new-designFor some websites, big redesigns tend to turn into major events in the online community. For instance, every time YouTube rolled out an update, there were tons of people commenting it, expressing their opinions, and being ultra-interested in the whole thing in general.

But YouTube is YouTube, it has millions of users, and even the slightest change can be reflected by a rise or fall in the number of overall video views. So what about small online businesses? Do they need to change their designs too, or is sticking with one design for a number of years perfectly okay? In other words, should an online business redesign their website often?

Unfortunately, it isn’t okay… And I’m using the word unfortunately because changing the design usually involves some investments. However, sometimes it’s inevitable. Here are the reasons and the best moments to change your current design.

Follow the trends

Even though following the trends doesn’t have the best publicity among people (many don’t believe that following trends brings any improvements to our lives), the internet is a constantly evolving environment, and if you want your site to be successful, you need to let it evolve too.

Now, I’m not trying to say that you should try out every new practice in online business design, but if one day your site is the only one left using some outdated solutions then it’s most certainly about time to introduce something new.

The thing with online trends is that with time, the best of them become the new standard, and you should never let your website fall below the standard.

Change is good

Sometimes change is good just for the sake of it.

For example, have you noticed how your local stores and supermarkets change their layouts every once in six months or every year? They don’t do it because the previous layout was not performing well. They do it just in order to introduce some change, and to force people to walk around the store more when searching for stuff.

Just one thing that’s different when it comes to online business is that confusing your visitors is not a good idea, so your new design can’t be any less intuitive. Other than that, launching a new design will always restore your site’s freshness and make it more attractive.

Act when your goals change

Business goals change for every business at some point. Unless you’re Coca-Cola or something.

And when it comes to online business, the website needs to reflect these goals very precisely. This mainly depends on two areas:

  • The way you’re making money as a business.
  • The way your visitors interact with the website (more on this in a minute).

For instance, it’s really difficult to sell anything using a standard blog-like design (with two sidebars, big header and footer), so if your website started as a traditional blog, but later on it shifted to a product-based model, a change is required.

For instance, take a look at what happened at Copyblogger – one of the top copywriting blogs on the internet.

A couple of years ago the site was constructed as a standard blog. Here’s a screenshot via archive.org:

copyblogger-old

And here’s a current screenshot:

copyblogger-new

As you can see, the site has changed substantially. Right now, the homepage presents the different elements of Copyblogger Media, instead of just displaying the latest blog posts. Currently, Copyblogger is mostly a product company, and their site makes it as clear as it can be.

Getting rid of an outdated structure

The internet is really quite a lively environment (like I said a moment ago). Literally everything changes. Technologies change, Google changes, WordPress changes, SEO changes, user interface design changes, and so on.

Every website is built with a specific piece of web engineering. For instance, a number of years ago everyone was using HTML tables as the pillar of layout building. Then <div> tags got introduced and HTML tables became an outdated and underperforming technology.

These days, HTML 5 is the new player. I’m sure that in a year or two every website will have to support HTML 5 just to be compatible with the web, so to speak.

The rule of thumb is therefore simple: If your site’s structure is based on technologies and approaches that no one uses these days, it’s time for a change.

New WordPress features

It’s no surprise that WordPress evolves quite rapidly as well. There are new features being introduced in every version. However, an outdated theme will not allow you to use any of them.

The best thing to do is to build your site with a quality theme framework (like Genesis or ThemeFuse). Such frameworks get updated almost as frequently as WordPress itself, giving you the possibility to take full advantage of the new features.

In the meantime, if your site still doesn’t support things like the custom menus, widgets, responsive layouts, and other basic WordPress functionality then it really is about time to make some changes.

Your user interaction model changes

Sounds fancy, but what I actually mean here is the way visitors interact with your site. Depending on the nature of your business, some forms of interaction might perform better than the others.

For instance, customer reviews and bonuses work well for all kinds of online stores. In a completely different scenario, some Instagram integration with the possibility to comment is the thing for most photo blogs.

Basically, whenever you set some new goals for your online business, make sure to enable the possibility for your readers to take part in those goals. In most cases, this calls for a new design.

How old is your current design? Are you planning to change it anytime soon, or is it still working perfectly well for your business?


How Often Should an Online Business Redesign Their Website | newInternetOrder.com

social-mediaWhere by “work” I actually mean work as a promotional tool/environment.

So, does it?

It most certainly does for the big guys. Amazon, Samsung, Best Buy, Starbucks, and such. They are all mighty popular on social media and use this advantage for promotion every day.

Also, some slightly smaller brands (leaders in their areas, but not mainstream yet) are killing it with social media too. Brands such as: Airbnb, Dropbox, MailChimp, Zynga…

However, what about the small guys? What about us – people who have their solo-businesses and are thinking about integrating social media as part of their promotional arsenal?

To be honest, my opinion on social media is not that great… I mean, I do realize its power, but I can’t seem to locate the perfect approach for a business to take. There are some general guidelines regarding what you should focus on while interacting on social media, but it’s just not always applicable to all kinds of businesses.

For instance, how are you going to promote yourself on Twitter if you’re a proctologist? Maybe: “hey, need that pain in your ass fixed?” … Nay nay.

Overall, while social media is great for some brands and niches, it’s not great for all of them. Standard advertising, on the other hand, is great no matter what your business description is.

That’s why today I want to talk about three things.

Social-Media-Online-Business

The first one is about the myths of social media. To be more exact:

5 Myths Of Social Media Traffic And How To Put Them To Sleep

This is a guest post of mine. It tackles some of the common misconceptions in modern social media strategies. Like, for example, the “follower craze,” or “getting as much social media traffic as possible.”

The next piece revolves specifically around Twitter:

How To Get More Out Of Your Twitter Presence

If you’re in a Twitter-friendly niche, so to speak, this post will give you an exact step-by-step approach at Twitter (breaking down specific tasks into a daily schedule). Even though social media is a very specific environment, getting organized and executing some planned out actions works here just as good as in any other place.

Finally, there’s the article on online business promotion. More precisely:

How Not to Promote Your Online Business

It presents a small set of specific no-no practices. Including actions revolving around social media, advertising, and email marketing.

Feel free to let me know what your current social media strategy is. Are you actively present on Twitter, Google+ and other sites?


Does Social Media Work for Online Business? | newInternetOrder.com

WordPress 3.5.1 is now available. Version 3.5.1 is the first maintenance release of 3.5, fixing 37 bugs. It is also a security release for all previous WordPress versions. For a full list of changes, consult the list of tickets and the changelog, which include:

  • Editor: Prevent certain HTML elements from being unexpectedly removed or modified in rare cases.
  • Media: Fix a collection of minor workflow and compatibility issues in the new media manager.
  • Networks: Suggest proper rewrite rules when creating a new network.
  • Prevent scheduled posts from being stripped of certain HTML, such as video embeds, when they are published.
  • Work around some misconfigurations that may have caused some JavaScript in the WordPress admin area to fail.
  • Suppress some warnings that could occur when a plugin misused the database or user APIs.

Additionally, a bug affecting Windows servers running IIS can prevent updating from 3.5 to 3.5.1. If you receive the error “Destination directory for file streaming does not exist or is not writable,” you will need to follow the steps outlined on the Codex.

WordPress 3.5.1 also addresses the following security issues:

  • A server-side request forgery vulnerability and remote port scanning using pingbacks. This vulnerability, which could potentially be used to expose information and compromise a site, affects all previous WordPress versions. This was fixed by the WordPress security team. We’d like to thank security researchers Gennady Kovshenin and Ryan Dewhurst for reviewing our work.
  • Two instances of cross-site scripting via shortcodes and post content. These issues were discovered by Jon Cave of the WordPress security team.
  • A cross-site scripting vulnerability in the external library Plupload. Thanks to the Moxiecode team for working with us on this, and for releasing Plupload 1.5.5 to address this issue.

Download 3.5.1 or visit Dashboard → Updates in your site admin to update now.

In other words: what to use if you’re an online business owner who wants to get the best online marketing tools and techniques available.

apps

This post is a kind of a resource pack. However, I didn’t want to turn it into a meaningless link list containing multiple alternatives to one task. Instead, I focused on providing just one (best) tool for each individual part of online business related work.

Mind that some of these tools are premium. Unfortunately, not everything can be done for free, especially if we want to be efficient at it.

Website launch and management

Let’s start with this one as it’s actually something you can do on a very tight budget.

Your first expense as an online business owner is signing up to a web host.

Host Gator

Gator

(If you want to get more options depending on your location, feel free to visit my other post – complete guide: web hosting for online business.)

It’s my favorite hosting provider, and by favorite I mean one that I’m actually using (newInternetOrder is hosted at Host Gator).

I had some “adventures” with other hosting companies… Adventures involving malware and getting my site banned from Google. Nothing pleasant.

Anyway, Host Gator is working great for me. They have some really affordable plans, starting at $3.96 per month. It’s a shared hosting plan, which is more than enough to get a new online business to take off.

If you’re a more advanced entrepreneur, you can sign up to VPS hosting plans, or get a dedicated server (both available at Host Gator).

Oh, and the live chat they offer is the best support I ever got online!

WordPress

WordPress

I know that this one’s obvious, but I wanted to include it here to make the message complete.

WordPress is the most popular website management platform.

It is free.

Really don’t want to spend more time talking about WordPress … everyone knows it’s great.

ThemeFuse

ThemeFuse

It’s my WordPress theme store of choice. Their themes are beautiful and functional. And unlike other stores, every theme has a different purpose and caters to a different kind of website. That’s why I’m confident you’ll find something interesting there for your online business too.

The standard license is $49 per theme. There’s also the developer license ($79 per theme), and Club Membership subscription where you get access to all themes with no limits.

Market research and monitoring

I should have probably mentioned this earlier because these are the main tools for your business’s growth and development.

Market Samurai

Samurai

One of the most popular market research tools out there. I did an extensive review on it a while ago (before you buy Market Samurai), so feel free to check it out.

The tool offers a number of modules, each optimized to help you with a different area of your business. There are modules for:

  • rank tracking,
  • keyword research,
  • SEO competition analysis,
  • domain research,
  • monetization setup,
  • finding content,
  • publishing content,
  • web promotion.

Market Samurai is available as a free trial. When the trial is done you get to keep the keyword research module.

If you decide to get the full version, it’s $97 (one-time payment) provided you act within the first week of your trial (after that it’s $149).

SEOmoz

SEOmoz

SEO is a vital part of every online business’s existence. Even if you’re trying to deny it and think that your business can manage without SEO … well, I can’t.

SEOmoz is the best SEO and social marketing tool available. It gives you reports on your SEO rankings, suggests improvements, and ultimately helps you get your content to the top of search engines.

It offers a range of custom tools that aren’t available anywhere else. Like: Open Site Explorer, Keyword Difficulty, SEOmoz Toolbar, and over 30 beta tools which every PRO member can test.

On top of that, there are training resources, webinars, Q&A forums, advanced online marketing guides, and more.

There’s a 30-day trial available, then the service is $99 per month.

Marketing methods and techniques

Let’s look into some tools that can help you do your marketing work.

MailChimp

MailChimp

One of the top email marketing services out there. The best thing about it is that even if you’re not particularly familiar with email marketing, MailChimp offers a truly exceptional range of tutorials and training. Everything is straightforward and easy to grasp.

Of course, the service itself is ultra functional and you can use it no matter if you have just 4 or 400,000 people on your list. MailChimp can handle it.

There are visual newsletter creators and custom templates you can use to make your messages beautiful.

Finally, there’s a free plan available. So if you’re just starting out with a small list, you don’t need to invest any money.

Unique Article Wizard

UAW

UAW is a nice piece of article marketing tool. Its main purpose is to make it possible for you to submit your articles to a number of article directories without having to send them all out manually. UAW does this for you.

There’s also spinning functionality included (if you’re into such things) and even the option to order some content written specifically for you (affordable prices).

In the end, UAW can give your link building campaign a head start. There are three subscription models available:

  • 1 year – $670.
  • 6 months – $335.
  • 1 month – $67 (auto-renewing).

MyBlogGuest

MBG

For me, MBG was the discovery of the year 2012. It’s a guest blogging community. Which means that you can submit your posts, and then get offers from bloggers willing to publish them.

This speeds up guest blogging a lot. If you’ve ever tried doing guest blogging on a bigger scale then you know that managing all the communication takes massive amounts of time. MBG makes it really really faster.

Also, if you’re interested in guest posts yourself, you can browse the directory and send your own offers.

You can sign up for free, but if you want to submit your guest posts, you’ll have to get the premium package ($30 per month).

Work and time management

The good news is that from now on all the remaining tools on the list are free.

Remember The Milk

RTM

This isn’t the first time I’m listing RTM as a must-have tool.

In theory, RTM is just a to-do list management tool. This, however, is a big understatement. RTM provides a range of features and tweaks that make working with your to-do lists much easier and quicker.

There are also mobile apps which allow you to access your lists on the go (iPhone, iPad, Android).

And don’t tell me that you don’t need a to-do list manager … I’m sure there are plenty of tasks on your plate right now that could use some managing … am I right?

FreeMind

FreeMind

Mind mapping is my secret productivity hack. If it wasn’t for mind maps, I wouldn’t be able to get anything done. No, really.

(If you want to find out more about mind mapping, please visit my tutorial on how to make a mind map.)

Luckily, the best mind mapping tool out there is free and available on all platforms (no mobile apps, though). It’s called FreeMind.

It’s easy to use, plus there’s a lot of keyboard shortcuts, which means that it’s possible to use the tool only operating on your keyboard. This really speeds up everything. And speaking of speed, this tool is ultra-fast, and ultra-light.

Data safety

This is the final item on this list. That’s because I want to put some additional emphasis on data safety. From my point of view, making sure that your data is always backed up and safe is the most important technical task in your business.

SugarSync

SugarSync

SugarSync is my data synchronization tool of choice. Basically, it’s a lot like Dropbox, only better.

For example, you get 5GB storage right from the get-go, instead of just 2GB. You can raise your free space up to even 32GB through referrals. You can back up any folder on your computer (not just the one called “Dropbox”). You can upload files via email.

But where SugarSync really excels are its mobile apps. There are apps available for: iPhone, iPad, Android, BlackBerry, Symbian, and Kindle Fire. And these are real apps, ones that actually allow you to create and manage files, not only view them (Dropbox users know what I’m talking about).

Okay, I guess that’s it for the list. There are 11 tools and services here in total. I hope you’ll sign up to some of them and thus make your everyday work easier.

Do you have anything interesting on your own list of online marketing tools and techniques? Feel free to share.


Best Online Marketing Tools and Techniques | newInternetOrder.com

Over the last 3 years, we’ve sold & delivered 500 website reviews, selling our 500th today. I’m incredibly proud of this and wanted to share some of our learnings in this post, as well as announce some changes.

Some stats on our website reviews

I started doing these website reviews in 2010, finishing 42 of them in that year. In 2011, we finished 99 website reviews, in 2012 it grew to 329. You can see this line is going up, and quite fast. These site reviews weren’t all for the same type of site, 370 of the 500 were WordPress sites, 60 were Magento, and 50 were other eCommerce sites, some of which were WordPress as well. The remainder were other types of sites, including Drupal and Joomla installs.

The Yoast Website Review team, from left to right: Michiel, Joost and ThijsThese numbers, to me, are mind blowing. I’d never have thought I’d sell so many of these reviews and that I’d need a team around me, as I do today, to do them. The “funny” thing: I’m absolutely certain that the quality of our site reviews has gone up just as much over time. We’ve become better and faster at analyzing problems and proposing simple and to the point solutions. Also, every site gets seen by at least two people now, almost always three, which makes sure that we don’t miss important things.

SEO: Penguin & Panda

Google is good for our business in many ways. We often get called upon to help people understand why they’d suffer from Penguin or Panda type drops of traffic. I can honestly say that sites almost invariably deserved the “slap” they got from either of these updates, and I say that knowing that we’ve seen more than 200 now. Sometimes it’s tough, as the sites that “win” because of a site losing might be even worse, but I’ll stand by what I said: the sites I have reviewed that got hit, deserved it.

There were two exceptions I can remember were instead of reviewing the site, I forwarded people on to Google and asked Google to fix the false positive. Of course there have been some minor errors, but overall, forcing these people to improve their sites is “a good thing”.

Some of the other things most sites get wrong

I thought it’d be fun to dive in a bit and see what kind of issues we talk about the most, as every word in a review is decided upon by the reviewer, this isn’t as easy as it may seem as it meant I had to do some textual analysis here and there. But, I’ve compiled a small list of topics that we often address in these reviews. These were not, in most cases the most important things to fix in those sites, it’s just that a lot of people seem to be doing them wrong.

  1. 404 pages
    It baffles me in how many reviews this came up, so few people spend time making a proper 404 page… I’ve written about this quite extensively, this post about 404s for WordPress is probably the best / most interesting, even when you’re not on WordPress.
  2. Subscription options
    This is probably due to us reviewing a lot of WordPress sites / blogs, but we very often find that people are missing out on lots of subscribers by not having good subscribe widgets or even altogether lacking an email newsletter.
  3. Responsive websites
    If you’re serious about being on the web, whether to make money or to inform, you need to think about the different devices people will use to access your site, your content, your products. Rarely over the last few years did we find a site that had done this really well. Which is funny, especially for WordPress sites, because with good themes like a lot of the Genesis based themes around, having a responsive site doesn’t need to be expensive.
  4. Internal Search
    Internal search often left a lot to be desired on the websites we reviewed. In a way, this isn’t that surprising: WordPress internal search just plain sucks (this old article from me on making it suck less is still relevant) and most other CMSes, including Magento, don’t exactly shine in that area. On the other hand: setting up a Google Custom Search Engine is not that hard…
  5. Keyword usage and internal linking
    The last thing that I find we often make remarks about is the usage of keywords. Now these remarks go in all directions, but one thing is clear: simple principles like the Cornerstone Content principle are often misunderstood. Quite a number of the sites we made remarks about in this area had the keyword they wanted to rank for in the title of over a dozen pages. Think to yourself: how would Google decide which of these pages to show as the top result? Are you making that clear?
  6. Call to Action
    Very often we find sites that do, in fact, rank rather well for certain terms, but make hardly any money from that fact. This is often true because they lack a clear call to action. Michiel’s article about the call to action on your homepage is a good example of the kind of advice we tend to give.

As you can see, the range of topics we discuss is quite broad, covering UX, design, SEO, conversion rate optimization and more. Over time, we’ve been spending more time on these reviews – even though our analysis of individual issues became faster – just because the breadth and depth of our reviews increased. Which is why I’m announcing the following:

Website Review price going up Feb 1st

We’ve decided to raise the price of our website review service to €749, up €154 from our current €595 price point, effective February 1st. The reason for this is simple: we’re spending more and more time on these reviews and the follow-up questions, and feel the price isn’t justifying that anymore. Because we know that a lot of people plan on these, we wanted to give you a bit of notice.

I realize this might mean that we sell quite a few reviews in the coming week and a half. As these reviews are a very manual process, this means we’ll need a bit more time than usual to get through them. Currently we take 3 to 4 weeks, this might become a bit longer even if we sell a lot, as I’m sure you’ll understand.

500 Website Reviews, what we’ve learned! is a post by on Yoast - Website Optimization. A good WordPress blog needs good hosting, you don't want your blog to be slow, or, even worse, down, do you? Check out my thoughts on WordPress hosting!

plungerThis one made me laugh the other day. Here’s the story. If you’re on one of Mike Filsaime’s lists (like I am) then you’ve maybe noticed the slight diversity he presents in the “from” field of his emails.

Here are some of the recent variations:

  • Mike F
  • Mike Fil saime
  • Mike Filsaime (the standard one)

… Now, why would he do that? Doesn’t this make his email more difficult to recognize for his audience?

Well, the only reason why someone would want to do that (change the name they usually use to some variation of it) is because the old one has a permanent spam flag on it.

This is kind of what people used to do back in the day to save their messages from being flagged as spam. Some of the more popular examples:

  • “fr.ee” instead of “free”
  • “p0rn” instead of “porn”
  • “vi.agra” instead of “viagra”

I don’t know if he explained this to his subscribers or what he said, but this is truly the ONLY POSSIBLE reason. You’re always better off being consistent and using the same name every time.

Fun stuff. Anyway, don’t you think that the fact that YOUR NAME has been flagged as spam is a good enough indication that you suck as an email marketer?

I think it is.

But let me list some more leads, just for fun.

  • Sending promotional messages only. I know that you can’t make money unless you promote something, but sending no content-rich emails will make the lifespan of your email list much shorter. By the way, an email talking about some new cool (opt-in based) training program is not a content-rich email!
  • Using spammy subject lines. “Bad news!” is an example of a spammy subject line. Marketers like to use it because it creates some curiosity (people just can’t resist checking what’s inside). You know what I do when I get such an email? I delete it immediately. I don’t like any bad news (even though I know there isn’t any actual bad news in the email).
  • Using the “Re:” trick in the subject line. This one’s really simple to pull off. If you want to improve the chances of your email being read, you can just use a “Re:” as the first word of the subject line. This way your recipient gets the impression that there was some initial communication, and that you’re in fact responding to their email. (Note. Whenever you see such an email please report it as spam immediately.)
  • Sending email too often. Come on, why do some people have to send 2 or 3 emails a day? And they’re all promotional emails!
  • Too many call to action links. Call to action is a mandatory element in every promotional email. However, if you place a call to action link every two paragraphs then you’re just trying too hard.
  • Using lies as a marketing method. For instance, if you say that something is a completely free download, and then I see an opt-in page then that was a lie. If you say that “the page will go down soon” and after two weeks it’s still online then that was a lie too. And so on.

Modern email marketing has many bad sides to it. Those “clever” marketers are just messing the game up for all of us.

Anyway, the core message I have for you here is this: Email marketing is not a quick fix. It’s a marketing approach like any other. It requires dedicated work to make it profitable in the long run. There are no shortcuts.

What’s your take? Have you noticed any interesting developments in email marketing lately?


What’s a Pretty Clear Indication That Your Reputation as an Email Marketer SUCKS | newInternetOrder.com

contentA couple of days ago I talked about launching a blog as part of your online business.

In short, blogs are the reason why people decide to visit business websites more than once. Simply because most of the time, your visitors don’t care about the products all that much … they are a lot more receptive to content.

This is where blogs come into play. Good blog = good content.

And this is where one specific problem comes into play as well. How to find time for content creation, and what type of content is the best in your situation?

Of course, nothing beats experience and some actual research, so you won’t be able to know for sure until your blog is online for a couple of months, but you can still make some assumptions even today.

The first thing you need to realize that in 90% of the cases you’ll have to get used to writing (producing written content). The other 10% is when you hire someone to do this for you.

To be honest, I was kind of surprised when I realized how much writing running an online business involves. Setting all the promotional copy aside, you also have to write posts, guest posts, articles, PRs, and myriads of other things. This makes writing one of the crucial activities for an online entrepreneur.

writing

That is why, I encourage you to take care of it in the morning … better yet, first thing in the morning.

Here’s my guest post at Daily Blog Tips explaining the concept:

Writing First Thing in the Morning

Now, apart from writing, you can also create other types of content, or even create your blog around a whole different concept completely.

Your business blog doesn’t have to be text-based, you can use different templates and schemes for a blog.

However, be careful about it. The safest approach is still to start with a text blog, and then try launching something different if your audience is more receptive to other types of content. Here are the possible kinds of blogs:

7 Most Common Kinds of Blogs

Finally, I want to show you one more cool idea. You can (and should) recycle your content.

Okay, maybe recycle doesn’t send the right message … re-purpose is a better word.

In short, re-purposing is a practice where you take a standard blog post, and then turn it into other different types of content. Like, for example, creating a video out of it, or an audio file.

I describe the whole process here (step-by-step tutorial):

The Art of Recycling Your Content

I hope that this set of techniques and methods will help you to get your business blog going. I know that it looks like a lot of work, but everybody needs to start one day, right? Besides, I’m somewhere in the middle of the process myself.


So You Don’t Think You’re Going to Be Able to Create Content for Your Online Business Blog? | newInternetOrder.com

inceptionOkay, I’m sure you’ve seen the movie Inception – the one where the main characters fall asleep and then travel between various states of dreaming. Having dreams within other dreams and so on (how’s that for a crappy plot summary?).

The thing they were trying to do was to implant an idea into the main target’s mind. And this goal required them to go into a dream within a dream, within one more dream. Confusing, to say the least, but still a great movie.

Surprisingly, in real world, this is kind of what some marketers do with their offerings.

Instead of starting with a definition, let me just give you an example of what I mean. Actually, a prime example in inception marketing:

“Making money by teaching others how you make money.”

And I don’t mean some legitimate advice that covers various aspects of business and can be applied to a number of different markets. I mean self-replicating inception bullshit that’s only applicable to one specific scenario.

For instance, when someone is selling a make money online educational product that’s delivered as an e-book, and then inside the e-book they teach the exact same thing they just did (launch an e-book and teach others how to make money) then sorry, but the is just the ultimate douchebag marketer business model.

Inception marketing is a name I came up with a minute ago, but I think the practice is more commonly known as product-less marketing – a situation where your marketing itself becomes the product. Like my “make money” example.

Why this is bad

First of all, it creates no credibility at all and only makes the marketer look like a jackass. Just because someone can make money by teaching others how to make money doesn’t make them the expert … and here’s why.

The biggest problem with such products is that they don’t give you useful advice regarding some cool marketing approach. They just describe one single scenario – selling your marketing as the product. But what if you’re selling designer handbags, for example, how will you be able to apply the advice to that? You won’t be! That’s why inception marketing products are shit.

Even though there are many successful people still doing it (hey, money is a hell of a motivator, right?) the practice can never be a reliable business model that can provide income for years to come.

In a nutshell, it’s just like a modern day online Amway, so to speak. In case you don’t know, Amway is a direct-selling MLM company. Their main business model involves convincing people that they can become marketing partners/representatives, join the structure and start making money themselves. That they can even find new people to join the team (the multi-level structure) and make money off what those people bring.

That’s the theory… In practice, the only entity making money is Amway itself. That’s because usually no one is able to sell anything and the representatives just end up buying stuff themselves and keeping it, instead of reselling it.

In essence, this is just like inception marketing…

Basically, when someone creates a product on how to make money selling stuff on how to make money, and actually hopes to make money purely because of selling that product then something is not right.

(I know that the sentence above sounds ridiculous, but it’s actually how things get done in inception marketing.)

How not to end up doing inception marketing

This is the big question … because, as it turns out, not everyone doing inception marketing realizes it.

Actually, you could even accuse me of doing it … after all, I have a blog on how to start and run an online business, and the blog is kind of a business itself…

Well, not exactly.

The rule of thumb, and the thing I’ve mentioned once in this post already is “making your marketing the product.”

Therefore, until your marketing becomes the product, you don’t have to worry about becoming an inception marketer.

But be wary. The first time you send an email to your subscribers, titled “Bad News” and then you go on explaining how “Bad News” is the best email subject ever, you’ve become an inception marketer.

Also, just look around you, there are so many inception marketers out there that it’s more than surprising.

  • People selling products on Clickbank about how to make money selling products on Clickbank.
  • People conducting webinars only to sell a product on how to make money by conducting webinars.
  • People telling you a (fake) story about their life struggles only to sell you a product teaching how to make money by creating an emotional connection with your audience and then monetizing it.
  • ??? any more examples? Feel free to share yours.

The goal

Why am I even writing this post?

To warn you against buying any of such products. Even despite the fact that some of them sound very attractive. I mean, who wouldn’t want to learn how to make money by doing _________. However, the marketing promise doesn’t always deliver.

Most of the people tricked into buying inception marketing products don’t realize this right away. It usually happens once they’ve consumed half of the product or so, and at that point they feel embarrassed to ask for a refund or call the marketer out on their bullshit.

I published a post about a similar idea a couple of weeks ago, titled: The Olympics Rule to Recognize a Scam. I encourage you to check it out for more in-depth advice on how to recognize a scam when you encounter one.

In the meantime, I hope this post will make you more cautious when shopping for the next big thing on the internet.


Inception Marketing – The Most Common Way of Being a Douchebag Marketer | newInternetOrder.com

powerSo the concept of blogs is a pretty well-known thing on the internet. We all read blogs every week, if not every day. However, not everyone knows what’s the main benefit of launching a blog as a promotional tool for an online business.

Here’s what I mean. One of the main problems for online businesses is that there’s no apparent reason why prospective customers might want to keep returning to your business website. If the only thing that’s being published is the offer and some promotional information then no one (I repeat, no one) will ever want to visit such a site more than twice.

This is where a blog comes into play. A blog is exactly this missing reason for repeat visits. If you manage to launch an interesting blog and arouse some interest in the community, you will be able to use it as an additional promotion tool.

Of course, the idea is not to promote your products or services directly inside your posts, but to make your blog’s content go alongside your offerings and strengthen your expertise in the niche.

Essentially, the blog is your resume. The proof that you indeed know what you’re doing.

So, what I have for you today are three guest posts of mine. All talking about blogging and its value for almost every online business.

posts

If you’re still not convinced to blogging then I hope the first article will make everything clear to you. It’s titled simply:

Does Your Business Need a Blog?

To be honest, it’s actually a list of six very good reasons why a blog is a must-have for every online business.

The second guest post I want to show you is titled:

How Not To Name Your New Website

Quite surprisingly, naming a blog or a website is not as simple as it might seem. We have to remember that the name should say a thing or two about our blogs and that going with some random stuff is never a good idea.

This article presents five things you should never do, along with some how-to advice on the proper ways of handling this.

The final guest post is about something not particularly nice… It’s titled:

Reason Why Your Blog Readers Hate You

Frankly, just launching a blog won’t make it a valuable asset for you business. Actually, you can even make things worse if you’re not careful about what you’re doing.

The most challenging part of realizing that you’re managing your blog all wrong is that most of the time you won’t even get any direct clue that there’s something bad going on. Your readers will not always take the time to send you a private message… That’s why it’s important to have your finger on the pulse at all times.

The post presents six blog-killing practices you should never do.

This concludes my package of resources for today. I hope they’ll come helpful for you and your new business blog. Feel free to ask me anything, and see you next time.


The Power of Blogging for an Online Business | newInternetOrder.com

As of last night, a license for our Video SEO plugin has become $20 cheaper for what’s probably about 90% of our customers. While doing an analysis over the holidays of what we’d sold and how much time we spent supporting people, we found that people using the plugin on multiple sites were bound to ask more questions (I know, it’s not exactly rocket science). The vast majority of people only use the plugin on one site, so reducing it in price for those people made sense, while charging more for people using it on more sites seemed reasonable.

So we now offer 3 licenses to the plugin, much in the same way as Gravity Forms and Easy Digital Downloads extensions work:

  • personal, for a single site at $69;
  • professional, for up to 5 sites at $129;
  • agency, for unlimited sites at $249.

Yoast_avatar_Thijs_defEveryone who has bought the plugin at the old price of $89 is in luck: your license is and will remain unlimited. We will use the same pricing model for our upcoming Local SEO module.

By the way, if you’ve emailed our support email address, you might have “met” the new addition to our team: my little brother Thijs. He handles most basic support questions, while bugs and other stuff get assigned to me. All of our support is handled through email for now, for which we use, and absolutely love, HelpScout, if you handle a lot of email you should really check them out. We’re currently working on opening a support forum as well, if you’ve bought the plugin you’ll get more details on that as we roll it out.

We’re planning more improvements to our infrastructure as well as ramping up big time for the launch of a few more plugins, so make sure you subscribe to the newsletter and stay up to date!

Change of pricing / licensing for Video SEO plugin is a post by on Yoast - Tweaking Websites. A good WordPress blog needs good hosting, you don't want your blog to be slow, or, even worse, down, do you? Check out my thoughts on WordPress hosting!