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Easiest Way to Create & Multiply Your Blog Content

Easiest Way to Create & Multiply Your Blog Content

Easiest Way to Create & Multiply Your Blog Content

Hey everybody, I’ve been so busy lately getting everything ready for the WP Workshop I realized I have neglected my blog!

So, I thought I would hop in here and talk about blogging this evening, because it’s such an important thing to pay attention to.

Yah, I know. Looks a bit hypocritical considering I’ve been neglecting my own. But for those of you who aren’t neglectful of your blog, more power to ya!

Seriously, because you should be posting regularly. Like, two or three times a week at least. And if you’re getting that done, I commend you. It can be really tough to do.

Now, obviously I completely understand falling behind on blogging. It’s hard to reserve time for writing up a 1900+ work post (that’s what you need to be doing) when your running this way and that. Family matters need your attention, you’ve got an online business to care for, or you are trying to start one anyway, and you’ve got so many things to knock out you need 3 of you working at the same time just to keep your head above water.

And of course, you’ve gotta sleep sometime! You can’t run on coffee 24/7 (she says while sipping on her 4th cup of the day).

I know, I give myself a hard time, I push myself a lot. It’s just the way I am. I have lots of blogs to keep up with, so, I may have made it a bit tough for myself. I enjoy it though. And of course, I’ve got those videos starting up soon…but I jump ahead too fast here. Let’s just move on, shall we?

So in this post I wanted to get you some help with your blogging. Something to take the load off your overworked brain. Something to make blogging faster, easier, and more enjoyable.

How can we do that? Well, as I just about got into above, I’m about to start this regimen myself so I’ll be teaching by example soon. For now, I’m just going to say one word: video. Yes…

Video is a lifesaver for Bloggers

And it is one of the best ways to engage your audience, keep them interested in your content, and share your message. Because video works so much better than words on a page could ever do.

Easiest Way to Create & Multiply Your Blog Content

Video makes blogging so much easier (in my opinion anyway). Because you can simply record your words and use them for voice overs over slides with text, images or footage. Depending on your niche, you might just want to shoot some awesome scenery or an event, and write up some commentary afterwords. Or you can just get up there in front of the camera and talk. I mean really talk to your audience.

I’m going to give you a lot of good examples very soon with my tutorial videos on YouTube. Well, I hope they are good anyway, because I’ve got lots to show you. Like how to build your free WP blog or site, or your own self hosted WP site or blog, along with a whole lot of other stuff that I hope will really help you out.

Sure, there’s still a place for the written word. I think there always will be. After all, you are reading this. I still read lots of posts myself. I quite enjoy reading. But just because you make videos for your posts (better known as “Vlogging”) doesn’t mean you can’t have written content for your website or blog posts too.

Video Transcriptions = Blog Text Content

Actually, you need that written content to attract search engines. It gets you organic search ranks like nothing else can (except maybe images). That’s why you should transcribe your videos not once, but twice.

You see, all you have to do is create your awesome video, then transcribe it and add that written content in your video description on YouTube. Then you take that transcription and re-write it once more. You add this written content to your site or blog in a post, including the embedded video so your audience can get the best of both worlds!

Fortunately, no matter how hard you try there will always be something you left out of your video. Something that comes up afterwards, some afterthoughts, some advice you would like to go back and give. Maybe an extra direction, a tip or two. That’s the content you save for your text post.

This way, even though your videos may be riveting, your audience will become accustomed to finding additional helpful tips, tricks, instruction or advice, even just some humor maybe, when they visit your blog. Something to bring them over to your site and keep them coming back.

That way, you’ll have your audience hooked on your site, as well as your YouTube channel! And they will be able to get all that useful information you have to offer; stuff that may get left out of videos by accident.

Boost Your SEO With Images In Your Blog Posts

Now, you’ll need a few images to go with your posts. Because images are extremely important. Not just for your readers, but for your SEO too. You can use images from Pixabay.com, Pexels.com or something of the like. But you can also use snapshots of your video to accentuate your written words.

For instance, if you are making an instructional video on how to make the perfect cup of coffee, you could grab a few still frames from your video and make a static image step infographic, or even list them in order under each written phase of the task.

This way you also have images to alt tag for better search ranks. Those alt tags are still highly important to your organic traffic. I actually find that my images tend to wind up with Bing or Google Image search ranks long before my posts rank otherwise. Especially when it’s a physical product in my eCom stores.

Often, my images are right up on top because others neglect to alt tag their images! So that’s something you should definitely consider. Your competition may not be on their game and you could get a boost in traffic. Either way, use those alt tags.

Use Audio To Attract & Help Your Blog Visitors

Another way to multiply your content with video is to lift the audio and make it available for download, or just let your visitors play it from your site. Lots of people like to just listen to audio, while they are driving, jogging, maybe even cooking dinner.

And if you frequent forums you can take segments of your video transcription, re-write it again, and post that content to your forums.

All effective ways to make sure that you are providing alternative sources for your audience to consume your content. Make it as convenient for them as you can. They will appreciate you for it.

Multiply Your Blog Content With Simple Videos

This all makes it so much easier to keep up with your blogging. Because all you have to do is create one video, transcribe it once, re-write it once, throw in a few (quality) images, save a quick audio only file, and you get loads of content!

Make The Most Of Your Blog Content By Integrating With Other Platforms

I also have another great idea for you; ever heard of Medium? If not, it may be worth your while to check it out. You can easily syndicate your WP content to your account on this blogging platform via their plugin. Choose any page or post you like, don’t publish the ones you don’t want to post over on Medium. Very easy to work with.

It may not be the place for every niche, but for those with the type of content that plays well on Medium, I would highly recommend it. The crowd over there loves human interest stories, recent news, philosophical musings, even some ranting. A good place to talk about those problems you have solutions for.

And they have this cool “clap” system over there where people click the little hands to give your content a clap of encouragement. It works similar to “likes” on other platforms. Very innovative. Hope to see this platform go forward in even more interesting ways, because it seems to be quite popular. In touch with social and cultural interests. A great place for everyone to talk about various topics, expound and theorize. I love it.

And there are bound to be lots of other platforms like this popping up all over. It’s totally worth a Google search to go see if you can find another space to spread your content online. Medium currently has some 60Million+ users, according to their site. Others may not have so many, but getting on board with an up and coming platform can have big benefits in the long run too.

Video Helps You Get Great Content For Social Networking

Did I mention you can use snippets from your video transcriptions on Pinterest, Facebook, even a short snippet for Twitter? How about uploading small parts of your video to these social channels? Hopefully you get my point; just a few quick re-writes and a little video editing and you’ll have loads of content to go around!

Do Quality Content Checks

Don’t be to quick to publish your written content; be sure to use your spell checker first. It’s quick and easy to do and it keeps you from making those unnecessary mistakes that might turn your readers off. Also make sure your audio is clear, so your listeners can understand it. Make sure your video is neat and clearly visible. Your post images should be clearly visible as well.

Use Your Video For Extra Cash

And don’t forget, once you get 10,000 views on your YouTube channel you can monetize it with the YouTube Partner Program for extra cash. Some call it “mailbox” money. That nice little “bonus” for your efforts can turn into big money if your channel really takes off!

Now, as I am wrapping up here, I have something for my beginner bloggers that will help you to further your blogging efforts. It’s a helpful little eBook called “Blogging Advice For Beginners”.

Blogging-Advice-For-BeginnersI got my hands on it just for you, and you can access it for free by clicking this link.

And, if you are already blogging and looking to make your blog profitable, you may like this as well; click here to get instant access to this helpful eBook.

Okay, so that’s it for now. I hope you got some useful information out of this post.

➜If you are a beginner blogger I recommend you get off to a flamboyant start using the video method I’ve been explaining here. Check out that eBook and apply the information you learn.

➜If you are already blogging but need more content, there you go, that’s how you can get loads more.

➜And if you are already a successful blogger, perhaps you would like to leave a few words of advice for everyone in the comments below. I always promote the open sharing of helpful information whenever possible, and I thank you on behalf of myself and my readers for your thoughts.

Before I go, I’d like to point out that winter is coming quickly. People will be staying indoors more, flooding online to consume all kinds of content. It’s a great time to get a jump on your blog traffic…

So, until next time, happy blogging everyone!

Easiest Way to Create & Multiply Your Blog Content

Relax For Awhile & Enjoy The Fall Colors

Relax For Awhile & Enjoy The Fall Colors

Hello everyone! Today I’d like to share a video I created a few years back for Cool Notion Quest. Just a quick mix of beautiful fall scenery and tranquil music that makes for a great 10 minute work break. So take a few minutes to join me here; Relax For Awhile & Enjoy The Fall Colors…

I still watch it myself, especially in the winter when I get to missing the fall foliage. It’s one of life’s greatest experiences in my opinion, and I look forward to it every year. Hearing the colorful leaves softly crunching under your feet, the earthy, sweet smell of the autumn forest on a sunny afternoon. I enjoy taking my kids and my two Shih Tzu out for a walk in the mountains every fall. Knowing of course that it will all soon be covered in a deep blanket of snow makes it all the more enjoyable, with the last few weeks or days of warm outdoor fun at hand.

It’s always a welcome break from work, even though I enjoy what I do. But we all have to take some time for ourselves, get out and about, clear our minds. And this is how I like to spend my time, just about every weekend, every fall.  Of course, I spend practically every weekend of the summer out and about in the surrounding moutains too. I find I can collect my thoughts and focus on things better when I return from a relaxing wander in the forest. I have always found that I come up with most of my best ideas on one of these adventures too.

But there’s just something so special about a walk in the forest in the fall. More calming somehow, more relaxing. Maybe it’s the crisp autumn air, or the bright, gold colored leaves rustling in a light breeze, the welcoming smell of the forest floor. Maybe it’s the feeling of being completely at ease, or maybe its everything all together; I find it inspires me to want to create, to grow, to share, and inspires me to come up with those ideas. At the same time it relaxes me, it energizes me for the winter to come, with all kinds of new goals, new exciting tasks to accomplish before spring.

So I hope you enjoy the video. Sit back, relax, have a cup of coffee, and perhaps you’ll find some of that inspiration and focus as well!

Relax For Awhile & Enjoy The Fall Colors

Drop Shipping: How It Works & Best Practices For Success

Drop Shipping: How It Works & Best Practices For Success

Drop Shipping: How It Works & Best Practices For Success

It’s a fast-growing way to start an online business on a limited budget. It means you don’t have to pay up front for your product, or warehouse and ship your product yourself. Yes, Drop Shipping can be an entirely worthwhile way to start, and operate your online business.

So grab a cup of coffee and get ready friends, this post is all about Drop Shipping!

If you’ve been looking for an online business model with low startup or operation costs, chances are you may have heard of Drop Shipping. And you are going to be seeing a lot more talk of it in the very near future all over the web. I see this has become a hot topic online these days and a lot of people have questions about it. Most especially…

Is Drop Shipping Real?

Is Drop Shipping Real?

Yes, it IS real. I can honestly, personally attest to that. Among other things, I’ve been selling Drop Ship products online for over 6 years now, from 5+ different eCommerce stores. I got started back when Drop Shipping was barely heard of by most, and I’ve been very happy with it.

So if you are looking into starting an online store with Drop Ship product, I would definitely recommend it. And you are in luck! Because there are a LOT more companies that will Drop Ship for you now. Which is great.

That’s why I decided to write this post; I concluded that this was valuable information and it was time to share it with you here on my blog. Because, while my main goal is to help you create solid websites and blogs, the actual “vehicle” for your online business, I have experience with the Drop Ship fulfillment model. And it can absolutely be helpful if you are starting your online business, or wanting to expand with more products.

After all, you may not already have a product that you make, or source yourself. You may have a physical retail store with products, but are in need of different or additional product to sell if you want to go online. Or you may have a service industry business with no physical products to sell, and would need products for your online store.

Either way, Drop Shipping is a REAL, and relatively easy way to source products to sell online.

Beyond The Hype Drop Ship Business Model

Drop Shipping – Beyond The Hype

Now, I would like to address at this point all the information going around about people making Millions online with Drop Shipping. Those fast, over-night success stories look dazzling initially. And this is certainly possible. I won’t say it’s not, because many of those stories are true.

However, if you follow my blog you know I don’t like hype. I always want you to have a realistic idea of what you are getting into so you can make well informed decisions about your online business. So, I want you to know that the figures you hear in those reports are not the average result you can expect from Drop Shipping.

For one thing, you must keep in mind who reported those spectacular sales. I have hunted some of them down and checked into them extensively. I found that several of those huge success stories going around were achieved by professional internet marketing experts who know exactly what they are doing.

Also, I hunted down one of those “12 year old sells $100,000 in product in 1 month Drop Shipping!” stories. It turns out that although she did in fact make a ton of money…her father is a seasoned Internet Marketer. And I’ll just bet that had nothing to do with it.

Yes, a bit of sarcasm there. Couldn’t help it.

Anyway, just know that a lot of those stories are hype, or you aren’t hearing the whole story. But don’t get me wrong, you can do quite well with Drop Shipping. There are lots of people who make a nice, full time living with this online business model. They aren’t experts at Internet Marketing either. I’m no IM expert, and I’ve sold orders up to $12,000. Yes, for a single order, Drop Shipped for me by my faithful supplier.

And what I get a kick out of the most is doing it without ever laying a hand on any product. Okay, maybe it’s the fact that I can keep my business costs crazy low. Because I just don’t see the point in having a business that’s expensive to operate when you don’t have to. Being tied down to a warehouse 24/7, or having all that upfront cost to worry about making back are just a few things I don’t miss…ever.

Anyway, Drop Shipping IS real. I promise you.

Now, before we move on let’s briefly cover…

What Is Drop Shipping?

What Is Drop Shipping?

Drop Shipping is an online product fulfillment model wherein your supplier fills your orders and ships them from their warehouse. As I mentioned earlier, you don’t warehouse the product and ship orders yourself. All you have to do is use the images and descriptions provided by your Drop Shipper to create your product listings on your website. And when you sell an item, you go place an online order with your Drop Shipper. They do the rest.

Now, it may sound like non-sense, but Drop Shipping is actually predicted to go mainstream this year. Experts have called it, and they are saying that a lot of big brands will be opening Drop Ship programs in the near future. A lot of them already have.

So after having my family wonder what the heck I’ve been doing online all these years, maybe some news station or business expert will finally explain it to them. Because it’s hard to explain how you make money when no one ever sees you handle a product, or ship orders.

But I digress…

Of course, above all, you must properly care for your customers. In fact, I attribute most of my success to being an excellent customer support practitioner. I created a post for you on communicating with your customers and providing professional support [Click Here for that post], so I won’t go into that any further here.

Suffice to say, you’ll need to send out an order confirmation, or set your eCommerce Solution to do so when an order is placed, and email your customer a shipping notification and their tracking number when your Drop Shipper notifies you the order has shipped out. You are also responsible for customer support when questions or issues arise.

The Pros & Cons Of Drop Shipping Your Product

Now let’s discuss The Pros & Cons Of Drop Shipping Your Product. I think we’ve pretty much covered the “Pros” of Drop Shipping:

➜ No upfront cost for product.

➜ No warehousing product or shipping orders.

➜ You can operate a sizable online business without employees, facility insurance, utility bills, a warehouse to buy, rent or maintain.

➜ You never even have to touch the product. (although I always highly recommend that you order one of each of the items you select to sell so you can see it for yourself, check the quality and test your Drop Shipper.)

Okay, so nothing is perfect, even Drop Shipping. There are things about it that can cause you big problems if you aren’t careful, so let’s discuss the “Cons” that can sour your business fast if you are just starting out.  (Keep in mind that most of these can be easily avoided with some simple, careful “Good Drop Shipping Practices” I’ll go over with you in just a minute.)

➜ No control over your suppliers’ practices. This includes item quality check before shipping, packaging and shipping.

➜ Inferior or fake products being shipped. As in, your supplier switches products out on you once you have tested the product out.

➜ Lost in transit orders. This issue happens mainly for international orders, where packages can more easily get lost, the foreign shipping carriers don’t provide tracking #’s and won’t insure the package.

➜ Poor management of inventory. This means errors in supplier inventory reports; for instance, they report that they have 1000 pieces in stock, but when you place an order there are not enough to ship your order.

➜ Customer Fraud. Your customer orders, receives the order, then reports the transaction as fraudulent.

➜ Tax reporting. You DO have to make sure you pay your income taxes on things sold online.

➜ Not enough room in the price for profit; Drop Ship item costs are often much higher than wholesale, + the shipping costs.

➜ Drop Shipper cross promotion. Your Drop Shipper includes their branded materials with your orders, losing you customers.

➜ Fake Trademark items. This involves selling goods that are represented as Trademarked products, like Disney Mickey Mouse items, Harry Potters’ Wand, Game of Thrones merchandise etc.

I know, it looks like a big list. But again, a lot of these issues can be avoided with some simple practices I strictly adhere to. So, let’s move on to my Drop Ship Best Practices Guide I have created to help you out here.

Drop Ship Best Practices

Drop Shipper Vetting

While it is true that you have no control over your Drop Shippers’ practices, things like item quality checks, packaging and shipping issues can usually be avoided, in my opinion, by proper vetting and testing.

Perhaps I have just been lucky, but I suspect that my lack of issues is due to my careful vetting process for my Drop Shippers. First, I always use US Drop Shippers. Next, I always do my homework and search Google for reviews on the Drop Shipper.  Well, scouring the net for anything that looks suspicious is more like it.

I check their online reviews, Facebook account, I check them through ScamAdvisor.com as well as similar sites. I make sure their business is located in the US, like they state it is. I take a good look at those reviews and study them to make sure there are not too many serious issues going on.

So, basically, yes, I stalk them online! It’s the safest, most accurate way to narrow things down initially.

If there are a lot of issues being reported, anything looks weird, or anything big is wrong, I go look for another Drop Shipper. Period.

If not, and things look good, I contact the Drop Shipper in person (I prefer by phone, but email works too) and make sure I have a good back and forth conversation with them. I like to create good relationships with my Drop Shippers. I ask questions I already have answers to from their site just to see if things line up, if they are patient in answering my questions. I make sure they are helpful and polite, and provide accurate information, a good sign they take their business seriously and are legit.

If all is going well, I sign up for their Drop Ship Program if necessary. I find that good Drop Shippers will require your information up front before they do business with you. And they require a tax ID number as well. (I don’t generally bother with Drop Shippers that don’t require this information.)

I then place an order for a couple of the products I intend to sell and have them shipped to my mom so I can test the whole process completely.

When the items arrive, I look carefully at the packaging, check out the products and test them.

Then I place a few more orders and have them Drop Shipped to other family members as gifts. Want to hear something funny?

I started my first few Drop Ship stores just before Christmas back in 2010 (convenient I know), and I simply went Christmas shopping via my top Drop Shipper prospects. Of course, I got reports back from family and friends when the packages arrived, and all had gone well. They loved their presents.

Next, if all goes well I list the products in my store with a inventory of 2-6 and sell them to customers. The products go out of stock on my site after these are sold, and I wait to make sure there are no problems. (This only takes a week or so, and you can work on your email list in the meantime.)

I usually contact the customers via email the day after their orders arrive and ask if everything was satisfactory. If so, I consider the Drop Shipper safe. But I still watch things like a hawk until I’ve had no problems for another 6 months or so.

Like I said, maybe I’m just lucky. But then again, I also consider this a pretty damn good vetting process. And it seems to serve me well, so I stick with what works.

This process also takes care of the second problem, or at least for me anyway; fake or inferior products being shipped. Since the Drop Shipper didn’t know I was shipping to family, and I tested with just a few customers before starting to sell in earnest as well, I have rarely had an issue with inferior products. And I have never had a Drop Shipper send a fake item out.

Lost In Transit Orders

To ensure that this is not an issue, I simply do not ship physical products outside the US. International shipping does not allow for tracking #’s or insured packages. I insist that all my orders are insured, and my carefully vetted Drop Shippers will just do this by default. (Oh yea, I don’t do business with Drop Shippers who do not insure their orders.) This way, if an item does not arrive, the Drop Shipper simply files a claim with the carrier and ships out anther order to my customer at no cost to me.

Of course, I take good care of my customers by communicating well with them over the extremely rare occasion when I have an issue. Although with US shipping, I have never had an order go missing. I have shipped to Canada many times with no orders lost in shipping. Even large orders over $2000. But unless I am selling digital products, I don’t sell outside the US and Canada.

Poor Inventory Management

Again, perhaps I am lucky, but I attribute my lack of issues here to my close communication with and careful nurturing of, my relationships with my Drop Shippers. Within a month or so they know me by name, and talk freely with me about our business dealings.

I always ask after inventory in person on my lead items. This way it’s easy to spot the frauds; because unless they are really good, they won’t keep up a conversation they have to keep lying to you to over an over about. Although, I have never had a Drop Shipper I suspected was trying to run a game on me.

I have had some of my Drop Shippers have some inventory issues around Christmas, but just a few. And I really can’t fault them for just a few at such a busy time. After all, everyone makes mistakes. (I have gotten an order or two switched up when I was busy at Christmas time.) And I wouldn’t want to even try to warehouse and ship that many items myself.

So, I cancel those orders that could not be shipped and apologize profusely to my customers “for any inconvenience the issue may have caused”. Maybe give them a discount coupon for their next order “should they choose to shop with me again”.

I find that as long as you are honest, attentive and communicate with your customers properly, they will usually accept your apology. And most of the time, they even come back again, which gives me a chance to make things right! And that brings us to…

Consumer Fraud

I’ve only have that happen about once per year. I attribute this to the types of products I sell, usually higher end items that aren’t exactly cheap. My average order across all of my sites is around $110-$150. I believe this keeps the fraud down to a minimum.

Another solution I believe keeps this issue at bay; I only accept Paypal. Paypal won’t resolve a customer claim and require that you refund their money unless the customer returns the product to you. So most consumer scammers get stopped in their tracks right there, because the scam is to get ahold of free items without having to pay. So problem solved.

I have had a couple of customers try to pull this over the years, but once Paypal insists they send the item back in order to get their refund, they simply retract the dispute, keep their item, and I don’t hear from them again.

Tax Reporting

Okay, so a lot of people don’t know this, but you do have taxes to pay on your online income. First of all, you must pay 37% self-employment Federal income tax on everything you make online. So just take 37% of whatever you earn right off the top and stow it away in a savings account, or, if you are making a net of more than $1200 or so per month you should check with your accountant about paying quarterly or monthly taxes. And then, you need to check your state, county and city taxes to make sure you don’t owe anything there. If so – pay it!

Not Enough Room For Profit

Yes, this is a frequent problem. And that’s why I tend to go for higher ticket items. Because trying to get a buck or two out of cheap items is really tough, especially with shipping involved. I stick with products that sell for at least $100 so there is room for profit.

Basically, you are looking at the profit you make per sale. I only go for products with no less than a $20 profit after all is said and done; unless it’s a $10-$15 profit and I know I can really move a lot of the item. But I rarely do that. My average net profit per sale is $30-$35.

At any rate, finding a good item with room for profit is the aspect that I find generally makes finding a good Drop Ship product the hardest. Just keep looking until you find a popular product with room to move on the price. (And don’t forget to factor in your shipping costs and taxes!)

Drop Shipper Self Promotion/Cross Promotion

To avoid having your Drop Shipper cross promote to your customers on you, just be sure to find a Drop Shipper that provides something called “Blind Drop Shipping”. This means that the Drop Shipper does not include their branded materials, name or address with your orders. Because true Drop Shipping means your customers won’t know you didn’t ship the item yourself.

I also insist on going with Drop Shippers that will let you include your own branded packing slip with your orders. You generally have to specifically ask for this initially, but most good Drop Shippers will happily print your packing slip and include it in your orders for your customers. Most free of charge. If they won’t include your branded packing slip with your orders, I recommend moving on to another Drop Shipper who is willing to work with you better.

Fake Trademark Merchandise

This is simple; DO NOT sell Trademark Merchandise unless you are getting it directly from the Trademark company. It’s illegal, and you can wind up in big trouble. This means that selling those Trademark Harry Potter Wands or Disney Mickey Mouse pendants from AliExpress is not good practice. Because those Chinese manufactured products are most certainly not made by Disney. A good clue in here is the exceptionally cheap price for such goods. And if Disney or another big Brand company catches you representing your products as their Trademark goods, they could easily nab you for it!

This also comprises what is probably the most frequent reason for customers getting “fake” items. Because it obviously had to have been a Brand Name item in order to be fake. Unless the actual material its self is fake, like they shipped an alloy pendent necklace instead of solid silver. And again, that’s why I test ship a few orders to help ensure you get the item as described.

Wrapping Up…

Well, that’s it in a nutshell. That’s how I vet my Drop Shippers and avoid disaster. And I’ve turned a good profit over the years doing it this way.

Just be sure to be professional, use good common sense, do your homework and check your Drop Shippers well. Do professional business with professional businesses. Connect and communicate effectively with your Drop Shippers, and cultivate good relationships with them. Don’t be lured in by fake Trademark goods. Pay your taxes. Be honest with everyone.

And above all, take good care of your customers and communicate well with them. Because they are what makes your business tick. Without them, you won’t be in business. So take care of any problems with your customers first and foremost, and sort out issues with Drop Shippers second if problems arise.

Drop Shipping can be a wonderful thing when done carefully and properly. It can be an enjoyable experience for everyone involved. At the end of the day, when your orders are all taken care of, your Drop Shipper is happy and your customers are happy, you’ll be very happy!

Your Online Store Your Website

Your Online Drop Shipping Store

As for your website or store, I have lots of information here on my site about how to build your website. I know Shopify and other similar solutions are available, however I still recommend having your own “shell” site on WP. I use Shopify myself, as my eCommerce solution, integrating it with my WP sites. That way you know you have your business in your hands, your control as much as possible.

Maybe I’m a bit of a control freak, but I like to run a tight ship.

I prefer this method to ensure that my main business remains on my internet property. I know, Shopify is pretty safe. But I’ve been online for a while now, seen some empires rise and fall. This way if things ever went awry with Shopify, they decided to hike up their pricing, if it ever blew up or something, I could quickly set up an eCommerce solution through my WP site and be right back in business, right where my customers know where to find me.

Have a Drop Shipping question? I’m happy to help if I’m able; just leave your question in the comments box below and I’ll let you know if I have a solution, advice, or an answer!

So, that’s all the advice I have for you on Drop Shipping for now. I know this was a long post, but I hope you enjoyed it, and got a lot out of it. And I hope if you try it, you enjoy Drop Shipping, and find it as rewarding as I have.

Until next time…

Drop Shipping: How It Works & Best Practices For Success

Why You Need an Online Presence & What Can It Can Do For Your Business

Why You Need an Online Presence & What Can It Can Do For Your Business

Why You Need an Online Presence & What Can It Can Do For Your Business

If you have a business of any kind these days, it pays to have an Online Presence. What is this? Well, I’m not going to get too involved here in this post. I just want you to have a good idea of what you need to have in place to make your online business more complete.

But first, you may have heard the term “Web Presence” as well. So let’s briefly take a look at that, because it is part of your Online Presence. Basically a “Web Presence” is generally considered to be your website or blog, the pages and files on your site, and the elements that make it complete.

An Online Presence, also known as an “Internet Presence”, is everything and everywhere someone may find information about you, your business, or your company on the net. You see, you need much more than just your website or blog to be successful online these days. However, we are just going to focus on…

4 Key Elements Of Your Internet Presence

There are four main elements of your Online Presence that you should have in place, at least initially, if you want to be successful online. Of course, there are more than I will list here, but these are the ones most any business should attend to.

Now, your website and/or blog is generally top priority in most cases. That’s because your site is your home on the web, so to speak, where your audience and visitors can experience your message, your Brand, what you have to offer, and how you do business. Of course, there are plenty of businesses that do just fine without a website, relying instead on the other elements on this list. But chances are you’ll do better with a website involved.

Most of the information on here my site is about your website or blog, so I won’t spend too much time on this element. Not that it’s not vital to most businesses, but because I want you to understand just how much these next 3 elements matter, and what they can do for your business.

Why You Need an Online Presence & What Can It Can Do For Your Business

Social Networking

Consumers spend more and more time on Social sites every year. Facebook just reached 2 Billion monthly users (according to experts like techcrunch).  Meanwhile, Instagram has a whopping 700 Million users (from businessinsider.com).  And while it mainly consists of female users, Pinterest has 150 Million monthly users, with 70 Million users in the US alone (according to omnicoreagency.com).

And they are not just talking to their friends; they are buying items just like yours directly from their Social hangouts. Social Networking is your big opportunity to expand your online reach by extraordinary leaps and bounds, especially when you use it properly.

One of the best ways to do that, is to sell your products from an eStore that allows you to put your actual products up for sale, complete with a buy button, shopping cart and secure checkout, right on your Social channels. That’s why I recommend integrating a Shopify store with your WP website. And I am not the only one by far; social channels are simply booming, so it’s a place where your business should definitely have a presence.

Email Marketing

The money is in the list, so they have said for years. And today is no different. That list is just your email list, instead of a call list or postal mailing list. Top marketers recommend email lists, because they get results, perhaps even more so than Social Networking. 64% of companies rate email marketing as their most effective marketing channel (from mailmunch.co).

Among other benefits, you can keep customers and clients up to date on your business, products and services. You can also upsell your subscribers on other items or services they may like.

And while email lists are great for keeping in touch with your loyal customers, it’s also a great way to attract new people into your business. This allows you to increase your customer base by engaging new potential customers via email, and gives you a chance to encourage them to become paying customers.

Some great ways to encourage people to opt-in to your list is by offering a free, relevant digital download, like an eBook, or a music track. Perhaps you can write a small eBooklet on the ingredients you use in your handmade candles, or share your secrets on how to clear a sink drain. You can get as creative with this as you want. The more relevant, targeted and better your offer, the better you are likely to do.

It’s not a new concept. No different than those free laundry detergent packets you get in the mail. Or those free steak seasoning samples – hey, I just got one of those last week and it tasted great! Hopefully you get the point; when people find value in your free offering, they are more likely to opt-in, giving you a chance to reach out to them with information and offers in the future.

I am certainly going to buy a bottle of that seasoning the next time I go shopping!

So stick with what works. Because there is no sense in re-inventing the wheel. Basically, it pays to have an effective email marketing strategy, and build an email list.

YouTube

I don’t know if this is top priority on other peoples’ lists for Online Presence, but I highly recommend it in my top 4. YouTube has a massive 1.5 Billion users logging in to watch videos each month (from techcrunch.com) That is a lot of eyeballs to attract.

Think about it; just a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of 1/100,000th of this would be amazing for your business. Yes, this internet giant, owned by Google, is becoming a monster of a place to make your business presence known.

Even better yet, a lot of these users have recently canned their expensive cable tv in recent years for more affordable, user generated entertainment. So doing “home videos” that are relevant to your niche could have a nice impact on your bottom line.

An example; I know a nice lady that lives less than 10 miles from me making $3000+ per month selling crochet patterns online, and she got a big boost to her traffic by simply doing video tutorials on how to use her patterns on YouTube.

And since users are used to seeing advertisements on tv, they tend to watch them on YouTube too. So YouTube ads are a good way to get your message out there.

You can even ask your customers to do an unboxing and review your product on YouTube if you like. I know several business owners who had customers just do this without them even asking. And that is just one way to gain some much appreciated YouTube viewer interest.

I even know a 12 year old making some pretty good change from his screen recorded gaming! So anything someone may find interesting can get you YouTube “mailbox money” if you monetize your channel, and draw attention to your Brand.

It’s over already? Yes, I know, a short post for me here. I do tend to be a bit “long winded” most of the time. So perhaps this will be refreshingly short post then? I honestly just like to make sure I have as much helpful information as possible for you on my blog.

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this post, and got a lot out of it. It should give you some good ideas about how you can better market your business online. Just remember, your customers are out there, and the more of an Online Presence you have, the better chance you have of increasing your traffic, and ultimately your sales!

Why You Need an Online Presence & What Can It Can Do For Your Business

6 Reasons Why Every Business Needs A Website

6 Reasons Why Every Business Needs A Website

6 Reasons Why Every Business Needs A Website

In this new digital age, every business needs a website. The benefits are there; from physical businesses such as plumbers, dog groomers, restaurants and hair salons, to entirely online businesses selling digital and physical goods. Most any business can gain valuable traffic, sales and leads from having a website online.

Increase Foot Traffic To Your Physical Business With A Website

Did you know that physical businesses can even drive more traffic right to their door with a website? Think of it as the digital version of a window display, or those glass encased showrooms for cars. People walk or drive by, and their attention is grabbed by your display; if you have something they are looking for, they are more likely to stop by and take a look.

Well, your website is no different. It’s just online instead of in your retail store window, but the way to attract attention is still basically the same. And so is the strategy. Make sure your webpages display your prominent products or services clearly, and in an attractive way that will get attention…you know the drill.

This may actually be the easiest way to attract attention online, because of Social Networking. People in the city tend to gravitate to and join local groups, and view their friends’ posts in Facebook. So getting your website out there with Social Networking can be a great way to spread the word about your local business and start seeing more customers walk through your door.

Your Competition Is Selling From Their Websites Online, You Should Be Too

If you don’t have a website for your business, whether you have a retail store, physical business, or you are selling your hand-knitted caps, you can bet some of your competition is. They are successfully selling products and services just like yours to people who are eager to buy every day, and your slice of that pie is waiting for you online too!

Oh yes, people sell hand-knitted caps, candles, wedding supplies, t-shirts, dog coats, and endless variety of products every single day, 365 days a year. If you have it, odds are someone out there is looking to buy it – probably more than just one somebody. Don’t let your competitors steal all the sales right out from under your nose.

It’s Where Your Customers Shop

Regardless of your industry, niche, product or service, your customers are shopping online, or looking for information about the things they want to buy there. Products and services just like yours. You always want to be where your customers are. Years ago, that was the best spot on the busiest street in town. Now that spot is online. So if you are still sitting in your high rent shop in the mall noticing a steady decrease in foot traffic, that is probably a big part of the reason why. Perhaps it is time to go where your customers are.

Online Sales Just Keep On Climbing

Just a few years back, online sales overtook retail store sales for Christmas. Ever since then, online sales keep going up and up…and experts say this trend is only going to continue. And I don’t have to quote this, just take a look at what any expert online is saying.

This is mostly due to advances in technology; faster internet speeds have led to faster, better devices, especially mobile. And humans being what they are, which is to say, very social beings, they love to go online and communicate anytime they want with their friends. This gives you a chance to get shared for more visage of your brand, your business, products and services on the web!

In addition, consumers have also become more informed than ever before about the products they buy and the services they choose. Because all that information is now online at the touch of their fingertips. They have grown accustomed to being able to hop on their iPhone and instantly compare prices, or search for a local store or business to suit their needs with just a few taps on their mobile device screen.

Be sure they find your products or services next time they take to their mobile device…like just now.

Selling Online Costs Less On Average Than Sales At A Physical Location

Advertising costs not withstanding, selling online is far more cost effective than selling from a physical location.

Why?

Well, first of all, you don’t need sales people, or at least not as many, because your website does that for you. And with less employees come less workmens’ comp costs, fewer insurance dollars spent, less electricity and so on. Just think of what decreasing your sales staff by 50% or more, while still selling as much of your product as you do now, would do for your bottom line. And what if your sales increased by going online? It’s entirely possible.

Also, these days there is a good chance that your product supplier may dropship your product straight to your customers’ door for you. This means you may never have to pay for your product up front, or even lay a hand on it anymore. All you do is take orders on your site, and have your supplier ship for you. So how about decreasing your warehouse and stocking staff by 50% or more? Consider if you are still selling as much product as you do now, only online; what would that do for your revenue?

Either way, there have been lots of physical retail stores switch entirely to selling their products online in recent years, saving them all those costs associated with brick and mortar stores. They traded their physical retail stores for websites. And this removed the stress of all those employees, business insurance, space rent, electricity etc. completely from the equation. Meanwhile, operating a website is nowhere near as costly as a physical store. Just think about it; cutting down on your staffing significantly alone will save you a pretty penny.

And saving money, is the same as making money. Or at least the next best thing to it.

You Can Sell Globally Instead Of Just Locally

If you sell products that can be shipped, or services that can be delivered digitally, then you could be selling to a global audience rather than just a local one. People all over the world buy products and services just like the ones you offer. Maybe yours are even better. Either way, what would a boost in sales from all around the world do for your business, your lifestyle?

A website is your opportunity to advertise and attract customers worldwide, don’t miss out.

There are lots of other reasons Why You Should Have A Website For Your Business, but really, do you need more? If you have any other reasons that you feel should be added to this list, by all means, please leave a comment and share your opinion with others.

Until next time…look into getting your website online and get out there for the world to see. If you need help with that…

Ultimate WP Workshop @ TinaBarnash.com

6 Reasons Why Every Business Needs A Website

5 Simple Phases To Build A Website With WP

5 Simple Phases To Build A Website With WP

5 Simple Phases To Build A Website With WP

Last week we discussed a few things you should line out before you build your website. Now we are going to make sure that you’re familiar with those 5 Simple Phases To Build A Website With WP that I promised I would cover with you. And I think you are going to like this, because it’s all about designing and setting up your WP site!

Obviously, this after you get hosting setup and domain registration covered. But I always recommend getting familiar with what comes directly after, before you jump into paying for hosting and your domain. So let’s go directly to the fun stuff…

WP Website Settings

Settings

Your WP site requires some attention to a few basic settings; a vital part of creating your website. This won’t take long when you know what you’re doing though. For now, I just want you to get a basic idea of what’s involved in this Phase.

➜ Once you login to your WP dashboard, you’ll navigate to “General” settings.

Here you’ll be setting your website name and url, tagline if you want one, and setting the date and time format that your site will run on.

➜ Next, the “Writing” settings will enable you to post via email, which is handy if you’re on the go.

➜ Under “Reading” you’ll determine what your front page does; you can display your posts, or set a static page as your Homepage. You can also edit the emails your followers receive from your blog.

➜ The “Discussion” tab is where you will adjust your default article settings, determine how comments will be handled, insert your Avatar display and Gravatar Hover Cards. Your sites’ rating can also be selected here, along with Jetpack settings, and your comments greeting text.

➜ Under Media, you can change the settings for your image sizes. But these can usually be left alone.

➜ “Permalinks” settings are going to be one of the most important settings to get right. That’s because this setting determines how your page and post urls look. These should be set to /%postname%/ for optimal search ranks.

➜Under the “Settings” tab, you’ll need to go to “Sharing” to integrate your Social Networks with your site so that your visitors can interact with you on Social Media. Very important. (I actually recommend setting your Social Network Accounts up before you build your site if you can. That way you can get this taken care of when you create your site, rather than having to come back later to do this.)

➜ Your site verification services, like Google Analytics, Bing and Pinterest tracking are set up under the “Tools” tab. You’ll need to create accounts with these services in order to do this.

And that’s it for the Settings. Pretty straight forward and easy, right? Okay, so let’s move on.

Website Theme

Themes

I like to get the theme taken care of right away after I adjust the settings, so you can see your website coming together almost immediately. That’s why I consider this “Phase 2” when I create a WP site.

It probably goes without saying, however, this is where the design of your site is determined. Themes are sort of like the “paint and carpet” of your site, so to speak. And they are part of what makes WP such a good platform for building your site; because you don’t really need a web designer to make it look fantastic.

Depending on how personalized you want your site to look, a free theme may be all you need. WP has a lot of attractive free themes available. Some are far better than others. You can waste a lot of time trying out themes. So, to save you a lot of time I’ll be showing you step by step how to customize one of my favorite free WP themes at the Workshop.

However, free themes usually have limited customization capabilities. If you want a more customized site you will probably need to go for a paid theme. Paid themes can also come with additional functionality built in, which can reduce the number of plugins you’ll need to make your site function like you need it to. So it pays to pick a good theme.

If you are going to want a paid theme, you might as well go with one of my tried and tested paid theme recommendations, rather than potentially wasting your money on a theme that doesn’t work well, or lacks design capability.

And believe me, you can spend a lot of time and money looking for a good paid theme. Because you can easily wind up taking the time to purchase, download, install and customize a theme, only to find out it’s not going to work for your particular needs. Worse, you can discover, after all of this, that it may be “glitchy” and simply not work well at all!

➜Once you have your theme selected and installed, this is where you get to set your logo and customize your theme colors. And you get to see your website coming to life!

Now we are going to need to add some features and functionality to your site, and we do that using…

WP Plugins

Plugins

You can think of plugins as apps, or little programs that you install on your site to add features and functionality. This is where you’ll be able to get contact forms, site backups, Social sharing buttons, newsletter signup forms, anti-spam filters, front end SSL setup and more.

Most all the juicy features you may want to add, or imitate from other WP sites you like, goes on here. Plus, there are plugins you’ll need for spam filtering, statistics and maintenance. There are good, free plugins for all of this, and I’ll show you these when you join me for the workshop.

Installing plugins in WP is pretty easy. Good plugins provide documentation to help you set them up properly. So, although I will show you how to set up the plugins on my list, you can always look to this information for help if needed later on.

Just remember that the more plugins you install on your site, the more you put its security at risk.  Because hackers can access your site via a plugin. This is another reason why you want to be sure to check that the plugin you want to use has good reviews, is kept up to date, is well documented, and has been tested with the latest version of WP. And again, you can keep the number of plugins you need down to a bare minimum by choosing a theme that has common preferred features and functionality built in.

Now, comes the phase where you will add the “meat and potatoes” of your site…

Build A Website Content

Content

Once your site design is customized, the settings are taken care of and you have the plugins you need, you’ll need lots of content. Because you will need to fill your pages with everything your audience, visitors, customers and clients need to know so that they can make well informed decisions before they purchase.

You’ll also want to include additional relevant information regularly to keep your visitors, and search engines engaged. Because if you want to give your site the best possible chance for first page search ranks, you must keep adding fresh content regularly.

We’ll discuss the fresh content you can add at the workshop, and how you can schedule it to post out whenever you want, even when you can’t be there to publish it. This means you can, for instance, spend 1 day putting up content that will go out regularly over several weeks. Yes, even while you are sleeping or on vacation, your blog can be updating its self, on auto-pilot, with fresh, new content!

(Work smarter, not harder my friends.)   

As for the standard and required basic content that makes your initial site polished and professional, that’s what we’ll focus on most. This includes your About, Contact, and Privacy Policy pages, as well as your Homepage. Once you get a visitor to your site, these pages need to hook them in and drive them to take action.

You will also need a Privacy Policy, as this legal information is now required by law for most sites. Don’t worry, I’ll show you where to get one online. And I’ll point out the key information you’ll need for your About and Contact pages. And we’ll add a contact form (via plugin) so visitors can reach you when needed, as well as setting up an opt-in page so you can start building your email list.

Next, you’ll create your main navigation and footer menus, so you can see your pages. This is where your site will start to look complete with pages and content you can see live on your site!

And to make your written content look polished, all you need are some quick, yet effective html codes to spice things up a bit. Don’t worry, I’ll show you this too. This is extremely lite code we are talking here, nothing difficult at all. Just a few short character and letter strings to create font styling that will accentuate key points, adjust font sizes etc.

Of course, content means images too. And lots of them, if you really want your site to attract attention. You can and should use images of your business building (if you have one), perhaps your office and team (if possible).  Or, if you want to setup a personal business site you’ll need an image or two of you.

But you’ll also need some additional images to spruce things up. Especially for your regular weekly content, like posts and such. There are lots of free, professional looking images to be had online, and I’ll show you where and how to get them.

Plus, we will add an Image Gallery to your site, so you can show off your products or services.

This includes icons and other graphics to add a professional touch to your site. You can get these online, or if you Join Me in the Web Genesis Nation Silver Member Suite, I’ll give you my Web Graphics Toolbox, so you have plenty of high quality web treats for a good head start.

You’ll want to take a look at video as well because, while lots of static visual imagery is great, video is always better. The best place to go grab video for your site is YouTube. And I’ll show you how to install a plugin that will make embedding videos into your site fast and easy, and display beautifully across all devices.

Now that we’ve discussed content, we are down to the last few details of your website creation.

Build A Website Finishing Touches

Finishing Touches

Putting the finishing touches on your WP website includes setting up your widgets and sidebar(s), and understanding some best practices for regular maintenance on your site. Because I want you to not only create your site, I want you to know how to take care of it in the future so you can avoid issues and costly fixes or updates.

Widgets

For simplicities sake, you can think of Widgets as little packages of code you use to insert content in your sidebar, and also on your pages and posts. Basically, they allow you to add certain types of content and functionality without coding. For instance, you can insert Social Media icons, your RSS feed, buttons, Google maps, display recent posts, newsletter opt-in forms, custom menus and more.

Sidebars

To create your sidebars, all you need to do is drag the widgets you want into the sidebar panel and configure them. To insert widgets in your page, there is an awesome free plugin that makes it really easy. In some cases, widgets also come bundled with themes, featuring standard and specialized widgets you can add to pages.

Basic Maintenance

Proper care of your site includes regular backups, so you can get your site back fast in case anything happens to it. There are plugins for statistics, so you can analyze your traffic, cache plugins and others to help speed up your site. Then there are security plugins to help keep your site and content secure. Some disable and block the right-click-copy function from visitor use, others are a firewall of sorts to keep hackers out, and some can be used to alter your login page url.

You can over-do this though, and again, it’s best to keep plugins down to a minimum, so you should only use the plugins you absolutely need for security, functionality and features. You should also never have disabled plugins on your site. If you are not using them, delete them. And be sure to keep your plugins up to date to help ensure your sites’ security.

Organization

This is something I always highly recommend. You’ll collect lots of materials and passwords when you create your site. Keeping it properly organized is the best way to avoid confusion, losing or misplacing important materials, and having to reacquire or create your materials over again.

Quite frankly, organization will help you avoid the urge to start pulling your hair out at times!

Okay, so that is the basic overview of the 5 Simple Phases To Build A Website With WP. Taking a quick look back over the post, you are probably surprised that there is no more to it than that to create your WP site. And honestly, I didn’t leave much out here, so that is pretty much it.

These are the basic features you generally get when you hire one of those corporate “big boys” to create a WP site for you. I’m actually probably showing you the “How To” for a site that would cost more along the lines of $1500. Because the fee generally starts out at an initial quote, then works it’s way up when you want to add features, functionality and customization.

But who’s counting?

You now understand how to build, manage and grow your website. And when you join me for the workshop you’ll discover exactly how to complete these simple phases to create your WP website; one that’s capable of helping you achieve your online business goals. And that is what really counts, right?

5 Simple Phases To Build A Website With WP

What Is SSL Certificate Encryption And Why Every Website Should Have One

What Is SSL Certificate Encryption And Why Every Website Should Have One

What Is SSL Certificate Encryption And Why Every Website Should Have One    

Having an SSL Certificate now has more to do with the success of your website than ever before. This security feature is no longer a luxury to have installed on your site, it’s a necessity. So let’s discuss what an SSL Certificate is, what it does, and why you need to have one installed on your website or blog.

What Is An SSL?

SSL (Secure Socket Layer) certificates protect the data transferred between a web server and a browser  by enabling a secure connection between the two. Basically, it means that all data transferred from a web server to a given browser is encrypted.

A little more technical explanation; when and SSL is installed on your server, it digitally binds your websites’ details with a cryptographic key, activating the https protocol and that little padlock you see in a secured sites’ browser url. This means your website now has secured connections to your users’ browsers.

So, when visiting an SSL encrypted site, you’ll notice the https (in green lettering) and the little padlock preceding the sites’ url in your browser. This means that any data that you input into forms or at checkout on the site is encrypted and secure. (If you look in your browser right now, you’ll see the padlock and green https in front of my url here.)

Google Search Ranks & Organic Traffic

A lot of people didn’t catch this in Googles’ big algorithm storm that’s been going on since the end of 2015, but Google now requires sites to have an SSL security certificate installed. Google has actually been “strongly advising” SSL certificate installation since at least 2014, when it began giving sites with an SSL a boost in search ranks. And, the Google Quality Guidelines state that a SSL certificate is “good practice”.

What Is SSL Certificate Encryption And Why Every Website Should Have One

It’s not that Google has been penalizing you for not having this level of security, you simply get filtered down in search results beneath your competitors that have one. So, currently, if your competition is on the ball, you may find yourself falling further and further back in search ranks.

Consequently, if you get on the ball with an SSL faster than your competition, you could see your search ranks rise, maybe even beating out some of your previously higher ranked competitors! Every chance you get to get the jump on your competitors, you should take. And that’s certainly better than losing traffic, at any rate.

So again, it’s not that Google penalizes you for not having an SSL, it doesn’t have to

Because more recently, Google has made it so that websites without SSL encryption display a little grey circle with an exclamation point next to the sites’ url in the browser when viewed via Chrome. Click on that and you are going to see a message saying: “Your connection to the site is not secure. Do not enter sensitive information…” The message then goes on to basically tell users to either “go back” to the safety of Google search, or continue to the site at your own risk. And that is bad news. Not something you want your customers seeing when they visit your website.

Because you always want your visitors to feel secure when they visit your site, right? You want them to sit down with a cup of coffee and hang around, read your content, sign up for your newsletter, buy your products or sign up for services, and feel confident that when they use your contact form, their personal information is secure.

You want them to feel all warm and fuzzy about being there.

What Is SSL Certificate Encryption And Why Every Website Should Have One

As if that shouldn’t have you scrambling to get an SSL right away, word has it that sometime this winter (around January), that little grey circle with an exclamation point is going to turn into a RED caution triangle with an exclamation point instead!

Now that will grab visitors’ attention right away.

It means that if you haven’t already, you will soon lose organic search traffic, at least on Google search anyway, if you don’t have an SSL installed on your site. And worse, visitors seeing this message will begin to associate that lack of security with your site, your business, your Brand.

That being said, let’s not get to giving Google too much of a bad time on this one. After all, the web is not such a safe place, for your sensitive personal and financial information, or your pc. You must be vigilant to use the internet safely. And big companies like Google were bound to pick up on this and do something about it sooner or later. And again, Google has been telling us things were headed in this direction for at least 3 years now. (Which is why I started recommending that my clients secure their sites with SSL’s back in 2014.)

So, while it may seem like a pain for businesses, the goal of this is to make your site safer for your customers. It helps keep their personal and financial information safe and secure. And this alone is a reason to get your site covered immediately, even if you just have a service site, because your savvy customers will be looking for that padlock, and green https in their browser to determine if the site is safe to shop. Even if they don’t know this (yet) if they see that exclamation point and warning instead, they are likely to just leave.

PayPal Buttons & SSL

There is talk that PayPal buttons will no longer work on websites without an SSL. In fact, PayPals’ own information states that this is the case since 2016. There is something there about “grandfathered embedded buttons”, but I wouldn’t wager on that. I’ve looked into this a bit and found people saying their buttons don’t work on their non-secured sites. And they also report that PayPal support told them they needed an SSL for their buttons to work. But even if this is not a problem yet, I would not be a bit surprised if it happened sometime in the near future.

For those who sell items using embedded PayPal buttons, this would be a huge issue. Even IPN integrated sites may be effected. I’m not sure about that. And I don’t figure it is worth looking up either, because let’s face it, with Google now insisting on having an SSL secured site, it’s a dead-given that other search engines soon will too.

These types of things generally don’t go away, they only get more prevalent. Most especially, financial companies like PayPal are likely to follow along soon, if they haven’t already. So, I just recommend protecting your site with an SSL right now. Why wait until it causes you and your business problems?

Okay, I’m done freaking you out now. Sorry, but I had to give you that information in order to make sure that you are fully informed, and taking this seriously. Not my favorite part of the job here, but necessary just the same.

Now let’s make you feel warm and fuzzy about your website again…

How To Get An SSL For Your Website

Not to worry. You know I always have a solution for you. SSL’s used to be rather expensive, but fortunately costs have gone down significantly since all of this has gone on. You can get an SSL that covers your site for two years for around $60 vs a few years back when they cost an average of $130-$180 per year.

Your web host should be able to install an SSL for you, so check with them before you go elsewhere. (And if they won’t install one for you, I would probably recommend changing hosts.) In fact, most good web hosts are now including a free SSL with their new hosting packages for a year or two. So ask your host if they offer this.

Make sure that no matter where you get your SSL that it’s provided by a trusted company. There are cheap, low quality SSL’s to be had. So be sure to go with a good one like Comodo or Geotrust.

 

 

 

Important SSL Information To Know

Once your host installs your SSL on your server, you are likely to need to finish up on the front end, unless you want to pay someone to do it for you. And since that can run you anywhere from $50 – $180, you may want to just take care of that yourself if you can.

If you have a WordPress site this is no problem in most cases. All you need to do is install a plugin that does most of the work for you. Go to your dashboard>plugins and click “add new” in the top left-hand corner of the plugin panel. In the search box type in “SSL” or “https”. You’ll see several plugins that will help you finish your SSL installation on the front end of your site, by forcing your pages over the secure https connection.

Just make sure the plugin you choose is kept up to date, and well supported by the developer. And be sure to find one that is well documented, with easy to follow instructions on how to set it up. With a good https plugin, there isn’t much to do, the plugin does most of the work for you.

Now, please note that all WP installations are different, and this plugin method can be problematic. Sometimes this method just doesn’t work. In which case, you may need the help of a developer, or your host, to set things up for you.

However, most of the time the simple plugin method works, and you will have no trouble.

Quick Note: I’ll be helping my Silver Members with this SSL topic very soon, with a video tutorial on how to install and setup my top recommended SSL plugin. I’ll also be sharing my recommended hosting solution that provides and installs a free SSL for the first 2 years with each of their hosting packages!

This information and video instruction will be available along with an entire professional WordPress setup video Workshop for my Silver Members in the Silver Member Suite on Web Genesis Nation when it opens this fall. So if you need or want help building your WordPress site, be sure to Join Me!

And moving on…

A Few Last Important Things To Note

Once you have installed your plugin you will need to go to your WP dashboard>settings>general and set your WordPress Address (URL) and Site Address (URL) to include “https” instead of “http”. Save the settings, then you will need to log back into your site over the secure connection.

You will also notice a new section in the right sidebar of your page and post editor pane with the option to secure your page with SSL. You may need to go through and tick that box on your pages and posts, then re-publish to secure them. Sometimes you don’t. So, if you set up the plugin and the SSL isn’t working, try that before you start pulling out your hair!

Once you are all set, be sure to embed your SSL certificate logo or “check this” image link in the footer of your site to let your visitors know they are protected. They will appreciate the reassurance.

Of course, if you created your website with Shopify, Wix or something of the like, this is taken care of for you automatically. You won’t have to worry about the SSL issue because you will already have one, at no extra charge.

But if you have a Shopify store integrated with your WordPress site for eCommerce, you’ll still want to secure your WP site with an SSL.

I hope this helps you to better understand why you need to have an SSL for your site, and how to get an SSL for your website or blog. Because I know it may seem like a big scary deal at first, but it’s really not. And aside from the detriments of not having one, having SSL encryption on your site has big benefits that are only likely to get bigger. Your search ranks will be better protected, your site will be better protected, and your customers and visitors will feel safer knowing that they are protected.

This of course helps create trust in your business among your visitors, something that is virtually priceless.

What Is SSL Certificate Encryption And Why Every Website Should Have One

 

 

Things To Consider Before Making Your WP Website

Things To Consider Before Making Your WP Website

Things To Consider Before Making Your WP Website

Getting your WP website or blog ready to greet the world can be a bit stressful. Especially if you have never done it before. But I assure you it’s not as difficult as it may seem…especially when you take the time to go over these Things To Consider Before Making Your WP Website

Only A Few Basic Phases To Create Your WP Website

Yes, that’s right. It’s easier than you may have been led to believe to make your brand new WP blog or website. You don’t need prior skills. No coding, no techy, confusing junk. You don’t need to spend months or years to get a WP site or blog. And you don’t have to pay out hundreds or thousands of dollars for someone to build it for you. Best of all, there are only a few phases to building a WP website, and I like to complete these in the following order:

➜ Settings

➜ Themes

➜ Plugins

➜ Content

➜ Finishing Touches

Hosting and domain registration no withstanding, that’s really all there is to it. Of course, it is a bit more involved than this. But it’s all pretty simple once you know how to get it done. And we’ll take care of hosting and your domain later on too, so don’t worry.

Seriously, I guarantee you it is easier than it seems. You just need the right information to “cut to the chase” and create a WP site you’d typically get charged at least $1000 for. Me, I decided I would rather show a lot of people how to create their site, rather than charge a few people every month to build one for them.

After all, I could build it for you, but how will you manage and maintain it afterwords? Yup, that would cost you more money and time. And keep you reliant on me to make changes, adjustments or additions when you need them, along with regular maintenance.

Hence my mindset; building your website for you today isn’t nearly as helpful as showing you how to build it, manage it, and grow it for a lifetime.

And fortunately as well, we’ve come a long way in the world of online business. Because now, savvy people like you want to learn this. 

Which is fantastic. I am so glad you are here, ready to go on this. That means we are all set!

Wrap Your Head Around Your Site Project…

We won’t be covering the actual WP steps here in this post. Here I just want you to wrap your head around the concept that making your WordPress site is far from rocket science. You CAN do it. It doesn’t have to take months, and certainly not years.

However, to get the best results possible, you need to know how to get started. And there is getting off to a good start, and causing yourself problems right from the start.

Because, as always, I want you to understand what you are about to accomplish. I want you to know  how to go about your site project in an efficient, orderly way that will get you the best results the fastest, and with as little stress (and cost) as possible.  I’m all about efficiency. Because it keeps stress, costs, and time down to a minimum.

That said, you may be surprised to discover that this does not have anything to do with what CMS (content management system) you use. In other words, nothing to do with WordPress. Not initially anyway.

A quick interjection here: Really soon I will show you how to make your WP site.  But for now, let’s go over the first thing you will need to decide before you build your site…

Essential “Getting Started With Your Website” Mindset

In today’s high-tech world, having a website is crucial to the success of most businesses, online or off.

If you have a brick and mortar store, the ability to reach more customers or clients via the world-wide web is an opportunity you and your business cannot afford to miss out on. If you have one of these businesses, you must know this. And that is why you are here.

And if your goal is to start an online business, you know that there is no business without a place on the web to call home.

Yes, your website offers the chance to connect with virtual visitors from all around the world. It provides information about your products or services, as well as your company, connecting your business with those visitors 24/7, 365 days a year. But most importantly, it provides a chance to communicate with them, and inspire them to become followers, customers or clients. In taking the desired action, they put more money in your pocket.

However, while the prospect of attracting more readers, customers or clients with your new website is understandably exciting, there are some key elements to be considered before you venture into website creation.

And especially, you will be need to make an important decision that directly effects the design, structure, and functionality of your site. For this, you will need to understand a little about how your website is created, and how it will function, in order to create a site that behaves as needed when visitors interact with it.

Makes sense right? Okay, so right now I want you to focus on this…

What Kind Of Website Site Will You Make?

I’m not talking about selling clothing vs selling health supplements, or catering services vs pluming services. I’m talking about the kind of site you will build. Because the basic structure and layout of your site will be determined when you answer this question. And it determines the kind, or style if you will, of site you will be creating.

When it comes right down to it, there are basically two main options; we’ll think of them as “Information” sites, and “eCommerce” sites, (online stores). So let’s take a closer look at this for a moment…

Information Sites

The “Information” site is the kind of site used for service industry businesses, bloggers & affiliate marketers. These types of sites generally do not require a “cart system” or eCommerce setup for selling product, because the content is entirely comprised of information.

The information can be any type; information about your personal, business, or company service(s), random articles and helpful information like you see on blogs, which can also include product and service reviews, etc. As such, these are the fastest, easiest types of sites to create.

So what we are saying here is, within the Information site category, there are two main types of sites; each designed to meet the requirements of these two basic types of businesses.

  • For service industry businesses, your site structure will be similar to a business brochure. Your main objective is to inform visitors about your business and/or service(s) you provide, with as much information as possible in order to gain their trust, and encourage them to take the desired action. The “Home” page in this case is a static page that introduces the business, and directs visitors to the desired information, all the while appropriately encouraging them to contact or visit the actual business for service.
  • For Blogs and affiliate marketers, your site is structured in the format of a blog, basically like an online magazine. Your main goal is to provide extensive amounts of content for readers in a well-organized manner. The “Home” page for these types of sites will generally be formatted to best display large volumes of articles/posts in an organized manner that is as attractive as possible.
  • For Ecommerce websites, or online stores used to sell products, your site is structured in a way that enables you allow customers to purchase items from you. You can sell physical products or downloadable media products, accept payments for those products, monitor, and process the orders. And for this you need a cart system installed on your site. The “Home” page in this case is a static page that introduces your business and products, and provides visitors with the information needed to decide on a product or products, while encouraging them to checkout and complete the purchase.

This is fairly easily determined by your business. However, there are some variations to note here. For instance, if you have a service industry business, and want to increase your revenue by selling some relevant physical products, then you will need an eCommerce site, rather than just a basic service website. Or, maybe you want your service clients to be able to pay for services on your site; again you need a site that is able to accept digital payments.

Alternatively, you could sell custom physical products, and just want to gain a larger audience online while selling in person, at your place of business. This means you are selling products, but don’t need an eCommerce website, and you can just go for a service style website with a blog (I always recommend adding a blog in any case).

Okay, so by now I am sure you get the point. Take time to carefully determine which kind of site your business requires. Because this is really important; it will ensure that you set up the right site, with everything you need right from the start.

Once you have that sorted out, it’s time to think about…

Web Design Vs Development – What’s The Difference?

Web Design Vs Development – What’s The Difference?

We won’t linger on this topic long, I just want to make sure that you have a basic understanding of these terms, just in case you are concerned about which is which, and what is what. Because a website or blog needs both of these elements working together to impart the overall look and feel of the site, and to make the site function as needed.

Web Design

What you actually see when you view a website is the design of the site. The colors, banner images, background image, text layout, fonts, navigation menu appearance, etc. determine the look and feel of the site. Web Design is also where your branding comes in to play, and calls to action are present if preferred. This is where you present your readers with the best possible visual representation of your company, in an organized, appealing and professional manner.

Web Development

Web Development is what goes on in the background that makes a site function as needed. These are the elements of the site that enable it to work like it needs to in order to be beneficial, rather than just beautiful. This includes integrating with Social Media, contact forms, your navigation, how your cart functions, etc. It does have somewhat to do with the appearance of your site as well, because some of that development tells the device your website is being viewed on how to display it. (Mobile friendly.)

Fortunately, WordPress makes all of this easily attainable, without much effort on your part. Because the WordPress CMS (Content Management System) comes pre-loaded with much of the functionality you’ll need for a professional website or blog. Any additional functionality can be added with the simple addition of some carefully selected plugins. And the design is determined mainly by the theme you choose.

So, when we get down to creating your WordPress, most of what you need will already be there as soon as you install WP. Incidentally, that’s why a lot of internet professionals choose WordPress.

Hopefully this post has given you some direction as to your WordPress site project. And you have gotten a good idea of how the process gets started.

Now I would like to briefly explain how I will help you make your WP website or blog…

Ultimate WP Workshop

I have an entire WP video workshop tutorial coming for you this next month. This is something I am really excited to share with you, because I know it is going to help you out BIG Time with your WP site.  I just have a few finishing touches to take care of, and within the next couple of weeks I’ll have the Free WP Workshop all ready for you. The Workshop is a step-by-step video tutorial to show you exactly How To Build Your WP Site!

And you’ll be able to access the COMPLETE video workshop to make your basic WP website…for FREE!

I am doing this because I really want to help you get your site up and running fast, without spending a fortune on designers. And most likely even have some fun doing it. Because I don’t want you to have to struggle with your site. Honestly, all that expense and hassle is completely unnecessary. If you are ready to take this project on, then you deserve this help. And I can make it so much easier and cost effective for you, I just won’t turn down the opportunity to show you how.

When you join me for the workshop you’ll have no trouble making your entire WordPress blog or website. Whether you need a business site for your existing business, or you are starting an online business with your site, the workshop will help you get it done right, the first time!

And, I’ll have additional video tutorials for you if you want to create the kind of business website that would normally cost you over a $1000 to have built for you!

As for your Brand, like I said, I have you covered there too, if you decide you want or need that help. Whether you have that existing Brand ready, or not, you’ll have the opportunity to work that out once the workshop goes live. I have an excellent video workshop coming up that will guide you to create a memorable Brand for your website and business, and even help with your custom logo creation!

What I want you to do in the time between now and the workshop;

  1. Think about what kind of site you will need; “Information” or “eCom”.
  2. Understand the difference between Web Design & Web Development.

So, that’s it for now! Just make sure you fully understand these Things To Consider Before Making Your WP Website.

I promise that your effort will be well worth it when we get down to creating your site in a few short weeks.

Be sure to Click Here and review the 5 Simple Phases To Build A Website With WP now. This will give you a better idea of how easy it really is to create your WordPress Website.

If you would like for me to email you an invite when the Ultimate WP Workshop goes live [Click Here]. I’ll be happy to send you an email invitation and notify you when the Workshop is ready!

Things To Consider Before Making Your WP Website

Relax With Me A Moment – Sunset Relaxation Video

Relax With Me A Moment – Sunset Relaxation Video

Relax With Me A Moment – Sunset Relaxation Video

Working on our online businesses can be exciting, and fun, a whole new absorbing world of opportunities. But we must never forget to take time to relax and enjoy the little things while we are at it. When our minds are calm and rested, we think better; we are more focused and make better decisions. Especially when we have a tough decision to make, or need to get our focus back, it’s important to take a few moments, or a few hours if needed. It’s good for us, it’s good for business.

So Relax With Me A Moment and take some time to enjoy this Sunset Relaxation Video. Just sit back, think about the simple pleasures of life…

I hope you enjoy the video; I created it a few years back for a Youtube channel I was playing around with called Cool Notion Quest –  some of my first forays into relaxation videos. I thought it would be a great way to relax, and it was. I really enjoyed making these; and when I would get stressed, or had something that I was stuck on somewhere I would go work on one.

Perhaps someday I will make some more again, but for now I thought I would share this here just for fun. Because it’s so very important to let your brain have a chance to clear out and get calm, even if it’s just a quick coffee, or green smoothie break!

Take care, relax and enjoy!

Green Smoothie Recipe You’ll Really Enjoy

Green Smoothie Recipe You’ll Really Enjoy

 Green Smoothie Recipe You’ll Really Enjoy

So, a few months back I posted a recipe for healthy yogurt smoothies over on my WordPress.com blog. In this post I thought I would share with you a Green Smoothie Recipe You’ll Really Enjoy!

No really, it tastes great. And it’s good for you too!

Now, why am I talking about Green Smoothies? Because I want you to be successful in your business, and happy with your life. And if you don’t have your health, you won’t have either.

If you are like me, you probably spend most of your day sitting at your computer working. That’s just life in online businesses. Its sort of difficult to do what we do while jogging or swimming. (Yes, that was a bit of sarcasm.) And while we may love what we do, this sedentary lifestyle can have adverse effects on your health if you don’t take care of yourself.

Poor health = business problems & unhappiness. It could even be worse. And we don’t want any of that.

That’s why it’s important to take care of yourself, right from the beginning. It’s too easy to start an online business thinking, “I need to get this done. I’ll exercise later.” Or, “I’ll exercise just as soon as this project is done.” Then there is another project, and another…and you wind up simply not getting any exercise time in.

You just have to make time, just like you make time for checking your email, posting to your blog. Make an “appointment” to exercise just like you schedule your clients if you have to. Only make this appointment 5-6 days per week. Just 30 minutes a day will do wonders.

Get 20-30 minutes of exercise every day. Get your heart rate up, and don’t forget to stretch out first. Actually, take 5-10 minutes to stretch out 2-3 times a day. And be sure to take good look out the window periodically; give your eyes a chance to focus on things that are further, and closer in the distance to help avoid problems with your vision. Because looking at a computer screen all day long…not good for your eyes.

And perhaps most important of all, take care of your digestive system. Because if your digestive system isn’t healthy, the rest of your body will surely become run down, and you’ll eventually develop health problems. And all kinds of nasty things can happen when your digestive system is in poor health.

Sure, it may seem difficult. I mean, who has time to stop for breakfast, or lunch, right? And I don’t like having something heavy on my stomach all day long either. Fortunately, there is a great solution to this problem: Green Smoothies.

You may like them, you may not. But you owe it to yourself and your business to at least try this. And if you already love Green Smoothies, you are in for a treat! It’s super-easy to make; just a few ingredients to grab, a few seconds in the blender. But the benefits to your health are huge. Green Smoothies help balance your ph levels, and they provide you with all kinds of essential vitamins and minerals your body needs to stay healthy.

Okay, enough of that. Let’s get on with the…

Green Smoothie Recipe

All you need to make this smoothie is two average size bananas (I like mine just a little past perfectly ripe), 5-6 Romain lettuce leaves, 3 average size Kale leaves, and 1/8 cup of spring water. I like to blend my bananas and water first, then add the Romain & Kale leaves. Blend until super-smooth, chill for 20 minutes in the fridge, and enjoy!

Green Smoothie Variations

My daughter likes to add a cup of Organic Vanilla Green Yogurt to this recipe, leaving out the water. I like it just the way it is. It’s up to you.

If you want you can leave out the Kale and substitute 2-3 more Romain leaves. And you can add a teaspoon of cold milled Flaxseed too. This will make your smoothie a bit thicker, and it adds a nutty flavor that goes great with the “green”. Plus, Flaxseed has its benefits too, but I won’t go into that right now.

You can also try this recipe with ripe Mango instead of banana, if you like Mango. I don’t, but I tried it once, and if Mango is your thing, it’s pretty good. Mango is good for you too. But if I add anything different to mine it’s usually ¼ cup Blueberries.

So that gives you the main recipe, and quite a few tasty, healthy variations.

If you try any of these and like them, have any thoughts, or variations of your own that you would like to share, please feel free to post in the comments section below. I’m always happy to hear what you think. And I’m always up for trying a new Green Smoothie recipe!

If you want my Blueberry or Mango yogurt smoothie recipes you can get those over at my WordPress blog, in my post Healthy Recipe For Morning Rituals here ➦ 

Be sure to spread this recipe around; like and share this post. And until next time, take care of yourself, and enjoy that smoothie!

Green Smoothie Recipe You’ll Really Enjoy

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