Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Yaro Starak on How to Make Money Blogging

I listened to a podcast this morning by Yako Starak.  He offers a program or system to make money through blogging.  I took notes. Those notes are here:

1.  Blog is your central platform.
2.  Email list: direct line of communication.  This goes to a person’s inbox where people check it everyday.  Email marketing is so powerful.  Direct line of communication. 
3.  Free giveaway (lead magnet)
4.  Deliver a result before asking for money.  This is why we give so much free value.  give customers a result before you ask for money. 
5.  You need a product to sell to people: product or service.  Using digital products for digital delivery.  This is important so you can make money while you sleep. 

1.  Traffic
2.  Trust
3.  Transparency.

Use blog to attract people to show them what you’re doing.
1.  How you build trust is through transparency.  Be transparent with your blog and information on your blog. 

1.  Tracy Raftl on acne.  Thelovevitamin.
2.  TheBookDesigner blog by Joel Friedlander to help people with self publishing.  He sells book templates, online courses on self-publishing, and a 10-Secrets on self-publishing that he gives away. 
3.  Shetakesontheworld.com by Natalie MacNeil, a Canadian that focuses on video.  In this podcast, she talks with an Australian gal who owns the site LuckyBitch.com.  Whomever she is she is ditzy.  Her quaint little world view on money adds no value to anyone.  It's basic information.  Below basic.  I generally don't like to knock people, but I do want to register talent and value when I see it and record poor value, a waste of time when I see it.  The Lucky Bitch is one such waste of time.
4.  MuhammadNoer.com.  Indonesian.  Still follows his system.  Teaches people how to speed read. 
5.  VirtualMissFriday.com from Michelle Dale.  Good example of digital nomad through Europe.  She’ll stay put in one city—in Rome, raises her kids there, and runs her business.  Runs a virtual assistance, and also teaches people how to become virtual assistance.  Lots of things available to people.  Virtual assistance, $30k a month.  And courses at $30k / month.
6.  Entrepreneurs-journey.com.  how I overcame my fear of failure. Personal development, marketing, selling products, email courses.  Blog is the starting point for everything that he does.  It’s not the end-all, be-all that the owner believes it to be or wants it to be, like some shrine to greatness.  It’s a funnel—a funnel to your digital, problem-solving products or services.  That’s what a blog is.  Gives away free value, offers a result before making his offer for paid products.  And then has various niche products that solve problems of those in his market.  Build an audience through content, marketing yourself, bringing people onto your email list for direct line of communication, sell products, make money while you sleep.  Blogging plus email list to sell products and services.  Jkonwledge, ideas, and turn into advice and package up into products to sell.  He’s coached thousands of people who’ve built successful blogging businesses.  He then invites them onto his podcast to tell about what they did at the beginning and how they earned money. 

Blog > Email List > Front-end product > Front-end subscription > Flagship Course > Membershiph Site > Live Event > Private Coaching.

This system is effective at selling products.  

Monday, January 11, 2016

Winning PowerPoint presentation.

Kawasaki's recommended structure for any entrepreneurial presentation is as follows:
1.    Problem
2.    Your solution
3.    Business model
4.    Underlying magic/technology
5.    Marketing and sales
6.    Competition
7.    Team
8.    Projections and milestones
9.    Status and timeline
10.   Summary and call to action
Regardless of a specific structure you choose for your presentation, your story needs to accomplish three goals: frame the issue, present the challenge, and explain how you will solve the problem.
I do know that they have a free app that lets you create a Facebook store (a page different from your personal page), which you can also include as a tab on your personal page. People coming to your personal page can go directly to your store, and vice versa.

Your Facebook store is tied to your Shopify store, so when you add or remove products, change descriptions, upload an image, make something unavailable, create a coupon, etc. you do these things in your Shopify store. The changes in the Shopify store are then automatically shoved through to your Facebook store. 

You can sell physical and/or downloadable products on Shopify.

Another service with identical Facebook functionality but without the transaction fees that Shopify charges is Volusion.com. Also, with Volusion your customers don't leave your site when completing a purchase, as they do with Shopify. 

You can sell digital and physical products on Volusion also. Before you jump onto Shopify, check them out.

Both services also have mobile responsiveness and extensive social media features (e.g. Tweet, Share or Like this product) and have extensions such as allowing customer reviews, abandoned cart keep-alive, live chat with your customers, and a variety of analytics.

One thing to be aware of with selling digital downloads is that downloads consume bandwidth, and some platorms have restrictions or impose extra charges if you exceed a certain amount. You'll want to discuss this topic with someone knowledgeable at any store platform that you're considering before you commit yourself.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

A winning product mix strategy for 2016

Times are changing, and so is our product mix strategies. In this article I lay out the direction we'll be following and why, plus I list the kinds of products we will be developing.

A few years back, I published A Winning Product Mix for 2009, in which I wrote about the product mix strategy that my wife and I would be focusing on to reach our income and lifestyle goals.

In that article, I listed these as being the winning product mix:
  • Subscription Websites
  • DVDs
  • Autopilot Web Sites
  • Domain Names
  • Software Products
  • Private Label Resell Rights
  • Training Workshops
That mix worked extremely well for us, reaching and exceeding the income goals we set.

But times are changing. The product mix that worked five years ago may not work now. The economy has changed, the internet has changed and consumer demographics and desires have changed as well.

For example, according to a recent study, a majority of Americans have less than $500 in savings and are one paycheck away from being homeless. ((See http://www.marketwatch.com/story/most-americans-are-one-paycheck-away-from-the-street-2016-01-06).

For this and other reasons, we've re-evaluated our product mix and have made adjustments.

Since you're probably in the same kind of business we're in, I thought you might be interested in seeing what we plan to do.

Our 2016 to 2019 Product Mix
  • Writing and Publishing Books for Kindle - After testing this market with one non fiction book and five novels, I've learned that writing the right kind of books and publishing them on Amazon can produce a significant five figure monthly income stream.
  • With Amazon, you eliminate most of the hassles and expense of running a business. There is no need to have a merchant account, maintain product inventory, take orders or ship products. You don't even need a web site.
  • You just have to write and publish books and cash the checks Amazon sends each month.
  • My strategy is to publish at least one novel a year for the next five years and at least one (and likely more) how-to book each year. The how-to books don't earn as much as the novels, but are easier and quicker to write.
  • Monetized YouTube Videos - With our monetized YouTube account, we've seen our YouTube earnings sometimes exceed $5,000 a month. I believe that with a little more focus, we could easily double that.
  • As with Kindle publishing, a major advantage of monetized YouTube videos is there is no need to have a merchant account, product inventory, take and ship customer orders or deal with product returns.
  • This creates a truly hands-off kind of business. Just create, upload and monetize videos and cash the checks YouTube sends month.
  • Domain Names - I've found that registering and then selling quality domain names is an easy, almost no risk business with very high returns. But to successful, you do have to buy the right domain names and get them inexpensively (under $4.00).
  • While the income we generate from domain name sales is usually less than $8,000 a year, it does add to the product mix. We will continue to do this in the future.
  • Subscription Websites - Operating a subscription website has be a significant part of our business for the past fifteen years, and we expect that to continue for the foreseeable future.
  • Subscription web sites are an ideal web business as they can be operated by one person, yet serve tens of thousands of customers.
  • We plan to continue our subscription web site and work to see its continued growth.
  • Templates - One of the surprising potential income areas has been the free templates we offer on our site to visitors. These templates attract thousands of new visitors and I often see our templates being used (and even sold without my permission) on other sites.
  • Since creating certain kinds of templates is relatively easy, I might put together a package of several of them and sell at a relatively low price.
  • Since this would be a digital download, delivery would be easy and the sales could generate several thousand dollars a year.
Dropped from our Product Mix
If you're read previous articles about our product mix, you may have noticed we have dropped a few things from the list. These include:
  • DVDs - In the past, we often sold 300-500 DVDs a month, and in some months, we shipped over a thousand. But due to changes in consumer preferences and the wide availability of free videos on YouTube, the demand for DVDs has fallen way off. A recent article in USA Today, said the era of the DVD is over, and they might be right. Consumers are no longer buying DVDs like they used to.
  • While there is still demand for certain how-to topics on DVD, the demand is not great enough for us to focus our efforts in that area. So we won't be producing any new DVDs.
  • Auto Pilot Web sites - We've created a number of auto-pilot web sites that we filled with content from eBay, YouTube and Amazon. These sites would generate affiliate income when visitors clicked links that led them to products on ebay and Amazon.
  • We've seen the income from these sites fall off as changes in search engine rankings meant fewer visitors and changes in the commission structure at Amazon and eBay meant lower per click earnings.
  • While I won't be shutting down any of my existing auto-pilot sites, I won't be creating any new ones in the future. They just aren't generating the income we want from them.
  • Software products - As the developer of MemberGate, eShowcase Pro, Pubster, OrderDesk Pro and several other software packages, I know that developing and selling software can be lucrative. However, it can be hard work and can be quite draining to focus all your time and energy on developing and supporting just one product.
  • With the advent of multiple mobile platforms and millions of free and low cost apps available, it becomes increasingly difficult for individuals to make a profit from selling software. That said, it still can be done, especially if you use a strong affiliate network and can reach millions of people with your promotion.
  • But for us, this is not the direction we want to take. 
  • Resale rights - While there seems to be a constant demand from individuals interested in purchasing resale rights from us, we no longer have any rights to offer, so we are out of this business.
Our evolving product strategy
Our main strategy is to use the big three (Amazon, YouTube and Google) to handle the mechanical side of our business (order taking, packaging and shipping of physical products), while we focus on the creative side.
By letting Amazon, YouTube and Google worry about the coming changes in the credit card industry as well as problems associated with dealing with taxes on internet sales, we can focus our efforts on supplying them with the products and content that they are happy to pay us for.

Addendum - One of the big benefits of the above plan is it allows us to significantly reduce our business operating costs as well as the equipment and space needed to operate it.

In years past, we rented office space (even entire buildings) to house our video studio, cameras, recorders and have desk space for employees and room for inventory storage and an area for shipping.

With our current product strategy, we can operate the entire business from a small laptop computer. No office space or expensive equipment is needed. No employees required. No need to stock any inventory. No worry about merchant account or payment gateway expenses.
This means much less time, money and stress needed to operate the business and a huge savings in business overhead.

So we significantly reduce operating costs while increasing income - which is a proven strategy to business success.

A Flexible Mix
Our strategic product mix is always a work in progress and is likely (and expected) to change as the world around us changes.

But for now, the above is our plan. By relying on Amazon, Google and YouTube, we eliminate the risky and most costly aspects of operating a business in a global economy, while taking advantage of the marketing power and resources those three entities offer.

Thursday, January 7, 2016


Last thing: Assuming you're near a city, go to meetup.com and search for local Wordpress meetups. Or Google "[your city] wordpress meetup." You want one aimed at users and not Wordpress programmers or designers. There you will meet people that can answer any further questions you have and they are happy to help. In my city, I went to a couple meetups. There were only about 10 people there, but most were semi-professional bloggers and there were a couple designers/programmers. It's a good way to get tips from users, as well as make contacts with some local designers. Wordpress can be tedious to get to look "just right." The Pareto rule is in effect -- you can get 80% of the benefit from 20% of the work. Once you get it 80% of the way there, it would probably make sense to pay an expert to tweak your theme rather than try to fix it yourself. Since a few designers will be attending the meetup, you can evaluate them then and consider hiring them in the future if you decide you need their help.

How to become a WordPress developer.  More ways here.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

The problem with Facebook fan pages is visitors can't 'join' to automatically see the posts like they can do with personal pages.

Also, people who search google won't see facebook pages in the results.

That's why it usually is better to have a real web site as well as a Facebook presence.

The world of the internet is rapidly changing. Techniques that worked just a few short years ago no longer work.

These days, the hot spot on the internet are the social media apps - facebook, twitter, pinterest and YouTube.

Those are the sites that attract the most visitors and the most attention and if you want to drive traffic to your own site, a good way to do it is to create something on your site that is viral worthy and then post comments and links to it on the major social media sites.

Almost everyone in internet marketing understands the value of social media and all are trying to get their product to go viral on social media, so there is a lot of competition. But if you have something crazy, weird, or funny and you can get enough people on social media to share or like it, you might be able to draw a crowd to your site.

FYI: According to Facebook, 72% of all internet users visit there at least once a month. Over a billion internet users visit there each day. http://expandedramblings.com/index.php/by-the-numbers-17-amazing-facebook-stats/

Are you talking web design or a website content management system (CMS)? WordPress is a hybrid of both.

For designing a website (creating web pages, etc.), there are many applications - something like Brackets, for instance, or old standbys like DreamWeaver. To a great extent the design tool would depend on which web technologies you intend to use.

With these, you would design pages on the desktop, either from scratch or using templates they provide, and upload the pages to your website.

If you're talking about a CMS, there are alternatives to WordPress such as Joomla, Drupal and some others. You install these on your website much as you would install WordPress (most hosting auto-installers would accommodate the two I named, at least). However, they typically do require somewhat greater skill with web technologies than WordPress does when it comes to customizing them, managing them, securing them, etc.

Then, there's another category of hybrid design/CMS/hosting platform like Wix, Weebly, Moonfruit, Shopify, SquareSpace, etc. Basically, you get a website, a collection of themes, a visual drag-and-drop/point-and-click tool to customize the theme you choose, and various extensions are available to add extra functionality to your site, like a shopping cart. This might be the sort of thing you're looking for.

Not knowing what you mean by "design software", why you're avoiding WordPress, or your level of technical skill, it's difficult to say.
I know Bill's position on this, which is that WordPress powers about a third of the websites on the Internet and that as long as you stick with WP-approved plug-ins, stay current on the latest stable version of WP, and back up your site religiously, WP is the platform of choice.