This is a guest post by Jason Acidre.
I’ve been working as an SEO for 2 years now. I started working for an Australian-based SEO Agency in early 2010, before I was hired by Affilorama and Traffic Travis to be their in-house consultant.
Working on these websites compelled me to do extensive research on my own, and that’s when I decided to start my own blog “Kaiserthesage” (late June of 2010), to test things that are related to my work, which is mostly on generating traffic and converting them.
When I first started blogging, I didn’t really intend to make profit from it using any form of online money making tactics, especially through affiliate marketing â€“ since I don’t really find it that challenging, given that I work for one of the world’s biggest affiliate marketing training portal, which I first felt to be unfair. All that really mattered to me back then was to do massive experiments using my personal blog.
So how I did manage to earn without the intention to earn? Well, the reason is quite simple, it’s because I had a plan on how I will drive specifically targeted visitors to my blog. And because there’s a demand for the information that I was willing to share to my readers, monetizing the traffic at some point is inevitable.
I eventually offered consultation services and outsourced work.
The First Step
My initial investment for my blog’s business model was $30 (for the domain name and 3-month worth of web hosting) as well as my time and effort to write and promote the blog.
The first blog post(s) that I’ve published was a 2-part case study, depicting my first hands-on experience working as an SEO, including the methods I used, the problems I’ve encountered for the first website that I have ever optimized (when I was still working for an agency) as well as the results of the campaign.
After that launch, I didn’t really expect those posts to be a hit, but I did receive some awesome feedbacks from a few readers (and emails asking for the other methods I’ve used in the latter part of that particular campaign). I can say that it wasn’t that bad for a start.
It took me 2 months of hard work (not really) writing and building relationships with other bloggers in the field of SEO, social media and blogging before I really got my target audience’s attention.
I remember writing filler content just to have more posts on my blog (which is something that I wouldn’t advice for people to do now).
I spent 2-4 hours every day (even on weekends) in developing my blog (writing posts, commenting on my link targets’ blogs and building relationships through social networks/emails) within the first 2 months and the time I invested on the project paid off in a short period of time (and I didn’t expect it as well).
The 2-Month Online Marketing Strategy
These are some of the components of my initial content and online marketing strategy that generated me clients on my blog’s 3rd to its 7th month of being live.
Before launching my blog, I already have a content plan in place, where I’ve listed the topics (using excel) that I would want to write. The main focus and principle of my content development/generation strategy was to provide content that I don’t see often discussed on the SEO blogging community, to create unique content and to have the “rarity of information” as the key to hook readers and for them to have high probability of sharing the content.
I tried publishing 2 posts each week, back then, with each post having its own designated keyword to target and rank for in search engines.
List of Link Targets
I created a list of my campaign’s target link prospects, but the list is not intended for SEO purposes. The main objective that I had for this list is to help me identify the people/bloggers that I should be connecting with and to try to absorb their readers back to my blog.
Build Relationships, Not Links
The list that I’ve created served as a guide for my external marketing processes. I chose 20 â€“ 50 blogs to focus on engaging with by regularly reading their updated posts, leaving sensible and useful comments, sharing their works on Twitter (and mentioning them), sending emails (if I had to) and basically everything that I can do to be in their radar.
The best thing about establishing connections with people who have the readers that you want is that it is an ROI-focused link building, wherein you are able to improve your domain’s authority in SEO perspective (which can eventually help your site’s pages/posts rank better on search engines) and you’re also able to absorb readership, as the goal is to entice influencers back to your blog and hope they’ll share your unique content to their networks/followers.
I had the chance to establish great connections along the process and that benefited my campaign very well, especially through the people who are sending referred traffic to my blog, like from Kristi Hines, Sean Si of SEO Hacker, Gail Gardner of Growmap, Ana Hoffman of Traffic Generation Cafe, and many more.
Relationship building is one of the most powerful marketing tools of this age, you should use it wisely. But in case you’re looking for more tips on marketing your blog right after launching it, you can check out my list of posts on link building strategies.
Things I Realized I Should’ve Done When I Started
There are two things that I wish I have done earlier, as I think that these would’ve only speed up the process of gaining more readers, traffic and clients to my business if I had these 2 in my initial approach.
If I’ve focused on creating comprehensive guides (ebook-like blog posts), like what I’ve been mostly doing this past year, I could’ve easily built attract stronger links back then, as it’s always easier to get links when people will have reasons to link to a certain piece of content.
Social Media Outreach
Given that I’ll be pushing out good and link-worthy content, reaching out to bloggers for a social media boost could have been easy. The more social shares that my content gets, the more followers, readers and possible clients could see my work.
But in the end, I still got everything in place.
The Results – Inbound Client Acquisition
After 2 months of continuously creating decent content and getting into my link targets’ radar, business offers started pouring in.
I didn’t get clients because of search rankings. I got them through my blog posts. It gave the first impression for my business, and the principle of not just bringing traffic, but rather to bring traffic that will be fascinated with what they see and be influenced by what they’ll learn from it made the approach more robust.
On the 3rd month and onwards, I got at least 4 steady clients paying me $500 per month to mostly do their sites’ link building processes. Affilorama also retained me as their consultant, since the act of sustaining my blog enhances my own skills as an online marketing strategist.
Of course, I didn’t do all the tasks for my clients. I hired people to implement the strategies I propose for the campaign. And with those small steps, from starting a blog, building relationships and continuously providing useful information to my target market, I was able to transform my blog into a business and eventually allowed me to establish my own online marketing agency.
Being an authority allows you to sell anything easily, because your audience will trust you.