Are You Wasting Your Time Following The Experts?

Image of analytics trafficMy newest website, Adfibs.com has just celebrated it’s 90-day birthday and for about the last 60 days has been getting 400-1000 (just shy of 1k) unique visitors per day, all from organic search (mostly Google).  For a long-established website, this amount of traffic would not be very exciting, but for a website that is only a few months old, I would say this is definitely “above average”.

In 2006 I created my first website, GrownUpGeek.com and it achieved similarly (actually slightly better) quick success – all other websites that I have created or been a part of since then (a few dozen or so) either take a year or more to reach this level of traffic, or they never reach it all.

Because of the similar quick growth in both of these websites I started to ask myself what I did different with Adfibs.com from all of my failed/less successful websites, and what I did the same as I did with GrownUpGeek.com in 2006.

Here are some of the broad differences/similarities that came to mind.

  • When I started GrownUpGeek.com I hardly knew what SEO was so I didn’t do much of what the “experts” at the time said I needed to do. My number one goal back then was to create 1 or 2 new pages of content each day for the first 100 days.
  • When I started all of my other new (mostly failed) websites I tried to do everything that the experts said I should do
  • When I started AdFibs.com I decided to focus on writing as much content as I could, and ignore the experts

Here are just a few of the things that I did not do, that all/many/most of the SEO, “Marketing” and Make Money Online “experts” tell me that I must be doing if I want to have any chance of success:

Social Media Marketing:
I put very little time or effort into building a following or driving traffic via social media. I did not create a Facebook account, Pinterest account or LinkdIn account. I did create a Twitter account and auto-tweeted a few posts, but stopped that after the first few weeks.  See below for what I did with Google Plus.

Content Marketing:
I don’t even know what the hell “Content Marketing” is. Do you? When did they make up this new term? Anyway, time wasted doing “content marking” = 0

Inbound Marketing:
What is it with these new fancy terms? I don’t know what this is either, so I didn’t do any of it.

Keyword Research:
Based on my experience with similar content on GrownUpGeek.com, I knew that the type of content that AdFibs.com would have could generate substantial traffic. It didn’t matter if the research said I could get 100 visits per day or 100,000 visits per day. The subject/niche of AdFibs.com is something that I am passionate about and I had already made up my mind to create the website.  So other than seeing/knowing that the website had some potential, I did zero keyword research.

Researching High Paying Keywords:
Since 2006, I have never done this. I’m not going to start now

Advertising:
For a new website advertising can be a good way to get things started, but I have done no advertising for AdFibs.com

Optimizing Meta Tags and Meta Descriptions:
I have given zero thought or effort into this, not even so much as looking for WordPress Meta or OpenGraph plugins

Writing Guest Posts in Other Blogs for Backlinks:
I have written zero guest posts in other blogs or websitesno-link-building

Commenting on Other Blogs and Websites Leaving Backlinks:
Not a one…

Press Releases and Other Backlink Building:
I created no press releases and did no other back link building

Direct Email Contact Marketing Campaign:
Nope

Encouraging/forcing visitors to follow the RSS feed:
The website does not even have an RSS feed

Semantic Search:
Is “semantic search” another one of those new terms made up by all the ‘experts’? I don’t even know what it means

Installing Mandatory WordPress SEO Plugins:
Nope

Youtube Marketing:
Have not even created a Youtube channel

So what did I do?

How did Adfibs.com start getting this amount of traffic even though I have basically ignored all of the experts?

Domain Registration:
Instead of registering Adfibs.com for the cheapest, shortest amount of time possible, I registered it for 5 years.  I recall reading once, long ago, that Google sees this information and probably knows that spammers/poor quality websites always go for the shortest cheapest possible route.

Edit/Update: My dear friends Sean Murray and Rob Wagner have pointed out that Matt Cutts has publicly stated that domain registration length is not a factor in determining search quality/rankings.  You can see what Matt Cutts said on the subject in 2011 here: Matt Cutts on domain registration

Content Building:
I created 1 to 2 new, original, quality (to the best of my ability) posts per day for the first 30 days. Each post was 300 – 1000 words in length and was moderately ‘keyword rich’ but never keyword ‘stuffed’. Every post was written for a human to read, understand and hopefully enjoy – I did not write them for a search bot.

Social Media:
I created a Google Plus Business page, added “Publisher” tags to the website and added my own authorship tags to my posts. I also created a related Google Plus Community with the Business Page as the “owner”. I have shared a few posts on the Google Business page and in the community – but only a few. I do not use the G+ Page and Community to spam links every day. (Edit Oct 2013:) I also reshared some posts from the G+ Business page via my Google Plus personal profile.

Other items:
I created a site map and submitted it via Google Webmaster Tools, and I added Google Analytics to the website.

That’s it!

Basically, I have virtually ignored all of the “experts”, and spent zero time “building links” and doing most of those other things that they all say I MUST do. Instead, I spent the majority of my time creating content and making the website the best that I can so that humans find it easy to read, navigate and get value from. So far it seems to be working.

If you are creating a new website, before you blindly follow the experts, maybe you should ask them how well their new websites are doing. Are they spending their time actually doing what works and learning what does not work or are they spending their time making blog posts telling everyone else what they should do?

UPDATE: I have posted a video followup to this blog-post here: Video Followup

17 thoughts on “Are You Wasting Your Time Following The Experts?

  1. So basically you have done what Google has been telling us to do all along, ie. don’t force the issue – I like it 🙂 I am just about to start a new site myself and I am going to follow your strategy, although it’s not a strategy is it? It’s writing about stuff you are passionate about and putting it out there, the rest will take care of itself if the content is great! Thx for sharing. Gonna save me heaps of time on stuff I don’t need to do now!

      1. yes @RandWilson:disqus ,
        cos they are selling those services… but as you say, you get caught
        up in it, you learn some ‘SEO’ and stuff and start doing things
        differently, heck I even have the fancy phrase ‘Inbound Marketing’ on my
        website!

  2. It’s almost hard to trust that this works without all the SEO mumbo jumbo everyone talks about all the time. Quite similar to my own approach with a few exceptions.
    Thanks for another good read Rand

    1. @bertilhansen:disqus I have taken a big step back and taken a hard look at who says all of that mumbo jumbo, and who it serves when they say it.. Its seems to me, that it almost universally only helps the guy posting it, in getting links and traffic back to his site..
      I am beginning to think that reading the Google Webmaster Guidelines & info and the little tidbits that Matt Cutts teases us with is all we really need..

  3. Brilliant xD

    Love the use of humor in this post.

    I myself follow just about the same guidelines (with the exception of installing an SEO plugin; why not HELP the search engines along?)

  4. Its a good read but where’s the rest of the data like time on site, bounce rate etc? I like to question these types posts because every time I see them there’s hardly every any other data to support everything that’s said. I’m not saying the site didn’t get there from what’s stated, but I think some of us would like to see the additional data.

    1. Justin, i admire that you’re not just blindly believing what everyone posts in their blog.

      I posted a screen shot of my pageviews and visitors above, and i’m not sure how posting bounce-rate, or time on site will prove what i’ve said any more. Whatever I post could be photoshopped, or grabbed off of the internet or faked/hoaxed 100 different ways so what will you want next? referral data, OS breakdowns and visitor screen sizes? – No matter what I post you will be able to dispute/disbelieve, so, you will have to take me at my word. However, ask yourself, what would I have to gain by making this up? I’m not selling you anything, so I really dont care if you ever come back or not. My only goal here is to help you and other visitors by sharing what I have seen/experienced/learned.. If you accept my help, great, if you dont, i don’t really care.

      1. I don’t see your point in getting defensive or sarcastic, I asked you a simple question “hoping” to get a respectful and reasonable answer. Unique visits and page views don’t really say a whole a lot which is why I asked about bounce rate and time on site etc. I was curious to know about the quality of the visits because that’s usually what’s important. Getting a lot of traffic to a site isn’t the same as getting a lot of quality traffic to convert. If the content is good, of course it’ll get shared and funnel in lots of traffic. What type of content were you creating? Useful content or lots of random content based off of keyword analysis to funnel in a lot of non-targeted traffic? I look forward to your response. Thx!

        1. Didnt mean to be sarcastic, i just think you missed the entire point of the post and are going a bit off-track.. the point is, it is possible to get google traffic, fast, without doing all the krap that those ‘experts’ say you have to do, and that a lot of people waste a lot of time doing. the quality of the traffic does not matter in this context, because that has nothing to do with the point I am making.

          But, to answer your question, the bounce rate for the last 30 days is 58% (far better than most of my other websites) and Avg Duration is 33 sec and engagement (comments) has been very high..

  5. I’m really interested in this anti-expert way of running things. I tried to do guest posting, but when I started my new website I decided to ditch it.

    So now I’m only writing content for my website, newsletter and Google+. That’s all I’m relying on.

    Should be exciting to see where it goes after reading this article.

    1. @brettaelmore:disqus “SEO” is Search Engine Optimization – this is the black-art of figuring out how to make your website appear higher in Google (or Bing, Yahoo) search listings that all of your competitors… Since Google (nor Bing or Yahoo) divulge how they actually determine who’s website will rank where in the lists, it is almost literally voodoo..
      RSS feed = Really Simple Syndication – most blogs and websites publish an RSS “Feed”, which will allow you to use an RSS Reader to easily read only the blogs you have ‘subscribed’ to.

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