If we want our websites to reach a large audience, we have to proactively share and forward it to people, especially ones that could share and critique the website themselves. Part one of two episodes, host Ken Courtright talks about how we can optimize our website for Google search and reach more people, discussing how we should be taking our websites to them and not the other way around.
Listen to the podcast here:
Websites To People Pt. 1
I’m not helping people grow business with techniques many years ago, although I used to do that. I’m not helping people grow businesses with techniques that might work in a couple of years. I’m throwing out nuggets that are helping people grow businesses now. Some of you know we have over 700 revenue-generating websites that are managed by our 85 employees. Each of these websites we treat as an independent business. We have our regular businesses. We do conventions. We do regular general consulting. We have our independent businesses that manage many other businesses. We’re in the throws like everybody following this show. We’re always wondering, what is the best way to grow our business now? This is dedicated to what are the best techniques out there for growing business now?
This is episode 91, called Websites To People. I had to do this because I was with a group of business owners and all of a sudden, I heard somebody say, “How are we going to get people to our brand new website?” It didn’t dawn on me until I got home, but I did write that down. I was like, “That was a great question.” I got home and I’m like, “Wait a second, we don’t ever in any of our marketing or strategy sessions ask ourselves, how we are going to get more people to this website? How are we going to get people at all to this website?” Every question we ask ourselves is centered on, how am I going to bring my website to people? How are we going to get this site in front of another group of people? What are we going to do? What piece of marketing? What piece of content will allow us to position this website into a different pool of starving, hungry, raving fans for that website’s content?
I’m going to first start with a mindset shift. I’d like everybody to please write down, “How are we going to get people to our website?” I want you to put a big X through that. You are never allowed to say that again. You’re never allowed to think that again. Nobody gets people to their website. It doesn’t work like that. Everybody, since the history of the internet has brought their website to people. They may not know that’s what they were doing, but you bring websites to people. I want to give you a great example, and I’ve briefly touched on this one in the past, but I’m going to slam this point home. We have a website in partnership with a gentleman named Ross Halleck. It’s called Wine.net. There’s a story behind the website. It’s been around the domain since 1991. We were able to procure it a few years ago and it started growing steadily.
I approached my partner Ross and I said, “Ross, I’d like to do something unique and it’s called ego bait.” He said, “Okay.” We created a piece of content called The Top Ten Vineyards in Virginia. Even though I’ve talked on this topic before, I didn’t hit it from this angle. We studied roughly 100, 150 vineyards in Virginia or the Virginia area, whittled it down to 30, and then we got it down to twenty. We use things like Wine Spectator magazine, Yelp, a bunch of directory listings, and then tons of articles written on all these vineyards. We came up with what we were sure was, in our opinion, the best ten vineyards in Virginia based on their product, their product sales, their reviews and overall comments that we’re hearing in the marketplace.Nobody gets people to their website. Everybody, since the history of the internet, has brought their website to people. Click To Tweet
We got a list together. We published it Tuesday morning and on Thursday morning, we reached out to all the founders of those ten vineyards and we emailed them a link to the article. This is 48 hours after publishing, and then we followed up a couple of hours later and called them. A couple of few of them had already noticed the article because of something called Google Alerts. The other few had not. We shared it with them, without going through the whole backstory. They were moved and we have proof that seven of them, if not all of them, shared that with their Twitter and their Facebook followings, their email list, their newsletters, etc. Wine.net exploded 800%. It never came back down.
I want to draw a polarity where I want to de-myth the mindset of how websites work and how people find them. Here’s the thing. We created a piece of content called The Top Ten Vineyards in Virginia. We published it on a website. We then emailed the link, we brought the site to ten influencers by email, “Here’s a link to our website with your article.” They then opened it, seven of them immediately within 48 hours took the link and forward it in social media and email to tens of thousands of people. We handed off the website. We brought it to ten people. They took the baton and then forwarded that website to tens of thousands of people.
As is the title of this episode, Websites to People. The website was brought to people. Those tens of thousands of people hit our site. Many of them saved it to favorites and came back every week. We grew our website traffic not by people finding our site. Nobody found our site. People were sent to our website. People were provided a link to our website. Did we ask ourselves, “How are we going to get a bunch of wine enthusiasts to come to our website?” No, we never say that. We always say, “What can we do? What can we write? What can we build? What can we create? What app can we generate? What can be done that could bring our website to a large audience of people?”
I’m going to take you back. “How are we going to get more people to our site?” Put a big X through that. Your new line, the only thing you’re allowed to say moving forward is, “How am I going to bring my site to people?” When you wake up in the morning, I want you to look at your website and I want you to say, “Website, how am I going to get you in front of a large body of people? What am I going to do? Am I going to put your domain name and put it on a flyer and go do a trade show? Get a booth with thousands of people walking by that I know would love you as a website if I handed this to them. I would bring the website to people at that trade show. Am I going to do a top ten review piece like Ken Courtright mentioned and put a link to you, my website, and send it out to those ten people of influence? Hoping a few of them share that with their followers, which the audience we’re looking for.”
The bottom line is, I want you to look at your website and say to yourself, “How am I going to get you, Mr. Website, in front of large audiences of people?” I can no longer ask myself, “How am I going to get people to come to you?” That has never worked and it doesn’t work. Here’s a cool serendipity. When you start learning how to bring your website to masses of people, there’s a baton exchange. Those masses of people then do the work for you and then they bring your site to more people. I’ll give you an example. One of the things we never saw coming is when we handed off our site to those ten wine influencers, they then forwarded the baton to a lot of people on social media with the link to our website. Google saw all that traffic come in. We had already been ranking on thousands of key phrases. Google says, “Look at all the activity on this site. Let’s raise the rankings of all the keywords they’re already ranking on.”
They raised our rankings on thousands of key phrases. Guess what happened when more people were searching into Google? Google then brought our website to many more people, hundreds of thousands of people a month. Google decided to bring our website, instead of other competitive websites in the wine space to all the people searching by putting us on page one of Google. Before we were on page 2, 3, 4, 5, which few people go to. Because of all these social signals that came in from those ten wine enthusiasts sharing our article, Google saw that activity and said, “This is a more important website than we thought.” Google said to themselves, “Let’s put this on page one and bring this to the world more often.” Google is bringing our website to more people via search because they saw all the activity from us bringing it to ten people. I hope this makes sense. I’m going to do episode 92 on the same topic, but with a different example. I’m hoping you’ll like it. I am helping people grow business.
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