The aim of this blog is to help you become a better blogger, or a successful online entrepreneur. I have been very successful online over the years and now I’m (semi) retired I have set up this blog as a way of giving something back to the business that has given me so much.
My aim is to provide help for the business and blogging community by developing self-employed start-up businesses. Think of this blog as a business or blogging hub. Somewhere you can dip in and out of to get help when you need it.
I can provide you tons of knowledge and skills that will help you set up your own dynamic online business.
Learn what you need to know to be able to deliver real improvements to the number of visitors your blog or online business attracts.
I don’t just encourage you I want to support you and other entrepreneurs like you throughout the UK.
Here I’m going to give you some background about myself and my online “journey”. If you read this you’ll firstly learn more about me and then what this blog is all about and why I started it.
Hi everyone, my name is Edward Eames, Ed to my friends and I’ve been involved with websites and blogs since 2003. I was introduced to the world wide web more or less by accident when due to a very unusual set of circumstances I stayed a few days at a friend’s house.
I’d never really thought much about websites until then, but this guy was into the internet in a big way and had not one but two successful online businesses.
Back in 2003 there were lots of people starting off with websites but not many were actually earning a living from it back then. Luckily for me even though I hadn’t got the first clue on the technical aspect of any of it I immediately saw the potential.
At that time my friend had a Web Traffic business, no idea if that’s even a thing these days but it was then. With his help I started an affiliate website selling Web Traffic through him and I started making some pin money from it.
I didn’t really feel comfortable with the product if I’m honest and I sold the website to someone else not long afterwards even though it was making money.
Best Long-Term Tip
As I started to learn more about the internet and how to make money from it, I realised that if I was going to be writing lots of content about a topic I’d be better off picking a subject I knew about and enjoyed.
I was so lucky to learn that in 2003. That initial idea about picking a subject you know and like to write about has probably been the single best tip/piece of advice I ever picked up in all my years involved with websites and blogs.
It was great advice then and is still 100% relevant today and I can’t see that ever changing.
At the time, 2003, I was working as a mortgage and financial adviser for an estate agent and so I knew a lot about mortgages, pensions, life insurance etc.
So I started a Mortgage website and started writing about them. I was up against huge company websites owned by all the major UK banks and building societies, so it looked like an impossibility to get onto the front page of Google (G), but I managed it.
The Importance of Keywords
One thing I learned about early on was the importance of keywords and key phrases and how to rank for those Keywords. I’ll admit some of the methods I used back then are considered “Black Hat” now, so today I’d never use them, but at the time G didn’t seem to care.
In my defense I didn’t even know they were “Black Hat” methods at the time, I just thought that was what you did to get a website ranked highly!
At one point my mortgage website was number 3 on G (co.uk) for the search term “Best Remortgage Deal” behind only the Halifax Building Society and Lloyds Bank.
I had an affiliate scheme set up and was selling the enquiries I generated through the lead capture form on the website. I was earning so much affiliate commission that I started wondering why the hell I was still working in the estate agents every day! One day soon afterwards when my boss was moaning about something I just thought, “F this” and walked out.
I’ve relied 100% on my online businesses ever since and never regretted a day of it.
Soon after the guy I was selling the mortgage leads to offered to buy my website from me. I said no at first because it was my only source of income after quitting my F/T job. However, after I said no he offered more and more until eventually I said yes and sold it.
Even then I didn’t really want to, but my friend made me realise it was the right thing to do. He said “what if it drops down the rankings in G, it won’t be worth so much then would it?” He also said you’ve done it once just sell it and do it again.
Glad to say I took the money. The guy who bought it did OK with the site and I’m sure he made money from the deal but about a year or so later the linking profile of the website got it penalised by G when they changed the way they ranked websites, and it disappeared from the rankings without trace.
A good lesson was learned. Yes, you can cut corners to get websites ranked highly on G but eventually they will catch up with you. There are things I know I could do right now to get this blog ranked higher but I’m in this for the long haul, so what’s the rush?
After the mortgage website was sold I pretty much did the same thing with a “Pension Comparison” website and a “Life Insurance” one. I started them, built them up and then sold them.
At this point my friend was in partnership with someone else running an eCommerce website and they were doing very well. I’ve never been one to try and re-invent the wheel and if I see something that’s working why not just take the idea and run with it?
So, I started an eCommerce website, and I stuck with my theme of writing about what I know and love. I chose to write initially about holidays in France but realised that for an eCommerce website that didn’t offer much.
I remember going over on the ferry once and having to buy headlamp converters and stuff and I thought that could be an angle for me.
So I started the website ran it, built it up from nothing over the years (It takes time doing it ethically) and sold it a few years later for really good money.
That website was developing into an absolute goldmine and I’d have been tempted to do something similar but I had to sign a non-compete clause so I couldn’t start another eCommerce website for three years in that particular niche.
The website specialised in “Driving in France” and had loads of great content on it that got it ranked highly in the search engines. I was using 100% ethical methods by this stage of course.
That business is still doing well to this day and you can see both the main website here: Drive-France.com and a little affiliate website I started later to run along side it. Europeanbreakdowncover4u.co.uk
If you do go and look at them bear in mind I’m not a web designer they are both simple looking basic sites, my skill is ranking them in G.
If you want proof of that search for “Driving in France” on G (co.uk) and it should still be on the first page alongside the RAC, AA, GreenFlag and the big ferry companies. I’ve always taken great pleasure in me, working from a home office, being able to rank alongside huge companies that throw thousands and thousand at their corporate websites.
No more eCommerce Websites
When I sold the Drive-France site I was a little worried at first about not being able to do eCommerce websites for a while. I’d had great success with it, but I knew I wouldn’t miss the packing and posting 5 days a week as that’s a bit like a real job!
As I developed the Drive-France website I had it set up so if people ordered the big items like a full driving kit (Warning Triangle, Spare Bulbs, Breathalysers, GB Sticker etc) I would drop ship them.
If you’ve never heard of drop shipping its where you don’t hold any stock but just take the money, and pay someone else to actually fulfill the order for you.
This means you make less money per sale, but you don’t have to physically pack and post stuff. I used to just post out the small items like headlamp converters which would fit in a normal envelope.
A walk to the post box each day to drop them off isn’t a bad thing for an internet guy like me who is in danger of spending far too much time at the PC screen.
I have a nice office now but even so I really should get out more!
The European Breakdown cover website that was sold as part of the deal had an affiliate scheme on it that meant all enquiries etc were dealt with by the insurance broker concerned and I didn’t get involved in any of that.
It earned far less money than the Drive-France website (not even 5%) but it took literally zero work on a day to day basis. The Drive-France on the other hand had inquiries via email, Facebook and Twitter almost every day so it was a F/T job.
At the peak of the summer the Drive-France website was getting 3,000 unique visitors per day. That is a lot of potential enquiries to deal with.
Just feeding the Social Media beast each day became a chore, until I got better at managing that.
The Breakdown websites lack of work involved to run it each day was an aspect of it that I liked, and when I sold the Drive France business I was determined to get back into “downloadable products” and affiliate schemes rather than “pack and post” or any type of hands on work.
Its difficult to even take a holiday when you are running a busy eCommerce website.
When I started my first website in 2003 Twitter & Facebook (FB) hadn’t even started, if only I’d thought of it! None of my early websites had a social media account linked to them, mainly because it didn’t really exist and when it did it wasn’t really a thing for quite a while.
Regarding social media the Drive-France website was the first website I ever owned that really started to use it.
I have to say that overall Twitter and FB had a big influence on the success of the Drive-France website.
How did it help?
I built up a lot of good industry contacts via Twitter and because of those contacts I picked up a lot of incredibly good backlinks directly related to the niche the site was in. Lots of B&B’s, Hotels and holiday Gites in France linked to the Drive-France website to give their holiday visitors from the UK the best up to date information on the driving regulations in France.
Unfortunately, I got into FB after they changed the algorithm. Previously they would just show people the posts of the people or pages they were friends with or following in order. That meant that if people logged onto FB that day and you posted something then they saw it.
Sadly it doesn’t work like that anymore so it became much harder for business pages to get their message out without paying to boost posts. Good news for FB shareholders bad news for me and thousands of other small businesses.
I’d almost given up with it.(FB) The Drive France Twitter account had about 2,000 followers but only about 50 people who liked the FB page so often I couldn’t be bothered to post stuff on there.
Where FB is concerned, I had one major piece of luck though. Back in early 2014 I wrote a page about “motorcycling in France” for the main website and I posted a link to it on Twitter and FB as usual.
Hardly anyone saw it as the page got minimal traffic and the FB posts linking to it didn’t do anything. (I have always loved analysing my website stats)
Now there is lots of stuff on the internet about driving a car, towing a caravan or driving a motorhome on holiday to France but at the time there was hardly any information anywhere to be found about the regulations for riding a motorbike on the continent.
As it happened, I came across a couple of rule changes for motorcycles in early 2016 so I did a blog post about them and from that page linked to my “motorcycling in France” page with all the updated regulations on the main website.
I did my usual tweet and FB post about the new blog post, then something amazing happened.
Someone who worked at the “Ace Motorcycle Café” and looked after their FB page (58,000 followers at the time) shared my FB post about the motorcycle regulations for France. BOOOOOOOOOM!!!!
The FB post was then shared dozens and dozens and dozens of times. So many people saw it and I was amazed what was suddenly happening. Loads of motorcycle forums throughout the UK and Europe linked to my websites motorcycle page.
My blog and main website page almost melted. Within a week over one hundred thousand people had read the post!
My “motorcycling in France” page which wasn’t anywhere to be found on Google the day before the Ace Café re-posted me was on the first page of Google for that search term within 5 days. Yes, 5 days.
I don’t want to tempt fate for the company that owns the site now but it’s still there to this day.
Where am I now?
Since I’ve been freed from the chains of eCommerce, I’ve turned my attentions towards developing my affiliate websites though I’ve made a decision not to promote them here.
Over the last 3 or 4 years I’ve started to help others improve their web presence via various means. I mentor two people, one who has a jewellery website and the other is a travel blogger.
I have a passion for helping bloggers to find better tools, methods, and software that they can use to take their online business to the next level.
I’ve enjoyed great online success over the years, so I get a kick from helping others. My eCommerce website has always had fantastic conversion rates and I intend to post useful info that will help you improve the success of your blog/websites content via the use of “lead magnets”.
I spend a lot of my time trying to persuade bloggers to take the time to produce content that is not only relevant but is worthwhile. Too many blogs I read these days just fill page after page with random fluff and sponsored posts.
Bloggers should stop posting about stuff that doesn’t even work and criticize it instead.
What I aim to do on this blog is concentrate on highlighting good stuff that will help bloggers. Overtime I aim to make sure you can trust what I write here and find it worthy of your time.
I will of course be posting based on my personal experience and knowledge as it is now, but I’m constantly trawling the world wide web to find new and exciting stuff. So I’ll certainly be sharing anything new I discover.
I will share plenty of the software and innovative techniques I’ve used and still use to this day.
So buckle up and make sure you check back here on a regular basis as I intend to share my knowledge, techniques and creativity ideas.
Thanks for reading.