A couple of weeks ago I told you about my content marketing experiment and, although it’s extremely early days yet, I thought a quick update would be good.
Remember, the experiment was to see whether I could start earning affiliate commissions off a travel site on which I did no paid promotions of any kind, at any stage.
The content marketing element is being provided by the blog section of the site, where I write about the various places I’ve visited in Asia.
One area I didn’t cover last time was a description of how I’ve set up the site. So let’s correct that right now.
As I mentioned, the site is set up on WordPress, configured to look like a traditional static site with an integrated blog.
I’ve used the Thesis framework to provide the layout and appearance and a lot of the SEO functionality I need.
I’ve also used the following plugins:
- Akismet and Bad Behaviour to control spam
- Broken Link Checker to pick up any broken links
- Contact Form 7 and Really Simple CAPTCHA for my contact page
- Google XML Sitemaps to automatically create and update the sitemap
- Login Lockdown and WP-Security-Scan to improve security
- Raw-HTML to give me full use of HTML and CSS on my post and page write screens (by getting around the WordPress HTML filters)
- Subscribe to Comments and Thank Me Later to encourage return visits
- Thesis Openhook to make using Thesis hooks quicker and easier
- Tweetmeme to enable people to Re-Tweet articles
- What Would Seth Godin Do – I’m using this to create an automatic invitation to visit the tours page at the bottom of each blog post. This was not what it was originally intended to do, but you can use this plugin to create any automated message, script or banner ad at the bottom of posts by removing the original code and message, and replacing it with anything you like.
- WP-DBManager to create automated database optimisations and backups
Using Thesis enables me to avoid using the All-in-one-SEO pack (or any other SEO plugins). The All-in-one is an excellent plugin, but Thesis does the same job just as well and, as I’ve mentioned before, the less plugins you can use the better.
Two others I may introduce once there’s a reasonable amount of content on the site are Yet Another Related Posts Plugin and SEO-Smart-Links, both of which link related posts and subjects together and are good for SEO.
So what’s the progress to date
The site was set up on 1st February, so it’s been going for just over 3 weeks.
In that time I’ve had 129 visits with peaks on days that I’ve published articles. Most of those visits are to the blog articles.
There have been 20 visits in total to the tours pages, which indicates that the internal linking structure I’ve used to encourage visits to them is working as I want it to. I’m now looking for ways to increase that percentage.
There have been 2 direct visits to the tours pages, both provided by Google. This is the figure I’m really interested in.
Remember, I’ve set up the sitemap and the internal linking structure to point people (and, therefore, the search engines) towards the tours pages, with the ultimate objective of getting the search engines to send search traffic directly to them.
If I can get decent natural search traffic going direct to those pages then the chances of making affiliate commissions are greatly increased.
How have I promoted the site so far?
I’ve made sure that the META tags on each page and post are properly set, and the Google XML sitemap generator automatically pings Google, Yahoo, Bing and Ask every time I post a new article.
I’ve got an extensive ping list in place
I use RSS through Twitterfeed to get tweets of every article onto Twitter, and the full article (in each case) onto Facebook.
I use my profile settings in LinkedIn, Friendfeed, Blogcatalog and Plaxo to make sure that all articles that are tweeted (all of them) are also published on each of those sites.
I’ve got a link to the site in my signature on Warrior Forum and Wealthy Affiliate. On LinkedIn there’s a link to it in my profile.
I continue to be active in Warrior Forum, Wealthy Affiliate, LinkedIn and Blogcatalog to ensure that a) I’m remembered and b) my signature appears regularly.
Other promotion methods I’m looking at
Article Marketing. I’ll be writing a few articles and using the Submit Your Article (that’s an affiliate link, by the way) service to manage the distribution of them over time and as widely as possible.
OK – that’s it for today. I’ll report back in another month or so.