I’ve built over 100 websites in the last few years. It’s at the point where I’ve did it so often, you’d assume I could do it in my sleep.
You’d be wrong.
Over the past few months, I’ve been working on a new website, and to be completely honest it’s just been one disaster after the other – all because of me, and mistakes that I have made. The way I’ve went about this, it’s like I’ve tried my hardest to get as little search engine results as possible, and trying to make life harder for the likes of Googlebot and Bingbot to index my sites.
Not exactly the plan I had in mind!
So back in January 2009, I had an idea for a website similar to Yahoo Answers, except it would deal specifically with a gambling niche. I had a bunch of content written for it, however I could never find the time to get the website together, with so many other projects on the go. After my programmer came with me to the Budapest Affiliate Conference, he decided he wanted to be an affiliate. I told him about this idea which he loved, he signed up as my sub-affiliate and soon after PokerQuestions.net was born.
Every day, I was hassling my programmer with e-mails. Things he was doing wrong. Things he could be doing better. Eventually he told me I had to stop – quite rightly too – he would learn from his own mistakes, and be a better affiliate in the process for it.
However looking at his site, it just made me wanted to create my own website. So after much thought, I decided to go for a similar site but in the casino niche, and casinoquestions.org was born.
Although it wouldn’t last long.
In December of 2009 the plans went into place for CasinoQuestions.org. It was a month of hard work, and then I literally launched the website 20 minutes before I got on my plane to go to the London Affiliate Conference, with the site launching January 28th at 4:20am.
A week later, I changed my mind. I’d did some market research on the topic, and I realized I had made an error: the website is Yahoo ANSWERS. The core of the site is ANSWERS, not questions. People have questions, we have ANSWERS.
Answers, answers, answers.
So I picked up CasinoAnswers.org. I tried to buy CasinoAnswers.com but wasn’t prepared to pay $3k for it, as I didn’t really think I was building a brand, and that I would be relying solely on the SERPS.
We switched over from CasinoQuestions.org to CasinoAnswers.org. You ever tried to move a site over? It’s meant to be nice and easy. It’s not. When I did the switchover, CasinoQuestions.org had over 40 pages indexed in Google and Bing.
Now switching a website should be simple. You 301 redirect everything from the old URL to the new URL. You can even tell Google in Webmaster Tools that the website is moving to a new URL.
A few weeks later, it’s still a bit of a disaster. All the pages from CasinoQuestions.org are indexed in Google, even though I’ve actually REMOVED the pages from the website and sitemap, and forwarded everything to CasinoAnswers.org. Bing is even better – CasinoQuestions.org isn’t indexed anymore. But you know what is? CasinoAnswers.org/sitemap.xml. Yep, that’s it. They indexed my sitemap and that’s it. Search the phrase “casinoanswers.org” in Bing and you’ll see exactly what I mean.
Of course, this mess gets even worse.
Work on the site was going great. We were getting tons of hits, and conversions. Over 60,000 words of beautiful unique content within just a couple of weeks. We added a review section, and have some amazing ideas for it. Flash games, translated into different languages – the works.
I was building a brand.
And when you build a brand, you really want the .com.
So I sucked it up yesterday, and purchased the CasinoAnswers.com domain. Shoutout to the awesome guys at Gambling Domains BTW – Robert was fantastic, dealt with everything so promptly, and it took a mere matter of hours for me to gain ownership of it.
So yeah, now I have to go through the hassle of moving the site over, getting any links changed, and praying the search engines see the transition go as smoothly as possible.
So, what have I learned from this little adventure? What morals of this story can you guys take away?
Learn from your mistakes.
Actually, that’s completely incorrect. Have I made mistakes? Yes. However is there anything I can really learn from them? The first mistake was thinking “Questions”, not “Answers”. But it really wasn’t until the site was live, and I was able to look at the site, where I realized that needed to be changed.
How about the whole .org to .com fiasco? Well quite simply – I didn’t know I was building a brand. It wasn’t until the weeks went on, that I realized I was building the type of site that should be a huge brand, so it wasn’t a mistake in turning the .com down initially, because everything I had planned for the site would have worked for the .org.
No, what you should take away from this article is:
Admit Your Mistakes & Patience is a Virtue.
I could have went for months with the CasinoQuestions.org domain, or the CasinoAnswers.org domain. But you know what? I realized I had made mistakes, I admitted them to myself, and I went about rectifying them. By doing that, I put myself in a much more positive mindset every step of the way. Now when I am working on the site, I’m not thinking in the back of my head “I really should have changed this site to Casino Answers”, or “I really wish I had the .com”. I’m 100% focused on making the best damn site possible for my target market, and that is the most important thing. No second guessing – just plain hard work with a positive thought process.
The other thing you need to take away from this is that patience is a virtue. I learnt from the switch from CasinoQuestions.org to CasinoAnswers.org that the world won’t right itself immediately – hell, CasinoQuestions.org is still indexed in Google one month later.
I know that the next two months, especially related to the search engines, are going to be a bumpy road. I’m expecting that, and so I quite simply won’t concern myself with it. No need to check stats every day, or check Google every 5 minutes to see how things are ranking. There’s going to be problems – I know that, I’m aware of that, and I expect that.
So I’ll let the search engines figure it out themselves(although I’ll help them along the way of course!). And I’ll spend my time doing what everyone should be doing – focusing on making the best damn site possible.
Now help the search engines out by giving a link to Casino Answers!