To some of us, writing is a gift. To others, it is a hobby, profession, or a dream.
Content writing is a current fact of life and the rise of e-commerce makes it a reality for business owners and entrepreneurs who want to pursue this job.
There is no shortage of supply and demand in this field. However, finding the right writer to fill your website or blog site is not always an easy task.
How does a business owner who is not a writer, find the wordsmith that expresses his core values, business presence, and unique personality?
You have just entered the world of the content writer.
While some of us manage to build a portfolio from established clients, articles and ghostwriting, others find breaking into the industry difficult.
The difficulty felt by the writer is one shared by the business owner needing them. This is the concept that birthed the content platforms.
Content providers do the legwork for the entrepreneur. They seek out the writers.
They work with them, grade them, develop them and provide an avenue for the business owner to find them. The client connects with the writer and they receive quality work at a reasonable price.
The writer is paid by the middle-man at their agreed rate and everyone is happy. While this is the basis of the business, building your relationship with the writer is much more complicated.
Content platforms have hundreds of writers on staff.
These writers are all different. They have different experience levels, training, and personalities. The art of choosing the correct writer begins with the writer matching your requirements.
During the process, you will inevitably find some writers that seem to “get you”. You will communicate this with the writer and the relationship building begins.
You will hear writers talk about finding their “niche”. This is usually their experience.
For example, in the private sector, I spent 20 years in the HVAC business, I was an inventory manager and an office manager.
I know a few things about the HVAC business. In my spare time, I did charity work and raised funds for the homeless. I am married with grandchildren and I am deeply spiritual.
My family is my passion. I could easily write about any of these topics. Does this mean, I am a sure fit for your site if you own an HVAC business?
While my job title was inventory manager; charts, forecasted orders, and material costs were not my “first love”. I began in sales. My boss was the vice-president of sales, and I supported the sales team.
I knew what customers needed before they did. I pressed service contracts and knowing when to upgrade. I was a pro at troubleshooting issues.
So if you are looking for someone to inspire your clients to have regular service, when to call, what to watch for and listen to in their systems, I am a rock star.
If you are looking for someone to explain to your team how to plan inventory for winter months and when to phase out their 13 SEER systems and push for higher numbers, I can do it but I am not going to shine at it.
The same is true in any business. To find your writer, you need someone who shares your passion. By working with a good content provider, those relationships can be formed.
While we are talking about providers, if you are judging your provider only on their price, you are missing the boat. There are content mills that take advantage of the new writer, the writer who does not write English as their first language, and the people who simply do not know the value of their work.
These mills will offer you writing for pennies. To put it bluntly, is finding the writer that represents your voice of so little value? If you want to pay someone $2.00 for 400 words, you must expect low quality.
No respectable writer would sell their work for that price and no respectable provider would hire a writer of such low value.
The bottom line is this
Finding the perfect writer requires a bit of work. Whether you do the work, or allow a content provider to do the work, someone must do it.
The end result is awesome content that keeps your readers returning for more. That is worth the small fee you pay. It is rewarding for people like me, who love to write for people who think like I do. Win-win situation for all parties involved.
Once you have developed a relationship with your service provider and writer, you continue to grow. As a preferred writer, I would get to know you.
I would learn your requirements and what you appreciate and what you will not allow. I communicate through the provider and I take direction.
You are spared the sometimes frustrating details of expression, as your provider is a professional who turns your instructions into a working template for the writer.
This three-way relationship is seamless in the content industry. You have probably heard the saying “Content is King.”
That is true to some extent, but turning that content into communication makes people like me; Queen. Using the right content service provider and the right writer, guarantees the success of your site.
I get it and I am with you my brothers and sisters...outreach sucks balls.
This is exactly how I feel when I do outreach.
Some people love and more power to them, but it isn't really my cup of tea.
However there are some things that might make it easier...
Things You Can Do To Make Outreach More bearable and Reduce Your Fear of Rejection
As I say, I am actually in the position of receiving guest posts, so the following points are mainly my pet hates and the kinds of things that make me not even bother to reply:
Write or pay for a good post
It will get shared much more.
Not much more to say about this point but it is kind of related to all of the other points.
Don’t just do it for a link
most bloggers are pretty savvy about SEO nowadays and do you really think that a website owner is going to risk their site getting smacked down by Google just so you can muscle in an link like: “best dick pump expander” back to your shitty penis enlargement affiliate website? (Answer: no).
I know that it is kind of annoying because let's be honest here, we all want a juicy link, however if you go in with the attitude that you want to help the website you are submitting to, they are waaaay more likely to help you out with this.
I have actually let people get a nice in content back link because they were so helpful.
If the site is of a medium size and authority, (I guess like 100+ posts of decent content and DA 30+), then you had better believe that the webmaster has put in a not insignificant effort to get it to that stage.
Be slightly considerate and just follow their guidelines and put even the tiniest amount of effort in the grammar and layout.
Make sure to understand what kind of content that site actually puts out themselves
I.e. if they have a tech site, then make your guest post about tech or at least somewhat vaguely tech related.
You would be surprised the amount of times I get a guest post to my health site that is like: “Why you Should Buy the Best Running Shoes”.
That sounds great on the outside because running and health go together like a fart and a piss, but upon further inspection of these kinds of posts, they only want to shoehorn in their exact match anchor text, (see point 2).
DON’T USE A SCRIPT FROM AN IM WEBSITE
Seriously, I cannot tell you the amount of time I have read a blog post from like Authority Hacker or something, that gives an example of a script they use; only to be bombarded with emails using that script almost verbatim!
Please for the love of the guest posting script Gods, just write an outreach email that is somewhat original.
It really isn’t that difficult to come up with something and if I am getting these kind of canned outreach emails, you can bet your arsehole that other webmasters are.
Even if a webmaster is not au fait with SEO and SEO type blogs, you should understand that they are not stupid and the penny will drop soon enough and will make them fed up and possibly even consider scraping their write for us page.
Use something like Buzzsumo
I use the free option and just type in a keyword about something I think is interesting and related to their site, then see what comes out.
Then either I will research and write myself or hire a writer.
This way you should be able to see what is popular and then stand a better chance at getting a response.
If you are sending a list post; it had better be a good un’.
Honestly I have lost count at the amount of times I have received a post like: “10 Methods to Lose Weight”, and upon reading it, it is garbage like 1. Go running, 2. Jump about bit or whatever and it is just some boring, regurgitated shit that some dickhead has probably just copied from a website from 2002 and then placed into The Best Spinner.Anyway,
THAT’S NOT COOL and did I mention boring.
That said, I have received some pretty descent list posts that are obviously well researched, nicely written and had some care and attention put into crafting them.
Don’t use the same post for all of your outreach
I do have a premium Copyscape account and I know how to use it.
If I have to use up one of my 5 cent credits only to find out it has been plastered all over the web; I am going to be a bit peeved.
Provide value and you should be rewarded
I have published some really good guest posts from people and I have actually gone the extra mile for them in terms of promoting the post and also their website via my (small) list and (small but growing…like the product from point 2 really) social media channels.
The really good guest posts regularly get viewed and people actually visit their site.
So a great guest post can get you the coveted double whammy of a nice in content back link + real referrals.
So that is kind of my rant and now I am focusing on going full on beast mode in my outreach with some of my websites, it has been a valuable lesson to learn what a normal human webmaster thinks when they receive pitches.
There are more points but I just wanted to rant and cover the basics.
If you have any other stories about bad guest posting then you can let me know in the comments so we can all have a good old laugh and bumsmack about it.
This particular site is not really a niche site per se, but rather more of an "authority site".
That means that I am not going for buyer keywords directly and hoping to rank naturally for some decent terms.
That said, I do come from a purely affiliate background, and as such I can't resist tracking some keywords of content that I researched.
So you an see some of the keywords I am tacking below and their rankings as of the update of this post:
So as you can see, nothing really to write home about, but these rankings are with either 0 back links, or some basic ones like social shares, infographic directory links, randomly acquired links and so on.
My goal here is not to go crazy about single keywords, but rather to create topics surrounding certain conditions.
To that end, I have focused on some key niches such as:
Lifestyle (kind of making this the generic "blog" section that I can lump in random posts)
OK, so I am in the health niche and I think that this was probably my first mistake!
Not actually getting into this niche, but rather my niche is: Health!
That is way too broad and I didn’t really think it through that much. The reason I went for it was because I wanted to create an online magazine and then I was going to just pay for content, perhaps 8-16 posts per month.
However that was when I had a steady online income that I could reinvest.
Anyway I lost that income stream, (I put all my eggs into 1 basket…so don’t do that), and I was kind of left scrambling around a bit.
I went through a kind of sadness and despair about losing everything, however it kind of turned out not that bad and opened my eyes to other forms of income that…well it’s a long story and I will go into it a bit further in another post.
Suffice to say that I had invested a fair amount of money in setting my new site up and had an asset that I thought I may as well expand n.
That was in May 2016 so how have I been doing so far?
I decided from the outset that I wanted to get a large chunk of traffic via social media and this niche is especially ripe for this kind of traffic generation.
In particular Pinterest.
This is always the first thing I set up with a brand new site and it was no different here.
However I decided that I wanted to get some ads to boost numbers and it kind of worked, but I did it half arsed and only got around 50 followers, (pretty engaged, but very few nonetheless).
This site has never been of much interest to me really, but it is something that, like Facebook, I start with every site. However it has actually been a blessing in disguise, because according to my analytics, visitors from Twitter are some of the most engaged readers I have!!!
I used a service called Quu.co by buying a special deal from AppSumo, (btw if you haven’t already singed up with them…go and do it now. Or after you have read and shared my post!).
It is a great program where they essentially have 2 side. ! side is where you can pay them to post relevant topics on your social media pages to keep them updated with interesting content, the other side being for people like you and me that want to have our content shared.
You just upload a great image, (I always use Canva for this and all of my website images), then add a few hashtags and wiat for them to approve it.
I have used it on about 8 of my posts, (all well written and engaging) and usually get anything from 200 – 300 shares per post of FB and Twitter, but mainly Twitter.
It is great as well because it opens up loads of opportunities to network.
For example if you see that a website has shared a post of yours to their many followers, you can reach out to them and thank them. Sometimes nothing happens, but other times you might get a link or another share of another post or a guest post opportunity.
Now this was the thing I really wanted to target because health related things get shared like mad.
I used a special software called Follower Liker that automates sharing, pinning, repinning etc and speeds up the process of getting followers.
So now I have around 1,200 followers, perhaps 1,000 of those are people as opposed to brands, in about 5 months. I could have got more but my HDD on my computer decided to die on me along with the software 🙁
I won’t go into the ins and outs of Pinterest marketing because there are much better guides out there that will explain it better than me, but it is very worthwhile.
However you must make sure to set it up correctly from the start.
SEO & Organic Traffic
As much as I want social traffic, to me being an affiliate marketer at heart; I crave organic traffic!
With regards to each point, let’s go through them both individually:
As with everything about this new site, I didn’t plan it through properly but am now starting to get things into shape.
At the beginning I just did a mixture of post types with a strong emphasis on keyword research. The way I did this was to both do my own research and also to buy a Clickbank keyword from this guy (aff link but I have used him multiple times to great effect…just make sure to specify the general niche you are in).
I then either wrote a quick post myself and optimized the on page, or outsourced it.
Don’t get me wrong, this is quality content and I have mixed it up with some 3 -5,000 word, super detailed posts.
However I am not getting the traffic I was expecting. But I know the reason behind this.
The main thing was that they are not connected to each other in any significant way.
How Did I Fix This?
I wrote several more related articles, then grouped them together in a kind of quasi, category based silo structure and then cleaned up the homepage and menus to reflect this.
I have also been on an inner page, interlinking rampage and going back over many older posts and updating them to link to related posts.
For example, I have a section about detoxing, so I have linked all the detox posts together with exact match anchor text, (where it makes sense) and I have found that this has helped engagement and keep people on my site.
I have been receiving a steady amount of traffic from all over the place and my 30 analytics shows this:
Now this is isn’t the full picture and I have not really analysed it properly, but I would say that about 1,000 of these visits are junk. Some of the junk is real people, but very un-targeted or have stumbled upon the site in random manner.
However I am fairly happy with the way it is looking.
BTW, some of the weird spikes there are from some tests I ran but ultimately decided against continuing it, adverts etc.
In a usual affiliate website, I would expect to reach a certain number of posts before seeing some income, but this site is a different beast.
I have settled into posting 1 time per week and am now considering ramping that way up.
But, How Can I Do This With No Income?
Good question and one I was scratching my head about until I found a solution to get medium quality content for free, (kind of free you give something in return).
The answer is to accept guest posts on your site!
Now I will add a caveat here, you have to spend some money or write a decent amount of posts to start with, and you also need some authority.
I don’t really care for website metrics, but in this case it helps a lot.
you see, my site is now DA 23 PA 34 and TF 14 CF25 which is quite average, but great to anyone looking to get a nice backlink.
What I did was to create a page titled “write for us” (important because this is an operator people search for when looking for guest post opportunities).
On that page I displayed certain rules that must be followed in order to pitch me a guest post. This is also important because I only want high quality content for this site and not a 400 word piece of shit, boring ass post like: “5 reasons you should care about your health” YAWN, aint no one got time to read that crap!
I also specify that any link back to a site will be from an author byline, however if the content is exceptional then I allow a non exact match link back to an inner page of their site as a reference.
I also require that they must cite all sources used to research the post and I will also fact check every post for quality.
This generally ends up with me declining about 1/4 of pitches because it is either a shit article or they demand an exact match anchor text in content.
However this means that I end up with medium to high quality posts that I can add to my site that only costs me a small amount of time to fact check and edit to look pretty!
I also pay for some content when I can’t be bothered myself, or I want to write a huge post and need a skeleton to build upon, (I always find that starting a new post is the most difficult for me, so if I can pay for 500 – 1,000 words to start something off, I will).
Below is a list of the services I use:
Paid Content Services I Use
I have used several services over the years with varying degrees of success.
This is a quick list of the 3 that I use regularly and they work well for me, plus there is a new service I recently found out about that I will use much more from now on.
This is one that many people recommend and with good reason.
It is reasonably priced and the quality is fine. I have had very bad experiences with it and they are pretty unhelpful with trying to help you out, but I have also managed to find a great health writer that I have made favorite and always use.
The key is to write a very detailed brief and give examples of what you want.
Interesting one created by a guy called Jon Leger who i follow for IM related things and who seems to know his stuff.
I shy away from using his exact methods, but use some of his tools like Best Spinner and the like.
I Need Writers (INW) is pretty consistent at delivering what I want. I mainly use this service to create a bare bones post that I will flesh out and make into something more interesting.
I use it really for someone else to research a topic first!
However where INW really comes into its own, is rewriting content.
You can check out my post about the lazy mans guest posting method to see more about them, but I also use them to rewrite one of my posts so that I can pitch to another website and get a topically relevant backlink to my site, (I am sure this is what others do when they pitch me a post!).
This is a new one that I tested out to see how good the quality would be and I have to admit…I am pleasantly surprised and will be using them much more.
I wasn’t really expecting much from them because it is $10 per 1,000 words and I have found that decent quality content general goes for around $20 for the same amount of words.
I also gave them a pretty tricky subject to write about, but lo and behold, the post I got back was more than acceptable!
It needed very slight cleaning up because they write based around the keywords you give them and I changed some of it to some synonyms or swapped a few things about, but I generally do this for most content, and for 10 bucks, this is fine!
I am going to test out a 2,000 post on 1 topic and see how they do. I have a feeling that 1,000 is there sweet spot and they may go off repeating things, but you never know 🙂
(UPDATE: One of my online friends read this post and informed me that they have used these guys before and after running it through Copyscape, found that they didn’t seem completely unique. I have only used them this one time and my Copyscape result came back 100% clear, however I am writing this so that you know the facts before ordering).
So this is the beef that you all want to eat, I know.
Well to completely honest with you, the site has only really made about $100 or so, but it is only about 8 months old and I was expecting this to be a super long term project.
I know that these things have a tendency to snowball after a certain “critical mass” of links and content so I just plugging away getting links and creating content.
OK, So What Would I Do Differently?
There are many things that I would do differently if I could repeat time, but I want to preface this section by saying that this site is an ongoing effort and I am constantly learning things myself and I am always jigging things about.
However these are some things that I would either like to change or am in the process of changing:
Use the correct size images from the get go – I used file sizes that were way too big and it ultimately slowed my site down significantly. I have corrected this issue now and always resize images in Photoshop or MS Paint, (yes I do use that!).
Set up my Pinterest profile correctly – This is an ongoing thing for me, but I have not got the gains that I am sure I would have got if I had optimized my boards and pins correctly.
Networking – This is ongoing and I want to boost up my site to become a bit more authoritative by networking more with other site owners.
Build high quality links – Again this is ongoing, but tend to be slightly lazy and really need to send out more guest posts. I was hesitant at first because I really hate getting a brilliant post written, only to give it away! However this is a stupid attitude to take and now I have used Writing Pack, I am comfortable getting about $100 worth of content to send off as guest posts.
Not enough content – Perhaps a bit of an odd one seeing as I have a publishing schedule of 1 post per week, but I want to increase this up to at least 2 per week and when the site is starting to pay for itself, I will outsource this to an article writing service and perhaps spend around $300 per month to keep it updated. I will still write the big pillar posts myself, but I just want lots of content as this is an online magazine style and it really needs a ton of info.
This is a somewhat brief overview of everything that I have been doing, but I don’t want to on about it too much.
However what I will do, is to write more posts about each point individually.
This has been the main online thing I have been focusing on recently so it has taken up a ton of time. However I have been getting some great income from a previous Amazon affiliate site that I have gone 50/50 with a partner on and I have also been keeping that updated slightly.
I have also begun a process of turning around an old Amazon site that gets about 350-400 visitors per day, into an AdSense website with some success, (the ads generate about $80 per month which is not a lot I know, but it’s something. I also use SkimLinks on it which helps me to pay for some of the new things I am doing).
So let me know of any questions you have in the comments below and I will see what I can do to anwser them 🙂
I also know that you know that guest post links, especially contextual links, are just super duper.
What’s more I even know that you probably haven’t started yet for a number of reasons which I will list below, (I know these are true because it’s how I feel, so don’t you be lying to me):
You don't know how to go about it
You are scared of contacting other people, (the antisocial syndrome)
You don't know what the hell to write about or how to write a guest post
Amiright, (yes I am).
Anyway, the reason that I am writing this is because I recently started an interesting new project, and I feel as though I have enough content right now to start building/ earning links.
However I wanted to make this new site something a bit special and something that will last through all of the stupid ass Google updates, but also to actually get proper referral traffic from links…kill 2 birds with 1 link so to speak.
Now like you guys, I also have an immense terror at having to speak to other human beings outside of the IM world, but I decided that I like money more and I sucked it up, put on my big boy trousers (pants to my American friends), and started to get cracking.
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Bit of a Disclaimer
This process will make your life easier, but you will still need to spend some money to do it.
You don't need to spend any money for outreach, but your choice is Time or Money and only you can choose what is right for you, I personally spend money most of the time, but mix it up with doing my own writing
A Little Bit of Backstory For Context
So I have been using a content service for a long time now, called: I Need Articles (affiliate link), (stylized as iNeedArticles but I don’t want to write it like that because I’m not 5 years old).
So this service is actually pretty good, and I was originally using it for rewrites and it is bloody fantastic for that job. In fact you give them any article you have (no plagiarizing here please), and you will get back a fully rewritten, Copyscape passing piece of wordage that looks original, reads original and is basically a brand new set of words that you can use with impunity.
The point is that I Need Articles is a great rewriting service.
Now we don’t actually want any articles rewritten for the purposes of this post, but they have something interesting that I have found myself using more and more…an article marketplace that is essentially a whole load of pre-written articles about all kinds of subjects and niches imaginable.
All original and all ready to buy immediately.
I will get back to these guys in a moment, but the next step to this amazing process involves another tool:
Right, this is where things start to heat up.
Don’t ask me where I found it, but it it was probably from an email or something.
Understand here that this isn’t even an affiliate link by me, but it is such a great tool that I want as many people to know about it as possible.
What Is It?
So one of the main issues with guest posting is sifting through shit loads of crap to find a golden nugget of a website that actually accepts guest posts and then going through the motions of finding contact details and then emailing and then…well you get the idea because you have probably already gone thorough this tedious process.
There is also the outreach failures that you have to contend with when you do things purely manually, and these aren’t so nice if you have paper think skin like me 🙁
This is where Guest Post Tracker comes in.
It’s around $70 (at least it was when I bought access to it), and it kind of collates lots and lots of websites that accepts guest posts, for all sorts of niches.
If you can’t find your niche (unlikely), you can kind of think outside of the box, for example I have a health site, but I have been contacting webmasters from:
And all of these different categories can be connected with healthy posts.
What I am trying to get across here is that you will be able to find something, in fact just check out the categories they actually have:
Let's Connect Everything Together
Now this is where things start to get fun because your life will start to get easier from here on out and as we all know:
“Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.”
Or something like that.
Basically fear of doing somethings leads to inaction which is very, very bad in the IM world, but this process will make things easier.
Here Are The Steps To Take
There is a bit of work involved, but nothing painful.
Check out the requirements and specifications that the site is asking for, and do a small amount of research into their website out of courtesy, and check out what posts they are missing or what you could do better
Find an article from the article marketplace of I Need Articles, buy it and edit it slightly to match the voice of your site
Send over your edited article to the webmaster either via their own contact form if needed or via email.
If you have to send it to an email address make sure to just let them know that you have read their website and enjoy it and find some of their own articles that catch your eye, and just let them know how much you enjoyed reading them.
You don't have to do this, but I do & appreciate it when folks do this for me...so it doesn't take any extra effort and it's nice to be nice.
How Effective Is This Method?
Since I have seriously started doing outreach in the past few weeks, I have found it to be pretty effective. However as with everything, there are good points and bad points.
1 bad point is that you might buy an article and never actually have anyone accept the post for their own site. I actually don’t ever worry about this though, because if no one wants it, you can just use it for your own website which is never a bad thing.
Still involves some research, (but this is minimal compared to the usual method)
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That's All Folks
So there you have it, a simple but effective method of guest posting for yourself! I use and if you have some capital to spend, you should certainly give it a go.
Now the links to I Need Articles are all affiliate links, and I do get commission every time you deposit money for articles, but you don’t need this…it just makes you life easier. I also use them a lot for my own articles to just keep my sites updated with fresh content.
The 1 program you do need is, is Guest Post Tracker which I don’t get any affiliate commission from…but it is just a great tool to make use of and again, if you have a some money to spend, you should highly consider it.
If you only have a small amount of money, then go for Guest Post Tracker first as you can always write your own guest post, I am just lazy!
The great thing about this method, is that even when you combine all parts together, it is considerably cheaper than either buying links, or paying someone to get guest post links for you.
Don’t get me wrong, I will still use high quality guest posting services like those over at Niche Site Project, but this method will save you money and gain you some extra links into the mix.
You subscribe to a whole shit ton of marketing blogs and scour them in great detail, for any signs of updates to the Google algo, what themes convert the best, how adblockers will make people poor overnight etc, etc, etc, etc!
Am I right?
I will answer that one, yes I am right.
Why am I right? Because I do that!
I also know this to be a big issue for many people starting, because I get asked questions almost on a daily basis
Questions about such little, minute issues that I sometimes just have to be blunt and tell them to start something first, then get back to afterwards so I can help.
It is all too easy to get bogged down in things that don’t matter in the grand scheme of things, that we can forget to actually start!
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Now I am going to tell you something that you might not want to hear...
The Brutal Truth
Your first website is going to fail.
Sorry, but that is probably going to happen.
I can’t tell you how many websites I have stated and then have failed. In fact, one recent website failed so badly that it got punished by Google and got kicked to the wilderness of pages 6 and up!
In fact you can read all about it over at AuthorityAzon, where I wrote a guest post about just how badly I failed one time. Hint…very fucking badly!
I spent near $2,000 on this site. What a waste. Harry is stupid. Don’t be like Harry.
I am telling you this to hopefully assuage some of the fears of “but will my site fail?”
Yes. It probably will.
Now that’s out of the way, let’s get started!
Let me begin with a story
I am lucky in the sense that when I started out online, I just wanted to mess around with this amazing thing called the internet. I didn’t even consider making money with it, (or did I even know you could make money!).
In other words; I didn’t even consider money when starting out.
The very first website I attempted, was in the Pre CMS days, during the reign of Julius Caesar, when you had to get a book about HTML out from the library, sit down with a nice cup of tea and type out line by line some long strings that contained weird looking symbols.
I did this with a friend of mine and suffice to say, the website that came out of our brains was ass ugly. I mean really terrible.
Enough to make small children cry kind of ugly. Fugly.
We called it something like Smack The Donkey (we were around 15 at the time and exactly as dumb as it sounds), and it didn’t really do anything apart from load a static page with a photo of a donkey that took about 5 hours to download and then upload, and a couple of paragraphs about how we were internet pioneers and something obscure about donkey’s!
Where am I going with this, I hear you mumbling?
Well, me and my friend made something.
It wasn’t pretty and it didn’t do anything; but we made it! We were pretty chuffed with the results and pledged to make it into something super popular.
Of course it fizzled out after a few weeks as these things inevitably do. However the point stil stands that from our own brains, came this…thing. We gave birth to a website 🙂
Fast forward a decade or so to about 4 or 5 years ago, and I got into using a Content Management System (CMS) pretty heavily.
I mixed it up between the big boys of Joomla, WordPress and Drupal and out of all these CMS’s, I – like most other normal human beings – found WordPress to be the easiest.
Therefore I settled on that.
Now, what has this got to with analysis paralysis?
Good question, I like your moxie and I can ramble a bit so let’s get to the meat of this post.
It is so unbelievably easy to create a website today, that most people with a functioning brain can do it.
This is a great thing, it really is.
We live in an age that we now all have the potential to help others and have a chance to profit from doing so!
However now that the server side technical side of things has been somewhat negated due to WordPress, it seems that their is a newer technical monster to tackle: SEO
However before I get into some details about that monster, for the sake of brevity I will break down how to actually begin for you:
Find out what the things that interest you; your hobbies. Write down a list of maybe 10 things that pop into your head.
As soon as you have at least 10 ideas that you are somewhat interested in, you should go deeper and make sub list of related subjects. For example if one of your hobbies is running; think of another 10 things related to running and do this for each of your main points.
The next step is to actually make a website and as I said; this is easy now. If you are at this stage and still struggling, you should go to my guide about making a WordPress website after you have finished this post.
Don’t be scared to make a website. It will cost you a bit of money for a domain name and hosting, usually around $12 for a domain name and $3-6 per month for hosting. I use Bluehost for all of this and they are super easy to get started and very helpful. You could start a free website with Blogger and WordPress.com etc, but you should understand that if your blog gets popular, it is very difficult to move later on. It is just better to start properly and spend a small amount of money.
THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT POINT: As soon as you have your website up and running; just start writing. Write for yourself. Don’t even think about what you think others want to read about, just write as though no one is reading. This will do 2 things:
You will hone your writing skills to a fine point, ready for when you have real humans reading your stuff
You won’t be worrying about every little detail and will learn to write for the fun of it!
Once you are confident you have content worthy of real life humans; you can start looking around for affiliate offers in your niche. You can do this by searching the internet for: “Keyword” + affiliate offers – replacing “Keyword” with your actual keyword, e.g. “Samsung Play Store Apps” + affiliate offers.
Otherwise you can apply to become an Amazon Associate whereby you send people to Amazon via an affiliate link and you get commission for every sale they make. This is what I do for 90% of my websites and it works pretty well.
All I do nowadays, is to find a keyword, which is a bit complicated, but you can check out this flipping fantastic post about finding keywords from forums, write up some great content then place in keyword a few times.
In fact my entire process goes like this:
Find keyword – (medium difficulty but takes a long time)
Research content – (easy but time consuming)
Write content without thinking about keyword – (easy once writing skills honed)
Look over where I can add keyword naturally – (easy, just use common sense)
Find closely related keywords and add them into the content where it makes sense – (find related searches at eh bottom of a Google search and use a few of those)
Make it look beautiful – (easy, I use Thrive Content Builder to create those lovely looking boxes and call to actions)
That’s pretty much it!
I do other stuff as well and it isn’t quite as simple as that, but that is the basic framework I follow when writing a new post. I won’t go into some of the more advanced things I do, because you don’t need to know them yet and I don’t want to overload you with yet more information!
I promise you that you will learn these things as you go along. This is really a learn by doing kind of game and you if you stick at it; you will learn fast 🙂
But...I heard something about conversion rates etc?
You are right to out me like that and make me lose my face :/ but the point I want to make in this post; is that things like what theme converts best and when to no follow a link or not or how to do an A/B split test, is only of any real use to people with a lot of traffic.
I don’t even have enough traffic myself yet to warrant worrying about any of this for the time being.
Conversions and the like matter a tremendous amount…to people with a website and traffic.
If you have neither then figuring out how to convert someone is kinda useless really.
Prepare your mind for a long battle ahead
“One day Alice came to a fork in the road and saw a Cheshire cat in a tree. ‘Which road do I take?’ she asked. ‘Where do you want to go?’ was his response. ‘I don’t know,’ Alice answered. ‘Then,’ said the cat, ‘it doesn’t matter.”
Lewis Carroll Alice in Wonderland
At this point, I want you to know that it takes time to do anything.
Nothing online is made quickly and if someone is telling you that they are making money after 30 days online; they are lying.
If you are not prepared to put in the time and effort; you will not earn any money online. I want to be a cruel as possible here to make sure that you understand this.
Sometimes we never begin anything because we are worried about how long it will take.
Well, I am here to tell you that you are probably going to be looking at around 6 months to a year before your site starts to really take off. I long time I know, but this is just how it is.
You can check out my guest post over at the fantastic ablogonblogging.com to see how patience pay off in the long run, you will be able to see just how long it took me to any kind of traction.
In fact, it took me 7 months of adding as much useful content as possible, before I made my first affiliate sale.
Guess how much I made…
It took me 7 months to make that massive amount of money. From my own calculations and those of a NASA scientist, I figure that I made 0.22 per month!
But you know what?
Now I am making just under $2,000 per month after over a year of work.
Understand that I am not saying this to be a cocky piece of shit, but to show you that it takes effort and time. A lot of time.
My online earnings from Amazon so far just to prove that I am not a lying, scumbag, dickhead piece of shit!
This section I am calling capital because if you want to be able to make proper money online; you are going to have to treat it like a proper business.
If you look at all of the big boys, you will see that they all spend a considerable amount of money in order to make a shit ton of money back.
In fact, I have recently started reading a blog called fatstacksblog.com and the guy is making a serious amount of money from AdWords and some other ad networks. I am talking 5 figures a month here. But you know something…
He is also spending thousands of dollars to bring people into his websites and getting them to click on the ads.
The point in this section is that you are going to have to spend some money.
This does come with the caveat that you have to be careful with what you spend it on; but it is going to be inevitable.
For example, you can follow along with me as I make a brand new niche website which is fast turning into an authority site. I recently just spent over $300 on an infographic and outsourced a guest post to gain a nice link back. I also bought some very basic links in order to diversify my anchor text.
The old joke is “How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Practice!”
The same answer can be given to how to write content for a web site. You will not magically be able to sit down and write witty, interesting and relevant content your first time. It is a skill you need to practice and hone. It is also a skill that will atrophy if you don’t keep practicing it.
When I was asked to write a post about how I write web content my first thought was that it would be easy. I write plenty of posts for my travel blog (Planettrekker.info) so it should just be a matter of explaining step by step what I do, right?
Turns out it’s not so easy to put into words how you put things into words, kind of like explaining to someone how you sign your name.
But thinking about it has been interesting.
I’m not going to try and explain the technical aspects of writing web content, keywords and so on, instead I’m going to try and explain the creative process, while trying not to sound like a pretentious prat.
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It all starts with an idea
Most of my writing is for my travel blog so ideas are all around me. I love to get out and walk, especially in a new place, so I am immediately surrounded by a myriad of sights, sounds and smells that are all worthy of a blog post. I know my audience and I know that they are looking for my impressions on the place, how it feels and what they can expect if they visit. Your audience will determine your subjects so, to a large degree, it is just a matter of thinking about the questions you would get asked.
In my case I imagine walking with someone and we are discussing what we are seeing. “Is it always this hot? What is that cooking over there? I wonder where the best coffee is in town.” Three simple questions and I already have three blog posts.
It’s also amazing how many times one idea will suddenly create a cascade of other ideas.
Always carry a notebook
A notebook and pen live permanently in my pocket because I think it is vital to jot down ideas when you have them rather than hoping to remember them later on. You don’t need to write copious, complicated and detailed notes; they should be memory joggers, just a couple of words to remind you of something you saw or a smell that wafted out of a street side noodle shop.
It’s amazing how many times one idea will suddenly create a cascade of other ideas. #blogpost #contentwriting
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Researching is the fun part
Or at least it is in the case of a travel blog.
Let’s take the question of “what is that cooking over there?” Obviously the best way to research this is to go and taste it. But tasting is only part of what you may need to know. This is where the most important part of researching comes in: asking questions of someone who knows more than you.
That someone could be the person doing the cooking. In most cases they will be pleased that you are interested in what they are doing and will happily explain what it is, where it came from and how they are cooking it. People like to talk about themselves and it means that you will be putting information into your post straight from the horse’s mouth.
The next option is to research it online.
This can be a little more problematic because you are presenting someone else’s opinion. Always try to find more than one source for your “facts” and try to give your source in your post. Something along the lines of :
“I wasn’t keen to try the dog meat but other travellers on (popular travel site) say that it tastes like…”
This will help to humanize you as someone who doesn’t fancy eating dog while also helping your credibility as having done some research on the subject. Always keep in mind that if a reader picks you up on a false fact then it compromises everything else you have written.
Other cut and dried facts, such as opening and closing times are much easier to research but linking to an official website is always a good idea to cover yourself in case there are changes out of your control. These types of facts are important and can be sprinkled in the post or added as a block at the end.
If you are going to present yourself as an expert on a subject then you better make sure that you are. There is always someone out there who knows more than you and they are usually keen to point it out. Write what you know is true or what you have researched; otherwise present it as your opinion.
If you are going to present yourself as an expert on a subject then you better make sure that you are!
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Learning How to Write Content for a Website can be tricky. Just start with an idea and go from there.
Now I just write
Staring at a blank screen or page can be a horribly scary thing.
For me this is often the case.
I get back from having explored a new town, notebook spilling words and impressions, nostrils full of new smells and shoes full of sore feet. Then I realise that I have to put it all into words that other people are going to want to read. Now the pressure is on.
I usually try to get the opening line and I will often have come up with it well before I sit down to write. The opening line is there to draw the reader in and make them want to read more but it is also what I use to set the tone for myself. If that line doesn’t make me want to write more then I can’t expect anyone to want to read more.
Writing content for a travel website makes things a little easier. I only need to describe what I’ve seen and done. I can use a style that is a little more laid back and conversational and I usually write as if I am simply talking to someone. Getting it “down on paper” is the most important thing at this point.
Practice makes perfect
This is where all that practice you have done is going to come to fruition. Every post you write is likely to be a bit better than the previous ones as you become naturally better at writing.
Even as I walk as a normal part of my daily life I will have a running conversation in my head where I am describing things to some imaginary correspondent. Quick descriptive sentences will get you in the habit so you can come up with them when you need to. Write emails to friends, post nice informative comments on your favorite websites (especially mine) or try sending those paper things that have the address of an actual building written on them, whatever they’re called.
I tend to write using Microsoft Word and don’t get too bogged down worrying about that dreaded red underline or what words I might have missed as my mind pours out words faster than my two fingers can type. Editing is a wonderful thing and writing gives you all the control you miss while actually talking to someone. If you have a great sentence or description come to you then type it and worry about exactly how it’s going to fit later on. If you are lucky enough to write perfect prose the first time then I hate you, otherwise welcome to the editing phase with the rest of us.
The opening line is there to draw the reader in and make them want to read more...#writing
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“I hate writing; I love having written”
Having gotten the words down I can relax. I have written.
I will now go back and fix up all those red underlines. Then I read what I have written and fill in the words I might not have been fast enough to actually type. Then I read it again and see if it makes sense. I am usually trying to tell the story of what I saw and what I did so there should be a natural flow to it. Jumping backwards and forwards in time doesn’t make sense so a bit of judicial cutting and pasting may be in order.
Reread your content
Now I’ll read it again and see if there is anything missing, something I saw or something I did, that naturally ties two parts together. If there is, I’ll write that piece. Maybe there is something in my notes that I have forgotten about.
By now I have written and read it multiple times so I need to do the most important thing in the whole process.
I ignore it and do something else.
Take a break & don’t be too hard on yourself
All that re-reading and re-writing makes me doubt what I have written and the more I do it the less happy I become with it and the more likely I am to make big changes.
I have found that putting it to one side and doing something else is vital. It may only be long enough to make a cup of coffee and read or watch TV for a little while or I may even not come back to it until the following day. Either way it’s like suddenly looking at what you’ve written with fresh eyes. This is why there are professional editors out there who are paid to be those fresh eyes but if you are writing content for your own website you need to be your own editor and that means stepping back from being the author.
Usually I find that what I have written is not half as bad as I thought it was while I was writing it. Sure I will make lots of changes, small or big, but it’s more of a polishing than a massive re-writing.
This is also when things like paragraph breaks and section headings become apparent. Writing for the web means that it is important to have those headings that draw a reader on to the next section rather than presenting a solid wall of text. Imagine yourself reading it out loud or it being your side of a conversation. Wherever you would naturally pause is probably where there should be a new paragraph.
Write with your own voice
Keep your audience in mind. Don’t try to write like your favorite author if that is a style completely unsuitable for what you are writing.
But ultimately it comes down to practice. Write at every opportunity and especially when you don’t feel like it. If you can’t write it down then run through those sentences in your head. Endless entertainment can be had just sitting in a coffee shop coming up with ways to describe the people walking past.
And keep at it; it takes a long time to be an overnight success.
Keep at it; it takes a long time to be an overnight success.
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So this has been a guest post by a good friend of mine; Greg Wright.
He lives in Laos like me and has a keen interest in travel and writing & travel writing. I actually asked him to write this post for Harry Vs Internet because he is such a great writer, I wanted him to explain his process of writing to as many people as possible.
When I started out, I found writing to be the hardest part of online marketing and the thing that held me back for so long. Once you have become confident and are able to concisely get your thoughts across to others, then you will be able to promote your content further and gain more traffic.
I wouldn’t have asked Greg to write this guest post if his writing wasn’t up to scratch, but as it turns out…he is excellent and has added enormous value to this site and I would like to thank him for that.
OK, so the title may be a little misleading and Britney Spears-y, but I have started yet another website and this post will be about how to make a viral website.
Or more specifically, how & why I am going to attempt to make a viral website!
I am starting to think that I really just enjoy the starting up part more than the maintaining bit and also that I have a short attention span!
Don’t get me wrong, I love the money part…but as many of you already know, I am kind of lazy!
I will keep this one short because i just want to let you know – Harry Vs Internet is all about testing things and messing around to see what works.
That extends to types of websites as well; not just SEO and so on.
So what did I do this time?
I am glad you asked.
I have been reading a few great blog posts about viral websites such as this one & this one, and it got me thinking about giving this sort of thing a good old try.
I had actually thought about trying this out for a long time, but other things just happened to get in the way, such as family life, living in a foreign country that loves to celebrate loads of festivals, (Laos if you’re wondering) and also the fact that I have severe shine object syndrome and start new things whilst leaving many lose ends…in real life as well as online!
But the question is: What the hell topic to base it around?
There are numerous different niches one could base a viral website around, the most obvious being an interesting news site like the infamous ViralNova.
However, these types of site will invariably fail due to the constant updating nature of them.
For example, you have to churn out several interesting list type stories a day and most of the big boys nowadays rely on a large team of writers and researchers to crank them out.
Another factor that can be a barrier to a single person site is the cost.
What do I mean by cost, I hear you grumble?
Well, the days of free, organic social media exposure is well and truly over, and social media is really the lifeblood of a viral site.
When was the last time you typed into the big G something like: “This mans wife had cancer, but he did next will shock you!”.
You never have – if you’re normal that is, but I bet most you have clicked on a title like that in Facebook; I have!
That my friends is called link bait and its primary purpose is to get the attention of us when we have increasingly decreasing attention spans.
So that leaves the question open again – just what do you base a new viral site around?
So…you are probably aware that I am a man?
And men visit certain websites every now and then…just for the articles of course.
Anyway, I was on such a site and I was looking around and I noticed something – they are stuffed full of adverts and I am sure they are raking it in.
Usually they are just Google AdWords adverts, but many times they are specific adverts that either the site admin has gone out and asked around, or they the advertiser has actually reached out to the site owner for advertising space.
Whichever way around it is; they are little dollar signs to me 😀
So, how to make a viral website and why I am doing it?
I have to be a bit careful here because it is something very specific and an idea that doesn’t seem to be utilized right now, apart from people using Web 2.0’s or social media pages etc.
It is also very easy to copy and I want to make some money first before everyone else.
Ain’t I lovely!
Basically people haven’t monetized it and seem to be doing it just for fun.
This says to me 1 of 2 things, either:
There is no money to be made and therefore nobody can be bothered, or
No one has thought of doing it properly
Now usually I would leave something like this well alone and I am the cautious type who would tend to the first of those points.
But, I think that it is so easy to set this up for the cost of a domain name, (I already have a ton of tools that I can use to help out), that it would be foolish to not try!
So what is the plan
Essentially, all I will need to do for content is to add a few posts a day, probably over the course of about a month in order to build up something pretty substantial, and then promote the fuck out of it.
The actual content writing part is very easy:
Watch videos – This is the fun part!
Find the funniest / weirdest / most disturbing ??? about them
Post content along with funny analysis
Find relevant image and add an arty Gaussian blur
This whole process should only take about 15 – 20 minutes per post, and once I get the process down, that time will reduce.
What theme will I be using
For the theme, I looked pretty intensely for one that both suited a viral style site, but also looked great and was something that would make people stay and convert.
I looked at a great them & plugin vendor called My Theme Shop who are fast becoming my go to plugin place, (great, clean code, fast loading and look great).
However I ultimately decided on using a Thrive theme called Pressive which is fast, good looking and has social features coming out the wazoo – perfect for sharing and creating a viral “buzz”.
What about after the content?
The next step will be promotion.
For this, I will run a tentative campaign on Facebook to get an idea of how well it is received and if all goes well; scale up.
I think that this site will go down very well on the likes of:
I have left out Twitter for now because I think it is too esoteric and I want people to actually click through to the website instead of just reading through the social media site.
How to monetize
Adverts, and lots of them!
This will be the first step and I will give it some time to mature a bit and see what kind of income (if any), the site will make.
After that, I had a thought that I could essential do a Tee Spring kind of thing and have some of the content printed onto t shirts and the like and sell through a shop subdomain.
Let’s put a bow on this post for now
This is getting a bit longer than I originally wanted, but rest assured I will wrap it up.
I will just let you know that I will be periodically keeping this updated to keep you guys in the loop about what is happening and how well, or badly, my viral experiment is going.
Of course, you can always use the sign up form below to keep updated as soon as I send out new posts and also little tidbits of bountiful, beautiful information to hep you guys along.
Update 16/12/2015: I have added another interesting option that I only recently found out. Read on for more information.
So you’ve just made a website and have nice shiny new blog, but there is 1 problem, you want to find free stock images without watermarks because your pages are full of boring text and you have just spent all your money on hosting.
(NOTE: if you don’t care about my wonderful writing and just want the cheddar, check the table of contents for the main list of free stock photo websites →)
Unfortunately for you, no images means your readers can’t be bothered to put on their sharing hats and pass your lovely posts around like the village… (insert whatever you want here).
The problem is, that whenever you search the internet for stock photos, the big boys like Getty, iStock Photo, Shutterstock et al seem to show up and give you serious depression from looking at the insane prices they charge.
Just look at the front page of Google from the keyword: stock photos
You know that you’re in trouble when the average Cost Per Click (CPC) that Google is charging per advert is $25.59and the entire above the fold section is plastered with the buggers!
However, be not intimidated by this selection of crazily priced stock image vendors, for Harry Vs Internet is here to help you out.
Pixabay is my go to website for free stock images for blog posts and…well just about anything else you want to use them for.
This can include:
Anything else you can think of!
They have a really great selection of stock photos to choose from and a little extra which I will get to in a moment.
The images they have vary between profession and amateur, but on the whole they are wonderful and you should be able to use them for most of your image needs.
I use them extensively myself for my PBN’s, graphic design work and also my main money sites. In fact, most of the featured images on Harry Vs Internet come directly from Pixabay!
As I previously mentioned, they also offer a nice little extra which is that you can search for vector images.
This may not be useful if you are just looking for free stock photos for a simple blog post, but if you are doing some graphic work and need a quick vector file to manipulate in Adobe Illustrator, then you can often find something usable here.
Make no mistake, Pixabay is mainly for stock photos, but you can find some basic vectors in a pinch.
Finally, my favorite part is the search function.
This may sound simple, but if you are working on many things at once and don’t have time to manually crawl through 1,000’s of photos of vegetables or whatever your niche is; the search box can soon become your best mate.
Keep in mind that Pixabay is completely free, so the search is not as advanced as you will find on the mental money stock photograph websites, but it is more than adequate and To be honest they give way more than anything free should give!
Are you looking for super high quality free stock photos for your arty, farty website, or maybe even a hero image?
Then you should head over to Pexels and check out their offerings.
Honestly, these are some of the best photos I have seen regardless of what you actually use them for. Pexels offers a nice, big selection of incredibility high resolution free stock photos for use in most situations. I have used them in the past for some graphic design client work with great success and they didn’t cost me a penny, (as is the theme here!).
To give you an example of the sort of quality you are dealing with here; check this out:
Notice the license that this photo comes with and just let that sink in for a bit.
This was expensive photography not that long ago, but we can get it free. Right now. $0. Amazing!
They have a search function which is great for the same reasons I have explained already and also some easy categories for fast inspiration.
This one aimed directly at landscape fans, and what a selection of absolutely stunning landscapes it has!
Unsplash add 10 brand, spanking new images every 10 days (1 a day), and they are free to do whatever you want with. They are super high resolution, so if you are going to use them for websites, you might want to consider reducing their size a bit.
How do you do that?
Well, for all of my images on most of my websites, I just use plain old Microsoft paint! I use the Adobe suite a lot trust me when I say that it is quicker and easier to use Paint. You don’t need to be an amazing graphic designer to reduce the size of images.
I digress though.
Unsplash is very nice and provides a ton of gorgeous images that are free to use however, there is no search function and you have to scroll quite a bit to see all their shock images. There is also just 1 size that you can download which is massive.
But if you’re cool with that, then Unsplash is great option for you to check out 🙂
This one is probably the simplest option on the list but make no mistake, they offer some lovely photos for the price of breathing air.
MorgueFile offer really nice photos and a variation of all sorts of different images that you can choose from.
It has a search function and you can really find anything from pens to landscapes. A nice feature is that it tells you whether the image is suitable for printing or not which is more important if you are going to see it for a brochure or poster, rather than web design.
I haven’t been using LittleVisuals for long and not very often, but they offer a nice selection of free stock images without watermarks to use as you see fit.
They have a nice extra which is if you sign up for their email list, you will receive 7 high resolution images in a zip file, every week.
I like them because they have a very nice logo and I trust a website with a good logo. And yes I understand that my logo is shit, but don’t you judge me >o
UPDATE: It seems that the fellow who was running LittleVisuals has sadly passed away so I am not sure where that leaves this site, but they still do have some great images for free in their archives.
I suggest leaving them a small donation for the Hand on Heart Charitywho provide defibrillators. I don’t really know the details but it might be nice to have a look.
New Old Stock
This is one of my favorites on the list, but a website that I under use way too much.
They have some luscious looking old timey photos from a wide selection of different places including:
Old photos found in someones basement etc.
What does this mean?
Basically you can find photos of real things that are now free from copyright and therefore free to use as you wish to.
There are so many free images here to look thorough you are pretty sure that you will find something. This is again, is a scroller without a search function, but in this case that actually works to its advantage.
You gain some serious inspiration and may even come up with new blog posts just by scrolling through the many free stock photos they have.
An interesting addition to the world of free stock imagery, is Skitterphoto.
Well all of the photos they have on their website have been taken by just three photographers. Many of the others on this list are merely compilers of free photos, (which they are all very good at), but Skitterphoto actually takes each image individually which is something that I think deserves a rather hefty amount of respect considering the amount and quality of photos they have!
Nothing to say here apart from A-Ma-Zing!
IM Free is a full collection of serious images for serious people. Everything is free, but attribution is required. However when you see what is available, you will understand why and be very happy to credit their creators.
My advice is to:
Get some inspired inspiration
OK so point 5 comes with the disclaimer that you might not profit.
The point is, that you can do all kinds of things with these items not limited to purely blogs. Many people who use this site (or so I am told), use the free high resolution images, icons and templates for client work or must for their own pleasure.
I love the layout of the website for a start and I personally think that if someone makes and effort with the packaging, the product must good! Call me a sucker and a slave to my impulses, I won’t cry too much 🙁
As I said, the website is great, but the images are even better!
Created by a chap by the name of Ryan McGuire, GRATISOGRAPHY is full of some really professional Free stock photos that range from simple but elegant inanimate objects, to very emotive living subjects.
It has to be said, I have never used this site before and only recently found it when doing some research for this article!
Updated every Thursday, Jay Mantri offers some beautiful free images that you do not even need to provide attribution for. What a lovely fellow.
Mainly wide angles and close ups of fairly simple things and landscapes, the images are super high quality and most of them look like photos that a pro would sell for thousands to glossy magazines.
I don’t have much use for these particular photos for my current projects, but you should certainly head on over and check them out because I promise that you won’t be disappointed.
Public Domain Archive
Set up by a chap called Matt (I presume he has a surname?). He has set up a large repository of public domain images free to use by the general public for no cost whatsoever.
More of a library of free images i.e. stored in 1 location, Public Domain Archive is full of a wide mixture of different subjects, ages and styles to choose from.
I found this one a while ago and have used them fairly extensive for client work and also for just when I want to mess around on PhotoShop. It relaxes me to manipulate photographs, like little pawns in my grand quest to…Oh sorry, I drifted away there for a moment.
Anyway…if you are looking for some stunning free photos to use on your website, I highly recommend checking them out and having a look.
A very simple, bare basics site that contains some high resolution photos that are free to use and without attribution. Whilst they may not have as much choice as the others here, you will still be able to find something for your project if you look hard enough.
Picography features random images by a collection of pro photographers in a random order. The random order is what puts me off a little, because I never usually have a lot of time on my hands and just want to find what I want quickly.
However, I still check through every now and then to see if there is anything that really catches my eye, and that is the main point for a site like this I think. Spend 5 minutes scrolling through and you never know what you may find.
You can’get more on the nose with the name of this site!
It really offers up a huge collection (387,906 at the last count), that you can use to you hearts content!
Some of the images require attribution on case by case basis, but they are all free of charge. Free Images also offers up a very nice style of categorization and search which makes life for a busy fool such as me; much easier!
Very high resolution free stock images without watermarks, SuperFamous is full of some really nice photos curated by a team of designers by trade.
Now, I son’t use the fastest internet in the world, but I found that the site was a tad jittery and might be off putting for some. However I would like to just say that this could have been an issue on my end so please don’t let that discourage you from visiting and seeing if there is anything you could use for your own site.
The actual images are very Instagram style (but high res), and look really nice.
A pretty large collection of high quality stock photos that are free to use and don’t even require attribution for most photos.
Created by the designer & photographer Viktor Hanacek in 2013, due to other stock images websites turning down his own images. It now boasts 2,660,922+ photos downloaded since its inception.
You will have a massive section to browse, including vector images & videos, all fully searchable and lovingly categorized.
They also offer a paid for PhotoShop Plugin to access their entire database directly from Ps. I don’t have this plugin myself as I prefer to just browse at my leisure and have slowed down on the design client work for the time being.
However, it is only $11.99 and if were to start designing for clients once again, I would seriously consider using it myself and I would encourage any aspiring designer to consider it too…by speeding up your workflow, you can really start to make real money.
Picjumbo offers a really nice collection of food & drink shots, so if you are in the health, fitness, nutrition, restaurant etc niche, then this should be your go to free stock photo website.
Calling all hipster, calling all hipsters, this bad just might very well be for you!!!
I’m kidding, this is for anyone really. Anyone who loves free, non attribution required, high resolution stock photos without watermarks that you can use anywhere for anything!
Getrefe is a very basic tumblr blog that offers absolutely 0 frills, and is just a pure scroll and see kind of site.
However, atop that basic frame sits some truly lovely free images for use on your blog or design work, and arguably the most “stock” of them all.
They look great and are very neutral, in the sense that they are generally non niche specific which can be a blessing really if you are just looking for a good looking stock image for free that you can pop into your blog post without hassle!
The British Museum Flickr Page
The British Museum Flickr…wait what!?
Well as it urns out, the British museum has decided to open up their entire catalog of images under a Flickr Commons license.
This means you are free to use and manipulate any image free of charge and for commercial reasons.
Why is this so great?
As of writing, they have 1,023,714 Photos on their Flickr profile.
I’ll say that again; 1,023,714 Photos!’
Honestly that is a crazy amount and they are all historical and beautiful. I am in love xxx
I want to finish off with general information about the different licenses surrounding these free stock images and what you can actually do with them.
For example, you may be tempted to just do a Google Image Search and pick the first image that you find. However this could land you in some serious hot water if the owner of the image has not given the correct usage permissions.
The 2 main licneces that these websites offer, include:
Creative Commons zero: Meaning that you can use the free photos however you see fit, commercially or otherwise and you don’t have to ask for permission, or do anything apart form download the image.
Creative Commons with attribution: Means the same as creative commons zero, but with the added regulation that you credit the creator of the photo in the way they ask, usually their name and a link. But make sure to check for specific instructions.
To be honest, most of the free stock photo websites here are creative commons zero, but even having to add some attribution is no problem seeing as you have access to thousands of high resolution free stock images without watermarks to choose from!
I hope you found this useful and if you think that I have missed any websites out, feel free to let me know in the comments 🙂
Ranking a site effectively is a difficult thing to do nowadays, but there is 1 thing that you can do to help, that is; finding a great keyword and creating great content around it.
For me, there is nothing more satisfying than watching a post rank after many hours of keyword research and content creation.
Even more so if you see results the very next day…
For my regular readers, you may or may not know that I bought an AdSense advertising website a while ago, in order to find out how much money really is in the AdSense micro niche game.
Well it is ticking over fairly well, but I also did a general “state of my portfolio” update in which I wrote that I was going to experiment turning it away from a micro niche into something resembling an authority site.
Changing the game
I decided to take a path that I know very well now: Amazon Associates, (advertising Amazon products for a commission).
My first taste of Amazon success was with my main website, Niche Site 1 (NS1), which has been doing very well for me.
I have added 2 more SEO optimized posts with some real marketing efforts to boost earnings even further.
This seems to be paying off, and combined with my personal PBN’s, it will continue to improve. However, the main purpose of this post is really to show you how finding a great keyword can not only improve your bottom line, but also give you a much needed ego boost which is essential in this game…believe me!
Finding a great keyword evidence
What you are looking at there, is the main keyword of a post that I published on 01 December 2015…1 day ago! (at the time of writing this post).
I have done literally 0 marketing or promotion of the post, and already it is sitting at position 23 of the SERP’s (.com). There are 2 things I will note here though:
No rank tracking software is 100% accurate, but on average this keyword is already on the 2nd page of the SERP’s
Don’t pay too much attention to the monthly searches (MS) column. I make over $600 on a 0 MS keyword including keyword variations
These 2 points are important because I don’t want anyone to think that a high MS is the be all and end all of keyword research and SEO in general.
For proof of this, check out the Niche Pursuits podcast in which they hammer home pretty hard, that MS is really not that important. I also agree with that and you can see my proof of earnings over at my update post.
If you are still in any doubt about how a low MS but high long tail variations can make you money; check out this quick calculation on AMAprofits:
You can see that even though I entered only 5 main keyword searches but 24,000 long tail searches; the amount of potential profit from commissions is huge.
In fact, even if you enter a higher number in the main keyword box; the amount doesn’t increase that much.
Money is made with the long tail; don’t you forget that.
Why is this good?
I hope you’re joking if you actually asked that! If you are just beginning your online ventures, I will tell you why I chose a great keyword here:
I am ranking on the 2nd page of Google.com after just 1 day
The keyword is a buying keyword, i.e. people who search for it are in a buying mood
The product in question is a $249 product that is in the right price range for someone to buy online but also provide great commission per product bought
How did I find this doozy of a keyword?
Well usually I would tell you to sign up to receive my full list about finding a great keyword, but because you made it this far without bouncing; I will give you the lowdown 🙂
In order to make it simple and not give you any extra BS that you don’t need, (I hate having to decode some blogs just to get to the meat), I will give you the main list in basic form here:
Listen To people in your niche – Check out forums to understand your audience. Don’t know where to look – check out: www.findaforum.net (Free)
Read Amazon Autosuggest & Reviews – Type in your seed keyword and see what Amazon spits out
Buying Keywords For The Win – Use a keyword with buyer intent such as:
What is the best…under $…
Optimize for Mobile Search Phrases – People type in different things on their phone and if you can figure this out, you will make serious bank, (for the record I am still figuring this out myself!)
Use Latent Semantic Index Words (LSI’s) – If you can get Google to understand your post properly, you will be way ahead of most blogs out there. Check out: lsigraph.com (Free), for some great LSI suggestions
Join a Facebook Group – Make friends and gain authority by understand just how your audience speaks
If you want to delve deeper into finding a great keyword, then I am afraid I have to bribe you to give me your email address so we can consult on a BFF basis 😉
What are my next steps?
For now, I am quite happy to let it jump about organically a little bit and see where it settles without any any links.
A peculiar thing about this particular website; is that it is only a couple of months old without many decent links and it somehow has a Domain Authority (DA): 9 and a Page Authority (PA): 18!
This is quite interesting because this was a fresh domain with zero authority when I first received it and I have done no real link building (apart from a simple HOTH package), and have only added a few pieces of content.
The content is informative, well written and doesn’t carry any affiliate links etc, so i presume that this has had some effect because as we all know, Google goes ga ga for great content.
Further inspection is needed to understand why it has these metrics.
If you don’t know what these numbers are, I will write a post soon going into further detail.
They are metrics that a company called MOZ gives to websites to determine its authority based on a number of factors.
Once I have an understanding of where Google thinks this content lives; I will start to build some links. If you are in the same boat as me and are really just beginning to really cut your teeth with internet marketing and trying to make a serious business out of it, I highly recommend a very successful online entrepreneur called Matthew Woodward.
If you click on the link above, you will be taken directly to his link building section and I recommend that you follow the steps he lays down because he is basically giving away gold here!
I was originally thinking that I would use some PBN links to get it going, but I really like the post that I wrote and I think that it will do very well with pure outreach and “natural” links.
I did a lot of research for this particular article and I think that it shows in its natural conversational tone and it really sounds like a review of a product that I use and love.
This is important because it can be the difference between a reader bouncing away, loving your content but not converting or loving it and also converting.
The only thing we should be interested in is conversion and forget about traffic for now. I would rather have 50 visitors with a 50% conversion rate, than 500 visitors with 2% conversion rate.
Anyway, I digress…
For the main promotion methods, I will be using a piece of software called BuzzBundle that I just recently bought and it is fast becoming my new favorite toy 😀
Essentially you just drop in some keywords you want to search for related to your post, and BuzzBundle will scrape the internet including:
It will then let you reply to real peoples questions and queries regarding your keyword.
It can be as simple as just responding to someones Twitter question about: “what is the best…for…“, and then giving them a short answer along with your URL.
This is a great method to get a quick boost of traffic to your site, but may also result in longer term benefits such as landing some lovely, juicy dofollow links to your post.
This kind of goes together with my promotion efforts and I plan to get some nice, relevant links pointing to this particular post.
I am not fully decided on whether or not I will also add in some general links to diversify anchor text a bit. If I were to go down this route, I would use a company called adss30.com – (this is not an affiliate link, but I use them and I think that you may also find them useful).
I have used them before and found them to be both useful and also very well priced. They offer a whole ton of different services that can potentially help you get your site to rank, but I like the blog comments service.
They place dofollow comment posts on high PR websites.
I don’t really care about the high PR part, I only use so that my anchor text profile doesn’t look suspicious which serves 2 purposes:
No Google penalty for over optimization
I can keep my main “money” keyword as anchor text for the very high quality links
You are not going to rank on these blog comments alone and you can do this yourself for free, but I am a bit lazy and I also love to test things out and experiment.
With regards to high quality links, I have said already that I will be doing some outreach for this post, and I hope to get some really nice quality links back from that.
I will keep you all updated as to how I proceed and what happens so that you can also follow along, but it may be a while because I many things on the stove right now and some really exciting projects that I am starting.
So I want to finish this post off by pushing the point forward that finding a great keyword is really essential if you are serious about making money and getting some organic search engine traffic.
However it is not easy and I gave you some brief points about the process that I use, but in order to get the full, complete step-by-step action plan, you can sign up below and get a Free Cheat Sheet that will show you some really nice tips & tricks for finding a great keyword that will potentially make you some money and gain you authority in the future 🙂
As you may or may not know, How Design Affects Your Website can be from a number of different factors.
From buying a product on impulse, based upon flashy packaging, to trusting a company based on the colors and logo it uses.
For me, I just enjoy good design the same as all of you do. We just appreciate good looking things and enjoy pleasingaesthetics.
In web design, my personal preference is with Flat Design.
To that end, I enjoy things that don’t tread down the uncanny valley too much; but still portray a sense of realism that we can connect to.
One of my personal hobbies, is using Adobes’s suite of design tools most notably Illustrator, and design things that catch my eye.
I recently watched a film called “Ex Machina” and kind of fell in love with its simple, but powerful aesthetic. In fact the last time I really felt like that about a film was with one called “Gattaca” and also one that I think some of you should be familiar with: “Fight Club“.
What I want to do is share some posters for both Ex Machina and Fight Club, in order to give you an idea of the type of design I am talking about.
What has this got to do with anything?
Well, it’s a bit of weird route I took to this post, but bear with me…
I quite liked the look of it, but a couple of years ago when I first started blogging, my first thematic love was with the Genesis Framework. I kind of had a bit of lovers spat with them when I decided that their their themes were a bit too boring for me!
However, I kind of missed the point with Genesis and its creator; Studiopress.
The idea behind their themes is a simple, but highly efficient framework that is the engine of the entire site, and an elegant theme that you merely drape over the engine to make it look nice, i.e. a child theme.
You can customize and tweak the child theme to your hearts content, and if you are pretty au fait with HTML & CSS, then you can rejig things around quite a bit to suit your needs.
Anyway, I digress…
After trying a few different themes from various different providers and not really digging the style, I found Thrive.
Many internet marketing blogs have also fallen in love with them and use Thrive Themes exclusively throughout their sites: www.authorityhacker.com to name just one.
It looks great, it looks clean and it works perfectly in unison with Thrive’s suite of Plugins, (which you can use on most themes, including Genesis).
My main issue with it really, was that I just was not comfortable with its blockiness and I didn’t really want to invest the time in creating a super fancy static homepage like the Authority Hacker guys did.
For me, I prefersimple and elegant which is what led me back to Studiopress and genesis.
The first site I really created properly using the Genesis framework, was a real estate website for my wife: www.kkcrealestate.com.
I used a free child theme called Equilibre, and tweaked it around a bit to get it looking as it does now. It’s smooth, looks professional and works as it is supposed to do.
A few days ago, I checked out the blog of the main man behind Studiopress: Brian Gardener.
His blog is clean and very pleasing to the eye and I thought, “yes I forgot about Genesis”.
I logged back into my Studiopress account and downloaded the framework, (you need to purchase the framework separately from a theme), and then downloaded the Executive Pro theme that I had previously bought, and installed it on both this site and my brand new authority site.
I think they both look great and now work really smoothly.
After installation onto Harry Vs Internet, I had to do a bit of moving stuff around to get rid of the leftover Thrive stuff, but it seems to be fine now.
Quick tip: If you are using a caching plugin, remember to clear the cache after any significant changes, otherwise they won’t show up. This was my facepalm moment!
How Design Affects Your Website?
Good design will always improve the way a user interacts with anything, but you also need to aware of just how:
SEO – Basics of onpage optimization should be followed, not only to help the search engines understand what your page is about, but also to help your readers to be able to navigate it correctly.
There are differing points of view about what is most important, but the overall consensus nowadays, is that you should really make the greatest effort to keep your real, human readers on your website. Today, factors such as the ones below have a huge effect on how you rank and more importantly; how you stay in position:
The amount of time spent on your site
Pages visited per session
Ratio of returning users to new visitors
Good design will keep your readers on your site for longer and will keep them wanting more.
Conversions – Let’s be honest here, the main reason why most people start a website is to make some money in the hope that they will be able to quit their horrible jobs and live in their underwear all day. Conversions are what make this a reality. This includes, but is not limited to:
Click Per Action conversions
Sharing – The more shares you can get for your site, the more traffic you will get. If a share for a particularly good piece of content is well timed, then you may get flooded with a large amount of traffic. Shares can be from:
Forum, Q&A sites
Or even the holy grail…links from websites in similar niches
There are really a whole raft of other ways how design affects your website, but those listed are some big ones.
Let’s tie this up in a neat little bow
I’ll be honest with you, this post took a bit of a U-turn.
I started writing it last night when I had already had a few Beer Lao’s, (I live in Laos BTW), and I was in a designer-y kind of mood.
However when I woke up, I read through it again and thought to myself that design actually is super important to everything in our lives, including making money on the internet. So, I wrote some more.
This is really a very, very brief overview about how design affects your website and I will be writing a much more in depth post about it, and even make a little cheat sheet about the best methods to make people love your website even more and by association, you as well.