After the craziness that was day eight, day nine seemed a bit tamer. I still got plenty done, from integrating Chitika Mini Malls into the Blogger site to writing new content for the soon to be live Lactivist web site. I also answered plenty of email from helpful folks who picked up on my no Wordtracker mention in day eight and spent some time adding my domain name to the majority of the products in The Lactivist store.
(If you're just catching up with this series of articles, be sure to swing into the ongoing discussion thread at the Small Business Ideas forum. You'll be able to link to each day's article and participate in the discussion going along with it.)
Back on day eight, I mentioned that I could see traffic coming from MSN and knew that I'd scored some decent rankings so far, but that I wasn't able to log in to Wordtracker to look up data the way that I usually would. While that was true, many readers wrote to point out that there are plenty of alternative tools out there that don't cost anything. They're right, and I should have mentioned that.
Digital Point has a pretty impressive collection of free tools for webmasters, including a keyword suggestion tool and even a backlink tracker. Of course there's also always the Yahoo! Search Term Suggestion tool, but I've never been a fan of it.
What made my choice easy was that David Warmuz of Trellian dropped me an email to offer me a free year's worth of access to their Keyword Discovery tool. This is yet another example of why it's important to put yourself in a position to be able to barter if you aren't able to spend the cash on the things that you need. David likely knew that I'd give him a nice plug in this article, so it was worth it to him to comp me the subscription. I'll talk more about using the tool on day ten.
As far as keywords go though, I noticed another one sending traffic via MSN. This time it was "breastfeeding in public" for which I was now ranking 5th. While MSN still lags behind Yahoo! and Google in terms of popularity, the fact that it's so easy to rank there means that new sites can still see a nice stream of traffic while they wait for indexing in the other two major engines.
I also found out via an email from someone that had purchased a shirt that I had also received a mention on the MSNBC Bloggernecking blog. The nice thing about this email was not only getting the chance to hear from someone that liked my shirts enough to buy them, but also that it finally let me track a sale to its source. That tracking ability is one of the things that pushed me toward the investment in my own domain name.
Building Out the New Lactivist Site
I mentioned on day eight that I'd gotten a site design put together and that I'd talked my husband into building it out as a table-less template for me. What I didn't know was that he'd stay up until 3am getting it finished. This makes a good point though. In the world of shoe-string entrepreneurs and momtreprenuers, spouses play an important role. They do things like pick up dinner or put the kids to bed to make sure that you can meet a deadline. They serve as someone to bounce ideas off of, and they serve as cheerleaders when the going gets a little rough. So, here's a shout-out to all the families of people starting up their businesses, you guys rock!
While I entered day nine with a site template, I still needed to get some content put together. That meant that I needed to write an About Us page, a Contact Us page and a page about milk bank donation that explained what this whole project was about. I was able to pull most of the content from The Lactivist blog to get me started, but I did need to figure out what to put on my Contact Us page.
I decided that it was important to make it clear to people that I was open to selling at quantity discounts in case they wanted to stock my products in their stores. So, I created a special section of the Contact Us page that had information on this project. I created another section that talked about getting in touch with me to setup an affiliate program in case anyone wanted to sell my products via their web site. Finally, I made note that anyone involved in milk bank promotion was welcome to email me to find out how we could setup fund raisers for their local milk bank.
I kept checking in at the domain throughout the day, but the DNS had still not propagated, so everything remained hidden from view. I was feeling pretty anxious to see the site get going because I had been holding off on a link building campaign until I had a proper domain to direct things too.
On day nine, I received notice that my application for Chitika MiniMalls had been accepted. I'd been having nothing but problems with AdSense and AdWords and was nearing my wits end for dealing with them, so having the chance to work with a new contextual ad agency was something I was looking forward to.
I'd written on previous days about the trouble that I had getting AdSense to run properly on my blog and the cafe press store. I'd also written about how after I signed up for my AdSense account, my AdWords account stopped allowing me to login. While that fixed itself after I sent a second email to the AdWords team, it stopped working again the very next day. By now I was about five days into having zero control over my AdWords campaigns and I was feeling pretty frustrated. I did finally get a response back from the team, but their message was infuriating.
They explained that the problem was that I was using the same email address for both logins. Their system couldn't understand that and kept wanting to send me to the newest account, which was AdSense. Their suggestion was to change the email address associated with my AdWords account so that the problem no longer existed. There were just two problems.
1.) I'd signed up with the same account at both places because I'd read repeatedly that Google was in the process of forcing all of their customers to use a single login (their Gmail account) for all programs offered by Google. Since I was starting from scratch this campaign, I figured I'd put everything under the same name. Apparently I'm ahead of the game though, which was kind of annoying.
2.) The obvious problem here is that I can't get into my AdWords account to reset my email address. I resisted the temptation to email them back with "duh" in a large font and instead sent a note to the AdSense team asking them to change my login there. We'll see what happens in a future article.
Chitika on the other hand was pretty easy to run. I simply visited their eMiniMalls Code page, selected the size ad that I wanted, entered some keywords (baby, maternity, nursing and medela) and setup a few channels. I then cut and pasted the content into the code of The Lactivist Blog, The Lactivist Store and a few pages of the soon to exist lactivist web site. Within a few minutes I had highly targeted product ads running on all of the sites.
Promoting Myself Further
I ended the day thinking about the sudden spat of sales I'd had in the last twenty-four hours. I hoped that if people asked my customers about their shirts, that they would tell them where to buy some, but I also knew that few people would take the time to say "go to Cafe Press and search for The Lactivist store." So, I created a new graphic that had the new domain name on it and added it to the back of every breastfeeding advocacy shirt in my store.
Hopefully this will help get viral marketing moving as my products start to show up out there in the community. No sense wasting free advertising space, right?
By then, it was time to call it a day. I hadn't gotten nearly as much accomplished as I would have liked, but I'd spent three hours driving back to Columbus from Youngstown and had hosted a pot-luck for my small group that evening, so time had been limited. Since day eight had been a super productive day, I decided to cut myself some slack and head to bed.
Coming up in day ten, I do a little bit of keyword research, write some more content and find out what it's like to try and put time into your business when both I, and my one year old come down with nasty colds, reminding me of the rule that there are no sick days when you work for yourself.
Jump to Day ten.
(Want to read the entire 30 Day article series at once? Download the free 30 Day ebook!)
November 18, 2005
Jennifer Laycock is the Editor of Search Engine Guide, the Social Media Faculty Chair for MarketMotive and offers small business social media strategy & consulting. Jennifer enjoys the challenge of finding unique and creative ways to connect with consumers without spending a fortune in marketing dollars. Though she now prefers to work with small businesses, Jennifer’s clients have included companies like Verizon, American Greetings and Highlights for Children.
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