clockSomething funny I stumbled upon just recently. The guys at WMPU.org published an article on WordPress 5 minute install. The article is actually a 6-part series. Let me say this again, a friggin’ 6-part series! How can you take something called the “5 minute install” and write 6 long articles to describe it?! Ain’t nobody got time fo’ that!

Then, I realized that I actually haven’t published a tutorial on WordPress installation yet, even though it’s the most essential technical activity online business owners have to go through.

That’s why today I have something much much shorter for you. The simple how-to on the WordPress 5 minute install.

1. Getting WordPress

The first step is to go to wordpress.org and download the latest version of WordPress.

All you have to do next is extract the archive and upload it to your web host via FTP. You can use a tool like FileZilla – free.

The directory to which you have to upload the files is usually called something like public-html, or www. Actually, your web host might send you to the correct directory by default immediately once you establish an FTP connection.

Basically, if you can see a file like index.html or index.php anywhere then it’s most likely the correct directory. Copy your WordPress files there.

2. Starting up the online installer

Fire up your browser and try visiting your website. This is what you’ll see:

wp-install-1

Just click the big button and proceed to the next step

WordPress will let you know about all the required details you’ll need to complete the 5 minute install.

wp-install-2

They are:

  • Database name
  • Database username
  • Database password
  • Database host

All of them are database details. Now, this is the only difficult part here. Somehow, you need to get your hands on them.

Most hosting providers will gladly set a database for you if you contact them with such a request and tell them to get back to you with the details from the list above.

Simply submit a support ticket or use a live chat feature every respected hosting provider offers these days.

(If you’re confident to do this yourself then you obviously can, through cPanel or any other hosting management tool your provider delivers.)

Once you have these details you can proceed to the next step. Press the Let’s go! button. Here’s what you’ll see:

wp-install-3

It’s a form where you can input the details we’ve talked about a minute ago.

Regarding the last field – Table Prefix – feel free to use the default value (wp_).

Once you click the Submit button you’re going to be redirected to a confirmation screen.

3. Run the install

wp-install-4

Here, you only need to click the Run the install button and watch the magic happen.

4. Basic blog settings

If all goes well you’ll see this screen:

wp-install-5

This is where you can set your basic blog details, such as the title, your admin username and so on. Here’s how to do it:

  • Site Title. You’re free to use whatever you wish. Don’t make it too long though, so it looks naturally.
  • Username. This is the main username for the admin user. The default username is “admin” but I advise you to change it to something else. That way you’re making your site a bit more difficult to hack into.
  • Password, twice. No explanation needed.
  • Your E-mail. It’s the main admin email. Whenever something occurs on your blog, WordPress will use this email to let you know.
  • Privacy. Make sure that the checkbox is checked. Otherwise, you will ban yourself from the search engines.

The only thing left to do here is click the Install WordPress button.

Fin

The final screen will let you know that all went well, and that you can now log in to your blog with the admin account you’ve just created.

wp-install-6

Nothing more to it.

See? I didn’t need six posts to explain this. Neither do you to go through the installation. I hope it helps.


WordPress 5 Minute Install – Simple How To | newInternetOrder.com

asset-buildingIn short, for all of you who don’t want to read the whole thing, yes it can.

However, it’s not actually that simple. The good thing is that your blog can, indeed, become a great resource for some niche audience and make you recognizable, that’s a fact. But the bad thing is that the content on every blog is very chaotic (by definition).

Here’s what I mean, and let me use an example. If you want to get some structured info on a specific topic, you go to Barnes and Noble and get a book. You don’t get 24 monthly archive issues of a popular magazine. Even though the articles in that magazine will surely be of good quality, you know that the lack of structure will make it very difficult to treat them as a handy resource.

This is exactly the problem with blogging. Even though some popular niche blogs have built thousands of subscribers, and continue to publish spot-on content regularly, it’s still hard to treat them as a resource. In other words, if you’re new to the topic and you visit one of those blogs, there’s always the question “okay, where do I start?” With books, it’s clear, you start on the first page and proceed forward.

Therefore, the actual important mystery to focus on is whether a blog can really become a long-term asset and a recognizable resource in its niche.

And personally, I’m not that convinced that you can consider a blog being a popular resource if its most popular page is always the latest post. In such a case, it’s only a popular online newspaper, not resource.

Blogs and their structure

As it turns out, one of the main elements that keep a blog from becoming a resource is its structure – the default layout of posts presented in a reverse chronological order.

This default structure is the main reason why posts have a very short lifespan on any blog – a lifespan that can then only be bumped up by SEO.

In result, if you want to make a blog part of your online business then you should consider some major changes to its content structure. These changes will help you to make every article more visible, no matter if it’s brand new or not.

1. Create hubs

Hubs or resource pages have one purpose, and it is to gather all content around a single idea and then present it in an attractive form.

A hub should be structured like a table of contents in a book.

Essentially, it’s a list of links with some explanations on why each link is placed in a certain location.

The layout of links itself should present a step-by-step approach so that every visitor can obtain some specific knowledge.

Such hubs can then become the main content elements on your blog and serve your audience for finding relevant information quickly.

Notice that this doesn’t require any heavy changes to the source code structure of the blog itself. You’re just introducing new pages containing well thought through lists of links pointing to other posts.

2. “Getting started” page

Even though this still isn’t the most popular page on blogs these days, I do believe that it just might be the most important one you’ll ever create (and sorry … I’m still working on mine, but I do understand the power it brings).

Some popular bloggers have already introduced their “getting started” pages and they all agree that it was a great decision. (I’m talking mainly about Pat Flynn and Corbett Barr.)

Instead of me explaining what should appear on a “getting started” page, it’s better if you simply hop over to the two examples above and check for yourself.

The idea itself is really REALLY simple. A “getting started” page should provide an easy-to-grasp roadmap for everyone who’s new to your blog.

3. Have a custom homepage

Going with the standard “latest posts” listing is so 2010.

If you want to continue growing your blog, you must build something custom.

I’ve talked about some elements you can place on a homepage in my other post – How to Create the Worst Homepage Ever, so feel free to check it out.

Essentially, that’s it. WordPress is already pretty well-optimized for hosting all kinds of content, and creating new elements like described above doesn’t require any modifications to the source code.

Only the homepage might require some tweaks to your current theme, but apart from that, everything can be done inside the admin panel.

What do you think about the whole idea of turning a blog into a resource and building your online business on top of it, as opposed to going the other way around?


Can Blogging Be a Long-Term Asset-Building Strategy for Online Business? | newInternetOrder.com

blue
I’m not a fan of the color orange. Dunno why. I prefer soothing and relaxing colors, like blues and greens.

But the new Twenty Thirteen theme for the next version of WordPress is very, very orange.

Since I like to run the default themes over on my other site, this clearly could not stand.

So, I did a palette swap. Basically, I took the three header images, and swapped the Red and Blue channels, leaving the Green channel alone. Easy enough to do in Photoshop.

Then, I made a child theme, and put some minimalist code in the functions.php file to fiddle with the default header images to use the ones from my child theme instead of the normal ones. Finally, I did a search and replace for all the color references in the style.css file, swapped the R and B values in them, then put them in my new style.css file.

The result you can see over on my other blog. Yes, I know I don’t write often enough. Hell, I’ve been busy.

Child themes are fun to mess with. Here’s a copy if you want it for anything.

Twenty Thirteen – Blue

Enjoy! :)

For all sorts of reasons, some people have a problem with updating WordPress installs properly. I will state now that for both our free and premium plugins we do not support anything but the latest and the prior to last version. At the time of writing that’s WordPress 3.5 and WordPress 3.4. If you’re running anything else, we can’t help you. But mostly, I want to convince you to upgrade by dispelling all the reasons why you shouldn’t or “couldn’t” upgrade.

The top four reasons we hear:

#1: “my site / theme will break”

Usually followed by “and I don’t have the time to fix it”. Well, plan some time or hire someone. This week. Because if you’re on WordPress 3.1 or 3.2, it’s a matter of time before you’ll get hacked. At that time you’ll not have the luxury of “planning” the upgrade, you’ll just have to suck it up and deal with it. Prevent that from happening and upgrade.

#2: “our core modifications will be gone”

Your what? You do realize that if you were to tinker with the code of  say, Microsoft Word, Microsoft wouldn’t be helping you either? That’s exactly how it works with us. Our plugins work with WordPress, not with what you did to it. Remove your core modifications and turn them into plugins so they behave as expected by other plugins and then: update.

#3: “plugin x that we use won’t work anymore”

Well, you’ve got three options:

  1. contact that plugins developer and ask him to fix it;
  2. contact another developer and pay him to fix it;
  3. drop the plugin and start using another plugin.

#4: “I don’t need any of the new functionality”

WordPress is updated regularly, not just to add new functionality but to fix security issues too. Frankly, most people out there, probably including you, are not able to determine whether they need new functionality. WordPress 3.4 and 3.5 added API’s for developers that plugins that you’re using might want to use, not upgrading makes those plugins function less, or not at all.

Conclusion

In short: upgrade. I know some developers out there are saying that we can’t “require” people to upgrade, well, I disagree. He compares it to Apple not forcing you to buy a new Mac when it breaks. The difference there is that we’re not talking about hardware. We’re talking about software. Apple regularly asks you to upgrade your system to fix battery issues or other issues.

In the end, it’s an economic decision: I’m not going to spend valuable support and development time on a minority that doesn’t want to upgrade, at the cost of not developing new features or fixing bugs for current versions of WordPress. So, if you want to use our plugins, stay current!

Why we don’t support old WordPress versions is a post by on Yoast - The Art & Science of 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!

nio-designIf you’re reading this through an RSS feed then hop over to newInternetOrder.com and check out my new design! If you’re already here then … well … hi!

Long story short, here’s the new design.

I wanted to change something for a long time now. These days, more and more blogs decide to go a more purpose-centered path, where the posts themselves are not all that matters, and the aim is to make the advice much more structured. This is also the path I’ve chosen for this site from now on.

There are a couple of important things to mention about this new look. So here we go:

The blog

As you can see, the blog (link) is no longer present on the homepage. Instead, it has its own dedicated section.

The blog design is kind of minimalistic and only consists of a handful of elements. The biggest change is the sidebar, which now features hardly any additional boxes.

I basically wanted to make things a lot simpler, which should make the content much more visible. As it turns out, using extensive sidebars isn’t the best strategy out there to make your content reader-friendly…

The homepage

The homepage consists of a number of different blocks, and an overall big focus on the email list (more on which in a minute).

email

I’m also working on a completely new “New Here” page that would welcome new visitors and show them a good starting point around the content on this site. In the meantime, the current new here link points to one of the recent posts – the 6 pillars of online business.

new

The next section is all about some online business resources. Those four boxes will change every now and then so don’t forget to visit the homepage from time to time.

resources

The last two sections are pretty straightforward (the about me block and the latest posts), so no explanation needed.

The email list

Today, I’m officially retiring my subscription bonuses, which are:

  • e-book: Create Irresistible Blog Posts in Just 6 Steps,
  • e-book: 192 Unique & Creative Niche Ideas for Your Own Online Business,
  • online tool: A/B Split Test Significance Checker.

Important. They still are and will remain available. The only difference is that you don’t have to opt in in order to get them. You can download them just like that. I will be providing download links soon.

My resource pages

There are some resource pages on this blog. For example:

Currently, they’ve only gone through a slight redesign, but I will be introducing some new content and turning them into something bigger soon (to be announced).

Technical stuff

If you’re interested in this sort of stuff, the design is built on a completely new framework (Genesis). It still runs on WordPress and most of the old plugins continue to operate normally. As it turns out, I was quite lucky not to face any plugin compatibility issues.

I hope you like the new design. I’m open to comments and suggestions so feel free to let me know what you think.


New Design at newInternetOrder.com! | newInternetOrder.com

This question pops up time and again: why can I only add one focus keyword to your SEO plugin? People seem to think they have to set several keywords for each post. This post explores the reasoning behind that, very deliberate, decision.

This is the input field I’m talking about:

focus keyword

The focus keyword is not the meta keywords tag

This is important to note, if you think the “focus keyword” field is where you fill your meta keywords: no it’s not. I have a very specific opinion about meta keywords, which I expressed in my post: meta keywords, why I don’t use them. Read that if you haven’t yet.

Focus on your focus keyword

Think of the focus keyword as the topic of your page or post. A good post doesn’t have multiple topics, it explores one topic. If you enter a focus keyword, the Page Analysis functionality will use that as input for its analysis of your post. It can only do this for one focus keyword at a time.

While that’s a technical reason, working around that wouldn’t be an issue. What is an issue, and also the main reason the functionality works as it does, is that we’ve found it’s already hard for most people to focus a page on one keyword. Optimizing a post for multiple keywords without spamming is actually very hard. So, try and optimize your pages for one keyword and do that well.

Determining a good focus keyword

The focus keyword input field has a bit of functionality to help you figure out what would be a good choice for that keyword. If you start typing, it opens a drop down with suggestions, these are loaded from Google Suggest and mimic what you’d see if you’d enter the search terms in a Google search field, compare this:

Focus Keyword Suggest box

With this:

Focus keyword from Google Suggest

If people are searching, they’ll almost always get a drop down like that now, so the contents of it should be something you take into account when determining your focus keyword.

When you’re thinking about keywords, it’s probably also a good idea to read this post about cornerstone content and my post about the basis of keyword research.

If you want us to review your content and give you tips to improve your site, order a website review, we’ll review your site and give you practical tips on what to do.

The focus keyword in WordPress SEO is a post by on Yoast - The Art & Science of 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!

pillars-sBig sounding headline, isn’t it? Actually, I’m using it to convey the gravity of the topic, and emphasize that running an online business requires you to put some groundwork in place, hence the pillars.

Of course, this is just my take on the matter, and you’ll surely find other entrepreneurs and bloggers who will present a completely different approach. However, if you want to find a good starting point for your online business, I believe this is it.

The trick with online business is that it’s not the most intuitive line of career out there.

I mean, if you want to open a traditional brick-and-mortar café, for example, then even though the venture will still be challenging, you kind of know what you need to take care of in order to succeed … things like: good location, nice interior design, good deals with suppliers, professional team of employees, education and training programs for employees, advertising, good and unique offer, attractive prices, and so on. Listing all these things isn’t that difficult. But what about online business? Well, online business has its own pillars…

(Note. I encourage you to check out one of my posts talking about the differences of online business vs. offline business.)

pillars

1. Core technology

The first, and crucial, pillar. There’s no online business without at least some technology involved. Thankfully, you don’t need to be a tech pro to be able to handle it.

I admit, I’ve a Master’s Degree in Computer Science, but to be honest, I never actually use any of my “university knowledge” when doing business online.

Your absolute minimal core technology is comprised of just three things:

  1. Domain name.
  2. Hosting account.
  3. Website.

(Well, okay, you also need a computer, but this is kind of obvious.)

Domain name is your address on the internet. Mine is newinternetorder.com.

Getting a domain name isn’t a complicated process, but choosing it can take some research time.

A while ago I published two posts on how to select a domain name. The advice is fully relevant today too. Check them out:

The actual registration can be done through Go Daddy. A domain will cost you around $10 a year.

Hosting account. If I said that a hosting account is where your website is hosted then it wouldn’t be very helpful, would it?

“Hosted” is just another way of saying “stored.” Therefore, a hosting account is where your website is stored. On top of that, it’s also where every visitor can access it.

Hosting is actually one of the more complicated aspects of computer technology, but the good thing is that you don’t have to know a lot about it in order to work with your website.

The setup process of a hosting account is actually fairly straightforward. You just have to sign up for an account, and then work with the support team to get your domain connected to the host. (They can also help you to install your website if you don’t feel like doing it yourself.)

Not that long ago, I wrote a post titled web hosting for online business – complete guide. Feel free to check it out to get all the information you need for a quick start.

Website. This is the last element and actually the one you’re going to work with on a daily basis.

Interestingly, the creation, development, and launch process of your new site can be as long or as short as you make it.

The thing is that you can either go with some ready-made solutions, develop new ones yourself if you have the skill, or hire someone to help you with the whole process.

This also depends on how much money you want to spend on this. Doing things on a budget won’t consume more than $100. On the other hand, hiring a professional can set you back $5,000 or more.

Since it’s the bootstrapping approach we’re focusing on here, let’s keep this on a budget.

Rule #1: use WordPress. It’s a website management platform that’s free and powerful (it’s the one I’m using to run this site).

You can find out how to get and install WordPress in 5 minutes in one of my other articles.

Once you have WordPress, you need to get a unique design that’s going to represent your website and convey its brand. If hiring a professional developer is not an option then consider one of the respected theme stores like ThemeFuse or WooThemes. They will provide you with really great quality themes, that are optimized, safe, and in-tune with modern standards.

When you have the theme, you can install it on your site. This is a quite simple process: how to install a theme.

Apart from the above, there’s a ton of other things you can do with your WordPress site. The number of available plugins is truly exceptional. It’s kind of similar to the situation in the Apple App Store … meaning that if you need some cool feature on your site, there’s surely a plugin for that.

(You can check my list of essential plugins if you’re interested.)

2. The offer

The second pillar is your offering. In other words, what is this cool thing you do that can benefit other people up to the point where they’d be ready to pay for it?

One of the most important things to keep in mind here is not to do any shitty product creation like some people advise … the “you can create a product in one day” -fairytale.

Product creation takes time. This is simply a fact. If you don’t want to believe me then it’s your call. The internet is full of sites where the author will be convincing you that products can be created in hours. If that vision is more attractive to you then by all means tune in to it. But the reality still stays the same – there’s no quick and effortless product creation (something I talk about in the art of polishing a turd).

But products are not the only way for online businesses to make money. Offering your services is another approach that works really well.

For instance, my freelance writing services is something I started offering by accident, but it led me to my first book deal (PACKT Publishing). So you never know what outcome the future holds for you.

There’s a series of posts on this blog that talks about various online business models, feel free to check it out and try to find the one that appeals to you the most:

marketing

3. Marketing

The third pillar is marketing. In other words, how you’re going to promote your offering.

An interesting thing we can notice among online entrepreneurs is that some of them have a lot of natural talent for marketing, while others have to spend long hours learning and testing things out.

Either way, your business doesn’t exist on the internet if you’re not doing any marketing. In my opinion, the first rule of marketing an online business is:

If you build it, they won’t come.

Internet is simply too vast for anyone to stumble upon your site by accident. In the real world, for example, when you have a café, people will come across it every day if they just happen to be in the neighborhood. On the web, it doesn’t work like that.

Here are some popular elements of online marketing:

  • advertising,
  • SEO,
  • link building,
  • social media,
  • word of mouth.

Each of these elements is powerful enough to make your business profitable on its own, but as I said, it requires a lot of testing.

Although you don’t have to be an expert in all of the above, getting at least some knowledge in each of these topics is a must. That way you can pick the most suitable one for your needs later on.

Check out my brain dead simple explanation of marketing, and one of my favorite post on this blog – what being drunk can teach you about life and online business.

I also encourage you to look for advice on other blogs, but be careful not to get fooled into buying some crappy education (distraction marketing). Speaking of education…

4. Minimal education

In essence, education is great. But there’s just so much stuff available online that this whole information overload can paralyze you completely.

I’m a fan of minimal education. If you want to do something, obtain just the minimal amount of information needed and take action as soon as possible.

And this is not an opinion I always had. There was time when I was so lost in consuming this “yet another piece of advice” that I literally couldn’t get anything done. It really is a dangerous habit.

On top of that, there’s just so much crappy educational products about online business out there that getting scammed is more than easy. Here’s a two-step process on how to protect yourself from getting scammed:

  1. Realize the 1st rule of BS.
  2. Understand that most of the so-called gurus just want to get you on their email lists so they can constantly push their crap and sell you something every month.

Let’s do a simple exercise, think of a certain guru, the first person that comes to mind … got it? okay … never ever buy anything from that person!

If you want to get some heads up on who’s on the bad guys team in this industry, feel free to follow the Salty Droid.

5. Tools

To be honest, tools are a pretty individual thing (everyone has their own favorites), so I encourage you to experiment and check a bunch of them out before making any final decisions.

The typical set of tools for online business consists of:

  • a market research tool,
  • a keyword research tool,
  • marketing tools,
  • productivity tools,
  • data synchronization and backup tools,
  • content creation tools,
  • monitoring tools.

There’s truly a massive amount of stuff available online. The best thing to do before you decide to get any particular tool is to search for some genuine reviews online (reviews published by people who actually have the tool in their possession, and are not just writing a review based on the promotional material).

You can find my recommend set of tools on the official tools page, and my top 12 favorite tools ever. Additionally, you can also check out my review of Market Samurai – one of the top market research and keyword tools.

6. Productivity

The final pillar of online business. The topic of productivity has gotten really popular in the recent years. The thing is that no matter what we do, we only have 24 hours in a day, and if we learn how to use this time effectively, we can make a lot of things happen in our lives.

For an online entrepreneur, productivity is especially crucial because there’s no boss standing above us and telling us what to do. It’s really easy to fall victim to procrastination, or other common problems.

What has turned out to be a great solution for me is a work and time management methodology called Getting Things Done (GTD). Over the years, I wrote a number of articles related to the topic of productivity and GTD.

If you want to give it a shot and learn this methodology too then hop over to my series at Lifehack titled “Productivity Made Simple” – it provides a cool GTD guide.

action

Okay … now what?

These are the pillars … okay … so now what? -says you.

The key to success is to develop your skills/background in all six pillars at the same time.

Think of it like building an ancient structure of some kind … if you place just one pillar instead of the required six, your structure will fall right away. Using three will probably keep it standing, but not very stable. Only having the complete set of pillars put in place guarantees a stable structure.

I know that it seems like a lot of work, and it kind of is… Sorry the be the one to break this to you.

Unfortunately there are no shortcuts, and if someone wants to convince you that there are, they’re just trying to sell you something.

The good side, though, is that you don’t need to become an expert in all pillars at once. You can do everything step by step. Start by building small pillars and then expand each one gradually. This way your business can grow evenly in all areas.

Okay, enough talking. It’s about time to take some action! (That includes me too.)


The 6 Pillars of Online Business | newInternetOrder.com

SEO-landing-pagesFirst of all, I should probably explain why I’m publishing a post talking in detail about some aspect of WordPress as a publishing platform. It’s because landing pages are often one of the main marketing tools for many online businesses, and since WordPress is the most popular website management platform then it all kind of works together…

The keyword there being “kind of.” That’s because landing pages are not a native functionality in WordPress and you have to do a little digging around in order to enable them for your blog business.

By the way, if you take a look in the archives here, you’ll find a post about custom WordPress archive pages, where I offer my archives template (the exact one I’m using on this blog). Don’t forget to check it out.

What is a landing page?

Some time ago, I published a guest post on Six Revisions about good landing page design. If you’re not interested in the design part then just check out the first couple of paragraphs of the article, where I explain the purpose and construction of a standard landing page.

In short, a landing page is a page that your visitors see after clicking on a specific link on another site. For instance, if you advertise your site through AdWords then the URL you link the ad to becomes the landing page.

The purpose of a landing page is to convince the visitor to take a specific kind of action. Usually, it’s to buy something or to subscribe to your mailing list.

Landing pages have been online for a long time now, and for a very simple reason – they work. You are always more likely to succeed if you try to sell a given product through a landing page rather than through a standard blog page.

Now, the exact topic here is SEO landing pages. What differs them from traditional landing pages is that, most importantly, they are meant to rank well in the search engines.

Problems with standard blog pages

The main problem with standard blog pages is that there are too many things that can distract your visitor from taking action, and also too many elements that are not relevant from an SEO point of view.

For example, things like:

  • sidebars,
  • headers,
  • menus,
  • Twitter links,
  • Twitter and other social media buttons,
  • other links to external sites,
  • big footers,
  • comments, and so on.

Even though these elements are often a must for a blog business in general, they are not that great for landing pages. The main trait of a quality landing page is simplicity.

How to get yourself a nice landing page (the expensive approach)

Here’s the expensive approach of getting yourself a nice landing page (in the next section I’m presenting a free counter-approach).

You can get a nice landing page along with a completely new theme. I know that changing the theme of your site might not sound like the most attractive thing to do, but just hear me out.

Updating your theme to something modern is often the only way to get the possibility to use the newest features in WordPress (which every next version introduces).

The thing I can recommend here is the Genesis framework. It’s made by a company called Studio Press, and it’s become one of the most popular frameworks for WordPress.

There are many child themes available that offer various landing page templates. For instance, the one called Focus. Here’s what the standard design looks like:

focus1

Fairly blog-like designs and layout, right? And here’s what the landing page looks like:

focus2

As you can see, there is a big difference. The landing page features no header, no footer, no sidebars, nothing. There’s only the main content block. Even though this might not seem like the most attractive thin visually, it does work business-wise, and can generate a lot better conversions than standard blog pages.

The main benefit of opting for this method is that it requires no effort to create new landing pages … you pay money, but you save time.

How to get yourself a nice landing page (the free approach)

This approach won’t cost you a penny, but it will require some work (you can always ask someone for help if needed).

I want to give you my landing page template. It’s the one I’m using here, and here (image below).

lp-scrn

As you can see, there’s a handful of different elements it features:

  • the headline,
  • the main content block,
  • a list of related posts; displayed as (1) excerpts, then as (2) excerpts + images, then as (3) excerpts again, then as (4) standard text links; this is meant to introduce some variety instead of showcasing a long list of links,
  • an email subscription block.

The reason why there’s so much content is to make the page relevant to the keyword you’re targeting with it.

To make the landing page work for your current theme, you have to take the code I’m providing below and create a custom page template with it. (The code includes a number of hints to make the integration process easier.)

The template uses one custom field to display a list of related posts (for SEO). The field is called custom_field_tags, it stores the post tags that correspond to the landing page.

For instance, if you want to display all posts tagged with “blogging” then simply set the custom field (when editing your landing page in the WP admin panel) to “blogging” (image below).

custom

If you don’t want to display any related posts then don’t set the custom field.

This is actually it. Once you create a custom page template featuring the code I’m providing here, you can launch new SEO landing pages with ease. Of course, it’s still up to you to make the content optimized, but I hope that this template will make things easier for you on the technical side.

Download here.

Do you plan on launching any SEO landing pages on your online business blog in the near future?


How to Create a Custom WordPress SEO Landing Page [Template Download] | newInternetOrder.com

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

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