headline that contained the post’s keyword above the video.
4. Adding Links to External Sites: I looked for government or educational sites about the topic of each article. I picked PR4+ sites and added a single link into each of the articles.
5. Using the Web Traffic Genius Plugin (no longer available): This is a WordPress plugin that submits your site’s RSS feed to various RSS aggregators each time a post is published. It’s a great way for getting visitors to your sites as it automates the entire RSS feed submission process once set up. It’s an aspect of building backlinks that you never have to worry about again. I always activate and set up this plugin before the first post is published on a blog so that it kicks in automatically when that first post goes live.
6. Scheduling the Articles: Finally, in terms of blog preparation, I scheduled each of the 12 posts for publication over the ensuing 3 weeks.
At this point, the blog would run on autopilot, publishing a post every few days, with notifications of those posts going out to RSS aggregators automatically.
Free Report and Autoresponder Series
I decided to go all out on this blog by providing a free report (Renewable Energy and Other Money Saving Secrets for Your Home) and an autoresponder email series for visitors. Now I took a shortcut here by getting hold of a PLR report and PLR autoresponder series. Time was spent in Week 2 doing some modifications to the report and adding in some affiliate links. I’ve also been tailoring the autoresponder email series and adding affiliate links for various products and services that were researched in Week 1.
There’s quite a number of emails, so only some of them were queued up in Aweber, the autoresponder service I use. The rest will be queued up over the next couple of weeks as time allows. Since there’s a gap of 2-4 days between emails, once the first few are set up, I can just queue a couple of emails a day and be sure that subscribers will never catch up and be waiting days for the next email.
I also had to create the opt-in form and add it and the report graphic to the blog. I don’t expect to get any signups for a couple of weeks as traffic to the site is very low (0 to 1 visitor per day). I haven’t done any backlinking yet so visitor numbers are understandably low.
So that’s it for Week 2. A fair amount of work involved but this is a blog I want to set up well and one that I expect to be around for a considerable time. It’s not a “try this and see if it’ll stick” approach which would be much faster to implement. That’s how I’ve created sites in the past and some do prove successful while others don’t. For me, I want to see if taking the extra time to set up a blog as I’m outlining in these progress reports will pay off in the long run or whether the time would be better spent building many more “instant” blogs.
Results So Far…
The blog has been online for two weeks now and five articles have been posted. The optin form has been on the site for 1 week.
Pages Indexed in Google: 36. Most of these are tag pages but the main site pages have been indexed too.
Links in Google: 0 (as expected).
Yahoo Backlinks: 1
Unique Visitors: 7
Number of Visits: 29. Averaging 2.07 visits per day. Most of these are my own visits to the site when checking new posts and doing some editing to fix errors.
Page Views: 202. Most likely skewed by my own visits to the site when checking new posts and doing some editing to fix errors.
Bounce Rate: 51.72%. Pretty good.
Newsletter Subscribers: 0
Coming soon: Week 3…
Tagged with: Active Site • Affiliate Sites • Anecdotal Evidence • Blog • Case Study • Cheap Electricity • Creation • Electricity Options • Google • Initial Impression • Keyword • Money • Niche • Private Label • Progress Report • Search Engines • Similar Sites • Site Rank • Week 1
Filed under: Blogging