Taking a Blog Viral!

Best I admit up front this post won’t tell hardcore SEOs and pro-bloggers anything they don’t know. Having lived on the fringe edge of the webmaster world for a decade +, most of the success I’ve had came when SEO included a lotta stuff we call spam today. That was when the web was young.

I know good SEOs, but I am a modestly talented amateur at most. As such, this page is really an SEM 101 post, not a revelation from heaven. Maybe it’ll help somebody, but if not, reading it won’t make you walk away dumber.

Then vs Now
In what now seems like the dawn of time, in the late 1990’s+ I took a site to PR7 thru trial and error. Back then, white-on-white keyword laden text was considered skill, not something to laugh about, and sending 50 adds a day to the same sources every day was “persistence”, not spam. Things I did then would get me banned by Google in a heartbeat today. At one point I had a lock on some SERP s I could sell for enough to retire on if it were done today. That was then, this is now, and the system is vastly changed.

Dusting off the Webmaster Suit
Recently I needed to rejoin the webmaster workld because a friend had an emergency that required assistance, both medical and financial. Her daughter was facing cancer for the third time and needed a bone marrow transplant. The insurance co-pay alone is predicted to run around $80,000… and I was volunteered (by my wife, who else?) as the guy to help make the financial side of it happen. Not having $80k laying around, it seemed that taking the case to the web was the answer.

Last week I built a site… Got-Marrow.org, for the purpose of fund-raising. My first website was built using Microsoft Word, and soon-after enhanced using MS Frontpage. You can laugh all ya want guys, but we didnt have WordPress, Dreamweaver, CSS, Joomla… and I wasn’t a code-kid who could write HTML code on sheet of text. This time I have WordPress to work with (thank heaven).

If You Build it, They Will Come
LOL. That is the movie version of the old saying… “Build a better mousetrap and the world will beat a path to your door”. Unfortunately it’s horse-hockey, and as a professor told me in a college marketing class, a helluvalotta guys with great moustraps died broke. A mediocre moustrap that can be found sells faster than a perfect one nobody’s heard of.

Using ALL the Golf Clubs
Being something of an addict to webmaster forums, I’m constantly amazed to see people get into heated arguments over whether you oughta use this directory over that one, or should you use Social Bookmarking or Blog comments… or are you better off using sig links or banner ads. To me that’s like asking if you should go to the golf course with a driver or a putter… or should you just take a sand wedge.

DUH! You go to the golf course with every club you can fit in the bag… and you’ll probably need all of them.

We have a limited time to work with in the case of the blog I’m promoting, so we’ve used a shotgun of SEO tactics that’d run one man ragged. Medical emergencies have a short timeline, but on the bright side, it’s easier to get volunteers to save a life than it is to promote a blog about Audio-visual Equipment Reviews. Manpower hasn’t been our limitation, we’ve had many volunteers and  LOT of donated directory links, sig links, FB mentions, etc.

What have we done? Just about everything that can be done fast and easily, and in large quantity. Sig links, Facebook links, a FB group, twitters, re-tweets, press releases on multiple venues, Digg adds, you name it… we have a guy doing it. We added a How Can I Help page and have volunteers and amateurs assisting. We’ll take more if you’re up for it.

The Response?
We started the site midweek. By the third full day we were getting visitors from 43 countries, and money was starting to come in. Not in huge chunks, but little donations add up. It helps that it’s pretty apparent that it isnt a scam site, and I’ve been hesitant to put adsense on it for fear somebody’d think it was an MFA.

That’s a hard call to make because adsense might help boost the bottom line for the cause, but if it jaded the view of onlookers it might have a reverse effect. That one is still under consideration. Bottom line, the traffic is growing rapidly and the site is indexed and starting to generate SE traffic in addition to the direct and referral traffic that started it off.

The Lesson I’ve Learned
There are a lot of folks in web forums that offer advice. Some will solemnly intone that directories are dead, or that Twitter has seen its 15 minutes of fame. Others will tell you their pet profile spam method is the only thing needed to move into the ranks of SEO.

What I’m seeing is there are more ways to boost a site than ever before, and anyone that doesn’t take advantage of as many white hat methods as possible is missing results he could have seen. We have not touched on any complicated methods… there are no radical link schemes, no fake forum IDs, no blackhat, just simple stuff that tends to snowball.

Another thing I’ve learned in the process is that people in the webmaster community are pretty much the same across the world when it comes to humanity, and they’re generous to a fault in giving their time and skills. Can’t thank them all here, but they know who they are. I would be remiss if I didn’t at least mention the guys at the V7n forum community, cause they’ve busted their rears helping.

Should YOU have a similar project… Let BOTW Help
Don’t forget that BOTW offers a free add for Charity sites. Go to the applicable category and click on the BOLDED submit site button (not the light one at the top of the screen) and you’ll see …

That queue has been drastically reduced recently, but obviously still gets more spam than the commercial queue where we are required to respond in a certain timeframe. If you have a charity website sitting in the free  add queue…  you have my personal invitation to drop me an email.  I’ll see that it is tracked down and reviewed. If you’re willing to put in the time and effort to help, so is Best of the Web.

My thanks again to all who have assisted ~ Rob Jones

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