Two years ago it became fairly popular to create small, niche content sites for purposes of adsense or affiliate programs monetization. Such was popularity (and it still is) of these sites that Google had taken particular measures in their search engine placement algorithms to prevent these kind of sites taking front page positions almost over night.
I was wondering was it still possible today to take a site from zero to what can be considered decent search engine traffic of 300 visitors/day in one month time. And the answer is still yes.
What I did to improve search engine rank
Instead of buying new domain, I decided to buy an aged one with a site on it (not parked)
Main advantage of old domains is they are usually already crawled by all search engines. Mine even had Page Rank of 1 and 5 or so visitors daily. Small initial investment can go a long away in making your start much easier.
It does not mean new domains can not be promoted, only the amount of work involved may be bigger.
Install WordPress, Theme and Plugins
WordPress allows ease of maintenance and good optimization out of the box. Over time I also created a pack of hand-picked plugins which main purpose is to further optimize a WordPress site. This is a zip archive with a dozen or so plugins which can be just unpacked and deployed on any blog (more on some in plugin recommendations and how to setup efficient WordPress blog).
Finally I installed a seo optimized theme. Blue Grace is both pretty and optimized so that was an easy choice.
Extra Tweaking with Page Rank Sculpting
Every site is different and depending on what you want to achieve, different techniques can be used for on-site optimization. My favorite technique is called SEO Page Rank Sculpting where you 'sculpt' the page rank of the pages so it flows to the areas you want it most, like your important articles.
Create content on Daily basis
Nothing can boost your search engine rankings like fresh, original content. If you do not have time to write it, good practice involves hiring a freelance writer. Many are available on the Internet and prices can vary from $2 to $200 per article so choose wisely.
Promotion on Forums
Since my site was already indexed by search engines, my job was somewhat easier. Only promotion I have chosen to do is to find several relevant forums and post couple of times with useful links back to my site.
Reason I have chosen forums is that large percentage of target population will be interested in my site (providing staying power for the site). Other important reason is that search engines crawl forums vigorously, meaning I would get results quickly.
With good effort and relatively small investment it is still possible to fairly quickly, in just one month, create and fire up a website. This website is destined to grow and advanced Internet marketing techniques such as social media marketing can be further used to take the site to the next level.
The main mistake most people make in trying to do the same thing with their sites is in my opinion lack of dedicated investment both in funds and time. Most believe that they can get away with couple of bucks and couple of minutes as if there was some kind of magical way to create good sites out of thin air. This kind of view is endorsed by many websites claiming it is indeed possible to do that (and sell you an ebook of some sort in the process). I don't say this never worked before, there were the times when there was little to no competition on Internet, but times changed and that ebook usually didn't.
In real world if you want to run a pizza place you may need to invest at least $15,000 just to start. Do not expect to have a similarly successful pizza website for $15 and you will be fine. Results usually tend to mirror the invested effort and knowledge.
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Posted in: SEO
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