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The Ball is Rolling

Published September 14, 2010 - 9 Comments

Two days ago I launched my first spin-off site, based on search engine traffic to this blog. And what did I decide to go with? Pickles! Yes, that’s right… Lady Ashburnham mustard pickles have shown up in the log almost every day since I made that first post. Many days there are multiple searches for different variations of the keywords. How to make them. How to bottle them. So I figured that I would run with it, and see what happened if I created a new site.

That being said, LadyAshburnhamPickles.com is now live!

And for those of you who say “why?”… well the answer is simple. I have to start somewhere.

I don’t expect this new site to be an instant success. What I do expect is to learn from it, and apply those lessons to future projects. When I created the site, I decided to use static pages in a WordPress blog, rather than the typical post format. It doesn’t have a “blog” feel to it at all, but it is WordPress. Meaning that I can use some of the plugins that I’ve become accustomed to from WhatAboutStephen.com. That’s extremely helpful for me.

If you look at the new site, you will see that it’s pretty basic. That wasn’t an accident. I figure that most people who are looking for information on pickles are not interested in reading through a ton of crap, so I wanted it to be as straightforward as possible. But at the same time, I also wanted it to have a little extra something that other sites did not have. I could not find a site anywhere that was dedicated to these pickles. Makes sense, I suppose. But obviously there were many pickling sites with the recipe. That’s not hard to find. But what I wanted from my site was a little information on the bottling, and the woman whose name we use, yet probably know nothing about. And I thought that it might be interesting to throw in a few fun pickle facts that I found on the internet. I read through many other sites, and picked what I thought were the best facts. I also scoured the internet for a picture to place on that page, but I wasn’t able to find anything suitable. I knew exactly what I wanted… but short of paying $14 for a single photo, I wasn’t able to find it.

So the main part of the site is complete, although I still need to add a contact form. There is some backend work to be done. I’ve noticed that when I do a search for “Lady Ashburnham Pickles” that this blog appear on the first page of Google, yet the new site appears at the bottom of the second page.  It will take a little bit of work to get that moved up, but that’s part of the learning process that I mentioned earlier. I also need to work at converting some of the traffic coming here into clicks to the new site. I’ve noticed a surprising lack of click-throughs in the original post to the new site, and have repositioned the new link at the top of the page. I’m hoping that makes a difference.

And rather than go into detail about the ins and outs of that learning process here, I have decided to create a separate blog that will deal strictly with my fledgling internet empire. There, people can read about my trials… the successes and the failures… offer input, suggestions, etc… and maybe someone else can learn from my mistakes.  I’ve seen a few of these sites, and they’re usually very helpful. And even if no one else reads them, they’re extremely useful in documenting the process, so eventually the kinks will get worked out, and a system will emerge. There will be more information on the new blog in the near future.

And lastly, I am looking forward to my phone conversation on Friday with Yasmine Mustafa, the founder and CEO of a little company called 123LinkIt.  You’ve probably heard me babble about this company before. They have created a free WordPress plugin that scans your blog posts for keywords and automatically matches them to other companies who have referral programs. The idea being that if I write a post about buying a new iPhone, this plugin will pick up on some of the keywords and automatically link them to affiliate programs. Maybe it will underline “iPhone” and send a reader who clicks the link to an online storefront advertising iPhones for sale. If the reader then purchases something, a referral fee would  be paid to me (and 123LinkIt) for sending the online store a customer. It’s a very slick system. Of course you can always sign up for affiliate marketing programs yourself, but 123LinkIt simplifies the process for you by acting as a middle man, and offering you easy access to a much greater array of vendors. It really is a unique way of bringing bloggers and advertisers together, and I’ve been fortunate enough to converse with Yasmine a little through email and Twitter. In talking to her, I’ve found a re-emergence of the spark that seemed to have died down in recent months. A realization that the status quo is simply not good enough any more, and that now is the time to put forth the hard work, to ensure that the future is what I want it to be. So Friday will be a chance to talk to someone who is following her dream and willing to make sacrifices now…   I have a ton of respect for people who are willing to do that.

That’s the update. That’s what’s going on. That’s the direction I’m heading. That’s all.