List of 10 Best WordPress Affiliate Plugins in 2020 - WPblog

[Month 0] Growing An Informational Intent Site To $10,000 A Month From Scratch!

Although I have been wanting to start a new informational intent-based domain for a while now, I was planning to wait until 2021 to start it but due to the new round of commission changes in the Amazon Affiliate program, I have decided to put all of my Amazon projects on hold for now as I am massively overexposed to Amazon right now. Although I managed to earn almost $3600 last month from my money site network, the vast majority of it was from the Amazon Affiliate program.
Thankfully, I only had one small site hit by this latest round of changes with it taking about a 60% hit in commissions. My other two main domains are predominantly in the “All Other Categories” section and held at a 4% commission rate. That said though, I definitely think that there will be additional cuts and changes to the Amazon affiliate program in a few years so I want to get this informational intent domain off the ground as soon as possible.
My goal is to diversify both income and traffic sources with this new domain to help reduce future risk too as I have had a number of domains slapped by Google updates in the past. It will hopefully be making most of its money from display ad networks supplemented with a number of different affiliate programs with its traffic predominantly coming from organic search traffic supplemented by Pinterest and eventually Quora with any luck.
The majority of the content I am publishing right now is based around high search volume, low competition informational intent searches to try and scale the traffic on the domain as fast as possible to be able to apply to the Mediavine ad network. After that, I will start adding more content that is more suited to Pinterest and Quora traffic generation.
Niche
Although I have chased the commissions in the past and made sites around niches I had zero interest in, over the last year or two I have gone for lower-income potential niches that I actually know more about and enjoy. So far this is working well for me as I have been able to churn out tons of content without having to put much research in as I know a large amount of the information already as my last three domains have been based around my hobbies.
Although this new domain is not based around a hobby, it is based around something where I know a number of the sub-niches that I plan to cover on the domain well. This should allow me to churn out a ton of content when I have time while also bringing on freelance writers when possible to help me scale this new project as quickly as possible to get it off the ground.
Although the niche of the domain is specific, it is very broad so I should not be running into any problems with running out of content to write about any time soon. This has been an issue for a domain that I made in 2018 as well as one in 2019 where they are hard to scale at their current stage due to having covered so much of the niche already. With this new domain, I should be able to scale it for years to come without much of an issue. Also, I don't give out the specific niche to any of my projects so don't plan to reveal the niche that this domain is in.
Starting With The End In Mind
Although I do plan to keep this new domain going for a few years yet and focus on growing it, I am trying to build the domain in a way where it should be quick and easy to sell once its traffic and income are high enough. This should give me a way to quickly sell the domain if I want in a few years without having any issues but time will tell. On the subject of selling sites, I may sell one of my Amazon Affiliate sites in a few months to fire up some cash to scale this new domain even quicker depending on how it is looking in a few months but so far I have $1000-$2000 a month for this new project for various tasks.
One of my friend's purchases sites to diversify her investing portfolio and I reached out to her for things she looks for in a potential new domain and this is what she came back with saying the first 6 are the main ones she will try to get in any potential new purchase:-
Hosting Theme CMS
Although I have been a big fan of Cloudways previously, the ease of use of Sitegounds has won me over so I have gone with Sitegrounds for this new domain as my host of choice. I have stuck with Namecheap as my domain registrar as I have used them for years and never had a problem with them to date and I like how you get free WhoIs protection with them too.
CMS wise, Wordpress was a no brainer due to having so much experience with the CMS from my other projects. The developer community behind Wordpress pretty much ensures that I always have a plugin or custom code that I can use to do anything I need with ease too.
Although I used to use Newspaper and Colormag as my go-to themes of choice, I have since moved over to Astra as it is so quick and easy to set up so I have gone with Astra as my theme of choice for this new domain too. Without the adsense code on the domain, it is giving me a page load time of around 0.6 seconds for a 2000 word article and around 2.5 seconds load time for the same page with the ad code on it.
This is the load times for a 2000 word article on the domain. The top left is Pingdom without having adsense code on the domain, the top right is Pingdom with adsense code on the domain and the bottom is GTMetrics with adsense code on the domain. GTMetrics were having issues on the day I set the domain up so I never managed to get a speed test before adding the adsense code with GTMetrics. The page sizes are different due to the compression from the autooptimize plugin covered below.
Plugins
AAWP
AAWP is a premium plugin that allows me to quickly and easily make product comparison table and link out to the items on Amazon. It also offers automatic geo-targeting for Amazon as well as a few other things but it does need access to the Amazon API so if you are brand new to this, the normal Amazon One Link system will probably be better and easier until you get your Amazon account approved and get access to their API calls.
If you are new to making affiliate blogs then I go over how you are able to make decent looking comparison tables here using free tools. If you don't have access to the API for Amazon or are on a budget for your blog then it might be worth checking out as you can make them look surprisingly good and they don't take too long to build.
Ads.txt Manager
Not a plugin that I usually use and there are a bunch that does the same thing but it basically allows me to quickly and easily edit my ads.txt file to add the different networks IDs to serve ads on my domain. As this new project is mainly going to be an informational content domain, display ads should make up a solid part of its income and I plan to switch ad networks as traffic grows so this should save me a little time in the future.
Autoptimize
One of my favorite free plugins and offers basic caching and lazy loading of images to help compress your pages and speed your pages up. It's very easy to set up and can help you improve your GTMetrix scores if you care about stuff like that while getting your page load times down. I actually purchased the WP Rocket plugin that is a premium plugin that does a similar job but refunded it and came back to Autoptimize as I personally had better results with it and its free.
Disable Comments
I’m not looking to build a community in the blog comments of this domain or attract bots/spammers so I just disable all comments on all posts with this plugin. Quick and easy and takes ten seconds to set up and can prevent a ton of heartache if you end up on some bot auto-accept bot list.
Google Analytics for WordPress by MonsterInsights
I use this to automatically inject the analytics tracking code for Google Analytics for my domains. Although it is easy enough to do it yourself and manually add it to your theme's header, you have to remember to re-add it every time you update your theme if you do it manually so I just use a plugin to keep things easy.
Google XML Sitemaps
I have seen mixed reports about sitemaps and if it's even worth using them anymore, I still do but it's mainly out of habit rather than knowing if Google still needs them or just crawls your domain. This plugin lets you quickly and easily build out a constant sitemap with a few seconds of adding it to your domain.
Insert Headers and Footers
Pretty sure you can use this to auto inject your Google Analytics code to your header if needed instead of Monster Insights but I have never tried it. I use it to inject the Google Adsense auto ads code to the header of my pages to show their display ads, quick and easy, and offers the same advantage of you not having to go back in and re-add it after each theme update.
Pretty Links
A few uses but the main thing that I use it for is to add place holder links as I publish my content to later turn into affiliate links on the back end once I get approved to different programs. Make sure that the TOS for any affiliate program you apply to actually allows you to do this, it's a grey area with Amazon and a few other networks so be aware of that. It also lets you quickly and easily flip your links from one network to another.
ShortPixel Image Optimizer
Another great tool although it is freemium but for the majority of bloggers, the 100 credits a month that you get for free should be more than enough. It basically compresses your images when you upload them and has one of the best compression systems going from what I can see. It can drastically reduce the size of your images without having much effect on the actual image quality. This means the don’t take as much space up on your hosting while needing less bandwidth to actually send on a page required letting your page load quicker too.
Ultimate Addons for Gutenberg
Made by the same team who make the Astra theme, solid plugin considering its free, basically ads some additional blocks for the Gutenberg editor in Wordpress to let you do a few other things with it.
WP Revisions Control
This lets you quickly and easily set a maximum number of revisions for each post to stop it clogging up your database on bigger sites. This plugin does have its negative sides as if you set it to only a small number of revisions then you may not be able to back up to an old version of the post if you make a mistake or something but I like it.
WP Word Count
Probably useless/nothing more than a vanity metric for most people but I use it to quickly and easily screenshot the total word count for my domains for YouTube videos/Forum/Reddit posts. Basically you click its tab and you can see the information like this as well as your monthly published content and a few other things.
Other Plugins
Although I am only using the plugins listed above for this domain I have this post going over these plugins in a little more detail as well as a few other plugins that I use for my other domains. If you are looking to set your first domain up then it might be worth checking out.
Keyword Research
I have my old keyword research method posted on Reddit but keep in mind, its three years old now and has not aged well to keep up with how modern Google works and serves its page results for a user search. It shares the same problems as the KGR method and my own personal method that I use has evolved a ton since then but if you are brand new then it might be worth checking out but I have no plans to publish a guide for my current keyword research method as its one of my best assets for moving forward.
As this domain is based around broad, informational content rather than laser-targeting buyer intent keywords like my affiliate projects, I have been having great results from the free version of answer the public due to using much broader initial terms when using the tool. It's well worth checking out as it's free and provided you are careful with your free credits, you can probably stick to the free plan to get a ton of keywords.
I am also using keyword sh*tter too as its an excellent free tool. Although I never logged the keyword source for this current project, I think that answer the public has probably produced more high search volume/low comp keywords for this new project than keyword sh*tter but when it comes to the lower search volume stuff, keyword sh*tter blows answer the public out of the water so try both out if you want to do this yourself.
I have seen so many people say that they want to outsource their keyword research and to date, I have not seen any services that actually offer good keywords. Although I made this going over a keyword research service from Fiverr, I have had similar results with other services charging much more for the keywords they sell you. In my experience, the people who are good at keyword research just outsource and article and use it for growing their own domains so don't be sucked in by flashy sales letters promising your high search volume, low competition keywords as in my experience they are far from it and a waste of money.
Content
Although I linked it earlier in the post, here is the launch content count for the domain. I basically spent two weeks or so churning out content for the project and leaving it in draft mode then published it all at once. I have nothing to back this up data wise or even a theory as to why I do it, I just prefer to have a big chunk of content on the domain when launching it.
I have chosen this parent niche as I know a few of the sub-niches within it pretty well so should be able to churn out a large amount of the content myself with ease. In addition to this, I am planning to bring a few freelance writers on to help me scale the project as quickly as possible to try and diversify my income sources between the Amazon Affiliate program and display ad networks as quickly as possible.
The majority of the articles on my other domains are usually between 1000 and 2500 words and I plan to do the same for this one. I will basically be looking at the first page of Google and checking the word counts of the keyword relevant pages already ranking and at least planning to match the word count of those pages. Different people have their own opinions on this but this will be my plan for word count moving forward.
If you are brand new to this type of thing then I think that for modern google, scaling into content is one of the best ways to get started and you should aim for something similar to what I cover in this screenshot. Although you will likely fail in a large number of the initial keywords that you target, it should put you on the right track to build out your own positive feedback loops as you move forward to improve your own keyword research and content creation methods.
Although I used to type my content directly into the Wordpress editor, I have been using the Surfer SEO content editor as it saves me a fair bit of time when prepping my articles and lets me build templates for the freelancer writers quickly and easily. Surfer SEO is far from essential for this though and I personally think that it is over prices for anyone who just uses it for its content editor. I managed to scale to $3500 a month with my current money site network without it so there's no need to run out and subscribe to it.
I have typed up millions of words of content over the years for various projects and I made this going over some of the main tips that I have picked up over the years. If you are new to blogging then this may be helpful, it’s not going to shave massive amounts of time off your content generation but every little helps and saving time on every article can quickly add up over the coming months as you churn your content out.
I also made this going over how you can easily optimize your images for your blog I would highly recommend people watch it as its one of the few things I really do wish I had known about years back. I got involved in this type of stuff back in 2013/2014 and only really started optimizing my images in January 2020 and it has managed to shave a bunch of time off my page load speeds and storage space requirements. Depending on where you source your images, it can potentially take your image file sizes from 4MB down to >100KB and takes about a minute to do per image if that. If you need sources to get images for your content that you are able to legally use then I made this going over the three main ways that I get free images for my content that may be helpful too.
Backlinks
Although I will be using backlinks for this domain, they are not essential if you are just starting and target keywords that are low enough competition. I got the project I cover here to around $350 a month without backlinks and the project I cover here to $800 a month before I started building backlinks for it. I will initially be focusing on guest posts, niche edits, and manual forum posts for this new project though, and may move into additional link type in the future with it all being outsourced via agencies.
I don’t give out recommendations for the backlinks services I use either as I was using one of the bigger services until a few months back when they tried to scam me by delivering a PBN link instead of the niche edit that I ordered that had a list price of over $300 if I remember rightly. Although it's not the main point of the video, I go over the various ways that you can check any links that you do choose to outsource in this video so you can at least double-check any links that you outsource for your own projects to see if they are just PBN links.
I know that some people like to wait a few months before they start to backlink their projects but I am planning to start backlinking right away as it worked so well for the domain that I started in August last year that made over $1700 last month. I basically use the guest posts and niche edits to pass link juice to help increase my domains strength and hopefully help my pages climb in the search results. Although the main reason for using the manual forum posts is to increase the referring domain count to my project and dilute the anchor text ratio, it does look like they can help for getting your pages to climb in the search results from some tests I did on the domain I started in August.
Also, just to be clear, these are not forum profile links where you make your profile on a niche related forum and just drop your link on your profile page for your account on the forum. These are links dropped in niche relevant threads that have a fair bit of content in the thread making them much easier to index and they tend to have a higher chance of being a do-follow link thank forum profile links too.
Budget
Current Budget Spend For The Project
As I am trying to scale this project as much as possible I am outsourcing a fair few of the tasks but this is not essential as I have typed up most of the content for my other projects myself with the two domains I mentioned above-having none/minimal link building too helping to keep their initial budget costs down. This thread on Reddit from a while back might be worth reading if you have a budget available for your project as it's from a guy asking for advice on how to spend his budget on his site. One of the users has deleted their account in the thread now though so you have to manually click on the + near the deleted account name to expand the full thread.
This video also goes over a number of different tools with the majority being free that I use to do various tasks for my money site network too. This can help you do a number of tasks without having to hike your budget spend up so it might be worth checking out too as it can keep your costs as low as possible.
submitted by shaun-m to juststart [link] [comments]

[Month 0] Growing An Informational Intent Site To $10,000 A Month From Scratch!

Although I have been wanting to start a new informational intent-based domain for a while now, I was planning to wait until 2021 to start it but due to the new round of commission changes in the Amazon Affiliate program, I have decided to put all of my Amazon projects on hold for now as I am massively overexposed to Amazon right now. Although I managed to earn almost $3600 last month from my money site network, the vast majority of it was from the Amazon Affiliate program.
Thankfully, I only had one small site hit by this latest round of changes with it taking about a 60% hit in commissions. My other two main domains are predominantly in the “All Other Categories” section and held at a 4% commission rate. That said though, I definitely think that there will be additional cuts and changes to the Amazon affiliate program in a few years so I want to get this informational intent domain off the ground as soon as possible.
My goal is to diversify both income and traffic sources with this new domain to help reduce future risk too as I have had a number of domains slapped by Google updates in the past. It will hopefully be making most of its money from display ad networks supplemented with a number of different affiliate programs with its traffic predominantly coming from organic search traffic supplemented by Pinterest and eventually Quora with any luck.
The majority of the content I am publishing right now is based around high search volume, low competition informational intent searches to try and scale the traffic on the domain as fast as possible to be able to apply to the Mediavine ad network. After that, I will start adding more content that is more suited to Pinterest and Quora traffic generation.
Niche
Although I have chased the commissions in the past and made sites around niches I had zero interest in, over the last year or two I have gone for lower-income potential niches that I actually know more about and enjoy. So far this is working well for me as I have been able to churn out tons of content without having to put much research in as I know a large amount of the information already as my last three domains have been based around my hobbies.
Although this new domain is not based around a hobby, it is based around something where I know a number of the sub-niches that I plan to cover on the domain well. This should allow me to churn out a ton of content when I have time while also bringing on freelance writers when possible to help me scale this new project as quickly as possible to get it off the ground.
Although the niche of the domain is specific, it is very broad so I should not be running into any problems with running out of content to write about any time soon. This has been an issue for a domain that I made in 2018 as well as one in 2019 where they are hard to scale at their current stage due to having covered so much of the niche already. With this new domain, I should be able to scale it for years to come without much of an issue. Also, I don't give out the specific niche to any of my projects so don't plan to reveal the niche that this domain is in.
Starting With The End In Mind
Although I do plan to keep this new domain going for a few years yet and focus on growing it, I am trying to build the domain in a way where it should be quick and easy to sell once its traffic and income are high enough. This should give me a way to quickly sell the domain if I want in a few years without having any issues but time will tell. On the subject of selling sites, I may sell one of my Amazon Affiliate sites in a few months to fire up some cash to scale this new domain even quicker depending on how it is looking in a few months but so far I have $1000-$2000 a month for this new project for various tasks.
One of my friend's purchases sites to diversify her investing portfolio and I reached out to her for things she looks for in a potential new domain and this is what she came back with saying the first 6 are the main ones she will try to get in any potential new purchase:-
Hosting Theme CMS
Although I have been a big fan of Cloudways previously, the ease of use of Sitegounds has won me over so I have gone with Sitegrounds for this new domain as my host of choice. I have stuck with Namecheap as my domain registrar as I have used them for years and never had a problem with them to date and I like how you get free WhoIs protection with them too.
CMS wise, Wordpress was a no brainer due to having so much experience with the CMS from my other projects. The developer community behind Wordpress pretty much ensures that I always have a plugin or custom code that I can use to do anything I need with ease too.
Although I used to use Newspaper and Colormag as my go-to themes of choice, I have since moved over to Astra as it is so quick and easy to set up so I have gone with Astra as my theme of choice for this new domain too. Without the adsense code on the domain, it is giving me a page load time of around 0.6 seconds for a 2000 word article and around 2.5 seconds load time for the same page with the ad code on it.
This is the load times for a 2000 word article on the domain. The top left is Pingdom without having adsense code on the domain, the top right is Pingdom with adsense code on the domain and the bottom is GTMetrics with adsense code on the domain. GTMetrics were having issues on the day I set the domain up so I never managed to get a speed test before adding the adsense code with GTMetrics. The page sizes are different due to the compression from the autooptimize plugin covered below.
Plugins
AAWP
AAWP is a premium plugin that allows me to quickly and easily make product comparison table and link out to the items on Amazon. It also offers automatic geo-targeting for Amazon as well as a few other things but it does need access to the Amazon API so if you are brand new to this, the normal Amazon One Link system will probably be better and easier until you get your Amazon account approved and get access to their API calls.
If you are new to making affiliate blogs then I go over how you are able to make decent looking comparison tables here using free tools. If you don't have access to the API for Amazon or are on a budget for your blog then it might be worth checking out as you can make them look surprisingly good and they don't take too long to build.
Ads.txt Manager
Not a plugin that I usually use and there are a bunch that does the same thing but it basically allows me to quickly and easily edit my ads.txt file to add the different networks IDs to serve ads on my domain. As this new project is mainly going to be an informational content domain, display ads should make up a solid part of its income and I plan to switch ad networks as traffic grows so this should save me a little time in the future.
Autoptimize
One of my favorite free plugins and offers basic caching and lazy loading of images to help compress your pages and speed your pages up. It's very easy to set up and can help you improve your GTMetrix scores if you care about stuff like that while getting your page load times down. I actually purchased the WP Rocket plugin that is a premium plugin that does a similar job but refunded it and came back to Autoptimize as I personally had better results with it and its free.
Disable Comments
I’m not looking to build a community in the blog comments of this domain or attract bots/spammers so I just disable all comments on all posts with this plugin. Quick and easy and takes ten seconds to set up and can prevent a ton of heartache if you end up on some bot auto-accept bot list.
Google Analytics for WordPress by MonsterInsights
I use this to automatically inject the analytics tracking code for Google Analytics for my domains. Although it is easy enough to do it yourself and manually add it to your theme's header, you have to remember to re-add it every time you update your theme if you do it manually so I just use a plugin to keep things easy.
Google XML Sitemaps
I have seen mixed reports about sitemaps and if it's even worth using them anymore, I still do but it's mainly out of habit rather than knowing if Google still needs them or just crawls your domain. This plugin lets you quickly and easily build out a constant sitemap with a few seconds of adding it to your domain.
Insert Headers and Footers
Pretty sure you can use this to auto inject your Google Analytics code to your header if needed instead of Monster Insights but I have never tried it. I use it to inject the Google Adsense auto ads code to the header of my pages to show their display ads, quick and easy, and offers the same advantage of you not having to go back in and re-add it after each theme update.
Pretty Links
A few uses but the main thing that I use it for is to add place holder links as I publish my content to later turn into affiliate links on the back end once I get approved to different programs. Make sure that the TOS for any affiliate program you apply to actually allows you to do this, it's a grey area with Amazon and a few other networks so be aware of that. It also lets you quickly and easily flip your links from one network to another.
ShortPixel Image Optimizer
Another great tool although it is freemium but for the majority of bloggers, the 100 credits a month that you get for free should be more than enough. It basically compresses your images when you upload them and has one of the best compression systems going from what I can see. It can drastically reduce the size of your images without having much effect on the actual image quality. This means the don’t take as much space up on your hosting while needing less bandwidth to actually send on a page required letting your page load quicker too.
Ultimate Addons for Gutenberg
Made by the same team who make the Astra theme, solid plugin considering its free, basically ads some additional blocks for the Gutenberg editor in Wordpress to let you do a few other things with it.
WP Revisions Control
This lets you quickly and easily set a maximum number of revisions for each post to stop it clogging up your database on bigger sites. This plugin does have its negative sides as if you set it to only a small number of revisions then you may not be able to back up to an old version of the post if you make a mistake or something but I like it.
WP Word Count
Probably useless/nothing more than a vanity metric for most people but I use it to quickly and easily screenshot the total word count for my domains for YouTube videos/Forum/Reddit posts. Basically you click its tab and you can see the information like this as well as your monthly published content and a few other things.
Other Plugins
Although I am only using the plugins listed above for this domain I have this post going over these plugins in a little more detail as well as a few other plugins that I use for my other domains. If you are looking to set your first domain up then it might be worth checking out.
Keyword Research
I have my old keyword research method posted on Reddit but keep in mind, its three years old now and has not aged well to keep up with how modern Google works and serves its page results for a user search. It shares the same problems as the KGR method and my own personal method that I use has evolved a ton since then but if you are brand new then it might be worth checking out but I have no plans to publish a guide for my current keyword research method as its one of my best assets for moving forward.
As this domain is based around broad, informational content rather than laser-targeting buyer intent keywords like my affiliate projects, I have been having great results from the free version of answer the public due to using much broader initial terms when using the tool. It's well worth checking out as it's free and provided you are careful with your free credits, you can probably stick to the free plan to get a ton of keywords.
I am also using keyword sh*tter too as its an excellent free tool. Although I never logged the keyword source for this current project, I think that answer the public has probably produced more high search volume/low comp keywords for this new project than keyword sh*tter but when it comes to the lower search volume stuff, keyword sh*tter blows answer the public out of the water so try both out if you want to do this yourself.
I have seen so many people say that they want to outsource their keyword research and to date, I have not seen any services that actually offer good keywords. Although I made this going over a keyword research service from Fiverr, I have had similar results with other services charging much more for the keywords they sell you. In my experience, the people who are good at keyword research just outsource and article and use it for growing their own domains so don't be sucked in by flashy sales letters promising your high search volume, low competition keywords as in my experience they are far from it and a waste of money.
Content
Although I linked it earlier in the post, here is the launch content count for the domain. I basically spent two weeks or so churning out content for the project and leaving it in draft mode then published it all at once. I have nothing to back this up data wise or even a theory as to why I do it, I just prefer to have a big chunk of content on the domain when launching it.
I have chosen this parent niche as I know a few of the sub-niches within it pretty well so should be able to churn out a large amount of the content myself with ease. In addition to this, I am planning to bring a few freelance writers on to help me scale the project as quickly as possible to try and diversify my income sources between the Amazon Affiliate program and display ad networks as quickly as possible.
The majority of the articles on my other domains are usually between 1000 and 2500 words and I plan to do the same for this one. I will basically be looking at the first page of Google and checking the word counts of the keyword relevant pages already ranking and at least planning to match the word count of those pages. Different people have their own opinions on this but this will be my plan for word count moving forward.
If you are brand new to this type of thing then I think that for modern google, scaling into content is one of the best ways to get started and you should aim for something similar to what I cover in this screenshot. Although you will likely fail in a large number of the initial keywords that you target, it should put you on the right track to build out your own positive feedback loops as you move forward to improve your own keyword research and content creation methods.
Although I used to type my content directly into the Wordpress editor, I have been using the Surfer SEO content editor as it saves me a fair bit of time when prepping my articles and lets me build templates for the freelancer writers quickly and easily. Surfer SEO is far from essential for this though and I personally think that it is over prices for anyone who just uses it for its content editor. I managed to scale to $3500 a month with my current money site network without it so there's no need to run out and subscribe to it.
I have typed up millions of words of content over the years for various projects and I made this going over some of the main tips that I have picked up over the years. If you are new to blogging then this may be helpful, it’s not going to shave massive amounts of time off your content generation but every little helps and saving time on every article can quickly add up over the coming months as you churn your content out.
I also made this going over how you can easily optimize your images for your blog I would highly recommend people watch it as its one of the few things I really do wish I had known about years back. I got involved in this type of stuff back in 2013/2014 and only really started optimizing my images in January 2020 and it has managed to shave a bunch of time off my page load speeds and storage space requirements. Depending on where you source your images, it can potentially take your image file sizes from 4MB down to >100KB and takes about a minute to do per image if that. If you need sources to get images for your content that you are able to legally use then I made this going over the three main ways that I get free images for my content that may be helpful too.
Backlinks
Although I will be using backlinks for this domain, they are not essential if you are just starting and target keywords that are low enough competition. I got the project I cover here to around $350 a month without backlinks and the project I cover here to $800 a month before I started building backlinks for it. I will initially be focusing on guest posts, niche edits, and manual forum posts for this new project though, and may move into additional link type in the future with it all being outsourced via agencies.
I don’t give out recommendations for the backlinks services I use either as I was using one of the bigger services until a few months back when they tried to scam me by delivering a PBN link instead of the niche edit that I ordered that had a list price of over $300 if I remember rightly. Although it's not the main point of the video, I go over the various ways that you can check any links that you do choose to outsource in this video so you can at least double-check any links that you outsource for your own projects to see if they are just PBN links.
I know that some people like to wait a few months before they start to backlink their projects but I am planning to start backlinking right away as it worked so well for the domain that I started in August last year that made over $1700 last month. I basically use the guest posts and niche edits to pass link juice to help increase my domains strength and hopefully help my pages climb in the search results. Although the main reason for using the manual forum posts is to increase the referring domain count to my project and dilute the anchor text ratio, it does look like they can help for getting your pages to climb in the search results from some tests I did on the domain I started in August.
Also, just to be clear, these are not forum profile links where you make your profile on a niche related forum and just drop your link on your profile page for your account on the forum. These are links dropped in niche relevant threads that have a fair bit of content in the thread making them much easier to index and they tend to have a higher chance of being a do-follow link thank forum profile links too.
Budget
Current Budget Spend For The Project
As I am trying to scale this project as much as possible I am outsourcing a fair few of the tasks but this is not essential as I have typed up most of the content for my other projects myself with the two domains I mentioned above-having none/minimal link building too helping to keep their initial budget costs down. This thread on Reddit from a while back might be worth reading if you have a budget available for your project as it's from a guy asking for advice on how to spend his budget on his site. One of the users has deleted their account in the thread now though so you have to manually click on the + near the deleted account name to expand the full thread.
This video also goes over a number of different tools with the majority being free that I use to do various tasks for my money site network too. This can help you do a number of tasks without having to hike your budget spend up so it might be worth checking out too as it can keep your costs as low as possible.
submitted by shaun-m to Blogging [link] [comments]

[Month 0] Growing An Informational Intent Site To $10,000 A Month From Scratch!

Note - Blogging is far from passive when initially getting the domain off the ground and setting everything up but the three established domains that I earn most of my income from have not been touched since January 2020, September 2019, and sometime in 2018 respectively so all the effort can pay off and lead to some solid delayed income that some people may call passive income.
Although I have been wanting to start a new informational intent-based domain for a while now, I was planning to wait until 2021 to start it but due to the new round of commission changes in the Amazon Affiliate program, I have decided to put all of my Amazon projects on hold for now as I am massively overexposed to Amazon right now. Although I managed to earn almost $3600 last month from my money site network, the vast majority of it was from the Amazon Affiliate program.
Thankfully, I only had one small site hit by this latest round of changes with it taking about a 60% hit in commissions. My other two main domains are predominantly in the “All Other Categories” section and held at a 4% commission rate. That said though, I definitely think that there will be additional cuts and changes to the Amazon affiliate program in a few years so I want to get this informational intent domain off the ground as soon as possible.
My goal is to diversify both income and traffic sources with this new domain to help reduce future risk too as I have had a number of domains slapped by Google updates in the past. It will hopefully be making most of its money from display ad networks supplemented with a number of different affiliate programs with its traffic predominantly coming from organic search traffic supplemented by Pinterest and eventually Quora with any luck.
The majority of the content I am publishing right now is based around high search volume, low competition informational intent searches to try and scale the traffic on the domain as fast as possible to be able to apply to the Mediavine ad network. After that, I will start adding more content that is more suited to Pinterest and Quora traffic generation.
Niche
Although I have chased the commissions in the past and made sites around niches I had zero interest in, over the last year or two I have gone for lower-income potential niches that I actually know more about and enjoy. So far this is working well for me as I have been able to churn out tons of content without having to put much research in as I know a large amount of the information already as my last three domains have been based around my hobbies.
Although this new domain is not based around a hobby, it is based around something where I know a number of the sub-niches that I plan to cover on the domain well. This should allow me to churn out a ton of content when I have time while also bringing on freelance writers when possible to help me scale this new project as quickly as possible to get it off the ground.
Although the niche of the domain is specific, it is very broad so I should not be running into any problems with running out of content to write about any time soon. This has been an issue for a domain that I made in 2018 as well as one in 2019 where they are hard to scale at their current stage due to having covered so much of the niche already. With this new domain, I should be able to scale it for years to come without much of an issue. Also, I don't give out the specific niche to any of my projects so don't plan to reveal the niche that this domain is in.
Starting With The End In Mind
Although I do plan to keep this new domain going for a few years yet and focus on growing it, I am trying to build the domain in a way where it should be quick and easy to sell once its traffic and income are high enough. This should give me a way to quickly sell the domain if I want in a few years without having any issues but time will tell. On the subject of selling sites, I may sell one of my Amazon Affiliate sites in a few months to fire up some cash to scale this new domain even quicker depending on how it is looking in a few months but so far I have $1000-$2000 a month for this new project for various tasks.
One of my friend's purchases sites to diversify her investing portfolio and I reached out to her for things she looks for in a potential new domain and this is what she came back with saying the first 6 are the main ones she will try to get in any potential new purchase:-
Hosting Theme CMS
Although I have been a big fan of Cloudways previously, the ease of use of Sitegounds has won me over so I have gone with Sitegrounds for this new domain as my host of choice. I have stuck with Namecheap as my domain registrar as I have used them for years and never had a problem with them to date and I like how you get free WhoIs protection with them too.
CMS wise, Wordpress was a no brainer due to having so much experience with the CMS from my other projects. The developer community behind Wordpress pretty much ensures that I always have a plugin or custom code that I can use to do anything I need with ease too.
Although I used to use Newspaper and Colormag as my go-to themes of choice, I have since moved over to Astra as it is so quick and easy to set up so I have gone with Astra as my theme of choice for this new domain too. Without the adsense code on the domain, it is giving me a page load time of around 0.6 seconds for a 2000 word article and around 2.5 seconds load time for the same page with the ad code on it.
This is the load times for a 2000 word article on the domain. The top left is Pingdom without having adsense code on the domain, the top right is Pingdom with adsense code on the domain and the bottom is GTMetrics with adsense code on the domain. GTMetrics were having issues on the day I set the domain up so I never managed to get a speed test before adding the adsense code with GTMetrics. The page sizes are different due to the compression from the autooptimize plugin covered below.
Plugins
AAWP
AAWP is a premium plugin that allows me to quickly and easily make product comparison table and link out to the items on Amazon. It also offers automatic geo-targeting for Amazon as well as a few other things but it does need access to the Amazon API so if you are brand new to this, the normal Amazon One Link system will probably be better and easier until you get your Amazon account approved and get access to their API calls.
If you are new to making affiliate blogs then I go over how you are able to make decent looking comparison tables here using free tools. If you don't have access to the API for Amazon or are on a budget for your blog then it might be worth checking out as you can make them look surprisingly good and they don't take too long to build.
Ads.txt Manager
Not a plugin that I usually use and there are a bunch that does the same thing but it basically allows me to quickly and easily edit my ads.txt file to add the different networks IDs to serve ads on my domain. As this new project is mainly going to be an informational content domain, display ads should make up a solid part of its income and I plan to switch ad networks as traffic grows so this should save me a little time in the future.
Autoptimize
One of my favorite free plugins and offers basic caching and lazy loading of images to help compress your pages and speed your pages up. It's very easy to set up and can help you improve your GTMetrix scores if you care about stuff like that while getting your page load times down. I actually purchased the WP Rocket plugin that is a premium plugin that does a similar job but refunded it and came back to Autoptimize as I personally had better results with it and its free.
Disable Comments
I’m not looking to build a community in the blog comments of this domain or attract bots/spammers so I just disable all comments on all posts with this plugin. Quick and easy and takes ten seconds to set up and can prevent a ton of heartache if you end up on some bot auto-accept bot list.
Google Analytics for WordPress by MonsterInsights
I use this to automatically inject the analytics tracking code for Google Analytics for my domains. Although it is easy enough to do it yourself and manually add it to your theme's header, you have to remember to re-add it every time you update your theme if you do it manually so I just use a plugin to keep things easy.
Google XML Sitemaps
I have seen mixed reports about sitemaps and if it's even worth using them anymore, I still do but it's mainly out of habit rather than knowing if Google still needs them or just crawls your domain. This plugin lets you quickly and easily build out a constant sitemap with a few seconds of adding it to your domain.
Insert Headers and Footers
Pretty sure you can use this to auto inject your Google Analytics code to your header if needed instead of Monster Insights but I have never tried it. I use it to inject the Google Adsense auto ads code to the header of my pages to show their display ads, quick and easy, and offers the same advantage of you not having to go back in and re-add it after each theme update.
Pretty Links
A few uses but the main thing that I use it for is to add place holder links as I publish my content to later turn into affiliate links on the back end once I get approved to different programs. Make sure that the TOS for any affiliate program you apply to actually allows you to do this, it's a grey area with Amazon and a few other networks so be aware of that. It also lets you quickly and easily flip your links from one network to another.
ShortPixel Image Optimizer
Another great tool although it is freemium but for the majority of bloggers, the 100 credits a month that you get for free should be more than enough. It basically compresses your images when you upload them and has one of the best compression systems going from what I can see. It can drastically reduce the size of your images without having much effect on the actual image quality. This means the don’t take as much space up on your hosting while needing less bandwidth to actually send on a page required letting your page load quicker too.
Ultimate Addons for Gutenberg
Made by the same team who make the Astra theme, solid plugin considering its free, basically ads some additional blocks for the Gutenberg editor in Wordpress to let you do a few other things with it.
WP Revisions Control
This lets you quickly and easily set a maximum number of revisions for each post to stop it clogging up your database on bigger sites. This plugin does have its negative sides as if you set it to only a small number of revisions then you may not be able to back up to an old version of the post if you make a mistake or something but I like it.
WP Word Count
Probably useless/nothing more than a vanity metric for most people but I use it to quickly and easily screenshot the total word count for my domains for YouTube videos/Forum/Reddit posts. Basically you click its tab and you can see the information like this as well as your monthly published content and a few other things.
Other Plugins
Although I am only using the plugins listed above for this domain I have this post going over these plugins in a little more detail as well as a few other plugins that I use for my other domains. If you are looking to set your first domain up then it might be worth checking out.
Keyword Research
I have my old keyword research method posted on Reddit but keep in mind, its three years old now and has not aged well to keep up with how modern Google works and serves its page results for a user search. It shares the same problems as the KGR method and my own personal method that I use has evolved a ton since then but if you are brand new then it might be worth checking out but I have no plans to publish a guide for my current keyword research method as its one of my best assets for moving forward.
As this domain is based around broad, informational content rather than laser-targeting buyer intent keywords like my affiliate projects, I have been having great results from the free version of answer the public due to using much broader initial terms when using the tool. It's well worth checking out as it's free and provided you are careful with your free credits, you can probably stick to the free plan to get a ton of keywords.
I am also using keyword sh*tter too as its an excellent free tool. Although I never logged the keyword source for this current project, I think that answer the public has probably produced more high search volume/low comp keywords for this new project than keyword sh*tter but when it comes to the lower search volume stuff, keyword sh*tter blows answer the public out of the water so try both out if you want to do this yourself.
I have seen so many people say that they want to outsource their keyword research and to date, I have not seen any services that actually offer good keywords. Although I made this going over a keyword research service from Fiverr, I have had similar results with other services charging much more for the keywords they sell you. In my experience, the people who are good at keyword research just outsource and article and use it for growing their own domains so don't be sucked in by flashy sales letters promising your high search volume, low competition keywords as in my experience they are far from it and a waste of money.
Content
Although I linked it earlier in the post, here is the launch content count for the domain. I basically spent two weeks or so churning out content for the project and leaving it in draft mode then published it all at once. I have nothing to back this up data wise or even a theory as to why I do it, I just prefer to have a big chunk of content on the domain when launching it.
I have chosen this parent niche as I know a few of the sub-niches within it pretty well so should be able to churn out a large amount of the content myself with ease. In addition to this, I am planning to bring a few freelance writers on to help me scale the project as quickly as possible to try and diversify my income sources between the Amazon Affiliate program and display ad networks as quickly as possible.
The majority of the articles on my other domains are usually between 1000 and 2500 words and I plan to do the same for this one. I will basically be looking at the first page of Google and checking the word counts of the keyword relevant pages already ranking and at least planning to match the word count of those pages. Different people have their own opinions on this but this will be my plan for word count moving forward.
If you are brand new to this type of thing then I think that for modern google, scaling into content is one of the best ways to get started and you should aim for something similar to what I cover in this screenshot. Although you will likely fail in a large number of the initial keywords that you target, it should put you on the right track to build out your own positive feedback loops as you move forward to improve your own keyword research and content creation methods.
Although I used to type my content directly into the Wordpress editor, I have been using the Surfer SEO content editor as it saves me a fair bit of time when prepping my articles and lets me build templates for the freelancer writers quickly and easily. Surfer SEO is far from essential for this though and I personally think that it is over prices for anyone who just uses it for its content editor. I managed to scale to $3500 a month with my current money site network without it so there's no need to run out and subscribe to it.
I have typed up millions of words of content over the years for various projects and I made this going over some of the main tips that I have picked up over the years. If you are new to blogging then this may be helpful, it’s not going to shave massive amounts of time off your content generation but every little helps and saving time on every article can quickly add up over the coming months as you churn your content out.
I also made this going over how you can easily optimize your images for your blog I would highly recommend people watch it as its one of the few things I really do wish I had known about years back. I got involved in this type of stuff back in 2013/2014 and only really started optimizing my images in January 2020 and it has managed to shave a bunch of time off my page load speeds and storage space requirements. Depending on where you source your images, it can potentially take your image file sizes from 4MB down to >100KB and takes about a minute to do per image if that. If you need sources to get images for your content that you are able to legally use then I made this going over the three main ways that I get free images for my content that may be helpful too.
Backlinks
Although I will be using backlinks for this domain, they are not essential if you are just starting and target keywords that are low enough competition. I got the project I cover here to around $350 a month without backlinks and the project I cover here to $800 a month before I started building backlinks for it. I will initially be focusing on guest posts, niche edits, and manual forum posts for this new project though, and may move into additional link type in the future with it all being outsourced via agencies.
I don’t give out recommendations for the backlinks services I use either as I was using one of the bigger services until a few months back when they tried to scam me by delivering a PBN link instead of the niche edit that I ordered that had a list price of over $300 if I remember rightly. Although it's not the main point of the video, I go over the various ways that you can check any links that you do choose to outsource in this video so you can at least double-check any links that you outsource for your own projects to see if they are just PBN links.
I know that some people like to wait a few months before they start to backlink their projects but I am planning to start backlinking right away as it worked so well for the domain that I started in August last year that made over $1700 last month. I basically use the guest posts and niche edits to pass link juice to help increase my domains strength and hopefully help my pages climb in the search results. Although the main reason for using the manual forum posts is to increase the referring domain count to my project and dilute the anchor text ratio, it does look like they can help for getting your pages to climb in the search results from some tests I did on the domain I started in August.
Also, just to be clear, these are not forum profile links where you make your profile on a niche related forum and just drop your link on your profile page for your account on the forum. These are links dropped in niche relevant threads that have a fair bit of content in the thread making them much easier to index and they tend to have a higher chance of being a do-follow link thank forum profile links too.
Budget
Current Budget Spend For The Project
As I am trying to scale this project as much as possible I am outsourcing a fair few of the tasks but this is not essential as I have typed up most of the content for my other projects myself with the two domains I mentioned above-having none/minimal link building too helping to keep their initial budget costs down. This thread on Reddit from a while back might be worth reading if you have a budget available for your project as it's from a guy asking for advice on how to spend his budget on his site. One of the users has deleted their account in the thread now though so you have to manually click on the + near the deleted account name to expand the full thread.
This video also goes over a number of different tools with the majority being free that I use to do various tasks for my money site network too. This can help you do a number of tasks without having to hike your budget spend up so it might be worth checking out too as it can keep your costs as low as possible.
submitted by shaun-m to passive_income [link] [comments]

How to achieve explosive startup growth!

Here is the summary of the book Traction: How any startup can achieve explosive growth.
I hope that you find it useful!

Traction is a sign that your startup is taking off. If you charge, it means customers are buying. If your product is free, it means your user base is growing.
If you have traction, all your technical, market, and team risks become easier to handle. It becomes easier to fund-raise, hire, do press, partnerships, and acquisitions.
Traction trumps everything.

How to think about Traction?

Almost every failed startup has a product. What failed startups don’t have is enough customers.
You should spend your time in parallel, both constructing your product and testing traction channels.
This is what we call the 50 percent rule: spend 50 percent of your time on product and 50% on traction. This rule seems simple but it’s hard to follow because the pull to spend all your attention on the product is strong. You’re probably making a startup because you want to build a particular product. You have a vision, but a lot of traction activities are unknown and outside your vision and comfort zone. So you try to avoid them. Don’t.
Doing product and traction in parallel has these benefits:
Before trying to get traction, you’ll need to define what traction means for your company. You need to set a traction goal. Maybe your current startup goal is to raise funding or become profitable. How many customers do you need and at what rate? You should then focus on marketing activities that result in a significant impact on your traction goal. It should move the needle.
Your startup has 3 phases:

Phase I: Make something people want

In phase 1, your product has the most leaks, it really doesn’t hold water. You shouldn’t scale up your efforts now, but it’s important to send a small amount of water through the bucket so you can see where the holes are and plug them. \ Your goal in phase 1 is to get your first customers and prove your product can get traction. You focus on building your initial product and getting traction in ways that don’t scale: giving talks, writing guest posts, emailing people you know, attending conferences, and doing whatever you can to get in front of customers.

Some founders believe that startups either take off or don’t. Actually startups take off because the founders make them take off!
– Paul Graham

Phase II: Market something people want

Once you hone your product, you have product-market fit and customers are sticking around. Now is the time to scale up your traction efforts. You fine-tune your positioning and marketing messages.

Phase III: Scale your business

As your company grows, smaller traction strategies stop moving the needle, so you’ll start to scale.
In phase 3 you have an established business model and significant position in the market, and you’re focused on scaling to further dominate the market and to profit.

Traction for funding

When pursuing funding, first contact individuals who understand what you’re working on. The better your investors understand what you’re doing, the less traction they’ll need to see before they invest. Also, try friends and family who may not need to see any traction before investing as they’re investing in you personally.

To pivot or not to pivot

Many startups give up way too early. The first thing to look for is evidence of real product engagement, even if it’s only a few dedicated customers. If you have such an engagement, you might be giving up too soon. Look for the bright spots in your customer base and see if you can expand from that base.

How to get traction? The Bullseye framework

The Bullseye framework helps you find the channel that will get you traction. Most businesses actually get zero distribution channels to work. If you can get even a single distribution channel to work, you have a great business. If you try for several but don’t nail one, you’re finished.
You’re aiming for bullseye: the one channel at the center of the target that will unlock your next growth stage. Here are the 3 Bullseye framework steps:

Find what’s possible: The outer-ring

The first step in Bullseye is brainstorming every single traction channel. It’s important not to dismiss any channel in this step. Think of at least one idea for each channel. For example, social ads is a traction channel. Running ads on Facebook or Twitter is a channel strategy within social ads. You could research what marketing strategies worked in your industry as well as the history of companies in your space.

Find what’s probable: The middle-ring

Go around your outer-ring and promote your best and most exciting ideas to your middle-ring. For each traction channel in your middle ring, now construct a cheap traction test you can run to find if the idea is good or not. These tests need to answer the following questions:
  1. What’s the cost of acquiring customers?
  2. How many customers are available?
  3. Are they the right type of customers for you now?
You want to design small scale tests that don’t require much up-front cost or effort. For example, run 4 Facebook ads instead of 40.

Find what’s working: The inner-ring

The final step in Bullseye is to only focus on one channel that will move the needle for your startup: your core channel. At any stage of your startup, you should have one traction channel that you’re focusing on and optimizing.
Most founders mess this up by keeping around distracting marketing efforts in other channels.
If search engine marketing is significantly better for you than other channels, you should focus all your efforts on this core channel and uncover additional strategies and tactics within it.
If no channel seems promising after testing, the whole process should be repeated. If you tried several times with no success, then your product may require more tweaking and your bucket might be still leaky.

How to test traction?

Middle-ring tests: You should be running several cheap tests that give you an indication of how successful a given channel strategy could be.
Inner ring tests:
You’re doing two things:
  1. Optimize your chosen channel strategy to make it the best it can be.
  2. Discover better channel strategies within this traction channel.
There is always a set of things you can tweak. For targeting blogs, you can tweak which blogs to target, type of content, call to action, etc. For search engine marketing, you can tweak keywords, ad-copy, demographics, and landing pages.
A common approach is to use A/B testing, where A is the control group and B is the experimental group. The purpose of it is to measure the effectiveness of change in a button color, an ad image, or a different message on a web page. If the experimental group performs significantly better, you can apply the change, get the benefits, and run another test.
You can use tools such as Optimizely, Visual Website Optimizer, and Unbounce.
Over time, all marketing channels become saturated. To combat this, you should always be trying to discover new strategies and tactics within your channel and conduct small experiments. Also, experiment with new marketing platforms while they’re still in their infancy.

Tools

To track your tests you could start with a simple spreadsheet or use an analytics tool with cohort analysis. You’ll need to answer these questions:
  1. How many people landed on the website?
  2. What are the demographics of my best and worst customers?
  3. Are customers who interact with my support team more likely to stay?
A basic analytics tool like Clicky, Mixpanel, or Chartbeat can help you with these questions. You can use a spreadsheet as the tool to rank and prioritize traction channel strategies. You should include columns like how many customers are available, conversion rate, the cost to acquire a customer, lifetime value of a customer for every given strategy.

How to focus on the right traction goals? The critical path framework

Define your traction goal

You should always have an explicit traction goal you’re working towards. This could be 1,000 paying customers or 100 new daily customers, or 10% of your market. You want a goal where hitting the mark would change things significantly for your company’s outcome.
Once that is defined, you can work backward and set clear time-based subgoals. Such as reaching 1,000 customers by next quarter.
The key is to follow the critical path towards that goal and exclude all features and marketing activities that don’t help you reach your goal. Everything you decide to do should be assessed against your critical path.

Avoid traction biases

Your competitive advantage may be acquiring customers in ways your competition isn’t. That’s why it’s critical to avoid have traction biases. Stop your urge to refuse channels like speaking engagements, sales or affiliate marketing, business development, or trade shows just because you hate talking on the phone or you find the channel annoying or time-consuming.

Targetting blogs

Targeting blogs that your prospective customers read is one of the best ways to get your first wave customers.
Mint’s initial series of tests revealed that targeting blogs should be its core channel. They asked users to embed an “I want mint” badge on their personal blogs and rewarded them with a VIP access before other invitations were sent out. They also directly sponsored blogs. They sent bloggers a message with “Can I send you $500” as the subject and told them a bit about the product.
To find smaller blogs in your niche:
You can also target link-sharing communities like Reddit, Product Hunt, and Hacker News.
Dropbox, Codecademy, Quora, and Gumroad all got their first customers by sharing their products on HackerNews because their products were a good fit for users on that site.

Publicity

Starting out, an article in TechCrunch or The Huffington Post can boost your startup in the eyes of potential customers, investors, or partners. If you have a fascinating story with broad appeal, media outlets will want to hear from you.
It’s easier to start smaller when targeting big media outlets. Sites like TechCrunch and Lifehacker often pick up stories from smaller forums like Hacker News and subreddits. Instead of approaching TechCrunch, try blogs that TechCrunch reads and get story ideas from. It’s easier to get a smaller blog’s attention. Then you might get featured on TechCrunch and then The New York Times which reads TechCrunch!
What gets a reporter’s attention?
A good press angle makes people react emotionally. If it’s not interesting enough to elicit emotion, you don’t have a story worth pitching.
A good first step is using a service like Help A Reporter Out (HARO), where reporters request sources for articles they’re working on. It could get you a mention in the piece and help establish your credibility. Also, you could offer reporters commentary on stories related to your industries.
You can use Twitter to reach reporters online; almost all of them have Twitter accounts and you’d be surprised how few followers many of them have, but they can be highly influential with their content.
Once you have a solid story, you want to draw as much attention to it as you can:
Once your story has been established as a popular news item, try to drag it out as long as you can. Offer interviews that add to the story. Start “How We Did This” follow-up interviews.
As your startup grows you may consider hiring a PR firm or consultant.

Unconventional PR

Nearly every company attempts traditional publicity, but only a few focus on stunts and other unconventional ways to get buzz.

The publicity stunt

Customer Appreciation

Be awesome to your customers. Shortly after Alexis Ohanian launched Hipmunk, he sent out luggage tags and a handwritten note to the first several hundred people who mentioned the site on Twitter.
Holding a contest is also a great repeatable way to generate publicity and get word of mouth. Shopify has an annual Build a Business competition.
Great customer support is so rare that, if you make your customers happy, they’re likely to spread the news of your awesome product. Zappos is one of the best-known examples of a company with incredible customer service and they classify support as a marketing investment.

Search Engine Marketing (SEM)

SEM is placing ads on search engines like Google. It’s sometimes called “pay-per-click” because you only pay when a user clicks on an ad.
SEM works well for companies looking to sell directly to their target customer. You’re capturing people who are actively searching for solutions.
Click-Through Rate (CTR) The percentage of ad impressions that result in clicks to your site.
Cost per Click (CPC) The amount it costs to buy a click on an ad.
Cost per Acquisition (CPA) How much it costs you to acquire a customer, not just a click. If you buy clicks at $1 and 10% of people who hit your site make a purchase. This makes your CPA at $10.
CPA = CPC / conversion percentage

SEM to get early customer data

You can use SEM as a way to get early customer data in a controlled and predictable way. Even if you don’t expect to be profitable, you can decide to spend a certain amount of money to get an early base of customers and users to inform you about important metrics such as landing page conversion rates, average cost per customer, and lifetime value.
Archives.com used AdWords to drive traffic to their landing pages, even before they built a product, to test interest in a specific product approach. By measuring the CTR for each ad and conversions, they determined which product aspects were the most compelling to potential customers and what those people would actually pay for. When they finally built their product, they built something they knew the market would want.

SEM strategy

Find high-potential keywords, group them into ad groups, and test different ad copy and landing pages within each ad group. As data flows in, remove underperforming ads and landing pages and make tweaks to keep improving results.
Use tools like Optimizely and Visual Website Optimizer to run A/B tests on your landing pages.

Keyword research

Use Google’s keyword planner to discover top keywords your target customers use to find products like yours. You could also use tools such as KeywordSpy, SEMrush, and SpyFu to discover keywords your competition is using.
You can refine your keyword list by adding more terms to the end of each base term to create long-tail keywords. They’re less competitive and have lower search volumes which makes them ideal for testing on smaller groups of customers.
SEM is more expensive for more competitive keywords, so you’ll need to limit yourself to keywords with profitable conversion rates.
You shouldn’t expect your campaigns to be profitable right away, but if you can run a campaign that breaks even after a short period of time, then SEM could be an excellent channel for you to focus on.

Writing ads

Write ads with titles that are catchy, memorable, and relevant to the keywords you’ve paired with it. Include the keyword at least once in the body of your ad and conclude with a prominent call to action like “Check out discounted Nike sneakers!”
Each of your ads and ad groups will have a quality score associated with it. A high-quality score will get you better ad placements and better ad pricing. Click-through rate has the biggest influence on quality score, so you should tailor your ads to the keywords. Google assigns a low-quality score to ads with CTRs below 1.5%

Tactics

Social and Display Ads

Display ads are banner ads you see on websites. Social ads are ads you see on social sites like Facebook and Twitter.
Large display campaigns are often used for branding and awareness, much like offline ads. They can also elicit a direct response such as signing up for an email newsletter or buying a product.
Social ads perform exceptionally well is when they’re used to build an audience and engage with them over time, and eventually convert them to customers.

Display ads

The largest display ad networks are Google Display Network, BuySellAds, Advertising.com, Tribal Fusion, Conversant, and Adblade. Niche ad networks focus on smaller sites that fit certain audience demographics, such as dog lovers or Apple fanatics.
To get started in display advertising, you could start to find out types of ads that work in your industry. You could use tools like MixRank and Adbeat to show you ads your competitors are running and where they place them. Alexa and Quantcast can help you determine who visits the sites that feature your competitors’ ads.

Social ads

Social ads work well for creating interest among potential new customers. The goal is often awareness oriented, not conversion oriented. A purchase takes place further down the line. People visit social media sites for entertainment and interaction, not to see ads.
An effective social ad strategy takes advantage of this reality. Use ads to start conversations about your products by creating compelling content. Instead of directing people to a conversion page, direct them to a piece of content that explains why you developed your product or has other purposes than immediately completing a sale. If you have a piece of content that has high organic reach, when you put paid ads behind that piece, magic happens. Paid is only as good as the content you put behind it. You should employ social ads when you know that a fire is starting around your message and you want to put more oil on it.
Major social sites you may consider are LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, StumbleUpon, Foursquare, Tumblr, Reddit, YouTube, and many others.

Offline Ads

Even today, advertisers spend more on offline ads than they do online. When buying offline ads, You should try to advertise to demographics that match up with your target audience. Ask for an audience prospectus or ad kit.
Not sure if magazine ads are a good channel for you? Buy a small ad in a niche publication and give it a test. Want to see if newspapers would be good? Buy a few ads in a local paper. You can also try radio ads and billboards.

Magazine ads

A compelling magazine or newspaper ad will have an attention-grabbing header, an eye-catching graphic, and a description of the product’s benefits. Also, you should have a strong call to action, like an offer to get a free book.

Direct mail

You could also try direct mail by searching for “direct mail lists” and find companies selling such information. (Beware that it can be perceived as spammy)

Local print

You could also try local print ads like local fliers, directories, calendars, church bulletins, community newsletters, coupon booklets, or yellow pages. These work really well for cheap if you want to get early traction for your company in a specific area.

Outdoor advertising

If you want to buy space on a billboard, you could contact companies like Lamar, Clear Channel, or Outfront Media. Billboards aren’t effective for people to take immediate action, but it’s extremely effective for raising awareness around events, like concerts and conferences.
DuckDuckGo bought a billboard in Google’s backyard and it got big attention and press coverage.
Transit ads can be effective as a direct response tool. You can contact Blue Line Media to help you with Transit ads.

Radio and TV

Radio ads are priced on a cost per point (CPP) basis, where each point represents what it will cost to reach 1% of the station’s listeners. It also depends on your market, when the commercial runs and how many ads you’ve bought.
TV ads are often used as branding mechanisms. Quality is critical for it and production costs can run to tens of thousands. Higher-end ones can cost $200K to make. You’ll also need an average of $350,000 for actual airtime. For smaller startups, you could try local TV spots which is much cheaper.
Infomercials work really well for products in categories like Workout equipment, household products, health products, and work-from-home businesses. They can cost between $50,000 and $500,000, and they’re always direct-response.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

SEO is improving your ranking in search engines in order to get more people to your site.
The most important thing to know about SEO is that the more high-quality links you have to a given site or page, the higher it will rank. You should also make sure you’re using the keywords you want to target appropriately on your pages, like in your page titles and headings.
There are 2 strategies to choose from: fat-head and long-tail.
Fat-head: These are one and two-word searches like “Dishwashers,” and “Facebook.” They are searched a lot and make about 30% of searches and are called.
Long-tail: These are longer searches that don’t get searched as much but add up to the majority of searches made. They make up 70% of searches.
When determining which strategy to use, you should keep in mind that the percentage of clicks drops off dramatically as you rank lower. Only 10% of clicks occur beyond the first page.

Fat-head strategy

To find out if fat-head is worthwhile, research what terms people use to find products in your industry, and then see if search volumes are large enough to move the needle. You can use the keyword planner tool for that. You want to find terms that have enough volume such that if you captured 10% for a given term, it would be meaningful.
The next step is determining the difficulty of ranking high for each term. Use tools like Open Site Explorer. If a competitor has thousands of links for a term, it will likely take a lot of focus on building links and optimizing to rank above them.
Next, narrow your list of targeted keywords to just a handful. Go to Google Trends to see how your keywords have been doing. Are they searched more or less often in the last year? You can further test keywords by buying SEM ads against them. If they convert well, then you have an indication that these keywords could get you strong growth.
Next, orient your site around the terms you’ve chosen. Include phrases you are targeting in your page titles and homepage. Get other sites to link to your site. Links with exact phrase matching from high-quality sites will give you a significant boost.

Long-Tail strategy

Because it’s difficult to rank high for competitive fat-head terms, a popular SEO strategy for early-stage startups is to focus on long-tail. If you bundle a lot of long-term keywords together you can reach a meaningful number of customers.
Find out what are search volumes for a bunch of long-tail keywords in your industry? Do they add up to meaningful amounts? Also, take a look at the analytics software you use on your site or google search console to find some of the search terms people are already using to get to your site. If you’re naturally getting a significant amount of traffic from long-tail keywords, then the strategy might be a good fit. Also, check if competitors use this strategy. If they have a lot of landing pages (search for site:domain.com in google), then it’s a sign that this strategy works for your market. Also, check Alexa search rankings and look at the percentage of visitors your competitors are receiving from search.
If you proceed with a long-tail SEO strategy, you’ll need to produce significant amounts of quality content. If you can’t invest time in that, you can pay a freelancer from Upwork to write an article for every search phrase you want to target.
Another way is to use content that naturally flows from your business. Ask yourself: what data do we naturally collect or generate that other people may find useful. Large businesses like Yelp, TripAdvisor, and Wikipedia all gained most of their traffic by producing automated long-tail content. Sometimes the data is hidden behind a login screen and all you need to do is expose it to search engines, or aggregate it in a useful manner.

How to get links?

Don’t buy links, you’ll be penalized by search engines for it. Instead, you can do:

Content Marketing

Companies like Moz and Unbounce have well-known company blogs that are their biggest source of customer acquisition.
Unbounce started a blog and an email list from day one. They used social media to drive readers to your blog. They pinged twitter influencers to ask for feedback, gave away free infographics, and e-books. These actions don’t scale but they push them to a point where their content will spread on its own.
OkCupid is a free online dating site. They intentionally wrote controversial posts like “How your race affects the messages you get” to generate traffic and conversation.

Tactics

Email Marketing

Email marketing is a personal channel. Messages from your company sit next to emails from friends and family. That’s why email marketing works best when personalized. It can be used to build familiarity with prospects, acquire customers, and retain customers you already have.

Email marketing to Find customers

Email marketing to Engage customers

If a customer never gets the value of your product, how can you expect them to pay for it or recommend it to others?

Email marketing to Retain customers

Email marketing can be the most effective channel to bring people back to your site. Twitter sends you an email with a weekly digest of popular tweets and your new notifications.
More business-oriented products usually focus on reminders, reports, and information about how you’re getting value from the product. Mint sends a weekly financial summary to show your expenses and income over the previous week.
You can also use it to surprise and delight your customers. Planscope sends a weekly email to customers telling them how much they made that week. Photo apps will send you pictures you took a year ago.

Email marketing to Drive revenue

You can send a series of emails aimed at upselling customers.
WP Engine sends prospects an email course about Wordpress, and near the end of the email, they make a pitch to signup for its premium Wordpress hosting service.
If one of your customers abandoned a shopping cart, send her a targeted email a day or two later with a special offer for whatever item is left in the cart.
You can use email to explain a premium feature a customer is missing out on and how it can help them in a big way.

Email marketing to get referrals

Groupon generates referrals by incentivizing people to tell their friends about discounts.

Tactics

Viral Marketing

Viral marketing is getting your existing customers to refer others to your product. It was the driving force behind the explosive growth of Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, Dropbox, Instagram, Snapchat, and Pinterest.
It’s so powerful that even if you can’t achieve exponential growth with it, you can still get meaningful growth. If your customer refers a new customer within the first week, you’ll go from ten customers to twenty and double every week without any additional marketing.
The oldest form of virality occurs when your product is so remarkable that people naturally tell others about it — pure word of mouth.
Inherent virality occurs when you can get value from a product only by inviting other customers, like Skype, Snapchat, and WhatsApp.
Others grow by encouraging collaboration like Google Docs.
Some embed virality like adding “Get a free email account with Hotmail” or “Sent from iPhone” to default signatures. Mailchimp and other email marketing products add branding to free customers’ emails.
Some incentivize customers to move through a viral loop, like Dropbox giving you more space if you invite friends to sign up. Airbnb, Uber, and PayPal give you account credits for referring friends.
Some add embedded buttons and widgets to grow virally, like Reddit and YouTube.
Some broadcast users activities on their social networks, like Spotify posting on Facebook when you play a song, or Pinterest when you pin content.
The viral coefficient K is the number of additional customers you can get for each customer you bring in. It depends on i, the number of invites sent per user, and conversion percentage (who will actually sign up after receiving an invite)
K = i * conversion percentage
Any viral coefficient above 1 will result in exponential growth. Any viral coefficient over 0.5 helps your efforts to grow considerably.
You can increase the number of invites per user i by including features that encourage sharing, such as posting to social networks. You can increase the conversion percentage by testing different signup flows. Try cutting out pages or signup fields.
Viral cycle time is how long it takes a user to go through your viral loop. Shortening your cycle time drastically increases the rate at which you go viral. You can do it by creating urgency or incentivizing customers to move through the loops.

Tactics

Engineering as Marketing

You can build tools like calculators, widgets, and educational microsites to get your company in front of potential customers.
HubSpot has Marketing Grade, a free marketing review tool. It’s free, gives you valuable information, and provides HubSpot with the information they use to qualify you as a potential prospect.
Moz has two free SEO tools, Followerwong and Open Site Explorer. They’ve driven tens of thousands of leads for Moz.
WP Engine has a speed testing tool that asks only for an email address in exchange for a detailed report on your site’s speed.

Business Development

With business development, you’re partnering to reach customers in a way that benefits both parties.
Google got most of its initial traction from a partnership with Netscape to be the default search engine and an agreement with Yahoo to power its online searches.
Business development can take the form of:
You should have already defined your traction goal and milestones, and you shouldn’t accept any partnership that doesn’t align with it. Many startups waste resources because it’s tempting to make deals with bigger companies.

Sales

Sales is the process of generating leads, qualifying them, and converting them into paying customers. It’s particularly useful for expensive and enterprise products.

Structuring the sales conversation

Situation questions. Ask one or two questions per conversation. The more you ask situation questions, the less likely they’re going to close.
Problem questions. Use sparingly.
Implication questions. Meant to make a prospect aware of the large implications that stem from the problem.
Need-payoff questions. Focus attention on your solution and get buyers to think about the benefits of solving the problem.

Cold calls

Be judicious about the people you contact. You want someone who is one-two levels up in the organization. They have enough perspective on the problem and some authority for decision making. Avoid starting at the top unless you’re calling a very small business.
Try to get answers about:

Tactics

It’s better to gain traction through a marketing channel first, then use sales as a conversion tool to close leads. The next stage is lead qualification: determine how ready a prospect is to buy. Once you’ve qualified the leads, you should lay out exactly what are you going to do for the customer. Set up a timetable for it and get them to commit with a yes or no whether they’re going to buy. Closing leads can be done by a sales team who does a webinar or product demo and has an ongoing email sequence that ends with a purchase request. In other cases, you may need a field sales team that actually visits prospective customers for some part of the process.
A checklist that can help you with sales:
I removed the last sections because of the post character limit. Here are two:
submitted by alollou to startups [link] [comments]

[Month 0] Growing An Informational Intent Site To $10,000 A Month From Scratch!

Although I have been wanting to start a new informational intent-based domain for a while now, I was planning to wait until 2021 to start it but due to the new round of commission changes in the Amazon Affiliate program, I have decided to put all of my Amazon projects on hold for now as I am massively overexposed to Amazon right now. Although I managed to earn almost $3600 last month from my money site network, the vast majority of it was from the Amazon Affiliate program.
Thankfully, I only had one small site hit by this latest round of changes with it taking about a 60% hit in commissions. My other two main domains are predominantly in the “All Other Categories” section and held at a 4% commission rate. That said though, I definitely think that there will be additional cuts and changes to the Amazon affiliate program in a few years so I want to get this informational intent domain off the ground as soon as possible.
My goal is to diversify both income and traffic sources with this new domain to help reduce future risk too as I have had a number of domains slapped by Google updates in the past. It will hopefully be making most of its money from display ad networks supplemented with a number of different affiliate programs with its traffic predominantly coming from organic search traffic supplemented by Pinterest and eventually Quora with any luck.
The majority of the content I am publishing right now is based around high search volume, low competition informational intent searches to try and scale the traffic on the domain as fast as possible to be able to apply to the Mediavine ad network. After that, I will start adding more content that is more suited to Pinterest and Quora traffic generation.

Niche

Although I have chased the commissions in the past and made sites around niches I had zero interest in, over the last year or two I have gone for lower-income potential niches that I actually know more about and enjoy. So far this is working well for me as I have been able to churn out tons of content without having to put much research in as I know a large amount of the information already as my last three domains have been based around my hobbies.
Although this new domain is not based around a hobby, it is based around something where I know a number of the sub-niches that I plan to cover on the domain well. This should allow me to churn out a ton of content when I have time while also bringing on freelance writers when possible to help me scale this new project as quickly as possible to get it off the ground.
Although the niche of the domain is specific, it is very broad so I should not be running into any problems with running out of content to write about any time soon. This has been an issue for a domain that I made in 2018 as well as one in 2019 where they are hard to scale at their current stage due to having covered so much of the niche already. With this new domain, I should be able to scale it for years to come without much of an issue. Also, I don't give out the specific niche to any of my projects so don't plan to reveal the niche that this domain is in.

Starting With The End In Mind

Although I do plan to keep this new domain going for a few years yet and focus on growing it, I am trying to build the domain in a way where it should be quick and easy to sell once its traffic and income are high enough. This should give me a way to quickly sell the domain if I want in a few years without having any issues but time will tell. On the subject of selling sites, I may sell one of my Amazon Affiliate sites in a few months to fire up some cash to scale this new domain even quicker depending on how it is looking in a few months but so far I have $1000-$2000 a month for this new project for various tasks.
One of my friend's purchases sites to diversify her investing portfolio and I reached out to her for things she looks for in a potential new domain and this is what she came back with saying the first 6 are the main ones she will try to get in any potential new purchase:-

Hosting Theme CMS

Although I have been a big fan of Cloudways previously, the ease of use of Sitegounds has won me over so I have gone with Sitegrounds for this new domain as my host of choice. I have stuck with Namecheap as my domain registrar as I have used them for years and never had a problem with them to date and I like how you get free WhoIs protection with them too.
CMS wise, Wordpress was a no brainer due to having so much experience with the CMS from my other projects. The developer community behind Wordpress pretty much ensures that I always have a plugin or custom code that I can use to do anything I need with ease too.
Although I used to use Newspaper and Colormag as my go-to themes of choice, I have since moved over to Astra as it is so quick and easy to set up so I have gone with Astra as my theme of choice for this new domain too. Without the adsense code on the domain, it is giving me a page load time of around 0.6 seconds for a 2000 word article and around 2.5 seconds load time for the same page with the ad code on it.
This is the load times for a 2000 word article on the domain. The top left is Pingdom without having adsense code on the domain, the top right is Pingdom with adsense code on the domain and the bottom is GTMetrics with adsense code on the domain. GTMetrics were having issues on the day I set the domain up so I never managed to get a speed test before adding the adsense code with GTMetrics. The page sizes are different due to the compression from the autooptimize plugin covered below.

Plugins

AAWP
AAWP is a premium plugin that allows me to quickly and easily make product comparison table and link out to the items on Amazon. It also offers automatic geo-targeting for Amazon as well as a few other things but it does need access to the Amazon API so if you are brand new to this, the normal Amazon One Link system will probably be better and easier until you get your Amazon account approved and get access to their API calls.
If you are new to making affiliate blogs then I go over how you are able to make decent looking comparison tables here using free tools. If you don't have access to the API for Amazon or are on a budget for your blog then it might be worth checking out as you can make them look surprisingly good and they don't take too long to build.
Ads.txt Manager
Not a plugin that I usually use and there are a bunch that does the same thing but it basically allows me to quickly and easily edit my ads.txt file to add the different networks IDs to serve ads on my domain. As this new project is mainly going to be an informational content domain, display ads should make up a solid part of its income and I plan to switch ad networks as traffic grows so this should save me a little time in the future.
Autoptimize
One of my favorite free plugins and offers basic caching and lazy loading of images to help compress your pages and speed your pages up. It's very easy to set up and can help you improve your GTMetrix scores if you care about stuff like that while getting your page load times down. I actually purchased the WP Rocket plugin that is a premium plugin that does a similar job but refunded it and came back to Autoptimize as I personally had better results with it and its free.
Disable Comments
I’m not looking to build a community in the blog comments of this domain or attract bots/spammers so I just disable all comments on all posts with this plugin. Quick and easy and takes ten seconds to set up and can prevent a ton of heartache if you end up on some bot auto-accept bot list.
Google Analytics for WordPress by MonsterInsights
I use this to automatically inject the analytics tracking code for Google Analytics for my domains. Although it is easy enough to do it yourself and manually add it to your theme's header, you have to remember to re-add it every time you update your theme if you do it manually so I just use a plugin to keep things easy.
Google XML Sitemaps
I have seen mixed reports about sitemaps and if it's even worth using them anymore, I still do but it's mainly out of habit rather than knowing if Google still needs them or just crawls your domain. This plugin lets you quickly and easily build out a constant sitemap with a few seconds of adding it to your domain.
Insert Headers and Footers
Pretty sure you can use this to auto inject your Google Analytics code to your header if needed instead of Monster Insights but I have never tried it. I use it to inject the Google Adsense auto ads code to the header of my pages to show their display ads, quick and easy, and offers the same advantage of you not having to go back in and re-add it after each theme update.
Pretty Links
A few uses but the main thing that I use it for is to add place holder links as I publish my content to later turn into affiliate links on the back end once I get approved to different programs. Make sure that the TOS for any affiliate program you apply to actually allows you to do this, it's a grey area with Amazon and a few other networks so be aware of that. It also lets you quickly and easily flip your links from one network to another.
ShortPixel Image Optimizer
Another great tool although it is freemium but for the majority of bloggers, the 100 credits a month that you get for free should be more than enough. It basically compresses your images when you upload them and has one of the best compression systems going from what I can see. It can drastically reduce the size of your images without having much effect on the actual image quality. This means the don’t take as much space up on your hosting while needing less bandwidth to actually send on a page required letting your page load quicker too.
Ultimate Addons for Gutenberg
Made by the same team who make the Astra theme, solid plugin considering its free, basically ads some additional blocks for the Gutenberg editor in Wordpress to let you do a few other things with it.
WP Revisions Control
This lets you quickly and easily set a maximum number of revisions for each post to stop it clogging up your database on bigger sites. This plugin does have its negative sides as if you set it to only a small number of revisions then you may not be able to back up to an old version of the post if you make a mistake or something but I like it.
WP Word Count
Probably useless/nothing more than a vanity metric for most people but I use it to quickly and easily screenshot the total word count for my domains for YouTube videos/Forum/Reddit posts. Basically you click its tab and you can see the information like this as well as your monthly published content and a few other things.
Other Plugins
Although I am only using the plugins listed above for this domain I have this post going over these plugins in a little more detail as well as a few other plugins that I use for my other domains. If you are looking to set your first domain up then it might be worth checking out.

Keyword Research

I have my old keyword research method posted on Reddit but keep in mind, its three years old now and has not aged well to keep up with how modern Google works and serves its page results for a user search. It shares the same problems as the KGR method and my own personal method that I use has evolved a ton since then but if you are brand new then it might be worth checking out but I have no plans to publish a guide for my current keyword research method as its one of my best assets for moving forward.
As this domain is based around broad, informational content rather than laser-targeting buyer intent keywords like my affiliate projects, I have been having great results from the free version of answer the public due to using much broader initial terms when using the tool. It's well worth checking out as it's free and provided you are careful with your free credits, you can probably stick to the free plan to get a ton of keywords.
I am also using keyword sh*tter too as its an excellent free tool. Although I never logged the keyword source for this current project, I think that answer the public has probably produced more high search volume/low comp keywords for this new project than keyword sh*tter but when it comes to the lower search volume stuff, keyword sh*tter blows answer the public out of the water so try both out if you want to do this yourself.
I have seen so many people say that they want to outsource their keyword research and to date, I have not seen any services that actually offer good keywords. Although I made this going over a keyword research service from Fiverr, I have had similar results with other services charging much more for the keywords they sell you. In my experience, the people who are good at keyword research just outsource and article and use it for growing their own domains so don't be sucked in by flashy sales letters promising your high search volume, low competition keywords as in my experience they are far from it and a waste of money.

Content

Although I linked it earlier in the post, here is the launch content count for the domain. I basically spent two weeks or so churning out content for the project and leaving it in draft mode then published it all at once. I have nothing to back this up data wise or even a theory as to why I do it, I just prefer to have a big chunk of content on the domain when launching it.
I have chosen this parent niche as I know a few of the sub-niches within it pretty well so should be able to churn out a large amount of the content myself with ease. In addition to this, I am planning to bring a few freelance writers on to help me scale the project as quickly as possible to try and diversify my income sources between the Amazon Affiliate program and display ad networks as quickly as possible.
The majority of the articles on my other domains are usually between 1000 and 2500 words and I plan to do the same for this one. I will basically be looking at the first page of Google and checking the word counts of the keyword relevant pages already ranking and at least planning to match the word count of those pages. Different people have their own opinions on this but this will be my plan for word count moving forward.
If you are brand new to this type of thing then I think that for modern google, scaling into content is one of the best ways to get started and you should aim for something similar to what I cover in this screenshot. Although you will likely fail in a large number of the initial keywords that you target, it should put you on the right track to build out your own positive feedback loops as you move forward to improve your own keyword research and content creation methods.
Although I used to type my content directly into the Wordpress editor, I have been using the Surfer SEO content editor as it saves me a fair bit of time when prepping my articles and lets me build templates for the freelancer writers quickly and easily. Surfer SEO is far from essential for this though and I personally think that it is over prices for anyone who just uses it for its content editor. I managed to scale to $3500 a month with my current money site network without it so there's no need to run out and subscribe to it.
I have typed up millions of words of content over the years for various projects and I made this going over some of the main tips that I have picked up over the years. If you are new to blogging then this may be helpful, it’s not going to shave massive amounts of time off your content generation but every little helps and saving time on every article can quickly add up over the coming months as you churn your content out.
I also made this going over how you can easily optimize your images for your blog I would highly recommend people watch it as its one of the few things I really do wish I had known about years back. I got involved in this type of stuff back in 2013/2014 and only really started optimizing my images in January 2020 and it has managed to shave a bunch of time off my page load speeds and storage space requirements. Depending on where you source your images, it can potentially take your image file sizes from 4MB down to >100KB and takes about a minute to do per image if that. If you need sources to get images for your content that you are able to legally use then I made this going over the three main ways that I get free images for my content that may be helpful too.

Backlinks

Although I will be using backlinks for this domain, they are not essential if you are just starting and target keywords that are low enough competition. I got the project I cover here to around $350 a month without backlinks and the project I cover here to $800 a month before I started building backlinks for it. I will initially be focusing on guest posts, niche edits, and manual forum posts for this new project though, and may move into additional link type in the future with it all being outsourced via agencies.
I don’t give out recommendations for the backlinks services I use either as I was using one of the bigger services until a few months back when they tried to scam me by delivering a PBN link instead of the niche edit that I ordered that had a list price of over $300 if I remember rightly. Although it's not the main point of the video, I go over the various ways that you can check any links that you do choose to outsource in this video so you can at least double-check any links that you outsource for your own projects to see if they are just PBN links.
I know that some people like to wait a few months before they start to backlink their projects but I am planning to start backlinking right away as it worked so well for the domain that I started in August last year that made over $1700 last month. I basically use the guest posts and niche edits to pass link juice to help increase my domains strength and hopefully help my pages climb in the search results. Although the main reason for using the manual forum posts is to increase the referring domain count to my project and dilute the anchor text ratio, it does look like they can help for getting your pages to climb in the search results from some tests I did on the domain I started in August.
Also, just to be clear, these are not forum profile links where you make your profile on a niche related forum and just drop your link on your profile page for your account on the forum. These are links dropped in niche relevant threads that have a fair bit of content in the thread making them much easier to index and they tend to have a higher chance of being a do-follow link thank forum profile links too.

Budget

Current Budget Spend For The Project
As I am trying to scale this project as much as possible I am outsourcing a fair few of the tasks but this is not essential as I have typed up most of the content for my other projects myself with the two domains I mentioned above-having none/minimal link building too helping to keep their initial budget costs down. This thread on Reddit from a while back might be worth reading if you have a budget available for your project as it's from a guy asking for advice on how to spend his budget on his site. One of the users has deleted their account in the thread now though so you have to manually click on the + near the deleted account name to expand the full thread.
This video also goes over a number of different tools with the majority being free that I use to do various tasks for my money site network too. This can help you do a number of tasks without having to hike your budget spend up so it might be worth checking out too as it can keep your costs as low as possible.

Moving Forward

I am planning to keep this domain as my primary focus for the foreseeable future and will be posting monthly updates on Reddit for it while also doing my regular weekly vlogs on my YouTube channel to log the progress of my full money site network as well as sharing other tips and tricks and stuff as I move forward too.
submitted by shaun-m to u/shaun-m [link] [comments]

Free marketing guide for startups: How to achieve explosive growth!

Here is the summary of the book Traction: How any startup can achieve explosive growth.
I hope that you find it useful!

Traction is a sign that your startup is taking off. If you charge, it means customers are buying. If your product is free, it means your user base is growing.
If you have traction, all your technical, market, and team risks become easier to handle. It becomes easier to fund-raise, hire, do press, partnerships, and acquisitions.
Traction trumps everything.

How to think about Traction?

Almost every failed startup has a product. What failed startups don’t have is enough customers.
You should spend your time in parallel, both constructing your product and testing traction channels.
This is what we call the 50 percent rule: spend 50 percent of your time on product and 50% on traction. This rule seems simple but it’s hard to follow because the pull to spend all your attention on the product is strong. You’re probably making a startup because you want to build a particular product. You have a vision, but a lot of traction activities are unknown and outside your vision and comfort zone. So you try to avoid them. Don’t.
Doing product and traction in parallel has these benefits:
Before trying to get traction, you’ll need to define what traction means for your company. You need to set a traction goal. Maybe your current startup goal is to raise funding or become profitable. How many customers do you need and at what rate? You should then focus on marketing activities that result in a significant impact on your traction goal. It should move the needle.
Your startup has 3 phases:

Phase I: Make something people want

In phase 1, your product has the most leaks, it really doesn’t hold water. You shouldn’t scale up your efforts now, but it’s important to send a small amount of water through the bucket so you can see where the holes are and plug them. \ Your goal in phase 1 is to get your first customers and prove your product can get traction. You focus on building your initial product and getting traction in ways that don’t scale: giving talks, writing guest posts, emailing people you know, attending conferences, and doing whatever you can to get in front of customers.

Some founders believe that startups either take off or don’t. Actually startups take off because the founders make them take off!
– Paul Graham

Phase II: Market something people want

Once you hone your product, you have product-market fit and customers are sticking around. Now is the time to scale up your traction efforts. You fine-tune your positioning and marketing messages.

Phase III: Scale your business

As your company grows, smaller traction strategies stop moving the needle, so you’ll start to scale.
In phase 3 you have an established business model and significant position in the market, and you’re focused on scaling to further dominate the market and to profit.

Traction for funding

When pursuing funding, first contact individuals who understand what you’re working on. The better your investors understand what you’re doing, the less traction they’ll need to see before they invest. Also, try friends and family who may not need to see any traction before investing as they’re investing in you personally.

To pivot or not to pivot

Many startups give up way too early. The first thing to look for is evidence of real product engagement, even if it’s only a few dedicated customers. If you have such an engagement, you might be giving up too soon. Look for the bright spots in your customer base and see if you can expand from that base.

How to get traction? The Bullseye framework

The Bullseye framework helps you find the channel that will get you traction. Most businesses actually get zero distribution channels to work. If you can get even a single distribution channel to work, you have a great business. If you try for several but don’t nail one, you’re finished.
You’re aiming for bullseye: the one channel at the center of the target that will unlock your next growth stage. Here are the 3 Bullseye framework steps:

Find what’s possible: The outer-ring

The first step in Bullseye is brainstorming every single traction channel. It’s important not to dismiss any channel in this step. Think of at least one idea for each channel. For example, social ads is a traction channel. Running ads on Facebook or Twitter is a channel strategy within social ads. You could research what marketing strategies worked in your industry as well as the history of companies in your space.

Find what’s probable: The middle-ring

Go around your outer-ring and promote your best and most exciting ideas to your middle-ring. For each traction channel in your middle ring, now construct a cheap traction test you can run to find if the idea is good or not. These tests need to answer the following questions:
  1. What’s the cost of acquiring customers?
  2. How many customers are available?
  3. Are they the right type of customers for you now?
You want to design small scale tests that don’t require much up-front cost or effort. For example, run 4 Facebook ads instead of 40.

Find what’s working: The inner-ring

The final step in Bullseye is to only focus on one channel that will move the needle for your startup: your core channel. At any stage of your startup, you should have one traction channel that you’re focusing on and optimizing.
Most founders mess this up by keeping around distracting marketing efforts in other channels.
If search engine marketing is significantly better for you than other channels, you should focus all your efforts on this core channel and uncover additional strategies and tactics within it.
If no channel seems promising after testing, the whole process should be repeated. If you tried several times with no success, then your product may require more tweaking and your bucket might be still leaky.

How to test traction?

Middle-ring tests: You should be running several cheap tests that give you an indication of how successful a given channel strategy could be.
Inner ring tests:
You’re doing two things:
  1. Optimize your chosen channel strategy to make it the best it can be.
  2. Discover better channel strategies within this traction channel.
There is always a set of things you can tweak. For targeting blogs, you can tweak which blogs to target, type of content, call to action, etc. For search engine marketing, you can tweak keywords, ad-copy, demographics, and landing pages.
A common approach is to use A/B testing, where A is the control group and B is the experimental group. The purpose of it is to measure the effectiveness of change in a button color, an ad image, or a different message on a web page. If the experimental group performs significantly better, you can apply the change, get the benefits, and run another test.
You can use tools such as Optimizely, Visual Website Optimizer, and Unbounce.
Over time, all marketing channels become saturated. To combat this, you should always be trying to discover new strategies and tactics within your channel and conduct small experiments. Also, experiment with new marketing platforms while they’re still in their infancy.

Tools

To track your tests you could start with a simple spreadsheet or use an analytics tool with cohort analysis. You’ll need to answer these questions:
  1. How many people landed on the website?
  2. What are the demographics of my best and worst customers?
  3. Are customers who interact with my support team more likely to stay?
A basic analytics tool like Clicky, Mixpanel, or Chartbeat can help you with these questions. You can use a spreadsheet as the tool to rank and prioritize traction channel strategies. You should include columns like how many customers are available, conversion rate, the cost to acquire a customer, lifetime value of a customer for every given strategy.

How to focus on the right traction goals? The critical path framework

Define your traction goal

You should always have an explicit traction goal you’re working towards. This could be 1,000 paying customers or 100 new daily customers, or 10% of your market. You want a goal where hitting the mark would change things significantly for your company’s outcome.
Once that is defined, you can work backward and set clear time-based subgoals. Such as reaching 1,000 customers by next quarter.
The key is to follow the critical path towards that goal and exclude all features and marketing activities that don’t help you reach your goal. Everything you decide to do should be assessed against your critical path.

Avoid traction biases

Your competitive advantage may be acquiring customers in ways your competition isn’t. That’s why it’s critical to avoid have traction biases. Stop your urge to refuse channels like speaking engagements, sales or affiliate marketing, business development, or trade shows just because you hate talking on the phone or you find the channel annoying or time-consuming.

Targetting blogs

Targeting blogs that your prospective customers read is one of the best ways to get your first wave customers.
Mint’s initial series of tests revealed that targeting blogs should be its core channel. They asked users to embed an “I want mint” badge on their personal blogs and rewarded them with a VIP access before other invitations were sent out. They also directly sponsored blogs. They sent bloggers a message with “Can I send you $500” as the subject and told them a bit about the product.
To find smaller blogs in your niche:
You can also target link-sharing communities like Reddit, Product Hunt, and Hacker News.
Dropbox, Codecademy, Quora, and Gumroad all got their first customers by sharing their products on HackerNews because their products were a good fit for users on that site.

Publicity

Starting out, an article in TechCrunch or The Huffington Post can boost your startup in the eyes of potential customers, investors, or partners. If you have a fascinating story with broad appeal, media outlets will want to hear from you.
It’s easier to start smaller when targeting big media outlets. Sites like TechCrunch and Lifehacker often pick up stories from smaller forums like Hacker News and subreddits. Instead of approaching TechCrunch, try blogs that TechCrunch reads and get story ideas from. It’s easier to get a smaller blog’s attention. Then you might get featured on TechCrunch and then The New York Times which reads TechCrunch!
What gets a reporter’s attention?
A good press angle makes people react emotionally. If it’s not interesting enough to elicit emotion, you don’t have a story worth pitching.
A good first step is using a service like Help A Reporter Out (HARO), where reporters request sources for articles they’re working on. It could get you a mention in the piece and help establish your credibility. Also, you could offer reporters commentary on stories related to your industries.
You can use Twitter to reach reporters online; almost all of them have Twitter accounts and you’d be surprised how few followers many of them have, but they can be highly influential with their content.
Once you have a solid story, you want to draw as much attention to it as you can:
Once your story has been established as a popular news item, try to drag it out as long as you can. Offer interviews that add to the story. Start “How We Did This” follow-up interviews.
As your startup grows you may consider hiring a PR firm or consultant.

Unconventional PR

Nearly every company attempts traditional publicity, but only a few focus on stunts and other unconventional ways to get buzz.

The publicity stunt

Customer Appreciation

Be awesome to your customers. Shortly after Alexis Ohanian launched Hipmunk, he sent out luggage tags and a handwritten note to the first several hundred people who mentioned the site on Twitter.
Holding a contest is also a great repeatable way to generate publicity and get word of mouth. Shopify has an annual Build a Business competition.
Great customer support is so rare that, if you make your customers happy, they’re likely to spread the news of your awesome product. Zappos is one of the best-known examples of a company with incredible customer service and they classify support as a marketing investment.

Search Engine Marketing (SEM)

SEM is placing ads on search engines like Google. It’s sometimes called “pay-per-click” because you only pay when a user clicks on an ad.
SEM works well for companies looking to sell directly to their target customer. You’re capturing people who are actively searching for solutions.
Click-Through Rate (CTR) The percentage of ad impressions that result in clicks to your site.
Cost per Click (CPC) The amount it costs to buy a click on an ad.
Cost per Acquisition (CPA) How much it costs you to acquire a customer, not just a click. If you buy clicks at $1 and 10% of people who hit your site make a purchase. This makes your CPA at $10.
CPA = CPC / conversion percentage

SEM to get early customer data

You can use SEM as a way to get early customer data in a controlled and predictable way. Even if you don’t expect to be profitable, you can decide to spend a certain amount of money to get an early base of customers and users to inform you about important metrics such as landing page conversion rates, average cost per customer, and lifetime value.
Archives.com used AdWords to drive traffic to their landing pages, even before they built a product, to test interest in a specific product approach. By measuring the CTR for each ad and conversions, they determined which product aspects were the most compelling to potential customers and what those people would actually pay for. When they finally built their product, they built something they knew the market would want.

SEM strategy

Find high-potential keywords, group them into ad groups, and test different ad copy and landing pages within each ad group. As data flows in, remove underperforming ads and landing pages and make tweaks to keep improving results.
Use tools like Optimizely and Visual Website Optimizer to run A/B tests on your landing pages.

Keyword research

Use Google’s keyword planner to discover top keywords your target customers use to find products like yours. You could also use tools such as KeywordSpy, SEMrush, and SpyFu to discover keywords your competition is using.
You can refine your keyword list by adding more terms to the end of each base term to create long-tail keywords. They’re less competitive and have lower search volumes which makes them ideal for testing on smaller groups of customers.
SEM is more expensive for more competitive keywords, so you’ll need to limit yourself to keywords with profitable conversion rates.
You shouldn’t expect your campaigns to be profitable right away, but if you can run a campaign that breaks even after a short period of time, then SEM could be an excellent channel for you to focus on.

Writing ads

Write ads with titles that are catchy, memorable, and relevant to the keywords you’ve paired with it. Include the keyword at least once in the body of your ad and conclude with a prominent call to action like “Check out discounted Nike sneakers!”
Each of your ads and ad groups will have a quality score associated with it. A high-quality score will get you better ad placements and better ad pricing. Click-through rate has the biggest influence on quality score, so you should tailor your ads to the keywords. Google assigns a low-quality score to ads with CTRs below 1.5%

Tactics

Social and Display Ads

Display ads are banner ads you see on websites. Social ads are ads you see on social sites like Facebook and Twitter.
Large display campaigns are often used for branding and awareness, much like offline ads. They can also elicit a direct response such as signing up for an email newsletter or buying a product.
Social ads perform exceptionally well is when they’re used to build an audience and engage with them over time, and eventually convert them to customers.

Display ads

The largest display ad networks are Google Display Network, BuySellAds, Advertising.com, Tribal Fusion, Conversant, and Adblade. Niche ad networks focus on smaller sites that fit certain audience demographics, such as dog lovers or Apple fanatics.
To get started in display advertising, you could start to find out types of ads that work in your industry. You could use tools like MixRank and Adbeat to show you ads your competitors are running and where they place them. Alexa and Quantcast can help you determine who visits the sites that feature your competitors’ ads.

Social ads

Social ads work well for creating interest among potential new customers. The goal is often awareness oriented, not conversion oriented. A purchase takes place further down the line. People visit social media sites for entertainment and interaction, not to see ads.
An effective social ad strategy takes advantage of this reality. Use ads to start conversations about your products by creating compelling content. Instead of directing people to a conversion page, direct them to a piece of content that explains why you developed your product or has other purposes than immediately completing a sale. If you have a piece of content that has high organic reach, when you put paid ads behind that piece, magic happens. Paid is only as good as the content you put behind it. You should employ social ads when you know that a fire is starting around your message and you want to put more oil on it.
Major social sites you may consider are LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, StumbleUpon, Foursquare, Tumblr, Reddit, YouTube, and many others.

Offline Ads

Even today, advertisers spend more on offline ads than they do online. When buying offline ads, You should try to advertise to demographics that match up with your target audience. Ask for an audience prospectus or ad kit.
Not sure if magazine ads are a good channel for you? Buy a small ad in a niche publication and give it a test. Want to see if newspapers would be good? Buy a few ads in a local paper. You can also try radio ads and billboards.

Magazine ads

A compelling magazine or newspaper ad will have an attention-grabbing header, an eye-catching graphic, and a description of the product’s benefits. Also, you should have a strong call to action, like an offer to get a free book.

Direct mail

You could also try direct mail by searching for “direct mail lists” and find companies selling such information. (Beware that it can be perceived as spammy)

Local print

You could also try local print ads like local fliers, directories, calendars, church bulletins, community newsletters, coupon booklets, or yellow pages. These work really well for cheap if you want to get early traction for your company in a specific area.

Outdoor advertising

If you want to buy space on a billboard, you could contact companies like Lamar, Clear Channel, or Outfront Media. Billboards aren’t effective for people to take immediate action, but it’s extremely effective for raising awareness around events, like concerts and conferences.
DuckDuckGo bought a billboard in Google’s backyard and it got big attention and press coverage.
Transit ads can be effective as a direct response tool. You can contact Blue Line Media to help you with Transit ads.

Radio and TV

Radio ads are priced on a cost per point (CPP) basis, where each point represents what it will cost to reach 1% of the station’s listeners. It also depends on your market, when the commercial runs and how many ads you’ve bought.
TV ads are often used as branding mechanisms. Quality is critical for it and production costs can run to tens of thousands. Higher-end ones can cost $200K to make. You’ll also need an average of $350,000 for actual airtime. For smaller startups, you could try local TV spots which is much cheaper.
Infomercials work really well for products in categories like Workout equipment, household products, health products, and work-from-home businesses. They can cost between $50,000 and $500,000, and they’re always direct-response.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

SEO is improving your ranking in search engines in order to get more people to your site.
The most important thing to know about SEO is that the more high-quality links you have to a given site or page, the higher it will rank. You should also make sure you’re using the keywords you want to target appropriately on your pages, like in your page titles and headings.
There are 2 strategies to choose from: fat-head and long-tail.
Fat-head: These are one and two-word searches like “Dishwashers,” and “Facebook.” They are searched a lot and make about 30% of searches and are called.
Long-tail: These are longer searches that don’t get searched as much but add up to the majority of searches made. They make up 70% of searches.
When determining which strategy to use, you should keep in mind that the percentage of clicks drops off dramatically as you rank lower. Only 10% of clicks occur beyond the first page.

Fat-head strategy

To find out if fat-head is worthwhile, research what terms people use to find products in your industry, and then see if search volumes are large enough to move the needle. You can use the keyword planner tool for that. You want to find terms that have enough volume such that if you captured 10% for a given term, it would be meaningful.
The next step is determining the difficulty of ranking high for each term. Use tools like Open Site Explorer. If a competitor has thousands of links for a term, it will likely take a lot of focus on building links and optimizing to rank above them.
Next, narrow your list of targeted keywords to just a handful. Go to Google Trends to see how your keywords have been doing. Are they searched more or less often in the last year? You can further test keywords by buying SEM ads against them. If they convert well, then you have an indication that these keywords could get you strong growth.
Next, orient your site around the terms you’ve chosen. Include phrases you are targeting in your page titles and homepage. Get other sites to link to your site. Links with exact phrase matching from high-quality sites will give you a significant boost.

Long-Tail strategy

Because it’s difficult to rank high for competitive fat-head terms, a popular SEO strategy for early-stage startups is to focus on long-tail. If you bundle a lot of long-term keywords together you can reach a meaningful number of customers.
Find out what are search volumes for a bunch of long-tail keywords in your industry? Do they add up to meaningful amounts? Also, take a look at the analytics software you use on your site or google search console to find some of the search terms people are already using to get to your site. If you’re naturally getting a significant amount of traffic from long-tail keywords, then the strategy might be a good fit. Also, check if competitors use this strategy. If they have a lot of landing pages (search for site:domain.com in google), then it’s a sign that this strategy works for your market. Also, check Alexa search rankings and look at the percentage of visitors your competitors are receiving from search.
If you proceed with a long-tail SEO strategy, you’ll need to produce significant amounts of quality content. If you can’t invest time in that, you can pay a freelancer from Upwork to write an article for every search phrase you want to target.
Another way is to use content that naturally flows from your business. Ask yourself: what data do we naturally collect or generate that other people may find useful. Large businesses like Yelp, TripAdvisor, and Wikipedia all gained most of their traffic by producing automated long-tail content. Sometimes the data is hidden behind a login screen and all you need to do is expose it to search engines, or aggregate it in a useful manner.

How to get links?

Don’t buy links, you’ll be penalized by search engines for it. Instead, you can do:

Content Marketing

Companies like Moz and Unbounce have well-known company blogs that are their biggest source of customer acquisition.
Unbounce started a blog and an email list from day one. They used social media to drive readers to your blog. They pinged twitter influencers to ask for feedback, gave away free infographics, and e-books. These actions don’t scale but they push them to a point where their content will spread on its own.
OkCupid is a free online dating site. They intentionally wrote controversial posts like “How your race affects the messages you get” to generate traffic and conversation.

Tactics

Email Marketing

Email marketing is a personal channel. Messages from your company sit next to emails from friends and family. That’s why email marketing works best when personalized. It can be used to build familiarity with prospects, acquire customers, and retain customers you already have.

Email marketing to Find customers

Email marketing to Engage customers

If a customer never gets the value of your product, how can you expect them to pay for it or recommend it to others?

Email marketing to Retain customers

Email marketing can be the most effective channel to bring people back to your site. Twitter sends you an email with a weekly digest of popular tweets and your new notifications.
More business-oriented products usually focus on reminders, reports, and information about how you’re getting value from the product. Mint sends a weekly financial summary to show your expenses and income over the previous week.
You can also use it to surprise and delight your customers. Planscope sends a weekly email to customers telling them how much they made that week. Photo apps will send you pictures you took a year ago.

Email marketing to Drive revenue

You can send a series of emails aimed at upselling customers.
WP Engine sends prospects an email course about Wordpress, and near the end of the email, they make a pitch to signup for its premium Wordpress hosting service.
If one of your customers abandoned a shopping cart, send her a targeted email a day or two later with a special offer for whatever item is left in the cart.
You can use email to explain a premium feature a customer is missing out on and how it can help them in a big way.

Email marketing to get referrals

Groupon generates referrals by incentivizing people to tell their friends about discounts.

Tactics

Viral Marketing

Viral marketing is getting your existing customers to refer others to your product. It was the driving force behind the explosive growth of Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, Dropbox, Instagram, Snapchat, and Pinterest.
It’s so powerful that even if you can’t achieve exponential growth with it, you can still get meaningful growth. If your customer refers a new customer within the first week, you’ll go from ten customers to twenty and double every week without any additional marketing.
The oldest form of virality occurs when your product is so remarkable that people naturally tell others about it — pure word of mouth.
Inherent virality occurs when you can get value from a product only by inviting other customers, like Skype, Snapchat, and WhatsApp.
Others grow by encouraging collaboration like Google Docs.
Some embed virality like adding “Get a free email account with Hotmail” or “Sent from iPhone” to default signatures. Mailchimp and other email marketing products add branding to free customers’ emails.
Some incentivize customers to move through a viral loop, like Dropbox giving you more space if you invite friends to sign up. Airbnb, Uber, and PayPal give you account credits for referring friends.
Some add embedded buttons and widgets to grow virally, like Reddit and YouTube.
Some broadcast users activities on their social networks, like Spotify posting on Facebook when you play a song, or Pinterest when you pin content.
The viral coefficient K is the number of additional customers you can get for each customer you bring in. It depends on i, the number of invites sent per user, and conversion percentage (who will actually sign up after receiving an invite)
K = i * conversion percentage
Any viral coefficient above 1 will result in exponential growth. Any viral coefficient over 0.5 helps your efforts to grow considerably.
You can increase the number of invites per user i by including features that encourage sharing, such as posting to social networks. You can increase the conversion percentage by testing different signup flows. Try cutting out pages or signup fields.
Viral cycle time is how long it takes a user to go through your viral loop. Shortening your cycle time drastically increases the rate at which you go viral. You can do it by creating urgency or incentivizing customers to move through the loops.

Tactics

Engineering as Marketing

You can build tools like calculators, widgets, and educational microsites to get your company in front of potential customers.
HubSpot has Marketing Grade, a free marketing review tool. It’s free, gives you valuable information, and provides HubSpot with the information they use to qualify you as a potential prospect.
Moz has two free SEO tools, Followerwong and Open Site Explorer. They’ve driven tens of thousands of leads for Moz.
WP Engine has a speed testing tool that asks only for an email address in exchange for a detailed report on your site’s speed.

Business Development

With business development, you’re partnering to reach customers in a way that benefits both parties.
Google got most of its initial traction from a partnership with Netscape to be the default search engine and an agreement with Yahoo to power its online searches.
Business development can take the form of:
You should have already defined your traction goal and milestones, and you shouldn’t accept any partnership that doesn’t align with it. Many startups waste resources because it’s tempting to make deals with bigger companies.

Sales

Sales is the process of generating leads, qualifying them, and converting them into paying customers. It’s particularly useful for expensive and enterprise products.

Structuring the sales conversation

Situation questions. Ask one or two questions per conversation. The more you ask situation questions, the less likely they’re going to close.
Problem questions. Use sparingly.
Implication questions. Meant to make a prospect aware of the large implications that stem from the problem.
Need-payoff questions. Focus attention on your solution and get buyers to think about the benefits of solving the problem.

Cold calls

Be judicious about the people you contact. You want someone who is one-two levels up in the organization. They have enough perspective on the problem and some authority for decision making. Avoid starting at the top unless you’re calling a very small business.
Try to get answers about:

Tactics

It’s better to gain traction through a marketing channel first, then use sales as a conversion tool to close leads. The next stage is lead qualification: determine how ready a prospect is to buy. Once you’ve qualified the leads, you should lay out exactly what are you going to do for the customer. Set up a timetable for it and get them to commit with a yes or no whether they’re going to buy. Closing leads can be done by a sales team who does a webinar or product demo and has an ongoing email sequence that ends with a purchase request. In other cases, you may need a field sales team that actually visits prospective customers for some part of the process.
A checklist that can help you with sales:
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1) Once the Affiliates Manager plugin is installed it will automatically create 3 pages ‐ a) Store Affiliate ‐ A welcome page which allows a user to sign up for an affiliate account or login to their dashboard. b) Register ‐ A page containing the affiliate registration form. c) Affiliate Login ‐ A page containing the affiliate login form. WP Affiliate Link Manager add the links to your keywords based on the selection being made , making it easier to add the link to the keywords and generate the revenue via the affiliate marketing. Major features in WP Affiliate Link Manager include: can add custom link to any keyword in the website; seperate space for linking to posts / pages WP Affiliate Manager can help you manage an affiliate marketing program to drive more traffic and more sales to your site. Affiliate Marketing is the fastest growing advertising method around. If you sell products on your site and aren’t offering an affiliate program, you are missing out on this multi-billion dollar industry WordPress Affiliate Plugin Summary. The WordPress Affiliate Platform is an easy to use WordPress plugin for affiliate recruitment, management and tracking that can be used on any WordPress blog or site. This plugin lets you run your own affiliate campaign/program and allows you to reward (pay commission) your affiliates for referring sales. Price: $99/yr (Personal), $149/yr (Plus), $249/yr (Professional), $499/yr (Ultimate) AffiliateWP is a great WordPress affiliate program plugin that allows you to create an easy-to-use affiliate program with the proper marketing tools. Some of the plugin’s best features are: Accurate Affiliate Tracking; AffiliateWP brilliantly tracks affiliate referrals, even if it is on servers that have

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