Over the last couple on months my web portfolio has been experienced a mixed set of results. However, overall traffic across my websites is down and this is affecting my revenue streams at the moment. Part of the problem was the major Google update that hit UK sites at the beginning of April.
While analyzing the situation and brainstorming new strategies for future growth something became extremely clear - my company was failing due to a lack of diversification. It was simply too focused.
Now, when I was a student studying Geography during the 1990's the hot topic of the time was the decline of British farming and how farm diversification was essential to help farmers stay in business (which tended to reduce the chances of them committing suicide too).
My analysis after the last Google update revealed that I relied far too heavily on just one niche. In fact, my situation was made worse because my revenue relied largely on a single set of keywords. I may have been managing several websites which between them covered a variety of topics but most of my income was derived from a relatively focused area within my portfolio.
The conclusion that I reached was that I needed to diversify to survive. Now, many people have told me this in the past but I chose to ignore them as other people had told me to focus on one website rather than spread myself too thin. I always preferred the idea of building a very targeted niche website and making it as good as I possibly good. However, that approach is fraught with danger!
So, what is web diversification? Well, for me it means the following:
- Don't rely on a single website. Divide revenue equally between at least 4 niches and more underlying websites. This should spread the risk should there be another major shake up online.
- For each website work harder to promote very different sections so that should a new competitor encroach in one area other sections maintain traffic levels.
- Diversify the type of information I provide. A combination of breaking news and timeless informational articles can help to provide a healthier balance in your web portfolios.
- Develop a more diverse marketing strategy. I had been relying too heavily on new customers finding my website through Google search. I am now working harder to promote my sites outside of Google. Facebook, Twitter, email marketing and guest posting are becoming more important methods of promotion for me now.
- Diversification of SEO strategy. I never really work hard at SEO, always firmly believing that fresh quality content would always beat the competition. However, after some detailed backlink analysis of competitor websites it became apparent that more links was required. So I am investigating new ways to encourage people to link to my website. This does fit in nicely with increasing traffic from social media - I am literally reaching out to more people and this will hopefully result in some new links.
- Develop new revenue streams. An over-reliance on the web-based advertising revenue model was another downfall. I am now working harder to promote my other services, such as copywriting and pro-blogging, SEO and web design. Also rather than relying on contextual advertising from one business I am looking into marketing my own products more and also looking at long-term partnership opportunities with sponsors.
While I was planning this strategy my thoughts were that this it something that is only suited to the type of website which I manage. However, all businesses should adopt a similar strategy to this.
For long-term growth and stability you must work hard to ensure that you do not have all your eggs in one basket. I am not suggesting that you go out and buy more websites to promote your business, but it is important to remember that if today you are receiving a large bulk of your new business through a website, this could all change one day, and that day could be as soon as the next big Google update or indeed a revolutionary change in social media.
For a bricks and mortar business start looking at your offline marketing strategies. Make sure that you know which local newspapers and magazines provide the best ROI on advertising. Do some leaflet drops, obtain a legal list of new client leads from your local business organization and pick up the phone. Be prepared to change the way you operate to build a varied business model. Widen your client base, expand your marketing reach, consider new product lines. Always ask yourself "what will happen if product A goes out of fashion?".
I believe that content is king and all other SEO comes second. Build an awesome website and write brilliant content first, then your readers will do the SEO work for you.