Honesty, integrity, transparency
Back in the earlier years of the internet (we're talking pre-2000 here), the web felt like the Wild West. You could do pretty much anything and get away with it - at least in the short-term.
That's no longer the case, luckily, although it didn't stop us early-adopters from trying every trick to game the system and get people to our websites, no matter what it took. And we tried everything - from keyword spamming to doorway pages, mass email broadcasts to cloaking, and many more techniques that are now deemed 'black hat'.
To be fair, it didn't feel as though we were doing anything unethical. We just felt as though we had to compete against every other Tom, Dick and Harry Spammer who were jumping onto the next black hat activity.
We got involved because we were just trying to keep up with the others. It was a tough industry. But it worked. I was getting more than a million visitors a month to two of my websites.
Although these methods are not considered unethical, I don't have any regrets about trying these black hat activities. They gave me a good insight into the murky world of internet marketing. They taught me the inner workings of the internet, especially when it came to search engine optimisation techniques, persuasion methodologies and human psychology.
Today, I no longer practice (or teach) anything that could be considered unethical. When I was involved in black hat marketing I had to keep a very low profile, because a) I didn't want to get found out, and b) I didn't want others to copy my techniques. But as my website's popularity grew, it became harder to keep my head under the parapet. My days of dodgy digital marketing were numbered, and I knew it.
And you know what? Almost all black hat techniques (eventually) led me to get my sites banned or penalised, especially when Google was making so many changes to its algorithm back in the early 2000's to deter spammers.
So I knew that I had to adapt - or die (not literally).
By this point I was working for some pretty reputable companies, and the last thing I wanted was to get their websites banned. So, armed with the knowledge I'd gained about black hat digital marketing, I learned all about 'white hat' techniques.
As you can imagine, putting into practice white hat marketing alongside my knowledge of underground tactics was pretty powerful, especially when combined with human psychology and persuasion. I've managed to build a portfolio of websites that are now highly successful, profitable businesses. These websites now enjoy huge market penetration - 1 in 6 of the UK population - all using ethical digital marketing activities.
I have no time for businesses that are cut throat where they will do anything to get what they want. I truly believe you can be successful in life by being kind, responsible and generous. Although these traits are not usually associated with entrepreneurs, I am proof that you can find success by being kind, generous and having a sense of morals.
I've had some pretty tough times throughout the decades. Websites have come and gone - and with it some lucrative revenue streams too. After getting my fingers burned using black hat activities, I decided that I would stick to a new mantra; one that was sustainable and ethical:
Honesty. Integrity. Transparency.
If you come across me in any capacity, whether chatting over the phone, working together on a project or in a classroom, these are the philosophies that have built my business to where it currently is. You can expect honesty, integrity and transparency all the way.
Let's have an informal chat about where your business is heading, and to see if I can help you to smash your goals.
From homelessness to multiple business owner
It's been a tough ride, but it's been worth it all, and I wouldn't change a thing. Despite my struggles to get from living on the streets of London to running a successful business, I now look back and realise that every step of the way, every challenge and every obstacle was there for a reason - to help me become resilient and determined enough to see it through.What a ride!
Want to work together? If so, just fill in the form below. Once I receive it, I'll get in touch and we can arrange a quick, informal chat about your current situation, and how we can proceed.
CliqTo Ltd, 1 Brassey Road, Old Potts Way, Shrewsbury, Shropshire, England, SY3 7FA
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