2014 Build A Top Website Challenge #1

Hi there.

As many of you know, I am an avid internet business guy. I have been working this digital medium for 20+ years, and using computers properly since around 1980 or so (when I was still a very young lad). So I think it’s about time that I share some of my really useful lessons and information that you can benefit from.

I spent decades learning this stuff, and I have decided to give away what I know, for free, so you don’t have to struggle as I did, to learn the hard way how this is all done. I’m about to blow your mind, by revealing deep insider secrets about how you can make your own successful website, and if you’re so inclined, earn your way up to the point where you can quit your day job if you wish, or keep it as a side income. You’re welcome. 🙂

So without further ado … here we go.

Challenge #1

On March 3, 2014, I decided to put this website, my little blog, to the test.

By following only strict white hat SEO rules as layed out in Google Webmaster Tools and other best practices used by professionals throughout the search engine optimization industry, I began testing what effect this will have on this website’s popularity with people and with google going forward.

In other words, even though this website is published by an SEO and digital marketing professional, and covers the topic of SEO and Affiliate Marketing, this site does not use any SEO strategies, tricks or techniques to artificially increase backlinks or pump up its own rankings in search results (aka: SERPs) in Google, Yahoo, Bing, Yandex, DuckDuckGo or any other search engine. Not even my own (Yes, I have built / coded search engines from scratch). All I chose to do for this web site is follow the white hat SEO rules. Nothing more, nothing less.

Let’s see if Matt Cutts is correct when he says that all a webmaster has to do to get a site well ranked and successful as an authoritative site in any niche, is to just publish great content that people will want to share, or at least use a lot even if they keep the knowledge just to themselves.

My Promotional Strategy

To be clear, all I will do to promote this website on its path to success, is:
A) Post in forums like DigitalPoint, TrafficPlanet & WarriorForum
B) Get involved on social media platforms including Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest etc.
C) Comment on blog posts (with relevant links to my tutorials where appropriate)
D) Set up some commando Google Alerts to discover new sites and other places where I can get involved
E) Ask people to share the page to get exclusive access to my unique professional set of resources
F) Directly ask people to share
G) Ensure that it is easy for you and other people to share my content, connect with me on social media networks and subscribe to my e-mail updates.

Hopefully this simple and straightforward method, together with great content, shall suffice in growing the blog into a successful one.

Learn. Replicate. Customize. Enjoy.

By the way, if you would like to study and apply the methods of how I have grown this site from nothing into what it is today, you may simply follow and copy my work step-by-step as outlined from here on out.

Of course, your site could be about any topic; Arts, entertainmant, news, SEO, Zelda, just to name a few. And it can offer any product or service. How you pick your niche is a whole other lesson. I plan to release a post about that.

For now, lets’s say you already have your idea, and you’re ready to start to put your site up. Now what? Where will you register your domain name? Who will you choose as your web host? What about privacy? Ecommerce features? Other options? The answers to those questions will also be adressed.

Lesson 1, Step 1 : Pick a domain name registrar and web host.

The first step for newbies or anyone thinking of building a new website, is to get signed up with a domain name registrar. A registrar is simply the company that registers your domain name. Many of them also provide high quality web hosting, which is where you store your website so that it is available to people around the world.

There are many great web hosts that can handle any new website you might want to setup and run. They include Dreamhost, GoDaddy, Bluehost, Gandi, HostGator, and so many more. There are literally dozens of great ones to choose from, and they are all very affordable. Your location, and where your audience is primarily based, is also key to picking your host. Also, things like easy software installation and management, easy domain management and other goodies and freebies which hosts often give away (including hundreds of dollars worth of free PPC ads on Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc.) can be compelling bells & whistles that may help you decide which is the best option for your needs and your budget.

If you would like to see a great registrar and web host at work, [button icon=heart]checkout Godaddy[/button]

They always have great offers. I know, they have a lot of critics. Of course, every top web host has many critics. That’s what happens when you’re successful. Still, GoDaddy has remarkably great service, and really low prices. At least that’s been my experience with them over the years, and I use many web hosts simultaneously, to handle all of the different websites I run.

Another solid domain name registrar and web host I recommend is, [button icon=heart]JustHost[/button]

Although I have more experience with GoDaddy than with JustHost, I can say that so far, I have only had great service with JustHost, and they also offer very competitive package deals with great features and low prices.

If you like what you read here and would like to contribute to this effort to put Google to the test, then all I ask is that you please share the link to this page on your social networks or anywhere else with anyone you know who could benefit from it.

While you’re thinking about that, have fun looking at these pictures and videos.

OK, that’s it for now. Be sure to check back soon. I’ll be updating these lessons.

Next Lesson: Web Marketing Lesson 2: Branding 101

How Spam and Google effectively ruined the internet for millions of publishers and other people

How Spam and Google effectively ruined the internet for millions of publishers and other people

satire editorial cartoon of google copyright school 2011 april 14

black and white editorial comic of the google copyright school by laughzilla for thedailydose on 2011-04-14

The day the indie publisher died, care of Spam and Google

The gold rush of the first Internet wave

Back in the heady days of the 1990s until mid-2000, independent internet publishers were able to easily thrive online, both by email and on the then-nascent world wide web.

Back then, you literally just had to know how to have a web page set up (whether you built it or had a friend do it for you), set up an email list, start publishing to your email list (and sometimes to your web site, too), make sure you were indexed in Yahoo! and AltaVista, and a dozen other engines and directories, and your list would probably start to grow, as long as you delivered a consistent product or service, like a newsletter or research paper or magazine.

Once your traffic was rolling, you could start calling advertisers (by looking them up online or in the yellow pages), and start selling ads for $500 or $2000, minimum, without having to negotiate very much at all. It seemed like a lot of money for independent publishers, and an incredibly cheap deal for advertisers.

Publishers were happy. Advertisers were happy. Everyone seemed happy.

Then something happened, and it wasn’t what you might think.

In October 2000, the tech bubble popped. Billions upon billions of dollars were vaporized, and gone were the masses of well-funded no-value companies, who managed to rake in huge sums of investor funds, without so much as a penny of revenue, let alone profit.

At the same time, independent companies, with real revenue and (cough cough) real profit margins were hit by something much worse: Spam and heavy reliance on vaporware advertisers.

Those advertisers with so much money to spend on low ROI branding, were only too happy to spend a fortune when times were good, money was plentiful, and the living was easy. We were all drunk on the ease of it all. The advertisers did not want or expect results, because they were overloaded with just getting their clients online, anywhere they could be seen.

All of a sudden, they had no more money, because they were too proud of their “burn rate” for far too long. Rather than taking a long, slow approach to building real value with their substantial investments, they spent it all with a splash, and went out with the crash.

Of course, the publisher were not complaining when the dollars were raining down in a torrent. Then again, they were not doing anything to prepare for the likelihood that the party would end, and reality would sink in. The future, for anyone who had a clue, was bleak, difficult, and full of years of survival, let along growing pains.

All of that is just the fault of everyone legitimately involved in the internet publishing industry back in those days. In that sense, we were all to blame.

Even so, that failure to properly manage well-heeled bank accounts to support these fledgling companies, was nothing compared to the illegitimate abuse of internet resources.

The first villain to rear its ugly head in that way, was spam. Unsolicited mail. Junk email. The junk that used to pile up in your inbox, and somehow, despite all the advances in anti-spam filters, still does.

Spam killed email.

Yes, it’s been said before. I just have something particular to say about it.

Spam killed off the publishing of a Pangea-sized ocean of perfectly legitimate, hard-won email lists, built up by wonderful businesses whose primary access to the online world, was their inbox.

Email lists, of all kinds, belonging to all sorts of publishers, from small to large, from independent to large publicly traded corporations, could no longer reach their customers, because spam flooded their inboxes so badly, that people simply switched addresses, or stopped using email as much as possible.

While it may not sound so bad, the net result was that it killed off the creme de la creme of online publishers who had managed to build up real trust with people through their email.

Of course what led to so much spam was also partly to blame on some of the publishers themselves. They had been selling off or renting off lists of their subscribers to the highest bidder, or any buyer who would offer, without knowing anything about those buyers, their interests, their motives, or any of their future use plans. Of course, spammers did not rely solely on buying lists. They used bots. Little software robots that could gather email addresses automatically from emails, web pages, and other places on the internet.

Those little bots not only gathered the lists, they “cleaned” them by merging and purging. They formed them into new lists and automatically started blasting away highly targeted ads for pills, porn, casinos and other delightful adult products and services we all obviously need every single day.

But even that did not finish off the little publisher, or the large publisher who wanted to hang in there and ride out the storm for better days.

Nope. It wasn’t spam. Because after all, smart publishers were able to migrate from one media to the next, and if they were resourceful enough, they could do it without losing too much in the shuffle. They might even find the new media to be more profitable. For a while.

And then Google ate the Internet

It was right around the tech bubble bursting that Google became the rising superstar leading up to the lovable fuzzy cyber monster muppet that it is today.

Google, complete with its whiz-bang algorithms, was the talk of tech. They had secretly formulated the perfect recipe to deliver exactly what you asked for, by searching for things in plain human languages. Or so they said, and most people seemed to believe them.

Google is a brilliant company. Thousands of the best minds, all working together, developing software and applications that mere mortals dare not dream. Google has created many wonderful tools which have vastly improved the usability of the internet, chief among those being their search engine, and their email known as Gmail.

Still, what Google also did, was to use the power of their search engine, to legitimately buy out the online advertising industry, and like a gorilla, crush it.

Anyone could join google’s ad network. Anyone could use google’s search on their site, even customized. Anyone could let google copy their entire website, and forever own the copies they made and store. And anyone could earn a sliver of the amount they could earn with direct advertisers for the same space, before Google decided to stick itself into everyone’s business, and lower the money flow to pennies on the dollar, if that.

So yes, they managed to lower ad rates, and that was good for advertisers. But by doing so, they killed off many good and valuable media by pawning off low value traffic to the same advertisers, and not paying the good media a rate commensurate with their value. Google’s ad network became the largest cesspool of bottom feeders. And that attracted all the web spammers who ruined search, thus decreasing the value of those google ads, even further.

So much for the Google creed, “Don’t be evil.”

Google stole the Internet by asking for it

Permission marketing is a very positive idea in business, developed online by Seth Godin and others of that stream of thought, which says that sales and marketing are like a date: you have to speak to your date before you go together to the dance, or movie, or dinner. You need permission for every step. That sort of behavior builds solid trust. Lacking that behavior shows a lack of trustworthiness.

Google used permission marketing, by offering the greatest app ever (free search) for anyone’s web site, accompanied by the only app that at the time seemed even greater than the greatest app ever. And that application was: Google AdSense.

By opening up the web to millions more websites into the advertising pool, Google managed to lower the bid rate and value of advertising on the web. They effectively killed off the amounts that advertisers were willing to pay for perfectly good media on sites that had actual audiences.

Google, with all its good intentions, may have delivered better search results, but the cost was that it killed off ad revenues by more than 90% for most internet publishers. That, more than Spam, more than the economic disaster that followed the tech bubble, put millions of websites out of business.

The net effect is that now, more than a decade later, we have yet to see a return to any heyday or good times for publishers online. The exception to that are those publishers who have the means to build or buy themselves a significant, targeted distribution network, with a minimum of millions of contacts. For most media companies, even if you were reaching millions of people a day back in 2000, you probably aren’t doing that anymore. And you can thank Google for doing that, by “organizing the world’s information” in the way that they prefer, and destroying its value in the process.

By making everyone believe that they would always find what they wanted on Google, hundreds of millions, if not billions of people are now basically clueless as to other ways of finding information online. Google is not the be all and end all of search engines. Users relying on google innocently caused so much traffic to be lost from sites that had worked to build something of real value, that those sites could no longer support themselves with Google blocking everyone’s way to their sites.

Of course, the GOOG was not the only one to ask for permission to copy and own your content, in exchange for cheap-o advertising and free search tools. But, they were the best, and the fruit they bore was to build the world’s largest internet advertising network, and the most popular search engine, all at the cost of ruining the ad revenue of millions of companies that were around online, long before anyone had heard of Google.

The story doesn’t end in darkness. There is a better future.  A brighter day did arrive. It’s for another post.

Not every post deserves its own pr campaign

Web Post – Know when to say nothing

purple white ccw spin graphic for an article about posting high quality content

Publisher, edit thyself!

Sometimes you post a thought, just because you feel like it. That doesn’t necessarily justify creating a whole campaign to promote it.

This article briefly examines the value in limiting resource expenditures on lower quality content, and focusing more energy and resources on high quality content.

When it comes to posting online, Think Counter-intuitive

You might think, “Well, if I bothered to publish it, why not syndicate the heck out of it?”

The answer is, quality assurance.

Some posts are better off posted once, and that’s it.

If you post on a regular basis just for the purpose of keeping up a rhythm, that does not in itself qualify the effort as being promotions-worthy.

Keep in mind that whatever you publish is out there, and as an aggregated effect, time compounds the value of your published works, even if you did not exploit every last short term value you might have.

The downside in the short term is that might miss out on some potential revenue or other ROI. The upside is in the medium and longer term you will benefit from only promoting higher quality works that merit the dedication of increased resources.

Part of the fun of posting or publishing online, especially if you have a new blog or other website, is the ease.

However, if you publish for fun in an hour or less and then spend 5 or 6 more hours promoting the post online, you’ve just lost a whole day’s worth of work that you could have spent on more important tasks, like, creating high quality content that is worth promoting, or managing your administrative tasks.

On the other side, sometimes you just want to post something that you wish to have online. That does not mean it deserves to be publicized to every internet nook and cranny. Just post and forget, and be glad you can always retrieve it later, should you so choose.

So be sure to choose your contents carefully whenever you post, and especially when you decide on what to promote.

Maintain high quality content at all times, and you will undoubtedly see: There is great value in minimalism.

Tapping into existing resources

Tapping into existing resources

h20 tap color illustration


The web is filled with false promises. It is also rife with useful information, neatly organized it and ready to exploit – in the very best sense of the word. To know how to sift between the great the the awful requires savvy, and an understanding of tapping into existing resources. So many real opportunities fall by the wayside, simply because of a failure of communications between the supply side and the demand side.

Consider the (now) old gripe that these days, all you have to do to find the answer to any question, is to “google” it. While it is not true, it still makes some people feel a certain lost naivete about life. All the same, it should not be misread: You really can find a great deal of information online.

Of course, anyone reading this, already knows that the web has the world’s largest public collection of data ever created by mankind. The challenge is: What do you do with that sort of access to so much knowledge?

Tip: The quality of the life you lead is often associated with the quality of the questions you ask.

Think about that for a minute. If you spend your life asking questions about one subject, you may well end up knowing quite a substantial amount about that subject. If you tend to ask smart, thoughtful, probing questions, you will tend to get responses in kind. If you tend to ask really simple questions and stick only to those, you will tend to get only simple answers back.  This concept is very much what the half-joking phrase “Garbage in, garbage out” expresses, in so many words.

So, how do you know what’s useful and what’s garbage?

How do you know how to ask your questions?

What method do you use to sort out good information from bad information?

If these seem like very basic questions anyone should know, then congratulations. You have a leg up on all the people alive right now that have no idea that these questions about questions even exist.

When it comes to information retrieval on the Internet, you should know these are the very basic free resources most commonly used for all nature of general information processing.


Of these well-known sites:
1) Three (Google, Yahoo, Bing) of them are mainly popular as search engines
2) Two of them (Yahoo and Bing) are essentially merging more and more into one entity.
3) One one of them (Facebook) is (at press time) mainly known as the world’s largest social networking website.
4) The other mainly social media entity among them is Twitter, which, while it may contain vast amounts of time-sensitive useful information, also is the cause for some of the largest amounts of junk information. About half (or more) of all Twitter accounts are believed to be non-human accounts, robot accounts, spam accounts, fake accounts, throwaway accounts, etc.
5) The last one is a major storage database of historical and current content published online.

Note that I am not linking to these above sites, except for The Internet Archive,  because for those other sites, you can typically just type their names into your browser, or probably just click a button in your browser somewhere, to get to them.

Also at press time, about half of the world’s searches were conducted on Google, and Facebook and Twitter amounted for a huge chunk of the remaining half, mostly dwarfing even the largest search engines that compete for a slice of Google’s market share.

What makes these giant repositories of information so useful? Well for one thing, they are free. What’s more, they each offer their own flavors of organizing and presenting information, even if they all have some similarities. Their user experience with their interfaces are built since many years, by professional information designers, webmasters, graphics designers, and unfortunately too many people in board rooms with no clue about design or form or function. Luckily, the people who actually code the site are often much smarter than their bosses who order them to carry out their plans. And so it is that many of the best web sites, are those where the engineers, db administrators, coders, designers, and other technically savvy people actually put together useful resources that anyone can exploit and contribute to, freely.