Category Archives: Blogging

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What your blog’s readers really want…

This may be contrary to what a lot of people tend to believe about blogging but your readers really don’t want “How To” posts. There’s nothing wrong with posts like “How to install a WordPress Blog” or “How to build a list”. They’re cool and they may get you some search engine traffic but it’s really not what your readers are looking for…

You may be thinking to yourself, “But Matt, I’m a reader of your blog and I want ‘How To’ Posts.” You may think that’s what you want now… but it’s not really true…

In all actuality, people really want to see real world case studies… They want to see examples of exactly what worked for someone else so that they can take those ideas and those actions and implement them themselves.

When you were taking math classes in school, what was the better way to learn? Did you like it when your teacher said, “this is how you do this math problem, so remember it.” or did you prefer to receive the explanation of why it worked and how it would be applied in the real world? Maybe that’s not the best example… But you probably learned a heck of a lot better when you received the explanation as well as the application. This is what real case studies actually do. They give true examples of the application.

Not only do case studies give the “how to”, they give examples of exactly how the specific technique was applied in real life. They prove to your readers that the results that they are looking for really can be achieved by taking the same actions that you took.

What would you think would make for a better blog post?

Example A: How to build a mailing list really fast.
Example B: How I built my mailing list from 15 people to 2,000 people in 2 weeks.

One of those blog post titles sounds more appealing to you, doesn’t it?

Both of those blog posts are going to teach the exact same topic but one of them backs up the “how to” with real world results. This IS what your readers want to see. They want that “how to”… But they want it with a little bit of results to prove that something actually works.

I came to this realization when I looked over and saw what my current most popular posts are as of writing this. 2 of my top 5 posts are How I Got To Where I am Today and How I’ve Done What I’ve Done. I’ll admit that these aren’t the best titles for blog posts, however, they both have one thing in common… They are both stories about how I did something. They aren’t necessarily “how to” posts. They are posts about real world achievements and how I achieved them.

When you take a look at the success of the popular blog, Shoemoney, you’ll realize where its success came from. Go back to some of his oldest posts, right when his blog was starting to grow, you’ll realize that they are all case study posts about how he achieved various successes through PPC and ad campaigns.

If you step away from the internet marketing niche and look at something like the health niche… The blogs that get popular are the ones from people who were, at one time, out of shape and have done what it takes to get their bodies back to where they want them. One of my favorite health blogs is a site called ZenToFitness.com. Many of the posts on this blog are case studies of how they managed to overcome issues with their weight and health. They give you the steps by showing you how they implemented them themselves.

When people rethink their “how to” posts and convert them in to case study posts, they will find that they are creating material that people really love to read and can really get excited about. Think about this when you’re writing your next tutorial. You will be surprised at how much better of a response you receive from your post.

What are your thoughts on this subject? Do you prefer when how-to posts give real world examples in the form of case studies or do you think standard how-tos are good enough? Please leave your comments below.

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Why A Huge List Should Not Be Your Goal…

Lately I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about my online business and the strategies that I’ve employed to get to where I am. Josh Bartlett and I have sat around for hours discussing the ways that most people get started in online business. We’ve come to the conclusion that almost everyone out there is doing it all wrong.

It seems to us that most people have this strategy that consists of basically building a list as large as possible. Their number one focus in life is to build it bigger and bigger. While having a huge list is definitely not a bad thing, most people are putting their focus on the wrong thing. I’m sure you’ve heard by now that “the money is in the list”. You’ve probably also heard the counter-response that “the money is not in the list… it’s in the relationship that you have with the list”. Obviously, the second one is probably closer to the truth. Today I’m going to put a new spin on the idea…

Focus on Building Fans Instead of Gaining Subscribers.

When I talk about a fan, I’m referring to the people that purchase every product that you create just because you made it. These people have so much faith in you that they are willing to blindly purchase what you are selling simply because you made it and they trust that what you made will live up to the quality that they’ve come to expect from you. These fans will purchase products through your affiliate links because they trust you and that you would only recommend the best for them. One fan is worth infinitely more to you that even 100 subscribers on your list.

Think of Apple Computers… They have thousands (if not millions) of fans. There are people out there that will purchase every single product that Apple puts out just because it’s Apple and they’ve come to expect a certain level of quality and usability from them. We call these people Apple Fanboys / Fangirls (and day by day I’m becoming one too). When they put out an iPhone 4, hundreds of thousands of people who already have perfectly fine, working, iPhone 3s drop their old phone to go grab Apple’s latest new toy. It happens with each new product they put out… They have fans.

Another example would be the gaming company, Blizzard. They do games like WarCraft, StarCraft and Diablo. I’m a fan of their company. In my opinion, they’ve never released a bad game. As a result, I own every game they’ve ever released. I buy the games before even reading reviews because I’ve come to expect a certain level from them and they seem to never disappoint. I am a fan…

Let’s put some math behind the idea… Written on the white board on the wall in my office I have “1,000 FANS” written in huge writing. That goal has been on board for months and months now. It is my opinion that if I can build my business to the point where I have 1,000 fans, I will be set…

One fan can be worth any amount to you. I would say at the very minimum, 1 fan is worth $100 per year. Remember, a fan buys everything you release and also purchases most of what you recommend. You only need to sell 2 products in a year, valued at $50 each for one fan to be worth $100 per year. However, at this rate, 1,000 fans is equal to $100,000 per year to your business.

Realistically, though, one fan is probably worth more like $324 per year (or about $27 per month) to your business. So at 1,000 fans, you are probably closer to a business worth around $324,000 per year. At this rate, you only need about 309 true fans to have a $100,000 per year business….

It’s fun to play with these numbers. Obviously, people who only sell and promote really high-ticket items will have a higher value per fan. However, in the high-ticket market, one fan is probably a little harder to come by.

Are you starting to see how simple the concept of building a huge income becomes when your focus becomes building fans as opposed to building a list of subscribers?

How to create fans

There are a few simple rules that myself and Josh tend to follow. Do these things and you will be on your way to building a list of adoring fans.

1. Give tons and tons of high value content for free. Use your blog, create eBooks, make video tutorials, and record interviews. Then just give them away for free. People love to get for free what most other people probably charge to give. As long as the content is quality, people will stick around to see what you’re going to say or offer next. I do my best to share everything I know and learn and I usually give it away for free. The funny thing is, that has never hurt the sales of the products I sell. So don’t be afraid to share what you know for free. People will still pay to get even more details or to dig down a little deeper in to the concepts.

2. “Learn to love getting the short end of the stick” This is one of my favorite quotes and it comes from, fellow internet marketer, Eben Pagan. It basically means that when you do sell products, sell them for a lot less than you think they are worth. Have a philosophy of always over-delivering and make sure that when people purchase a product from you, they are always getting much more than they paid for.

3. Be customer service oriented. I still personally respond to most of my e-mails myself. I do my best to answer questions about my products or my ideas to the people who take the time to e-mail me and ask them. I’m not always the fastest at responding (I get a lot of e-mails) but I pretty much always get back to people. I hired people to manage my support desk as well. I want to make sure that even if I can’t respond quickly, you will get a quick response. No question goes unanswered and theres usually someone to answer quickly no matter what time you send it. These little details really solidify the confidence that people have in you and your business.

4. Never promote anything that you don’t know much about. Don’t jump on launches just because everyone else is promoting them and don’t agree to adswaps without knowing the product of the person you’re swapping with. Make sure that you do what you can to protect the list that you do have. Don’t violate the trust that you are working hard to build by sending crap that you don’t know much about. I’m not against promoting products, promoting launches or even doing adswaps. I just think that you should never mail anything to your list unless you are confident that it will benefit them. Don’t put your credibility with your list on the line by blindly mailing them everything that pops up to promote.

5. Always live up to the standards that you’ve created. If you are going to follow in these footsteps and build a business around creating fans and trust, make sure that any products that you put out continue to be high quality. Don’t let your true fans down. It may take only one misguided slip up to ruin that relationship. Don’t blow it.

Follow these steps and you will be well on your way to creating a huge list of fans. I know people with lists of 60,000 to 100,000 subscribers that get a worse response out of their lists than people with lists of a few hundred true fans. True, sustainable wealth comes from buildings fans and creating trust, not from making a list…

If you enjoyed this post, can you do me two huge favors? Click the “Like” button to let me know that you enjoyed it and leave a comment so we can further discuss it. What are you a fan of? Do you agree / disagree with this philosophy? Get your input heard.

Last Night My Blog Crashed

So I woke up this morning and jumped over to my blog. I noticed that my theme was still installed and that I could still log in to my dashboard but that there were no posts on my front page. All I saw was a “Page Not Found” error. I logged in to my dashboard and saw that every single post and page that I have ever created had been deleted. I have no idea how this happened but everything was gone. The database that held all of the information on my blog had apparently crashed. I freaked out a little bit and then remembered that I had taken some actions to safeguard against situations like this. I spent about 5 minutes reloading my last backup and everything was back to normal again. I may have lost one or two comments that may have come in over night but, for the most part, it’s like it had never happened.

It is scary because if I hadn’t have taken a few certain actions a few weeks ago, I would have been unable to recover my blog. I figured that there are probably a lot of bloggers out there that may not know how to backup their blog or how to recover their blog from a backup. It is really scary because your blog CAN go down at any time for no apparent reason whatsoever! Read this post and maybe you can put yourself in a situation where a database crash is nothing more than a 5 minute fix.

The very first thing that you should do is download and install the WP-DB-Backup plugin for wordpress. It’s a free plugin and can usually be searched for and installed from directly inside your WordPress Dashboard. Get that installed today. Once it’s installed set it up to backup daily and send you an e-mail with the backup. By doing this, you can jump back to any point in time and recover all the information that crashed. If you don’t update very frequently, you can also opt to backup weekly. I prefer daily because I know I can restore comments from the previous day as well.

Now… If your blog ever goes down and you have been doing a good job of backing it up, here is how you restore your blog.

1. Login in to your CPanel account and scroll down until you find phpMyAdmin
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2. Find the database that your blog is installed on. The backup files that are sent to you from WP-DB-Backup will share the same name as the database you need to recover. So if you are unsure of which database to open, refer to the filename of your backup file.
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3. Click on the tab that says import at the top of the new screen that just opened.
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4. Click on “choose file” and find the backup file that you are going to use to restore your blog.
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That should do it. Your blog should be back in all of its glory. Having a database failure can be extremely scary! Fortunately, if you take the right precautions from the beginning, it can be a very quick and painless fix. If you only have one plugin installed for your blog, make sure that it is a backup plugin. It will save you someday!

Please feel free to make comments. Have you had your blog crash? Do you have any questions about making sure you are protected against your blog crashing?

How To Schedule Posts For Later

It is important to make sure that your blog doesn’t get stale. You want people to come back and see that you are keeping up with it. Sometimes, however, you are going to be away from your computer for long periods of time or you have some pressing matters that are going to make it impossible to keep up with your blog. If you know about these circumstances in advance, there is a way to make sure that it looks like you are keeping up with your blog without you having to log in and keep posting.

You can actually schedule posts for later. A lot of times, when I know I am going on vacation or something, I will write several blog posts and then que them up to post over the next several days. This allows me to be “hands off” on my blog while making it appear that I am constantly updating.

Here’s how you do it:

Login to your WordPress dashboard, click on “Posts”, and then click on “Add New”. Then go ahead and write one of your posts like you would anyway. Now, under the “Publish” area on the right hand side of your screen, there is an area that says “Publish: immediately”. Click on the link that says “Edit”.
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Now you can change the date and time that you want this post to update.
Schedule 2

That’s it. That is all there is to it. You can do this as many times as you want to schedule up as many days as you want.

It is something that is really quick and simple, yet a lot of people ask me how to do this. So there you go. That’s how it is done.

Do you have any burning WordPress questions? I can probably help you out with any questions that you have or anything that you’ve been trying to figure out how to do. I want to get back in to doing a couple of blog posts a week. Post your WordPress questions and what you would like to learn and I will make more tutorials on how to do them. But first, don’t forget to check out my free WordPress video tutorials at The WordPress Classroom.

Ask your questions in the comments below and I will help you out if I know the answer!

How I’ve Done What I’ve Done

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Click to Enlarge

Over that last three weeks I have built a blog to between 75 and 100 visitors per day, I have built a mailing list from 3 people to 65 people as of this post, I’ve made blog posts that have gotten over 50 comments, and I have created my own product (with two more in the works). I have also managed to average about $50 per day in affiliate commissions over the past 2 weeks or so. I am not writing this post to brag at all. In fact I want to explain to you exactly how I did it.

People ask me the question every day, “How have you done what you’ve managed to do?” They think that I had a huge head start or that I’m just some blogging genius or something. That’s not the case at all. I started this blog on July 1st. My Alex Jeffreys mentoring started on July 6th. That’s hardly much of a head start. I’m definitely no genius but I have made blogs in the past.

So what I will do is I will relist my acheivements here and then explain exactly what I did to get those results…

I have built a blog to between 75 and 100 visitors per day
The biggest thing that I have done here to gain the amount of traffic that I have gained is that I have helped as many people as I could in forums and I have commented on a lot of blogs. I have made it a goal of mine to assist anyone who asks for help in the forums and I either know the answer or know how to do what they are asking. I have also made it one of my daily tasks to comment on a minimum of ten other blogs per day. I usually end up posting on more like 15 per day. At least two of my comments every day must be on blogs from people that are not students of Alex Jeffreys.

I have built a mailing list from 3 people to 65 people as of this post
I have created a video series on how to set up and do tasks on blogs. I gave away the videos for free in exchange for opting in to my mailing list. I have consistently made a minimum of $100 per month in blogging and I intend to continue to create videos on how I have achieved this. The idea came to me after I began to receive the same e-mails over and over again from people asking the same questions about setting up or running thier blogs. I figured that if I created video tutorials, I could start sending them links to videos instead of explaining the same thing over and over again.

I’ve made blog posts that have gotten over 50 comments
This comes back to how I generated my traffic numbers. I have commented on a lot of blogs and a lot of people have returned the favor by commenting on mine. I have helped people in the forum or through e-mail who have come to my blog and commented as a thank you. I enabled the plugin CommentLuv on my blog so that people who comment get a backlink?to their latest article. I have also installed the top commentators widget, which puts a link to the people with the most comment’s blogs. I have also made it a rule of mine to reply to every comment that people make on my blog. This generates an almost community feel to the readers and commenters. This also drives up the comment count, giving social proof to visitors of my blog that I am someone that they should be reading.

I have created my own product (with two more in the works)
I have created my series of WordPress videos based on common questions that I was receiving. I would have never gotten this started if it wasn’t for my mentor, Alex Jeffreys’ first coaching session where he discussed organization and getting things done. I decided that I need to set goals and create a path to achieve these goals. I started making daily task lists and I posted a list of goals on my wall. This has made me so much more focused and driven to keep moving on my product creation. I also need to thank Josh Bartlett, once again, because he has helped so much with the brainstorming and creation of my current product and the products that are in the works.

I have averaged about $50 per day in affiliate commissions
I have posted links to products that I use and endorse. I only endorse products that I can personally vouch for. If I haven’t used it, I haven’t promoted it. My mentor once said that you need to find the way cash flows and then jump in front of it. I believe I finally understand what he was talking about. One way that I have implemented this philosophy is to promote products that I use and I am affiliated with to people who are going to need them anyway. People come to my blog to learn how to blog. They are going to need a host and an e-mail list. I simply promote who I use for these services. I have offered up my link to people who are going to purchase the services anyway. That is simply all I have done and it has worked so far…

Anyway, this post was a little bit longer than I had intended. I wanted to be 100% honest and outright with every method that I have used to gain the traffic that I have gained. I feel like there are still so many more traffic generation methods that I haven’t even taken advantage of yet. I have not really leveraged social media outlets such as Twitter or Youtube, I have not attempted to promote through article marketing, I have not hunted out more forums in my niche to help out in, and I have not experimented with paid traffic for this site. There are still so many avenues that I intend to venture down to continue to build on the success of this site.

Please leave me some comments. I would love to hear if this was helpful to you or if there are more avenues that you would recommend that I venture down. I also intend to comment on any blog of the people who comment on my blog. Leave me some comments and let’s continue to build our network of blogs in to one of the best resources for internet marketers on the internet!

Lets Focus On Traffic

TrafficSo you’ve got this really sweet blog setup. You have a cool theme installed, you’ve got all the plugins that make the blog really kick butt, you’ve got some affiliate links sprinkled in to make a few bucks here and there and you’ve got a ton of tools to make your online life so much easier. There’s one problem… How the heck are you really going to get people to your site? I’ve got some good news and some bad news. The good news is that there are so many different ways out there to generate traffic to your blog. The bad news is that they all require either quite a bit of time and hard work or money. If you really want to get anywhere in the business, you are going to need to spend one of the two, either time or money.

Be active in your niche’s community.
I can not stress this enough. This is the biggest thing and the fastest way to build free traffic to your blog. Find as many other blogs as you can that are in your niche, read the posts on those blogs, and leave good, relevant comments. Don’t give them the crappy “great post” comments. Those will usually get tossed out as spam. Read the post and try to add a comment that will add to the topic. Give input or more information that the readers of that blog will enjoy and get something out of. People will come to your blog if they think they can learn something from you.

Jump in to the forums that are related to your niche. I guarantee that there is a forum for your niche, no matter what the niche is. There’s always a forum. Get in to that forum, put your blog’s address in your signature, and make helpful, useful comments. The more valuable and relevant your comments are, the faster they will convert in to traffic. Once again, stay away from comments like nice post or good idea. Give people something that adds to the conversation. You are much better off not commenting at all than leaving a plain, boring comment. People will get irritated and will be counterproductive.

Another method of giving to your niche’s community is to write guest posts. Find blogs that are in your niche and write a post for them. E-mail them before you write the post, give them compliments on their blog, and ask if they would be interested in letting you write a guest post for them. Give them three or four ideas of things that you would like to write about. Let them pick the topic. Using this method, you have the opportunity to grab the readers of that other blog. Unlike comments, your guest post will go out to their RSS subscribers and it will sit on their front page for a few days in most cases. It is an excellent way to get a quick boost. Want some examples of guest posts? Here is a guest post that I wrote about how to make money with Clickbank. Notice also, Bill Romer made a guestpost on my blog. When it comes to guest posts, use your best ideas. You want your absolute best material in these guest posts because you are trying to grab new readers. You need a great first impression.

Article marketing
Article marketing works because sites like ezinearticles and GoArticles are more popular than yours. It’s the truth, Google likes them better. Basically, you want to write an article about your niche and post it to one of those sites. At the end of the article, toss in your blog’s link. When people stumble across your article, if the content is good, they will find you blog.

Using websites like HubPages and Squidoo, you can generate the same effect. Leveraging the fact that these sites are very popular and Google likes them, you can create quick, relevant sites that link back to your blog. My typical technique is to create a squidoo lense with about three articles and a couple relevant YouTube videos. I then throw my blog’s link in at the bottom. People like what they see at my lense and come to my blog to get more.

Social Networking Sites
This is a pretty quick and easy way to help generate traffic. Post the address to your blog on all of your social networks. Make sure you have a link in Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, Twitter, and any other social network you can think of. People find you and are curious about your site. It’s quick and easy.

Social Bookmarking Sites
This another powerful way that could potentially generate massive traffic. Every time you create a blog post, submit it to places like Digg, Reddit, Delicious, StumbleUpon, and any other social bookmarking sites that you can think of. I have had blog posts that went viral because I submitted them to one of those sites. The next thing you know, your blog that receives 10 views a day, has over 600 in one day. It happens all of the time. Use these sites. They have the potential to explode your site’s traffic.

Link Exchanges
I like to contact as many other blogs as I can that are in my niche and offer to swap links. I’ll give them a shout out in one of my posts if they sneak one of my links in to one of their posts. This is beneficial in two ways. First you can snag a little bit of traffic from their blog and second, Google loves to see your site linked from other sites. This will help your search engine ranking.

Pay Per Click
This is the first of my paid traffic generation methods. I don’t tend to recommend this for blogs because, at first, you won’t make that money back. It is, however, the absolute fastest, easiest, way to boost your traffic almost instantly. You pick some keywords in Google AdWords and every time someone searches for your keywords, your ad will show up for them. Google will charge you every time someone clicks on one of your ads. As you can imagine, the cost can build up quickly.

Purchasing links
Another option is purchase links from other, more popular, websites. This may be slightly more suited for blogs because I tend to think it will bring more relevant traffic. However, this method is a risk as well because you are paying for that link to appear, not for the clicks on that link. You might purchase a link for one month on a website for $20. If no one clicks that link all month, you just lost $20 and have nothing to show for it.

There are so many more traffic generation techniques available. For a blog, I would stick to free methods. It will take a long time to see a return on a paid ad investment at this stage in your blogging career. I will post a follow up in a few days with more ideas to generate blog traffic.

Stick around! We are just getting started!

The Best Free Tools For Online Marketers

Being an online marketer, you are going to need some tools.
I have compiled a list of some of the best tools you can get without spending an extra dime. Check out all of these tools and feel free to make a comment with your recommendations.

Comment Kahuna – This is probably the coolest free tool that I have found. Basically you type in a keyword like “internet marketing”, select that you are looking for a WordPress blog, and click go. This will find a ton of blogs that are talking about the keyword you specified. It will also tell you if the blog is Follow or NoFollow and it will give you the blog’s pagerank (how relevant Google thinks it is). You can then go around finding high Page Rank blogs that allow Following and comment on them. This will allow readers of that blog to find your site and it will also make Google think your site is more popular. This is probably the most used traffic generation tool in my arsenal.

Google Analytics – Probably one of the most important tools you can have as a website owner. This will allow you to track everything about your site. You can see how many visitors you have had, how long they stayed, what site they came from, what site they left on, and so much more. An absolutely essential tool!

Cam Studio – Free software that lets you record a video of what you are doing on your screen. Remember that video that I made yesterday? I used this program to create it and I didn’t spend a dime to make it. I highly recommend it!.

Open Office – This is like Microsoft Office but free, and in my opinion, better. You basically have programs similar to Word, Excel, Powerpoint, and more. It is great when it’s time to make an ebook because the program similar to Word allows you to save your document as a PDF file (With all of your hyperlinks intact).

Keyword Difficulty Check Tool – When you are trying to figure out which niche to blog about, you can use this tool to check how stiff the competition will be in that niche.

The Link Popularity Checker – This will allow you to see how many other sites are linking to your site. You can also compare your site alongside two other similar sites if you’d like. It’s a great way to check what is necessary to climb the ranks of Google.

Weebly – You can use this site to quickly and easily create a free webpage on any topic that you’d like. The web address will end up looking like yournich.weebly.com. It’s actually a really great, free, web site creation and hosting tool.

Blinkweb – Very similar to Weebly. You can quickly create a website and they will keep it hosted for you.

Picnik – This site allows you to quickly and easily resize images so that they fit better on your webpage.

Tweetlater – This site allows you to set up Twitter so that you can autofollow anyone who follows you. It also allows you to schedule tweets. If you are about to promote a new product, you can preschedule a series of tweets about your product and it will post them throughout the day.

BrowserShots – This site lets you see what your website will look like in pretty much any other browser out there. This is an important tool to make sure that your site looks as good to everyone else as it does to you.

FileZilla – The best ftp program out there. This will allow you access to your server’s FTP so that you can manually upload and download files from your server.

Survey Monkey – Create surveys and polls to gather information about users and site visitors. A great tool if you are trying to figure out what your audience really wants.

MindMeister – This is a recently discovered tool for me. You can create mindmaps for any ideas that you might have. Over the last three days, I have created mind maps for every one of my blog posts and I have laid out an entire 18 month business plan. Once you get goin, the mind starts flowin… (I just made that up. Cheesy right?)

Online Stopwatch – It is exactly what it sounds like. I use this a productivity tool. It has a count down timer as well. I set the countdown for 60 minutes of work. When times up, I take a 15 minute break before getting back to it. It’s been amazing for my productivity.

A few more that you might have heard of already

Twitter – One of the best marketing tools out there! Build up a following, tweet things that interest people, and watch them check out your blog because they like what you Tweet!

Skype – Get in contact with other like-minded people. I can’t use Skype enough. I have had conversations with some of the most successful people that are more than willing to share ideas just by contacting them on Skype! You can chat with Voice over internet protocol with them too! How cool is that? Free long distance…

YouTube – Make videos and post them there. Mention your website and people come… Easy enough right?

That’s the best I can do for now… I may make a part two in the future. There are so many great tools available!

I need to give some credit to others for this list as well. Thanks goes out to:
Rob Willis, Shirley Cheung, Adam Spiel and Joe Fier.

Lets Make Some Money

There are several ways to monetize your blog.
The main three are affiliate marketing, pay-per-click advertisements, and e-mail marketing. E-mail marketing is actually an extension of affiliate marketing but it is so powerful that it warrants a little bit of separate attention.

To begin with, we are going to focus on affiliate marketing. I was going to really go in depth about PPC advertising with adsense but decided that affiliate marketing is probably a better way to start. I don’t think that posting Google Adsense ads on sites about internet marketing is the best strategy. The main reason being that people who visit internet marketing sites tend be a little more web savvy. They tend to be more blind to adsense type ads. Promotion in the internet marketing niche is much better and much more profitable when you affiliate your self with products and companies that you like to promote.

What is affiliate marketing?
Basically, when you are doing affiliate marketing, you are promoting someone else’s product. When the product sells, you get a cut of the profits. I believe CDNow was really the first company to start affiliate marketing on a grand scale on the internet. Nowadays, Amazon.com and eBay use affiliate marketing heavily. Each company that you sign up for has their own process of bringing on affiliates. I can’t really go in to the process of how to sign up for each of them on this blog.

How can I make money with affiliate marketing?
First let me give you an example of affiliate marketing in action. My blog has a recommended reading section. You’ll notice that in this section, I am talking about all of my favorite books. If you click on one of the books and decide to purchase it, Amazon will give me something like 4% of the sale. As you can see, it’s not huge money. 4% of a $15.00 book is $0.60. I need to sell a lot of books to make real good money. Another example of an affiliate is PowWeb. My blog is hosted over there and I am a huge fan of their services. Every time someone clicks on their link and signs up for an account, they pay me $77! It only costs someone $45 per year to sign up! They are counting on the fact that people are going to sign up and hang around and continue to renew. As you can see, I do not need to get a whole heck of a lot of people to sign up over there to make a good income. This is the power of affiliate marketing! There’s some good and some bad but if people trust you enough and value your opinion, it can all really add up quickly.

Another great place to find affliates is called Commission Junction. They have a whole bunch of different companies that you can promote with all different types of offers. This is where you can find any product from any niche to promote. If promoting eBooks is more up your alley, I recommend Clickbank. Here you can find all sorts of eBooks that offer up to 75% commission.

Here’s what you should do.
Signup for the affiliate programs at Amazon.com, Commission Junction, and Clickbank. Find some products between those three companies that you think you can promote and that your readers would enjoy. The companies will give you a special link with a unique tracking code. Use that link every time you talk about the product. People will click through the links and, hopefully, buy the products that you recommend.

Tomorrow I am going to teach you how to cloak the links. This will make the URL that people see in the status bar look different from the actual link you are sending them to. Psychologically, people may respond better when they don’t think they are being sent to an affiliate link. I don’t do much cloaking on this site (It’s called Full Disclosure Internet Marketing for a reason) but I do want you guys to understand how to do it. It will definitely come in handy.

Until next time, you should now have the tools to get a blog set up and start making some dough.

If you have any questions, comments, or better suggestions about affiliate marketing, please leave them in the comments! I will thank you for it and so will the other readers that would greatly appreciate more advice!

Giving Your Blog Curb Appeal

Let’s change our theme.
You’ve got your blog in place, you’ve got some content written on it, and you’ve got all the good plugins that bring people to the site and keep them coming back. It’s time to tweak the look of your blog. Changing your theme can be extremely simple or it can be an insane pain in the butt if you are a perfectionist like me. I want every little detail to be exactly as I envisioned it. Because of this, I actually purchased expensive software to edit my blogs so I can get the layout and colors exactly how I want them. If you just want a blog that looks nice but you are not extremely picky about getting the exact color and the exact layout that you want, you are in for a real easy ride. If you are more of a perfectionist, the steps to create your own theme are beyond the scope of this article. Maybe another day. If you ask nicely, I may be willing to throw something together for you in my theme editor. But I’ll talk more about that at the end of all this.
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The Best Plugins For WordPress

Let’s Get Some Action On Our Blogs!
Yesterday I taught you how to set up a WordPress blog. Hopefully you did that and wrote a post or two. Now we are going to get that blog ready for action. Plugins are little add-ons that you can use with WordPress that help your blog accomplish beneficial things. All of the Plugins that I am going to list below can be installed from directly within your WordPress administration area. I have a total of 11 plugins that I constantly run on my blogs.

How to install plugins on your blog.
Well your first step is to log in to your admin area at http://www.yourdomain.com/wp-admin/. Enter your username and password to get to your dashboard. Now you are going to click on the plugins menu on the left side of your dashboard screen. A drop-down will appear and you can click on “Add new”. Now I am going to give you the names of the plugins that I use. So all you have to do is enter the name of the plugin in to the search box, click the “install” link to the right of the plugin and then just follow the directions to install it. Once it is installed. Click the link that says “activate plugin”. Your plugin should be good to go.

My favorite plugins and what they do…

Akismet – This is the best spam blocker for your blog that there is. After your blog is online for a little bit, people will start commenting on your blogs with nonsense text or ads to irrelevant sites. This will prevent that and help moderate the comments that people post on your blog.

CommentLuv – This will promote commenting on your blog. When you have CommentLuv installed, people that comment will get a link back to their latest blog post. Other bloggers love backlinks and this is an incentive to comment.

Google Analyticator – You are going to want to keep track of the traffic going to your blog. To do this you can sign up with Google Analytics. They will track where people came to your site from, how long they stayed, what links they clicked on and more. With this plugin installed, you don’t need to get in to the HTML of your website to install Google’s tracking codes.

Google XML Sitemaps – This will help Google find your site. When you install this plugin, it will send Google a sitemap every time you update your blog. It basically tells Google, “hey, check it out, I updated my site”.

Platinum SEO Pack – This is another one that will help you with the search engines. You install this and you can edit how the search engines see each individual post. You can plug in keywords that you want Google to associate with your site and with each individual post. This is probably one of the most important plugins you can install because this will get the search engines to notice you fast.

Popular Posts – This puts a sidebar widget on your blog that lists your most popular posts. This is good for the search engines because the search engines like to see you linking around your site. It is also good to keep users on your site because they can see what most people are interested in and dig deeper in to your content.

Post-Plugin Library – This plugin does nothing on its own. It is required to be installed if you want the Popular Posts Plugin and the Related Posts plugins to work.

Sociable – This is a really cool tool that I just recently discovered. If you look at the bottom of my blog posts, you’ll see a bunch of little icons for things like Twitter, Digg, Facebook, etc. This plugin puts those links there so that people can promote your site on their favorite Web 2.0 site. If someone really likes your post and they are on Twitter, they can click the Twitter link and send out the post to their followers. This is great to get your name out there.

Top Commentators Widget – This is another plugin to promote people to comment on your blog. This puts a widget in your sidebar that ranks who comments the most. People like to see theirt name ranked high as a top commentor. I like to turn on the option to post people’s links when they comment as well. That gives them another incentive because it is publicity for their blog.

WP To Twitter -This links your blog to Twitter. Everytime you make a new post on your blog, this program will send out a Tweet telling everyone that you just made a post and it will give them the link. This helps get a nice little surge of traffic everytime a new post goes online.

Yet Another Related Posts Plugin – This is another plugin that has multiple benefits. It puts a list of related posts at the bottom of each individual post. Google likes to see your site linking deeper in to itself but it also encourages viewers to dig around deeper in to your blog.

So then what?
Ok. So now you have all of these plugins installed. Just by doing that, you are well on your way to having a blog that the search engines love and that people want to comment on. The next step is going to be getting your WordPress blog looking prettier. I will get to that step in my next blog post. Just by installing the plugins above, you may start see traffic starting to roll in. If you have some content on your blog, Google and the other search engines will start to find your blog.

Are there any plugins that I left out? Please comment if you feel that there is something that is absolutely essential that I forgot in my list.