As I mentioned before in a previous post, we recently launched a new website for our city, Casco Viejo, Panama (CascoViejo.org). Well, I wanted to update you on the progress we are making. In short, the site is kicking butt! In just 2 weeks we are ranked on Page 1 of Google search for the term “Casco Viejo”, sometimes even in the first spot on Page 1 ahead of Wikipedia.
We are also PR1 for all of the following terms:
- Casco Viejo Restaurants
- Casco Viejo Bars
- Casco Viejo Nightlife
- Casco Viejo Classifieds
- Casco Viejo Events
- Casco Viejo tourism
- Visit Casco Viejo
…plus about 10 more terms which are less frequently searched. We are addding about 3 new paid business listings per week and have also started adding paid real estate listings as well. All in all, the site couldn’t be doing better! Our traffic has more than tripled just in the last 5 days, and with the recent addition of a large banner advertising our site on the main street, I expect usage and traffic to continue to increase rapidly.
So, now comes the question that everyone is asking…How did you do it so fast? The answer is a combination of several factors and strategies. First of all, Casco Viejo is a small city, part of the larger Panama City. However, since it is a Unesco World Heritage Site, the number 2 tourism destination in Panama and one of the hottest real estate investments in all of Central America, I felt that it was still a worthwhile project. But, because of its size and location, my competition is very little, although it certainly does exist.
But this factor alone was key in the speed at which we went to the top. Secondly, I am using a new development platform which MediaOptions.com is now going to be offering to its customers (contact me for more info). This platform provides for extremely fast, customizable and highly effective website launch with very little cost and up and ready in as little as 1 week. No, this is not a “mini-site”. This is a full fledged website, like we have done for CascoViejo.org. The best part, is that the backend (content management system) is so userfriendly, my grandmother could do it with her eyes closed! Changes and additions can be made and live in seconds. In order to increase visibility quickly, I relied primarily on Facebook & Twitter .
By connecting to as many people as I could find which are living or somehow connected to the area, I was able to get a solid traffic base right out of the gate. Next I used many longtail domain names I owned already which were related to Panama and Casco Viejo and forwarded them to appropriate pages of the website. For instance, VisitCascoViejo.com, now forwards to the “Why Visit ” page of CascoViejo.org. Now, I don’t know this for a fact, but I have been told that Google gives preferential treatment to .ORG domain names. Aside from the fact that my friend who owns the .COM version won’t sell it to me, I thought that I would have a potential advantage by using CascoViejo.org when it comes to Page Ranking.
On top of that, I chose an alternative business model which doesn’t rely on any PPC revenue or banner advertising. I am providing good, unbiased, unsponsored content to readers which will help drive traffic and repeat visitors. Because of this fact, I felt that my site provided value to local businesses.
Instead of offering them advertising spots, I am offering Premium Business Listings. I am giving every business in the community a free listing and for a small fee that can purchase a more complete listing which includes email address, website link, contact info and a logo or photo of their business. Their listing will also be featured at the top of their category. Even in Panama, where online advertising has barely even entered a stage of infancy, the local businesses are responding very well to this model. It is a win-win.
This was our first test run with our new development platform, but we will now start rolling out 1 new website per month along the same lines as CascoViejo.org. Either local community portals or business directories within a certain niche.
The platform is flexible and can also work for many other models, but for the time being, this model works, so we’re sticking to it. Contact us if you’re interested in using our new platform to launch one of your domains into a website!