I built my first website in 2006. I just woke one morning and thought I should know how to build a website. I started learning HTML and then CSS. It was fun to publish to the Internet – something that has become so normal for me and many others.
Build and They Don’t Come
I was not satisfied with publishing a site that no one visited. 2006 was Stone Age in web term, no real social media, Facebook was still to dominate, Twitter was only starting and still a toddler. So how was I to promote my website, (as I thought it was great).
I don’t remember where or when I first came across the term search engine optimisation. My very basic understanding of it in 2006 was getting listed on other websites. So I did – but not just any websites. As I did not know better I emailed and begged all the top sites in my niche to add me to their links page – remember links pages?
I pursued this strategy so well the site I built was number 1 in its niche by Christmas and the site had about 20,000 visitors per month. I thought I was so smart; I have had various points in my journey thinking I was smart only to discover how much information I still needed grasp.
My early success was helped enormously by ignorantly buying an exact match domain – a stroke of luck. I added a couple more sites to my portfolio and then life changed. I moved country and had to earn money.
Becoming a SEO Consultant
By mid 2007 I believed I was able and knowledgeable enough to setup as a SEO consultant. I put up my site and started looking around for work. Again I was very lucky to find a consulting gig with an agency where I was still self-employed and could develop my own business. I learned a great deal from them on running a business and pricing services.
The above relationship ran for nearly two years and then we all fell out over money. I wanted more.
Search optimisation was much easier between 2006 and 2011 – when Panda first arrived. On the 23rd of Feb 2011 my world was rocked and many of the websites I worked on were torn apart. Along with many others I hadn’t considered the 350 words per page model stuffed with keywords. I was so busy publishing rubbish the idea of value only ever applied to my first site, which was always my baby.
Don’t become a SEO consultant. I strongly believe that knowledge of optimisation is important; however branding yourself in SEO is not a good future strategy. Looking at Google trends you can see searches for SEO peaked in 2011 and searches for digital marketing is rising rapidly – SEO by another more acceptable name.
Losing Touch and Being Anonymous
I started working for a client mid 2010, a relationship that lasted for 4 years and kept paying the bills. I essentially ended up being the out-sourced employee. That relationship finished due to changing market conditions for them. However I look back during this last 4 years at a host of mistakes I would like to learn from; and one of the main motivation for joining Blog Engage.
- Stopping investment in my brand / business
- Ignoring social media
- Not developing contacts
It would have been quite easy, in retrospect, to keep building and writing blog posts. But laziness won out. I ignored much of social media and stopped developing contact – even though I enjoy helping people.
In some ways I feel like I am starting over. However I do have a few advantages. My first website is going strong and earns okay, I have a few older websites that can be built out, and my business site is still there and ranking on the second page.
I like the mix between a handful of clients and my own online revenue. There is a feeling of security to having both, it does mean splitting time and the potential of each is slower to realise.
My aim with Blog Engage is to develop contacts. It attracted me due to its size; not too big and not too small. If I can help in any way go ahead and ask – I will do the same.