Emory Rowland has been helping David face Goliath for some time now. It all started back in 1997, when Rowland launched his flagship website Clickfire.
“I started Clickfire to experiment with my ideas for content and tools and purely as a place to have fun on the Web,” Rowland recalls. “The journey took me beyond my wildest digital dreams.”
Many websites would follow, some more successful than others. But two very important lessons emerged from this first major online content project.
First, Rowland learned how to use Search Engine Optimization to radically expand website traffic. His only audience for Clickfire consisted of friends and family in the early days, he admits.
“SEO appealed to me because the costs were low and the rewards great.” Rowland explains. “So I learned everything I could about organic search and used Clickfire as a testing ground.”
The second lesson emerged from Rowland’s discovery of affiliate marketing and contextual advertising, two very important revenue streams for online business.
“I remember the utter amazement I felt when I got my first check from Commission Junction,” he says. “Someone would actually pay me for doing this? Hmm…”
It didn’t take long for Emory to spot a potential business model. He hired writers, turned Clickfire into a review and opinion blog and for nearly a decade it has remained his most profitable venture.
Soon he was gaining considerable knowledge in online marketing through his efforts with Clickfire and other experimental sites he would launch. Some would be successful, others would not. But he soon discovered the experience he was gaining had value. Soon he was using it to help top brands improve their Web traffic too.
Today, Rowland and his wife Suzana also operate Leverable, an SEO strategies firm where they put their combined 15 years of online marketing experience to work for other businesses. The company provides, as its slogan says, “Lift for the Good Guys,” their clients.
“I love owning a business that helps underdog clients surpass the competition (especially when it’s a large slumbering brand),” Rowland says. “I also treasure the freedom to work outside gigs when client contracts are up, continuing to learn and connect being a top priority.”
He also says he enjoys contributing to the BizSugar community.
“I’ve thought about why I keep coming back to BizSugar over other social sites,” Rowland says. “My best guess is the familiar, friendly faces and great business content. I look forward to getting to know more friends on BizSugar, so let’s connect, learn and explore the good things ahead!”
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