Welcome to our podcast #48! We are excited to be interviewing Neil G today, he has a very popular website that gets more than 6000 hits every day! We’re going to be chatting with him about driving website traffic and how he achieves the traffic and popularity that his website gets. His site is thecoolestguidesontheplanet.com and he provides a resource for techy people of all levels to learn more about, well, pretty much all things IT!
What have Andrew, Heather and Neil learnt this week?
Heather – the importance of having control over the platforms you use online in your business! There are two reasons this has come up; firstly, at a meeting this week a potential client who has been tendering for digital marketing agencies expressed that she has been confused and feeling that people are trying to sell them onto their own systems. We always suggest using an open-source system such as WordPress as it means that you have more control over it! Secondly, with the debacle over the healthcare.org website in the US, it was revealed that 67 providers were building the site! The logistics of controlling that would be nearly impossible…
Andrew – has been using Slideshare for a while but hasn’t used it up until now. He found that within 5 days of using it he’d already had 40 views without even promoting it! This could potentially be a great source of traffic…
Neil – CocaCola came out and said the ‘corporate website is dead’. They have now brought in a whole editorial team that runs their site similar to a news site with new content daily. A lot of corporates will probably now have to look at this and bring in editorial teams to ensure that they keep up.
Neil has a background in publishing and with advertising agencies. He became interested in the digital space and how search engines work. He was fascinated with how to get to number one in Google for certain keywords, particularly without needing to ‘game’ the search engines with irrelevant backlinks as people used to be able to do before the algorithm changes. (He points out that backlinks are still a big part of SEO, it’s just that they need to be genuine as Google knows which sites are purely linkfarms and discounts those). He has been an advocate of providing strong content for a long time and driving traffic that way. We feel lucky to have Neil on our team here at AYB – he’s like a secret weapon for ourselves and our clients in terms of website technical issues and SEO.
The coolest guy? Or coolest guides?
Neil managed to win a competition amongst other internet marketers to rank at No. #1 for the search term ‘the coolest guy in the world’. Having proved that he could do that without resorting to scamming the search engines, he decided he wanted to focus more on what it was he was actually providing, which was guides on tech topics. From there it was a minor change to ‘the coolest guides in the world’. His focus is on helping people who are starting out and getting them into a good work flow. This was born from his own frustration at not being able to find good information when he was looking for it – a great way to identify a unique problem and solve it!
How does Neil go about his content creation?
1. Keep up to date with industry trends via Twitter.
2. Where there are events coming up or big changes are about to be announced in your niche, do pre-work and research so that you are one of the first out there commenting and creating content on it. Neil prepares posts ahead including researching what keywords might do well when the change is launched.
3. Know your audience. Some of Neil’s content is quite technical but he also caters to the novice. For example he might do a tutorial on downloading a WordPress plugin that will help people move on with the next stage in another article.
4. Engagement – Neil used Disqus for comments on his site and always engages when people comment on his site. He uses Facebook, Twitter and Google+ and doesn’t worry about other social media sites. Twitter is his main go-to, Facebook is second and he recommends Google+ particularly for the ability to set up Google Authorship.
Here are Neil’s hosting tips;
The key thing is you get what you pay for! The cheaper hosting solutions will tend to crowd more websites on one server so if one website goes rogue and starts to take over in terms of data, it will affect all of the other sites on that server. The more you pay, the more resources you get and you tend to get faster load times. It’s really not a good idea to go cheap on hosting as you could end up losing customers when they get frustrated if your website is down or running slowly.
It’s everywhere right now! Even the most secure systems are being hacked. Know that if it happens to you it’s not a personal thing, it’s an automatic process achieved through running scripts that detect vulnerabilities on any site. If you want to do your best to avoid being hacked, make sure your software is kept up to date. This goes for your hosting provider too! Another reason to look at paying a bit more for a better hosting service…
Neils tips for improving traffic
1. Know who your audience is, what your popular pages are and the words people are using to find your site. All of that information is found by setting up Google Analytics or a similar analytics tool.
2. Once you know what your most important content is, create more content following on from that.
3. Experiment on your less popular pages – tweak and update to see if you get more hits. Make sure you change the publication date when you do this so that it shows as being fresh.
Neil actually used to dislike Twitter, but then he got into Tweetdeck and how you could get it to search certain keywords. Now with that set up he feels that he learns more from Twitter than anything else. It’s a go-to place for up to date news on current issues, even where you can’t find it on Google!
You really cannot manipulate SEO how it used to be done. It’s not ‘dead’ as some have been saying, SEO is just different now. Good, relevant content really is the key if you want to rank well on search engines.
Do you have any questions or comments for us or Neil? Please add them below…