Archives for December 2009

Start a Blog – Picking Your Domain Name and Hosting Account

Now that you’ve picked your blog’s topic and chosen it’s CMS (hopefully WordPress), it’s time to talk about selecting a domain name and hosting account.

First, you need to decide which company you would like to use for your domain registration and/or hosting account.

You don’t have to go with the same company for your domain registration and hosting needs, however, I’ve found it to be much easier to just go ahead use the same company for both.

GoDaddyWhile there are plenty of great companies out there, personally, I use It’s cheap, easy to use, and whenever I’ve had a question, I’ve received very prompt customer support.

In fact, I frequently get calls from GoDaddy with offers that have ultimately helped me save hundreds of dollars on hosting.

Enough with my sales pitch; let’s get into how to select a domain name and the best hosting service for your needs.

Domain Name

You’ll want to pick a domain name that’s relevant to your blog’s topic and key words. Doing this will help to establish the legitimacy of your site, as well as help you when it comes to search engine optimization (SEO).

Unfortunately, because there are so many websites already up and running – not to mention domain squatters – finding an obvious domain name will be pretty tough, if not impossible, to do!

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Start a Blog – Picking the Right Platform/Content Management System (CMS)

Now that you’ve decided on a topic for your blog, you need to decide on the platform/content management system (CMS) you’re going to use to get your writings out to the rest of the world.

Much like selecting a topic, there are two main schools of thought on choosing the CMS you should use to get your blog up and running:

  • Use a free blog service like Blogger or that, in addition to allowing you to post your articles, also hosts your blog and has the capability to let you forward to your own unique domain
  • Buy your own unique domain and economy hosting, and use a free CMS like or Drupal to post your articles

By using one of the free services, it’s possible for you to avoid spending any money while you start your blog. These sites are easy to use and allow you to get everything up and running relatively quickly.

Additionally, Blogger and have useful features already built in, and in most cases, will allow you to “forward” your posts to a domain you already own, which helps with search engine optimization (SEO).

Finally, Blogger and allow you to relatively painlessly transfer all of your information to your own domain, hosting, and CMS at some point in the future, should you choose to do so.

Unfortunately, there are two big problems with using these free services:

  1. Very limited. In many instances, you have to choose between a few pre-selected themes and don’t have a lot of options when it comes to expanding the functionality of your site – i.e. adding polls, widgets, and/or advertising.
  2. If they host it, they own it. If all of a sudden your free provider decides your site violates their terms of service they can pull the site and delete all of your work. Or, if at some point down the road, you’d like to sell your blog, you’re going to run into issues, and likely will not be able to sell.

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Start a Blog – How to Pick a Topic for Your Blog

This is the first post in what I hope will be a very helpful series for anyone who is interested in starting their own blog, or, for that matter, improve an already existing blog.

I’ve been blogging for over four years now, and over that time I’ve learned a lot of things, had a lot of fun, and made some pretty good supplemental income. Hopefully my experience and advice can help get your blog off the ground faster, keep you from getting frustrated, and help you build up your rainy day fund.

On that note, here’s the first post: How to Select A Topic For Your Blog

Whether you just want a platform to express yourself or a way to make some extra money (or both), blogging is, without a doubt, the best place to start. It’s easy, cheap, and if you play your cards right, can be extremely profitable.

However, many people stop before they get started because the first decision you have to make for your blog is often the most difficult: what do you blog about?

There tend to be two schools of thought when it comes to this:

  • Pick a topic based on what has the potential to be the most profitable
  • Pick a topic based on your interests

Obviously, the best answer for you depends on what you’re trying to get out of your blog.

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Patrick Bateman’s Morning Routine and Your Blog

Yesterday, I was watching American Psycho – a movie about a young, wealthy investment banker who has a psychotic alter-ego – on Blu-Ray, mostly because it was either that or watch the Redskins lose yet another game.

Because the movie is about a businessman – albeit, a psychotic businessman – I wanted to see how it might relate to us smalltime online entrepreneurs. What I came up with was appearance.

Bateman spends a lot of time talking about how important it is to always look your best. In many cases, he is correct. His picture-perfect looks help him to skate by and hide the fact that he’s actually a raving lunatic. For example:

I live in the American Gardens Building on W. 81st Street on the 11th floor. My name is Patrick Bateman. I’m 27 years old.

I believe in taking care of myself and a balanced diet and rigorous exercise routine. In the morning if my face is a little puffy I’ll put on an ice pack while doing stomach crunches. I can do 1000 now.

After I remove the ice pack I use a deep pore cleanser lotion. In the shower I use a water activated gel cleanser, then a honey almond body scrub, and on the face an exfoliating gel scrub. Then I apply an herb-mint facial mask which I leave on for 10 minutes while I prepare the rest of my routine.

I always use an after shave lotion with little or no alcohol, because alcohol dries your face out and makes you look older. Then moisturizer, then an anti-aging eye balm followed by a final moisturizing protective lotion.

Yep, that’s just his morning routine.

So, what am I getting at? Take the time to make your writings orderly. Add pictures, give your writings a nice flow, make things look pretty.

You could have the greatest post in the world, but if it’s not broken up the way your readers want to see it – if you use weird font or an ugly background color – your post is going to automatically be dismissed. If the post is presented to look crisp and clean, you’re going to keep your readers on your site, and possibly turn them into loyal, credit-card-in-hand buyers.

It’s ok to be a little neurotic about making your posts look nice. Just don’t turn into Patrick Bateman along the way!

Per the new FTC regulations, the above links are affiliate links, and should you buy any product after clicking on the links, I will receive a small commission from the seller.

Write Less to Get More Out of Your Readers

In order to illustrate a point, this post is going to be incredibly short. It’ll also be one of the most important posts you’ll read with regard to copywriting and getting more out of your readers.

As a writer, you need to remember that your readers have a limited attention span, and will not read every word on your page.

In fact, I’ll bet that right now, you’re just skimming through this article, looking for something to grab your attention.

If you do it, you must assume that your readers are doing it, too.

As you are writing, remember that any long paragraph will be skimmed through, and in many cases, glanced over completely. Be sure to break your writing up into smaller chunks.

One way you can help to cut down on your writing is to frequently use lists. Your readers love them and they force you to cut down on the amount of words you use.

Another trick you can use to make your writing stand out is bold your important points, since your readers’ eyes are naturally drawn to print that stands out.

Last but not least, make your point quickly. Don’t wait until the fifth paragraph to start making your move.

What are your copywriting tricks? Leave a comment below.

Tweets That Get You Clicks

I’ve been experimenting with Twitter over the past few months, and have come to find that if you know what you’re doing, it can be a fantastic way to get tons of targeted traffic to your websites.

Obviously, the key phrase from what I just wrote is “if you know what you’re doing.”  During the first month I used Twitter, I wasted countless hours and got very little traffic to my websites.  It was an incredibly frustrating situation.

Then, I came up with the following three Twitter rules, which I’ve since shared in previous posts:

  1. Tweet in blocks of 10 to 12
  2. Hide your links among your other Tweets
  3. Tweet during actionable times

These rules helped to increase my Twitter traffic exponentially, which has helped to bump up my Adsense, affiliate and marketing revenue.  Needless to say, I was pretty pleased with the above rules.

However, I still felt like I could get more out of Twitter, so I started to experiment the actual words in my Tweets.  After playing around for the past month or so, I’ve come up with the following headlines as the most likely to get your links clicked:

  • Who else…
  • How to…
  • Top (insert number here)…

Who else tends to promote a sense of community, and also can promote you as an authority source.  For example, I recently promoted a link to Life Lock on one of my Twitter accounts using the Tweet: “Who else wants to avoid becoming a victim of identity theft?”

In one day I had over 100 clicks, which is much better than the 10 clicks I got from using the “Visit Life Lock to learn about staying safe from identity theft.”

Obviously, everyone would like to avoid becoming a victim of identity theft, but by posing the question using a “who else,” I was able to get a ton more clicks.

How to is great because you’re basically telling anyone reading your Tweet, “If you have this problem, I can solve it.”  This promotes you as an authority, and will get almost anyone looking for your solution to click on your link.

Top (insert number) is great because everybody loves lists.  Really, it’s true.

So, if you’re interested in generating more traffic from Twitter, follow the three rules I posted previously, and follow my headline advice.  I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised with how much your traffic increases.

What’s Your Site’s Elevator Speech?

The other day, while trying to explain the purpose of The New Business Blog (yes, it does in fact have a purpose) to my friend, I was having a tough time coming up with a basic summary.

I talked about how I write about basic entrepreneurial issues like legal entities, business bank accounts, etc., but I also write about things that are pretty specific to online marketing, like social media and how to choose the right affiliate programs.

Invariably, I had to explain each referenced subtopic as well, which left both my friend and me frustrated and out of breath. At this point, my friend, who was tired of hearing me go on and on, said, “Just give me your site’s elevator speech.”

An “elevator speech” is a quick 30 to 60 second summary of what it is your site or business is about. As you’ve already guessed, an “elevator speech” is what you would say to someone if you were riding an elevator with them.

Obviously, you’re going to be talking in very high level terms here, so you’ll want to focus on the broad aspects of what your site or business does. If you start getting down into nitty-gritty of your site, you’ll very quickly find that your 30 second speech has turned into a three minute ramble.

After taking a minute to think, I came up with the following elevator speech for this site:

“The New Business Blog is a website and resource for anyone interested in starting their own business, in particular, an internet based business. In my writings I cover basic entrepreneurial topics like how to legally start a business, but mostly focus on topics that are a little more relevant to online marketers, like how to get more targeted visitors to their websites, or how to convert that traffic into revenue for their business.”

What’s your site’s or business’ elevator speech? Leave it in the comment section below.

How Mesothelioma TV Ads Prove Any Niche Can Make Money

Mesothelioma TV Ads

Over the past month, while watching TV I’ve seen probably 25 commercials from three or four different law firms advertising their services for people suffering from Mesothelioma. After seeing a couple different commercials and not really knowing anything about Mesothelioma, or why anyone afflicted with it might need a lawyer, I decided to do a little bit of research.

Without getting into too much detail, Mesothelioma is a type of cancer which, in most cases, is brought about by long-term exposure to asbestos. Asbestos is a material that was used in brake pads, pipe insulation, drywall, and various other products before being essentially outlawed in the late 1980’s.

(Before I continue, please understand that I am not trying to make light of Mesothelioma in any way; I am merely using law firms’ advertisements as an example of niche marketing.)

Considering the number of people afflicted with Mesothelioma is very small in comparison to the amount of people watching TV at the time any of the law firm’s ads appear, one would think these firms have set themselves up to lose a lot of money. After all, getting a commercial played during prime-time TV certainly isn’t an inexpensive endeavor.

However, not only do these firms not lose money, but apparently they stand to make a small fortune on settlements and litigation.

In essence, what these law firms are doing is akin to what you or I might do for one of our niche sites. While our site likely will not appeal to everyone on the internet at any given moment, there are enough people out there who are looking for the information or product that we provide that it makes our site worthwhile and profitable.

So, these Mesothilioma lawyer ads are a perfect illustration of what I stated in a previous post: somewhere someone is looking for exactly what you have to offer.

Click here for more info on mesothelioma.

What’s Holding You Back: Fear of Failure or Fear of Success?

Ask yourself the following question right now: which of these two fears – fear of failure or fear of success – is holding me back the most?

Most people will say it’s the fear of failure that holds them back, and I think that’s a bunch of baloney. I’d be willing to bet that more than anything, it’s your fear of success that’s holding you back.

Let me explain.

If you’re like most everyone else, there is an element of fear that holds you back from doing anything and everything you want. Whether you want to start a business, train for a marathon, or take an improv class and you have yet to do it, it’s because you’re afraid of something.

I think that something you are afraid of is that you’re actually going to be successful.

According to, fear of success consists of the following things:

  • Fear that you will accomplish everything you’ve set out to do, but you still won’t be happy, content or satisfied
  • The belief that you are undeserving of all the recognition and praise that will come your way as a result of your accomplishment(s)
  • The belief that when you do achieve success the first time, you will not have the ability to sustain it, so you’re simply setting yourself up for a massive letdown

Any of these things sound familiar? I know each and everyone one of the above points could have my name written next to them!

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Run a Legit Business or Pay the Price

In case you haven’t heard, Google has finally taken steps to ban advertisers who promote links to “scam sites.” These types of sites and offers include crazy get-rich-quick schemes, teeth whiteners and weight loss products.

Previously, Google would simply take down an advertisement if it pointed to a sketchy site or violated any terms and conditions, in essence banning the advertisement, not the advertiser.

Obviously, this is pretty huge news, as Google is critically important to any internet marketer, and is more than likely the marketer’s largest source of traffic.

Aside from being news worthy, Google’s actions illustrate an even larger point for those of us who are internet marketers: you have to focus on running a legitimate business.

Unfortunately, too many internet marketers have become modern day snake oil salesmen. They pitch products they know nothing about, or worse, that they know won’t live up to their outrageous claims, and try to scam as many people as possible in order to money.  Once one well runs dry, they simply pick up and move on to the next bogus product or niche.

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