Clare and I have recently started the latest round of website promotion. Periodically I get a bee in my bonnet about optimising our website and increasing traffic. We pay Lizzie for this sort of work as well, but as she says, she can do so much, but the tools she uses are generated by the elbow grease that Clare and I put in.
For example, our blog postings and newsletters are all part of the process. We have to write them, Lizzie uses them to optimise traffic to the main site. You can’t have Lizzie doing lots more work without lots more work on our side. In theory I subscribe to this logic wholeheartedly, I love putting more information on our website and adding stories to our blog, etc. But just like a diet, I’m good for a week or so, then it drops off a bit, then it disappears altogether. Then I get shouted at by Lizzie, and then I start again.
This time will be different! Anyone out there believe me? So, our latest project is to develop a comprehensive ‘Links’ programme. Firstly, I want to have a links page where we can provide links to anything that I think Chain Gang people might find useful or interesting: travel, nice bike shops, vineyards, chateaux, our hotel partners, as well as cool cycling video clips, good books about the regions we explore, anything (in fact, any suggestions welcomed).
The second part is the hard part, which brings home the bacon – persuading other websites to link to us. The more sites that link to your site, all other things being equal, the better your ranking in Google. And that is rapidly becoming the 1st, 2nd and 3rd most important part of any marketing plan.
Some bits should be easy. We have loads of suppliers in France and Italy, hotels, vineyards, transport suppliers etc., certainly a few hundreds of companies who we know and who we pay money to. I was surprised how many of them now have websites. You’d expect all the hotels to have websites, but as recently as last year loads of them just didn’t. It’s changed in the short time since last spring. Now, most of the hotels and even the vineyards seem to have websites. I hope it’s as easy as “We’ve paid you lots of money every year for the last 11 years, please will you put a link on your website?
It won’t be that easy, but with an air of overwhelming optimism the process starts today!