Taking Your Small Business Online
The Honey Elixir Project
Today the Internet rules the world. Having a website is a must for today’s successful businesses. The Internet has facilitated people's lives over the past 20 years, and has grown into a giant by now: everyone uses it to search for products and services, that’s why a strong online presence is neccessary to stay among the front-rank players. Still, as the online market is getting saturated, it is a great challenge to stand out from the crowd and draw the attention of your audience even with a small marketing budget. The story of Honey Elixir will help and inspire you in achieveing your business goals.

Once upon a time...

Our hero, Andy is an enthusiastic, ambitious and hard-working man. He is a qualified alternative therapist and organic gardener. He’s his own man, he works hard on his organic farm every day in order to give everything to his family and make his dreams come true. The fruits and vegetables produced on his farm are sold in his small shop located in the city. However, it’s not his yummy, 100% pure lettuce or tomato which he is the most proud of. He has a hobby: beekeeping.

He is a happy owner of more than a hundred beehives. He is famous for being an excellent beekeeper, he knows everything about these industrious little creatures and honey production, he learnt all the tricks of the trade from his grandfather.

He sells only a small proportion of honey produced, and processes the bigger part: he prepares a special skin care product containing only natural ingredients. He calls his superproduct the Honey Elixir. And what is this elixir good for? Thanks to its antibacterial and cleaning effect it opens up clogged pores and is also perfect for the prevention or treatment of acnes. But all these characteristics are dwarfed by honey’s most valuable feature: thanks to the antioxidants it helps with slowing down the aging of the skin.

Now, that is something, a natural elixir which can delay the aging process, this is what everyone desires! And most importantly, the Honey Elixir works! Andy has received a lot of positive feedback from the users of his product, people commended the Elixir. Many of them wanted to know the secret ingredients and method of preparation, but he kept his secret safe.

Andy loved his bees, and they worked busily throughout the year so he could make tons of Honey Elixir - actually much more than he could sell in his little shop. He had a huge unsold stock piled up in his warehouse, which he was not happy with. Despite the fact that Honey Elixir had an amazing healing effect, people didn’t know much about it, so Andy decided to do something to help people desiring for eternal youth find it. He started to “search for” his customers, a market for his product.

Published: , Last updated:
Chapter 1
Define The Audience
You can do it,
it’s not
rocketscience

His first thing to do was to outline his target audience. Who can benefit from using Honey Elixir? As it prevents and cures acnes, children in their adolescence would certainly be one of the target group of customers. But the most serious and solvent clients could be middle-aged women who evidently started aging but would like to keep their skin youthful. Andy started to do his research on the places where these kind of people buy skincare products.

He didn’t have to dig too deep to find the answer: they search for answers to their problems online, they read reviews online, they compare the prices online, and they finally buy the selected product online. According to a prognosis, more than 195 million Americans (U.S.) will shop online in 2014 - 68% of the population aged between 30 and 44.

The Internet was not an entirely unknown world for Andy, he also had a smartphone as almost everyone else does these days, used Facebook and read the news online, but he never hit upon the idea before of selling the Honey Elixir online. There came the perfect opportunity to change his life and strike up an adventure: taking his business online, having his own website.
Andy loved to take care of everything on his own, so he decided to do his best to learn and understand the method of “how to market your small business and sell your product online”. He started learning from the ground up sparing no time and energy, he read loads of ebooks and news portals about SEO, social media and online marketing; as well as in-depth guides, case studies, and how-to tutorials on blogs like Moz, Quicksprout or Buffer.
He went through so many advices, tips and tricks that his head was pounding, but he slowly framed a plan on how to launch his website and sell Honey Elixir. First and foremost, he decided not to run paid advertisements at the beginning. On the one hand he couldn’t afford to spend a lot of money on that, on the other hand paid campaigns belong to a completely different chapter in “The Big Book of Online Marketing”. So he voted on achieving his goals by social media presence and building business relationships online.

He heard legends about the revenge of the big brother (G); his zoo where Penguins, Pandas and colorful Hummingbirds live; lost rankings; penalties; good and bad links; black, grey and white hat SEO tactics. As a result, he made the decision of not building his whole business on the traffic generated by a search giant. He read too much about companies going smash from one day to another after having lost their rankings and not receiving traffic.
He wanted to keep potential organic traffic in mind though, thus optimized his site for search engines. He also planned to create proper title and meta description for every post, but not primarily to suit the requirements of search engine robots, rather than real people.
"I want customers [not links]. I want customer experiences. I want customers sharing." Visitors coming to his site from search engines would be a bonus, but he wouldn’t like to fall into the trap of relying on that as the only traffic source. He wanted to bring referral traffic from other sites into focus, and to concentrate on returning visitors from social media platforms. He knew it would be time-consuming and not an easy job at all, but he settled to build a small community for organic skin care fans. That was far enough as an opening, now let’s see what Andy did step by step!
Chapter 2
Power
up
your online business
Step by step

Domain & CMS

Find Hosting

Designing the Site

Functionality

Structure

Step 1:

Register a domain

First of all, he had to register a catchy domain name for his website. He did not want to choose an exact match domain (EMD) that might seem spammy just like buynaturalskincare.com. He registered honeyelixir.com instead. Then, he picked a content management system framing a base of his site.

There were tons of reasons for WordPress. Besides the fact that it’s the most popular CMS with millions of sites running based on it, there’s a huge ecosystem built around it over the years.

Thousands of themes and plugins, and WordPress related services are available for its users. In addition, WP is a very flexible and simple CMS that is easy to use, and doesn’t require any technical hurdles to handle, what more, it provides the best social media integration on personal blog sites.

Step 2:

Hosting is important
The next step which followed was the selection of the web host, the importance of which is often underestimated. Many people settle for the cheapest web hosting service they can find, where thousands of websites run from the same single server causing a bad performance. Website owners usually like focusing only on their site’s design, content and overall look. The importance of choosing the right web host shouldn’t be underrated either, as if their site is often not available or loads too slowly, it will induce bad user experience and all the work and effort put into the business might be in vain.
We are impatient by nature, most of us don’t like to wait more than three seconds for a web page to load, and 75% of the visitors do not return to those websites which load in more than 4 seconds. More than a half of online customers consider speed an important aspect, and expect the website owner to take this on priority. Just one example from the many: Back in 2011, the loading time of Obama’s website in the presidential campaign was reduced from 5 seconds to 2 seconds. Subsequently, the website got 14% more conversions, meaning $34 million more in campaign funding. Lesson learned: a 3 second difference may seem irrelevant, but $34 million doesn’t!
A quick website boosts user engagement, affects conversion and online sales, increases the site’s usability, in addition, reduces operational cost. To learn more about this topic please take a look at this in-depth page speed guide! Being aware of the information above and getting to know WordPress, Andy thought that the smartest decision would be to go with a performance WordPress hosting. In this way, he wouldn’t have to bother with server setup, with the updates, the site’s security, backups and various other things he doesn’t even understand. His managed web host will handle all these issues so he would be able to concentrate on developing his own business.

Step 3:

Design Your Site
Creating his website came next. Andy wasn’t adept at coding, nor designing, therefore he asked a professional web designer to assist with the project. Based on his preliminary research, he had enough information to know exactly what he wanted and made sure the designer was on the same page as him. The global trend is that more and more people use their cellphones for surfing the Internet (and shopping!), considering this fact, he would like to have a responsive website.
Desktop
Tablet
Mobile
If you give people a great experience on all devices then they are much more likely to read, share and return to your content.
There are around two billion PCs and more than five billion mobile devices in the world, and according to the forecasts, mobile search volume may exceed desktop search volume by the end of 2014. In 2015, there might be more searches on mobile devices than there are on desktops and laptops. By the year 2017, it is predicted that 85% of the world's population will have 3G coverage. When it happens it will be shocking for those website owners who still regard mobile as a secondary channel.
In the sake of creating the perfect website, they paid attention to the page’s layout, the colors used, simplicity and easy navigation, the quality of the images and the suitable call to actions. Women (as Andy’s main target group) are tend to like blue and green colors - blue suggests reliability, while green is often used to attract eco-minded people -, both of them were a perfect fit for organic product lovers. However, they do not like brown and grey, so Andy tried to avoid both of these. There weren’t any overcomplicated elements on the site - not even the menu structure or an unnecessary button.
“Please Stop using stock photos. They look fake and reduce trust on your website.”
Stock images are really high quality, but they often seem unreal, almost annoyingly perfect, so people generally ignore them. They only make people browse on instead of getting engaged on an emotional level. Users want to see the real person behind the site.

Step 4:

Functionality
The site was only selling the Honey Elixir, so the WooCommerce plugin was set up for the ecommerce functions. They heeded the product description, as the ultimate goal was to convince potential customers and sell the Elixir. A fresh and detailed product description combined with a different point of view will definitely capture the attention of the visitors. The closer a page content is to answering a visitor's keyword search query, the more likely he is to explore that site and spend time on it. The unique description will persuade him and give you a real opportunity to engage him.
Andy knew that unique content, just like the custom and detailed product description, signal a couple of things on a subconscious level towards the user. Firstly, that you know your product, you know what you're writing, you know what you are selling. In addition, users are aware of the fact that the production of unique content takes time and effort, so they are willing to spend more time on such a site too. (It is incredible anyway how most of the businesses overlook their target audience when writing the product description!)

The visitor is the perfect mirror of how well the content is prepared, what tone it strikes and how effectively it communicates the benefits of the product. Do not make this mistake, take the time to find out who would use your product to establish the tone and style of your audience and create a unique voice.

Step 5:

Structure
In order to be able to sell Honey Elixir, Andy had to win people's trust. To do so, he started to use different trust signals: he asked the Elixir’s existing users to write a short review of the product, some of the customers even made a short video. He also created a Q&A section on the website, where all the answers could be found for the most frequently asked questions about the product. He also put his local phone number, postal address, company information, availability of social accounts on the site. Even an SSL certificate was integrated later on to build more trust. He also noted delivery time to inform his clients.

“When people feel insecure about something, they look around for validation. Show them that other people trust you.“

Francisco Rosales, Social Mouths
The changes made by Andy and the designer to increase conversion rate were extremely simple. For instance they replaced bullet points with checkmarks in the list of benefits. The package that Andy would like to sell the most was highlighted.

They also created a big, definite “buy” button differing from the rest of the page in color. These tricks might sound too simple, but they are incredibly effective.

He was checking the number of visitors on Google Analytics from the beginning. It is very easy to set up the service which will generate a variety of detailed statistics - Andy knows exactly how much traffic his website has, where those visitors are located, what the traffic sources are, how much time they spend on the site, which sub pages they read, etc. It’s quite easy to use and in case we interpret the data provided well, we can improve our site’s performance a lot.

Chapter 3

Share-worthy Content – Active Blogging
Now that we went through all the preparations, let’s say a few sentences about the blog section. Andy wanted to promote his website and Honey Elixir with active blogging and publishing useful, share-worthy content, so his blog played a key role in his strategy.
He wrote all the posts in a conversational tone to avoid giving the readers the impression of an official document or boring essay. He hit an informal note, often used the words “you” and “I” within the content, ask his readers questions and tried to be straightforward and clear. He could expect a lot more comments under his posts accordingly.

“You can’t just place a few “Buy” buttons on your website and expect your visitors to buy.”

Neil Patel, Quicksprout
It is important that everyone understands what your content is about, try to write clearly and simple. Andy wrote detailed “how to” posts, because people love content that teaches them something and give answers to their question/problems. He tried to avoid meaningless, unhelpful short articles, when he didn’t have any inspiration he didn’t post anything, it was that simple. People have a tendency to share (and click on) in-depth, long articles rather than brief columns.
People want to deal with other people, not faceless corporations.

“Less is more. Keeping it simple takes time and effort.”

Jeff Bullas
“The art of content creation for an audience necessitates that you shouldn’t deeply offend people. Keep this in mind by utilizing the Your Mom rule (by UpWorthy), which is that no article should genuinely upset a middle-aged mom. No one likes to disappoint their mom, btw. the middle aged women are the biggest sharers on the interwebs.” Hey, wait a minute! Are middle aged women the biggest sharers? They are the main target audience of Honey Elixir! Well, that was really good news for Andy.

He always cared about his readers and took the time to reply all comments. He knew that this helped in building the relationship with customers so they would be more likely to return to the site next time, because they felt they were part of a community.

Headlines played a particularly important role, as they make the first impression to readers. When the first impression is not good enough, then they often don’t click on the article. The more click-worthy headline you have, the better click-through rate (CTR) you’ll get from SERP (Search Engine Results Page) and various social channels.
Andy added social share buttons at the bottom of every post page. Desktop readers could see Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest share buttons as well as a Buffer button, but Andy limited the number of buttons in the case of mobile readers to the Facebook and Twitter buttons only. This way, he both facilitated the sharing for mobile users, and improved user experience on smaller screens. When someone commented for the first time, they were directed to a thank you page where Andy said thank you for their comment and asked them to sign up for his newsletter and follow him on Twitter to keep informed.
Speaking about newsletters, Andy collected subscribers from the beginning. He knew one of the the basic rules of online marketing: if you don’t have an email list, you don’t have a business. In case of an algorithm update your traffic can disappear or Facebook can tweak their Edgerank algorithm and shut you out. But if you have an email list, you have the control.

The second most powerful acquisition channel after organic search is email! Almost 7% of customer acquisitions happens via email. Why is email effective? Because it’s based on the other person’s permission. Once they give you their email addresses, they’re in, you can send them an email. Email is the number-one activity for people on their phones. Email marketing still rocks!

Chapter 4

Where Do Content Ideas Come From?
Creating engaging content is not easy, in fact it is one of the most difficult tasks. For some, it is not a problem at all (or at least that’s how it seems like) and are always capable of producing engaging and share-worthy content. But let’s be honest, it’s puzzling for all of us to figure out what our next blog post will be about. Marketers and bloggers are exploring new ideas day by day to share them with their audience. Gone are the days when any results could be achieved simply by publishing meaningless, thin content. Now the emphasis is on quality, well-researched content that represents your business and draws in your targeted audience.
But how did Andy get inspired from time to time and what did he write about? One of the most evident topics to share are real-life stories and experiences. Being an alternative therapist, Andy knew everything about natural skin care, he was familiar with all the tips and tricks.

Only these experiences would have given him enough content ideas for a couple of years. We all have our own stories and knowledge just like Andy does - a whole treasury waiting for being disclosed - we only have to recognize, then utilize them.
Andy constantly kept tabs on the blogs in his industry to get loads of new ideas: which are the most popular, and most shared topics, which posts generate the most comments. He didn’t forget about his competitors either (natural skin care and anti-aging product providers), he always kept an eye on them for inspiration.
There are many competitors in every niche, and if you think you’re alone in the market you are very much mistaken and it’s high time you carried out a more in-depth market research. Andy couldn’t even count the comments and questions left without an answer on other forums, these all framed a perfect base for his next topics. One of the most popular Q&A sites is Quora, which is also a great source for new content ideas.
Social media is a perfect platform for finding what people are talking about online. You just have to search the Facebook and Twitter hashtags and keywords, monitor some trendy topics, and use them to get an idea of what you’ll write about next. Pay attention to the comments under your posts, just like Andy did. This is where you’ll find inspiration for future blog posts. Ask your readers. Then find smart ways to turn their ideas into unique articles. But you can also use Google Trends to identify people’s interest, or check out blog aggregators to search for topics in your niche, search Yahoo Answers to find unanswered questions, monitor the news relevant to your industry. Use tools like Buzzsumo - with the help of it you can identify the most shared links and key influencers for any topics.
Here are some evergreen content ideas
that Andy often used:
  • “How To” Guides
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • “What To Do When” Series
  • Faster And Easier Tips
  • Age Specific Reports
These are just the tip of the iceberg - a small part of the resources and ideas that Andy uses successfully for promoting Honey Elixir. All industries can produce great content, even the so-called "boring" industries are fraught with endless content ideas. If you are in a “boring” industry, you’d better be happy. Why? Because probably your competitors don’t make an effort to create engaging content which is a huge opportunity for you to take advantage of!

Andy wanted to know where Honey Elixir was mentioned online, which websites linked to his site. This was important in terms of monitoring the spread of his brand, his competitors, and could join any discussion immediately where he or his product had been mentioned.
There are many tools out there that continuously monitor the Internet searching for words and phrases and when finding any new results they notify you. Andy used the following 3 ones:

One of them was Google Alerts which is free and simply configurable (it doesn’t require any kind of technical routine). The weakness of the tool is that many of its alerts come from news sites and it often ignores comments in forums and blog sections. Let’s see a couple of things Andy monitored:
  • Monitored his brand – honeyelixir.com
  • Monitored competitors - sheknows.com
  • Questions in the niche – how * skin care
  • Questions in the niche – can * skin aging
  • Monitored new guest post opportunities – “write for us” skin care
  • Monitored shoppers – buy * natural skin care
  • Monitored site security – site:honeyelixir.com insurance OR poker OR xyz...
The second one was Mention.com. This is quite a fast tool, Andy received a notice of every mention on the same day (and usually just minutes after) they appeared on the Internet. He added his social accounts to the tool, so he could respond to the mentions right away within the app.
The third tool he used was the Moz Fresh Web Explorer. With the help of Freshscape Index he found the latest and freshest mentions, his links, and possibilities to earn new links (where he was mentioned but not linked). Additionally, the tool can be used perfectly for finding new content ideas.

Chapter 5

Social Media Arena
After going through content ideas for the blog and content tracking, let’s learn how Andy promoted his content. Because having loads of visitors on the new blog post after clicking on the publish button is just wishful thinking. That would be nice, but that’s a fairy tale. As long as the web is a gladiator arena for marketers, all of them have to fight even for a bite of success.

“Content is fire, social media is gasoline.”

Jay Baer, Convince and Convert
Yes, content is king, but promoting content is what gets you the results. Spend at least as much time promoting your content as you did creating it! Or preferably more. Much more. 65% of social media users learn about products and services via these channels so Andy tried to take advantage of the social media in any ways possible (initially non-paid) to popularize his site and his product.
The fact that women spend 30% more time on social media channels, post more and click more than men, further confirmed Andy the benefits of these platforms. The main channels he used were Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Pinterest. He used the same profile image (brand image) on all of them for better identification, cross-linked the channels and provided contact information and profile data everywhere consequently.

He wanted to avoid the biggest mistake most marketers make: many of them consider their social media platform as a product description page or at least something like a sales brochure. They are trying to impress their fans with an endless number of offers even if they don’t see any positive outcome of this attempt. As a result, there won’t be any activities or interaction on their social pages.

“Sell-sell-sell sales methods simply do not work on social media.”

Kim Garst
We are not going into details about the daily number of visitors on each social media channel, we are trying to provide some facts and information instead which not only proved to be useful for Andy, but hopefully will be advantageous for all of you in the course of a social media campaign.
Facebook Marketing Tips
All businesses have a business page nowadays, but beyond that, they usually don’t show any activities on it. An empty Facebook timeline only scares people, why would they like such a site? If you don’t have the time or don’t feel like it, just don’t do it! But we are not here to talk you out of it, instead to convince you to do it, so let’s see what Andy did and what you could use from these.
He often posted photos besides his blogpost, as photos are proven to get 53% more likes and 104% more comments than simple text or link posts.
People mainly use Facebook not for buying something, but for having fun. Don’t forget about this and try to avoid the aforementioned “buy now” mentality. Andy’s “how to” guides that he initially shared were useful and share-worthy for his community consisted of a few fans only at the beginning, so his community continued growing. He didn’t want to overdo it, he published a new post 4-5 times a week, which resulted a lot better engagement than 4-5 posts a day would have done.

He kept being relevant and only shared or posted information that was important to his fans. Something interesting always happened on his biofarm that he could take a photo of and share. He kept his posts short, and often used the words most, how, health and best because they grab people’s attention and lead to a higher number in sharing. Whenever he published a new post he asked for his fans to share it, like it, or leave a comment. This requires minor effort and absolutely works.

Don’t be afraid of asking for a share! He frequently asked questions about his fans’ personal life and experiences, which often turned into great conversations in the end. People love to tell their opinion and appreciate it when someone listens to them. In order to gain a higher CTR, more likes and shares for your posts, it is important for you to know which fans of yours are the most active.

Thursday Friday Saturday and Sunday were the peak days for Andy, and posts published at 1 PM received the higher number in likes and shares. It is different for every business of course, so it needs testing. After analyzing the charts on Facebook Insights you can easily find out which your own peak days are.

Make sure your cover photo is appealing, as the more attractive you are the more likely people will like your page after checking it. And here’s another useful tip from Andy: he celebrated some milestones (for example reaching 500 likes), drew a name from the fans and gave the winner a Honey Elixir as a gift. It was one of the best practices that paid off.
Twitter Marketing Tips
Twitter, with more than a 100 million monthly active users can send lots of traffic to your site so it would be a huge mistake not to have an account.
Andy started his Twitter marketing in a simple way. He searched for two websites in his industry. One of them was a skin care blog, the other was a shop selling natural skin care products. The blog was regularly updated, a new article was published day by day and it had more than 40k followers on Twitter. The webshop had around 22k followers, that is also quite a huge number.

Andy started to follow the fans (followers) of these two businesses. The point was to follow people who are interested in the same topic so Andy could offer totally relevant content to them. Twitter users get a notification on their dashboard (or via email too, depending on privacy settings) when they have a new follower.
Andy linked his blog in his Twitter bio (instead of the main page), because he wanted to convince users that his blog offers useful content they should follow.
Every third user follows a brand, and 70% of the users are more likely to buy those companies’ products that they follow.
30% of the users followed back Honey Elixir, so a constantly growing and relevant audience began to emerge. It is a simple and efficient method, but it only makes sense if you choose the right audience.
How-to articles and in-depth guides perform exceptionally well on Twitter, which link to content similar to what Andy has on his blog. These kinds of columns usually get more retweets. Tweets containing a link generally get retweeted more times. Andy often asked his followers to retweet, because they more willingly do it when they are called for.
Honey Elixir has its peak hours on Twitter too, such as 9 AM, 12 PM and 3 PM. Andy only had a few tweets per day (some say 1-4 tweets per hour is the optimal) and included 1 or 2 hashtags in the text because he didn’t like hashtag spam. Whenever he published a new blogpost he shared it on the social channels. In the next coming days he tweeted the same post again on Twitter with another but still relevant title, he tried to reach as many people as possible.
Google+ Tips
Google+, the search giant’s own social network was launched in 2011 and is becoming more and more popular, many users are just beginning to explore it. It has adopted a lot of features from Facebook and Twitter and integrated with its owns, for example Circles. G+ has brought a new color to the world of social media providing another interface for online marketers. Andy registered a business page for Honey Elixir and paid great attention to fill in the About section carefully. In the introduction, he described the uniqueness and special features in details, he chose relevant tags, provided the link to his website as well as to his other social channels, and contact details. These information above are important for users for being able to identify the company/brand immediately, and getting to know what kind of products it offers and how they can benefit from using them.
The Google+ cover image is a great marketing and branding tool itself, so Andy made a completely unique cover consistent with the business look, logo and message. He was active and consequent when posting but he knew that G+ is different from Facebook. Here, more time and energy is required to build up a community and establish a business reputation. Before gaining people’s trust you have to prove you’re precious. Andy not only shared his, but others’ valuable content regularly, which helped him with engaging his followers. He often shared photos, as they generally get a lot more +1s than text-only posts.

There are Communities on G+ (equivalent to Facebook Groups) which are great to bring together people interested in a common topic and speak "the same language" literally or figuratively. Searching for some certain keywords within the Community tab Andy found some large and quite active groups where he joined. Before starting to share anything or interact, he read the guideline relative to the community carefully. He commented to others’ posts intelligently, asked questions and joined the discussions. As a result, he established himself as an authority within his area of expertise.
Pinterest Marketing Tips
Most of the humans are designed to think visually - 90% of the information sent to the brain is visual, and visual information is processed 60,000 times faster than text. The visualization of objects, events, feelings and thoughts is extremely effective and much faster to handle than text based information. This characteristic of the images enabled social sites such as Pinterest and Instagram to gain a huge reputation in a quite short period of time. The saying might be true: A picture is worth more than a thousand words.
How did Andy start using Pinterest? Firstly, he made a business page for Honey Elixir. He had his website verified so that the users could see his url both on his profile page and in the search results. He added Pinterest’s “Pin It” bookmarklet to his browser to ease pinning to his account from any website. Of course the Pin button could be found at the end of his every blogpost to encourage readers to share his content, and a Follow button for those who wanted to start following him right away.
After thoroughly filling out his profile, he created his boards based on specific keywords he wanted to rank for (For example Skin Care Tips, Anti Aging Tips, DIY organic skincare etc.). He pinned images that attracted his target audience and embolden them for following him.

He offered some packages of Honey Elixir as a part of a contest raffled among those who repinned his image - he achieved a great exposure as a result. He could see in Google Analytics how much traffic he got from Pinterest, so he could also compare it with the numbers reflecting other social networks’ performance. He took advantage of the possibilities Rich Pins offered, so anyone was able to see the price, availability of Honey Elixir.

He often shared “behind the scenes” images about the production of Honey Elixir, because it made his followers feel that special information had been shared with them. In case of these pictures, Andy took care of maximizing their height, as more people repin higher images according to research. The length of the description is also important, around 200 characters is optimal. Andy could display text and images fast and easily with his Pinwords tool, and was also able to share them comfortably. Andy often liked others’ pins, commented and said thank you for the repins of his images. These are small, mindful gestures that helped him increase his community.

Chapter 6

Building Up Presence On Other Sites
And Get Referral Traffic
Besides regularly writing useful and engaging articles on his blog (and also propagating these posts through social media thus increasing the traffic to his site), it was important for Andy to build relationships with relevant bloggers within his industry. Relationships are indispensable not only in real life, but online, too.

Again, how did he start networking? He wrote useful comments to others’ posts, shared others’ content and followed them on different social channels. It is quite a slow process, but bloggers started getting to know him, recognize his face or name and acknowledged him as an authority.

After these basic steps Andy wasn’t afraid to get in touch with them, presented himself and his blog in personalized emails, and offered them guest writing. Guest posts are great for building a mutually profitable relationship.
The guest post apocalypse that broke out recently (predicted by many) was more smoke than fire. Those ones who wrote guest posts to totally irrelevant sites, their link building strategy was only based on this, and submitted low-quality content to as many sites as possible in “industrial quantity” could feel the disadvantages.

But guest posting exists and will exist, since the Internet would be poorer without it, and Google does not want this either.
As we wrote at the beginning, Andy wasn’t intend to do guest blogging for link building, but for generating authority, brand visibility-awareness and social signals. He wanted to appear on other sites that would hopefully lead traffic to his site. Therefore, he didn’t make his choice based on domain authority or high page rank, he simply voted on the basis of his human judgement. He looked at how frequently the site was updated, how active it was socially, how many comments, likes and shares a new post got.

He could hope for the best results (referral traffic, new followers) in the case of sites having the highest social engagement. Each guest post he wrote appeared on relevant sites with unique, high-quality content. The engaging content Andy wrote not only reflected the quality of his brand, but the site that published it could also benefit from it. A true win-win situation.
Conclusion
These were the first steps that started Andy’s online business and established the success of Honey Elixir. His blog audience is still continuing to grow, he has more and more orders and many followers from the UK and Australia, so he’ll soon have to brainstorm on the question of international shipping. Due to his in-depth and meaningful articles his link earning strategy seems to be working well, and as a result, getting out of the sandbox now search engines also send a huge amount of traffic to his site.

It was a well-conceived and implemented plan that anyone else could manage who is passionate enough. It’s just a matter of motivation and steadiness. The point is not to give up at the very beginning, no one has ever conquered the world in 2 days.

In our story we sum up the main steps for building a profitable online business. We tried to explain the importance and bottom line of each step so that it might be useful both for the newbies and those ones who are just collecting some new ideas for their aready existing marketing plan. We at Kinsta can help you host and manage your WordPress site to provide high-availability and fast performance. Feel free to contact us!

What was the most impostant step that brought the long-awaited succes for your business? Which one is the most efficient social channel that drives visitors to your site? Let us know your experiences in the comment section below.

Written by
Anita Dunai and the Kinsta Team
Anita is the Client Manager at Kinsta. She has been dealing with clients for years, she is responsible for every interaction with the clients from sales to support. She loves travelling and meeting new people.

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