Vegan SEO the old way
I’ve been a setting up blogs for different vegan businesses for the better part of the last 2 decades now. I set up entire sites in HTML. Good ol’ days. I’m from the Macromedia days when we used Fireworks to draw up banners. I’m old. Really old.
I’ve been watching the vegan online community for this long too. Some super creative stuff is coming out of the vegan world. But, I’ve noticed a lot of sites being deserted by their creators in the last few years. Especially in the last 2 years. It seems that a lot of people jumped into the trend of veganism, but took a wrong turn when they thought they should follow the lead of internet marketers. Those snake-skin sellers out there who promise everything at the click of a button.
It’s been sad to see. So, I thought I’d drop a few lines of thought about what we, old timers, would do when we wanted to reach out to an audience to promote our vegan blogs.
Here goes. Some will be blunt…
Lazy bloggers will pay for ads to get their traffic, and then fall into the vicious circle of never-ending payments to keep their traffic going. And their addiction to mainstream social media is another problem, because, again, to get a reasonably-sized audience for others to take you seriously, you need to pay. And once you have an audience, you need to pay again for them to see what you are posting! Why they do it, I do not know. But this is why we see blogs come and go within a year.
I’m from the old days when bloggers opened a blog because they wanted to share something. In those great heydays of the internet, it didn’t really matter if your grammar was top-notch. Because it was all about sharing what we knew. After all, isn’t that the logic behind this worldwide web?
Today, it seems, nobody cares. Find something written by someone else, run it thru a spinner, and post it as if it’s your original work. So, the internet is void of new, original content. It is full of rehashed, old stuff, lacking of facts and filled with links from that one big corporate giant that seems to have taken over the world of retail. So unfair. So wrong.
No thanks to these blogger wanna-be’s, we’ve seen the destruction of small, home-based, family-owned businesses.
But, in the last 2 years, we’ve been witness to a rebirth. And it’s coming from the vegan community. Although, it must be said, far too many vegan bloggers have also submitted to promoting Amazon and little more. There is, nonetheless, a light at the end of the tunnel.
I’ll get back to this in a moment. First, I want to address the fantastic opportunity this situation creates for new bloggers. You see, most bloggers have taken to following the model I mentioned above. And this opens the road for new bloggers to go back to good ol’ proper blogging to seize the opportunity. So, here are a few ideas I’d like to share with you.
Support vegan business
As you know, veganism hit the mainstream trend in 2018. But in early 2020, it started dwindling in mainstream interest, mostly because of those know-it-all loud-mouths who hijacked veganism and set out to dictate to all their rights to veganism. Yuck. I can’t stand those mobs.
Anyway, so, here we are, mid way thru a pandemic. And as people’s interest in veganism yo-yo’s back and forth, I see an opportunity.
Up until now, most vegan bloggers have been relying on Amazon, that giant retailer, to make their blogs profitable. They pick products from Amazon, add an affiliate link to their articles, and receive a commission per sale after 60+ days.
OK, that’s great. But, why can’t we be more supportive of vegan businesses? What’s so vegan about Amazon? I guess vegan bloggers would argue that there is no vegan affiliate program. But that’s not true anymore. There is a growing number of affiliate programs out there that are exclusive for vegan brands and services.
Here’s a few for you to consider :
Green People in the UK runs a simple affiliate program to promote their organic beauty products.
At shareasale, you’ll find an OK selection of vegan brands looking for affiliates. Signing up is a breeze, and from there, you can apply to begin referring vegan brands. Be sure to have your blog ready for inspection because each affiliate has to pre-approve you before you can start. An example of the type of vegan retailers you will find at shareasale is Gabriel Cosmetics selling vegan who runs an affiliate program at shareasale. So, do check them out.
The question of whether to support shops that sell vegan products alongside non vegan products is an open one for most. Those who promote Amazon, well, you don’t count!
You’ll find plenty of shops who will use cool selling points like “ethically-sourced products” or “fair trade”. I don’t personally like to promote shops that sell leather products alongside vegan products. But there is the argument that if the vegan community promotes vegan products selling in these stores, then these stores will begin to take notice and cut down, or even off, non vegan products. Fair point. So, here are a few affiliate program you may like to look at.
Everlane in the UK sells “ethically-sourced products” for the fashion industry. You will find a lot of leather products there. But there are also non-leather items for sale you can promote, if you follow the above logic.
Fact of the matter is that those looking exclusively for shops that only sell vegan products may have a hard time finding them. That’s because most shops will prefer stockists – people who buy in bulk. Sad, but true.
But, again, there’s light at the end of the tunnel – because OhSo is about to launch their very own vegan affiliate program too. This one is something I am super excited about because it will give small vegan brands and service providers the ease to have affiliates promote their products all over the internet without the hassle and cost of setting up their own affiliate program.
And, for affiliates, it will be fantastic to have a single affiliate program to manage their promotion of products from a global vegan marketplace, eco-friendly property bookings, vegan services, OhSo’s own Vegan Ads program and plenty more.
Best of all? This is truly a vegan affiliate program because OhSo has made it exclusive for vegan brands and services. No mix-match. Plus, its not just vegan products. Learn more about OhSo’s vegan affiliate program launching this week.
Please do consider supporting vegan business. Vegan businesses are, for the most part, small, home-based, family-owned businesses who have a hard time holding up against these corporate giants.
Given the massive amount of internet marketing going on, most people find it hard to manually reach out to an audience. Like I said, most succumb to paying for advertising at some giant mainstream social network. But, as we’ve discussed, that is not a solution for success. So, the most logical solution left is to contact people directly.
Here’s an old-school word for you – “synergy”. Look up bloggers in your niche and consider what kind of joint venture you could suggest to your fellow blogger. Then, reach out to the blogger via their contact page. This way, you are assured they will receive your message. Some people like to use tools like Ninja Outreach, which, for a price, helps you grab 1000’s of emails and organize mail-outs en mass. I don’t like this approach. It is internet marketing. Pure and simple. Spam. Impersonal. And 90% of your emails will not get any sort of response. In fact, an average of 10% will unsubscribe from your messages without even bothering to read your message. Not a good start.
So, I suggest you take an hour from your day. Every day. Find some new blogs in your niche. And reach out with a personal note. What can you offer? Maybe a link exchange? Or how about giving something before asking for something? In this case, you can write one of those articles where you suggest a number of different bloggers in your niche to your readers. Here’s an example written by one of our other guest posters. Sometimes you’ll not get a reply. But here’s a recommendation I get a long time ago and live by : reach out with an open heart. And when you get a negative reply or even no reply, simply move on. Never hold a grudge.
In this platform, you can take advantage of the Niche Channels to find like-minded bloggers. It will save you a bundle of time. As new members join this vegan social network, finding fellow vegan business owners in your niche will be a breeze with the Niche Channels because a lot of them will be taking full advantage of the guest posting ability in this platform.
Leave a piece of your mind
If you’re too shy to write to a fellow blogger for fear of rejection, which I get because I’m shy too, then take the time to read their blog, then leave a comment. Again, with an open heart. Leave the kind of comment you would like people to leave in your own blog. If you don’t feel you don’t have the time, then best is to not even try. Spammy comments will get you banned and give you a bad rep.
A good, eloquent comment will get attention, not only from the blogger, but from the other commenters too.
Here’s possibly the single greatest thing you can do for your business. Find places within your niche and track anyone who is open to guests posts. It’s not that common in the vegan blogger industry, but it will trend sooner or later. As an example, I’m a guest poster on this very platform. And the traffic I get just from my posting on this site is phenomenal. And the platform is brand new. So, I am religious about posting something new every 3-5 days because I can see with my own eyes the growth in visitors that I am getting to my own blog. I don’t have to be Shakespeare. I just have to be original and stay true to my subject-matter.
Guest posting on OhSo is open to all members. See the red button at the top of the page? It says “Submit a post”. Just click it open and submit your first post. The extra benefit is that guest posting on OhSo is actually a vlog. In other words, you can add an article and attach it to a video. This means I get my name out there, I get visitors to my own blog, plus, I have the bonus of adding more viewers to my YouTube videos. This means, I rank higher in YouTube, which, in turn, drives even more organic viewers and so, I earn more money per video!
Here’s a pro tip. I’m not a very good writer. But I can get away with it. My problem is, I take far too long to write anything. I’m on hour 3 on this article. So, if you struggle with writing like I do, consider hiring a professional writer. For as little as $50, you can have a great article written for you that is professional, and, best yet, it will rank well in search engines. Professional writers study keywords relevant to your website’s needs and know how best to portray your business message.
So, when you have a link you wish to promote, for example, a good article will drive visitors to your link for days, weeks, months, even years! Pro writers know what it takes to do this. A series of articles, for example, all inter-connected to each other. That kind of thing is what they are specialists in.
My friend and fellow community member @amelie is curating a list of vegan writers in the directory. So, stay tuned. It will be up in the next few days.
On a side-note, you might think it is a bit too niche to promote vegan writers. Well, you see, I support people who wish to build in a world that is less cruel than the one we live in. So, I will always support vegans. Vegan writers, vegan business owners, vegan everyone! They’re the people who are making our world less cruel. So, I want to hang out with them. And in this trying time of the pandemic we are all living thru, we need to support eachother. So, if you’re looking to hire a writer, please consider a vegan writer!
There’s another simple thing you can do that contradicts current thinking and will do wonders for your business. And that’s submitting your listing to vegan and green directories. There are tons of them out there. Some free. Some paid. Every single one is worth the 5-10 minutes it will take you to submit your listing.
Back in the early 2000’s we all did it. We would go search for directories and submit all our blogs and websites to these directories. But, then came the abuse. Internet marketers started launching 1000’s (no exageration) of directories, and most people stopped bothering to even spend a few minutes writing an original entry for their own listing.
As a result, directories died out and closed down. The trend stopped trending, and people moved on to spamming social media instead.
But, a number of directories survived the purge. Those that survived were kept the ones that were cared for by their owners. And there are still a whole bunch of them out there. There are vegan business directories. There are eco-friendly business directories. There are green business directories. Tons of worthy places for you to submit your listing.
But, don’t stop there. In OhSo’s vegan business directory, you will soon find a list of directories that @amelie is curating now. It will be coming online in the next few days. So, stay tuned.
My suggestions are these :
- Submit your listing to as many real directories as you find.
- Never, ever care if the directory only has a few listings. All the better for you! Submit. Submit. Submit.
- Spend some time writing an original listing. Never copy something you wrote in another listing.
- Every penny is well spent if you follow the above because directories will drive traffic to your website long-term.
- Consider giving a backlink to the directory, or, even, your own listing in the directory. Add the links to your sidebar, or, create a special page whre you can list all your listings. Why? Because your website or blog will rank higher and higher in search engines. And that will drive new, organic visitors to your listing in each directory and to your website!
Small social networks
I say stay away from the Facebooks and Instagrams of the world. I find them highly intrusive and abusive. And that’s just the beginning. Spammers, internet marketers and fabricated influencers own those platforms. And any real vegan business will forever struggle to reach a big enough audience to survive without entering the never-ending vicious cycle of paying them for it.
Besides, it would be two-faced of me to use Facebook and the likes when I preach for privacy data laws and GDPR-compliance.
I don’t use these Facebook. Or Instagram. I tried Pinterest, and within a minute of signing up, I was being “invited” to pay for an ad to be “discovered”. Really? Same went for LinkedIn. And the Twitter. Oh God. The mobsphere of out planet. No thank you.
So, I discovered a neat trick. I went looking for smaller social media platforms. I like the original idea of social networks. We discover new people who have the same interests as ourselves, in life or in business, or in both. We create synergies in life and in work. I love that idea. And there had to be other people who thought like me. I found a few. Most are very protective. They don’t advertise themselves because they don’t want to attract the mobs or Twitter or the “influencers” of Instagram, nor do they want to hear from the know-it-alls from LinkedIn.
But, I found OhSo. An homage is due when an homage is due!
This was back in early 2019 when I heard from a friend that there was someone out there looking into creating a simpler social network with no frills attached. Best yet, it was being designed exclusively for the vegan community. So, I got @crissie‘s contact and applied to become a member here at OhSo. I loved her ideas for a number of reasons :
- The platform is created for the vegan community and all those who wish to live in a more animal-friendly, eco-friendly and people-friendly world.
- It is almost completely built on open source stuff like WordPress. The reason behind this is to show that anyone can create a real social network. I love that!
- It is not financed by anyone. In fact, I happen to know for a fact that it’s been a hard slog for @crissie financially, and she never once asked any of us for anything. OhSo is only just opening it’s doors, so to speak, to the world and she is still keeping it on an optional donation basis for everyone. So, please be generous. She deserves all our respect.
- The platform is full of tools for the vegan business. @crissie is one of those old-school dreamers who believes we can change the world. She set about building OhSo so as to create a hub for vegan businesses. She studied hard to find what works and what does not work in the internet. I follow her lead because she knows her stuff.
Synergies with the young!
Here’s something so few people do. It’s such a shame because it is such a blessing for your business.
I remember how difficult it was for me when I first started out. Like everyone else, when I opened my first blog, I headed over to Instagram to get some attention to my newly created blog. I managed to muster up 100 followers quite easily because they those spammy accounts that are mostly looking for follow-backs. Because I had so few followers, I wasn’t managing to convince anyone to look at me, visit my blog or take me seriously. I would do great giveaways to entice people to look at my blog. But nada! Zip. A few “Thanks. I’ll have a look at your site when I have time.” That’s it.
Another account opened round about the same time got 10,000+ followers within 15 days or so. These will easily reach another 1,000 new followers just because they’re perceived to be popular. But, a lot of these “influencers” have paid Instagram to get followers.
It’s so disheartening!
The human condition is a strange one. We tend to give no trust to anyone that has not yet proven their worth. Isn’t that a weird phenomenon?
When I started thinking about this phenomenon, I realised it was actually a blessing. Why? Because nobody else was giving a hoot about every other brand new small blogger like me. And every day, and every week, there are tons of us out there creating new blogs.
So, be the odd one out. Reach out to younger businesses. They are being ignored because they have not proven themselves to this strange world obsessed with fabricated “influencers”. These young bloggers will appreciate the human contact and are more than likely to greet you with interest in a synergy! Work together. Gain together.
So, take full advantage of the community here at OhSo. It will save you a lot of time. Guest posting is the fastest way to get others acquainted with you. OhSo has broken niches down into channels and groups. Find the one most relevant to your business and subscribe. Read guest posts by fellow members, follow them, leave a comment in their post. Create relationships.
I should add, I joined OhSo way back as a Beta tester while @crissie was still setting up and testing stuff. So, I now have a privileged position in the community. And that is because I have always felt strongly about what I preach – I fear not the young and new. I like to be part of new endeavors. I like to be an early adopter. Here’s an article about the benefits of joining young endeavors early on.
It makes perfect sense to me. Because I am always ahead of the crowd.