As I mentioned in my previous post, over the years, I developed an extensive network of EPN (eBay) sites. I’ve spent countless hours of development working on API calls to provide users with enhanced searches for eBay auctions, but overall, they are what you would call thin affiliate sites. In the eyes of Google, that is bad, and because of that, those sites were punished and removed from the search index.
Luckily, during my network building, I also built community based sites, and have been posting and building content for a long time. Those definitely take more time, but because I tried to stay diversified , those are “thick” and Google loves them. For example, I have one site that is several years old, and has over 2500 posts. THICK!
I remember when I started my affiliate empire, I read the book by Gary Vaynerchuk called Crush It. If you have not read it, I would definitely recommend it. No spoilers here, but the jist – he focuses on 2 big topics that I really took to heart. #1 Be “the” guy of your topic, whatever it might be. So if you have a site about something, try to be the authority. Easy to say, hard to do, but if you keep talking about it, eventually, you’ll get respect in that topic. #2 which I think is the most important – create a community.
#1 is easy to understand, but #2 is much harder. Creating a community is difficult, and the first technique, is to change the focus. Focus on the readers. Make them feel that they are part of your success and struggles. In retail, there is saying, it’s not about selling product, but making customers. You can sell that product once and be done, but if you create a loyal customer, you’ll get many sales. This principle is the same for your site. Once people are invested (emotionally) they’ll keep coming back. They’ll share posts, they’ll send links, etc.
When I think of community, it’s about the “touches”. I need to be about to touch as many people as possible. That usually means social networks. For me, the biggies are Facebook, Instagram, Twitter AND mailing list. Don’t forget that mailing list.. crazy important. Once, you’ve established good content, and a system and consistency with posts, you need to get them to the networks. Nothing new here right? You’ve read that everywhere, and that’s the same old advise you’ll get over and over.
For me, I paid for initial “likes” get the ball rolling. When people see your FB page with 23 likes, it’s hard to get people on board When you have 3000+ likes, it’s an easier sell. Of course, when I pay for likes, I’m talking about via Facebook ads and targeted. I wanted “real” people that are interested in what I’m doing.
Over the next little while, I’m going to talk about various strategies on keeping those “touches” out there and throw in some code concepts I’m implementing on Twitter right now with a variety of my sites.
In the meantime, I’m going to be migrating away from all of my non-performing thin sites and investing more time and money on the thick. Like I said earlier, 2017 should be interesting!