Slurp up mega-traffic by writing scalable, timeless search-bait

In which I follow the advice of Patrick McKenzie to try and get my little software products into the eyeballs of a whole new audience.

sunday night blues, micro-Isv style

So, it was one of those lazy Sunday evenings when a microIsv guy does what he does best: he looks through the Google Analytics of his products, desperately trying to work out why he is not yet a millionaire, desperately trying to find what tiny tweak he can apply that will ensure he has no need to head to work in the morning, or ever again. (This is known as 'Sunday evening blues, microIsv-style')

When I looked at the search traffic for both sites (TimeSnapper and NimbleText), something leapt out at me, the way a tiger in the wilds of India might jump out at a plump looking passerby.

The only search terms people were using to find TimeSnapper were terms like "TimeSnapper", "Time Snapper" or related mis-spellings of the product name.

Noticeably absent from the keyword traffic was every single person in the world who hadn't already heard of the product from some other source. No one looking for "My browser crashed, how do I recover my work?" or "How do I make timesheets easier?" or "How can I understand my own bad habits?" or "Continuous Screenshot Taking" and so on for a million other search terms. (Hint: I just demonstrated the SEO technique of google-bombing oneself ;-) ). So my website -- That Dilligent Little 24 Hours a Day 7 Days a Week Sales Guy, wasn't drumming up one iota of new sales.

And the same for NimbleText. A tiny trickle of people would turn up, but only via search terms like "NimbleText", "Nimble Text" or "World's Simplest Code Generator" (the product's original name) -- and no one else.

So I asked myself, as I sat there on that uneventful Sunday eve: How do I make it happen?

In times like this, I always turn to the writings of Patrick Mckenzie (aka Patio11 on twitter and Hacker News). For SEO he recommends writing 'evergreen' and 'scalable' content.

'Evergreen' content is timeless content: stuff that isn't dependent on today's news cycle or the latest fashion.

'Scalable' content is the sort of content you can write a lot of. The sort of guff that doesn't take a great deal of soul searching.

In relation to NimbleText I easily came up with a basic idea for 'scalable' content generation. Normally, when writing about NimbleText I think about the features, and there's a finite amount I can write. If instead I were to write a short article on every possible specific situation where NimbleText could be used, then you'd be looking at a limitless source of article topics. Think of every type of code it can generate, every example piece of HTML it can produce, every piece of SQL it can concoct, you would be looking at an endless stream of simple, albeit quite repetitive articles. You could churn out such articles at a pretty fast rate. (NimbleText itself could even help with this task.)

Articles such as 'How do I generate insert statements?' may not be the sort of thing that sets the world on fire -- they're never going to attract a viral influx of rabid fans -- but hopefully they'll pander to some fine strange of the long tail of search traffic, and, over time, bring in a trickle of fresh visitors, potential paying customers.

This strategy is a sure winner from an SEO point of view. Wikipedia is essentially nothing but a giant engine built for the creation of Scalable Evergreen content. No wonder it takes first place for just about any search you perform.

So here's the short list of NimbleText-related articles I've written on the bus, since coming up with this strategy:

SQL Master Class (for NimbleText)

Create HTML Automatically (with NimbleText)

It takes less than one bus ride to write such an article, and they're only getting easier. I've got a backlog of thirty such topics and I'm sure with a more concentrated effort I could grow this to many more. Is it worth it? I'm unconvinced, but I'll look at the analytics over time and see what happens.

I've been running this experiment for a few weeks now. Already i've started to see people arrive from new search queries, suited to the articles I've written. The volumes are hardly mega, but the littlest steps bring the most satisfaction.


My book "Choose Your First Product" is available now.

It gives you 4 easy steps to find and validate a humble product idea.

Learn more.

(By the way, I read every comment and often respond.)

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