Link Bait, Content and Legal Stuff – Day 9 of COWpetition

Written by Jason Katzenback on May 30th, 2008
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Now that our blog is installed with the proper theme and plug ins, we need to start putting everything in order.

With a new blog, a huge mistake that a lot of marketers make is they focus all their initial energy entirely on the index page, this is where they target the majority of their links and optimization. This is not an effective viral launch strategy and we can prove that by pointing you to sites like digg.com and stumbleupon… how many diggs or stumbles are actually linking to the index page of a blog… VERY FEW!

Part 1: Link Bait

With a brand new blog, your focus, in our opinion, should be on creating what is referred to as a “Link Bait” page. When we first create our blog, it is our usual strategy to have it completely non monetized and focusing all its attention initially on the “Link Bait” page for the first 30 days. We usually do not monetize the blog initially as we have proven to our selves that it increases link building effectiveness (people are more willing to link to a new site that offers just good info rather then to one that is hammered with ads). Another reason we use this strategy is a blog is usually not starting to earn revenue for the first few weeks because the traffic is not really at a point to where it is worth while and in our opinion it is better to sacrifice a few dollars in potential ad revenue to get more back links.

The other reason for not monetizing is we want to finish analyzing the keywords with Affiliate Elite to understand what our focus keywords for making money need to be and then we want to start creating the content focused on monetization (affiliate stuff).

With GamerzReviewz we did not follow this strategy of not monetizing the blog due to the fact that we only have 30 days and we do not have time to come in later and start testing different things (you will notice the ad placements have already changed a few times as we are testing them) but it is highly recommended that you do not monetize your site during the initial launch phase.

So with the Link Bait page, the focus is to provide something that is very attractive to others and entices them to not only link to that page but also share it with others. So many times we have seen people submit a generic article or the homepage to sites like digg and then they cry that the system does not work. Well no kidding it does not work when you are submitting useless information that is not exciting to the readers. Who would ever digg a PLR (private label right) article or something some outsourced help in India wrote that cant speak a word of English but qualifies as a Elance.com writer.

A tag cloud with terms related to Web 2.

Image via Wikipedia

You need to understand that with the evolving internet and Web 2.0 (actually some are even saying Web 3.0 now :roll: ) the real power is in using solid Link Bait content with the social sites. The best way we can describe this is it is like pulling the string on a kite to try to get it into the air, when you pull hard on the string the kite jumps up into the air… but then what?

This is when the wind MUST take over and lift the kite into the clouds or else it crashes back down to the ground.

When you submit content to social outlets, if the content is garbage, then the initial boast you give it will be all that it has, and once the initial promotion stops, the content will drop like rock. On the other hand however, if your content is worthwhile, then others will grab onto it and your link growth will explode.

How to Make a Link Bait Page:

A Link Bait page can really be anything you want. It can be…

  • an article
  • a song
  • an image
  • a video
  • a contest
  • software
  • or anything else you can think of.

The idea however is it must be something worth while so people will want to link to it and share it with others.

A great article that gives some good detail on creating a “Link Bait” page, is at…

http://www.blogstorm.co.uk/linkbait-beginners-guide/

For our site we needed something that we knew would cause a lot of buzz and offer a lot of value to the potential buyer of this blog in the long run. Back links of course are very valuable but have a mailing list is much more valuable and so we needed something that could accomplish both goals and therefore we decided on a contest that would require contestants to provide us with both emails and links. We wanted to ensure that we targeted people that were in the gaming market and offered something we know that the majority of them would love to win and so we offered a new gaming system. The problem is when you have a contest, often people do not want to share about it because they want to win and the more they share the less chances they have to win. To counter this we made it so there was a worth while incentive to not only opt in to the mailing list but also share about the contest with others.

You can check out our “Link Bait” contest page at…

http://www.gamerzreviewz.com/contests/win-a-ps3-xbox360-or-wii-with-gamerzreviewz/

One last point on “Link Bait”… make the page easy to read and come alive. Put some images in it if you can, make sure to bold certain points and even blockquote a really important point or two. It is also important that you keep the paragraphs to no more then 3 sentences each… this makes the content easier to read.

Part 2: Start Posting Your Content

Now it is time to start adding some of your content. The purpose of this content is to just give some food to the search engines while your site is getting started. We are not going to promote the site yet, we are just wanting to add the content.. we still have to fix up the navigation. Also if you just had one page (your link bait), it is not much for the search engines to bother with and also your readers will be pretty turned off, because you will not appear much of an authority on the topic. You want to appear as some what of an established site

In the previous post we talked about creating content and so we are not going to go into any more details on it here.

Once you have your initial content (at the bare minimum start with at least 15 unique posts), you will add them as individual posts to your blog. Make sure to organize the posts into categories and rename the default category to something that relates to your site.

Part 3 – Update Your Blog Theme

This is very important because it helps to make your blog recognizable for the niche you are pursuing. Often people just use a WordPress free theme and leave the images that are included and so you may have a city scene for the top banner on a blog about “Back Pain”.. not really a good idea.

The first step (if your blog has a header image) is to update this header image… which is very easy to do.

Step 1 - Mouse over the image and right click your mouse. The image more then likely will be a background image, so select “View Background Image”

Step 2 - Now right click on the image and save to your computer. You will also want to note where the image is located because you are going to upload to that same location on your server. An example of the location is…

http://www.yourblog.com/wp-content/themes/yourtheme/images/header.jpg

Step 3 - Edit the header image, keeping the original size and include some images that relate to your topic.

Step 4 - Upload the image to over write the original.

Now it is time to start setting your blog up to get ready to go live.

Part 4 – Updating Your “About Us” Page

The “About Us” page is an often ignored and under used page that really is something that helps build a lot of credibility with your site. This is especially true when it comes to trying to sell to people because you need to ensure you create a sense of trust with the readers by either explaining your qualifications or by relating to them.

There are two ways we go about creating an “About Us” page…

  • Talk about the Person: If you are interested in building yourself as an authoritative person in this field then this is a perfect place to create a resume of sorts. Explain why you created this blog, what the blog is for, why you are an authoritative source for information in this niche and maybe a little bit of personal info like where you are from and also add a picture of yourself.
  • Talk about the Site: If you are not interested in personally being known as the author of the blog (branding your name) then instead of talking about the person behind it you can focus on the blog directly. We still recommend you include an image on the page. For this type of page you will want to stick to the facts of the blog only, what it is created for, where they should go on it, what they can expect from it and why it is a resource they should use.

How to Create the “About Us” Page…

Step 1 –> Click on “Manage” and then “Pages”

You do not need to create a new page here since WordPress automatically created the about page right off the start.

Step 2 –> Click on the page titled “About Us”

Editing a page is no different than a post, the only thing is you do not assign a category.

Step 3 –> Once you have created the page, you will want to shut the comments “OFF”. Simply scroll down to the “Comments & Pings” and un-check the boxes and then select “Save” button.

Part 5 – Creating a Privacy, Terms of Use and Disclaimer Page

We think that often people look at the Internet as a “personal” item and that our blogs are our own private things that we can safely share with others. The sad thing however is this is 100% not true and there are thousands of rouge lawyers out there just waiting for the perfect opportunity to pounce of some poor unsuspecting victim.

The best way to protect yourself from this is first and foremost, seek legal counsel on anything you are not sure of. Next you will want to make sure you use content that you have legal rights to use, meaning you created it and have the permission to use it… this includes images, videos and articles.

You also want to ensure you have the proper legal documents on your blog such as a “Privacy Policy”, “Terms of Use” and “Disclaimer”. These are extremely important because they clearly lay out the who, what, when, why and how that surrounds your site so you can be protected.

There are a lot of sources you can use to create these pages that are both free and paid. Do not just copy and paste something from another site, make sure to get a custom one for your business and we personally recommend the “Internet Lay Compliance System” which does cost money but it covers you from A to Z.

To create these pages, you will simply create pages in your blog.

Step 1 –> Go to “Write” and then “Page”

Step 2 –> Create the individual page and then make sure (like the about us page) you shut off the comments and pings.

step 3 –> Click “Publish”

OK, we think this is enough for this post… we actually have loads more but we will break this into another post in which we talk about navigation, call to action and the robots.txt

Hope you found this post useful and as always please give us your feedback, comments or questions :)

If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed!

25 Responses to “Link Bait, Content and Legal Stuff – Day 9 of COWpetition”

  1. John Cow dot ComLink Bait, Content and Legal Stuff – Day 9 of COWpetitionPosted: 30 May 2008 09:52 PM CDT

  2. Luke says:

    Your link bait page is messed up in firefox – the sidebar starts at the bottom of the content.

  3. Your advice here is exactly what I am experiencing. I made the commitment, as you do (since I am in a long haul business building mode, not sell the blog in 30 days mode), to devote the first 30 days to developing the blog content and link bait. I tossed in a few book reviews with my Amazon affiliate info in it just to experiment. Looking at my stats, here’s what I can report for my first month:

    1. My link bait has been picked up by dozens of sites and it was the second highest ranking viewed page on my site by just a few views. I get stready traffic from it from sites I never added it to, so it’s starting to get viral.

    2. The highest ranking? My “About Me” page! I even wrote last night’s post about it because I was so surprised.

    This stuff works. I even had a few people buy the Amazon recommendation, so that money spout will work too, once I can concentrate on pushing up the overall traffic. I don’t think I did as good as you say I should for posting links other than my home page—I will work on that to improve it.

    Thanks for the solid advice. Much appreciated!

    Together, we are stronger.
    Vicki Flaugher, the original SmartWoman

    Vicki Flaughers last blog post..How Does Your “About Me” Page Look?

  4. This helps me out a lot. I have a blog with 80 subscribers and another with 51 so this really allows me to start link baiting which i had not really done before.

    Thanks COW- maybe if you wanted to take a look, my biz page is here

    lawton chiless last blog post..Links for 2008-05-29 [del.icio.us]

  5. bryan says:

    Did your designers take vacation on this theme? I was looking forward to another great JohnCow design, but the site is all kinds of jacked up. The footer is cut off, the sidebar layers are all out of whack and the header doesn’t look good at all.

    I know that you are in the middle of a competition and only have 30 days to get rolling, but I think some more time should’ve been spent on the design. I’m pulling for you guys to get the win, so I hope that the aesthetics of the theme don’t kill you. Good Luck Cow.

    bryans last blog post..MMA Fans Rejoice – CBS to Air EliteXC

    • John Cow says:

      OK, we have looked in firefox, ie7 and opera… and everything looks fine. We are not seeing the issues you mention… if you could take a screen shot of what you see we would appreciate it. We are looking at it from multiple computers and browsers and everything looks good.

      As for the header, we actually received a few compliments on it so it comes down to eye of the beholder. It is not what we originally wanted but time is an issue and this was an unplanned contest that we are trying to shuffle into the rest of what we have. We actually thinkt it is cool how the header changes depending on the gaming console the review was about :mrgreen:

      • Bryan says:

        I was referring to the one on the main page, because I hadn’t seen the linkbait one yet. On the link bait page there’s definitely some CSS issues (probably padding or width) with the sidebar in Safari. Firefox the sidebar is positioned as it should be.

        The header image looks rushed to me. As you said it’s a matter of opinion, but it just doesn’t exude that JC look. The header is the first thing your readers see and should blow away your readers. I’ve completely pimped out the Milk-It Theme and get compliments daily on my header. Once I saw JohnCow.com I had to make my site look as good if not better…I think I came pretty close.

        The adbox issue I was talking about is more of a graphical issue (not programming). It’s probably just how you wanted it to show up, but it’s different from JC.com so it caught my eye.

        Bryans last blog post..MMA Fans Rejoice – CBS to Air EliteXC

      • John Cow says:

        You know… your right… we are going to get the header re done… it was rushed.

        We have had good feedback from a few readers on teh game review blog but we do agree with you on this one… thanks for pointing it out.

      • Bryan says:

        Milking Masters…I have sent you an email regarding the header.

        Bryans last blog post..MMA Fans Rejoice – CBS to Air EliteXC

  6. Amy says:

    I have to agree about the header. It’s terrible. The rest of the blog is coming along nicely, though. Change that header! :oops:

  7. Richard says:

    Great, filled out lots of the blanks I had in my mind. Now time to get to work. I wonder WHAT ELSE WILL YOU WRITE ABOUT? Seems like you covered a lot ;-)

    Cheers,
    Richard

  8. jeric says:

    This will prove to be a helpful site for blogging neophytes like me. Thanks for the generous info and the inspiring comments.

    jerics last blog post..Writers love Coffee … and Wi-fi Coffee Shops

  9. Roo says:

    Just a simple question for you: Can anything on Digg become popular on Digg itself? Or does it only get “dugg” after a ton of Diggs from users on your own site?

  10. JK Swopes says:

    This makes a lot of sense, good piece of info to have for future uses.

    JK Swopess last blog post..A Blogger We All Know and Adore has Fallen Ill

  11. klamor says:

    Interesting article regarding updating blog theme, goog stuff

  12. Tom B says:

    Great article! this “link bait” idea wasn’t new to me, but you just made it clear how much it is important. Thanks. And btw you go in such details, that your article is adapted for dummies :)

    Tom Bs last blog post..Plan #2

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  14. Sarah says:

    I’m from Germany and I was wondering about the following:

    If one hosted a blog on a server in the US (like dreamhost or hostgator) and made money by selling ad space and an affiliate programm – would he/she have to disclose their full contact information in the Terms of Use?

    Because, if you host a website here in Germany and make any sort of money from it, you have to disclose your full name and an actual address (as opposed to a P.O. Box) on the site. We also can’t get WhoIs Privacy Protection if we use a German registrar. Which makes hosting in Germany not very attractive – what if one writes something controversial (controversial, not illegal) and next thing you know, some crazy person waits for you in front of your house?

    I’d be really grateful if you could shed light on that!