Despite being in affiliate marketing since 1996, there are still quite a few basic things that surprisingly I’ve never dealt with. One of those is revamping a dead website.
By “dead”, I mean a website that I started and then simply neglected. Maybe I didn’t see any potential in the website, or I got busy with higher priority websites – or I just got lazy, and completely forgot about it. The website may have been ranking initially, however due to neglect it dropped down the rankings until it received practically no traffic.
It could be due to Panda. It could be due to Penguin. But really – most of the time it’s due to the website simply being low quality, and not deserving of high rankings anyway.
I’ve got quite a few websites like that – probably 10-15 of them to be honest. Some of them – meh, they didn’t do well when they were ranking anyway and don’t have potential, so I’ll shut them down and 301 them to a more successful site. But there are still quite a few of them where I know the potential is there and if I can get them ranking again then they can do very well.
Of course – the generally accepted advice post Panda/Penguin is that if you have a dead website, it’s best to deindex it, then start up an entirely new website. So I decided to attempt to revamp a dead website, and get an idea of how it will work. I also decided to write the steps I take in revamping it, and every few weeks I’ll post progress reports.
The website I am going to go with is http://www.PlayRoulette.org.
Status of the Site Pre-Revamp:
The website was initially launched in February 2011. It had a pretty slick casino portal design to it as shown below:
However the content for the most part was weak. There was about 30 articles, with most very low in content. 500 was usually the top number with some articles being as low as 100 words. The SEO structure was a bit embarrassing in retrospect with some very nauseating keyword stuffing.
It never really ranked for the main keywords, instead for longtails and floating around the bottom of page 1 on a good day. It would get highs of around 50 unique visits per day. It did still manage to get a fair amount of conversions. However in March 2012 traffic completely dropped:
There’s no point showing you the rest of the graph because it’s completely and utterly null. Zero traffic in 2 years. The specific date of the drop from 20 uniques per day to 0 was around March 4th-5th 2012. There was a small Panda update on February 27th, 2012 so it could be due to that.
Either way – the site deserved to go down. After the intial launch of content we did NOTHING on it. Not one article added in one year. Insane. Especially when it was making money – there was no reinvestment plan whatsoever. So yeah – I’m glad it went down because it didn’t deserve to be part of the rankings.
Here are the steps I have taken to revamp the website.
Step #1: What Is My Aim With This Website?
This is a simple one – but something a lot of people miss out on. What is your long term goals? Thankfully I’m in a position where I can take things slow and am able to keep things simple. So I decided to go for a very broad goal – to make PlayRoulette.org the most comprehensive and informative website there is when it comes to Roulette.
If it makes money great – if it ranks, great. But my initial aim was to make it the best website out there – something worth sharing and linking to for players in Roulette.
Step #2: Content Planning, Goal Setting and Writing.
I like to go absolutely crazy when it comes to planning out content. The problem with the initial launch was that there was no set plan for the website. We wrote a bunch of articles and yeah – that was it. No monthly quota, no daily schedule – nothing. So it was time to get that sorted.
First we sifted through a whole bunch of resources to come up with as many content ideas as possible including:
- Our own ideas
- Talking to friends who play roulette
- Checking out other roulette websites
- Using Keyword Planner and other Keyword related software
- Using data from existing websites
- Yahoo Answers and similar websites
- Reading over 50 books or ebooks dedicated to casinos or roulette
- Going through over 30 online casinos to see what they have to offer
And that’s just some of the ideas. This took place over a week, and gave us about 2000 article ideas.
Then we whittled it down. We figured out what we wanted for launch. We decided on 4 categories, with 10 articles in each. So 40 articles plus the category hub pages. We deviated slightly from that due to existing content that needed a new home – but that just meant we went over the targeted quota.
Next we set up a long term plan. There are three of us working on the website so we decided to contribute 1 article per week each. That means after one year we’ll have about 200 articles, right on track for being one of the highest quality Roulete websites out there. Not bad for what is about 30 minutes work per week each – less if we outsource.
We set up goals for what content would be written both for launch, and then initially. Planning section by section, and this allowed us to figure out our page structure.
Then we got to writing all of the launch content.
Step #3: A New Design
I loved the design we had, but when you are revamping something, you always want a fresh perspective. So we decided to go with a new design.
Not knowing how this website will do, we want with the very reliable design that I use at BookSeriesInOrder.com. This design is great for both navigation and conversion, is very customizable and supports both small websites and large websites. Perfect.
Here is a screenshot of the completed design set up for PlayRoulette:
There are still some tweaks to be done but those are minor and purely for aesthetic reasons.
Step #4: Priorities
As I noted above – this is all long-term, and the initial goal is being the best roulette website out there. So for the design and content we established priorities. Priority #1 is providing the most informative website and content out there. If we get sign-ups great; but our aim would be to push the website first. That’s not for everyone – but it’s always best to establish priorities as it helps you write a lot more, and it also helps you in regard to the content you are writing.
For example – if affiliate income was #1 priority, then I’d push articles like “Best Roulette for Americans”, “Best Roulette for Tablets” etc etc. But it wasn’t – so it allowed us to write more informative articles like talking about various betting systems, or providing a list of casinos that offer Roulette in Edmonton.
Step #5: Launch
Lot of technical and boring stuff here. I’ll just provide it in order of what we did:
- Remove existing content. Preserve sitemap and content locally.
- Do any backend stuff required, such as necessary plugins, geo-targeting database set up etc.
- Upload all new content.
- Organize the front page, setting the design up better, making necessary changes, adding sliders and some basic widgets as well as all navigation.
- Go through each article, making sure it all looks good and adding screenshots where appropriate and fixing any errors such as HTML, as well as optimizing on-page SEO.
- Go through pre-revamp content, making sure it is covered on the site already. If it was, I’d look at adding the content where appropriate to further expand the page. If it wasn’t, I’d rewrite it to adhere to our new quality guidelines. Wow – that sounds so professional for someone who did all this whle in his boxer shorts.
- Write content for all category pages. Screw dynamic pages. Never liked them.
- Do a few more minor design changes as after looking at the site for a couple of days, you really start to see stuff that can be improved on.
- 301 all of the old urls to the new urls.
- Run Xenu on the website to check for any broken links, and fix where appropriate.
- Test all geo-targeting.
- Make sure accurate Analytics code.
- Go through Webmaster Tools and remedy any 404 errors.
- Clean up any bad links.
And yeah – that covers the majority of my last couple of days technical wise. Then it was a case of content revision – making a list of our current amount of content per category, then aiming for a set target(20 articles in each of the 6 categories) before our next planning session.
That’s PlayRoulette.org revamped. It’s got a fresh new design, it’s a lot better than before quality wise, and will progress further week by week.
One thing I haven’t done yet is focus on off-page SEO, and I won’t really bother with that at this time. I’m going to wait till the website is better quality wise first before doing that. I’ll also want to pay attention to the rankings. If it starts to bump up then I’ll start looking into that to assist it in climbing up the rankings.
And if it doesn’t? If it stays as dead as it is, despite the fact that it’s an actual quality website?
Then it was an extremely valuable lesson learned. The time I’ve put into this is nothing compared to the time it’d take me to revamp all my other websites. And I’ll just shut ‘er down, wait a month and then open up under a new name.
Hopefully next time, it won’t land on Double Zero.