Erica Douglass is a self-taught technical whiz and successful technology entrepreneur. Growing up in a small town, she had no one to rely on to fix computers, so she took it upon herself to learned how to do everything, from building and fixing her own computers to creating web sites.
Erica started a web hosting and development company in 2001, at age 20. Over the next 6 years, she turned the business into one of Silicon Valley’s most well-known web hosting companies, hosting sites for hundreds of the Valley’s most successful startups.
After selling her company for 7 figures and successfully exiting the hosting industry in 2007, Erica took a few years off. She transitioned her blog into a popular, thriving community of over 30,000 small business owners. She and her blog have been featured in major media publications like U.S. News & World Report, in books, and on hundreds of other blogs and websites.
Whoosh Traffic marks Erica’s re-entry into the technology industry and showcases her continued commitment to helping small businesses grow and flourish.
[Photo by René Lego Photography]
WHO IS ERICA DOUGLASS?
So, I write a popular entrepreneurship blog called Erica.biz. E-R-I-C-A dot B-I-Z. It has 1.4 million unique visitors a year, so it's incredibly popular, it's one of the most popular entrepreneurship blogs online. I got started with it in 2007. After I sold my business, I turned my personal blog into a blog where I wanted to teach people about business success and failure.
WHAT'S THE MOST IMPORTANT THING FOR GOOD SEO?
What I would say to people who are looking to get more traffic to their website, get more sales and get more leads: you need to know exactly what people are searching for where it aligns with what you're offering on your site.
I always encourage startup owners and entrepreneurs to go look and do keyword research and know what keywords people are typing in. You need to know the language of what your potential customers are saying and you need to be able to say "This is what we offer" and know that that matches up with what people are typing into search engines.
So I always recommend: do keyword research spend and hour or two on it. In fact, I'll spend thirty minutes a week or so on it, looking for new keywords for my business. And you need to know that in order to drive more traffic to your site, whether it's writing blog posts, whether it's building targeted landing pages, whether it's doing videos and podcasts for that content, you need to be out there and making sure that when people type things in that are related to your business that you're the company that they're finding.
TELL US ABOUT WHOOSH TRAFFIC
So, I'm CEO of a company here in Austin called Whoosh Traffic and that we provide search engine optimization software. So, if you're a search engine optimization professional, or a marketing director, VP of marketing, or CMO, you need to make sure that you're tracking how your SEO is actually performing so that you're not just throwing money away, you know which keywords you're ranking for, you know which keywords are -- you're moving up in the rankings for, you know which location in the United States or in the world you're ranking best in, and that's exactly what our software provides.
So our software helps SEO professionals do their jobs better and it makes their lives easier when managing projects for clients, and that's what we do!
BEFORE AUSTIN? WHY AUSTIN?
So, I started my last company in Silicon Valley and I was very successful there. I lived there for ten years. I had an nice exit out of my last tech company, had a lot of great friends and I felt like I... After I sold my last business, I felt that I wanted to move somewhere else and make sure that I wasn't gonna live in Silicon Valley for the rest of my life and I wanted something that was a new experience for me.
So after I sold my last company, I moved to San Diego and lived in San Diego for two years and I loved San Diego, but the problem was when I decided I wanted to do a tech startup again, there wasn't much of a tech community in San Diego. It was mostly individuals who were running little side businesses or something like that. I wanted to go somewhere where there is a tech community that wasn't the Bay Area and that wasn't bigger than the Bay Area, like New York City, so I picked Austin.
It's a smaller community. I like the fact that the community here in Austin is really focused on building businesses that have viable products and not just social media bubble businesses.
So I wanted to be part of a smaller tech community and also, I wanted to be a pillar in that community. I wanted to be one of the people in the community who were leading the community to the, to the next steps and inviting people to come to Austin and be part of this community.
And I saw the potential for that in Austin. So, that's why I came here and I haven't regretted my choice at all. I've been here over a year now and I absolutely love it.
For someone who's coming to South by Southwest for the first time, I'd say prepare to be completely overwhelmed. It's going to be five to seven days at a minimum of complete chaos. You're gonna miss something inevitably, there's gonna be something
where you look back you think, Ah! I really wish I could have gone to that thing!
But, just let it roll, try not to plan too much, try to just roll out of bed in the morning and go to whatever seems to be the most interesting thing and then just let it happen. And try to get enough sleep, at least six hours a night so that you don't end up with "South by SARS" at the next week, what they were calling it where it was like everybody had a cold the next week, so that's what I would say.
WHY WE ARE_AUSTIN TECH?
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