New Website Lab Report

When I first started doing online marketing, it was an in-house job. I worked for a company that had a website that did nothing for us. All the other people we knew in our field also had websites that did nothing for them. The owners came back from a conference at which the website round table consisted of people sharing how worthless their websites were, and we decided to make that website pay, by golly!

I doubt that we said “By golly!” but you see what I mean. We were determined.

I turned out to have a knack for it, too. But I well remember that one of the first things I discovered was that it was practically impossible to get any data. At the beginning, we had three visits a month, no sales, we were unindexed, and we had zero links and a PageRank of zero. Obviously, I could tell when we improved. But I didn’t know how long it usually took to improve, or what would actually be success, or anything like that. No one would tell us anything about their own stats, and there didn’t seem to be any common metrics around.

That was a long time ago, but I think it’s still hard to get data for purposes of comparison. People just don’t want to show you theirs. I often wished that there was someone who would say, “Well, this is what I saw after two weeks,” just so I’d have some idea of whether I was doing well or not. And I promise you, I asked plenty of people. Even our webmaster wouldn’t give us any aggregate, anonymous data.

So I’m doing a little experiment for you, putting up a brand new website and showing you how things are going. I’m not being aggressive about this, as I am for my clients. When you do lots of things, you can’t really tell the effect any one thing has. So I plan to take one step per week, and report on the effects.

It’s been two and a half weeks since FreshPlans went live. The first week I did nothing at all, except posting new content every day. After one week, I submitted the site to the major search engines and made a Facebook page. After the second week, I placed a few choice links at relevant, high-value sites. I’ve continued to post good content daily.

We’re at #7 on Google for “fresh plans,” #3 for “freshplans,” and #1 for “my fresh plans.” You can see the traffic at the top. Nothing at all before we launched, naturally, and then a few visitors, with a spike from the Facebook page and a general trend toward increasing traffic.

I also made this an Amazon affiliate site. I have modest little ads and text links where I’m writing about books. I’ve had 88 clicks and two sales. See, I’m telling you everything!


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