optimizing your Blog It’s easy to say “your blog can make money”, but in reality, it won’t make a cent until you start gaining much needed traffic, and that requires work all on its own. Already, we’ve done quite a bit of work in building up a following of devoted readers, link bait and viral content, but you still need to generate raw traffic that can visit your site in the first place.
And while there are plenty of solid SEO tactics out there that can help you do that, you’ll still need to spend quite a bit of time doing very specific blog boosting exercises if you’re interested in direct traffic to your posts.
searCH engIne oPtIMIzatIon The simplest way to get traffic to a blog is to pay for it, but I’m going to advise against that for a number of reasons. While I don’t generally have a problem with paid traffic (I wholly encourage it in many cases), I do discourage it for straight content sites because it misses the point. When you create a content website, your goal is to generate information that is interesting not only to the readers but to the search engines.
So, ideally, without having to spend anything, you should be able to show up in search results for a variety of industry-related terms, and as a result, you should get traffic for free. Of course, there are certain things you need to do as the author to make this happen. • Your Blog’s Format – We’ve already taken care of this with a few well-placed plugins. Your blog should already have well chosen, highly optimized titles and descriptions for all of your posts. You should also have a large number of tags that directly link up to your posts. This is a great way to increase SEO, as they will appear in aggregate sites and create internal links for easy navigation of your blog.
We’ve also removed duplicate content from your site, ensured original tags on every page, and generate SEO friendly permalinks for every blog post you wrote. So, all the usual snags that a WordPress blog runs into have been taken care of. • Your Keywords – Early on we developed a list of keywords for your blog that matched up with both general and specific needs of your readers. Now, it’s time to start integrating them. The main keywords should hopefully appear for each of your posts on occasion and in your links. This is a natural part of blogging – the words that you’re targeting will get used a lot.
But, you still need to optimize your blog for all the long tail and lower ranked keywords that are on our list – of which there are quite a few. So, before we move too much further, make sure you spend a bit of time generating a list of keywords that you can use to base your posts on. These keywords will be used not only for your posts but for your link building tasks in a couple pages. • Frequency – I’ve mentioned posting frequency already as an important part of reader retention. However, it’s equally important for generating strong search results. Google loves blogs, but only because they produce regular fresh content. If you don’t write content at least two or
three times a week, you’ll quickly fall out of the rankings and waste whatever value there might be in your existing content.
Remember to post at least once every 48 hours and more frequently if possible. This will ensure you remain in the search engines and that your site doesn’t lose the added link juice it gains from posting often. • Originality and Variety – To ensure you appear in as many search engine locations as possible, your content needs to be both original and different in format. So, don’t copy and paste press releases or posts from other sites, even with quotations. Yes, you’re safe in terms of plagiarism, but Google doesn’t care what’s legal – it wants original content and for that, you need to write your own posts from scratch. Even if you cover the same topics, write it from scratch every time.
Additionally, use a variety of different mediums to present your posts. This means lots of images, videos, links, lists and more. The more varied and interesting your posts look, the better they will perform when it comes time for Google to index those pages. It will also ensure you show up in multiple search engines, including Google Images and YouTube.
lInk BuIlDIng Of all the optimization techniques currently used to get blogs atop the search listings, link building remains at the top of the list. This holds true for pretty much any website on the internet. If you want traffic, you need to get sites linking to you. Not just any sites either. You need high quality, informational sites sharing links with you. This not only generates direct traffic, but helps you land much higher in the search engines for your keywords.
Already we’ve gone over how to swap links with other bloggers and share guest posts, which helps both blogs perform better, but other blogs are not the only places to get backlinks to your posts. There are dozens more resources you can use to generate backlinks, but it may take a bit of work. Tools to Use
Located in Affilorama’s Premium Tools section, you’ll find three tools that can help you track down high value pages to generate backlinks from. The goal here is to find sites that have high Page Rank and provide a “follow” link. It might seem like a simple enough task, but once you get beyond your fellow blogs and some article directories, finding sites like this can be very tough. So, we’ve put together ways to track them down automatically so you know where to put your links and produce new streams of traffic. Social Snoop
This tool searches through an array of social networks with your selected keywords and looks for pages or content that has high search engine presence.
Just enter your keyword, select the social networks on which you have an account, and start searching. Here’s an example of a search I did for “golden retriever training” on Facebook, Youtube, Twitter, Digg, and MetaCafe:
Next to each result, you’ll see the search engine that was tracked, the ranking in that engine, the Page Rank of the result, and whether the page offers a “follow” link. Remember, not all “no follow” pages are worthless, but I do recommend you start with the “follow” links and go from there.
Now, go to each of these pages and add a comment, a piece of content, or a link if possible that will point to your blog. This can be done in almost any niche, and is a great way to build quick traffic.

Trusted Sites Tool
The trusted site tool works in much the same way as the social media snoop, in that it will search a set number of sites for high ranking pages that will pass along link juice to your blog. The difference here is that the trusted site tool looks only among what are considered “trusted sites” – government and educational sites that Google is prone to rewarding high page rank and rankings to.
All you need to do is enter a keyword, your geographical region, and whether you want to search for blogs or forums for your links. Keep it on a broad match (unless you’re looking for particular keywords), and hit the search button.
When the results appear, you’ll get the same information you received from the Social media snoop – site type, Page Rank, and whether it allows links. You’ll find that most trusted sites don’t provide “follow” links, but again, remember that this doesn’t stop some of the benefits from coming through. Additionally, sometimes it is unclear whether a site provides “follow” or not, hence the question marks. Many times these sites do provide follow links.

Back Link Checker
The third tool provided on Affilorama is the Back Link Checker, which will go through the backlinks of your site or those of your competitors and provide a listing of backlinks, the location of the link, the search engine status of those links, and the anchor text. This is not only helpful for analysing how effectively your site is performing, but for determining whether your competitors have any backlinks you could duplicate.
Simply enter the URL of the site you want to check into the URL box and you’ll receive a listing of all the backlinks that the site currently has, along with the pertinent information for each link.
You can then print or download this data for future use if you so desire.
Using the Information You’ve Gathered
If you just ran through all three of these tools, you probably have a bucket full of information and no idea what to do with it all. That’s why we need to create a plan. Remember, your goal is to always be getting new links to your site that are high value, full of useful information and loaded with Page Rank to boost your site’s performance. 1. Create a List of Sites to Visit 2. Create Accounts on Those Sites 3. Outline Productive, Valuable Additions You Can Make to Each Page 4. Actively Engage on Multiple Sites 5. Continuously Add New Links Every Week
The goal here is to not just go out and spam other sites, but to provide value to those sites that will translate to a back link and a boost to your reputation. The easiest way to ensure your backlinks survive is to ensure you frame them with valuable information and insight, not just a shameless plug that gets you banned from the site.
It will take a lot of research and a lot of time to develop a good list of links, but remember how few people actually do the leg work here. Just by using these tools to generate a list, you’re ahead of 90% of your competition, and if you follow through with them all, you jump into the 99% percentile. You can almost guarantee success in most niches with this formula.

rss feeD Most people don’t even realize that their blog has a built in service that broadcasts content to readers around the globe. It’s called RSS, which is short for Really Simple Syndication (seriously). It isn’t just for blogs, but it is most frequently used by blogs because of how often they are updated.
The idea of an RSS feed is that whenever a new piece of content is added to a database, the RSS feed will send a blast out to anyone who has subscribed to that content. Those readers can then choose to install a piece of software that reads those RSS feeds and syndicates blog posts, news articles, and fresh content from sites around the globe into a single list of news features.
It’s simple and it cuts down on the time it takes to review blogs. However, most bloggers either don’t know about RSS or don’t think they need to do anything with it to ensure their readers are getting the most out of the content.
RSS Boils Down Content
An RSS feed automatically gets your content to more people. Not only can readers subscribe to your content, other sites can subscribe and syndicate your content in their listings. However, while RSS gets your content to more people, it also creates a greater concentration of content in that target location.
If someone has an RSS reader with 20 different feeds tracked daily, they need to decide which posts are interesting to them when they login each day. If they’re not sure they want to read your content, or if you don’t clearly outline what they’re reading, you’ll lose readers quickly.
Tips for Your RSS Feed
To help avoid these problems, I’ve included a list of common tips that can help your RSS feed perform better, ensuring long term readership from your subscribers as well as from new readers who might be interested in your content. • Be Clear with Titles – By default, your blog post title is included in every RSS broadcast, along with either the META description or the first 50 words of the post. In either case, you need to be sure the title and description are keyword rich and clearly outline what the post will cover. If someone sees 300 titles, what will make them click on yours over the rest? • Customize – One plugin I didn’t mention in the earlier chapter is “Ozh’ Better Feed”. This plugin will allow you to go in and manually customize each of your RSS feed entries. You can submit it to specific directories, add images, insert links, change the formatting and more. Its unparalleled control allows you to determine exactly how people see your RSS entries and it can allow you to draw more attention more easily. • Avoid Automation – A common RSS mistake we see a lot these days is to over syndicate from other feeds. People will take a feed and use it to populate their own blog, then rebroadcast
it in an RSS feed. It’s a mess, it doesn’t help with Google, and you won’t make much money doing this. In short, it’s a bad idea. Plus, it tends to be illegal if you’re stealing someone else’s content and rebroadcasting it as your own. • Multiple Versions – Avoid sending out multiple versions of RSS. I won’t show you how to do this, because it’s unimportant. Most people don’t know or care what the difference is between the older and newer formats. They still get the content from your site in their feeder and you get a reader. If you try to send out multiple formats, you risk duplication and confusion among your readers.
RSS feeds are a powerful way to get your content to a wide array of readers all over the Internet. If you use them properly, they will streamline the way your content is syndicated and then read. If you use them wrong, it can actually hurt your blog’s overall performance. So, be wary of how you use them, but don’t neglect their value.
PIngIng anD InDexIng a Blog A tool that most websites don’t get the benefit of using is the blog index or aggregator. These sites take blogs from across the Internet and syndicate their content to a wide audience of potential readers. Many of the aggregators will pick up your content automatically if they come across it through a link, but for our purposes it makes more sense to ping them so your content is updated every time you write a new blog post. What is Pinging?
Pinging is a very basic term which means to send an electronic signal to a target to let it know you are there. It’s what your computer does every time it asks for information from a website. Your blog needs to be setup to do it as well, sending out a signal to the blog indexes so it can show up in those lists whenever they are searched.
If it sounds ridiculously complicated, don’t worry. All you’ll really need to do is create an account with a couple of websites and copy-paste a line of text into your WordPress installation. Signing Up for Blog Indexes
The big blog index, despite how messy it can be, is Technorati. Three years ago, sites like Technorati were vital for blogs. Today they are not nearly as important due to so many other optimization methods, but it still serves a valuable purpose and it’s a good idea to claim each of your blogs in the site’s database whenever you create a new one.
Signing Up for Technorati
When you arrive at Technorati.com, you’ll see a mess of recent blog posts from other bloggers. These are all posts that have been indexed already by other writers who are members of the site. You will show in those listings soon.
Start by creating your membership from the Signup button located in the top right corner.

From here, you’ll need to enter the standard membership information including your name, email address and member name. There are no tricks here – just be sure to choose an email address that you will check often and don’t mind getting a ton of inbound mail to.
Once you’ve logged in, you can go to your Profile, http://technorati.com/account/ and upload a profile image or add a bio. These are good tasks if you plan on actively promoting your blog and persona on Technorati. But, if you’re just here for the added traffic, you can skip it for now.
Next, you need to claim your blog. To do this, scroll to the bottom of the page and enter the URL of your blog in the empty URL box there:
On the next page, provide the following information: • Blog Title • URL • Feed URL (usually just your URL with /rss at the end) • Linking Blogs – If you know for a fact that these blogs link to yours, add them here. It helps speed up indexing and boosts your ranking out of the box.
• Site Description – Add a keyword rich description of your blog here for anyone that searches and finds your blog on Technorati. You should outline both what you write about and why you write about it. • Categories – Choose any number of categories in which to place your blog. The more the better, but make sure you actually fit in them or you could get denied for spamming.
• Tags – Add whatever tags you like to this section. I recommend brainstorming at least 10 and if you can, fill them all in. This should be pretty easy as you already have a list of keywords to draw from. Don’t write tags that are too long, however, as these are used for indexing millions of blogs and you don’t want to be too specific.
After entering this information, your blog will be submitted to Technorati for claiming. The process takes a bit longer than it used to, so you’ll need to be patient, but in 24-72 hours, you’ll receive an email with the remaining instructions. Usually, you can just upload a small snippet of code to your blog that they provide for you to verify that it is in fact yours. They will provide step by step instructions for how to do this.

Once you’ve signed up for Technorati and claimed your blogs, you’ll never again need to return to the site if you don’t want. You can automate the pinging of your blogs to all the major blog indexes through WordPress. Automating Pinging in WordPress
Wordpress luckily does a lot of the hard work for you in advance, providing an option in the settings menu that allows you to directly ping dozens of services without ever having to visit those sites. The pinging service will activate whenever you write a new post, the same way that your Sitemap Plugin updates the search engines whenever you change your blog or add content.
To access this menu, go to the Settings Menu in WordPress’s Dashboard and click on the “Writing” link.
Scroll to the bottom of the screen here and you’ll see a section entitled “Update Services”. A box will be here along with a preset update service (pingomatic). WordPress provides a list of services you may want to add to the list, and I recommend you add as many of them as possible to ensure you show up on each of the sites when you write a new post.
Once you’ve set this, your blog will automatically tell every site that matters about new content, pretty much ensuring you stay atop the listings whenever you write about anything of note.
If you would like to ping a larger range of sites, you can also use the Affilorma pinging tool located at http:// http://www.affilorama.com/webmaster-tools/ping-tool to ping your content. Whenever you have a new blog post, enter the title and permalink for the post and hit the “ping!” button at the bottom. You should always leave all 14 options selected to maximize exposure.

Pinging in general is pretty simple, but a very valuable tool that should be done whenever possible. If you don’t use WordPress for whatever reason, keep the Affilorama page on your bookmark tab and visit it as often as possible.
soCIal MeDIa anD BookMarkIng The primary source of traffic for many blogs is through their social networks and media platforms, something we’ve already touched on a few times. But, your Facebook and Twitter pages are not the only resources you can use for this. Bookmarking
Social bookmarking is the relatively easy and straightforward process of submitting a blog post to a social bookmarking site where it can be voted on and passed around by readers from around the globe. There are dozens of different social bookmarking sites and each of them has a very different audience.
I’ve seen some marketers who only submit their posts to one site, and I tend to be disappointed in them. It seems almost self-defeating to think that only one site would be able to help you generate traffic. In reality, a good blog post may take off on any of the different social bookmarking sites or it might only find an audience on one of them. The one thing I know for a fact is that it’s completely unpredictable where you’ll find the traffic you’re seeking. Where to Submit Your Blog
To start with, make sure each post has at least the following three links next to it: • Facebook – Posting to Facebook is an easy way to get readers. You’ll at least get your friends and fans to click through and if someone else passes it along it can spread fast. • Google Buzz – Google’s newest feature is integrated with Gmail, the second largest webbased email service in the world. That’s great for you because it means there are people who don’t even use these kinds of tools who will see your posts if someone Buzz’s it. • Twitter – Retweeting on Twitter can go viral in seconds and with thousands of people constantly on the lookout for new content to retweet in their own feeds, this is a great way to send your post viral.
If you want an example of what I mean, head over to Mashable.com and view their posts. They each have a running tally of how many times each of these buttons has been clicked and the article has been passed around. That kind of data is useful but it also helps your readers find which articles are most popular.
Besides the big three, there are a bunch of other popular bookmarking sites that can provide a huge boost in traffic, including: • Digg • Reddit • StumbleUpon • Yahoo! Buzz • Delicious
• Slashdot • Friend Feed • Meta Café • Furl • Clipmarks • Newsvine • Diigo • Propeller
The list goes on and on, with new sites popping up almost every day. Even if you don’t feel like posting these links on your own page, it’s a good idea to have a set list of sites where you submit your own links. It takes only a few seconds and it can result in dozens of readers in minutes, plus it gets your new post indexed by Google in seconds, to show up in search results quickly.
The next reason that social media is so valuable for a blogger is that it facilitates discussion about your content. On a blog, getting people to comment is tough. It takes a lot of effort to convince someone that speaking up will benefit them. However, when you repost your blog’s link to Facebook or even to Twitter and ask for input, you’ll find that the social nature of the sites is practically built for interaction and you can get a lot more feedback and discussion about the topic. This often spills over to the comments section of the actual blog post.
The key to discussion is to facilitate it and nurture it, but not to take over. If two or three people get into a conversation in a comment thread, don’t follow the urge to go in there and show them how much you know about the subject. They already know – you wrote the post. Your job is to offer your original insights and to provide moderation if anyone gets carried away.
If you get too involved, you could stifle the conversation and end what is a very good thing. Along the same lines, however, feel free to bring up additional points if a conversation stalls or if you need advice on a particular aspect of your blog post. People on your friends list are generally very happy to provide their opinions, but many times you’ll need to ask them first to get a good response.
selling your Blog Every step of this magazine, we’ve been talking about blogging like a job – a full time occupation you’ll need to stay devoted to if you want a solid income. But, for a lot of bloggers, that level of content development isn’t necessary. In fact, many people don’t even bother monetizing their blogs. Instead, they load them up with a few months of content and then flip them for a profit by selling the site to another marketer.
To do that, however, you need to know how much your blog is worth and who would be interested in buying it. This can be one of the ultimate money making techniques if you develop a good process to streamline development and production of your blogs.
ValuIng your Blog A blog is a funny thing. It is one of the most common website forms and it is almost entirely made up of intellectual output. People write things and they become valuable because of how many readers come to count on that output. So, it’s almost funny to think that a blog has real “value” and can be sold for a set amount of money based on how much traffic and potential income is there.
As a blog owner, you’ll quickly find, however, that with a large chunk of original content and regular organic traffic, your blog is worth a pretty penny to the right buyer. You might have even let your curiosity get the better of you and gone to a site like BlogCalculator.com to run a quick test and see how much your content is worth.
You likely found out that it wasn’t worth nearly as much as you expected. Ignore those calculators for now, though. They use an arbitrary algorithm to determine what a viable numerical value would be when attached to the current stats your blog enjoys. In reality, no business or website is valued according to what it brings in right now.
In fact, I’ve seen blogs that would only be worth $200 on a site like that sell for $1,000 or more due to the volume of content and regular traffic that comes through. For an idea of what your blog is really worth, here are the factors that a buyer is most interested in:
• Volume of Content • Age of Content • Pillar Content • Monthly Hits • Current Monetization • Page Rank and SEO • Repeat Visitors and Subscribers
The real value in a blog comes when you’ve done the hard work that someone would be interested in skipping. If you didn’t have to worry about writing articles, finding traffic, or updating your content, you’d be willing to pay a lot more than a couple hundred dollars for a preset blog. Additionally, they’ll want to be sure they make a decent profit off the article once you get it up and running.
Checking Other Values
One of the easiest ways to get an idea of what your blog is worth is to go to other domain and website flipping sites and review the current listings for their bids and value. If something is selling for $1,000 and you have better traffic rankings, more posts, and an original design, you can presume that your site might be worth a bit more to the right buyer.
However, other factors can also impact the overall value of your site. If you haven’t bothered to produce original content, or if you haven’t written anything new in a few months, the value of a blog drops precipitously. Value is based largely on the current content on a blog, not what it was worth when you were actually writing on it.
That’s why you should only flip active blogs that have been written on recently. If you have been inactive on it for more than a few weeks, move on.
fInDIng Buyers Let’s face it. All the complicated valuation processes in the world are useless if you can’t find someone to actually give you money for your blog. Luckily, today’s online atmosphere has created a massive secondary market for websites – especially blogs. Multiple marketplaces have sprouted up that allow bloggers and site owners like yourself to sell your hard work to other marketers and entrepreneurs who need a new blog but don’t have the time to build it on their own.
This is where we want to focus our energies – allowing you to make more money and get your content out there without having to write every day for years. You’ll be cashing in on potential not actual income. But, buyers are wary, so not only do you need to do your part to set up the blog, you need to show them that your content is going to make them money.
Where to Sell Your Blog
There are sites set up that will broker transactions between buyers and sellers of websites, making your job much easier as you attempt to flip that content for a profit. One of the largest of those services right now is Flippa.com, where you can list and reach buyers easily from around the globe.
A quick look at the site’s selling page (www.flippa.com/seller) will show you that more than 100,000 unique visitors view Flippa each month with over $30 million in transactions. That’s a lot of buying and selling and a great place for you to start.
Posting fees at the site are $19 and you’ll need to turn over 5% of your profits on all sales up to a $498 fee to Flippa for their services. If you generate a good enough blog, that shouldn’t be an issue.
What They Want to Know
When you list a blog on Flippa, you’ll need to provide a handful of details that will help potential buyers place a value on your content. This information includes: • Date Established – How old is your blog? Age has an impact on SEO and tractability of the domain name. • Content – Is your content unique or only filler. You’ll add more details later to help buyers choose. • Design – The same thing. Is it unique or a template that you have taken from a theme or another site? • Revenue – If you do not have revenue statements or any documents to back up your claims, you should leave this section blank. If you have made money, produce documents and details to show potential buyers how much and when. Also, check off the boxes that explain how you made your profits. • Traffic – How many hits do you receive per month, both as unique visitors and overall page views.
After you’ve described your site and its information, the next screen will ask for details about your listing. Choose a keyword rich, descriptive title that focuses on the niche that you’re selling in and then a description that outlines for potential buyers the value of the site.
This is where you can sell them on things like how fast you rose in the rankings, where you stand in Google, how many comments you receive, etc. Every selling point we discussed below should be brought up here at least once.

Additionally, there are sections to go into greater detail about the revenue and traffic, explaining to your buyers what they are getting and what those numbers mean. If you have no revenue yet, you could explain that the site has yet to be monetized, but has risen sharply in traffic – something that can make monetization very simple. If traffic is low, explain what you have and have not done for the site so they know why the traffic might be low.
Finally, you’ll need to set your prices. How much do you want to sell your site for and how would you like to list it. You can choose to list your site as an auction or as a fixed price. I recommend at least setting a minimum value that you’d like to receive for the site. Be realistic about that minimum value, but don’t undersell the effort you’ve put into your site.
If you expect a large final bid, you may also want to consider using the services of Escrow.com. They take an additional fee, but with escrow involved, you can often get higher bids from buyers who may shy away from unsure transactions.
Promoting Your Listing
Overall, you want to be sure as many people see your listing as possible to maximize the total bids you might receive. Flippa offers upgrade features such as Twitter broadcasts, listing ads and bolded titles, but most of the marketing can be done by you.
One of the best places to point out domain and blog sales is on Internet Marketing forums like DigitalPoint where marketers gather and discuss these things. Sometimes, for lower cost blogs, you can even make a sale on a forum like this without having to post on Flippa.
MakIng a lIVIng wItH Blog flIPPIng To create something that has value to other website owners and that can turn a decent profit, you’ll need to guarantee a handful of things. First, the site needs to receive a lot of traffic.
Second, it needs to be professionally laid out and have a good system in place to generate income. Even

if you don’t generate income yet, having the system in place will make it easier for a new owner to start earning immediately.
You also must have documentation for all traffic and revenue claims and be willing to show any prospective buyers the back end for things like comments, future posts and the status of your WordPress installation.
But, once you start blogging and have created a handful of sites, these things start to become second nature to you. You’ll learn how to install a new site and generate a theme in minutes. You’ll know who to hire for content generation and how to ensure everything is original. You’ll know how to promote your blog and get traffic in huge numbers early on, even without monetization in place.
These are all things that can help your site to flourish, but only if you master the process and can minimize investment both in terms of your time and money. And in that case, you may decide you’d rather run the blogs yourself and keep that potential revenue.
Conclusion Blogging is fun. I know I might be biased after years of making money at this, but I have a blast getting up each day and checking my comments, writing new posts, and reviewing my analytics to see how much traffic I generated overnight (and how many sales). It’s more than just a hobby, though. It’s a fantastic way to make a massive profit if you know how to generate fresh content that draws in readers in large enough numbers.
Hopefully, that’s what you’ve learned in this issue. I’ve spent hours of my life both blogging and studying how blogs operate. That knowledge has been put to good use to monetize countless pages of content. And I want it to go to good use for you as well.
That means you need to start from the top and work your way through every little detail and aspect of a good blog. Write fresh content, advertise it to as many people as possible, monetize in multiple creative fashions, and generate new readers throughout the various networks that Google and other traffic sources make so easy to tap into. It’s amazing how many people don’t bother with blogging when it’s such a fantastic way to build your reputation and start making easy money online.
I have a blast blogging each day because it allows me to talk about something I love, interact with other people who love it just as much, and provide valuable information to people in my niche who have a need for it. Sure, I get to make a few bucks in the deal (or a lot of them in some cases), but the truth is that I enjoy it.
And if you’re serious about blogging, you should enjoy it too. Once you get to the point that you have fun, write something you’re passionate about, and gain traffic day after day, you’ll be where you always dreamed of – at the top of the mountain as a world class blogger.
aPPenDIx 1: JaCk HuMPHrey InterVIew
Mark: Hi, guys you’re listening to Mark Ling. Welcome back to Affilorama premium, and I’ve got with me today an absolute expert when it comes to making money from blogging. I’ve got Jack Humphrey on the line. Welcome, Jack!
Jack: Thanks for having me man.
Mark: Thanks for being here. And just before we get into grilling you for all your blogging secrets, I just wanted to know if you would mind just sharing your stories so that you can inspire everybody by your success.
Jack: Well, I have lots of stories. I’ll just try to tell the most entertaining ones. I actually used to be a wildlife tracker and wilderness survival trainer. Most people don’t know that but 10 years ago that’s what I was doing and I had been working in non-profits, environmental conservation groups for about 11 years before I really started getting into the Internet stuff. I never really had a traditional upbringing in the corporate world or anything like that. I rejected that out of hand right off the bat after I was rejected by CNN and all the news stations I had taken…I had got my degree in telecommunications…I sent out my letters in my senior year and was rejected by everyone because I had no experience and I decided to reject them and go in another direction, so that’s how I got online, actually.
I started to see some things online that reminded me of tracking mountain lions and bears and smaller game, and we used to do population studies and things like that way out on the border of Mexico, Arizona and New Mexico and some really beautiful country out there way out in the middle. Some places out there…the furthest places from a paved road in the lower 48 states, so really nice beautiful country.
It never paid very much and I was starting to get burnt out. The lifespan of a typical activist and a person in a position like mine was not nearly 11 years. I was overdue for a change so I started looking online and I started to notice that there were a lot of similarities between what people were doing online as far as marketing things. This was when Yahoo! was really big and Google was not really that big of a deal yet. Nobody even used the term gaming or spamming or anything like that back then because the first to really come out with a real serious algorithm was Google, and as soon as you come up with an algorithm then you can start talking about gaming and finding out what it is that Google is doing to rank things then doing that purposely and overdoing that, which I did a lot of.
So, I figured out that with Google’s algorithm, links were everything. It’s not really that big of a revelation because links obviously will always be the biggest thing. That’s what connects the web together. So getting links and link building was what you needed to do to get good traffic and good search engine rankings and I’m thinking it’s not really that complicated. Just get a lot of links from a lot of different places. Back then, it didn’t even matter where you got a link from. Now there are a lot of places. Most places online really aren’t
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worth getting a link from. You have to really go after the ones that are. And that’s where I started out and that started the Power Linking.
That was my first course in 2002. I launched that and from then I’ve just been following the links. Because I’m doing blogging now doesn’t mean that I’ve strayed away from my roots. I’m still right in there knowing that links are everything and right now all the links in the web are really pointing to blogs, more and more and blogs are linking to and from each other. Google follows the crowds, advertisers follow the crowds and the crowds are all on blogs. Blogs got more traffic last year (2008) by 54% than all of the sites put together including Facebook, MySpace, Google, Yahoo!, MSN. Blogs got 54% of the eyeballs on the web and they continue to be the power center of the web.
People don’t think of it that way. They think, well Google is the power center of the web or Facebook is, because they have a hundred and seventy-five million members and it’s not true. Actually the vast majority of the traffic is going through some type of blog software where people can add information very easily.
A lot of that traffic goes through WordPress blogs because WordPress is the most popular self-hosted blogging software, but you’ve got Typepad and Journal and all those different other things. All of those add up and the free blogs, things like that, they’re just everywhere. All kinds of different people give away free blogs, and it amounts to a lot of traffic. So I’ve always just gone to where the crowd is. And the crowd on the web right now is on blogs. Everybody passes through a blog almost every time they get online and you just can’t help it. Most people don’t know that they’re on a blog, the average surfer just doesn’t know, or a blog-like site.
So that’s where we’re at now. It’s still all about ranking, it’s a lot more about networking now with real people and being real, but the core influence in my business life remains rank building and networking. It’s just that the Internet is taking a far different look today than when it did back in those days when we got started.
Mark: Just out of interest, how many blogs do you have and how much money do you make from some of these blogs?
Jack: I just have the one that I talk about the most. That’s the center of my universe if you want to find out about everything about me and what’s going on in all my businesses. That’s the Friday traffic report and you can find it at jackhumphrey.com, and that ranks about $US15,000 a month and the other blogs that we use are for information purposes only, really. They’re not set up to be pro blogs; they’re set up to be more about keeping people up to date on our membership sites and things like that.
So that’s it. I just have one blog and I’m happy to have one blog. With the business and everything else, I’m not just a full-time blogger, I’m also somebody who runs a big membership site and all the other stuff that we do makes it so that I can’t, although I want to, right now start a new blog. You know I really want to give it all I’ve got when I do something like that because I know what the rewards are so I don’t want to do it halfway. I have a lot of ideas for great blogs. I just don’t have the time for them right now, or the need, money-wise or popularity wise.
Mark: So, when you teach other people to blog, do you teach them to just set up one big blog on one topic or do you recommend that they set up lots of little niche blogs?
Jack: That’s a good question because there are two different things going on out there. You might see an email from somebody saying networks are the way to go and when you get into multiple blogs, you get into automated content and things like that and I really see that going by the way side. I see a lot more now than this time last year and a year before last. It was really a good thing to do and people were making a lot of money doing that.
But nowadays building a real business is the reason why I’m not into blog networks is that you don’t have at the end of the day a real business. If something displeases the big Google about what you’re doing, your business is gone in a second. They change one little thing in their algorithm, one little line of code, you’re gone and you’ve been evaporated and erased and you have to start all over and I know there are a lot people that are into that. I have friends who are into that and they don’t mind starting their business from scratch every single time they get slapped by Google and other ways, but I just couldn’t do that. That’s like being on a treadmill, that’s almost like being in corporate America, having to every single time reprove yourself.
Mark: What if they’re actually using original content, do you teach them to have multiple blogs on different topics. For instance one on the topic of dog training and the other one on learn Spanish and another one on save marriage. Or do you teach them to have one big blog and what do they get the most success from?
Jack: In the beginning I really encouraged people to have one focus. We have something called the 60-day plan and I really don’t want anybody when they’re going through that plan, and even shortly after that by a couple of months going into a new blog, because there is more to be gained if people invest time … ahead of time. And if in three months they’re not really making their million dollar days or anything like that, you’re not going to do that in blogging anyway. I mean unless you sell your blog.
But you can make really good money. I mean there’s a lot of them out there making a hundred thousand a month. Some of them are making 40, 50 thousand, some of them are making 5,000. That would be great for tons of people but you have to get established and you have to network really hard in the beginning to let everybody know you’re on the playing field and from that point on it gets easier to launch a new blog.
One case in point, although he’s an extreme example because he had been blogging and establishing himself for years, but it was Darren Rowse and everyone knows him from problogger.net and he can just really easily now launch the new blog that he’s got. It’s twitip.com and it’s all about Twitter. And he’s got mostly people guest posting on that, but the engine that drives it is Darren’s site and he’s so popular that, I mean he even got an article out of me last week, original content so I could get posted on his new site, getting more and more popular by the day.
Everyone gravitates toward him so he doesn’t have to do that much work when he starts a new blog. So, I prefer to have people start to get their presence established, and then it’s really easy to add more blogs later and then you can go the route that Darren’s going and get a lot of guest posters because they’re so popular. They know your blog is going to be popular and they’ll write content for you and do a lot of the buzz for you and make you popular. So you have to do that all yourself in the beginning unless you have a network of people around you that can help you, so that’s a lot of work and it’s something to focus on and during that time you’re learning a lot.
It’s a learning curve, so I want to keep people focused. I don’t want people skipping paths and fundamental stuff that they need to know about blogging because they want to get going so fast. Then they come back
and go, “I don’t understand why I’m not getting any further” and I’ll say, “Well did you do this, did you do this.” “No, I was kind of wanting to go faster.” It’s a discipline but it’s so fun and rewarding.
That’s the thing about it. That’s why I keep people focused on just one thing at a time because they get so much more out of it and people who go through that process and learn in the right order the different things that they need to do and how to become a blogger like a Darren Rowse or Michael Arrington, Ted Krunch and those guys, the rewards are vastly better than any other way that I’ve done it or I’ve seen other people doing it. So yeah, if somebody wants to launch or if they have another blog they’ll come and they’ll say, “Well, I’ve got two blogs that I’ve been doing and which one should I choose” and I try to give them a plan for how to keep both of them going with as little fuss as possible, but at the end of the day if it’s going to be a problem and they just don’t have enough time, then I’ll tell them to choose and they’ll have to just do one blog because we do things pretty intensively.
We don’t typically recommend paid writers, we show people how to get more guest posters who are going to put a lot more thought and have generally more expertise than someone who’s just paid to write on a topic, and then you’ve got a link partner too because as soon as you publish something on someone else’s site, the first thing you want to do is say, “Hey everybody I just got on Darren Rowse’ new site and I wanted you to take a look at it” so it’s a brilliant idea because you’ve got everybody writing and everybody wants to be a star on your blog and then they all go and brag about it.
All the writers with their influence and all the people who follow them say “Hey check out my latest article as a source of pride for me. I got published by Darren Rowse or whoever it is in your market that’s the equivalent of Darren Rowse so it’s a big deal. It’s a different way of doing it and at the end of the day it’s just a lot more fun for people and I think if people aren’t having fun with it while they’re doing it, they’re going to quit. Most people who kind of find themselves being miserable doing this and they’re not getting the right feedback from the readers that they have so far, things like that, then they’re just not going to be pumped and they’re not going to stick to it to get that reward that’s ahead.
Mark: Okay so, just out of interest when it comes to other people posting on your blogs, do you usually teach people to do that reciprocally, you teach them to post on other people’s blogs as well?
Jack: Yes, well actually I’m getting ready to do a case study on this recent one that I did for Darren. When I did that, my Twitter followers went from 2500 to more than 2700. So, just by doing that I jumped really fast. It wasn’t the average growth. As soon as I got on there, since it was a bunch of Twitter people too, it helped, I just got a lot more followers and a lot more exposures. I took an hour to write it because I write slower and more methodically for other people because first, I don’t want to be rejected. I don’t want them to say this is crap, I can’t put this on my blog and second, I feel a lot more pressure to get it right and make a really good post for them so that I can come back there, impressed enough with the number of comments that they get from their readers and themselves by the content that I can go back and do it again and again.
When his RSS subscriber goes over 10,000 or 15,000, he’s about 5 or 6,000 now, I’d like to go back and do another post and catch all those new people, all those new readers that he’s got with the new post so I really want to impress him. It took about an hour to write that thing and the rewards probably, if you could put a dollar amount on the rewards knowing what people would pay for ranks and what people would pay to have 50-60 people Twitter about them, all 50 or 60 have over a thousand followers, minimum on Twitter, that was probably worth 10 grand to do that. If I had to pay for all the exposure that I got, it would definitely be worth 10 grand.
The only way to do it is get in front of somebody’s very big crowd and wow them and reap the rewards. There’s a lot of people linking to that post and that post mentions me so I got a great big link out of it coming back to the Friday traffic report and a big link to my Twitter profile as well, so I’m growing my following there with people in my market who would definitely be interested in my products and you know consequently my product sales went up around that time as well for blog success and other things so it’s worth it for an hour’s worth of work. That was really really worth it.
So yeah we teach people to do that, go find the Darren Rowse in your niche or whoever it is that’s one of the real big thought leaders in your niche and cozy up to him. Give them a lot of stuff. Do really good networking in order to get in with them and try to get a guest post with them. It’s what I call leap frog promotion because by doing things like this, if you go to the top of your niche, and you get recognized by people at the top of your niche, all the other stuff that you’d have to do over maybe a year’s worth of time is getting done for you. It’s backfilling. If that person winks at you and tells all their people to go follow you, to check you out, check out your article, all that kind of stuff, the links and all the other promotions and networking that you would have to do to get up to that point over a long period of time will just start filling in.
So you just leap frog over a whole bunch of work. It’s something that a lot of other people don’t know about or think about and that’s why a lot of people think blogging is so hard. That it takes so long. It doesn’t take a lot of our people very long because we teach them how to do this leap frog stuff. That’s what happens when you see people come out of nowhere and all of a sudden they’re super famous, they’re getting a lot of traffic and everybody else is jealous and like, “What the heck is so special about them, I’ve been writing about this stuff” and 90% of the time, if you do a little bit of detective work that person just networked really well and got a couple of really key links from some very high traffic sites and it just took off for them in a way that it would take a year or more for somebody else to do from scratch with no networking.
Mark: Absolutely, I might have to get you to guest on the Affilorama.com blog. One thing that I’m wondering is that you keep talking about how you earn product sales but most people that are on this call are affiliate so do you find that people that don’t have their own products do very well out of blogging? Like if you guest blog on someone else’s blog does that still help you get more readers on your own blog and make more sales out of affiliate products?
Jack: Great, excellent question. Let’s just talk about it from your people’s perspective and if that’s affiliate marketing, they’re often like, “How can I make money the quickest way possible, the easiest way possible and the most money possible when I’m just starting out.” And a lot of people have misconceptions like “well, I gotta put a bunch of ads on my site”. Nope that’s the wrong thing to do. You’re not going to get any advertisers, real advertisers, because you don’t have any traffic yet. They want to get in front of a crowd that you’ve already developed. Advertising is out, you can’t do that.
Making your own product is a very difficult prospect for a lot of people, they don’t know what they want to make, they don’t want to go through the trouble of doing it. I would wager that that’s a big reason why you have been so successful with affiliate marketing cause that appeals to a lot of people. I do it, everybody does it. Everybody has some kind of affiliate marketing in their midst or they should and so it just so happens that affiliate marketing is the best thing that you can do to make the quickest money with a new blog. The reason for that is one, you’re not paying for traffic, where this blog is concerned you’re not doing pay-per-click or anything like that. You’re using a blog for what it’s best at and that is getting traffic, getting listed in the search engines and having a place that people trust so that you can go out and these people that I’m talking about are in the social communities so you can go out and have a home based, that they’re
like, oh okay this guy’s a blogger, I understand cool, I’m going to check his blog out, I’m going to check his recommendation and for affiliates it’s brilliant and I have a a small report and I’ll give you the gist of it here and you guys will be able to understand it, take it and use it and all the key components I’ll give you right now. I’m not going to have you go sign up somewhere and buy it or anything.
What we do is… the core of a blog is to establish credibility and it’s about character. A real blog has an about me page that tells people about you. If you go to jackhumphrey.com and at the top, you click on Know Jack, check out my about page and you won’t see any about pages like that unless you’re in the blogosphere.
A blog is you. A blog is you and your character. You cannot stand out on the web by having a blog that pushes affiliate products that is how to make money online or how to get more leads online or how to you know become a dog groomer or anything if it’s just that generic. If the site is just set up that way, if your about page is “we specialize in blah blah blah”. First of all, in a blog, there is no “we”. Unless you’ve got two people writing for it there is no “we”. It’s “I”. It’s “me”, it’s all about me it’s all about I and that’s what a blog really is.
The only way you can stand out and the reason why we stand out in highly competitive markets is that we don’t fear getting into any kind of market and pushing any kind of any affiliate product that’s also got a lot of affiliates and you’ve got a lot of competition and you look at pay-per-click, if you guys do that, I don’t know, but you look at the number of people that are advertising for that product, you’re like, “How am I going to break into this?”
The only one thing that can set you apart from everyone else on the web in the situation where everybody’s talking about the same thing, the same product, they’re using the stuff the person who owns the product puts out for them, everything is generic and bland and exactly the same wherever you go. One you can’t rank for that, only one person can really get to number one for that and it’s not going to be you 99% of the time. Two, it doesn’t mean anything to anybody but if you have a character and it’s a person that other people identify with that this is what attracts people to blogs, this is what my regular readership is, therefore, they’re attracted to me.
There’s a lot of people that teach stuff about how to make money online and how to blog and how to get traffic and all of that, there’s tons of people. Why do I stand out among most of them and the reason is that’s just my character that I’ve let myself be myself and that’s what a blogger’s really really best at. Then all of a sudden you can start ranking for those ubiquitous terms, those generic terms that everyone’s going after. They’re paying big bucks in pay-per-click and they’re paying SEO firms tons of money to build links for them for the same keyword. You can get in the top 10 for that keyword by doing what I just said: Just starting a blog, talking naturally, figuring out who your target market is and talking to them as if you were sitting across from them having a beer at a bar and writing your posts as if you were just writing it to that one person.
Who is your ideal person for the product and services that you promote as an affiliate? That’s where you’re going to get a whole different feel to your blog and that’s what makes people fall in love with certain sites that they bookmark and they come back and read. They subscribe to the RSS feed, they subscribe to the email newsletter and they just can’t get enough and they can’t wait for you to post again because you’re giving them something different than everybody else interested in that market because there is one thing in the world that no one else can replicate and that’s exactly who you are as a person. Your likes and dislikes
have to come into it. Your personality and your character has to come into it. Everything works. If you’re a dry personality, that’s fine. You can have a dry sense of humor and there will be a crowd out there who will want to follow that person. Lots of people don’t like me because of the way I joke or I’m always sarcastic or whatever and I know those people are over at Darren Rowse’ site or they’re over at Copybloggers site. And that’s fine, I’m just carving out what I need to make myself the amount of money I need to make to be happy so I don’t need everybody in the demographic, I don’t need everybody. If the first time that you set up a blog you want to capture everybody who’s interested in pay-per-click and be their number one super affiliate for a PPC classroom, that’s your goal, that’s what you want to do – you can’t do that. You’re going to fail, you’re absolutely going to fail.
The guys who are at the top of the leader board consequently for that reason, promotion, are people who are making connections with their readers in some way or fashion even if they don’t have a blog or connection through their email list, there’s something that makes people trust them enough that when they recommend something bam! Yeah, I’ll go sign up for this no problem. And that’s happening with a vast number of people who they have contact with and same thing for blogs and so there’s something for everybody has to establish. I don’t sugarcoat it and say whether you should think of having a blog. If you don’t have a blog and you want to market online you’re dead in the water.
People like me and a lot of people like me are just going to kick your butt every single time. You’re never going to win and that includes an unlimited bank account and pay-per-click. You can use all the paid traffic you want and I’m still going to kick your butt in sales. So that should strike a nerve with a lot of people and affiliate marketing is the best thing that you can do when you’re starting out with a blog because you build up that trust and all of a sudden you giving them something.
Just give them some tips on how to do something and there’s no link to anything. Or if there’s a link to something that’s another free thing or that’s a free piece of software or free site that you really like and you know they’re really going to enjoy. This is kind of intuitive for so many people but when I’m saying this a lot of people are listening and saying “like holy crap you send traffic in places and you don’t get paid for it?”
Yeah, 90% of the time, my contents sends people in directions where I don’t get direct monetary benefit out of it. But that 10% of the time that I ask people to do something for me, check out a link, to check out an affiliate product, check out my product, I have the highest click through ratio that I’ve ever had in any type of marketing that I’ve ever got, I call it Pavlov’s blog. And Pavlov trained his dog to salivate so that every time a certain action happened the dog salivates and this is the same thing. I train people to click on things. I train them, through 90% of my content, where I’m just giving them stuff, giving them great pointers, giving them tips and tactics, great sites to check out new services to check out, networking socially and all that kind of stuff by the time I’m doing my 10% where I’m just asking them to do something, asking them to go check out a product, whether I’m an affiliate or it’s my product, the click through ratio is such because they’re just so used to clicking. They don’t have their defenses up. On the flip side of that, you guys have all been on a site where the guy is an affiliate marketer, he’s got a blog and there’s like 50 – I’m exaggerating – or there’s like 125 buttons over on the right hand side, they’re all blinking and flashing and every single piece of this content is something that he’s put together to make us think like he cares and think like it’s real original content that’s meant to be taken or left and done with whatever readers want to do with it but it’s really just a build up for a link at the bottom or for an affiliate product.
Those sites don’t make any money. They don’t. Unless that person’s making some kind of wild great connection they don’t make any money. You can even go to sites that are known for that kind of stuff, for being a little bit more heavy on the advertising like johnchow.com and while they have a lot of advertising in there, they still watch their content for a week or two, watch what they post out there. They know that they have to be a certain level of helpful and they have to be a certain level of interesting to get those people coming back all the time to be that pushy about buy this buy that. Or for advertisers to just load down their pages with ads that’d make it so confusing you don’t know what to do as a visitor for the most part.
So, that’s kind of a formula that we use and that really works. I mean it works on Twitter, right? That was the article that I wrote on Darren Rowse’ site was the 90/10 rule for Twitter. Twitip.com and it was one of the more recent ones from this week, I think Monday. It went up for Tuesday. People had a really favorable response to that it’s kinda obvious. You give away 90% great content it doesn’t mean you have to be a Pulitzer prize winning author, journalist or anything like that. It doesn’t even have to mean that your content has to be written. Could be video, audio, could be a podcast. You have to give 90% of the time then 10% of the time you are welcome, you’ve overcompensated, you’re more than welcome to ask for any type of readership, “Hey, this time go check this out” and they do it in droves and it’s massive. It’s just awesome.
I’ve never, since I started blogging, I’ve just never seen anything like it before with any other form of marketing I’ve ever done and that includes pay-per-click and a rather bottomless pit of money to throw at it. There’s no traffic on the web like it which is why advertisers are expected to do 700 to 800 million dollars worth of advertising on blogs alone by 2012 because they know there’s no better traffic on the web than that. It’s more heated traffic, willing traffic trusting traffic. This is from good blogs than any other traffic on the web.
We build up crowds. We’re like the in seas of the web and we move crowds. Definitely, absolutely move crowds and on our word, we can move crowds from here to there and that’s worth a lot a lot of money to a lot of people. Given the fact that collectively, everybody’s on a blog or looking on a blog more than any other type on a web and blogs do what we do they generate this fervor and this following that you know advertisers just crave badly but the thing is you can hardly ever, unless your blog is super big, that’s when advertising really kicks in.
More money is in affiliate marketing cause you get to have 50% more or less but you get a bigger chunk of the pie for sending that traffic to an affiliate product than we do an advertiser who’s only willing to pay you per thousand impressions or per click. The money actually works out a lot better if you’re promoting affiliate products. So, super super long answer to your question but yes affiliate products are the best way to get started and they should always be incorporated in a blog. It’s really good money.
Mark: One thing that I’ve noticed that when I’ve talked to bloggers that are making over a million dollars a year from their blogs or even ones that are making 18,000 dollars from their blogs, one common thing that I’ve noticed is that almost all of them, almost all of these blogs seem to be in either the Internet marketing market or the make money online market.
Now, not saying that I haven’t seen people make money out of other blogs in other niches, don’t get me wrong, I’m just saying that I’ve noticed that a lot of the people who making the big big money are in the time market or the make money market make money from real estate or make money from forex, is this your experience as well and do you recommend it to others?
Jack: I think what we’re doing here is kind of like the way that other technologies develop. Most of the people who are on Twitter would definitely, absolutely fall into the category of geeks. Early adopters of everything on the web are the geeks for the most part. There are big, big exceptions like those online toys. The toys that are connected from – you know you buy something at Walmart and you bring it home, there’s a website for it. That stuff starts on its own for massive offline movement.
So there’s big, big following there but I think we have bloggers in different niches. Fitness, all kinds of different niches and they’re doing it. They’re doing just what we’re doing to make money or get more traffic niches, the deeper niches. The reason that it’s working even better for them because nobody believes that outside of this market [internet marketing] that you can do this and very few people are actually going out and doing it. The only people…those are marketers. There are thousands!
Thousands and thousands of people doing it out there but they don’t have any ties to our community. They don’t know any better. They’re like, “Well I’m passionate about this and I’m going to blog about it”. And I interview people all the time and I actively seek out people who are not in the Internet marketing niche because those are the stories I want to tell. Because I realize I’m into Internet marketing and a lot of people excuse themselves from having any kind of success by saying things like, “Well that’s Jack. He’s in internet marketing and it can only work in that”.
So that’s why I do website chats to talk to people like heather@dooce.com. That blog is a mommy blog and the mommy blogging niche is humungous. There are so many mommy bloggers out there. The definition of a mommy blog is somebody who works at home on a blog who has kids who doesn’t work out of the house and talks about mainly, mommy related issues. And there’s tons of them out there and that’s just one niche and that’s very far cry from Internet marketing or make money online. That particular blog made, this time last year made 40,000 a month so she’s probably well over that. What you’re going to be surprised about is there’s only 3 ads on the page. That’s it. She sells some T-shirts of her own that’s about it, but yeah. She’s on Nightline, she’s on national TV. She’s considered the queens of mommy blogging. Not everybody in mommy blogging is making that much but I’ve also talked to mommy bloggers who get Ford to send them cars for a year to 6 months. They get new cars to drive around.
When I was talking about advertisers wanting to get in front of your people, that’s what I’m talking about. They’re not saying keep the can opener, they’re saying, take our car for 6 months and drive it and please just talk about how you feel about it. Another rmomy blogger that I recently interviewed got one of their latest models of Ford that they’re really trying to promote and they know that she has such a following and moms make 80% of the decisions in the household to buy things, they see her driving around in this car, that’s a very good buy for Ford. They did a good job with that.
That’s very important exposure, they finally understand it and I was really proud of them for doing that, but that’s indicative of that company I mean they’re one of the only other companies that hasn’t had to ask for billions of dollars from the government. Put two and two together they’re just a smarter company out there now I think the little tiny Ford something, they’re giving a hundred of them out to a hundred different bloggers right now.
There’s a competition going on to drive around and blog from the road and it’s going to be awesome for young people who have a following. You gotta have a following already which means if you don’t have a blog right now and you need to get working on one because these kinds of things come up all the time.
The same kind of things come up in the tech world, the gadget world. These women, the mommy bloggers are getting sent all kinds of stuff. I’m only focusing on the really big stuff but they get sent lots of little things. Cappuccino makers and stuff for their kids and would you please just do a video blog about this. Would you do a video post about this. If you do or not, please accept this as our gift, we really like your blog and blah blah blah. I mean it’s really freaking cool and it’s a world hardly anybody knows anything about. The mommy’s using the products talk and they’re busy making money and getting all these perks for being bloggers and working with their people and it’s just really neat.
There’s a lot of ways to go with and there’s nothing to do at the end of the day, all it has to do is having a character, a personality and you don’t have to be the most interesting person in the world or the funniest or the most knowledgeable or any of the things where’d you’d put most in front of those words. It’s just you have to be there and you have to figure out what it is that market wants and who your ideal person you’re going to be blogging to.
You know Frank Kern did that. Kern was talking about this in one of his pieces. It was Chevron’s deal and he was talking about how he met Bob and that he was the ideal person for the products that I sell, the things that I focus on. His name’s Bob and he wears a white shirt, khaki pants, brown loafers. He’s balding, he’s got glasses, he’s got a wife and two kids he makes $45,000 a year. He hates his job, and what he really wants is total freedom but he doesn’t want to be embarrassed. You know Kern sales makes money stop and so he says my ideal person is someone who doesn’t want to be embarrassed by being taken advantage of and he doesn’t want to be publicly humiliated and he wants to get good solid advice and he wants to replace that $45000 a year and that’s what he wants. He doesn’t want to be a banker, he doesn’t want to be any of that stuff. Nobody ever wants to be a banker when they grow up. That’s not what anybody says except the weirdest of kids. But that’s what everybody does. They get into these things and they feel like that’s what they gotta do for their living and so he isolated every single thing so that when he started communicating and selling things, he was selling to buy.
If you think when Frank Kern was doing the Mass Control thing, he was talking to you then you have a lot in common with Bob. His ideal person, his ideal customer client and I just flipped all that around into blogging. I was like that’s exactly how the best bloggers get their biggest following out there is they talk at the level that their perfect demographic was in a demographic the most attractive people are going to buy their products and react positively, take positive action of the things they ask them to do, who they are! Really who they are! Man, woman, glasses, no glasses. What they care about, what they fear, what they want the most, what they hate the most. All that kind of stuff. If you do a profile like that and then you start blogging from that perspective as if yes you’re writing something or you’re doing a video but from that perspective you always gotta feel like you’re talking to that person sitting across from you at a booth at a bar and you just bought him a beer or they just bought you a beer. And they sincerely looked you right in the eye today and asked what is your best tip on this.
I know you’re an expert so what’s your best tip on this and they just bought you a beer and you’re having fun and you’re talking to them. Kinda like what I’m doing now. This is the way I’d talk to people that I was sitting at a bar with. If you can do that that means you don’t have to worry about the writing cause that’s where the Pulitzer prize crap goes out the window.
Everybody who’s afraid of writing, you don’t have to worry about it anymore. You’re talking to people just like you would at a bar or at a restaurant or at the park or whatever. So if you do that, you’re going to immediately start to succeed with your blog where other people started the same exact time in the same
niche will not. They won’t easily be able to figure out why it is that you’re doing better than them.
Mark: Do you have to put your own photo? Can you use a pen name? do you have to put a picture of yourself out there? To be successful? Cause what if I don’t want to do that?
Jack: Yeah, you can use a pen name and it’s easier to be your own character so you still should put your character and everything into it and try not to make up a whole…don’t try to make up a person that’s creative writing and that’s where you’ll need a heavy degree of ability to write well and forget that you’re not you, you’re this person and you’re this pen name. But, to have a pen name and have a pen picture and be yourself.
Write the way you normally would and communicate with people you normally would that would be fine. A little bit more difficult if you’re going to try and set it up as an alter ego or anything like that it gets very very confusing and some day everybody changes their mind. Someday you will want some recognition for the awesome stuff you’ve done under pen names. I guarantee you will. Everybody will at some point want to do that. Very few people would completely remain anonymous all of their careers online. They only feel that way in the beginning cause they’re nervous about it and that’s totally understandable and there’s nothing wrong starting out pen name and all that kind of stuff. But you’ll probably end up starting a blog with your name and face on it at some point cause you want to.
Mark: What would you advise someone who didn’t want to put their photo up on their website, would you advise that they use a cartoon caricature or would you say that it’s okay to use a photo of someone else from a stock photo site or what’s your recommendation?
Jack: The only reason why I get away with using a caricature on most of my social stuff, I just synthesize, it does a fairly good job! I mean mine kinda looks like what I would look like as a cartoon.
The only reason why I can get away with that now and it makes sense now is that people know what I look like and they’re like, “Wow that looks a lot like you. How did you do that?” Everybody asks me all the time on Twitter, “How’d you do that?” So that makes sense. It will just be a cartoon character to everybody else if that’s all they see. They won’t know that that looks like you.
If that makes people feel better and that’s how they want to start out then that’s fine and a lot of people online that do really well you know Grey Wolf is one on Twitter and all over the place he does really well and I don’t know that I’ve actually ever seen a picture of him. He’s got a great big following and all he uses is Grey Wolf. He doesn’t use his real name. Now people sees his real name and now I’m sure there are photos of him somewhere but in the beginning for years he was just somebody that nobody really knew and you can still develop a following that way. Absolutely. Because there still has to be a real person there.
You can’t phone that in. That’s the thing you can’t phone in. You can’t take somebody else’s personality and try to keep that up and develop it and people can smell through that. The key to the game is just making that connection work like, “Man this person’s real. They’re a lot like me”. If you can’t make that connection, you’re not going to succeed as well as these big guys do.
Mark: One thing I’ve also noticed looking at dooce.com and your sites and even when I look at other people’s blogs that are doing exceptionally well is that they don’t just look like a standard web blogs. They pop out of the page a bit and there are certain layout aspects that are a little different from what tons of
these standard webs are set up. I’m wondering are there any specific things that you like to recommend that everybody has them in their blogs and also how do people go about getting that nice layout in their blog.
Jack: Well, I’m using the Thesis theme. You can go to jackhumphrey.com/thesis. It’s a really good theme. It’s a paid theme but it’s really good and that’s one of the things that start to separate you from the animals is to use a blog theme that is harder to come by. And harder, meaning in this case, you have to pay some money for it. ‘Cause people then won’t do it.
A lot of people use free themes and that’s why most blogs look the same. This one is really nice because you can make it look like anything you want. It’s the first WordPress theme that’s compatible meaning if he doesn’t update on the back end on the coding or anything, I’m not going to lose, and this is the problem with WordPress that everybody should know, if you switch themes you’ve got a couple weeks of settling into that theme where it really feels like everything’s working like it used to because you have to rip everything apart when you start with a new theme.
On this one, you don’t have to do that. I know I’m going to be blogging forever and I made the small investment – actually I made the bigger investment to get a developer’s license but that thing’s like 80 bucks. It’s a small price to pay for your entire face on a web.
But you have to do it yourself so if you don’t know how to do stuff like that, you’re going to have to get somebody to help you set it up and we do that but that’s a blog excess that we do that for people but it’s an extra charge cause there’s some work that goes into it. I recommend that people still go through tutorials when they’re setting up with these kinds of themes.
The Thesis theme, he does a really good job of training, he’s got a big forum and a lot of people asking questions, how do I do this, how do I do that and answering. If you go through that kind of stuff it’s just going to make things easier for you and a lot less expensive for you. If you know how to do some of the basics then you don’t have to go get somebody a WordPress ninja to help you on every little thing that comes up so I like it when people do it themselves. Even if it’s ugly in the beginning and they just can’t make certain things work and there’s like a cover sticking out of the side of the theme and everything, you know not resizing images properly and all that, it’s a learning process but in the end it’s going to save you a lot of money because you don’t have to pay somebody to do every single little thing for you. So the Thesis theme is good.
Carlocab.com he has a really good theme. I can’t remember what he calls it but you’ll see it right away on his site. That’s a kid blogger, he started when he was 13. He’s still in the top ten for making money online. Little kid. English is not even his first language. So I always point that out when people tell me they can’t do this stuff. I always point to Carl and all the other examples like that I have. What do you think makes him any more special than you? English isn’t even his first language and he’s blogging, he’s a kid, he hasn’t been to college, come on. He’s got a really good one too and there’s this new theme that I think is too advanced and I actually won’t bring it up because it’s too much for people who are just starting out.
Mark: Not everyone here listening is just going to be starting so…
Jack: Let me find it real quick cause I did actually forget the tag on name. Oh it’s wpremix.com. Let me just
make absolutely sure that that’s the right address. I just saw it yesterday but it’s really really cool looking. Wpremix.com. This is the way everyone’s going.
Thesis was the first one to start this. Chris Pearson who designed copyblogger and a lot of the more famous blogs online. He’s done their design and he came out with Thesis which was forward compatible and now the name of the game in WordPress themes is giving you a theme that you can do anything you want with easily without being a programming geek and I haven’t played with this a lot but I heard people talking about it like it’s just amazing.
You can take any static webpage design and incorporate it into a WordPress blog and you can make static pages and regular blog pages and all kinds of stuff so what it sounds like is a super rich ability to do just about anything you want. So some of these are a little bit advanced and they may not have to be it’s just that I can’t say for sure if it’s easy to work with or not cause I haven’t had the chance to work with it yet.
Mark: Cool, it looks really interesting. Now one thing I noticed there inside your blog is you’ve got some interesting little features like top posts and you put ratings for them, you’ve got links on Twitter, to follow you on Twitter. You’ve got your number of readers and asking people to subscribe. Are all of those part of that theme or do people need to learn how to install those separately?
Jack: Well if everybody’s looking at jackhumphrey.com and you’re on the Friday traffic report, you see there’s an ad at the top and under there there’s two columns. These are highly customized but it’s not hard at all. WordPress now uses something called widgets. An addition I just made to it was if you go down a little bit you’ll see Lijit search. What I did was join Lijit, it’s a neat little widget that allows people to search more effectively through your content. Not only through your content but the content of any other site on the web that you want to include in this search. Your link partners and things like that. And all I did was set it up the way I wanted it. Gave it all the places I wanted it to pull information from to return search results and right now I’ve got a little thing in there, a search called list building. If you click on Explore it pulls it up. It’s something that a lot of the pros are using.
Darren Rowse was recommending it recently as well and so I decided to give it a shot. My search was native search for WordPress and that sucks. You don’t want to use that. So what I did was I took the native search out and with a widget I dragged it out and in the back end in the admin, that’s all there is to it. Widgets are really super easy. I took the code that Lijit gave me and I pasted it into a new text widget where you can put anything in there. Code, or real text or links or anything you want and I saved it and here it is and that’s all there is to it. So all of the things that are over here on the right hand side on both of these, are things that you add through the process of using widgets.
By default you have the most recent posts showing and I’ve changed that. It’ll say recent posts by default, but I changed it to say latest news. That’s on the top right corner under the ad. The little buttons I set that up with Dreamweaver. I just made sure I got these buttons and I like them and to save space as you can see below those buttons on the right there’s a lot of space there like blogs and so you got your blog success update, it’s in that big gap. Well I saved a lot of space, I took a lot of things out of my blog roll, which is what those links below are and used buttons instead. Now I’ve got a much shorter sidebar. You don’t want to cram everything into your sidebars. Everything is well thought out. Everything that’s there, I thought a long time about how it should be there and what shouldn’t be there. The first knee-jerk reaction of everybody is to put a whole bunch of ads and a whole bunch of crap in the sidebars and you have to be
very very ruthless and just put the stuff up there that you want so if you’re asking me what should be there, well, everything in my sidebar is there on purpose. I mean, really, really, really on purpose. And the things that are missing that might be cool, I sometimes play with different things that you can put there, different services that come out and you’ll see my sidebars change a lot in six months. Basically, you’re going to have your latest news, you’re going to have your blog roll, you’re going to have your top posts, your most important stuff that most people go to. The highest traffic pages on your site. That’s in the top post and that’s in that widget. I just pop that into a text widget and put in the order on the first side bar that I wanted it right under all the subscription stuff and that’s what I did.
That was it. The end of the story so it’s even got it’s own little search for the most popular stuff and no matter what kind of design you have the most important thing at the top of the sidebar should be your list. Get the feed, get your RSS, subscribers go in and also email subscriptions as well. You need to do both because most savvy people for RSS are in my market and it goes down drastically from there so you have to teach people what RSS is all about on your blog. You have to make that link to go a page that says here’s what RSS is all about. Here’s how you can get a feed reader. It’s a really cool way of getting content, I won’t bother you etc. The only thing you’ll get from me is an update when I put a new post on the blog.
You have to do all that. In my niche, I just leave it to you if you know how to get a feed go for it. But I’d rather have everybody else on my email list cause I can call them by their first name and I can do a lot more with Aweber than I can with a feed reader of course, cause they’re all anonymous and I can’t get in their faces and say, “Hey, Mark, you know” and talking to you. So that’s really important.
Once you get your blog established you want to show off with some buttons and some things like that, what your subscribers are. I actually have 54,550 subscribers but the feed reader at FeedBurner doesn’t update with all the people who are subscribing through different services and most of mine are through BlogRover. People who are using BlogRover to read my site and while blog rover isn’t ready every single night with updates but you’ll come back someday and see that it’s over 50,000 as well.
So everything is very intentionally put there. Those are the things that I think, personally, for my blog are very most important things that you should show in your sidebars.
Mark: I noticed you’ve got a heck of a lot of Twitter buttons. Would you mind explaining how it’s helping you a lot?
Jack: It’s just a really, simple, powerful way to connect with people, worth 140 characters you can’t talk forever and it’s got about 5 to 6 million users now and it’s just a really great way to network with people in a much much different and fun way than email or any other form of communication online for a lot of people, that’s the case. A lot of people like to talk to people on IMs and talk to people individually and all that but this is like IM for everybody on the planet and it’s really cool. If you just go to my search inside Twitter it’ll show you all kinds of things that you can do with it and why we’re so excited about it and why we use it a lot and it comes to play in our marketing quite a bit. Affiliate marketing as well, absolutely.
Mark: Have you got any special ways of getting a lot more people…like you’ve got more followers. Are there any other covert ways that you use?
Jack: Yeah, it’s not really covert. It’s just how everybody uses Twitter. The way the pros use Twitter, you’re just active, you go into Twitter everyday that you work. You gotta make a stop by Twitter once or twice a day
and talk to people. It’s the 90/10 rule. All the stuff that you find for your blog, you can’t use it all. You’re not going to write about all of it. You’re not going to put all the links you find to different stuff on your blog. There are only so many things that are worthy of a blog post. Take all the rest of the stuff that you find in your research and use it as links to really cool stuff on Twitter and what’ll happen, there’s a lot of different ways of getting more followers. You’ll start to get followers because you’re going to post it in your blog and people are going to come to your blog and follow you from there.
But the way that you get in to that great big group of 6 million people who are on Twitter is to get re-Tweeted. So, re-Tweeting means, basically it’s like when you get an email and you forward it on to someone else. But in this case you’re forwarding it on to everyone who’s following you. So let’s say I’ve got 2500 or so followers and you Twit something tomorrow that I really like. It’s like, “Wow, this is really really cool.” And I’m following you because you’re somewhat related to my niche in the first place so when you Twit stuff that’s really cool I’m going to want all my followers to see it cause I want all my followers to think I’m cool. And to think I’m really up on stuff and I have to get 90% of my content has to be freely given, you know, free resources and things like that so you’re helping me with great content, I’m going to help you and put you in front of all 2500 of my people in a blink of an eye. I just click on retweet with something called TweetDeck. com. Go to TweetDeck and absolutely use TweetDeck to work with Twitter. Don’t go to Twitter.com and use the lame things they give you. That opens up a whole new world of really cool stuff that you can do with Twitter.
Anyway, retweet is just like forwarding an email and instantly everybody who follows me, has got your Tweet. Everybody’s going to be like, “Well, mark this guy, that was a really good tip. I’m going to start following him too!” It’s almost like I mailed my entire list and saying, “Hey, Mark’s found this really, really, cool thing and I just need you guys to know about it.” It’s probably the same thing as me knowing my whole list. The list is much bigger than 2500 but a lot of people who have 12,000, 30,000, or 40,000 follow me. Now if they like what I retweet, they’ll retweet it and all of a sudden you’re getting in front of 45,000 people at a time and so that’s the power of Twitter and that’s how people start growing these things really, really fast. I really started getting back into it in January. I had like 900 followers.
So since January I’ve gone from 900 to 2500 or 2700, I don’t know where I’m at now but you can grow really fast. It’s really dependent upon the kind of stuff you put out there and how much it gets re-Tweeted. There’s a million other ways to get followers but that’s the most basic.
Mark: That’s really cool though.
Jack: Well, people, when the light comes on right there, I mean all of a sudden, somebody like me who said in the beginning ‘Twitter is just the biggest, I can’t understand why anybody would spend time, this is so stupid’, get TweetDeck, read some of my Twitter stuff at jackhumphrey.com all this different education that you can get and the lights will start to come on. You’ll start freaking out and you’ll be addicted to it. And then your biggest problem with Twitter is being disciplined enough to get your butt off of it and get the rest of your work done because it’s so fun. In the beginning I just spent like two weeks just on Twitter, it was just all that I was thinking about in the beginning of the year which is cool cause business is slow for me at the beginning of the year all the time anyway. It’s perfect for me to do it but I did have to pull myself out of the Twitter haze and get back to work.
Mark: One thing that I’ve had quite a few people want to ask about blogging or when they’ve got their own blogs their really concerned about is hacking because with WordPress quite often you need to get the
latest updates all the time to stop yourself from getting hacked. Things like that. Do you have that sort of problems with your members asking you things like that and what do you do to make sure that your blog’s going to be OK because you wouldn’t want to lose everything, all your work, due to a hacker.
Jack: I haven’t even dealt with a hacker related question since WordPress 2.7 came out and even 2.6, it just hasn’t been an issue. The reason that WordPress went to this new system, which is one button upgrade, is because people weren’t upgrading. They were leaving themselves open to security risks that the developers found out about after the thing was release and they quickly made fixes and all you have to do is update and that hacking problem goes away, but people were finding it so hard to reinstall WordPress and they just think it’s such a hassle they didn’t want to do it. So the hacking stuff comes to people with older versions of WordPress. The new stuff is pretty tight. I have not heard or had anybody complain about any sort of hacking problems and we have 600 or 700 members all using WordPress. But I make them upgrade and the nice thing is now it’s not that hard because you could just push a button when there’s an upgrade available you just push a button and it upgrades.
Right at the very top of your control panel there’s a, in fact I need to click that button because there’s a message that says, 2.72 or 1 out now, you need an upgrade. And you just click on that and away you go. It’s very very easy now. Nobody really has any excuse and it’s bulletproof. Well, not bulletproof. Nothing is bulletproof but it’s very very difficult to mess with somebody’s blog now if they use WordPress.
Mark: I think the people listening, if you’re making an income that you definitely don’t want to lose and you’re making well over a thousand dollars a week, then it’s probably time to talk to your web host about getting some sort of automated server backup or something like that so that every day it gets backed up anyway. Do you do anything like that?
Jack: Yeah, I get a backup sent to my Gmail every day and it’s like this function of WordPress. I don’t care what my server people tell me, I don’t care that they may say that they have the best backup system in the world, I have been burned by that so many times that I want the backup, I want a copy of the backup sent to me every single day and that gets backed up to a drive away from my computer so I’ve got two copies everyday of the last stuff that I’ve done. So the most that I can lose if something happened to my host my server is 24 hours worth of work and that’s it. It’s very important.
Mark: I don’t want to scare people about hacking, cause it doesn’t really happen all that often like I had it happen to me on a minor level. I’ve had people hack in every once every three or four years and I actually haven’t done anything that’s just happened to breach my security and had a look around. I’m just saying that it doesn’t happen all that often but I’ll just mention it because obviously you don’t want to leave yourself to be all that vulnerable either if you can help it.
Jack: When you get set up there’s lots of stuff out there. You can just do WordPress 2.7 security and you’ll find all kinds of stuff. You’ll find plug-ins. I use a plug-in called Saber that…there’s one path, even if you don’t have the link on your blog showing to register, because I don’t even know why they have that as a default but people could register to be members of your blog and the reason for that is if you only want comments on your blog from those who are registered.
Presumably that’s the key to keep down spamming which is funny because you actually get spammed by people finding that link. You can use the link to register on a WordPress blog if it’s not protected whether you show the link or not because the link is the same on every WordPress installation. Spammers, not
hackers, know how to address that link on every site on the web that’s running WordPress and they can register themselves with a robot as the user and then they can post or comment. Cause you set it up you thought it was not going to be any spam if I set it up because they have to be registered user.
Well, bots figured out how to register so that plug-in saves me from a lot of spam editing, basically. I don’t let everything go through, Akismet which comes with WordPress and it detects spam pretty well. Some gets through but I don’t ever post anything to my blog without me looking at it so I look at every single comment that goes out. Nobody should ever allow open commenting on their blog. You’re just going to be putting out a bunch of crap. Akismet has probably caught over a hundred thousand spam since I started blogging but I haven’t had to do anything. It’s just a nice little program. Sometimes it catches good stuff so I always log in and make sure that when I’m moderating comments that no good comments got put into the spam folder. And then I just delete the spam periodically. I look at what people are sending if it’s enlargement pills and all that kind of crap none of it ever gets through cause I moderate everything and everybody should moderate their posts for sure.
Mark: Yeah I use Akismet on a lot of my WordPress blogs. I created our own blog, we have our own blogging platform for Affilorama which isn’t WordPress but every other blog I’ve got is WordPress and yeah Akismet’s been fantastic for that.
I’m just going to wrap up with 3 last questions I’ve got for you and then we’ll let everybody know that you hold blogging training and you’ve got over a 130 videos about blogging and marketing so they’ll know about that. Cause a lot of people are going to be wondering about how to do all of this stuff and they want to see some videos or tell people where to go to get that in just a moment. I just got three more questions for you.
In your 60 day plan you mentioned about a social linking and how to get traffic work for social media, would you mind just quickly going over that?
Jack: What we teach now, we used to teach in the beginning, like in the beginning of any fad that turned into something that’s more than a fad.
In the beginning, Google pays attention to it and everything that it does. So in the beginning all these new social sites are coming up and we were doing them all because Google is counting the links from all of them we just sign up for profiles, put our links up, our RSS feeds up, our pictures, throw out a profile and leave them and not really do much and we’d get a lot out of that.
Luckily, today we don’t have to do that. We really have what’s called the core sites that we interact with on a daily basis. For me that would be Twitter and Facebook and Stumble Upon and sometimes Unmashable and something like that. A couple of mean communities and that’s it. Those are my core sites that I interact with a lot. And the rest of them I have hundreds of accounts on different social sites because I want to be there in case they take off.
Most of them don’t get the kind of critical mass traffic that you would bother going in and doing anything with them but sometimes they do and you want to be one of the first ones there and when they launch you want to have the best name. So when they launch, I usually hear about it I get my keyword like blog promotion or blogging tips or how to blog or something like that as my profile name. And then I’ll just let them sit.
A lot of people think that social marketing is really hard to and it’s not because I don’t interact with all the sites that I belong to. I have over a thousand passwords in my RoboForm file for all the different sites that
I belong to and I don’t log in to those every single day. Really what’s social marketing has turned into is something that’s a lot more enjoyable for me. You don’t have to … you go where your best crowd is. The biggest and most active group of people who are the best target market for you depending on what your blog is about. That’s where you go.
It happens to be Twitter for me but that might not be for you. You might be in the market where the people haven’t caught on to Twitter yet and that’s very likely for a lot of people because like a said there’s 5 million users but those are the people who are in the computer labs in high school that we’re getting made fun of and collect rats and play Dungeons and Dragons and stuff. Basically, I’m kind of exaggerating but you know that’s what they do. You’ve seen what the amateurs do with it is funny stories that you see on the news about politicians who leak information and things because they don’t know what Twitter is but they’re acting like they’re cool and they’re leaking plans for their campaigns and stuff, so most of it’s geeky stuff and that works for me but it might not be what it is for you. You might really just go nuts on Facebook and so what we teach people is join a bunch of sites and see what they’re all about. If they’ve got a big group of people on there that are your perfect target market, investigate them, spend a little time on them, be a real person, don’t try to just game their system, it never works. It only works on algorithms. You can’t game a system where humans are in charge of whether the contents is good or not. They will vote you down and talk about you and get rid of you faster than you can even click a button so you have to be real and engaging and helpful and if that returns something to you, and the first thing that it should return is traffic because links for most social sites don’t mean anything to Google anymore. They had to turn that off. It’s all about getting direct traffic. The links are just used by real people to get to your site. They’re not really much used by Google to rank your site or give you any more link juice for it. So in a nutshell, social marketing has gotten a lot easier just identify your core sites.
Mark: Okay, last two questions for you. Got one of the advanced tech tips here and you obviously might want to cover it all, quick answers to this but just wanted you to mention a little about it. You teach them how to get up a blogging group. What is a blogging group and just wondering if you’d mind a quick couple of tips about that?
Jack: Well we really gone into the training for that but what other people have done and it’s really effective for people who like to work with other people other bloggers, it’s kind of like at first a mastermind with you and other bloggers in your niche that you would like to work with. You can set these up pretty easily even if you’re the lowest person on the totem pole meaning you’re the newest one with the least amount of traffic that can influence on the web in that niche among the other people that you’re going after. If you promise to be the one who organizes it they’ll stick around long enough to wait to see if there’s any benefit to it by working together. So you all kinda make a deal to work together. You’re all going to link to each other of course and that’s the bare minimum but you’re also going to share content. You’re going to do guest post for each other and you’re going to do everything you can to promote each other and share all the collective traffic of that group and so everyone is getting in front of everybody else’s group. So you being the low person on the totem pole not having as much traffic or popularity, gain a lot. But you’re the one who’s also doing the most work. You’re the organizer. You’re setting up all the communication between all the different guys. They get to sit on their butts because they’ve already worked their butts off to get to the level that they’re at so that’s the trade-off. That’s why you get to get into a lot of their people and you grow and they know that helping you grow is going to help them because you’re always going to get more new people
coming to your site that have never been to any of their site. And they want those new future people that you’re going to attract. So setting up a blog group is as simple as that and it can also be sharing advertising. Or setting up even an ad network. A small little ad network that says hey you guys want to advertise on my site? You can also advertise on my partner’s sites. And you all share the revenue of what you’re network brings in which is something else that people can do. But generally the easiest way to explain is you get a group of bloggers together who vow to help each other out and buzz each other in the social sites and recommend constantly each other on their blogs and share that great big larger pool of traffic among all of them.
Mark: Cool, one last question before we talk about your course, your 130 videos and stuff. I just want to know what do you recommend that people do in order to make sure that their blog is optimized in search engines? Like are there any specific plug-ins or other anything you do when you go out or what do you recommend they do in order to just make sure that’s search engine optimized.
Jack: There’s a lot that you’ll get into over time but blogs, the nice thing is that they’re right out of the box, really well optimized for the engines. Google knows blogs really well and it knows when it’s on a WordPress blogs, it knows how to spider a WordPress blog. You have to do a lot to screw it up.
So that’s why you always put your latest post on the sidebars. You always put a link to your archives and you get some sort of a site map plug-in for WordPress so that Google can follow the link to your site and see every other piece of content throughout your site. If you’re making it easy for Google to find that from whatever page that they land on on your site then you’re good to go. That’s pretty much all the optimization you need at the beginning.
Then for post-level optimization, if you want to be in the top ten for Google for a certain keyword, you’re going to have a better chance of doing so if you set your post up properly and that starts with the title where the keyword needs to be at the front of the title instead of the back. And your title needs to be as short as can be so that your keyword has a higher density in that title than it was if it were as long. Your keywords going to be of tiny density percentage wise compared to a five word title where your keyword is two of those words.
So that’s the most important thing there, just very basically and then it needs to be repeated, not in a spammy way, in your first paragraph so let’s take link building, that’s the keyword. Or dog training, let’s do that so it’s something different in general. I’m going to rank better than anybody else if I do this. If none of us gets a link for that post or anything else, all else being equal, if I set it up as Dog Training Tips for Cat Lovers or whatever the heck it is and so I’ve got dog training at the front of my title and then in the first paragraph of my post, I don’t just repeat dog training for the heck of it. If it’s natural, I will.
So the first sentence would be something like, “These are my favorite dog training tips from so and so…” and my second sentence of the first paragraph would be, “My dog was harder to train..” see I’m not even using training. But it’s something that Google recognizes as part of that keyword anyway and dog and training are not together. The sentence is, “My dog is the worst to train or something like that.”
So that first paragraph can have pieces and different sections of that keyword phrase and that’s good. That’ll be enough. If you get a few links to that post, from prominent places with your social marketing and everything else, and the natural flow of the rest of your article or your post that’s going to naturally have dog and training in it and sometimes have dog training together as the keyword then you’re going to do better than most people.
Then you have to look at the level of competition for that particular keyword and how you do that is you find all the places, you type in dog training in Google, you find how many links they have got to that page. Very easy to do you just search Google backlinks and there’s a couple other tools you can use to find out exactly how many links that comes with that post (see ‘Link to me’ article on page xx of this magazine for a list of backlinking tools). And that’s what you got to beat, so if you have five pretty major links coming into that post, and they’re number one for dog training then you need to go get six links or those five links, try to get a link from those five people cause you know they’re giving links out cause they did already. And then get a sixth link and this is a very simple way of looking at it, but you’re going to be number one.
All else being equal and all else is never equal but if that was the simple world we lived in, that’s what it would take to get to number one. Most often what’ll happen is you’ll start to notice through your stats that you’ve got some traffic, like you’ve got one or two hits that use the word dog training to find you through Google and you click on that link and you find out, wow, I’m page three.
So this is what we call reoptimization. If Google liked me enough to be on page three I can get to page one now. I know I can and you have to have that attitude after you’ve done it a few times you just know you can and so you go back to your post and re-optimize it. You look at how dense now really you get kind of scientific and go okay, I guess I could’ve used all the training and training tips a little bit more without making my article look any more spammy or any spammy at all. I can just go back and re-optimize it and you’ll get your cue from Google if they put you on page three or four that they like it enough that there’s no reason why you can’t be on page one. That’s why you go back and re-optimize and add to that post.
The very easiest way to get more or move up that chain of search results is just to get more links to it. So you got your six, you thought they were going to get you to number one, you need to get maybe ten links to that pretty prominent place. The other guys that are in your niche, get them to do something or here’s another brilliant reason for having a guest post. Offer them a hundred percent original guest post on a topic. Don’t write it, just write to them and say I’ve got an idea for a topic, I like your blog, I’d love to do a guest post for you and here’s the topic, give us some background on what you want to write about and if they respond favorably, then write it. Then go to the trouble of writing it and if they don’t, don’t worry about it. Move to the next blog and then you get a link on one of those blogs to your site try to work out the deal so that dog training is in the anchor tags and all of a sudden you’ll see that page three listing go up to the first page. It’ll move to the second then it’ll move to the first page in almost every case. Unless the keywords are super competitive then you’re going to have to do more guest posting and more creative link building to get where you want to go. I don’t even remember where you started that question.
Mark: I think that was a really good answer. Thanks for taking all this time to be on the call for well over an hour and obviously you haven’t held back at all. You’ve just given a way a bunch of gold nuggets
here. I hope everybody’s been taking a lot of notes here cause some of that’s stuff been fantastic and it’s really powerful. I just want to quickly let everybody know about your blog success program because a lot of people listening here are thinking, “This is all great stuff but I need to see some step-by-step videos and exactly how it’s done and that kind of thing”. I know you’ve got over 130 videos in your blog success products so would you mind to tell people all about that?
Jack: It’s a lot more than that now. It’s definitely without a doubt the Harvard of blog training on the web today. Nobody that can touch us and I don’t usually say it flat out like that. I like to be more humble but we’ve put so much work into this thing. Not just dumping a bunch of content but really making it something that you go from the very beginning to advanced as you want to be and also from as much money as you can make in the beginning to as much money as you want to make.
There are no limits to any of it and everything is step by step so peppered throughout this vast, vast training center are those 130 somewhat videos. I think we’re getting closer to 200 but they all support some piece of content in there and you start out with a five tenets of blogging which is a mindset content development and research traffic, monetization and technical. We take you through the whole thing. Like when I was talking earlier about the care and feeding that you give a blog this is where you learn how those big bloggers who make that kind of money that we’ve been talking about, this is how they blog. Like I also said earlier that we talked directly to these guys. We talked directly to people you’ve never heard of before and who get over a thousand comments for posts. They make a post where over a thousand people comment. Sometimes up to 2000. These are the people that we talked to and everything that I’ve gleaned from marketing and blog marketing and things like that and everything that we’ve pulled in other people in all kinds of different niches. It’s not just internet marketing and stuff like that and develop the training system around that. In order to do that properly we’ve got gigabytes, gigabytes of training in there and that’s not including the videos which take up a lot of space. It’s just gigabytes of stuff that is really laid out, well thought out.
We’ve been training people for years and we’ve made mistakes, we were never trained classically in training people online. We had to go through a learning curve and we got a lot of feedback from our members over the years we’ve gone through several iterations of our training and we feel that this is the best it’s absolutely ever been and the feedback is a hundred percent across the board. The site is awesome, it just keeps coming every single day. We get more people going “I just did my article syndication. Awesome! I just did this whatever.”
One of the things we just added was blog reviews and that one today got so many comments from the members they were like, I just can’t believe I got to watch over your shoulder as you took apart this new member’s blog, stripped it down bare bones and rebuilt it and told them what they needed to do. In a month I’ll go back or two weeks I’ll go back and show everybody the results of what they did based on my recommendation and you get to see exactly every single little step. I went through their sidebars, I went through their plug-ins, I went through their content. Went through the exercise of really talking to the very perfect person, “Who’s your Bob in your market?’ Do you even know who Bob is and if you don’t, you’re not doing as well as you could. Let’s work on that. So it’s kind of like Cory Ruto’s old secrets to their success in that sense.
And there’s many, many, many other facets to blog success like that. That’s just one thing. It’s a big deal and the cool thing is right now today, I don’t know how much longer it’s going to last and it’s not an artifi
cially setup thing is we are moving in another direction. But it’s going to be $97 a month, it’s right now half that and it’s also a 30-day trial. Free trial and all the software that we have that’s exclusive that we’ve built is unlocked fully so that everything’s fully unlocked the whole 30 days.
Mark: It’s $67 a month, is that right?
Jack: Yup, it’s $67 a month and we’re going to, it’s not exactly half, it’s 20 over half but yeah it should be 500. It could so easily justify a 500 dollar a month price tag, it’s not even funny. When Stomper came out with their 800 dollar thing that was great.
This thing, there are people out there, there’s a different kind of market we could go for we could make sales on it all day at $500 a month, $497. So we don’t have any intention of doing that right now. The highest we’ll probably ever go is $297 but everybody who gets in before that, we don’t raise prices on people who have been here from the beginning or wherever you come in, that’s where you stay.
So that’s pretty cool but regardless there’s just absolutely nothing to lose because we have to prove to you it’s worth staying. If you’re not impressed, if it’s not what you want to do, it’s not what you really thought it was going to be, you haven’t laid down a dime to check it out and make sure yourself so we let you in, we have to prove it to you then if it doesn’t sound like it’s the thing for you just take off before your 30 days and it’s not like AOL where you got to call and we argue with you. You just push a button and get on. It’s really cool. When the product is really, really good you don’t have to be that pushy car salesman guy anymore and people are just talking about it and letting people in for free is really nice because it shows people right off the bat that we don’t have anything to hide. It’s a really good program so that’s it.
Mark: I was just going to say you might also include your track post software and your video utility poster. Your groups software and social new sites and you’ve got your blogtalk software as well. So there’s a bunch of software packages that you can’t get anywhere else online that you also include.
Jack: It just keeps going on and on and on and the thing is, a lot of people are looking at it and going, man this is overwhelming. It’s like walking into a library and feeling like you have to read every book in there. That’s a sickness that you got to get over because you’re not supposed to read every book in the library and at blog success you’re not supposed to feel like you have to absorb all of this stuff in order to be Michael Arrington or Heather Armstrong. You don’t. It’s just that there’s reference there for you. You got a step-by-step thing. You got guide to every of the five tenets. We’ve got a guide for it and we picked out in each one of those guides, we picked out the absolute most important things you have to go through in each section.
While there’s a lot more material in every section for you to keep up on or go through and something’s added every single day, that’s just for you to keep up on your craft. But the guide itself for mindset or monetization or whatever, it just points you step-by-step to the things that you have to do. These are the things we consider absolutely important. You have to have a FeedBurner feed and here’s how you set that up. You have to do this and this and this and so it’s really simple for people to go through and that was very difficult to put together in a way that we have. There’s a lot of work but it’s what people need in such a complex topic if you try and tackle it yourself.
Mark: It is interesting that you think like a library because I’m a member of a number of different sites, some for education, some we’re learning ourselves and some for other reasons like private label rights, that
kind of thing and I’ve kind of felt that I’ve got to use every single thing that I see in my membership and I see it as that’s my library. If I want to up skill myself on search engine optimization I might log in to one of my membership sites at one of the sites or if I want to upskill what I’m blogging you might go back to your library. At BlogSuccess and you got all the tools and all the things right there. You might even want to have an idea for your blog that you might want to install a certain thing and you can just look it up in this library.
Jack: Or ask any of the hundreds of members who have been there and done that and just ask for an opinion on which thing you should use or has anybody done this and we really encourage a very active forum so that you get answers really quick. We have good support, full support staff. Two staff members just dedicated to helping you with mostly technical issues that come up but the forum is invaluable and we’re all over the world so you can get an answer at any time of day no matter where you are depending on if it’s high time for the UK folks or Australia or wherever.
We’ve got people on every continent and willing to help and it’s just a really nice community. The other thing about being able to find stuff, like a library has a very good system of categorizing of where to find everything, and our site we worked really hard on the search functions. Most people just take whatever comes native in their software to run a membership site as their search and we tweak the crap out of it so that it’s actually turns super relevant results from all of our training in the forums and that you can actually use it to find exactly what you want right then and there.
We feel like that’s really important and actually this has taken our support down a considerable amount just by doing that because people are just… if it is 4 in the morning and there are hardly anybody online and it’s 4 in the morning for us, our staff, whatever and you want an answer right now, to have that search function is crucial and we’re really glad we put a lot into that cause that thing is so dreamy. I mean I wrote most of that stuff. I created most of the content in that site and I forget all the time where it is. Where’s that report that I did… I use to search function just as much as everybody else.
Mark: Just to remind everyone of the web address again, it’s blogsuccess.com.
Jack: Visit blogsuccess.com and you can see a bunch of the free content we have out. You can see case studies and all that kind of stuff. We have a lot of things on the outside that you can check out. If you want to get into what it is and what everything that’s in it and all that, go to jackhumphrey.com/blogsuccess and that will take you to the breakdown of everything that’s in it.
We could have a 50 page sales letter and still not cover everything that’s in it but it’ll cover all the main points for you and you can see.
The nice thing is again it’s a 30-day trial for free You do have to put your credit card in, but it’s a one-button exit so we’re not trying to trick people into that it just makes it easier if you want to stay we don’t have to go back and ask you for that. It’s really nice. A 30-day free trial look at everything. If we don’t prove that we’re the best and you’re not satisfied, take off! Go somewhere else, it’s no big deal.
Mark: Thanks again Jack for spending all this time on the call. I think everybody would have gained a heck of a lot of value. I hope lots of people out there have been taking notes and check out Jack’s site and even if you don’t sign up to blog success you can check out his blog and learn a heck of a lot. He’s on there a lot of the time, posting away.
Jack: A tweet post I just did today for you guys if you understand what I’m saying between the lines then it’s kind of something that I don’t want everybody doing and I certainly don’t want the spammers to get a hold of and that’s why I don’t spell it out for you but if you check that post out, just type in tweetfeed pretty powerful link juju you can do that in Google right now, it’s probably there. Just type in “link juju” probably. Anyway there’s a tactic on there that I’ll go into more detail at blogsuccess but that’ll get you a long way if you know how to read between the lines. It’s a linking thing and I just found it today, it’s going to get you a lot of attention.
Yeah the blog is very much worth it. I do my 90/10 role there so 90% of the time at the very minimum is something free for you to use the solution is right there, in the post. I’m not holding out a carrot saying you got to join the site or buy a product to get the answer. So, I try to do a good job, it gets good feedback, I sometimes make mistakes and make posts that some people don’t like and they let me know about it but I’m just human and that’s the really cool thing about blogging is no one holds you above any godly expectations or anything you’re just a person doing a blog.
Mark Absolutely. Thanks again for being on the show and for everyone out there listening, hope you take action  on this and we’ll see you next time.
Jack: Thanks for having me!


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