How To Start a Blog – Beginner’s Guide for 2018 / 2019





So, you want to start a blog huh? Great idea! But…how the heck do you get started? There’s so much info out there on the web, and everyone’s telling you to do different things. Who do you listen to? Where’s the starting point? Damnit, maybe you should just forget it – it’s too confusing! Well, hold up. I used to be a blogging newbie too. I had the same problems. I started my blog (BloggingBasics101.com) way back in 2006, and I knew less than nothing about blogging. In fact it was only the week before I’d learnt what a blog was.



Now I know a ton about them, and my blog’s doing pretty well – I receive more than 300,000 unique visitors per month which makes me consider myself someone you could listen to and learn from when it comes to building your own blog. I’m not some sort of Guru, but I certainly do know the basics.

I promise it’ll be simple, relatively easy, and definitely easy to understand (no stupid jargon). Sound good?

Awesome, let’s move on.

Why you should create a blog and join the blogging community

So below, I’m going to outline exactly what you need to do to get started and set up your own personal blog. Before we dive in though, I really want to talk about WHY you should build a blog.

Note: If you already have a solid idea of the whys, then skip this and go right ahead with the guide.

  1. Blogging has quickly become one of the most popular ways of communicating and spreading information and news. There are literally millions of blogs online (don’t worry, you can make yours stand out and get noticed!).
  2. It’s a great way to express yourself and also a fantastic way to share information with others.
  3. You become a better person and a better writer.
  4. The best reason? You can make money doing it!

I bet you already knew all of that, but it’s nice to be reminded.

One very last thing before we get started:

Creating your own blog can take a little while, probably up to 30 minutes. So grab yourself a coffee or juice (whatever you fancy) and let’s get stuck in. If you need any help during the set-up process, get in touch with me and I’ll help as best I can and answer any questions you might have).

 

Disclosure: This guide to starting your own blog contains some affiliate links. If you purchase a service through one of these links I may earn a small commission, this is at no extra cost to you.

The Steps Covered In This Blogging Guide

It’s nowhere near as difficult as setting up a website from scratch (there’s very little technical ability needed here). In fact, there’s no coding required by you. Good news, huh?

So, we made it. Phew. Better late than never! So, without further ado, let’s jump into step 1.



Step 1 – Choose your preferred blogging platform

Choosing where you want to build blog is pretty much the first thing you have to do. I’m going to take a leap and assume you’ve heard of WordPress, and this is the platform I advocate. It’s massive.

It’s by far one of the biggest blogging platforms in the world, with countless plugins and add-ons and almost infinite ways to design and layout your blog.

There are more than 82 million active users of WordPress = a lot, basically.

wordpress

There are other alternatives however, and they are listed below:

  • Blogger – Definitely the next best thing to WordPress.
  • Tumblr – Half social network, half blog. Interesting, and very simple to use.

Even though WordPress is bigger (and probably better) than those two, here are my reasons why you should still go with WordPress:

  1. Super easy set-up and is free to use
  2. Tons of free themes and layouts (I’m not kidding, there’s gazillions).
  3. There’s a massive support forum in case you get stuck (you won’t, but it’s nice to have it there if you need it).
  4. Your blog will be insanely fast and it’ll also look Functionality and form – perfect!
  5. People can interact with you easily. Your content can be shared, commented on, and so on.

Here’s an article about different blogging platforms (including WordPress), give it a read:

 

Now, Step 2 (see, we’re moving fast now!)

Step 2 – Self-hosting or a free alternative?

Whoa, slow down there! This is the biggest decision you’ll have to make before we go any further. You need to decide whether to pay for your blog or grab a free one.

WordPress, Tumblr and Blogger all offer free blogs for anyone. Awesome, right? It’s perfect for those of us who aren’t super serious about blogging. But it does have downsides:

1) You won’t be able to get your OWN domain name

On a free blog, your blog’s web address (your URL) will be butt-ugly. Like, really ugly. In short, create a free blog with any other the above free blog services and it’ll look like this:

  • yourblog.wordpress.com
  • yourblog.blogspot.com
  • yourblog.tumblr.com

I know, ugly right?

2) Limits and more limits

There are some limits to free blogs. You can’t fully monetize it, and you don’t have the possibility to upload all those videos and images you want to show everyone – it’s all limited. Worse still, you won’t even have access to the free themes offered by WordPress.

3) You DON’T OWN your blog

It might sound silly at first, but you don’t actually own your blog. It’s hosted on someone else’s web property and they can delete it if they want so. They have done so in the past, and keep doing it in the future. Which means all your hard work on your blog, all those countless hours of writing blog posts might be vanished within seconds. Sad…



On the other hand, with a self-hosted blog on your own domain name – you are the REAL owner of your blog. You’ll be able to name your blog whatever you want, for example “YourName.com” or “YourAwesomeBlog.com. You can end it with .com, .co.uk, .net, .org, or virtually any other web suffix. Add to that unlimited bandwidth for videos, images and content plus the free themes and you have a winning combo.

So how much is hosting and a domain name? Not as much as you’re thinking, fortunately. It usually works out to about $5 to $10 per month, depending on your hosting provider which is less than a couple of coffees.

 

Step 3 – Start a blog on your own domain (if you chose self-hosting and a custom domain)

wordpress blogging platform

I’m going to push ahead based on the premise you’ve chosen WordPress, and if you haven’t, you should. Seriously, it’s the best.

If you’re still a little confused by what a self-hosted blog is, allow me to explain and how you can go about setting one up for yourself.

You’ll need to come up with a domain name you like and also choose a hosting company that can host your blog.

  • Domain: The domain is basically the URL of your website. Examples: google.com (Google.com is the domain), Facebook.com (Facebook.com is the domain). See? Simple!
  • Hosting: Hosting is basically the company that puts your website up on the internet so everyone else can see it. Everything will be saved on there. Think of it as a computer hard-drive on the internet where your blog will be saved.

Personally, I use iPage (for my blog domain and hosting), and I’ve got nothing but good things to say about it. It’s probably one of the cheapest (less than $2.50 per month) hosting providers out there. A domain name will cost around $10-15 a year, but with iPage they throw that in for free :). Big smiles for that! They’re the providers I use for all of my blogs, including the one you’re reading right now.

If for any reason you don’t want to go with iPage, feel free to choose your own hosting company. Most, if not all of them, should have a “one-click” WordPress install solution on their admin panel.

That button will automatically install WordPress on your blog. Did I say it was simple or what?

All you need to do is sign up with iPage (or your chosen provider), choose your hosting plan and a domain name and look for the one-click WordPress install button on the admin panel.

WordPress essentials aren’t often needed, but I’d recommend whois privacy (that will keep all your personal details private) and definitely automated backups (this’ll save your website just in case anything fails or disappears, so you won’t lose any or very little of your blog).

I have a more in-depth tutorial on building a blog with iPage here.

 

Once WordPress is installed on your website, all you have to do to start blogging is go to your WP-Admin page usually www.yourblognamehere.com/wp-admin and start writing by adding a new post.

At the start, the layout looks confusing, but it gets very understandable quickly. Don’t worry!

Step 4 – Designing your WordPress blog

Now, the fun bit.

Let’s make your blog look exactly how you want it to. To choose a new theme, you can either head to Appearance > Themes and install a free WordPress theme or you can head to a premium theme website like ThemeForest.net and buy a theme for around $40.

I usually choose something that looks professional and pretty easy to customise. WordPress also has this awesome feature that allows you to change themes with just a few clicks. So if you start getting tired of your current blog template, you can just switch to another one without losing any precious content or images.

choose-blog-theme

Remember, your blog’s design should reflect both you and your personality, but also what the blog is about. There’s no point having a football-orientated theme if your blog is about tennis, understand?

On top of that, it should be easy to navigate if you want people to stick around. If it’s tricky and difficult to move around it, people won’t stay. Design is a subjective art; meaning everyone likes different things.

But no one likes ugly websites, and they especially hate websites that need a university degree to navigate. Make it easy for them.

Last step! Woo!

 

Step 5 – Useful Resources For Beginner Bloggers

Bloggers come to blogging arena with varying degrees of online and social media experience, but we’ve all made more than a few newbie mistakes – there’s always room for more learning and improvement, whether you’re a beginner or you’ve been blogging for years.

These articles may help you avoid some of the growing pains when it comes to your first blog – enjoy!:

And that’s it! I’m more than confident that your initial blog set up should now be finished and ready to go, and all that should have been really damn easy (unlike my first time, lucky you!).

If by some unfortunate circumstance you get stuck or have any questions for me about how to create a blog, just get in touch with me or leave a comment below. I’ll help you out with any problems.

Enjoy your new blog!

Using The Tesla App To Control Your Model S 3 X





In this video, I show you how to use the Tesla iPhone or Android App to cool down your Tesla Mode S/3/X before your get into the car. It’s great for those hot summer days when you have to leave the dog in the car so you can meet some fellow internet marketers for a Dot Com Lunch. Just remember to place a note in the car window to let people know that the Tesla can keep your pet cool. Otherwise you may come back to a broken window.



Click Here To Download John Chow’s New eBook, The Ultimate Online Profit Model!



Lamborghini Rear Bumper Delete Mod – Good or Bad?





An interesting modding trend I see at Cars and Coffee is removing the rear bumper off your Lamborghini to show off the exhaust system. My question is, is this a good or bad thing?



In addition to the bumperless Lambo, I checked out some cool Ferraris, a bunch of Ford Bronco, and other cars.



Click Here To Download John Chow’s New eBook, The Ultimate Online Profit Model!



Avoid These Top Internet Marketing Blunders





Internet marketing is a very fragile business because it’s very competitive, and takes a lot of patience. However, there are cool ways you can improve your marketing by researching your niche, and applying the strategies you learn at the same time. Over the years, whenever I start a blog, I’ll always research my niche and the top bloggers in my market to learn what I can from them. Since they have been in the business longer it helps me avoid the mistakes they have made along the way. Avoiding these mistakes will help me grow faster, and build my brand quickly. Next,



We have so many cool ways to market our blog which were NOT available before. For example, we have social media which will excel the rate of blog growth 10 fold. The top social media networks like Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ have enormous niche relevant visitors which can build momentum quickly to your content. However, the secret is to know how to use these networks, and avoid the common mistakes made by rookie bloggers. So, what have I decided to focus on today? Simple…

I searched for the biggest mistakes authority bloggers have made when starting out, and want to discuss them with you now. This is great for those just starting, or those who have been in the business for years. It’s never too late to tweak your style so you optimize your marketing and blog growth. Let’s get started and your feedback will be greatly appreciated.

Growth Rate Failure

You’ve started a blog, and want to make sure it grows over the years, however fail to focus on the growth rate. This is one of the worst mistakes anyone can make in the industry because you won’t know what has worked or what has stagnant your growth. In blogging, you always want to make sure every decision you make will increase your brand, and growth over a certain time period. This is why it’s important to make sure you have the right tools in place which will give you a better overview of your growth rate. For example, you should always ask yourself these questions going forward.

  • How much has my blog grown over the last month?
  • What has optimized my blog growth?
  • What tools should I use to track growth?
  • How have I drove traffic to my blog in recent months?

Answering all these questions will help you implement the right strategy going forward making sure you keep growing. For example, ask yourself how much content should you be writing to keep your blog fresh because we all know how unattractive a blog with old content is…right?

I suggest you install Google analytics to your blog so you can trace where your visitors are going, and then can focus on those same avenues going forward. You’ll still want to try new things, however this way you can focus on what has been working at the same time.



Very Small Niche

It’s tough building your business in a very small niche. It’s even harder generating profit when you have a very small audience which is why it’s important target a big enough niche. Focusing on a wide enough niche will give you the leverage to try different things, and build a brand around a specific topic. For example, “make money online” is a huge niche, and I can keep narrowing it down even further. I can focus on keywords like:

  • Blogging
  • Advertising
  • Content marketing
  • eBooks
  • Social media
  • Etc

This will just give me the flexibility to try different things, and you won’t run out of ideas. Use tools like Google Keyword Planner or even search to find cool markets which haven’t been tapped into. Then start to narrow down each topic by looking at sub-keywords and products which you can focus on. Many times I have head over to Amazon.com, and started looking at the best sellers within a niche. The fact that many people have been purchasing a specific product means it’s a very HOT niche. It’s important to think outside the box, and choose a niche which has a huge audience, and isn’t competitive.

If you head over to Google and type in some keywords, you’ll be able to find some awesome niches which haven’t been tapped into by a wide range of bloggers.

Not Marketing Enough

It doesn’t matter if you just started out, or have been in the business for a long time because you have to keep marketing. The thing many people don’t understand is times are much different now, and you have to battle others to get ahead in the line so use what’s available to you. The fact so many social media websites popped up is a good thing, but can work against you too. Let me explain this a bit better…

Years ago starting a blog, writing content and generating a following was easier. It was simply based on first come first serve, and the search engines didn’t have complicated algorithms as they do now. This meant you were ranked based on start date, and how many keywords you had in your content relevant to a search phrase. However, now you have over 200 rankings factors which determine your place within the SERP’s. Here are just some of them:

  • Content freshness
  • Depp linking
  • Domain authority
  • Page authority
  • Social signals
  • Internal linking
  • Keywords
  • LSI
  • Long-tail
  • And many others

Since things have gotten more complicated I encourage all of you to try different marketing avenues available to you. For example, start investing in banner advertising, CPC, content marketing and others. This will allow you to outshine your competition within your niche if necessary. A lot of this will obviously depend on your niche, and how many others are dominating within it, but choosing to actively market will increase the likelihood of conversions. Start by doing a quick search in Google, and creating a list of marketing platforms. This way you can start to try different ones and keeping track of the long term conversions.

Retention vs Acquisition

As a blogger you have to pay close attention to customer retention, and acquisition. For those of you NOT familiar with these two phrases, let’s take a quick look at each:

Acquisition: This is where you continue to grow your visitors by getting new customers.

Retention: This is where you hold on to the visitors you already have visiting your website.

It’s important you continue to do both, but more importantly focus on your existing customer or reader base. Why? If you start to lose readers, this means you have a deeper underlying problem. It means you have a problem with new content bring published or have LOST the quality of your product or services. No one wants to lose customers especially when they have been active readers of your blog for several years…right?



Here is my point….

One of the biggest blunders I’ve see bloggers make is NOT focus on acquisition and retention enough. They take visitors for granted thinking they’ll stick around forever once active readers of your blog. This mentality will get you in trouble in the long run because losing readers mean you are failing to do something important which you did when starting.

As a blog owner make sure you keep a close eye on why your blog grew, and going forward make sure you continue to focus on the same things.

Delaying to Grow or Blog

For my final point I want to discuss something very important. You have to make sure you blog and write content every day. We are at a time where we should be focusing on content marketing because this is what search engines and people are looking for. More people turn to the internet to find solutions to their problems, and they expect to find them when searching through Google, etc. As a matter of fact, Google has made this clear numerous times over the last few years. Let’s take a look at what they’ve done in recent years.

Algorithm Changes – You’ve seen more changes in the recent years then ever before. These are focused at bettering search results, removing poor quality sites, and those which use manipulation to rank keywords.

Ranking Factors – You’ve seen a huge change in what now ranks your content compared to before. For example, more emphasis is given to content, social signals, domain and page authority.

Bounce Rate – Google tracks user experience by looking at bounce rate differently. They time pages more accurately which will show them the quality of your content.

Internal Linking – More important now then ever before because a solid linking patterning increases the authority of other pages. Google looks for “total” authority instead of single page when ranking websites.

These are just some examples however you can imagine how many other factors matter when ranking your website. I recommend you have a solid content writing schedule so you can keep writing up-to-date content. Google has build their reputation by focusing on providing accurate information, and one way to achieve this is by writing content people actually want to read.

Final Thoughts

Now that you have a solid list of common blunders made by bloggers, it’s important you start implementing what you’ve learned above. Start by reading over this content one more time and making notes along the way so you understand the material. Many times, you’ll still continue to make the same mistakes because you haven’t understood what I’ve mentioned above. This can be avoided by readings the content above one more time, and writing out the fundamentals in point form.

The next time you write content you can start applying these strategies and always have a way to track statistics. The thing you should do is track what’s been working so you can continue to use those and avoid the ones which produce little results. Remember, in the final point I discussed the importance of retention and acquisition which should always be your ultimate focus. Keeping both these elements in mind will allow you to keep writing content to build a bigger following, and keep those who have already been loyal readers.

Here’s something else which I forgot to mention above that I’ll go over now…

Social media is a great way to keep building readership because it taps into a huge amount of people everyday. However, you have to know how to use certain networks. For example, find out how to use social media tools which allow you to focus people in your niche. In Twitter, I use a tool called hashtagify.com which gives you a list of the MOST popular #hashtags in your niche. You start by typing in your main keyword, and the tool will generate a table of popular #hashtags which you can then implement into your tweet. For those of you unaware: #hashtags are Twitters way to sort information being shared on their network, and it’s been a valuable way so far. Learn how to use different strategies for other networks so you can get your content found on social networks which will generate enormous traffic to your blog.

Remember, having a tracking tool which will tell you where your traffic is coming from so you can continue to use that avenue going forward for blog growth. At the same time, you should be focusing on blogger retention through existing content marketing, etc.

Click Here To Download John Chow’s New eBook, The Ultimate Online Profit Model!

How Much Money Can You Save Working from Home?





There are innumerable reasons why you might want to quit your day job. Maybe you’ve got a horrible boss who keeps “voluntelling” you to come in on the weekend to finish up those TPS reports, because that’d “be great.” Maybe you want to take matters into your own hands, take ownership over your own career, and enjoy the limitless income potential of entrepreneurship.



Maybe you want the freedom to work when and where you want, on your own terms, doing your own thing. You want to steer your own ship and have more time to spend with your family. These are all valid reasons. Another big reason? It’s not just about the possibility of more income; it’s also about how much money can you can save by working from home, being your own boss.

Thousands of Dollars

I recently came across an article by Maddi Salmon on Quartz at Work. She’s not even coming from the perspective of striking it out on your own and working from home full time. She’s just talking about telecommuting into her day job “a couple of days each week,” and even under these much more limited circumstances, she is able to save thousands of dollars every year.



And this got me thinking, as I hadn’t really worked out the math in my own situation. How much money am I saving as a professional freelance writer and blogger who runs his own business from home full-time? Every city is different and every individual is different, but I thought some of you may find it helpful to peer into a real-world example of someone who could be in a similar situation as you are.

Let’s Break It Down

I’m not going to dive into the added matter of writing off business expenses and other related considerations, as that’s a whole other can of worms. Let’s just talk strictly about the money saved when working from home as compared to working a more traditional job in a more traditional office.

First, there’s the commute. Right now, my total commute consists of rolling out of bed and walking down the stairs to my home office. Total commute time of less than 30 seconds for a total cost of nothing. Because of this, my wife and I are able to share a single vehicle. If I drove to work, we’d need a second car.

Conservatively, the costs involved with having that second car would include insurance, depreciation, gas, and maintenance. Here in Vancouver, that’d be about $1,800 a year in insurance, about $2,000 in annual depreciation, about a $60 tank of gas every week (so about $3,000 annually), and let’s say $500 in maintenance (it’s probably more than that). That’s about $7,300, not including the opportunity cost of the time I “waste” on a traditional commute.



Second, there’s daycare. Because I work from home full time, there’s always someone home to take care of my daughter. When my wife or my mom are around, I can work. When they’re not, I can be dad. If I worked outside the home, we’d likely have to invest in a nanny or daycare to some degree. In Vancouver, daycare (if you can even get a spot) is at least $1,200 a month, if not more.

Third, there’s food and coffee. Since I work from home, I typically brew up my own cup of coffee at a cost of about 25 to 50 cents. If I visited the local coffee joint almost daily working outside of home, I could easily spend $3 to $5 a cup. Multiply through by five days a week, 50 weeks a year, that’s an annual savings of about $900. For lunch, I can make my own meal at home for less than $5 pretty easily, while a meal out is at least $10. Conservatively, that’s an annual savings of over $1,000. Combined with coffee, we’re now looking at about $2,000 each year.

Fourth, we’ve got wardrobe. I work from home and very rarely actually meet with clients face-to-face. As a result, I spend almost nothing on work-related clothing. If I worked in an office, I’d have some upkeep to maintain. Dress shirts, ties, suit jackets, shoes, plus the increased wear and tear on essentials. This will vary widely from individual to individual, but you can easily spend $1,000 a year to maintain a professional appearance, if not much, much more.

Tallying It Up

Remember that these are very conservative estimates and it’s naturally going to vary a lot based on who and where you are. Maybe your commute costs are way more or maybe you can find much more affordable daycare in your area. But here are the rough numbers for my situation over the course of a typical year.

  • Commute: $7,300
  • Daycare: $14,400
  • Food/coffee: $2,000
  • Wardrobe: $1,000
  • Total: $24,700

Nearly $25,000 is hardly anything to sneeze at. That’s the equivalent of making about $100 more each workday or about $12 more an hour (based on a 40-hour week). When you put it this way, even if you take a temporary pay cut for quitting your “comfortable” day job to pursue online ventures from home, you could effectively still come out well ahead. And I’m not even factoring for all kinds of other potential savings and benefits.

Do the math. Working from home is worth it.

Click Here To Download John Chow’s New eBook, The Ultimate Online Profit Model!

Is Blog Commenting Dead?





Let me tell you a little story about how I came to meet John Chow and how we’ve grown to become pretty good friends over the years. Heck, I even crashed at his guest house in Washington at one point.



Learning to Make Money Online

Even though I’d be writing online for years prior, I didn’t really turn that into professional blogging and freelance writing until 2006. I started learning about Internet marketing, online advertising, search engine optimization and all the rest of it. Coincidentally, it was also around that time that John decided to run his little experiment to see if it was possible to earn a full-time income from part-time blogging. We all know how that turned out for him.

At the time, I didn’t really know him, of course. I only knew *of* him, but we just so happened to have a mutual friend who I knew from one of the local car forums… who was also getting into blogging around the same time. It’s one of those perfect storm kind of scenarios. My friend said I should check out John’s blog for insight and tips and advice, and so I did.



Understandably, John Chow dot Com looks pretty different today than it did over a decade ago. Back then, John had a widget in the sidebar that would display the top five or top ten commentators on the site each month based purely on volume. The five people who left the most comments would be “featured” in the sidebar with the count resetting each month. The competition was understandably fierce, because while all links in the comments themselves were nofollow, the sidebar links were dofollow.

Release the Hounds!

So, I did what any self-respecting new blogger would do. I spammed the site so hard with so many comments for so long that I consistently showed up in that top commentator list almost every month. Looking back, my time was probably better spent and I’m not completely convinced how much of a positive impact it really had on my SEO, but the net result was I got on John’s radar, we met over Dot Com Pho, we co-authored a book, and the rest is history.

Which leads me all the way back to today and the current state of blog commenting on the web. Back then, some blogs (I think including mine, but I’m not 100% positive) allowed for dofollow links in the comments as a means of encouraging people to leave comments. This worked, to some degree, but it wasn’t long before commenting bots and spam services showed up to take advantage. Blog commenting for some dofollow SEO link juice very quickly became an undesirable practice.

Some people say that even if the links are nofollow, they carry some SEO value from anchor text and relevance. I’ll leave that up to debate another day. What I will say is that, particularly since pretty well all blog comments are nofollow across the board these days, link building through leaving comments on blogs isn’t really going to work. But this doesn’t mean that blog commenting is worthless.



A Penny for Your Thoughts

The state of blog commenting now is the same as it was when I was spamming this blog some 12 years ago. It’s ultimately about curating relationships, attracting attention, and establishing expertise. If I had not been so active commenting on John Chow dot Com back then, I may not have ever met John in person and I may not have connected with so many other people through that relationship as a result. It’s because of John that I’ve had the opportunity to work with people like Zac Johnson and Nate Whitehill. It’s because of those comments, to some degree, that I’m blogging here today.

So what does this really mean for you?

Keep commenting, but do it with a purpose. Do it because you actually want to engage with other human beings in meaningful conversation. Do it because you’re adding value to the discussion, asking good questions and providing answers and clarification to your fellow readers. Do it to be personal, genuine, and approachable, so people know you’re actually a real human being who may have something to offer them.

Be relevant, be worthwhile, and you just might get noticed by the right people too.

Click Here To Download John Chow’s New eBook, The Ultimate Online Profit Model!

How to Market on Reddit: an Anti-Marketing Social Platform





 

Google might actually be the front page of the internet, especially if you use Chrome. But Reddit comes in for a relatively close second at 1.6 billion visitors a month.



And with about 1.2 million subreddit communities, it’s a massive marketing opportunity waiting to happen. The only problem: what rises to the top is completely user controlled. There is no buying your way to the top.

If you do a quick Google search, you’ll realize there is no legitimate, non-scammy way to buy upvotes on Reddit. That’s the beauty of the platform. If you aren’t an authentic member of a subreddit or you don’t play by the rules, your stuff gets downvoted.

The cream is supposed to rise to the top. The definition of “cream” depends on the subreddit. And if you want to rise to the top, you must be a specific flavor or the community will spit you out.

Here’s how to remain palatable as a marketer on Reddit.



1. Be an Expert in Your Field

It may seem a bit cliche, but if you’re actually good at a thing, people might pay attention. This happened to my friend Abel. He picked up a camera one day and decided to invest his time and energy in perfecting an art.

While full virility on the internet may not give you millions of followers, you will get a boost. Abel went effectively viral on Reddit with just one photo. He’d posted to R/EarthPorn and by the time Reddit archived the photo, it received 63.6k upvotes. 93% of users upvoted the photo.

Abel is a genuine wizard with light, shadow, and landscapes. His photography is cream in a world of mediocre milk.

Be like Abel. Be a genuine wizard in your field and you might rise to the top in Reddit.

2. Be Subreddit Relevant

Each community on Reddit is called a subreddit. You can think of Reddit like a file directory and each subreddit is a subdirectory. But every file has its own set of laws governing actions within the file.

Some subreddits have no posted rules. Be careful here. Some of these subreddits have unwritten rules.



Hangout and participate in a subreddit before posting. Comment on various threads. Engage with people in friendly conversation.

70% of the users are from the U.S., U.K. or Canada. If you speak English, you’ll easily be able to engage.

The more you interact, the less like a marketer you’ll seem. You may even grow to feel like you’re part of the community.

3. Remain Anonymous

I made the mistake of breaking my anonymity on Reddit once. It was a disaster. The StarWars subreddit basically downvoted all my content and told me that only Peter Mayhew was allowed to break his anonymity on Reddit.

It crushed me and I disavowed Reddit forever.

Until I got over it a few years later and created a whole new set of usernames.

You’re not a brand on Reddit, you’re a person. Of course, some fields allow you to break anonymity. Abel Rojas and other photographers aren’t expected to be anonymous. But that’s exclusive to the field of photography.

This is another reason why first becoming a part of the community is a must. You need to know whether you can break anonymity or not.

Examine the cream. Do they break anonymity? If so, go for it! If not, remain an anonymous hippo.

 

How to Write Blog Posts People Will Actually Read





 

Don’t choke on your milk here, but today alone people published 2 million blog posts. That’s right. If you’re thinking of starting a blog, you have to compete with 2 million other people every day.



This is why you absolutely can’t just write a personal blog and hope someone will read it. Sure, someone might read it (likely your mother), but you’ll never drive traffic and you’re certainly not going to make any money.

What you need is a solid grasp of what people want and how to get them to care about what you know or have. Below you’ll learn exactly how to get them to care.

1. Who is Your Audience?

There are two common problems among new bloggers. They either turn their blog into a journal or they write “for the whole world.”



The journalers think people want to “share in their adventures.” This particular blog format only works for people actually having interesting adventures. If you’re a company selling traffic cones, there is no adventure in making traffic cones.

Your audience doesn’t care.

The “for the whole world” bloggers just aren’t specific enough. They generalize and write fluff nobody will read anyway. Then they wonder why nobody is reading their fluff.

To write for an audience, you must have useful information and specific information. It must be relevant to your audience and address their problems.

2. Promote Nothing

If you’re hoping to drive people away, then by all means, write one long product description and ask your audience to buy said product at the end. Then write another version next week. Do that over and over again without ceasing.

You’ll guarantee a low spot on any Google ranking.



Unless you’ve written a product review article or a gift guide, your readers aren’t there for advertisements.  They’re there looking for answers to life’s problems.

Unless buying a construction safety harness is going to solve their problems, you’d better not write a post about how great and useful that safety harness you sell could be.

3. Learn How Google Sees Your Blog

Google is getting scary good at making machines able to “read” your blog like a human would. And some extremely smart people have figured out how to stay ahead of the Google bot.

This is called Search Engine Optimization. While we don’t have time to go into detail here, you should know a few things before we go on.

Keywords Are Still Relevant

While you don’t necessarily need to use a specific keyword strategy if your social media game is strong, keyword SEO could lubricate the wheels. If you rank for a specific high traffic keyword, not only will your traffic soar, but your audience will grow.

Do your research. There are plenty of basic tools out there to help you find easy-to-rank-for long-tail keywords.

It’s Easier Than You Think

Essentially, writing a blog post everyone will read is simple. Give your audience what they want. Write it well (use the Hemmingway editor if you have to). Optimize for search. And publish!

After you’ve done this, and if your social media game is on fleek, you’ll see people flock to your content.

 

5 Affiliate Marketing Conference Guides You Need to Follow





Internet marketing conferences are an excellent way to make new connections with brands and business, while also getting that face-to-face experience you might have been missing out on. While email is great for running an online business, nothing beats being able to meet your freelancers, blogger friends, and affiliate managers at a live event. It’s easy to talk about the many benefits of attending internet conferences from a personal perspective, but I wanted to highlight some other expert guides and write-ups instead. Even John often talks about the many benefits of growing his personal brand by speaking at different events, and how covering various conferences and events through his blog continues to grow his audience and brand in the process.



To improve your internet marketing conference knowledge and getting yourself ready to attend that next big event, but sure to follow these industry guides on affiliate marketing and blogging conferences around the world.

Leadbit’s Guide to International Marketing Conferences

Back in the day, affiliate marketing conferences were mainly held in the United States. Now they are all over the place! At the same time, if you wanted to get the perspective of how these events were, you would likely need to come across an affiliate blog and read up on their perspective. With so many global affiliate networks in place, that’s no longer the issue. Not only do most of the affiliate networks in the world today have blogs, they are also attending such events like never before. You can see a perfect roundup and Q&A session with the team over at Leadbit, in their “International Affiliate Marketing Conferences” reference guide.



Ngo’s Guide to Top Affiliate Marketing Conferences to Attend

Speaking of affiliates and their affiliate blogs, an excellent one to follow is Charles Ngo. Through his blog, you will find a wide selection of detailed tutorials, articles, and reviews on everything related to affiliate marketing. Charles also has an excellent guide on the 26 Best Affiliate Marketing Conferences in the World. If you’d only had the opportunity to attend a handful of conferences, be sure to run through this list and see which are most recommended, or headed to your area soon.

Expert Guide on “How to Prepare for Affiliate Summit”

Affiliate Summit is one of the most popular and largest affiliate marketing conferences in the world today. It’s currently held twice a year in Las Vegas and New York City — but it in the works of expanding to outside of the US. Shawn Collins is the co-founder of the conference, and he’s always providing some great resources and guides on the event for first-timers, and those who are making their way back again. A new post on his blog (by Adam Reimer) covers everything you need to know about attending Affiliate Summit, whether it’s your first time or 15th. Topics include how to choose the best sessions to attend, the best parties to attend, and of course… the importance of networking and getting real business from the event.

2018 Calendar of Affiliate Marketing Events: Conferences, Expos & More

As great as online reviews and guides are for learning about upcoming affiliate conferences, sometimes it’s better to just see a list or calendar of what’s on the horizon. With literally hundreds of internet and affiliate marketing conferences happening annually, it can get quite overwhelming!



Geno from AMNavigator has a constantly updated list of the top conferences and events happening around the world. Be sure to check out this list, as you never know when a new event might be heading to your area.

Affiliate Summit Parties: East and West

As mentioned earlier, Affiliate Summit is where most of the attention is going these days in reference to affiliate marketing conferences. One of the reasons for this is because of the heavy advertiser and network attendance at these events, and the massive parties they throw at each event.

Networks will always send out mailings and invites to these events, but if you are looking to find all of the information on one site, ASWparties.com is the place to go. The site name says ASW, but they have a page and updates for ASE as well. The site also now provides other events and parties outside of just Affiliate Summit.

It doesn’t matter if you are a complete newbie to attending affiliate conferences, or a veteran — each of these resource guides will provide you with a ton of information and resources to make sure you are ready for that next big trip. In addition to each of the resources below, also be sure to check out any of the top affiliate marketing blogs on the internet today , as they are always releasing new articles and topics that have yet to be discussed before.

Feel free to leave your favorite internet marketing event or conference in the comments below.

AdSense Alternatives to YouTube Monetization





In a move that even out-shadowed the whole demonetization controversy of 2017, YouTube announced significant changes to its partner program in early 2018. As a result, many smaller YouTubers got booted from the YouTube Partner Program because they no longer met the new requirements. As a refresher, the new requirements called for at least 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 hours watched in the last 12 months. And no one was grandfathered into the program either.



It’s through the YouTube Partner Program that video creators could monetize their videos using Google AdSense. This includes the pre-roll video ads and the banner ads shown in the video themselves, among other possible placements. Without this revenue source, many YouTubers felt distraught… but maybe they’re forgetting about all the other opportunities to make money on YouTube too. Here are a few that you may have left on the table (that you should now pick up if you haven’t already).

 

Amazon Associates

It probably won’t surprise too many of you to learn that many of the people who watch YouTube are interested in what equipment goes into shooting YouTube videos. This is especially the case with vloggers and other channels that target creative professionals (and amateurs and prosumers too).



One of the simplest things to do is to leverage Amazon’s affiliate program and provide links in the video description to the gear that you use. Similarly, you should be including links to any products you mention in the video too, just as I did in the video where I compared different Amazon Kindle versions. If someone is watching a product video, they’re probably interested in buying it.

Patreon

You might remember when I wrote about Patreon in the context of YouTube monetization a few years ago and it’s arguably even more relevant today. The basic idea here is that instead of trying to get money out of sponsors and advertisers, you get money from the people who are watching your content in the first place. It’s a much more direct relationship and Patreon only takes a 5% fee for providing this platform.

Many of the top YouTube channels have taken this approach. Science video channel SciShow, as of this writing, brings in over $20,000 a month from over 5,000 patrons. That’s nothing to sneeze at and even if you have a smaller subscriber base, Patreon can provide a more consistent and predictable source of income that isn’t subject to fickle algorithms.

Affiliate Lead Generation

If you want to talk about the bigger bucks, this is definitely John Chow’s preferred method of making money from YouTub e. To put this all in perspective, his YouTube channel brings in about $1,000 a month in AdSense (as reported for May 2017). His MOBE earnings for the same month was nearly $250,000 and YouTube referrals accounted for almost a third of that. Put another way, the resulting MOBE affiliate earnings beat out his AdSense revenue by about a factor of 70-to-1.



When you position and target your YouTube videos accordingly and partner up with the right big ticket affiliate program, your earning potential can shoot through the roof.

Your Own Products and Services

You’ve got an online business, so why not leverage your YouTube channel to help build and promote that business even further? The natural tie-in would be if you have a specific product to promote. If you just published a new book or launched a new membership site, there’s no reason why you can’t spread the word on YouTube or include a “promotional message” (from yourself) at the beginning or end of your videos to coincide with the launch.

Collaborations and Sponsorships

Influencer marketing is bigger than ever before. It’s a common misconception that brands only want to work with online influencers who have millions of followers. That’s just not the case. Brands are oftentimes better off working with a larger number of influencers with smaller followings to get the most bang out of their marketing buck.

Speaking for myself, I worked with Subaru Canada on a video that showcased the new Impreza at a local event and that was a sponsored video. Similar partnerships, collaborations and sponsorships are available both through influencer networks and by working with brands (and their PR agencies) directly. Don’t be afraid to reach out. There’s no harm in asking.

Of course, there are innumerable other opportunities for making money on YouTube beyond the AdSense alternatives listed here. Do you have any favorites? Share your experiences and insights in the comments below!

South OC Cars and Coffee San Clemente – Stay Humble





At this week’s South Orange County Cars and Coffee, I check out a lot of exotic sports car, included a riced out McLaren 570 with 50HP worth of stickers, fake hood scoops, musical unicorn horn, leopard patten seat covers, and it claims its a 4×4 because it has the badge to prove it. Stay humble!



Click Here To Download John Chow’s New eBook, The Ultimate Online Profit Model!



What is the Future of Blogging? Exploring Some Ideas





With blogging being such a vast industry, it’s important that you stay ahead of the curve. This means to think about the future and start making the tweaks right now instead of later. This is how some of the MOST successful people in the world started because they visualized the world now and where they think it’s heading. With that said,



You have to explore and understand what direction blogging is going toward. For example, if many of us would have visualized mobile usage then we would have made mobile-friendly tweaks earlier on instead of waiting last minute…right? I’ve worked with many bloggers over the years, all with several different years of experience. Here’s what I noticed happening and what you can do to better equip yourself going forward. Let’s look at blogging and where it is heading…



Brand Awareness

Have you noticed many of the top bloggers are focusing more on brand, which is mainly their personal names? Here are some of the MOST popular blogs I can think of from the top of my head: JohnChow.com, ZacJohnson.com, NeilPatel.com and MatthewWoodward.co.uk. It’s not as valuable as to use a keyword as your domain like SEO.com, etc., because people still find it hard to identify with the author. However, by building your brand around your personal name, it means more when people throw around your name in forums, content, and other communities.

In the future, more focus will be given to your brand equalling your personal name because it’s this aspect that will build your credibility as someone valuable within your niche.

SEO

Over the years, we have seen enormous changes within Google and this has been catered toward the user experience. Search engines are all about the user experience and making sure people find what they are looking for. However, this is not enough because searchers have to find valuable content and one that provides a complete solution so it’s up to search engines to provide this. Google has already announced changes like LSI keywords, valuable content, freshness, “target” keywords, and mobile-optimized. What’s next?



Keep focusing on SEO and make sure you add a combination of different keywords within your content. For example, long-tail keywords, LSI keywords, and those that are highly targeted. Next, make sure you use a combination of different anchors to build links to cover all the different keywords you have within your content. This will help your page rank for different more “targeted” keywords, increasing the user experience.

Content = Value

It’s all about value because something has to separate the best from the mediocre…right? Google has invested a lot of resources into finding out which sites and content is providing the best value. For example, they look at things like activity, bounce rate, links, DA, and PA to establish some sort of value bar. Going forward, you should be focusing on writing the best content for your readers even if this means cutting down the frequency at which you’re posting. Nothing can replace value, no matter what niche you’re in, so follow these steps before you write:

  • Research
  • Outline
  • Write
  • Edit
  • Share
  • Tweak

This will allow you to have enough information to find out when you have created something special or simply mediocre.

Relevance

How do you stop websites from manipulative link building? You can give people control over links pointing to their website like the introduction of Disavow. You can also strategically make sure it’s difficult for them to build unnatural links by focusing on things that really matter. Google has put enormous value on relevance because this shows the right intent. For example, websites will only link to relevant websites when the value is there…right? Why else would anyone link unless they are trying to manipulate the search engines? Going forward, relevance matters and will continue to grow in importance, but there is a great way to make sure you find value in this. How? Write the best content because then people have no choice but to link to you.

How to Invest in Your Happiness





Perhaps second only to love, money is probably one of the most popular subjects when it comes to quotable quotes. We love to talk about it, because money makes the world go around. It’s with money that we can aspire to live better lives filled with massive mansions, fast sports cars, and the fanciest new toys and gadgets on the block.



A common turn of phrase that you’ve likely heard before is that “money is the root of all evil.” In the movie Boiler Room, we’re told that “anybody tells you money is the root of all evil doesn’t [expletive] have any. They say money can’t buy happiness? Look at the [expletive] smile on my face. Ear to ear, baby. You want details? Fine. I drive a Ferrari 355 Cabriolet. What’s up? I have a ridiculous house in the South Fork. I have every toy you could possibly imagine. And best of all, kids, I am liquid.”

You know the popular saying that money can’t buy happiness? Actor and comedian Jim Carrey once said, “I think everybody should get rich and famous and do everything they ever dreamed of so they can see that it’s not the answer.”

Some people will tell you that money (and the pursuit of money) is a necessary evil, one that we need to keep a roof over a heads, food on the table, and a big screen TV in the living room for binging on Netflix original programming. A joke that I once heard was that while money itself may not be able to buy you happiness, it can certainly buy you the expansive oceanfront property with unobstructed happiness views.



But I digress.

And all kidding aside, I don’t think anyone reading this blog is taking on any sort of “greater than thou” perspective on the subject of money. We want it and we want all the things it can buy and we shouldn’t feel ashamed for desiring wealth. We just need to think about money in a slightly different kind of way.

The way that money can be used to buy happiness, so to speak, is that it can provide you with the freedom to no longer worry about money. And this can easily be applied on a number of different levels, each of which is unlocked as you accumulate varying levels of wealth and earn varying levels of income. If you’re struggling and living to paycheck to paycheck, you probably should avoid eating out too often, for example. By contrast, if you are reasonably financially secure and have enough of a buffer, you can probably eat out as often as you’d like.

And when you get to the restaurant, you can order the steak if that’s what you want to eat. It’s not about the money, per se, as much as eliminating (or at least minimizing) the impact that money has on your decision making process. If you want the latest iPhone and you know that you can easily afford it, then you won’t give a second thought about ordering it. If you’re still saddled with student loans and credit card debt, that’s probably not the wisest solution.



To this end, there are effectively two very big ways that you can invest in your happiness. First, you want to reduce (or eliminate) the burden of debt. If you know that you owe money, that’s always going to sit in the back of your head and it should have an impact on your decision making process. That’s only responsible. That’s why you should never pay for something on a credit card that you couldn’t have afforded to pay for in cash. We’ll ignore the tangential topic of “smart debt” for the sake of simplicity, at least for now.

As an extension of this, after you’ve eliminated the burden of debt, you should get to the point where you are not only accumulating wealth, but the money should be working for you. Depending on your level of risk tolerance, this could take on all sorts of different forms and it’s probably something you should discuss with your financial advisor (or similar professional). When you invest in your child’s college fund or your retirement fund, you are providing a greater sense of financial stability and financial independence, because you won’t have to worry about paying for little Timmy’s education or funding your later years (if you ever retire at all).

The second way to invest in your happiness is to invest in yourself. If you feel like you are progressing and growing as a person, you’re going to be happier. These could be professional development programs, personal coaching programmings, fitness courses, or any number of other possibilities. This is going to vary considerably from individual to individual. Learning and exploring your interests and hobbies, professional or not, helps to bolster your internal sense of self-worth and how much you value yourself.

This is very different from the fleeting joy you may experience when you buy “things.” It’s certainly exciting when you get your hands on the newest iPhone, for example, but that sense of joy fades quickly as it just becomes another part of your day-to-day life. But investing in yourself is something that pays dividends for years to come. And investing in your financial independence and security is something that can alleviate you from worrying about money, which in turn leads to more sustained happiness too.

Money can buy happiness. You just have to know how to spend it.

Maximizing Your YouTube Videos – Part 1





YouTube.com is amazing to promote your blog and content. It has been used by millions to generate niche relevant traffic to their blog and even generate money. YouTube.com does pay when views hit a certain threshold, however, the EXACT value is known to me. What I can tell you is YouTube.com can be amazing to drive traffic and maximize your results. For those of you new to YouTube, you should take some time and learn what’s important, however, it doesn’t take much because of the resources available to you. If you are serious about blogging and building a brand, videos are definitely important. I believe they are the best to engage readers while building brand awareness because they resonate with everyone all over the world.



I’ve created this two part series to explore how YouTube can be used to maximize your potential, but it’s important you have some of the fundamentals down.

Let’s explore the following:



  • Views
  • Description
  • Comments

Views

This is something that is very true and should not be avoided. Becoming popular on YouTube is distinguished by views and they have to be legitimate. YouTube will rank your videos depending on the amount of views you are getting because it gives them a good idea of the quality. The longer the audience watches your video, the more value it must be providing…right? However, it’s important not to invest any money in buying views because they are NOT relevant and the likelihood of them watching for a long period of time is very slim.

To achieve this without any issues, I encourage all of you to take the time and create something special from the start. There is no substitute for quality, even if you publish after 2 months.

Description

Just like when doing SEO on your content pages, it’s important to optimize your videos, too, because this will help you rank within YouTube. They provide you with a description area, which will allow you to put a couple of hundred words together and it’s important you make them as targeted as possible. You want to make sure you include your target keywords within your title and description. YouTube also allows you to link out from this section to any URL and I would encourage you to link to your website.

The good news is, you have several resources available to you to do the right type of research. For example, keyword research is the most important and you can use tools like Keyword Planner to perform research. However, I recommend you pay close attention to your competitors because you can learn a lot from them. They have been in the industry for a while and have done all the research, so you can collect a lot of data from them.



Comments or Votes

Comments have been huge for bloggers because they provide a lot of information. You can get feedback or even content ideas from what others have to say. However, YouTube uses them as a ranking factor by understanding that votes and comments mean value. The more value your video provides, the higher the votes and interaction among users, which are all good signs.

What can you do on your part?

Make sure you reply to comments just like you would on your personal blogs. This will help people understand what your video is about if they have trouble. This will also encourage people to vote up, which is very important to maximize your video and increase rankings. However,

Never ask people for votes because YouTube will catch on to this and ban your video or account from their platform. There is NO substitute for value.

In part 2, we’ll be going over some other elements that are important to build and maximize your videos.

Click Here To Download John Chow’s New eBook, The Ultimate Online Profit Model!