Blogs: The Hidden Ace Up Your Sleeve
If it wasn't for my blog, I wouldn't make any online sales at all.
It's true that I have a "regular" website, my so-called "main website," which I first set up to sell my goods, in this case, men's and women's health products. It's my workhorse, the source of most of my revenue. Most of my sales resulted from generic listings in the search engines, particually Google.
That is, until Google sandboxed me.
Some of you may have heard of the legendary Google sandbox, sometimes called, "The Goggle Sandbox Effect." What happens is that newly listed sites rank well for about two to three weeks, then suddenly drop off the radar screen. These new sites are placed in a type of probational sandbox, away from the "real" sites.
Why does this happen, you ask? There are almost as many theories as there are SEO (Search Engine Optimization) experts. Many believe that this probation period is not related to the sites themselves, but to their links. It is believed that back link (pure link popularity) credit is placed in a reserve for a period of time (2-4 months) before it is applied to ranking and has an effect. The theory behind this is to combat PR (Page Rank) purchasers from dominating PR from the beginning. It is meant to deter spam websites.
Others believe this alleged filter that is placed on new websites is an illusion. These skeptics argue that the phenomenon merely echoes already existing Google algorithm calculations.
Whatever the reason, I got sandboxed, the rug pulled out from underneath me; shiskobobbed. The high-ranking and sales that I was receiving from my site suddenly plummented.
I was devastated. What's a poor boy to do now?
Desperate, I wrote to a number of online SEO forums, seeking advice from the SEO gurus. Some thought it was amusing and laughed in my face. Others offered advice such as forgetting about Google for awhile and optimizing my site for the other search engines (not a bad idea). Others thought that I should continue adding content, since content is king as far as the search engines are concerned. Still others thought I should try to gain as many quality links as I should, and this would help pull me out of the sandbox (it felt more like quicksand to me.)
I committed to doing all these things, but in the meaintime, what about my website and the products that I was trying to sell, the money I was hoping to make?
I kept hearing about blogs, those personal websites that are published on the Web. As you probably know, blogs contain philosophical reflections, talk about social issues, and opinions about everything under the sun. They are usually presented in journal style with a new entry each day, or almost every day.
Some people have found out that blogs can also be used to sell products. In fact, an entire industry has evolved around commerical blogging and ways to market them. Some of these commerical blogs appear in the same journal style as the most popular blogs, while others do not look any different from a regular commerical website.
At any rate, I decided to check them out. The fact that a number of blog publishers allow you to build and post your comments for free, certainly didn't hurt either.
I studied many of the blogs that are out there on the Internet, particually the ones relating to my niche. The more I read, the more I liked. I was surprised to learn that some of the top websites in my niche were actually blogs. They ranked high on Google and all of the other search engines. And no doupt, they were making sales.
Soon, I had a pretty good idea about how I was going to build my blog. I didn't want to copy the others, I just needed to get an idea of how some enterprising webmasters were creating them.
Within minutes, I had created my blog, published it on the Web, and began posting and tweaking it. I inserted some HTML code to monitor my stats, and continued to work on making it a better blog. I also continued to work on my other websites, so that whenever I do climb out of Google's sandbox, my site will get a good rating.
Not long afterwards, I made my first blog sale!
Elated, I built other blogs. The more lines you have in the water, the better chance you'll catch a fish, right? Each was slightly different than the preceeding one, but I still hawked the same products. All have links back to my "main" website, and all have brought me sales.
I might have been down, but thanks to my new-found knowledge about blogs, I wasn't out.
So, while I'm waiting to climb out of Google's sandbox, I have an ace in the hole and another up my sleeve that is continuing to make sales for me - my blog. Unknowingly, I had stumbled upon one of the best ways to get my products out there before the buying public.
What I had thought was the worse thing to happen turned out to be the best thing. Had Google not sandboxed me, I probably never would have discovered the awesome marketing power of blogs!