Ch-Ch-Changes… For The Better?

Our Community Is Strong!

SEO Fast Start 2007 has been out for 2 full months now… and our community has grown a lot. These are exciting times for me… but I still look at the portal, and the new subscriber numbers, and say… "is that the best we can do?" And the answer is clear – we can do a lot better. We can grow a lot faster. But I need to do my part.

SEOFS 1.0: A Good Experiment – With Conclusive Results

The diagram below represents what I call "version 1.0" of the SEO Fast Start web site.

 seofs1snap.png

As you can see, the "home page" of the SEOFastStart.com domain has been a short "sales letter" to promote opt-in registration to receive SEO Fast Start. Those who opt in get access to SEO Fast Start and subscriber bonuses through my newsletter.

Even with testing & tweaking, the response rate on that page hasn’t been great. The support portal hasn’t remained a "members only" area, because I don’t want to put up a login wall, and people are linking in. Hey, it’s the web, that’s what we do!

This is, to be honest, about what I expected… but it’s important to me to get people registered so they can get updates. While the core strategies of SEO don’t really change much over time, a lot of important tactical details really do move at a faster pace, and those who aren’t well informed often make major mistakes.

The Definition Of Insanity: "Continuing to do the same thing, while expecting different results."

 I want to get different (better) results, so I need to make some changes… and here’s the plan for version 2.0:

seofs2snap.png

What will change? Well, for starters, the "SEO Fast Start Portal" will move up, front and center, as the new home page for the SEOFastStart.com domain. If you have bookmarks or links set up, don’t worry – I will redirect everything so the move will be seamless. The SEO Fast Start ebook will be offered as before, but registration (free) will be still required to download it, and to receive the subscriber bonuses, such as the link building course and the newsletter.

Our "guests" will be able to read and comment in the portal as they can now, and I would hope that they’d gain enough trust and confidence from the experience that registering for access to "everything" won’t be such a big deal. As it stands now, a higher percentage of visitors are registering from the portal than from the "squeeze page" already.

Oh, yeah… and I’ll be adding some Adsense (2 ads per page), as an experiment, which we may not continue. If anyone sees a problem with this, let me know.

Sanity Check Time – Your Feedback Needed

This isn’t just "my web site," folks – it’s your community. Your thoughts on this change are welcome. Am I asking for too much by asking people to register for the SEO Fast Start download? Should I offer part of the book as a sample to encourage registration?

Before anyone asks: These structural changes will not affect any other planned community enhancements for registered subscribers, such as creating PDF transcripts of presentations, the upcoming keyword strategy video, etc.

Your turn.

10 thoughts on “Ch-Ch-Changes… For The Better?

  1. Hey Dan,

    I think that asking folks to register for SEO Fast Start is a extreemly small price for them to pay for the high value information contained withing SEOFS.

    When I first got a hold of SEOFS over a year ago I was amazed that you were actually giving away that information for free.

  2. Dan,

    All the changes that you are looking to do look fine by me. The information being shared here is great and will just continue to grow. Anyone who kicks the tires at the portal shouldn’t have an issue registering to download the book.

    Craig

  3. Dan,
    I find it hard to evaluate your planed change without more detail. The blog search results from the cloud do not specify which keywords you hope to rank for for the two indicated ranking pages. I guess your keyword ranking plan is more complex than the two incoming arrows indicate. I do not know if you consider it secret or just dint want to overload us with details. It would be an interesting case study to know your keyword strategy and how yu are implementing it. May that would be overly helpful to your competitors. But it would provide the context for a real analysis of the planed changes.

    I do think it would be good to publish a teaser version of your excellent fast start book with out registration and encourage people to disseminate it freely across the word. A couple of sample chapters with the full table of contents would lead a lot of people to come looking for the full text. Also, teaser versions of the chapters would make excellent content rich and publicly viewable (indexable) pages to get ranked for the various specific targets with in SEO that form the long tail of SEO searches, like link building and keyword strategy. Seems like you would want to use that fine material to create pages that ranked high for each chapter topic but reserved a lot of material for sign up only and contained the pitch and link to sign up tpo get the rest. Similarly it would be good to have either shortened or selected of the videos publicly available with a pitch to sign up for full versions and the book. Why not put teaser versions on You Tube?
    I also recommend you do at least a minimal edit of the audio tracks to cut out dogs barking, sneezes etc. This could be done with free audio editors very quickly (example Audacity).
    Just my thoughts.
    Gary

  4. Thanks Gary, let me clear that up… this is only about the structure.

    1) The “cloud” simply represents the WWW and the dotted lines show what content can be found and crawled. “SEOFS Portal” is the blog and other “open content” pages (such as the Testimonials page).

    2) As we reorganize the content in version 2.0, we will have public pages outlining the overall process, and the Q&A pages will have more content as well. The Q&A will eventually get broken down further – dividing each step into the 4 stages, with a discussion page for each.

    3) The current videos are backup recordings from live classes. We’re getting transcripts done now, so that we can record new audio.

  5. Ok resist the urge and don’t flame me even though I might deserve it lol but I have a question for the wise one!

    If you were building a site right now for a company that has the true potential to skyrocket – but they are newbies on the web … would you build the site in asp.net, php, joomla, ?
    what shopping cart? and YES it will be a membership site.
    Their old site is in asp classic. They want the web 2.0 look but need room for growth. They like the idea of joomla but I’m worried there are not enough plugins/modules for their long term needs. ? And overall what is your opinion of Joomla sites and seo?

    THANKS!

  6. Heather, I hate to give you a “weenie answer,” but it what you use will totally depend on your requirements. The first thing to do is decide what the web site should do, in detail. Then you decide how to make that happen.

    I have a few friends who are working through the “membership site boot camp” material right now. One decided to go with Expression Engine (http://www.expressionengine.com/). Another is doing Visiongate (a hosted solution). The guy I am working with most closely is going to build with WordPress and AMember.

    Personally, I wouldn’t ever go with a hosted solution unless I had no choice – I like to be able to modify or extend code sometimes.

    Joomla’s perfectly capable for SEO, but I don’t know what you’d do for a shopping cart. Depends on how capable the cart needs to be I guess. :D

  7. Heather, I heard a few good things about http://joomlaequipment.com/ Joomla is robust with various plug-ins and I believe can be used with PayPal or 1 Shopping Cart. Also, I am told from reliable sources (membership site owners) that aMember is folder based and will limit your flexibility. Membergate is a turnkey solution but is expensive and has a few SEO issues.

    Jeff

  8. AMember can create user logins for your CMS, with whatever role you specify. So the way you control the content they get to access is by limiting some content to members with a certain access level. You can also do two installs – one in the root for public access, and another inside a folder for members. But it’s not going to be ideal for everyone.

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