So I decided to start a new personal website. I bought the domain on 20th July, and uploaded my files to the server a couple days later. After an initial short introductory post, a second one about a travel blogger, without any link building efforts, my website rexkiss.com moved up pretty steadily within two weeks.
I thought it would make an interesting case study for most of you so I am going to share the details of how I set up my website, my blog, and how I acquired those few links that I have now. I will also show some analytics and will try to draw some conclusions based on the data that I found. Let me point out that I didn’t use any spammy SEO tactics in the process at all. Here is a screenshot of some of the metrics of my site on the seoQuake bar:
Here is a screenshot of my metrics in Open Site Explorer as well, but as you can see their index hasn’t crawled my site yet so they have nothing to show, except for some social metrics:
Let me also start by saying that I am a link builder and SEO consultant at Higher Click (Awesome inbound marketing agency based in Budapest), so I enjoy some authority that I built to my Twitter account through tons of guest posting, just some examples:
Notice how I have a link to my twitter account in the byline of the articles? When I started link building about 6 months ago, i didn’t know yet that placing my twitter handle there would well be a major factor in getting authority in such a short period of time, without ranking for any keyword in the search results, little traffic and content (13 pages), and 5 (five) backlinks. So here is a flashback of the past 3 weeks leading up to writing this post:
I decided to avoid WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) editors like Dreamweaver during development and coded the HTML structure and CSS styles by hand, because I just found it fascinating how creative one can get by using just a text editor. So I learned a lot about structuring HTML, CSS and a bit of jQuery along the way, and ended up using HTML5 Boilerplate for the basic framework. Huge props to Paul Irish, lead developer of HTML5 boilerplate, head of Google Chrome development (the Matt Cutts of web development so to speak), who I think is a pure genius, and you should totally follow his tweets and read his blog, because he knows his shit and has a great presentation style.
You might well be aware that HTML5 Boilerplate includes a ton of cross-browser normalization, performance optimizations, and even optional features like cross-domain Ajax and Flash. A starter apache .htaccess config file hooks me up with caching rules and preps my website to serve HTML5 video, use @font-face, and lots of other sweetness. See complete list of features here: http://html5boilerplate.com/html5boilerplate-site/built/en_US/docs/usage/.
Some people say that design doesnt really matter and the text should stand out on its own, but I wanted to make sure that on my personal website everything lines up and looks great visually as well. It might also help my bounce rate and average time spent on my site, so why not make the effort? Here is the simple, yet elegant end result of the home page:
After finishing up the main design with Sublime Text, I headed over to media temple and bought my domain, rexkiss.com, which was available, probably because there is no other Rex-Kiss in the world other than my family.
The Blog on WordPress
So I registered the domain, uploaded my main website to my server, and I picked up wordpress to set up the blog section of my site. I got some initial advice from inbound marketing ninja Jordan Fried, I installed a basic Twitter bootstrap theme and worked the CMS a bit until the style matched up with my main site nicely:
I installed some basic plugins (listed some of them in my first post) and some additional ones like:
Content and On-Page Specifics
I have a basic home page, a resumé section, an about page with approximately 4 paragraphs of text, a ’contact me’ page and the blog section on WordPress. Since the date of my domain registration I posted two articles on my blog which were a short introductory blog post, and an also very short inspirational piece on a presentation done by Johnny Ward, a highly motivational travel blogger. This is it, I have no other content on my site as of yet. (except for this post).
Links and Off-page Stuff
As I pointed out before, I haven’t built any links to my site since I started, so that means no spammy stuff, no guest posting, no commenting and definitely no buying of links. The few links that I do have are the following:
My author profile page on the Higher Click website
A profile page on Blogdash, a personal guest posting outreach tool similar to MyBlogGuest
An editorial link from a friend of mine who runs an Olympic sports blog in Hungarian: http://lesipuska.postr.hu/zoldites-fullentettek-az-olimpia-szervezoi
It looks like the Livefyre commenting system that I installed on WordPress creates some dofollow backlinks once somebody makes a comment on a post, like this page for example: http://www.livefyre.com/profile/5152827/. It’s a pretty neat feature, but I don’t think that these links carry much value considering the authority of the Livefyre profile page.
Analytics and Traffic
As you can see, so far I barely got any traffic over the short yet promising life of my website – I only have a small bump at the time of my first blog posts, and that is pretty much it.
I linked my social profiles like Facebook, Twitter and Google+ profiles to my site, naturally. And due to all the links that i got to my twitter account from guest posting, it delivers quite a lot of
link equity to rexkiss.com – even though I have a little over a hundred followers (how lame:-)) I am quite certain that the authority of my Twitter acount is the main reason why my site jumped so much in such a short time period. Over the past five to six months I have built over 40-50 links to my account through guest posting, most of them coming from high authority domains.
Conclusion and Takeaways
Getting authority doesn’t require hundreds of links like people think, because reaching a reasonable level of authority can be done with simple SEO optimized everyday internet tasks. Social may be a good reason for getting that authority in my case, even without a concrete link building strategy in mind. I find it interesting that from the company Twitter profiles that I have seen, only about 35% of them link it to their website, easily overlooking the power that social signals can have. If you think that I may have overlooked something, or that authority might be attributed to something totally different, let me know in the comments, and share it around so that others can benefit from it!
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