The Niche Website Challenge: Creating Contents

Creating ContentCreating Contents

In order to make my niche website challenge successful, I have got to be able to create quality content. Now I am not talking about “In my opinion this is quality content” - but more so that other people find value in my information and deem it to be useful. Achieving this is going to take time, dedication and acceptance that if at first I do not succeed…try, try again!

I have been deliberating long and hard over my content creation strategy because it will play a very important part in this project. There are several approaches I could take from here and I have got to be honest and say that it can be very confusing and frustrating at times. I know that I have got to be extremely methodical when creating my content, not only for the purpose of documenting my progress but also to get the most out of myself in terms of standard of work and efficiency. On the flip side of this, I just want to get started and there is not a moment that goes by without me having a new idea on the direction I should take this project.

I am sure I am not the only one who suffers from too many ideas – everywhere I look presents a new opportunity to make money on the Internet and it can be very distracting. Something which I have started doing is trying to ignore my thoughts. If I have an idea (no matter how bad) I write it down on a piece of paper or in the notes App on my Iphone. At the end of the day I go through my notes to see if there is any legs in what I have written down. Usually I just delete them because they are stupid ideas but at least they give me something to smile about. Sometimes there are some interesting points which and I can act upon them at a later date…Doing things this way helps my to get on with what I have already planned and stops me getting sidetracked with other things. There was a time when I would go off and register domain names at the drop of a hat just because I thought I had a good idea, don’t get me wrong, there needs to be a slightly impulsive side to you in this business but not to the point where it infringes on rationality and progress.

Planning my content

The first thing that I want to drill in to my content creation strategy is proper planning. I want this project to run like a well oiled machine and therefore will require  a lot of planning and project management - you would not build a house on bad foundations and I see no reason why this should be any different.

All of the content I create for this project is going to be tracked and captured within an excel spreadsheet. I am not just doing this because I love excel and am a geek but instead I want to have accountability for what I have created. Equally important, I want to be able to track deadlines for all of my content. The following image is from my spreadsheet with an entry for a completed article

BGT-Article-Tracker-Spreadsheet

As you can see from the image, there is a lot of emphasis on Keyword Research and if we are talking about good foundations, this has got to be the place to start. I feel that having this spreadsheet keeps me on track with things and allows me to capture all of the key information I need when thinking about article ideas. You may not feel the need to create something like this and that is perfectly fine, you have got to find a system that works well for you and one which allows you to be efficient…for me, I find the spreadsheet works well :)

What types of content

The main idea behind my new website is to build an authoritative resource for Graphics Tablets. I fully expect this to evolve over time and have already thought about turning things in the direction of video tutorials for applications such as Adobe Photoshop once I have built the website out a little - I know when I bought my first graphics tablet, I spent hours watching YouTube videos so already know there is a strong market for this…but anyway, I digress :(

To create a website which will capture the attention of my audience, I have got to produce content which not only provides value but is delivered in a way which is engaging. The Internet is ever evolving and you have got to be equally dynamic if you want to stay ahead of the competition. It is not good enough to produce text anymore because quite frankly, it is boring and especially when I am pitching to designers / potential designers – I know myself that pictures paints a thousand words so it is better to use them. Something that I am quite conscious about is using text when I do not have to. If I can create a video for something or an infographic then I would rather do that; not only is it more engaging to people but there are excellent backlinking opportunities which will help you in your quest as you venture in to different content mediums.

please note that I am aware that this post is all text to this point :)

The following list outlines the different types of content mediums I will be using and how I intend to use them on my website. I will then show you an example article on my website so that you can see how it all comes together – I will be creating a whole post on my backlinking strategy in the near future but I will touching on it here…

  • Text – This is kind of obvious but I want to cover everything. Text is something that no website can do without. The written word is still one of, if not THE most powerful way to get your message across and is the main way for search engines to analyse the contents of your web page. I know I have said that I want to avoid using text wherever possible but please take that with a pinch of salt because we all know how important it is to populate your website with original content – the more the merrier in fact!

Text plays an important role in every form of content in use on the Internet today. Images need text to inform search engines of their contents via alt tags and videos need text in order to be found – don’t forget that YouTube itself is a search engine and incidentally, owned by Google; it too needs to know how to rank and text plays a huge part in this.

I have a few things that I like to keep in mind when creating articles with regard to text:

    • Must be original – duplicate content is completely out of the question. If you are creating the content yourself then you should be able to police this yourself. If you are outsourcing then just be careful that the content is original
    • No Spinning – I used to do this a lot and still have a video on YT showing how to do it using The Best Spinner. Like using Unique Article Wizard (UAW), it never really sat well with me and I have moved on since then. For those of you who do not know, spinning is a type of synonym replacement method used to make text appear significantly different to search engines. Yes it is useful when you are struggling to come up with original content but it often makes text difficult to read and unnatural – something which could damage your reputation.
    • Be Yourself – Too much emphasis is placed on writing for search engines. Yes keyword research is important and of course needs to be considered but don’t forget that it is real people at the end of the line. Search engines spend lots of time and money trying to make their algorithms operate more like humans so why try to be more like a robot.
    • Take your time - If there is something worth saying then take the time to say it properly. Do not rush your content and always take the time to review your own work. I never publish a post the same day it was written because I often revisit and wonder what the hell I was thinking when I wrote it. Getting to concerned about post length is another waste of time if you ask me. In the past I have written posts which were 200 words in length because that is all they needed to be; short sharp and to the point – the problem was that I had it in my head that it needed to be 300 words minimum, after all Yoast (wordpress SEO plug-in) doesn’t like it when it is below that. I then began padding them out to the point where they lost all resemblance that I had written them. I am no longer concerned about minimum word counts, my rule of thumb is to let logic decide – product reviews will require significant depth whereas quick updates do not need to be war and peace. Again, write for people, not search engines!
    • Don’t be afraid to walk away - If you are struggling to write a single sentence without wandering off to BBC Sport or Facebook then just give yourself a break. When I was in the Air Force, and my boss and I were struggling to realise why the exchange server had gone down again we would just go for a cup of tea. Sometimes the problem had gone away when we returned but 9 times out of 10 we would talk it out and solve the problem before the water even boiled. Sometimes you have got to step back before you can move on!

using-images

Just couldn’t bring myself to leave out an image here!

They say that a picture paints a thousand words and they, whoever they are…are dead right. If you can use an image to represent what you are trying to say then it will make things far easier for your audience to follow. Not only does it make your website more appealing to the eye but it can also be used in marketing campaigns to increase conversions and customer engagement.

Graphic Design Ideas

I used this image in my previous post but feel it appropriate to use again as it clearly shows some of the content ideas I have for my graphics tablet website. You might wonder why I am not linking to the site directly and I can assure you that it is intentional – it is hard but I do not want to bombard the site with too many links from the same source. There will be a link at the end of this post.

Rather than simply list out my content ideas, I have created this image to do it for me, it is more interactive than simple text and also allows me to show my website mascot off again – in case you haven’t realised, I like penguins…

Fact – The penguin in my logo has nothing to do with the Google algorithm. I have always liked penguins so decided to have one on my website…ironically it seems to work well now but it was not planned!

A Few things I like to keep in mind when using images on my website (my guide):

    • Be Legal - Only use images that do not infringe on any copyrights. Wherever possible create your own / use your own and always make sure it is legal to use them. If in any doubt then do not use them – it is just not worth it. Also be aware that stock photography sites such as Istock Photography impose different terms of use on certain images – just because you have paid for it doesn’t not entitle to use the images in any way you see fit, always check first!
    • Don’t forget the ALT tags - ALT tags allow the webmaster to provide search engines with a brief description of the image. It helps people with visual impairment to recognise the presence of an image as well as providing an excellent opportunity to attract more traffic by appearing in Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs)
    • Size matters - A great image can do wonders for a website but if the image is so large that it affects site performance then it will have an extremely negative affect. watch out for image size and test page loading speeds after publishing.
    • Stay Relevant - Make sure that the image is relevant to the contents of your web page. If you have a blog about fly fishing, I do not think there is much call for a picture of Megan Fox leaning over the bonnet of a transformer – by all means be creative but think about your audience and the impression you want to give out. I am a manual handling instructor, amongst other things and I once tried to add some humour in to my presentation with a few images which demonstrated improper bending techniques (still quite young and stupid at the time) - it did not go down well and I had a one way conversation with a very angry Warrant Officer :(

I will be using images throughout my Graphics Tablet website for a variety of different purposes. I will be mainly using images from my own digital camera (Nikon D90 if anyone’s interested) and images I have created in Photoshop – using my Graphics Tablet of course!

  • Videos - Videos are very hot topic in the Internet Marketing world and offer an excellent way to present your content. Certain things are far better suited to video format and I will be making use of this in my project. Many of my posts will be in the form of product reviews and therefore a video of the product in action will be far more beneficial to my cause.

Making videos may seem like a daunting task and I will not lie when I say that there are many hurdles to overcome. Hearing your own voice can be horrible at first and the thought of publishing it to the world can be even more daunting. My only advice here is to think about what is more important to you, feeling uncomfortable for a little bit or looking back in 20 years and thinking “if only I had recorded that video”.

To record my videos I use a combination of screen capture software called Camtasia Studio (affiliate link if your interested but there is a free trial from their website) and my Nikon D90. It is not that difficult to do and is definitely worth thinking about.

Here are a few of the things I take in to consideration when making videos:

  • Maintain Quality - Building an online business is all about reputation. Make sure the quality of your videos reflects the reputation you have built up elsewhere on the Internet. Make sure the quality of the video will not harm your reputation or repel potential visitors. If you have any doubts over the quality of your video then do not publish it. Fix the issues first and then look at publishing it.
  • Everyone takes time to learn - I still hate the sound of my own voice and still feel a little uneasy about publishing videos to the Internet. I do feel that I have got better at it though, my first few videos were terrible – not saying that the new ones are great :) but there are definite improvements. Just stick with it.
  • Promote your Video – You have spent what seems like an age creating your video and have published it to YoutTube. The hard work does not stop here and it is time to optimise your video for search. Use your keywords for video titles, tags and descriptions. Many people fail to do this and lose out on potential views just because they have not optimised their video. Descriptions of videos also allow you to place a link to your website. Not only a good converstion route but a useful backlink to help boost rankings. For more information on getting more YoutTube vies collow this link
  • Its not just about YouTube – You have created your own video so go and show it off to the whole world. There are more video sites out there than just YouTube and many of them are gaining popularity at an alarming rate. Vimeo are another video sharing website with a huge amoutn of visitors that you should make the most of. Other than the exposure it is another backlink from a PR9 site (at time of writing Vimeo is a PR9 site)

I will be using video marketing a lot on my new website to demonstrate products and carry out reviews. I will also be using videos to provide tutorials within design software.

I mentioned earlier that I would post a link to my website, demonstrating how I plan to bring all of these elements together and here it is…

http://www.bestgraphicstablets.com/wacom-inkling-digital-sketch-pen/

Text, Images and Videos will form the majority of my content but there are other forms which I may decide to utilise:

Podcasts: Not really sure how I would approach this yet in terms of what I will be podcasting about but it is early days. Podcasts are very popular and if done properly can seriously increase the success of your website – equally if it is a terrible podcast it can cripple it so it does need some serious thought

Ebooks: Always nice to have another source of income or draw factor to increase conversions. A lot of work to create but once it is out there, one of the best forms of passive income

Thank you for taking the time to read this post and I hope it has been useful to you. At current time of writing I am still plugging away at the website to create my content. I have not really paid much attention to the search engine rankings to date as I want to get at least 50 posts published before looking in to this. From my experience, checking search engines every day just prevenst you from doing something more beneficial – go about your business and Google will go about theirs…hopefully in the future the 2 will meet up naturally.

For more information about my Niche Website Challenge then please subscribe to my newsletter

Busy on Squidoo

Squidoo-ExperimentCarrying on with my Squidoo Experiment, I have been pretty busy creating Lenses of late.

Really enjoying my time on Squidoo and believe that it could become a regular feature within my online endeavours. For those of you who are familiar with Squidoo, you will know that a Purple Star is a prestigious award to be given and I as lucky enough to gain this accolade last night. I will go in to more detail at at a later date but for now, please take the time to check out some of my latest Lenses

  1. The Day I Swam with DolphinsPurple Star Lens :)
  2. GPS Watches
  3. Graphics Tablets
  4. Syrian Hamster Cages

Squidoo can be an extremely enjoyable and fun way to share your content online. Feel free to check out my Lensmaster Page, Paul Hill on Squidoo

Just not enough hours in the day

Decisions-and-ConfusionIt has been quite a while since I last posted on The SEO Experiment and I can assure you that is not through lack of interest or “getting bored of your blog syndrome”. Quite the opposite really, I have simply been too busy with web projects and there are just not enough hours in the day!

The main objective of The SEO Experiment is to make money on the internet so over the last few weeks, rather than just talk about it, I have been working pretty hard to get a few new projects up and running.

I have been working on 3 new projects in particular and I do not mind sharing 2 of them on The SEO Experiment, I would happily share the third project with you and will at a later date but I made a promise to myself that I would not monetise or promote the site until I had reached a certain point. This project is a little different to all of my others in the fact that I do not not really care about making money and want to focus more on providing value to my readers. Don’t get me wrong, it will be monetised at some point but for now, the goal is to purely to create great content. Watch out for more news on my mystery project!

Anyway, that’s enough about what I am not prepared to share with you, so let’s move on to something that I am.

Angry Birds Revealed

In my last post, Taking on the Angry Birds - I revealed how I had started creating 3 Star Walkthroughs for the popular game, Angry Birds. It is something that I have wanted to do for a long time and finally got round to doing it. The plan was to create 40 videos, upload them to YouTube and see if there was any traction and potential in the project.

Over the last 3 weeks, I have created over 100 more of these videos and have decided to give my full attention the project. So far, the most of the work has gone in to creating the videos but I have started to build the associated website which can be found by clicking this link. It is not as aesthetically pleasing as I would like but once, the videos have been created (obviously a never ending task and still hundreds more to create) I can work on the site more. All in all, it has been an enjoyable project to work on and something that I will talk about with increased regularity on The SEO Experiment. Watch out for more on this one!

The Watch Depot 

The Watch Depot started out after I got an uplift affiliate commission from Amazon which I did not expect.

I have got several sites out there which utilise the Amazon affiliate scheme and they all plug together to make me a regular some of money. One thing that always stands out to me about my current sites is that the value of the products I promote are relatively low. In the past I have always had the mentality of “sell more lower priced items” but as I am getting better at actually converting the sale, I thought I would venture into a few more higher priced items.

So back to my original statement, a few weeks ago, I logged in to my Amazon Associates account to find that I had been awarded commission for a £500+ watch. Obviously I was extremely pleased about this but my first thought was how it had individually made more money than most of my sites combined for that month and that it would not take a great deal of time to create a website which specialised in selling watches. Long story short, I spent about a week (few hours each evening between actual day job work :( and playing Angry Birds) to put together the foundations of a website for Buying Watches which can be seen by clicking the link.

Other Bits and Pieces

Most people enjoy helping others and I am no exception,  maybe a little too enthusiastic to the point where it detracts me from my own work but that’s life, never change who you are because it’s just the way it is.

Over the last month I have been carrying out a few Random Acts of Kindness. No incentives, no fees just plain old, helping out! I have created 5 company logos, designed a prototype Ebook cover, provided editorial and design for an online magazine and built an entire website in Photoshop as a favour. I am not going to share examples of the work I did as it would be promoting and that is not why I did it: I just wanted to say that I really enjoyed working on these projects and took a great sense of achievement and satisfaction from helping others. So whatever your talent is (and yes, we all have one) help someone out by putting it to use for their benefit, it is a great way to make new relationships and give something back.

Anyway, got to dash…Busy Busy Busy!

 

 

 

Back to School

NotebookIt’s Back to school for me now!

This week I have enrolled myself on to a new Distance Learning Course. CAM Diploma in Digital Marketing. The course is approved by the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM), the world’s leading community of marketing professionals.

I am taking this course to add a little professional accreditation to my expanding portfolio of digital marketing. It is my intention to steer my career towards Marketing over the next few years, the goal is still a passive income but should that fall on stony ground, I have this to fall back on and the qualification may open a few doors for me.

As described on the CIM official website, the outline of the course is as follows:

This dynamic qualification will provide you with knowledge underpinning the principles of digital marketing and skills to undertake digital marketing planning.

 The qualification covers Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), Pay Per Click (PPC), types of online advertising, email marketing, viral marketing, online PR, affiliate marketing and social media. It also looks at digital metrics, legislation, regulation  and codes of practice.                   

You will have the opportunity to gain skills and knowledge to understand the fundamental planning concepts for an online organisation as well as key factors in implementation, measurement and evaluation of successful campaigns.                   

Digital marketing has evolved from a peripheral element of organisational marketing to one which is at the hub of customer-centric communications in an increasingly multi-channel environment. Our qualifications will ensure that you are equipped to deal with this shift and make the most of the new business opportunities on offer.

Coming from an IT background, I am well aware that a qualification does not entitle you to a job, it is your experience and achievements which are most important. The SEO Experiment continues to be my main priority and something which will run hand in hand with this course. Each will compliment the other and allow me to put theory into practice on a regular basis.

All of my progress through the course will be documented through The SEO Experiment.

First assignment due 27th December so better get started, Is that the school bell?

#EarnWhileYouLearn

UKMA Shop – Google Adwords Campaign

The SEO Experiment Learn SEOI was extremely pleased to find that Google had been kind enough to send me a Google AdWords promotional code this week. If I added £25 in to my AdWords account, they would credit me with £75. Not being one to pass on such an opportunity, I thought why not; this after all The SEO Experiment and this would provide a nice little insight to the success of Google AdWords within Affiliate websites.

I have used AdWords campaigns before, I used to use them quite regularly when I was advertising web design services. In the 3 months I was running my Ads, I spent £30, along with a promotional £50 voucher from Google (Thanks Again!) and was able to generate over £300 worth of Web Design business. I have only good things to say about AdWords campaigns as I was able to convert them successfully. The only thing I would say about them though is that you need to make sure your landing page is well optimised for successful conversion. I spent at least 3 months getting my site ready before opting in to the campaign and although the revenue from web design services was the primary goal, the fact that I received any enquiries at all went a long way towards proving that the site and landing page was relatively appealing. I must admit, it was my first real attempt at advertising my web design business and was a nice pat on the back moment.

You may or may not get many of these moments when you feel like you have done well, although it important to #keepmovingforward, make sure you acknowledge your own success, even if it is just a quick smile to your self. Just make sure it is quick, and get back to work! :-)

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Let Facts Dictate Your Actions

I am constantly faced with the dilemma of knowing which products to focus my marketing efforts towards. Depending on the make up of your site there will be different ways of approaching this. Do you focus on the products which are getting the most hits, the ones which get the least, the most expensive and so on. Recently I have been using a different method to determine my next victim, and that is fact!

I am a big fan of the Amazon affiliate program, I use it heavily on a few of my sites. The referral rate may not be the best on the market but their product base is the best available and their reputation goes a long way to making the sale.

The feature I would like to focus on within this post is based on facts and actual data taken from your website. Within your Amazon affiliate page you can view customisable reports based on clicks and orders from your tracking code. One area of interest to me is the clicks with no orders section:

Amazon Orders

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Staffordshire Fitness – Website Design

Website DesignIn this post I am going to share with you, the methods and madness used to create my first monetised website, Staffordshire Fitness. I am writing this post almost 11 months after creating the site so I will try my best to document my actions is accurately as I can.

Since creating this site, I have learnt a great deal and if you have read my last post Staffordshire Fitness – Project Overview, you will no doubt be aware that there are many things I would change about the project if I were to start it now. Making mistakes is part of progression, it is nice to think that you will get things right first time, but in reality, things are rarely that easy. This project was my maiden voyage in the world of Internet Marketing and I have learnt a great deal from it, hopefully by reading this you will avoid some pitfalls which I willingly walked straight in to,

Before reading the remainder of this post take a quick look at the site. Staffordshire Fitness

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Using Images on your website

Image CopyrightImages are a great way to add appeal to your website or blog posts. The old saying “A picture paints a thousand words” bears no truer meaning than on the Internet. As a web designer and Internet Marketer I find that I am always on the look out for images, even to the point where an image can even inspire a post or an article. I have got a pretty good system for obtaining images for use on my sites but when I started out it was a nightmare, I did not know where to look for them and always ended up paying for images on Istockphoto.com. I still use Istockphoto.com for a few images but only when I cannot find a free alternative or create them myself.

In this post I am going to share with you the process I use to add images to my websites, blog posts and articles. There are 3 distinct methods:

  • Obtain an Image with no copyright against it
  • Purchase an image and display within the legal obligations of the license
  • Create / Produce the image yourself

While you are reading, have a think about which method I have used for the images in this post . See if you can you guess which is which and I will reveal all at the end.

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The Importance of Analytics

The Importance of AnalyticsTracking the performance of your website is a fundamental step in the process of improvement. Whether you are an SEO expert, Internet Marketer or both, you will be constantly implementing measures to boost traffic and search engine rankings. In this post I am going to be looking at the importance of Analytical software and how it can provide both focus and direction to your project.

I use Google Analytics in every website that I maintain. I am familiar with interface and the functions that can be utilised within, Many of you will argue that Google Analytics is not the easiest tool to use and that there is better software out there, you are probably right on both accounts but I tend to stick to what I know, and to be honest I have no real complaints.

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Hiring a Virtual Assistant

 A Virtual Assistant or VA is a worker who will carry out tasks for you in the comfort of their own home and relay the end product to you over the internet once it has been completed.

The first time I heard about this concept I barely even raised an eyebrow, I would never be doing anything which required me to hire an assistant; now less than 6 months later I find myself writing a post on how useful virtual assistants can be and how they can be used to maximise the efficiency of your online projects.

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