Web Design and SEO

Month: September 2010

An SEO Experiment – What Is Mesothelioma?

Someone asked me not long ago what would be a really good strategy for building an MFA site.  Personally I have never liked them. I think they make the Internet a NOT-better place.  But I knew this was someone who wasn’t planning on launching thousands of lame sites so I indulged.

Me: What is your domain that you want to do adsense on?

Them: Oh, I don’t have one yet. I was wondering what domain I should go get.

Me: Ok, do you care what subject your site is on?

Them: No, not really. I mean as long as it’s not porn or illegal or something like that.

Me: Ok, I would start out by researching the value of the ads that your site will be placing.  You need your site to naturally rank for the keywords that your advertisers will be targeting.  Let’s do a quick search.  (searching…) Ok, here’s a good list.  Number 1 keyword: Mesothelioma.  Do you know what mesothelioma is?

Them: No idea.

Me: Mesothelioma is a cancer that is caused by asbestos.  There was a few big class action lawsuits a while back and basically if you come down with mesothelioma you can get a big chunk of this money.  Lawyers are dying to get in front of you if you have mesothelioma so they are paying big bucks to get that keyword.  See, look at this. Keyword number 3 “What is Mesothelioma” They’re spending $50 a click to get that keyword.  Now keep in mind, they are probably not paying for non-Google domain searches.  That means that your won’t be getting the $50 clicks on your site. But that’s still a pretty good indicator.

Them: So let’s say I want to have my site be about mesothelioma.

Me: Ok, so next thing you want is to see if you can get a domain with one of these keywords in the domain.  So let’s see what’s available… wow, look at that! is available.  A .biz is no .com but still, that’s a pretty good domain.

Them: Ok register it right now before someone steals it.

Me: Oh you must have done this before on GoDaddy and come back the next day to get the domain that you wanted just to see that someone else had registered it hours after you had looked it up.

Them: Yeah. How did you know?

Me: I’ve heard that story many times.  That’s why I don’t use GoDaddy. (typing and clicking…)  Ok, so now it’s registered.  You have two choices at this point.  You can either develop your own unique content (which is better) or you can just put up a page with links and some easy copied mesothelioma stuff and not worry about it any more.

Them: I think I’ll develop my own content.  How do I do that?

Me: First, go research Mesothelioma.  Make a list of sites you want to link to.  Make your own notes and write some unique content about it.  I’ll setup a WordPress blog and you can just come add content when ever you want.

So the story doesn’t end there.  The site cleared the sandbox in less than 2 weeks.  It got its first real visitor about 3 weeks later.  And finally 2 months later it’s ranking for the keyword “What is Mesothelioma”.  Granted, it’s on page 31 but it’s still ranking.  With less than a total of 5 hours of work on it.  And it’s getting clicks.  It’s best click so far has been $2.94. That’s not too bad but you can’t make a living on it without traffic.  Now we’ll just see how much it really gets.

**Note: I also recommend going through the process of measuring potential traffic. We just didn’t happen to do it on this experement.

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RAD (Rapid Application Development) with WordPress

I can hear the developers screaming for my head on a platter already and I haven’t even began to explain.  Please sit down and put away the pitchforks, I think it’ll make sense.

WordPress is not a development platform. It’s a blogging platform, right? Right. It’s also pretty flexible.  With a little creativity it can do a lot.

Screenshot of the WordPress 2.9 adminstration
WordPress Admin Screen

I’m not going to suggest that you could use it for most web applications but I just had an idea Monday, and today it’s live in WordPress, for the most part anyway.

The Story:

I have always run into times when I wanted a page printed out with some sort of lines or graph or something that Iknow I could buy at Office Depot but I only want 3 copies of it so I sit down and crank it out in Illustrator in about 5 minutes.  I have amassed quite the collection over the years.  Then Monday my son brought some blank sheet music home from piano lessons and I caught myself thinking “hmmm, I could have created that in like 3 minutes.”  Then I looked closer.  It had a web address on it.  His teacher had just gone tothis website and printed out the paper templates for free. In less than 3 minutes I’ll wager too.

The Development: (and I use that term loosely here)

So that got me thinking… “Why couldn’t I take all my paper templates and launch a similar site.  I would like it to have the ability for random people to come submit their designs too.  But I want it to be a kind of community site, not a shopping cart.  And I want contributors to be able to just upload their stuff.  And why not run adsense on it to see if I could get it to make a little money.  Hey, I could do all those things in WordPress.  Right?  Yeah, I think I could.”

So I did it, I say down for 2 hours and did it all; register the domain, setup the host, install WordPress, install an appropriate theme, install some necessary plugins, setup a twitter account.  And presto, I have a new site where people can come contribute their paper templates and anyone can come download and print them for free.  In one night.  I’d call that rapid wouldn’t you?

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