What’s the Easiest Way to Add Code to Header or Footer of WordPress Site?

Have you ever struggled to find the right place to add code to the “Head” or “Header” of your WordPress site?  Have you added code several times to the wrong place?  Have you ever broken your site trying to do this?

I’m here to save the day, maybe even literally.  I want to share my favorite free plugin with you that will help you easily add code to the head or the footer of your site.

The good news is that you don’t need to know anything about coding.  You just need to be able to install the plugin, paste in your code, and press save.  Easy peasy!

And even better, the plugin has a few other simple features that will make your life so much easier.  For those of us who aren’t really coders or developers, it’s great to have plugins like these so that way we can focus on what we are actually good at.

What’s the best plugin for adding code to the head of a WordPress site?

The name of the plugin is “Header, Footer, and Post Injections“, and it was developed by Stefano Lissa.  I mention the exact name and the developer because I want to make sure that you download and install the correct one to your site.

I’ve had a great experience with this plugin, and I want to make sure that you don’t install one that I haven’t used or tested.  Plugins should be installed sparingly, since they can occasionally break our websites by causing conflict.

Why would I need to add code to the head of my website?

There are many reasons why you might want to add code to the head portion of your WordPress site.  Just a few:

  • Add some code to get your Facebook like page widget to work
  • Add some code to your head to use Google Auto Ads
  • Add some code to your head to verify ownership of your website to use tools like Google Analytics or Google Search Console

Even if you’ve just gotten started with your site and you don’t have much of a following, you will find that this plugin will come in handy.

What else can the Header Footer and Post Injections plugin do?

Obviously, you know that it makes adding code to your head easy, but this lightweight plugin (i.e. isn’t bulky and won’t slow down your site with unnecessary features) also lets you easily:

  • Add code that can display images or advertisements above or below each post and/or page
  • Insert code at a specific place in each post

How to install the Head Footer and Post Injection Plugin to your WordPress site?

To install this very handy free plugin which will make your life easier (seriously, so much easier):

  • Visit your plugins page from your main WordPress dashboard
  • Click “Add new” at the top of the page
  • On the right side of the page, you’ll see a search bar where you can search plugins.  Type in Head Footer and Post Injection here.
  • Make sure you spot the right plugin, and click “Install Now” and then “Activate”

Conclusion

I hope that you give this plugin a try and that it helps you out.  We are in this online empire building together, folks 🙂

Thanks for visiting today.

Is It Really Important for a New Blogger to Collect Email Addresses?

Blogging regularly is hard enough without having to worry about the technical aspects of owning a website and marketing activities.  But, if we really want to build an online empire, we need to treat it like a business.   Integrating an e-mail sign-up form on your blog is one of the most important things that you can do when you are first starting off.

In this post, I’ll explain a few reasons why having a sign-up form to collect e-mails of your readers is key, how to do it, and how to get more signups.

Why should a brand-new site worry about an e-mail signup?

It’s even more critical for a brand-new website or blog to collect e-mail addresses than it is for a popular website to do so – especially when a blog is just a one-man show (or a one-woman show, like mine!).

Why is this so?

It’s because starting a new blog is like pushing a boulder up a steep mountain.  To reach new heights, we have to work harder than we ever have before, and much harder than those other sites that have thousands of people sharing their articles every day.

We have to work hard, but we should also work smart.  And working smart is giving every single person the chance to leave their e-mail address with you.

Not collecting e-mails wastes your blogs future potential

If you have a really great blog post and you do a good job promoting it on social media, you might get some good traffic for a few days.  If you don’t have an e-mail signup form on your site, though, most (if not all) of those people from that traffic boost will never visit your site again.

If you didn’t make any money from that traffic boost, and you have no way of getting those people back to your site to perhaps eventually earn you some income, then you have literally wasted your blogging effort.

Why should a blogger have an e-mail list when they don’t have a product to sell?

One of the most common excuses I hear from a new blogger about not having a list is that they say they haven’t monetized their site yet, or they don’t have a product to sell.

It doesn’t matter if you don’t have ads on your site, or if you haven’t written that ebook yet, or haven’t produced your course.  It doesn’t matter at all.

The time that you spend setting up your e-mail list will be paid back in spades when you do finally launch your course, write that ebook, or join an exciting affiliate program.  You have a hungry audience that loves you, and all you have to do is let them know about your new products.

They might buy your book, share your course, or click on your ads.  Trust me, you’ll be happy you were collecting those e-mails!

And as I mentioned before, we are pushing a boulder up a hill.  I don’t know about you, but I need every ounce of my effort to go into the boulder.  I’m not carrying anyone else’s boulder, and I’m not playing around as I do it.

I’m in it to win it, you know what I’m saying?

So, get your e-mail list started.

Which e-mail marketing service is best for a new blogger?

I’m a huge advocate of spending as little money as possible starting a new website or blog.  I have found that it doesn’t take much money at all to run a website that earns me a healthy living.

(Seriously… I spend $35 per month on my main site that earns me a full time income – can’t beat that!)

Since we are clear that we don’t want to part with any more of our cold hard cash than necessary, you might be interested in way to get your e-mail list started up for free.

Without further ado, I’ll tell you that Mailchimp is the service that I recommend using when you first start up.  It’s free to use as long as your e-mail list has less than 2,000 subscribers.

(Note:  If you have more than one e-mail list, Mailchimp counts all of the subscribers to all of your lists towards the 2,000 limit for a free account)

Getting your first e-mail signup form on your site is super easy and you literally have to spend $0.  What are you waiting for?

Just get your Mailchimp account (or whatever other service you want to use, I’m not mad) and put it in a widget on your sidebar.  Boom – you are done.

How to get more e-mail signups for your new blog

If you are pretty new to blogging, you probably don’t have very many blog posts on your site.  This means that someone visiting your blog doesn’t know you very well.  And since they don’t know you well, it’s hard to get them to trust you enough to give you their e-mail address.

This means that you won’t be able to get people to sign up for your list just by offering a “newsletter” or “tips” or “updates”.  You need to convince people that they want to be on your list by bribing them.

Yes, I want you to bribe your readers to give you their e-mail address.  Not with candy or cookies, but with a free download of some sort.  Hopefully, there is something that you know about that your readers want to know about.  Put that info in a cute little PDF file, give it a name that describes how helpful it is, and let people know that if they sign up for your list, you’ll give it to them for free.

While your freebie doesn’t need to be anything insane, it should be good.  It should be something that you feel proud to put your name on.

For example, on my main site, I give away a five page PDF that provides a few dozen tips and techniques that will help my readers pursue their hobby.

No matter what you choose to give away, just make sure that you are giving away something.  People will love you for it.

And make sure you read this next section…

New bloggers:  don’t forget to actually e-mail your list

If someone gave you their e-mail address, there is a good chance that they wouldn’t mind hearing from you once in a while.  So send them an e-mail!

I felt silly the first time I sent out a “mass” e-mail to my “followers”.  I had three people on my list, and I felt SO self-conscious doing it.  Even so, I just reminded myself that my subscribers didn’t know that there were only three people on the list.

I put those negative thoughts out of my head and I wrote an e-mail as if I were sending it to 10,000 people.  While I was writing it, I decided that I would send out a weekly “newsletter” to let people know about new blog posts, give them news, and also let them know if there were any sales that they needed to know about.

Beginners let their e-mail lists get cold

If you don’t e-mail your list regularly, it gets cold.  Cold e-mail lists lose subscribers.  More importantly, e-mails sent to a cold list get opened less and get less clicks.  Those are all bad things, and we don’t want them to happen to our lists.

This means we have to keep our lists warm.  To keep a list warm, we need to give it the attention it deserves.  A regular e-mail (maybe 2-4 times per month) is a perfect way to let your subscribers know that you are still active and that you have some good knowledge to provide to them.

Don’t be a spammy blogger

I am sure that I don’t need to include this, but I thought it worth mentioning.  I’m also assuming that you spend a lot time making sure that your blogs are full of well-written and informative content.

Your e-mails should be the same.  I try not to be too sleazy in my e-mails, even when I am trying to sell something.  I let my readers know that they can reply to the e-mail to communicate with me if they want to.  And, I never, ever send them more e-mails than I tell them that I will before they sign up.

Bad e-mail practices will push subscribers away.  We want good e-mail practices 🙂

Conclusion

I hope that you have gone out to start your e-mail list.  If you have questions, I want to hear from you in the comments.

Ciao!

What To Do When You Lose Inspiration While Blogging

As we all know, keeping up our blogging schedule is vital to the performance of our websites.  If we stop writing, our traffic will eventually decline – and so will our income.   The worst thing that can happen to a blogger is losing inspiration!

So, what are we supposed to when we sit down in the front of our computer, coffee to one side and our mouse to another, and put our hands on the keyboard – and nothing happens?

I’ve been blogging for almost two years now, and I’ll tell you that I have SO been there.  Sometimes, it doesn’t seem to matter what I do – I just can’t seem to write!

Any yet, I manage to break through it.  And in this post, I’ll share with you my tips for breaking through blogger’s writer’s block and getting back that inspiration that helped you get started in the first place.

To avoid writer’s block, use an editorial calendar for your blog

When I first got started blogging, I thought that an editorial calendar was a dumb idea.  It’s embarrassing to admit this, but we are all friends here.  I was sure that I would have so many post ideas and that the words would just flow and flow – forever and ever.

Well, it didn’t take me very long to realize that this is not how it really works.  Blogging is super fun for about three posts.  Then, once you’ve used up those first few ideas that you had, you begin to understand that you will actually have to put some planning into this whole having a website thing.

This is where an editorial calendar becomes very helpful.  About once per month, I sit down and use the time that I would normally spend writing brainstorming for content ideas.

I write them out in order that I would like to post them, and then I get started.

The reason that I think that an editorial calendar works so well is because you are telling yourself what to do – just like a boss would.   If your boss told you that if you didn’t write a 750 word blog post about the benefits of yoga or be fired, I bet you’d write that post with the quickness.

Our editorial calendar is a way to light that fire and make sure that we stay on track, even if we don’t feel like it.

Get back to basics:  Why did you start your blog in the first place?

Every once in a while, I find myself lost in my content.  I might even be in the middle of a blog post and wonder why in the world I am even writing this.  Will anyone even read it?

It helps for me to take a step back and think about my reader.  Who is my reader, and how can I best help them understand the content I am writing about?  What are their needs, and how can I make my blog post help them with a particular need?

When I do this, I might realize that my blog post does actually need to be scrapped.  Maybe my bad blog post idea was the reason I wasn’t feeling motivated.  Other times, I might find a new aspect of my post that excites me because it really is a good post idea and my readers will find it helpful.

Updating old posts will give you ideas for new ones

If I am ever in a mood where I just don’t want to keep writing, I will often go back through some of my old posts (which I recommend that you do regularly anyway) and update them.

This is a great way to get new post ideas, and plus it’s great for your websites SEO health and usability.  You can add in links in the post to some of your new posts and edit and update as needed.

You’ll walk away with new focus, and a better website.  It’s a win-win.

Stepping away from the computer can help writers block and help you get your mojo back

This might sound counter-intuitive, but sometimes you just need to get away from the computer and other technology.  A walk in the park – or even around the block – can help free my mind from whatever is holding me back.

I’m usually able to return to my writing as if nothing ever happened, and I’m happier and healthier for the minor trouble of going for a walk 🙂

Write something else to get your blogger juice back

My main blog can kind of make me crazy sometimes.  It’s a relatively technical site, and I feel like I am too “in my own head” when I writing about certain topics.

When this happens and I really feel like I just need to step out of my niche for a minute, I like to take advantage of this to do some writing about other topics.

This is actually the reason that I started this website.  I love to write, and I love to write about online business.  When I sit down to write posts here, I find that they just flow out naturally.   Then, with my self-confidence as a blogger restored, I can return to my other writing with a refreshed perspective.

Maybe you have a journal, another blog, or like to write non-fiction.  No matter what other writing you like to do, try taking a break and doing your other writing for a while.  You might find that it gives you a new energy for your blog that you are struggling with.

Schedule your posts ahead of time to avoid negative consequences of lost blogging inspiration

Look, even the best blogger or online entrepreneur loses focus.  Even the most dedicated among us (which I am not!) will have those days when they literally just can’t do it.  Nothing comes out – no words, nothing.

Maybe you are tired and you’ve been overworking yourself.  Maybe you are stressed about family and other obligations.  Perhaps your website is not doing as well as you hoped and you are losing faith in your abilities (if this is you, don’t give up!).

No matter the reason behind it, we all need to cut ourselves some slack sometimes and realize that there will be those moments that we just need to take a few days off.

This is why I always recommend that you take advantage of those moments when you are really feeling the inspiration to write.  Use that extra inspiration to write your next few blog posts and schedule them to post ahead of time.

If you’ve got your next several blog posts already written and scheduled, then there will be no negative consequence of taking the next few days off and sitting in front of the television eating ice cream out of the container and watching Friends reruns.

The beautiful aspect of our online business is that we can set up our system to run automatically even if we are struggling on a personal level and just need some “me time” to reboot our motivation.   So, take advantage of this and work ahead.

Conclusion

I hope that this post has given you some ideas to help you avoid losing your blogging inspiration, break through your writer’s block, and avoid negative consequences during those times when you just need to take a break from your blog.

If you have any questions about something that you read in this post, please let me know in the comments below.  And hey, what do you do when you don’t feel inspired to write your next blog post?

 

 

How Long Does It Take For My Blog to Show Up in Google? Tips for Beginners

Are you getting the Google traffic that you want?  If you are new to blogging and making money online, you might be wondering how long it actually takes to see some traffic from Google.  Organic search traffic is a blogger’s best friend, and in this post, I’ll share some basic tips to help you start seeing more traffic from Google.

I’m working with a friend to try to teach her how to replicate the blogging success that I’ve had with my own sites.  She’s really excited about the idea of being able to make money online so she can continue to stay home with her three kids.

The question that I have heard from her repeatedly?  She’s heard that organic search traffic from Google is great, but how long does it actually take for her blog posts to show up on Google?

Well, I know you don’t care too much about my friend’s traffic, but you definitely care about your own, so let’s get started in learning the basics.

Pro tip:  Optimizing your blog posts for organic search traffic is also called “search engine optimization”.  You don’t need to hire someone to help you with this.  Once you learn the basics, it will become second-nature.

What is organic search traffic, anyway?

There are four main types of website traffic:

  • Paid traffic
  • Organic search traffic
  • Referral traffic
  • Direct traffic

Referral traffic is traffic that you get when someone clicks on a link to your site from someone else’s site, and can also include social media referrals.  Direct traffic is when someone types your website address into their browser and goes “directly” to your site.

Paid traffic is traffic that you pay money to get, like when you “boost” a post on Facebook or run ads on Google Adwords.

Organic search traffic is different from all of these types of traffic.  First, it’s FREE.  We love free.  It’s the traffic that you get when someone searches for something in Google and finds one of your pages or blog posts in the search results and chooses your blog from the available results.

In my experience blogging, organic search traffic has been my bread and butter.  It’s much more reliable and stable than referral traffic, and so I prefer to focus my time and attention on this aspect of website traffic.

Can a new blog get Google traffic?

First, let me start off by saying that there is no short-cut that can get you Google traffic.  There is no magical web consultant, no matter how expensive, who can help you get traffic without you having to put in some hard work.

It can take a while for your new blog and website to be indexed by Google – so patience is key.

If you are willing to work hard, then the following tips will help you, a new blogger, get traffic to your site.  The more traffic you have, the more people will click on your affiliate links, advertisements, and buy your products.

Tips for getting high-quality organic search traffic

The following tips will help you make the most of your blogging efforts.  Writing and blogging can be tough work if you really stick with it.  Don’t you want to see rewards for all of your dedication?

Create a Google Search Console Account to track your new site’s progress

Even before you start worrying about traffic, the first thing you should do is create a free Google Search Console account.  This will help you track your website’s progress as you grow in size and content.  You’ll be able to see exact which keywords your site is ranking for, how many clicks you are getting for each keyword, and easily monitor site indexing issues.

To get search traffic, make sure you choosing your article topics wisely

When it comes to success in blogging, you have to find the right balance between writing what you want to write about and writing about what people actually want to read about.

This doesn’t mean that you have to write boring posts that don’t inspire you, it’s just that you have to approach them in a way that is helpful and interesting to your potential readers.

How do you find out what people want to read?  Use free tools like Google Trends and Ubersuggest to figure out what topics and keywords related to your niche are popular.

Cute titles and headings might be fun to read, but they won’t get you search traffic

I’m making a generalized statement, and follow my advice as you wish, but you should know that the title of your blog post or article is really, really important to letting Google know what your post topic is, and whether or not the post should show up in search results for a particular search.

Additionally, the title of your post lets your potential reader know what your post is about, and helps them make a decision about whether they should click on it.

Take, for example, this blog post.  Yes, the one that you are reading right now.   The title that I chose is “How Long Does It Take For My Blog to Show Up in Google? Tips for Beginners”.

Is this the absolute best name for the post?  I can’t tell you for sure, but I can tell you that it is better than some of the other “cute” or edgy names that I could imagine a beginning blogger wanting to call it.

Here are some examples of names for this blog post that I would NOT have chosen for this post:

  • “I decided to pass my blogging knowledge to my friend”
  • “It’s time to pass the blogging torch to someone else”
  • “Blogging and friendship: Our strategy”

If you are a person interested in increasing your traffic for your new blog, I don’t think that you would click on any of those titles.  Those titles don’t explain how they can help you.  If I were very well-known and you loved all of my work, maybe you would read them.

But I’m just a regular old blogger, no one famous.   No one really cares about my friend’s website traffic.  With that said, I can still write about how I helped my friend as long as I am including some information that can also help my reader.

It’s all about the balance!

Use H2 and H3 headings in your blog posts to help with search engine optimization

H2 and H3 headers help Google understand what your blog post is really about.  You can call your post whatever you want, but the way that Google knows whether or not your post really matches what you say your article is about is by the headings that you use.

Yes, Google also “reads” your post, but your headings help immensely.

Carefully craft your headings, making sure they are relevant to your content – to match what someone might actually be searching for in Google.

For example, for the headings for this list of “tips”, I decided to include detail about the tip instead of just “Tip #1” and “Tip #2”.  These titles wouldn’t tell readers or Google what my post is about.

Write really high-quality posts to maximize your blogging efforts

Remember how I said that there is no short-cut in this blogging business?  It’s true, and it means that you have to write high-quality posts.  They don’t have to be thousands of words or absolutely perfect, but you should only publish posts that you are proud to associate with your name.

I have an arbitrary threshold on my blogs of 1000 words per post.  This means that I have to go in-depth on my topics, but it also means that my readers get a lot more value than they would if my posts were only 300-500 words.

Post regularly to get best search engine results on your new blog

The last “beginning” tip that I will share with you is that you should post regularly.  Many beginning bloggers start out with great enthusiasm intending to post daily, or five days per week, or three times per day.

What happens 99.9999% of the time is that the new blogger gets tired.  Sometimes they get tired after only a few days of blogging!  And then, sadly, their blog joins the ranks of millions of other dead blogs, never to be read again.

Instead of starting out with some crazy posting schedule in mind, why not pick something that you can actually keep up with on a long-term basis?  Because blogging is a long-term gig, and long-term efforts pay off in a big way.

If you start out posting every day and then slowly (or quickly) taper off to posting almost never, Google’s crawlers will rarely, or even never, go back to your site to look for new content.

If you only post once a week but you always post once a week, and you always post your new article on the same day each week, then Google’s bots know exactly when they should come back to your site to crawl for new content, and they will come back regularly because you never leave them empty handed.

My friend was posting sporadically, sometimes daily, sometimes twice per day, and other times almost never.   She has chosen a simple Monday-Wednesday-Friday schedule and has decided to stick with it for the long-haul.

To summarize, pick a reasonable schedule that you can stick with through illness, work, and family obligations, and faithfully stick to it.

Conclusion

I hope that this post has helped you get some ideas about how to get search traffic to your new blog.  I don’t know exactly how long it will take, but good things come to those who wait and post high-quality content on their blog on a regular schedule 😉

Do you have a new blog?  Post a link to it below and share your biggest challenges!

Is it Okay to Post Less Frequently on My Blog?

Have you ever wondered if it is okay to start posting less frequently on your blog?  Do you want to know if this will affect your SEO?  Will you lose your Google ranking if you stop posting every day, or three times per day?  I had the same question, and in this post, I’ll share my thoughts.

Why would you want to post less on your blog?

As someone who has posted a 1,000 or more word blog post every single weekday for almost an entire year, I can tell you that posting so frequently is quite a grind to keep up with.  1,000 words!  Sometimes 2,000!

I focus on long-tail keywords and in-depth blog posts, which often means that my blog posts can get pretty complicated.  And even though writing comes really naturally to me, the actual process behind the blogging can get really exhausting.

Coming up with blog post ideas, getting up early to get the best writing done, researching keywords and H2 headings, adding images and all of the other nuts and bolts that a blog post needs takes a lot of time and energy.

And so, depending on where you are in your business, you might get to the point where you really need to take a step back.  Maybe you are working on some other projects, or need to spend some on product development.

Whatever the reason, it’s totally normal to want to reduce the amount of time you spend blogging, which typically means that you will have to blog less frequently.

It’s best to blog every day if you can

Before I continue and explain to you that it’s okay to not post every day, I think it is important to post as much as you can do on a regular, consistent basis.  For many people, posting five days per week would be difficult, but if it isn’t tough for you to keep up with that pace, then I would recommend trying to maintain it.

By posting every day of the week, I was able to build my blog up to a full-time income with more than 100,000 unique visitors per month in less than one year.

But if you find that your post quality is suffering after only a week of posting daily, or if you just can’t keep up with the pace, it’s totally fine to post less.

Keep reading to find out my “posting less” strategy.

Are you scared that you’ll lose your search engine rankings if you slow down the rate of blog posts?

I was.

Seriously, I depend on the money that I earn from my websites – especially my “main” one.  I’m not ashamed to say it, either.

And I had built up such a great writing habit.  I’ve been getting up early just about every day for about a year and a half in order to write.  I have glorious morning routine, which may or may not include a Starbucks blonde roast and my usual seat within the cafe.

I have written hundreds of blog posts on my main site, and I think I have pretty well covered a majority of the topics in my niche.  Believe me when I say that I have covered them, and then covered them again, both inside and out.  Sure, there is more to say, but I think by slowing down, I’ll be able to write better posts and still keep the same audience.

How to start posting less frequently on your blog

I decided to reduce my blog post frequency from five times per week to three times per week.  I plan to keep my word count at about the same level (at least 1000 words per post), and I don’t plan to make any other changes in the way I do things.

If you’ve decided that you are ready to slow down your pace and post less, I would like to give you some tips:

  • Post regularly.  This means that if you are only going to write one post per week, schedule it for the same time on Tuesday morning, or Friday afternoon, or whenever you have decided is most effective.  If you are going to post three times per week, schedule your posts for the same time on the same days each week that you have decided to post.  Infrequent, inconsistent posting will bring a slow choke to your blog’s traffic.
  • Keep your quality high.  Posting less doesn’t give you permission to slack off.  Hopefully, the stuff you’ve been posting was good, and so the content you post in the future should also be good.
  • Maintain contact with your readers through your existing social media and e-mail channels.

You don’t need to announce to your readers about your posting frequency, unless you want to.  Some people will a large regular readership might make a dedicated blog post to let their followers know that they should expect less content in the future.

In my case, I would say that only about 20% of my traffic is from people who regularly read my blog, and I don’t think that my particular audience cares whether or not they hear from me every day.  They just want the information they are looking for (remember the high quality content I mentioned?).

Conclusion

So far, I have not seen any measurable effect of reducing my blog posting frequency, and I have more time to focus on other things in my schedule.  Plus, I feel a little less burned out on my topic and I think this is going to give me the energy that I need to keep going.

Have you decided to stop posting as much as you do?  If you already tried it, what results did you see?

If you have any questions, comments or concerns,  I would love to hear from you in the discussion below.

Cheers.

I Know How to Make Money in Affiliate Marketing

I launched a new website a few months ago, and traffic has been increasing each day purely through organic search.  Since I know that I’m getting high-quality traffic that will reach 5,000 unique visitors this month, I thought that it was time to see how I could turn some of those visitors into a little bit of cash.  I threw some ads up on the site and have been making a few dollars a day – but I knew that I could make more!

For the past few years I have been following a few successful affiliate marketers.  Could I, too, also make money online in affiliate marketing?  The answer is yes!   The very first day that I placed affiliate links on my website, people clicked on them!  I made money almost immediately.

I will tell you how I did it.  But first, let’s take care of the basics…

What is Affiliate Marketing?

This won’t get too technical, I promise.

Have you ever heard of someone being offered a commission or a bonus for referring a customer to a business?  A chiropractor that I used to go to would offer his current customers a free adjustment for each friend and family that they referred.  The adjustment cost $35, if I remember correctly.  Basically, his patients (customers) were paid (in the form of a free adjustment) for referring new customers (their friends and family).

Imagine this exact same scenario online.  A web hosting company wants new customers.  They will pay people who refer new customers to them $30 for each new signup. This type of arrangement is actually very common and is used by tons of huge, legitimate companies.

You might be asking yourself how in the world these websites keep track of who referred who?

Remember the chiropractor example?  How would I know that my chiropractor is actually telling me about his new patients that I referred to him?  I would have to really trust him, since he would have to ask the patients who referred him, and he would have to remember to tell me (or want to tell me!).  Who knows how many free adjustments I missed because of a breakdown of communication or dishonesty?

The way it works on the internet is really cool.  There is advanced software and technology that allows you to see first-hand how many people are clicking on your affiliate links or ads, and you can watch your commissions in real time.

Is Affiliate Marketing a Scam?

Absolutely not!  It is used by thousands of legitimate, respectable companies and is a great way to grow a company’s sales.

There are some people who use affiliate marketing in scammy, spammy ways – and I would never encourage you to do that.  I know that my readers are in this for the long-term and want to put in the work to really build a legitimate business.

How Do I Try It?

The most important thing that you need to do is have a website where you have high-quality, original content that people want to read.

Read that again:  Content that is a) high quality, b) original, and c) people have to want to read it.


I can’t stress enough that you have to really pay attention and think about those three points.  Thousands of would-be online marketers each year launch websites that don’t fit those qualifications.

  • You can have top-notch articles on a topic, but if it doesn’t have enough people interested in it, you won’t get people to your website.
  • You can have lots of good quality content, but if you stole it or rewrote someone else’s stuff, the search engines won’t drive traffic to your site.
  • Even if your niche is popular and your content is original, if it is filled with spelling errors, is terribly formatted, or doesn’t go deep enough into the topic, you won’t get people to your site.

You might be catching on to the point that I am trying to make.  For whatever the reason, if you don’t have actual live people who are interested in your website’s content visiting your website, then you will not make money in affiliate marketing.

Do you have all of those things? Good, keep reading!

Once you’ve built your site, and filled it with some (high quality and original) content, you can now think about becoming an affiliate marketer.

The amount of traffic that you will need to make it worthwhile depends on your niche, what types of products that they might be interested in buying (that are related to your site’s content) and whether or not your visitors are making business or personal purchases.

Pro tip:  Many times – but not always – you can make more money per purchase if you are an affiliate in the business-to-business arena.  This is because businesses tend to make high-dollar purchases and your commissions can be higher.

If you think you have enough legitimate traffic on your site to get started, then it’s time to join an affiliate network.  There are other ways to find products that you can be an affiliate for, but the easiest way to get started is to just join a network.  Usually you have to apply.

There are lots of affiliate networks.  I found the one that I joined through a product that I wanted to be an affiliate for.  I asked them how to be an affiliate, and they told me which network they use.  A very popular one is CJ Affiliate.

Once you’ve joined, apply to some good affiliate programs for products that you already love and use.  Or have loved and used.  The network interface should provide you access to code for either images or links that you can paste into your website.

That’s it.  If you’ve already got some good traffic and you know that your visitors are digging what you have on your website, you should see affiliate sales start pretty much right away.   Yay!

Keep up that high-quality content production 🙂

How I Made My First Five Dollars Online

I’ve spent a lot of time over the past few years doing what some people refer to as “mental masturbation”.  This means that I have wasted an incredible amount of time thinking, dreaming, and imagining the wild success of my online business – but without actually taking consistent, thoughtful action that would get me anywhere near those fantasies.

Yes, I made some serious effort on occasion.  For example, I do have a budding YouTube channel and some faithful fans.  That said, I haven’t been able to monetize those efforts, the traffic to those videos, or to the website associated with them.  Basically, I did the consistent action, but it wasn’t thoughtful.  I let my horse out of the gate without any plan on where to go!  It turns out that dreams don’t equal success if you don’t work the steps between the start and the finish.

Finally, over the past few months, I think I’ve hit on something that might bring me a taste of what I’ve been searching for all this time.  I’ll tell you about how I made my first – and hopefully not my last – five dollars.

Here’s What I Did

A few months back, I was really frustrated about my main website and how I was getting only trickles of traffic from YouTube, and making no sales.  I knew that one of my mistakes was that I had tried to enter a really crowded, super competitive market with lots of free solutions available.   I tried to narrow my niche a bit, and I did see more traction with my idea, but still.. NO SALES.

This had happened to me in the past, but I had never give it so much of my time and effort.  What was I doing wrong!?

It turns out that there was what I still think is a big opportunity right there in front of me.  Over the past year I had also taken on a new hobby and joined some Facebook groups that pertained to this hobby.  I had become really knowledgeable on this subject and found that I was spending lots of time answering people’s questions on those online groups.

During a moment of extreme doubt and frustration about my website, it occurred to me that I should check into how much money was being spent on that new hobby of mine every year.  It turns out that it is a freaking huge industry, and it’s one of the most popular things that people do online.  I had no idea!

The first thing that I did was do some general industry research, just to get an idea of market size.  Then, I tried to find a niche in the market for me.  What kind of value could I add to this market, with the idea that I could eventually get a small piece of that giant pie?

Once I settled on a specific niche in that very general industry – one that I felt I was very familiar with and could really passionately spend a lot of time on – I picked out a name for my domain, and got a fresh, crisp version of WordPress installed on my website.  (It’s super easy with Host Gator, they have the 1-Click install!)

It was then time to start writing.  I used both Google Trends and Google Keyword Planner to pick topics and to name my articles.  This is KEY.  I had tried to leverage content for SEO in the past, but the honest truth is that I wrote about what I wanted to write about.  I thought if I threw enough spaghetti on that proverbial wall, the internet traffic would come to me.  It did, but man was it sloooow!

This time, I used those tools that I mentioned to see what people actually wanted to read.  I found trending search terms with high monthly search volumes that I could address on my site.  This is also KEY.  On my old website, I did have articles and videos about popular topics, but I wasn’t adding anything valuable to the conversation.  In fact, there were many people doing similar videos and probably doing a better job than I was.  This doesn’t mean that I was never going to “make it” with that site, but I was taking the long road.

With this exact strategy, I was able to start getting my first Google search traffic within 3-4 days of my domain being registered.  People started sharing my articles on Facebook with a week or two of the inception of the site.  To me, this was an incredible sight to see.  I was doing something that I really enjoyed, and people were really finding value in it right from the start.

I also knew that I needed to have a clear monetization strategy immediately.  The idea was that I would have three ways that I would earn money from this website, and basically get paid to do something that I love to do, and something that I had been doing for free anyway on those social media groups.

The way that I decided I will make money from that website?

  • Google Adsense (or other advertisement placements, eventually)
  • Affiliate links
  • Sales of information products

After I saw that I was getting organic search traffic almost immediately, I decided that I should go ahead and produce my first information product (an e-book guide) on my topic.  I did so, and posted it for sale.

Still waiting for those miraculous book sales, I wrote a few more articles.  Probably 2-3 a week.  Traffic kept increasing!  Wow.  But still no book sales.

Finally, I decided to go ahead and activate those Google Adsense ads that I had been planning on putting on the site.  I don’t know why I didn’t do it immediately, as I kind of like how tasteful placement of ads look on a website.  To me, since most ads are really well-done, it kind of adds to the aesthetics of a website.

Anyhow, within a couple of hours of activating the ads, I started making money.  Now, we aren’t talking about enough to retire on, yet, but this is how I made my first five dollars on my website.  I had 19 articles posted when I activated the ads.

What’s Next?

Maybe you’ve heard about how it is the hardest to make the first dollar in a business.  If you can make one dollar, the assumption is that you can make two.  If you can make five dollars, you should be able to repeat those steps to make ten.  It’s a long-term domino effect.  I’m walking up the stairs, if you will.  One dollar at a time.

Now that I am making a tiny amount of money, seeing good traffic, and see that people enjoy my content, I can spend some time trying to optimize the sales page for my book.  I have had dozens of people visit the sales page, but have not had anyone take the plunge.  Over the next couple of months, I plan to experiment with the placement of the widget on my sidebar, design of the sales page, and of course the price of the book.

Anyhow, that’s where I am right now.  I’ll let you know how things go.  Thanks for stopping by!

(Note:  I don’t count the sales of my softcover and e-books in the Amazon store as part of my first sales online.  I’ve been earning money through those online sales since 2014, and I am planning to wrote some about that at some point depending on interest.  I also had a small e-commerce site about five years ago, and I sold those products both online and in person.  And of course, who hasn’t sold something on Ebay or done gigs on Fiverr!?  Lol.)

How to Find Niche Website Ideas and Launch Your Site

This post should help point you in the right direction as far as choosing an idea for your niche website.  Your revenue model, or business model, for your niche website can vary, but choosing your website’s focus (or niche!) is a very important first step.

I own a few niche websites, but I’m starting up a new one that I’ve been thinking about for a while.  This post walks you through the thought process and steps that I took to get my website launched from start to “finish”.

(I put “finish” in quotations because truthfully, once you get your site launched, the work has just begun in earnest.)

Have You Heard These Three Items of Advice?

I’m sure you’ve heard people say that you should follow your heart or your passion when you are starting a business, whether it be an online or brick and mortar business. But what if you are passionate about the history of ballpoint pens?  You probably won’t be able to put your kids through college writing about that!

Then, if you’ve been kicking around in the business world a while, you probably have had other people tell you that you need to find a pain and make the pain go away.  If you build a beautiful niche website, but it doesn’t help anyone with anything, or nobody is looking for that information or product, then you have not solved a pain.

Finally, you might have also had someone explain to you that you need to solve the pain for A LOT of people in order to make a decent living.  For example, if you make a website that specializes in selling Buffalo Nickles, you might sell a few nickles at high prices, but you might not retire any sooner than you would have at your corporate job.

So How Do You Choose an Idea for a Niche Site

All of the advice above is great, and it’s all true.  The sweet spot for a niche site is to find:

  • Something that you like
  • Something that a lot of people want to buy/know about

The goal is to find a place where those two bullet points intersect.

Step One

Make a list of all of the things that you know how to do well, know a lot about, or are really interested in knowing about or doing

For the new niche website that I launched, I realized that I have a hobby.   It wasn’t something that I really realized until the past few months.  I’ve been spending 5-10 hours a week doing this thing online (not that, get your mind out of the gutter, please! Haha.)

It turns out that lots of people do this same hobby, too!  In addition, I really enjoy it.  I can also talk and write about it so easily that it probably drives people around me crazy.

Did you make your list?  If so, move on to step two.

Step Two

Visit Google Trends to check out how popular your general topic is.  You can also use Google Trends to search for topics that are popular, but I prefer to use my interests as a starting point.  Have you ever tried to write about or sell an item or product that you hate or have no interest in?  It’s a tough thing to do.  If you are trying to design this great life for yourself, why pick a topic that you don’t love?

On Google Trends, there is a search bar on the top of the page.  Just type in your interest, such as “Comics”.  Usually start with a broad topic, and then you will see related topics come up.  A topic that catches my eye, a subtopic of comics, is fan conventions.  As a person who has attended Dragon Con more than once, I am willing to bet that, if you were interested, you could make a successful website that only deals with comic fan conventions.

Basically, you want to choose a topic that has lots of related, popular subtopics.

Step Three

Decide on your basic revenue model.  It’s not a business if it doesn’t earn you money.

Your niche site can earn you money in many different ways:

  • You can sell your own product (like actual things, or information in the form of an e-book, a course, or consulting)
  • You can sell the products of someone else (like an e-commerce site)
  • You can earn money through affiliate sales (you get paid a commission when someone clicks on a link from your site and buys something).
  • You can earn money through advertising, either using Google Adsense or similar, or by charging money yourself to place ads on your site
  • You can charge money to access premium content on your site
  • Your site can be a membership site
  • Your niche site can generate leads for other businesses, which you can then sell to them to earn money.

There are likely many more ways to earn money on your site, but these are the most common and most simple to set up on your site.

I don’t like to depend on just one way to earn money on my websites.  Typically, I’ll choose at least three revenue streams for each site.  Almost always will I have my own products for sale, affiliate links, and advertising on each of my sites.  This way, if something happens with one of my revenue streams, life will still go on for me until I can figure out how to recover.

Did you pick a few ways that you’ll earn money on your website?  If so, move on to step four.

Step Four

Register your domain name.  It should be something relatively short and catchy, and if you can, you should include a keyword in your domain name.  Just make sure it’s not too long!

I use Host Gator for all of my web hosting – I’ve got a special affiliate link here where you can use the code to get a discount on hosting and your domain:

Up to 60% OFF NEW Hosting + $4.99 on Select Domains with Promo Code Spring2017

Step Five

Get a hosting plan and install WordPress onto your domain.  I like Go Daddy and Host Gator, but whatever you like will work fine.  Most hosting companies offer a “one-click” WordPress installation service for free, so it is very easy to get started.

Don’t worry about buying a premium WordPress theme unless you have some very specific need or function for your site.  I plan on doing some articles here about how to set up the different types of websites that I mentioned.

You can do almost anything with WordPress, and if you can’t figure out how to do it yourself, you can always hire a WordPress developer to help you.  Getting the basics done, however, will save you some money.

Play around with your theme and set things up to a “minimum viable product” level.  Basically, a “good enough to start” level.  Perfectionists struggle to launch their businesses because they are always waiting for everything to be perfect.  Don’t be that person.  Get started, and adjust as needed.

Step six

Decide how you will drive traffic to your website.  My favorite way to start getting traffic is with organic search.  It doesn’t cost anything, and if you can deliver some good value to your website visitors, you will be rewarded by Google.

The way to get organic search traffic is by writing good quality blog posts on your website.  The biggest mistake that people make when starting off is writing about topics that people don’t care about.  How to find out what people care about?  I’m glad you asked.

Get a free Google Adwords account to access the free Google Keyword Planner tool.  Enter in your website information and you’ll get some keyword suggestions.  These keywords will help you understand exactly what people are typing into the search bar and wanting to know more about.  Can you help them?  If so, you will get some good organic traffic.  You can also use Google Trends for choosing topics to write about.

(Pro tip: Don’t choose the highest volume keywords to write about when you are just starting off.  You will have too much competition and won’t rank in search if you do.)

Set up all of your social media accounts that you plan to use, etc, but unless you are already super popular online, a social media following is off in the future somewhere.  I’m not saying that you should start building it, but just don’t be disappointed that people aren’t flooding your website from Twitter right off the bat.  It can happen, but it’s not a guarantee.

Think about some other ways that you can drive traffic.  Networking with other website owners, bloggers, forums, etc are also great ways to build your website’s reputation.

Step Seven

Set everything up for your revenue streams.  Get your Adsense account.  Write your e-book.  Join an affiliate network.  Do those things that you need to do.

Final thoughts

Once you get your site launched, the tough work begins.  It might take six months before you really see some traction on your work.  You have to set a schedule that you can stick to long-term.

But the work pays off!  Don’t let you talk yourself out of getting started today.  Six months will go by anyway, wouldn’t you rather have a nicely built-up website with some traffic, however little, in six months vs. no website and no traffic?  Imagine what you will have after a year, two years, or six!

Let me know what your plans are, I want to hear about them 🙂

Mercedes

 

 

I Saw the Light!

It’s been a few months since I posted.  This won’t happen again.  I’ve had time to do a lot of thinking, and some interesting things have happened in my life.

Back in February of this year, I was contacted about an international job possibility.  It was a cool position in a cool industry, located in an amazing city in a great country where I would love to live.  The job would have required international travel to really neat places I have never been.   And the pay would have been great.

The company decided not to move forward in creating this position for me – not because there was anything wrong with me, but they had some internal limitations and it just didn’t work out.  What did end up happening is that I got extremely distracted with the whole idea of moving and working there, and I basically just lost about six months of progress that I could have been making in my business.

That said, I did learn a lot and here are some takeaways:

  • I am valuable enough for someone to consider creating a brand-new position, flying me off to another country, and hiring me.   This was a huge self-esteem boost, let me tell you!  I’m taking that to the BANK.
  • While it’s good to explore new opportunities, don’t get distracted by shiny objects.  The truth of the matter is:  I don’t want a full-time job.  I think I could’ve been happy with that company for a while, but had it worked out for me there, it would have just taken me down some windy side roads and NOT towards my end goal, which is having a wildly successful online company.
  • Did I mention that I don’t want a full-time job?  If that’s the case, why would I go on a job interview?  It literally makes no sense.
  • Did I say that I want a wildly successful online company?  I meant empire.

The bottom line?  I’m smart, talented, and valuable.  And if I can be all of that for someone else, I can also be that for myself.  While I’m making big statements, I can also say that I don’t want to screw around with this “making money online” thing any longer.

I’m starting a new digital media empire, and it’s going to be grand.  I’m taking it one excruciating day at a time.

If you’ve been at this online marketing thing for a while, you might know someone like me.  I come up with a cool idea, register a domain, make a quick website, post a few times, and then figure out that it’s “too hard” or there is “too much competition” or there are some “obstacles that I hadn’t considered”.

I actually have a line item in my annual budget for domain registrations!

Years ago, I started this nifty website.  Not unlike this one, in actuality.  I blogged for about a year and built up a tiny reputation for myself.  This was back in 2011.  Recently, I realized that someone else came along and is using a very similar name and doing a very similar thing.  They are having success – because they stuck with it.

So that’s what I am going to do in building my media empire.  I’m going to stick with it for the long haul this time.  No matter how long it takes. One. Word. At. A. Time.

What are you going to build?

Talk to you soon,

Mercedes

Featured Image Photo Credit:  Steve Johnson

Mid-Year Update

Just a quick update to let everyone know where I am in my digital asset creation:

Online Learning Website (Started Fall 2016)

  • About 40 YouTube Subscribers
  • About 550 Facebook Fans
  • 100-200 website visitors per month
  • Have more than 60 YouTube videos posted on channel
  • Have created a few ebooks and courses to go along with videos, haven’t sold any
  • Total earned this year from this website: $0
  • Comments:  I haven’t done anything on this site for about 6 months, but everything is still up.

Hobby Website (Started January 2017)

  • 1,000-1,200 visitors per month
  • 100 page ebook for sale on site (posted for sale in June 2017)

Additionally, I have one softcover book for sale on Amazon (self-published) and 14 books for sale in the Kindle Store.  Monthly sales on these books vary from month to month.  I don’t do any marketing or publicity (probably a mistake), so there is no sales funnel or anything like that.

So that’s where I am right now.

I’ll be back soon,

Mercedes