The history of Raymmar.com and why I am uniquely qualified to help you grow your online presence.
Let me save you some time here.
There is no secret to building a brand online.
- It takes time and a lot of great content.
- It takes a good story and a willingness to open up and make yourself and yes, your product vulnerable to the world.
- It means sharing the story of why you do the things you do as opposed to trying to trick people into helping you do them.
Once you break that barrier, you can begin to build trust with your audience and turn your online presence into a revenue generating machine that can help you spread your message across the world.
If you are interested in learning more about how to do just that, click here and let’s talk about how I can help you optimize and grow your online business.
Raymmar.com started out as just a simple online portfolio…
I was just starting out as a marketing consultant and trying to build a name for myself online. I bought a cheap hosting plan on GoDaddy, installed WordPress and bought my first theme. I had no development skills, and zero dollars to spend on any of it, but I was going to take over the world.
The site was pretty gross. At the time I thought it looked good, but a few friends told me they wouldn’t come back until I changed how it looked.
I was bombing my Facebook feed with requests for people to “Like” my page and to “check out my new website”. That is, until a friend sent me an article from The Oatmeal about how to get more Facebook likes.
To make a long story short, the article said to quit begging friends for Facebook likes and start creating content that they would actually like.
I had been so focused on trying to get people to my website, that I forgot to give them a reason to come in the first place. There was no reason for them to stay when they got there or come back if they did decide to visit. And even the few people who came had little to see, and even less that was worth sharing.
I set out to find a better theme, and then learn as much about blogging, search engine optimization and inbound marketing as I could. I wanted to learn everything I could about how the internet worked and I still had quite a few things to learn about writing words that people would actually want to read.
Starting to tell a story
I started trying to express more of my personality online. I started playing around with online memes and Infographics. I began writing more in depth articles (like this one about email marketing) and tried to understand the best marketing practices by actually practicing them.
I started writing articles about the town I lived in and wrote a couple stories about the incubator I was working in at the time. I was testing my writing abilities and trying to find ways to use local events to boost views and engagement.
I started sharing stories about being a broke entrepreneur, and the emotional struggles of giving up everything you love to go chase a dream.
I started sharing part of my personal struggle but not in an attempt to gain sympathy or pity from my audience. I did it in an attempt to inspire them. To show that determination, hard work and the willingness to fail fast are things anyone can learn and use to accomplish their goals in life.
I was able to convert my story into something people cared about. Something someone looking to find a place online would do well to learn quickly. My audience finally had a reason to come back. Now they were rooting for me.
But how to get to that next level? How would I shake things up or separate myself from the millions of other online bloggers?
“I know, I’ll start making videos!”
Said the guy who had never shot, or edited a video in his life.
I was watching some Vsauce videos and decided that I could do something similar and started to produce videos about politics and life.
My first video did pretty well online and I was happy with the couple thousand views it got but I wasn’t prepared for what would happen when I released my next video.
I published the rant on a Friday afternoon. By midnight it had 5,000 views.
Friends immediately started messaging me, telling me that I was crazy. Even some of my fellow content creators told me I had just ruined my career. They said I was stupid to put something like that out to the world. That even though I made good points, I had also made a big mistake.
The next day that video did more than 80,000 views. That Sunday it did 221,505 page views and another 77,007 the day after that. Then Facebook shut down the link. This was the first, but not the last time, that Facebook throttled my content.
Not only did they block the post, but since my commenting system was connected to Facebook at the time, I lost the ability for people to comment on the post as well as losing the 900+ comments that had already been made.
Although the video got blocked from Facebook, I still got a big viral bump from it and it helped me build an early subscriber base. I now had a small group of people to update with new posts, and I had an article that was giving me some credibility with Google.
Over the next few months I kept writing and made a few more videos. Nothing took off like that first video, but I wasn’t worried. I now understood that the path to building a strong online presence would be slow and steady. It would be about testing and trying, tweaking and breaking, constantly evolving until the site gets to the point where people can’t help but spend time interacting with it.
In my mind, the goal was to build a library of evergreen content. I was telling beautiful stories and stocking the digital shelves of my website with arrangements of words that people liked to read. Available to anyone, at any time. This is the real key. Sticking with it. Sure the viral posts help but those will come eventually if you just focus on telling great stories and putting your best work out to the world.
Over the next few months, I set out to refine the website and prepare it for the next traffic explosion. In the process I connected with a group of people that asked me to come out to CPAC with them and be their on-air personality on Radio Row
Keep in mind, I have no formal training as a journalist, reporter or anything that even resembles either of those things. What about my radio experience? That hadn’t happened yet so I was a total rookie! But what kind of blogger would turn down an opportunity for that kind of exposure on a national level?
While preparing to head out for CPAC, I wrote and published an article titled 7 Reasons You’ll Never Do Anything Amazing With Your Life. It was not until a couple of weeks later when I looked at my web stats and saw that I was getting a thousand views a day, two thousand, three thousand and then one day 26,000 page views. Turns out that the article was going viral on Medium.
That month (February 2014) we did 1 million views on Medium alone and another 1.5 million in the following four months. We still do 20-50K views a month on Medium and while that traffic might not be directly tracked on my site, the hundreds of thousands of people who did come to my site from Medium were already highly engaged with my work. This means they subscribe at a much higher rate which is definitely one of the perks of being a top publisher on Medium.
There have been other articles that performed well online. Namely this one, and this one. The exposure I got from these articles lead to being asked to become a contributor at the Huffington Post, Elite Daily, and a number of other notable online publications. All of which have gone a long way towards helping me gain credibility as a writer, but for me, the focus has always been on turning my website into the center of operations. The rest of these things are just part of the distribution mechanism but any aspiring web mogul would do well to make sure their website is the hub for all of their online interactions.
All of this exposure was giving the site a boost in search rankings which is one of the things that young blogs can struggle with. This past July, the website was showing up in Google search results hundreds of thousands of times per day. It seemed that we were not only gaining credibility with readers but with the search engines as well. And remember, this is all organic. There is no paid advertising behind any of this growth at all.
All in all, over the last year (not including the Medium traffic) we did just under a million views on my personal website and gained more than 10,000 email subscribers. Sure the web traffic is still erratic and I am sure it will continue to be that way as it grows, but I drive regular engagement, have a steady base of repeat visitors and am regularly getting leads from all around the internet. All of which has allowed me to work from home and be my own boss.
Making a confession
I do not have magical marketing powers or any secret tricks to teach you about how to be a better blogger. I can only tell you that the moment I started sharing bits of my personal story with the world is the moment that the world started actually listening.
There is so much noise online and so many people are always trying to sell you something, that most people enjoy it when someone is honest and open with them. They appreciate it when you share your goals and struggles with them, and I think that businesses can learn a lesson from all of this as well.
I think that businesses can learn a little something about lowering their shields, and letting their customers see the people that actually make them a great company.
Tell me the story of the immigrant CEO or the mom who created the product to help her kids. Tell me why you make the product, not why you think I should buy it. Let’s start making better products so that we can restore some level of faith in a sales process that has become completely perverted over time.
These last few years have been an interesting journey. They have taught me how to be a one man media mogul and showed me how to broadcast my message to the world. My web presence is now bigger than most of the media companies in my local market and I will continue to hone these skills until I pass each of them up alltogether. I will continue to publish high quality content and keep helping creative entrepreneurs and small businesses do the same thing along the way.
So if you have a business, product, or website that you are looking to build an online presence for, then I’d love to hear from you. Whether we do business or not, I love to connect with other people who are doing cool things online.
Anyway. Hopefully you have enjoyed this story and maybe you’ll even come back for another one sometime soon.
It’s hard to find experienced people on this topic, but you seem like you know
what you’re talking about! Thanks
Thank you a lot for sharing this with all people you really realize what
you are talking about! Bookmarked. Please also talk over with my web site =).
We can have a hyperlink change agreement between us
Incredible. Just incredible. I can’t say anything else.
I love reading your blog posts. Every time I do, I’m reminded of my own desire to be as transparent and vulnerable as you are. I just opened 7 new tabs to read the other posts you link to in this one. You’ve inspired me to find my voice.
I have so many stories I want to tell but just haven’t been able to put them to words. I’m not giving up. When I feel the urge to, I just remember those wise words from a fish in a movie. “Just keep swimming”
Here’s to dreaming and doing! Thanks Raymmar!
Not sure how I missed the comments on this post, but late is better than never I guess…
Anyway, have you written any of those stories down? Can I read any of them? Let me know what you’ve been up to over the last year and whether or not you’re still swimming!
Thanks for the support.
Thanks for the feedback and yes, many want the blog traffic and online clout but are not willing to stick with what they want to do long enough to end up good at it.
Sadly, I learned this by giving up on too many things in life, before realizing any potential in what I was doing. This is why I have a unique perspective and why I write the way I do. Mostly I just talk to the reader like I talk to myself
Some people like it, some people can’t stand it. Most likely because it makes them uncomfortable.
Fuuuckin’ love the article bro – really resonated with me being a 6-month old blogger myself attempting to build my presence and spread my message online.
People will look until their time comes and goes, but there isn’t a silver bullet to success – whether it be in blogging, business, or anything else. We see all these successful people and think they achieve their success overnight but in reality it took years of hard work, discipline and consistency.
I came across your stuff via your Medium article. I loved the bold, get-that-bullshit-out-of-here tone you conveyed. It was very inspiring and I am sure that is the main reason why it took off like it did.
The world needs more honest people like you who take a stand and are tired of being politically correct (those people are the worst).
Talk soon brother.
Hey Matt, not sure how I never replied to this, but I see you are on some serious adventures right now. I got your email about the project you are working on and will be in touch soon.