The Past, Present, and Future

by Jon Cooper

Welcome to the new Point Blank SEO! (Really Jon? Another redesign?!)

This is my chance to reflect on the past, talk about what I’m doing right now, and what I’ve got planned for the future. I don’t write posts like this often (if even at all), so bear with me.

The Past

I started this blog in March 2011 as a 17 year old high school student not knowing what the heck I was doing. In December 2011, I finally took the blog seriously, relaunched it with a new design on Jan. 3, and never looked back (tried to line up the new design so it could launch on Jan. 3 again, but ran into a few delays..).

Since then, a few of my posts, including my Strategies & Creativity ones, got so much traction I could hardly believe it.

I got the chance to meet so many awesome folks, not only other bloggers & speakers in the industry, but readers & clients, and the stories that come along with each.

I launched my link building training course.

I read more than a few books (courtesy of your suggestions on Twitter!) including the 4 Hour Work Week, The Personal MBA, How to Win Friends & Influence People, Think & Grow Rich, Content Strategy for the Web, Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, and even a few Game of Thrones books (thanks Melissa!).

Looking back on it, I still enjoy reading the comments from this post.

You guys helped me fight cancer.

But I’ve also had some goof ups and low points as well.

I had to postpone launching my course for 2 weeks because PayPal decided it didn’t want to cooperate with S2Member, and on launch day, hundreds of people couldn’t buy access to my course because PayPal was still giving me big problems (which is why I switched to Clickbank). Headache much?

More than a few posts I was eager to publish got little to no traction.

I missed out on a chance to get interviewed by a RWW writer because I called him at 1 EST instead of 1 PST (didn’t realize he was on the west coast).

I even asked Bill Slawski a year and a half ago if I could do a link building guest post on his blog – needless to say, I’m still kind of embarrassed about it and it taught me a valuable lesson to do your due diligent research…

But through it all, it’s been a wonderfully enlightening experience.

The Present & Future

As you can see, I decided to redesign my blog AGAIN.

I’m going to try & get more disciplined in content consistency, from how often I post, the quality of the post, and even the length. Please hold me to this if you think my stuff starts to suck.

After months of thinking & struggling through the decision, I decided to take a semester off of college this spring to focus on a lot of what I’ve got in the works. Being able to tend to my blog, my clients, and a few other things full time is something I’ve been looking forward to for a while. Whether I’ll be back is still up in the air; only time will tell.

I just got back from a mission to an orphanage in central India, and it was the most memorable 2 weeks of my life, hands down. I plan to do more & more of this work in the future.

Thanks to Tim Ferris, I’ve decided I’m going to try and master the art of cooking now that I’m without a meal plan.

I’m going to be in a Toastmasters meetup group in Tallahassee, my new place of residence. I got a ton of encouragement after I gave a sermon to 100+ in India, but I’ve still got a long way to go to possibly pitch SMX or another search conference.

I really like how my course turned out and the feedback you guys have given me, so I might do another info product in the future, such as a full case study of a site I’ve built links to from scratch (and I won’t be holding back on any specifics). If I do, my #1 priority will be value, because no one needs another crappy ebook in their life.

If it works out, I’ll be sharing with you guys a business model that can both increase your passion for your work, as well as greatly increase the amount of money you make. Another thing that only time will tell!

From here…

So, where do we go from here? That’s up to you. What do you want to see from Point Blank SEO & me? What subjects do you want tackled, what discussions do you want to see being made, or what crazy thing do you want me to try?

You guys have been such a blessing, and I’m glad where we’re heading moving forward. Cheers, and can’t wait to chat in the comments!

PS – if you want to email me, hit me up at jcooper@pointblankseo.com.

This post was written by...

Jon Cooper – who has written 129 posts on Point Blank SEO.

Jon Cooper is a link builder based out of Gainesville, FL. For more information on him and Point Blank SEO, visit the about page. Follow him on Twitter @PointBlankSEO.

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  1. Graham says:

    Hey Jon,

    I’m the dude that sent you 12 long questions in December. Lol. Thanks for taking the time to answer them, and thanks for having such a useful course. Definitely think it shrunk my learning curve tremendously. You might even recognize my questions from the first part of the 4 hour chef, lol.

    Keep being awesome.

    One Love,

    PS. I’m surprised at how unfriendly some people can be when you’re doing broken link outreach, gotta roll with the punches though

    • Jon Cooper says:

      So much for leaving the first comment…

      Lol but thanks a lot Graham, really appreciate your support, and glad to help in any way I can! And yeah, really depends on your wording and how you approach things. Gotta position yourself where they’d be an ass to get mad at you for helping and possibly wanting no more than a link in return.

      • Sahil says:

        Thanks a lot Jon. I have loved your “Link Building strategies” post to the core. I have learnt a lot from it. Found the UI and the design of your new site to be very very exciting but can’t understand why the social sharing icons have moved to the bottom of the blog post. I hope you write a post about the skill matrix an SEO should develop, also a lot about social media and technical seo in the year 2013.

    • Iain says:

      “I’m surprised at how unfriendly some people can be when you’re doing broken link outreach, gotta roll with the punches though”

      Really? I’d have thought ‘unfriendly’ would be one of the most common reactions to that type of outreach.

  2. Jon Cooper says:

    Leaving the first comment to say I spent all sunday evening & into monday morning tweaking this thing, so going to get some sleep, wake up, and (hopefully) answer any comments you guys leave. So don’t get too angry if it takes me a few hours to reply 🙂


  3. JJ says:

    Hi Jon,

    Second paragraph should be please “bear” with me.

    Keep up the good work.

  4. FAT Media says:

    Looking good Jon! It’s really nice to see people in the SEO community putting higher value on design and usability. On that note, you might want to consider bumping the font size slightly as it’s a little difficult to read right now. A simple bump to 1em with a line height of 1.68em makes a huge difference in the readability of your post.

    It’s really cool to see someone from my neck of the woods doing so well in this industry. It sucks you’re moving as I was hoping we could connect at some point. Let me know if you’re ever back in town. I’d offer to buy you a beer, but I think that might get me thrown in Jail. 😉 Keep up the awesome work man!

  5. Brad Russell says:

    Jon – I didn’t realize you were so young! I’ve seen you in many SEO circles/articles online and thought you were a seasoned veteran, so kudos to you for so much knowledge and insight at such a young age!

  6. nchaud says:

    Hey Jon
    Thanks for all your frank advice. Would be good if you could write something about what works now, in 2013, and what doesn’t. There’s still articles out there from 2011 talking about spinning articles etc. that hit top search results in Google and its confusing as anything !

  7. Jon, you’re doing an amazing thing here and I’d love to see you continue writing and developing products. As (probably) the first one to buy your course from Russia I’m enjoying it and hoping to see more quality stuff from you in the future. Good luck and keep doing what you’re doing!

  8. Nick says:

    Nice new redesign Jon! Although it must have been difficult to say goodbye to those treehouses. They were awesome!

    It’s great to hear about your plans for the future, and it’s exciting (for me) about the “business model” insight that you’re going to share with us.

    I personally have gained so much from your “link building course”. Whilst it’s nice having the valuable information in your blog, the course is a comprehensive way to improve on link building. A little bit like Distilled have done with the DistilledU course.

    In terms of “ideas for content in the future”? I personally like having this place as the “Go to blog” on Link Building that can survive the test of time against new updates (such as Penguin). It’s always interesting to hear about “scalable link building” strategies, and it would just be nice to get your latest insights based on Google updates and the value of links in the “present”.

    Having said all that, it will also be nice to see what else you have to share and the “business model” you mentioned. I feel like going and reading all of those books now! Especially the “4 Hour Work Week” that I’ve heard so much about!

    • Jon Cooper says:

      Thanks Nick, and yep, it wasn’t easy, but it was just taking up too much space above the fold :(. Still have screenshots to save for memory!

      Can’t wait to share the business model (if it works out), and glad you liked the course. Nice to get some positive feedback like that every once in a while 🙂

  9. Good to know your future plans jon..keep up the good work 🙂 Mentioning India here made this post more interesting for me 😀

  10. Martijn Oud says:

    Hi Jon. Congratulations on the new design, it looks very professional. I always thought the text on the old design wasn’t very legible and you seem to have tackled that! The one thing that I’m missing are thumbnails on http://pointblankseo.com/blog.

    Looking forward to reading more of your stuff!

  11. Sean says:

    Dude, feeling the redesign. A lot more professional and I like the minimalism. Good luck in 2013 mate.

  12. Yoyoyo says:

    You are fantastic Jon! Especially, thk you for the book list.. I’ve already read How to Win Friends & Influence People. Now I want to buy and read another books..

  13. Amit says:

    Hi John, I an big fan of yours.

    I loved your link building strategy post, specially the way you have put it with weekly basis. your new design has got a great navigation structure.

    I am looking for more link building techniques to be followed for upcoming year 2013. Hope you cover them in new posts.

  14. Sebastian says:

    You da man Jon. Really liking the new site design.
    New site design is much nicer, although the font within the comments box could do with tweaking, little harsh on the eyes!

  15. Hey Jon,

    Good luck in Tallahassee! You’re going to do great. One thing I would like to see you cover: blending scaled/automated link building tactics with personalization. It’s something I know other link builders are working on – but no one is talking about it… I’m currently trying to find a balance and would love to know what others, like yourself, are doing.

  16. Sylvia says:

    I like the new format & layout. Thanks for the current info & much success in your business!

  17. Joel Widmer says:

    Jon, I always love getting your emails and keeping up with what your doing. Your consistency and quality always impresses me! That’s incredible to hear about your time at the orphanage and I’m excited about the possibilities you’ll having taking a little time off (even though it’s scary.) My biz partner, John, did the same thing in college to focus on his business and then went back to school so I know he wouldn’t mind that I volunteer him to answer any questions you might have for him : ) And btw, the blog looks awesome! Happy 2013 and I can’t wait to all the incredible things you accomplish this year!

    • Jon Cooper says:

      Thanks Joel! Yeah, it was amazing, and really felt my heart was in that work, so it looks like I’ve got another thing I’ll need to balance 🙂

      Cheers, and thanks for all the help you’ve given me over the past year!

  18. I really love your new design! You have done the design?

  19. Hey Jon, I found your blog very late but I knew it was definitely worth reading. The course was excellent and I definitely learnt a lot.

    You were 17 years old in 2011? That means we’re pretty much the same age! I’m 19. But man, I thought you were much older. I’m really impressed!

    Well done man, well done!

    Keep writing on writing! Cheers!

    • Jon Cooper says:

      Thanks Gent! And that’s awesome that we’re the same age; we’re few & far to come by. If you ever have any questions on anything, always love to help, so drop me a line when the time comes.

  20. Kris says:

    Making a true decision means committing to achieving a result, and then cutting yourself off from any other possibility. –Anthony Robbins

    Just do it Jon. Good luck with your decision 🙂

  21. Jason Manion says:

    I’m only semi-familiar with your blog and work – I read about you on Wil Reynolds blog awhile back and have seen a few of your posts. Regardless, I’m impressed with what I’ve seen. From one young web marketer (I think I have a couple years on you) to another, good luck with whatever is next!

  22. Backlinko says:

    Glad to see you back in the saddle Jon. Love the new design and congrats on your decision to take a semester off…that takes guts.

  23. Nick LeRoy says:

    Congrats Jon on the good year and many good ones to come. Interesting you took a semester off. I know you have been contemplating the “value” of college for you this past year. I’ll be curious to see in the next 4-5 months what your take is on going back .

    • Jon Cooper says:

      Thanks Nick! And yeah, should be very interesting. If it goes well, I can try and speak to others that are currently in my position to show that it is possible if they’re willing to make it work.

  24. John Rowa says:


    Love the new site and love the new commitment to your venture… but, even more, love your heart for those in need. Those of us in the tech startup and dot com industry can be pretty cynical about the world around us, but the opportunity to make a positive impact is huge. Keep it up!

    Good luck, brotha! – @JohnRowa

    • Jon Cooper says:

      Thanks John, and totally agree. It’s sometimes hard to realize just how much of an impact we can make, just because we can get so sucked into what our latest project is.

  25. Ross Hudgens says:

    Good luck Jon – you won’t need it.

  26. Matt Morgan says:

    Hey Jon, the new design kicks ass and renders nicely on mobile. My web team and I took away some great tips from your link building course. I’ve been recommending your course in my latest guest blogs. I really liked the way you broke up the different sections.

    Here’s my wish list:

    1.) I hear you talk about focusing on building relationships instead of links as part of your strategy, however, I’d like to learn more about how you track those contacts + communication with each.

    2.) What do you recommend sending to our SEO clients each month to show the success of our link building efforts? Can we see one of your reports?

    3.) I want to hear about your favorite WordPress plugins/tools; like this commenting system.

    Thanks in advance, stay awesome!!

    • Jon Cooper says:

      Thanks Matt!

      1) Definitely would like to tackle this subject, stay tuned.

      2) Most of the work I do for clients is solely to build links. That’s what they know going in, and the most I’ll ever send them in terms of a traditional report is a list of links I’ve obtained. That’s really it. Most of my clients have come from other agencies & consultants who give them the same fancy analysis reports, but don’t really actually do them any good, so I try and avoid those as much as possible.

      3) This commenting system is actually custom to the theme! But the only ones I really love are Akismet, Digg Digg, Comment Redirect by Yoast, RSS Footer, and WP Minify. Nothing too fancy and unheard of.

      How’s that?

  27. James says:

    Thanks for the update Jon, specifically re the books… I just bought personal MBA in another tab, hopefully I’m still inspired by the time it arrives 😉

  28. sebastian says:

    Hi Jon, great article, your posts are always a good read. I couldn’t help but notice the tools you can’t live without and it made me think if you have ever heard of My Viral Web.

    Also, what do you think is the next big thing, seeing how we’re talking about the future here? I’ve reading a lot of articles about genuine and relevant content, or better design being king. Just wanted to see what you thought.
    Thank again!

    • Jon Cooper says:

      Thanks Sebastian, there’s not going to be another thing on the level of content & design. Some tactics will come & go, but in terms of value your website provides in order to naturally get links, those 2 will always be at the top, and it doesn’t matter which is king.

  29. Adam Wagner says:

    I just wanted to encourage you to keep up the good work. It is amazing what you have achieved in such a short time. Your achievements are well-deserved though and have come because of the high-quality content you always produce.

    I am in the process of starting my own agency and beginning to build my own online brand presence. You are an inspiration! Thank you.

    • Jon Cooper says:

      Thanks Adam! But it all came because I found a need (great LB content) and I filled it. My friends can vouch for me that I’m really nothing special besides willing to take chances on doing things exactly like that.

      Good luck, and starting to build out somewhat of an agency myself (fueled by starving college students willing to work for next to nothing here in Tallahassee), so I’m right there with you!

  30. Jon, As always great post. You made a tough decision at a very young age that shows maturity beyond your years. It’s always tough to go against the grain of what your family and friends deem to be “normal.”

    I’d like to see a post that outlines your work in India. It may not be SEO related, but a good reminder of why we work, and how much we’ve been blessed just being born in this country.

    Keep up the good work.

  31. Thomas says:

    Hello Jon

    thanks for the useful resources you offer.
    Just wondering if you could highlight your comments here since there are many comments these days on your website! Just add a styling (for example background-color) to.bypostauthor. Many thanks and on your succes!

  32. Tom says:

    Hi Jon, I like the crisp new design, I do miss the lovely tree header though, reminded me of Ewok village, or Rivendell 🙂 Now following you on twitter.

  33. Jon you are amazing. I’m sure anything you do will be an inspiration to all of us.

The Past, Present, and Future - Point Blank SEO