My mom is in the midst of building a website. It’s been a tough battle for her, which has resulted in a few “how in the world do I fix this?” phone calls. I’ve only been marginally helpful. The thing about my mom, though, is she knew more about SEO than I did before I started work at Page One Power. She’s hoping to make some money with her website and maybe someday quit her day job, so she’s learning one step at a time—learning how to do everything herself.
The thing about SEO is that it’s important for anyone who wants to make a bit of money from a website. In a sluggish economy and an uncertain job market, that’s something that people in every age group can get behind. My mom is 55 years young, and she’s going through the same steps as 19 year olds around the globe. She’s learning the web development process.
Thankfully for her, she already had a basic understanding of SEO—it’s essential, but it’s not easy.
If you’re starting a new blog, website or service, visibility is the most important factor. No one can find you if they don’t know you exist. This involves carefully choosing keywords, choosing meta tags and implementing them in the correct way.
I’ve had friends that have expressed major frustration with just “getting listed” on search engines—but that’s always before they’ve learned the concept of SEO. Designing a site, setting up the basics, buying a domain and finding a host are pretty time-consuming and stressful for the average person, so the notion that they need to learn how to “optimize” is foreboding.
Fortunately, there are a wealth of resources out there that make the concepts and the low-level stuff very approachable. If you want to be seen, SEO is the key. That goes for people in the industry and casual bloggers alike. My mom was one step ahead in that regard.
How It Works
SEO tutorials are everywhere. There are so many that trying to pick a single one is overwhelming. Instead of poring over thousands of blog posts and ebooks, it’s usually better to ask a friend. If you’re starting a website, chances are very good that you know someone else who’s started a website. Heck, you probably know someone that’s been moderately successful.
Ask them what they know, and ask them how they learned. That’s the best starting point I can think of. Emma Still recently wrote a great post on her own mom’s foray into the world of SEO, and how they’ve bonded over a shared interest. That’s the thing—it’s fascinating because it reveals how search engines, and the internet as a whole, work. It’s a deep well, but almost every bit you learn is both rewarding and applicable on some level.
Get It Out of the Way
When you’re getting a website together, you’re going to fall over some obstacles. You’re going to fail. You’re going to have to completely redo things you’ve spent hours on. Unless you’ve had comprehensive schooling, that’s just reality.
The thing about this kind of failure, though, is it’s the best way to learn. When you get those mistakes, technical errors and shortcomings out of the way, you know how to never repeat them again. You become better at administrating a website and you know more about the ins and outs of the internet.
Once you inevitably move to the SEO part, it’s the same. You’ll make mistakes and use ineffective practices. You’ll learn from them. As long as you do your research, you can avoid completely burning your website. Unless you have a great mentor or work for an SEO agency, you’re going to make some frustrating mistakes, but you’ll grow and learn from them. Hands-on is the most effective learning style in the SEO world.
Get your mistakes out of the way at the beginning so they don’t hurt you when you really begin to pick up steam.
People create their own websites because it allows them to follow their passion and monetize it. It works for teenagers and it works for people my mom’s age. SEO is the key to visibility and success, but mistakes will be made. Emma Still’s mother knows, I know it and everyone in the industry knows it. SEO is important to how so many people hope to make a living and escape the grind. The key to success in SEO for a growing website is to exercise your curiosity, remain tenacious, follow your passion and learn from your mistakes.