Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Hub and Spokes

Several years ago, a colleague of mine taught me a very powerful promotional strategy that I’ve been slowly implementing over time. It almost happened subconsciously, as I wasn’t fully aware that I was utilizing it. But a few weeks ago, as I was doing a presentation, I mentioned this approach and taught it to those that were in attendance. And I started using my own music website as an example. I suddenly realized that I had been implementing this very powerful strategy all along.

It’s called “Hub and Spokes”. Imagine a bicycle wheel: There is a central hub, and a lot of spokes that draw inward to it from an outer ring. The hub represents your main website. The spokes are links from related websites that you run and maintain, each pointing inward to the central hub, as well as forming an interconnected wheel of links to each other.

Let’s take a look at my “wheelie network”:

In the center, there’s my main music website, It’s where I sell my CD’s, promote my performances, communicate with fans, build my mailing list, and share my new songs. That’s the focus of my web business. The hub.

In the wheel, I’ve got This is where I promote myself as a music business mentor, much like my efforts as an Internet business mentor. That site links to my main site.

There’s my blogs, at, where I comment on Utah and religious popular culture (a large part of my musical audience), and here at Sohoman (where I comment on business trends and promotional methods). While the Sohoman blog isn’t really thematically relevant, I still include it because people still click from it to my main site. It is linked, and it does draw traffic. is another wheel site. It’s a place for my audience to find songs and sample other artists, as well as my own tunes.

Now, these are all the sites that I’ve built and I maintain. In addition to that, I’ve also got some pages set up on websites that are hosted by other people. These are usually grouped thematically, but not always. They do, however, always point back to my main home page.

The Internet Underground Music Archive hosts some of my music files, and information about me as an artist, with links back to my site. My IUMA page is: All of my songs are available through a system called “weedshare” and are hosted on a number of pages, including You can find me at, and as a CD reviewer at

One of the best spokes sites I’ve been able to find is in the big personal hosting site called My profile there is found at There, I can network and make new friends, I can build a fanbase for my music, I can share my music files, and I can link back to my main hub.

All of these form a wheel of related and integrated sites and pages that all point, spoke-like, back to the central hub website. Why is this helpful? This is a lot of work, isn’t it?

Well, in the first place, this creates a network of places where people can find me. Instead of being one lone site in a vast ocean of websites, now, there are a handful of places through which people can come to me. More entry points = more traffic.

And, since they are all relevant sites, hosted separately from my main page, and link back to my main site, they all contribute to the overall link popularity and search engine ranking of my hub. The search engines don’t know that I own many of these sites, and frankly, they don’t care.

So, how can you do the same thing? Now here’s where the creativity has to come in. To fully implement this program, you need to think of ideas for additional, related, and relevant websites. Find free hosting sources, and create them. Get them listed on the search engines. Get them interlinked with each other, and with other sites. Link them all to the main hub site. Find sites that other people own that will allow you to claim a spot, like MySpace. Always keep in mind the principle of identifying your audience, and putting your advertising (or your spokes sites) where they are.

This is also something that builds over the long term. I didn’t just go out and set up all these sites in a week. They all have to be created and grown in their own time, often one at a time. Gradually, the “empire” builds and the traffic increases.

And the wheels turn!

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