Blogging

How Blogging Scored Me a Week with a Billionaire

While blogging can be extremely lucrative, most people think of it as boring career. Heck, I even think of it as a boring career most of the time.

But there have been a few times in my blogging career that some crazy opportunities came my way, including being flown to Miami, put up in a five-star hotel, and running up an $800 bar tab with the CEO of V2cigs.

But that’s a story for another day. In this post I will be sharing how being recognized as a blogger led me to acquiring billionaire Jeff Brandon as a client, and subsequently spending a week in his $30 Million Dollar 17 Bedroom Home in Boynton Beach.

First a little backstory. Before I head cracked the code to making money online, I worked as a “pitch man” for Twin Towers Trading.

Have you ever been in Sam’s Club and seen the guys demonstrating the pots and pans that do not need oil, or the knives that never need sharpening? Yeah, I was one of those guys with the mic attached to my face.

I would stand there and go through this pitch to sell pots and pans to Sam’s Club shoppers. Well the company I worked for is owned by billionaire Jeff Brandon, who is an absolutely amazing entrepreneur that has the crazy ability to handle 500 things at one time and still maintain a healthy lifestyle.

This was actually the last job I had before I became a full-time Internet entrepreneur.

It was a fine job, I was making about 50,000 a year, but it was a lot of travel. After I began blogging and earning income, once my income matched my weekly pay I left the company on good terms. Jeff even offered me a big bonus to stay, but I told him that my entrepreneurial spirit could not be persuaded, and he respected that.

Fast forward a couple years, Jeff actually to my surprise give me a call to see how I was doing. It’s not every day that the billionaire calls you just to say hi, so that was a little weird. However his call was not without purpose, as apparently he had been hearing of my success with blogging and wanted to bring me down for a meeting to see if I could help increase their online business.

So Jeff, paying all my expenses, brought me down to Boynton Beach, FL and put me up in his 17 bedroom gargantuan Beach Mansion for almost a full week.

My room was bigger than my whole house

This was my room, that had a personal bar. A bedroom with a bar. Isn’t that crazy?

This was one of the living rooms.

How he keeps this place clean is beyond me. That is alot of white!

Breakfast was important

Jeff is a very healthy individual, and was adamant about having a hearty and healthy breakfast before we began discussing business for the day. This was the view from the breakfast table.

I even got some slick wheels

Jeff also did not want me to go without a car, so he rented one for me to use while I was down there. I have to say I was digging the convertible. Did I mention I wound up in this position from friggin blogging?

The place was amazing

Here are some views from his front yard

The beach is literally a few steps away

And here is directly across the street, beachfront property

I had a fantastic time. Jeff was very accommodating and his hospitality was extraordinary. For someone who is so rich, he was extremely humble. However when it was time for business, he was all business.

So what did I do for Jeff?

Well first we looked at a company he owned that sold custom printing for corporate businesses like Subway. But they wanted to increase their small business client base as well. They needed to rank for keywords like “banners and signs” and “custom banners“.

Their website was very functional for customers to upload designs, order, etc. However what it was lacking was the very heart and soul of online marketing. A blog.

Now at first, Jeff and his staff did not understand why a blog was so important to increasing business. Most business owners don’t. So I had to really try to sell them on this idea before we could move forward.

First of all, whether you’re a large corporation or a personal blogger, a blog is a blog.

A Blog centers around content marketing. You create great content that people love to read and share, and then you nudge those readers into a sale. That sale could be your own product or service, or someone else’s product or service that pays you a referral commission.

Unfortunately I cannot share any of the content or content marketing I did for Jeff’s companies, as we agreed to keep this information confidential, but I can give you a general idea of how I approached it.

Here is how I explained it to Jeff

Let’s say you are in the pet industry.

You could be an online pet store, or you could be a pet blogger that sells an e-book on how to train your dog in 30 days. It really doesn’t matter.

So one content idea I may put into practice (theoretically), could be a post called “17 signs your dog does not view you as the Alpha“.

I could go with a list of 17 little-known signs that could mean your dog may have lost respect for you, and that’s why he is not obeying you.

Now, common sense should tell you that most people that click on the title of that article are probably having some problems training their dog, or at least know someone that is.

They probably want to see if their dog is exhibiting any of the signs, again because they are probably having obedience issues.

This reader is the perfect customer for an e-book that teaches you how to train your dog in 30 days. So do you see what we did there? We took a non-sales oriented idea, and created a fantastic post that our target customer would love to read.

So now we have our target customer on our website, reading a resource for free that is helping them with their problem. This builds trust. At this point we can gently try to convert them into a customer.

There are a few ways to do this

  1. Mention that the post was written by the author of the ebook, “How to Train Your Dog in 30 Days“, with a link to the sales page.
  2. Offer a free e-book download on “7 tips to train your dog“, then mention the main sell in the e-book.
  3. Ask the reader to subscribe via email, Facebook, or Twitter and attempt to sell them later after more trust is built.

My personal choice would be number two. But that is because I like to slowly sell the customer and help them solve their problem in stages, building trust before the sale.

Once I explained this conversion process to Jeff and his staff, they were a lot more keen on the idea. We put in a content marketing strategy with the same concept as the fictional Pet example, and it worked wonders.

This led to several other jobs I acquired because of my relationship with Jeff, including doing some video marketing for Sam’s Club and building an employee training portal for Subway.

So what can you learn from the story?

Building relationships is absolutely crucial to your business.

I had a pre-existing relationship with Jeff because I used to work for him. However you don’t need to work for people to build a relationship. Even building rapport through participating on their blog, chatting on Twitter or Skype, or even taking out a local influencer for lunch can land you opportunities you wouldn’t believe.

I’ve actually learned the most about entrepreneurship by simply offering to take successful entrepreneurs out to lunch, and chatting with them. This even led to business opportunities down the road.

Bottom line, if you do something great and you build relationships, great things will happen.

Build a great blog with great content and develop relationships with great people, and they will notice you. Great things will follow, I promise.

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21bloggers

21 Bloggers That Made a Million Dollars

I often get asked about blogging for money. One of the first questions I often get is, “Can I really make money with a blog”?

Well yes, of course you can!

If you need some motivation or inspiration, here is a list of 21 bloggers that ended up making over 1 Million Dollars.


Jeremy_Schoemaker

Jeremy Schoemaker

Shoemoney.com

BLOG TOPIC: How-To Make Money Online


WHY: When he met his future wife, he found the inspiration to commit to his true passion.

WHEN: He created ShoeMoney.com in 2003 and has made several million over the past few years.

HOW: He utilizes the blog’s mailing lists to send out emails promoting shoe offers. He consistently works to grow his mailing list and traffic to his site and this has made his blog worth an estimated $1.8 million.


Johns Wu

Bankaholic

Blog Topic: Personal Finance


WHY: As a college student, Wu enjoyed the extra cash from ads on his blogging sites and became more interested in how to draw more traffic to his blogs.

WHEN: Early in 2006, Johns created Bankaholic which sold for about $15 million in 2009.

HOW: The value of this blog lies in its search engine optimization techniques. Bankaholic appears on Google in the top 50 pages for over 1,485 various keywords. It ranks as the first page for the keyword credit cards.


Darren Rowse

Problogger.com

Blog Topic: Professional Blogging


WHY: Rowse began writing online in 2002 and quickly grew to love it. He decided to create Problogger to teach other bloggers how to improve their blog.

HOW: He utilized the need for information to gain an incredible amount of traffic to his blogs. His success allowed him to make over six figures in his first year, and his success has only continued to grow.


Brian Clark

Copyblogger

Blog Topic: Writing Online


WHY: He used his blog to teach other bloggers how to create more interesting and compelling articles.

WHEN: Clark developed his blog in 2006.

HOW: The website has gained its 8 figure revenue through its devoted subscribers rather than advertising.


Matt Mickiewicz

SitePoint

Blog Topic: Website Building


WHY: Matt decided to publish all of his knowledge about creating websites when he was 15. He realized the lack of comprehensive information available on the web and decided to share his know-how.

WHEN: He created Sitepoint.com in 1998.

HOW: Matt’s blog resulted in the founding of 99designs where his community of followers would compete to make the best web designs.


Pete Cashmore

Mashable.com

Blog Topic: News


WHY: As a teenager, Cashmore had a passion for social networks and web tools. He created Mashable to share his passion.

WHEN: 2005

HOW: His blog is now a leading source of information and the entrepreneur is worth an estimated $95 million.


Rafat Ali

PaidContent

Blog Topic: News


WHY: Ali was a journalist when he decided to expand into the online world. Paidcontent.org provides news and information.

WHEN: 2002

HOW: In 2008, Guardian Media Group bought his blog for $30 million.


Ken Fisher

Ars Technica

Blog Topic: Technology News/Tips


WHY: Throughout his career, Fisher became an IT veteran who also had an expertise in history and languages. He decided to use his skill set to create a blog for PC enthusiasts.

WHEN: Founded in 1998

HOW: Fisher’s expertise made his blog very trustworthy and authoritative. He gained a huge amount of traffic and eventually sold his blog for $25 million in 2008.


Nikki Finke

Deadline Hollywood Daily

Blog Topic: News


WHY: Finke was writing a column in the LA weekly but soon decided to put her writing online.

WHEN: She put her blog online in 2006.

HOW: In 2009, the blog was sold to Mail.com for a deal worth an estimated $14 million. She gained her following because it was closely followed by entertainment industry insiders.


Danielle Friedland

Celebrity Baby Blog

Blog Topic: Celebrity Babies


WHY: She started her blog because she wanted her own after seeing how much her husband enjoyed his blog, the Food Section.

WHEN: Celebrity Baby Blog was created in 2004.

HOW: This special niche attracted so much traffic that People.com purchased the blog for an estimated $10 million.


Graham Hill

TreeHugger

Blog Topic: Sustainability/Environmentalism


WHY: He started his blog because technology was an easy and cheap way to publish his work and widen his community.

WHEN: He launched his blog in 2003.

HOW: Discovery Communications reportedly bought TreeHugger for $10 million


Brad Fitzpatrick

LiveJournal

Blog Topic: Journal/Diary


WHY: When Fitzpatrick moved to Seattle for school, he wanted a way to keep his friends informed about his life and was frustrated with the available options for journaling. In response, he created his own and the journaling platform became LiveJournal.

WHEN: 1999

HOW: In 2007, LiveJournal was sold to Six Apart for an astonishing $25 million. He gained his community by placing emphasis on community, individual expression and networking.


Andrew Mangan

Arseblog

Blog Topic: Arsenal Football Club


WHY: He created the blog because of his love for the Arsenal Football Club.

WHEN: Founded in 2006.

HOW: Ole Ole purchased the blog for $5 million one year after it was created.


Susan Harris

GardenRant

Blog Topic: Gardening


WHY: Harris decided to blog in order to share her gardening advice and thoughts. She also used the site to relay information about special promotions and events.

WHEN: Founded in 1996

HOW: GardenWeb purchased the blog for $1.3 million.


Stephan Shakespeare

Politicshome

Blog Topic: Politics


WHEN: Created in 2008.

HOW: He was able to get so many followers by offering political coverage that was non-partisan. His blog was eventually purchased for $1.3 million.


Jim Wang

Bargaineering

Blog Topic: Personal Finance


WHY: He originally created the blog as a hobby and claims that his boredom sparked the idea to write.

WHEN: 2005

HOW: His blog was bought in 2010 for an estimated $3 million. He attributes his timing and hard work as the main factors leading to his success.


Chiara Ferragni

The Blonde Salad

Blog Topic: Fashion & Travel


WHY: The blog began as a personal passion project to publicize her love of fashion and traveling.

WHEN: Launched in 2009.

HOW: She makes so much money by being paid to attend events and publicize brands, and then posting to her blog about it.


Tim Sykes

TimothySykes

Blog Topic: Penny-Stock trading


WHY: He decided to write a blog to promote his book and built on his passion for penny-stock trading.

HOW: He was able to get such a following by promising his subscribers that they can be millionaires as well. According to Forbes, he expects his blog to rake in an unbelievable $15-$20 million this year.


Mary Seng

Happily Grey

Blog Topic: Fashion


WHY: Seng admits she had no idea what she was doing when she began blogging, but she was interested in learning and publicizing her passion for fashion.

WHEN: 2012

HOW: She made her money by gaining large amounts of followers and attracting the attention of the giant marketing company RewardStyle.


Rachel Parcell

Pink Peonies

Blog Topic: Fashion


WHY: She originally started a blog to be a private way to keep her friends informed on what she was doing, but it eventually exploded into a well-known fashion blog.

WHEN: 2011

HOW: She earns her millions by contracting with well-known brands and fashion designers and publicizing their products.


Bryan Grey Yambao

Bryanboy

Blog Topic: Fashion & Travel


WHY: He originally started his blog as a travel journal.

HOW: He gained his fame by taking fashion photos of himself while traveling. He is now endorsed by major fashion agencies and making television appearances.

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6 Genius Outreach Methods That Actually Work

Outreach can be a pain, especially if you don’t have a solid plan of approach. Today I am going to share with you 6 Genius Outreach Methods that actually work.

But first, let’s create a benchmark. The “normal” every day outreach email that 99% of people send.

Benchmark: One Shot Approach.

It is basically that. One shot. You email a website owner and you say . . .

“Hey I checked out your website, it is pretty cool. I thought I’d let you know about this resource I made over here: LINK. I would love if you would consider linking to it.”

That’s it! It’s one shot! You asked for the link the very first time that you’ve contacted them, and pretty much they’re gonna say yes, no or not respond to you.

Now this method can maybe work for some situations, but I find that it doesn’t convert very well.

All right let’s get into the six methods that actually work.

Method 1: The No Tell Method

The “No Tell” method is a great psychological trick that you can use to get people to respond at a much higher rate. It is similar to the one shot method, except you don’t actually tell them what you want them to link to. You let their imagination brew a little bit. A “No Tell” email may look something like this:

“Hey great site! I see you’re into [subject] type of guides. I actually created a guide on this myself called [TITLE] which solves the problem of [PROBLEM]. I would love it if you checked it out. Can I send you a link to the guide?”

You can give them an idea of what your resource is about, what problem it solves, or even just the title, but you do not tell them where it is located.

At this point people are curious. I have noticed triple the response rate when I use this method over the “One Shot Method”.

When they respond back and they say, “yeah I’d like to check it”, now you’ve already got them to say yes ONCE. Once they already said yes once, they are MUCH more likely to say yes again. How do I know this? Well, because it is scientifically proven. It’s called the Foot in the Door Phenomenon.

Foot in the Door Phenomenon states: “Once someone has agreed to a small request, that person is more likely to agree to a larger request.”

Researchers Jonathan Freedman and Scott Fraser did an experiment in 1966 where they went door to door asking people to put large signs in their yard that read “drive carefully”.

In the initial round, only 20% of homeowners said yes. In the second round, they bumped this conversion rate up to a whopping 76%!

They did this by first making a smaller request and asking if they could put up a small 3 inch sign. Then when the homeowners agreed, they subsequently got them to agree to the large sign. You can read more about this study in this article on Business Insider.

So first they requested something small that is easy to agree to. Then asked for the bigger request. How can we adapt this to email outreach?

Small Request: “Can I send you a link?”
Big Request: “Will you link to me?”

So as you can see the chances of them saying yes again and linking to you are very high, making this method very powerful.

Now let’s check out this method in action

I was doing some outreach for my print on demand company Teesane. I was trying to get exposure for our guide on How to Screen Print. I collected some contact info from blogs that had mentioned screen printing resources on their blog.

This is one of the emails I sent.

2 days later they responded, happy to see the video we created.

I sent over the link to the content.

Not only did they share it on their blog, but I didn’t even have to ask! How’s that for a phenomenon!

I of course followed up with a thank you.

Boom! Editorial link obtained!

Method 2: The Mention First Method.

The “Mention First” method is a great way to build relationships as well as links. This works really great with tutorials by the way. People love to see real life working examples in content. So for instance, if you create a photoshop tutorial, link out to some design bloggers and showcase their content as an example of what you are teaching. You’re basically showing them as an example of what can be achieved.

One cool trick is to find a gap in their content, and fill it with yours. This way, it increases the chance of them linking to you in return. For instance, if they showcase an awesome design on their blog, create a tutorial on how to make similar designs. If they did not provide a tutorial along with their original post, the chances are petty high they will grant your link request.

Then, reach out to that person you mentioned and say something like . . .

“Hey [NAME], I recently created a tutorial on [SUBJECT] and mentioned you. I thought you should know, and you can check it out here [LINK].”

If someone is going to link back in this scenario, they are going to do it because the content you made is not only useful, but fills avoid in their content.

Method 3: The Big List Method

This is sort of like the “Mention Method” on steroids. You can create a big list of resources, I’m not talking about top 10 or 20, I’m talking about Top 100, 200 or even Top 500 lists!

For instance, you could make “The Big List of Dog Tricks. You could mention tons of dog trainers, pet bloggers, etc in the post and reference specific pages on their website. You make a fantastic resource that anyone would love to share, then you reach out to the people you mentioned. If you mentioned 100 people in your post, that’s 100 people you can reach out to!

Brian Dean actually took a cool approach to this when he made Link Building: The Definitive Guide. Now I know that sounds like a guide he wrote, but it is actually a curated list of the best link building guides on the internet separated by category. Now while Brian includes a few of his guides in the list, the majority are from other sites. Other sites I am sure he reached out to!

So as you can see, Brian did not actually have to come up with any content for this guide! He simply had to come up with a nice design, a way to choose and separate posts by category, and then do outreach!

So again this is like the “Mention First” method, but you have a much larger pool to work from and you are curating resources instead of creating completely original content. Curating resources can be a great way to create fantastic content quickly and easily. People love resources all in one place!

So did it work for Brian? Well he currently ranks #3 for Link Building, only beat out by the SEO Titan MOZ.

Method 4: The Interview Method

Next is the Interview Method! This one is great because people are vain! People love attention!

You can reach out to an influencer in your industry and invite them for an interview via Skype, or a podcast, telephone, or even just a text interview. The chances of them linking to that interview on their website is extraordinarily high, because as I stated in the “Foot in the Door Phenomenon”, they have already agreed to be interviewed. What’s a measly link request as that point!

Plus, if you nab a top influencer, you can generate links and mentions from other bloggers and influencers that want to reference your interview!

Now you *could* reach out to the top guys in your industry, and you should, but this technique works incredibly well for the “middle guys”. These folks are not top influencers, but it would still be a decent link to obtain, and because they are not top guys, they will be thrilled to be interviewed and get some free press!

Want a real life example of how interviews can get your name out there?

In one of my outreach campaigns for Dork Tees, we made friends with a local Facebook Group admin that had a very large following with Walking Dead fans. His group has over 200,000 members. Because his group was so big, he often was able to get Walking Dead cast members to chime in. I thought of a great idea. Why not invite him over to our studio for a Skype interview with one of the cast members!

So were were able to get Lew Temple (played Axel on The Walking Dead) for the interview. Originally it was only supposed to be 15 minutes, but he stayed on with us for over an hour! Check out the interview below:

So what came of all of this?

  1. We got exposure for the brand by aligning ourselves with a celebrity.
  2. We got him to deliver a one liner promoting our company.
  3. We sold a ton of Walking Dead shirts to the group members as a result.
  4. We signed up over 50 new sellers to Teesane (sister company) through cross promoting on the group.
  5. Several Walking Dead fan sites linked to our interview.
  6. We got contracted to print shirts for another cast member to sell at Comic Cons.

All this from the exposure and buzz this one interview generated.

Method 5: The Poor Me Method

This method is based on yet another psychological trick. Basically in this method you are going to reach out to a blogger and you’re going to tell them about a post you made and ask for feedback. You will appear to almost be asking for help!

“Hey [NAME], I create content over at [SITENAME] and recently came up with a post on [SUBJECT]. I really would love some feedback because I want to really focus on improving my content. Would you be interested in checking it out? I would really value your feedback.”

However the trick is, the content you will send over should be EXTREMELY good (and you know it), and when they see you are asking for feedback they will not expect much. So imagine their surprise when they see this awesome post! Not only will they pat you on the back for creating such a great piece of content while remaining so humble, but they will just have to share it!

BONUS Tip: Now even if they decide to email you back with some criticisms, you can always implement one or two and email them back letting them know. This could still get you a link.

In case you are wondering if this will really work or not, here is a real life example of this method in action.

So to summarize . . .

Step 1: Create an AWESOME piece of content that you really don’t think anyone would not be impress by.
Step 2: Email an influencer and ask for feedback on this content, making it clear you are very devoted to improving it.

Then hopefully, they will mention/share/tweet your content. If you combine this method with the next on on this list, it can be extraordinarily powerful.

Method 6: The Warmup Method

Finally one of my favorite methods, the Warmup Method. This method works so good it should be illegal.

How does this method work? You find an influential blogger that you want you want a link from. Rain or shine, you want a mention from THAT blogger.

Step 1: Get to know them.
You follow them on Facebook and Twitter. You comment on their blog. You comment on their Facebook posts over the course of a couple weeks at least. You don’t mention anything about links or even your site. You just genuinely converse with them and add value to the discussion.

You chit chat, you participate. You ask questions so they respond and get to know your name.

Step 2: Rapport Email.
Then maybe after some time you shoot them an email and say . . .

“Hey [NAME], I really like this last post you made [POST]. I actually left a comment on your Facebook last week if you remember! I’m the guy from Chicago! After reading your post, I was wondering if you could tell me your thoughts on [QUESTION].”

Again, don’t mention your site or what you do. Just get a dialogue going and start building a relationship and rapport. Who knows, maybe you will talk sports or tv shows, whatever!

Step 3: Request Email.
Then maybe a week or two later, after it is firmly established that they know who you are and you have a friendly rapport built, you can ask them to checkout a resource you created.

This works because people are far more likely to do a favor for someone they know than someone they don’t. So if you don’t know the person you want a link from, get to know them! It’s basic networking!

Here is this method is action!

While I did not follow it to a T, this still gives a pretty good example. It actually came together rather quickly. I had already commented on their blog and I think a Facebook post. This was my first email. As you can see I asked a question that no Nerd can resist!

He responded! Killer! I can tell he loves talking shop!

I respond with an email I know will get his attention, because quite frankly, Gotham does kinda suck lol.

The chit chat keeps going. This is good. We are starting to build rapport.

Again more chitchat on my part.

Ok enough chit chat, I see his response is informative but getting shorter.

So now I go for the kill.

Well look at that.

That’s how it’s done!

I’d like to point out, it’s great when you get a link from these prospects, but try to continue building a relationship with them and keep in touch. Offering good content that is useful to their audience is the key, so in a way you are helping them and adding value to their site.

Effective Link Building comes from mutual benefits, so make sure it just doesn’t benefit you!

BONUS: if you are into broken link building, check out this awesome broken link checker I made specifically for broken link building!

So what did you think about these 6 Outreach Methods?
Tell me in the comments!

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5 Tips to Jumpstart Your New Blog

Since I released my guide on how to start a blog in 5 minutes, I have been getting a ton of emails from people asking “what do I do now?” and “what’s my first step?”.

First thing is first, if you haven’t done so yet, familiarize yourself with WordPress. You can do this by reading some tutorials or watching some how to videos on basic WordPress usage.

On to the nitty gritty . . .

Here are 5 tips on what do do after you have started your new blog . . .

Tip #1: Make friends with at least 10 bloggers

Go out and find at least 10 bloggers (more if possible) in your niche, and make friends! So if you blog about pets, make sure that you go out you find ten pet bloggers and become friends with them. Comment on their Facebook or blog. Just chit chat with them, ask some questions about a post they made and become familiar with them.

Start some sort up dialogue and build rapport. Don’t mention that you’re a blogger or any that stuff just. Just be genuine and start building relationships.

Tip #2: Find out who is linking and what they care about

There is a lot of websites out there (both bloggers and companies) that have what’s called a resource page or useful links page. This is a page on their website that they dedicate to linking to useful content around the web. Things that their customers or their audience would find useful that they didn’t create themselves.

So what you need to do is find these pages. The way you do this is, go to Google and type in this search phrase:

Use a common keyword related to your industry. If your keyword is screen printing, it would look like this:

What this special search phrase will do is retrieve webpages about screen printing that have pages with links to other websites.

Go through these pages any find out what people are linking to! This will give you about what people in your industry care about enough to link to! Maybe it’s guides or tutorials. Maybe it’s case studies. Whatever it is, it will show you what type of content you need to create. Al you have to do is create something better than what they are linking to!

Tip #3: Create your first resource.

After you’ve gone out there and  figured out what’s going on in your niche, you can now start planning your first piece of content. I suggest going all out and creating a resource. Basically, something that people can reference when talking about a cartain subject in your niche.

Some ideas include:

  • Top 100 List
  • In depth tutorial
  • Glossary of terms
  • Ultimate Guide

Tip #4: Decide how to approach potential linkers

I can break this down into 2  categories.

Type #1 is the guy you have to warm up to. These are bloggers that are real people, not companies. These are people that you need to build rapport with before asking for a link or mention.

Type #2 is companies. Companies don’t have time to chit chat with you. They’re busy running their company. When emailing them your best bet is to go for the kill on the first email. Say something like,

“Hey I notice you have a resource page, I created this great resource I think your customers would love,  you might want to consider adding it.” 

For bloggers and personal people it’s going to take a little bit more than that, but you get the idea.

Boom. Done. Move on to the next.

 

Tip#5: Make a killer About page.

Do this before you contact anyone.

People want to know who they are talking to! Make sure your About page has two very critical things:

  1. It talks about you personally. Who you are and what your story is.
  2. Probably more importantly, a very concise premise on what your blog is about!

Here is an example:

My blog is about pet ownership and my goal is to provide little-known tips and tricks you don’t normally find online on how to train your dog and take care of your pet

Be clear about what your blog is about. When people go and check you out after you’ve emailed them, they’re gonna wonder who they are talking to and that will influence their decision on whether or not to link to you!

So make sure you make an About page and create a Resource for your first piece the content.

 

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Setting up WordPress for the First Time

Go to your website but add /wp-admin at the end of it. So the url should look like mydomain.com/wp-admin

Login in with the username you created at , and the password you just received in your email.


Make sure the title of your site is correct. It will be what your visitors see as the name of your website

Create a catchy tag line for your website. Basically, tell the user what the site is about in one sentance

For the WordPress and Site address you can choose to leave it or add the www. prefix if you like.


This is where you choose how you deal with people commenting and interacting with your blog.

The settings you see to the left are ideal, and will let other blogs know when you mention them, let you know when they mention you, and not display comments unless you approve them.

This is important because there is alot of spamming on the internet, and you do not want your website littered with mentions of pay day loans and David Hasselhoff themed dildos!


This is where you decide how your post adresses (URLS) are displayed.

Use the “Post Name” settings as it has the greatest SEO benefit in my opinion


Click “Plugins” and then “Add New”


Type “Yoast” in the search box and hit enter.


Click “Install Now”.

Yoast is an SEO plugin that pretty much sets your site up damn near perfect for SEO (search engine optimization). This means it optimizes the settings of your site to give you the best chance of ranking in Google.


Hover over the link “SEO” and you will see several sub sections

There are several sections of Yoast that ask for information from you to best optimize your site. I will go over a few of the important ones.

Click “SEO” to see the main settings of Yoast. Choose Person and enter your name

Click “Webmaster Tools” and enter your Google Analytics Tracking link or Clicky Tracking link. This will allow you to monitor your blog traffic. You can set these up later. Google is free but a pain to use, Clicky is paid but super easy and F$#%^@# awesome.

Click “Social” and enter your social profiles that you want to be associated with this blog.

That’s it, Yoast is setup!

To learn more about Yoast and additional features, check out their guide to WordPress SEO

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The category section is where you can create different categories for your posts, like “Product Reviews, “Tutorials”, “Case Studies”, etc.

Make sure you name your category with uppcaercase for the first letter, and for the “slug” use all lowercase and replace spaces with dashes.


Creating posts is super easy, even if you don’t know any HTML code. You can add images, videos, and different style of font with the WordPress post tools. By the way, the way you create pages such as an “About Me” page, is essentially the same. Just use the pages section. Ok go ahead an Click “Posts” then “Add New”

Enter in a descriptive post title that includes your keyword or keyphrase.

Use the WordPress Posts Tools to format your post

Click Publish!


One of the great things about WordPress, there is a ton of both free and paid template called “Themes” that integrate seamlessly into your website/blog. Let’s choose one right now.

Click “Appearance” and then “Themes” and then type something into the search box. In the case we are looking for a music style theme.

Choose the theme you like, and click “install”.

The theme will take a moment to install, the click “Activate”.

Now go to the top left of your screen, hover over your site name and click “Visit Site”.

Boom baby! As you can see, your theme/design is active and you can see your first post! Way to go!

That’s it for WordPress Basics. Obviously there is much more to learn about using wordpress, and you can se a great guide on it here.

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Anatomy of a Perfect Outreach Email

A few weeks ago I checked out the “Whiteboard Friday” video section on Moz.com. Rand Fishkin did an absolutely astounding job explaining the difference between a good outreach email, and a GREAT one!

Now, I can sometimes have a limited attention span and I always like to take notes, so after sitting through the entire video, I decided to watch it again and summarize the most important points.

In the end, I decided to make an Infographic, “The Anatomy of a Perfect Outreach Email”, based on Rand’s suggestions. I did this to show my outreach team, so they didn’t have to sit through the entire video! (They ARE on the clock you know, haha!).

Anyhoo, I thought I would share it as my team LOVED it.
Here is a link to the Original whiteboard Friday video if you would like to watch it: http://moz.com/blog/what-separates-a-good-outreach-email-from-a-great-one-whiteboard-friday

And here is the Infographic:

Use this Infographic on your Website:


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How to Choose between WhiteHat and BlackHat SEO

Would you wear the same outfit to every party? Of course not. Different occasions call for different styles. SEO is no different. It’s all depends on what kind of party you are attending.

It’s okay to wear different hats.

Sometimes Whitehat SEO is the way to go, other times it just may not be feasible. Here’s how to asses the competition and decide which hat you should wear.

How to Choose between WhiteHat or BlackHat SEO


Welcome to the Party

First, we will explain the 2 types of parties. White and Black. Then we will explain how to tell what kind of party your keyword belongs to!

The White Party

This party is where all the most respected big companies hang out. Keywords that call for a white party are usually in industries like Technology, Real Estate, Internet Marketing, Business, etc.

To put it simply, all the big dogs are most likely participating in Whitehate SEO. They are providing valuable content, tools, or services that naturally get them backlinks. If you want to rank at this party, you will have to stick to White Hat SEO.

The Black Party

This party is where the rough crowd hangs out.

Usually the lion share of attendies are affiliate marketors or spammers who are looking to make a quick buck. If these party goers are found sneaking into a White Party, Google usually kicks them out of the party before the nights over.

This is equalient to getting a Google Penatly. Rankings achieved by blackhat or spammy tenchiques don’t fly in a White Party.

However, if what if your at a party where EVERYONE is waring a Black Hat? Well now that’s different.

We have seen websites using black hat techniques hold a consistant rank for years, all throughout Panda, Penguin, and Hummbird updates. IF and I say IF your heart is set on using Blackhat Techniques (and ONLY if!), read my post on “How I Rank #1 Within a Week Everytime“.

Since succeeding at White Hat SEO is moslty dependant on getting backlinks from your peers, how are you going to succeed if all your peers are cutthroat filty spammers?

The fact is, sometimes you can’t! Sometimes a keyword or niche is soley dominated by balckhatters . . .but somtimes Google never drops in on that party!

Now is the time to put on your Black hat and get ready for the party.

The Grey Party

This party is a little different. This party is full of websites that don’t have the budget or time to go all out White Hat style, but are too afraid to resort to Black Hat style methods for fear of Google banishment.

This is the worst party to be at, because you never know when Google is going to bust in the door.

Additionally, if a Black hatter comes to the party, he may outrank everyone for a couple months before geting penalized. In a White Party, he would get kicked out almost immediately.

This may sound good, but can result in temporary lost revenue for the other party goers! Figuring out what type of strategy to employee at this party can be challenging, but we will get more into that later.

What hats are the 10 most popular people at the party wearing?

First, we are going to start at the #1 ranking site for your keyword. We will be using SEMRush to find out which competitor has been at the top the longest, with the most consistant amount of Search Engine Traffic. This will tell us which site has been popular for awhile, and isn’t just crashing the party for an hour. We don’t care what Hat the party crasher is wearing.

For instance, let’s say a website jumped up to the first page dramatically and has only been there for a couple of months. It’s quite possible this site may be using spammy link tactics.

We don’t want to copy this sites backlink strategy, as there is a pretty good possiblity they won’t be ranking for long, and neither would we! Instead, let’s find a site that has steady rankings, and then copy THAT strategy.

Let’s look at the keyword “web hosting reviews”

Top 10 results for “web hosting reviews”

Let’s take a look at the #1 ranking site in SEMRUSH, webhostshield.com

Now, even though the site’s search traffic looks SUPER steady, we can see that there is only data that goes back as far as October of 2013. Not sure why. Could be that it’s a new site, or maybe SEMRUSH is missing some data. Either way, I would not want to try and “copy” thier backlink strategy because there isn’t enough data for me to feel safe.

Let’s take a look at the #9 ranking site, woodstitch.com

As we can see, they pretty much had nill for search traffic, and had a sharp rise in July of 2013. You can already see the decline though, right around November of 2013. Sometimes this is a sign that the site might have a spammy backlink profile, or it could mean that they simply are not keeping up with the competition. Either way, not something we want to emulate if we want lasting rankings

Now let’s check out whoishostingthis.com

Okay, so here we can see a much steadier and more gradual rise in search traffic. This could be a winner! At this point we can use Majestic SEO or Opensite Explorer to investigate what backlinks they have, and then employ the same strategy!

Pro Tip: Find 2 or 3 other sites that rank well in the same industry and also have a gradual traffic graph. Cross reference the backlink between each site and come up with a custom plan combining the best of several worlds!

Taking a quick peek at thier backlink profile, we can see they include a tool on thier homepage that allows a user to see what hosting company any domain is on. The tool is quite useful and popular, which results in a ton of natural backlinks. They also create and promote infographics. “Free Tools” and Infographics are very popular Whitehat Methods.

Verdict: “web hosting reviews” is a White Party

Action: Copy the Backlink Strategy from whoishostingthis.com


Now let’s look at the keyword “electronic cigarettes”

Here are the top 10 results

Now we can see fairly quickly that this is a much different party. Almost ALL of the SEMRUSH reports look the same. Plus, even before checking backlink profiles, we can see a good indicatoin this may be a Black Party.


21centurysmoke.org was turned into an Ecig site in October of 2013, which we can see by the the Wayback Machine. It has a fast rise to the top. (Likely Blackhat)


info-electronic-cigarette.com is another similare case (Likely Blackhat)


sbicouncil.org is really obvious. This is a former business site that had alot of juicy authority. It was probably bought as an expired domain and converted to an affiliate site (Definelty Blackhat)


klks.com is just glowing blackhat. Another expired domain. (Definelty Blackhat)


electroniccigaretteconsumerreviews.com is an example of an exact match domain. This traffic look a little bit more stable, but not much. (Maybe Blackhat)


ihl-hockey.com is another expired domain example. It used to be a Hockey site. What the heck does Hocky have to do with electronic cigarettes?

However, interestingly enough, even though the traffic has ups and downs, the site has the longest history of decent traffic. We should probably look at this guy (Probably Blackhat)


But first . . .

Let’s check the backlinks from one of the sites that looks obviously “blackhatty” from it’s traffic graph. As you can see below, sbicouncil.org has a TON of spammy links, and like we mentioned earlier, has a ton of links with anchor text haveing nothing to do with the sites current topic.

However, on a funny note, the site named itself Smokeless Butt Insiders to attempt to become relevent to the domain name. Thanks for chuckling with us.

After checking the other sites mentioned, both 21centurysmoke.org, info-electronic-cigarette.com, klks.com, and even electroniccigaretteconsumerreviews.com all had spammy backlinks.

Really bad ones too! We probably don’t want to copy these guys, as time may not be on their side.

Now let’s look at ihl-hockey.com. As we can see, they in fact are employed blackhate techniques, but they are very organized in thier efforts.

They started with an expired domain, that had a link from NHL.com! Now that’s some link juice! They also used the Private Blog Network Technique to create several websites with relevant content and link to thier money sites from them.

Even though this site is engaging in balckhat tactics, they have a pretty solid traffic history. They probably keeps those private blogs on seperate ips, and use private domain registrations! Blackhat? Yes. But hey, we bet the site owner is making alot of money.

If we are going to attend a Black Party, we are going to need a black hat.

A white hat obviously has no place in this niche, because none are around!

Could we become the life of the party wearing a White Hat? It’s possible, but it would take a long time, and take alot of convincing.

There just isn’t alot of linking oppurtunites when all of the relevant websites in your niche are blackhatters! They sure as heck aren’t going to link to you!

So, if we are going to stoop to slipping on that ole Black Topper, let’s try to enjoy the party as long as possible. What better way to do that than ask the guy who has been there the longest, Mr. ihl-hockey.com.

Verdict: “electronic cigarette reviews” is a Black Party

Action: Copy the Backlink Strategy from ihl-hockey.com, and party up!

So what have we learned?

Sometimes it is appropriate to wear a white hat, and sometimes it’s better to go with the black hat. But you must always do your due diligence and research what kind of party it is you will be attending!

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