How Long Does It Take to Recover Your Site From Being Hacked, Google-Wise [Case Study]

Recover Your Site From Being Hacked

Recover Your Site From Being Hacked

UPDATE. This whole thing happened at the turn of 2013 and 2014. However, I’m still experiencing some SEO consequences of this and that’s why I consider this study a valuable read for any online business owner. At the bottom, there are takeaway lessons on how you can avoid something similar happening to your site.

A couple of months ago, my domain got hacked. Kind of. I mean, the domain itself didn’t get hacked directly, but the problem was the server it was hosted on.

Back then, I was a HostGator customer, a mistake I will never make again.

Just to give you a quick heads-up on that situation, HostGator doesn’t care that much about their customers’ safety. So in my case, they allowed for a spam forum to get installed on my domain without my knowledge.

You could see it by navigating to (no longer there, so don’t bother checking the URL). The forum featured a ton of spam phrases and links. As we all know, those things are not good for SEO…not good at all.

So how did I discover the problem? Well, I’m not an IT security ninja or anything. I was simply informed by vBulletin update service that “my forum needs to be updated.” Can you imagine?

I quickly found that the forum is quite big, and what’s even worse …

525 pages of it were indexed by Google

This is visible on the screenshot I took on the day of the discovery:


Oct 15th 2013

This was Oct 15th 2013.

Today’s Jan 17th 2014 and 2 of the pages are still indexed

… despite being nonexistent for months:


Jan 17th 2014

This means that Google still didn’t manage to fix things on their end.

(By the way, for future reference; if you want to check out what’s the status of the spam pages on Google this very moment, click here.)

I’m saying this not to complain about my own personal situation but to provide some educational value. What I mean precisely is that Google is obviously not as good at indexing stuff as we’d like it to be.

And what that means for you is that you will likely be forced to wait a similar amount of time, should you get hit by a similar problem.

What did I do about the index?

Apparently, I didn’t just sit patiently and wait for Google to do its magic on their own, so I took some steps to help them out.

First of all, here are the things I didn’t do.

I didn’t go to the index exclusion tool available in Google Webmaster Tools. The reason why is simple, in my book, using this tool would just like admitting that I’m guilty of placing the forum there, which I wasn’t.

Now, I’m not entirely sure whether such reasoning makes sense or not, but that’s what I did nevertheless.

Here are the three main things I did:

1. Changed my webhost

HostGator failed to even acknowledge the problem so I moved over to IX Web Hosting. One of the nice surprises right off the bat was that they gave me a dedicated IP for no extra charge (it has its values for SEO, I’d advise always going for a dedicated IP if you have the chance).

Changing my webhost ultimately killed the forum since the problem was on the previous server. This also confirmed that it was exactly the case, by the way.

2. Researched .htaccess files

The .htaccess file is a small text file that sits in your server’s root (main) directory and deals cards as for who gets to see what on your site, more or less.

In other words, you can prevent anyone from accessing a given area of your site by creating a new rule in the .htaccess file.

What I did was block all access to

3. Tuned my robots.txt file

Robots.txt is another text file sitting in your server’s root directory. This one is responsible for regulating what gets accessed by search engine robots (hence the name, robots.txt).

This was another place where I blocked access to the forum.

Could I do anything more?

Maybe, I don’t know. I should have probably reached out to some security specialist. Too bad I didn’t.

Nonetheless, I thought that the above was just enough for Google to get a grasp and deindex those old and non-existent forum pages.

It wasn’t.

As I already mentioned here, I still have 2 pages indexed in Google.

The takeaway and lessons for the future

A handful of them:

  1. Always keep a close eye on what’s going on on your domain/site. Do it through rank tracking tools like Market Samurai, Moz, or even Google Webmaster Tools.
  2. Use additional security plugins like BulletProof Security.
  3. Perform frequent site backups. You can use Online Backup for WordPress for that.
  4. In case anything bad happens, make fast decisions. Like my decision to flee from HostGator.
  5. (Something I didn’t do.) Ask around on expert forums online. In hindsight, this could have saved me a lot of hassle and wandering in the dark.

How Long Does It Take to Recover Your Site From Being Hacked, Google-Wise [Case Study] |

7 Quite Deadly Indicators That Your Online Business Website Is In Bad Shape


One beautiful day, I sent out an article to be published on a given website. I got a no. A fairly common thing. Not all posts find their home at first try, so I just decided to broaden my research and look for other sites that could be a good host for that article.

I found one and submitted it.

How surprised I was when the editor got back to me and told me that the article didn’t pass Copyscape (the plagiarism checker). What it basically meant was that someone else had previously published the article.

After connecting the dots quickly, I found that the article was indeed published by the first person I sent it to. They published it on a different site, with no attribution.

Contacting them didn’t produce much of an effect. So I’ve decided to give it a rest and share the article with you here instead. Fighting those kinds of people is never a productive habit. If you can afford it, leave such things behind you and move on with your projects (a general advice).

Having this lengthy introduction behind us, let’s focus on the topic at hand. We all desire some recognition, don’t we? Some online popularity, preferably profits, and overall stardom…things like that.

However, the road to success can be long and difficult, and at some point, we can stumble upon some disturbing signs that we might not be going in the best of directions. I’ve had a number of sites failing in the past, so I know what I’m talking about.

But you know what, I don’t mind. Failure is just a step towards success.

So what to do and what are the indicators of our website going south? Here’s my list and some advice on how to deal with them:

1. Content published irregularly

Every website (this also goes for business sites) should publish content as regularly as possible. It really doesn’t matter whether you’re publishing twice a day or once a week as long as you stick to your schedule.

Of course, you can change things up a bit over time, but don’t do it for no apparent reason every two months or so.

For example, publishing 4 posts one week, then nothing for the next month, and then switching back to 4 a week is NEVER a good idea. Your readers won’t be able to follow your blog because they won’t know what to expect.

In essence, predictability is nothing negative when it comes to publishing schedules.

2. No emails or other forms of contact

If you’re doing something good, chances are that other people will want to reach out to you and either congratulate you, or propose some form of a joint project that can present a completely new opportunity on its own. I, for example, was surprised when I was offered a paid freelance writing deal just because someone enjoyed my style of writing.

More than that, you will probably also start receiving some hate mail. I’m not saying that hate mail is something I enjoy seeing in my inbox, but it’s surely an indication that your content touches people personally, which, in essence, is a good thing.

Anyway, if there are no emails or other messages in your inbox at all, then there’s a lot of room for improvement.

3. No user feedback

A website exists as long as it’s alive, so to speak. A website lives when people read its content and interact with it in one way or the other.

This all depends on your niche, style of writing, and other things, but there should always be some form of reader activity. Some topics attract a lot of comments naturally. Others are more social-media-friendly (a lot of re-tweets). Others are more prone to bringing you a lot of direct emails (sometimes angry ones, like I said). No matter what it is, there has to be something.

If there’s no user activity at all, you’re probably in trouble.

4. Low-quality design

You really don’t have to be a designer to be able to tell whether a site is of good quality or not… However, when it comes to our own websites, we tend to NOT notice bad things about them, and we do it on purpose.

The best way of protecting ourselves against such problems is to start with a quality premium WordPress theme in the first place. Yes, you do have to spend some money if you want a quality design. Thankfully, spending it on a premium theme by ThemeFuse or Studio Press is a lot better investment than hiring a designer directly.

The truth is that visitors will evaluate your site just by looking at the design. If the design doesn’t seem professional, they will reach a conclusion that you’re not professional either.

5. Using only the “new” SEO techniques

In all seriousness, SEO indeed is the most powerful method of promotion online, especially if you’re working on making your business profitable directly because of its presence on the web. That being said, SEO doesn’t always work, and sometimes it can even hurt your site altogether.

Most problems happen when we try to do many things at the same time and make it our effort to test every new technique out there. The thing with new SEO techniques is that Google always needs a while to decide whether something is “cool” or “not cool at all.” Therefore, whenever you try something new, and then Google decides that the technique is not in tune with their guidelines, you’re cooked.

If you don’t want to lose your search engine presence, always make sure to focus on well-tested SEO techniques.

6. Poor rankings and low traffic

This is probably the simplest indicator of them all and it somewhat connects with the previous point. Google’s goal is to promote quality sites that are valuable to their readers, and to bury the weak sites at the same time.

If your site is not quality enough, Google won’t give it a good spot in the rankings, which will have a huge impact on the traffic.

If you’re not receiving the traffic you think you should be receiving (check via Google Analytics, or better yet, Clicky) it’s probably a good time to take care of some SEO and also to step up your game when it comes to publishing quality articles.

You can check your rankings through a tool like Moz or Raven Tools, or a number of free services available on the internet.

7. You have no real business plan

I know that business plans are not fun. To be honest, I hate working on anything that resembles a business plan in any shape or form. But sometimes there’s just no escape…

Generally, I advise you to treat business plans as guidance for yourself, rather then for some third-party entity that might be interested in your business. Your business plan must make your goal clear to YOU. That’s the only rule.

But what does it have to do with your website, right? Well, if you don’t have a thought through business plan then your website likely doesn’t have any action or promotion plan either. In short, your business plan is what is going to guide your actions regarding your website.

Once you have the plan ready, you can, for example, tell whether paid advertising is a good method of promotion for your site or not, and make many other similar decisions. Crafting a business plan is hard…but it pays off.

That’s it for my list of these 7 deadly indicators, but I just have one last question: What are you doing to keep your site on the quality side of the web and make your business profitable?

7 Quite Deadly Indicators That Your Online Business Website Is In Bad Shape |

What to Do if You Get Banned From Google AdWords


So you’ve just been banned from AdWords … now what?

If that’s the question on your mind, you’re in the right place.

On a personal note, I didn’t really mention this until now, but one day, I too got banned from AdWords.


As a matter of fact, I can even do you one better. I got banned from AdWords twice!

It happened a couple of years ago, at a time when I was making some nice monies with the AdWords-to-affiliate business model. Everything was going well, until this email appeared in my inbox (actual email):


Hello AdWords Advertiser,

Your AdWords account has been suspended because it doesn’t comply with our Advertising Policies and our AdWords Terms and Conditions. Please note that this means your account and any related accounts have been suspended, you can’t create any new accounts, and your ads will no longer run on Google, our search partners, or on Display Network placements.

Let me translate this into plain English:


We, Google, don’t want to have anything to do with you. And although you are ready to throw a lot of money at us, we won’t accept it because f*** you, that’s why.

So how did I manage to get banned twice? I don’t know why exactly (I can only imagine that it’s because there’s a big mess at Google), but a stunning 2 years after the initial ban notice, I got another one saying the exact same thing.

I don’t know, maybe Google feels that once in a while, they need to remind me I am banned.

Anyway, onwards.


The not-effective way of handling an AdWords ban


A standard human reflex is to just send an email back asking about the issues, trying to negotiate, saying that you will improve, promising to be a good boy, etc.


But with Google, none of that works.


Google AdWords is notoriously known for not responding to any email, so you’re just hitting a wall with every attempt to experience any form of actual human interaction with anyone at Google.


The alpha-male way of handling an AdWords ban


Note. Sorry, but if you’re looking for classic “nice guy” advice, this is not it. I won’t be talking about how you should fix your site, reach out to Google, apologize, and so on. None of this has made its way to this tutorial.

Before I go into the nitty-gritty, let’s take a look at the two possible scenarios that you might be in at the moment:


Scenario #1:

AdWords was the only traffic source for your site. A fairly common thing in the online business space, especially if your business model is affiliate marketing or advertising.
Scenario #2:

AdWords was just one of the traffic sources.
Now, this might sound counterintuitive, but the first scenario is a lot easier to deal with, even though you are losing 100% of your traffic after the ban.

Here’s what you do:



Things to do if AdWords was your only traffic source


Step #1.

Start by buying a completely new domain, new hosting account (at a new IP address; you can do this with IXWebHosting, by the way – they offer unique IPs to every customer).


Step #2.

Install WordPress, pick a new theme, and create a new structure on your new site.

The structure should be a bit different than that of the original site, but it should provide a somewhat similar experience.


Step #3.

Copy your old content to the new site. At this point, your new site is very similar to the old one, content-wise. But it does have a new design and a new structure. Not to mention the new name and web address.


Step #4.

Now the best part. Create a new AdWords account with another credit card number.

Yeah, I know, Google tells you that you can’t do that, but the fact is that it’s not so much that you can’t … you’re just not allowed.

Kind of like your mom saying “don’t touch the pie until it cools down.” You know you’re not allowed to, but you will do it anyway…

With Google, the worst that could happen is them banning you again. In which case, you will just repeat the process.


Step #5.

Launch new campaigns on your new account.



Things to do if AdWords was one of your traffic sources


This is a bit tougher.

You can’t just scrap the site because you don’t want to lose those other traffic sources, but you still want to get your advertising traffic flowing.


The simplest solution, although I will be sounding a bit obvious, is to start testing new advertising networks. Often, it’s also the best solution.

These days, there really are many possibilities. And I’m not only talking about other PPC networks, like Yahoo Advertising, 7search. You can also try media buys, direct blog ads, sponsored posts, newsletter ads, and so on.


Let me emphasize the point here. This really is the first thing I would try after being banned from AdWords.

However, if you do want to somehow get back in the system, you can do the following.

Note. High risk method.


Step #1.

Create a gateway site. This site is just a one-page site – a landing page. It should play a role of a middleman between your ad and the target page on your main site.

This means the gateway needs to feature some strong copy to convince the visitor to click through to your main site. This will obviously lower your overall CTR, but that’s another story.

The technical side of this gateway is similar to the approach described a couple of paragraphs above – you need to get a new domain and a new host.

Step #2.

Cheat your way into AdWords one more time with a new email and a new credit card. Just like described above.


Step #3.

Set your campaigns and point them to your gateway.

I’ve labeled this method high risk because it’s a lot easier for Google to get a grasp on what’s going on, so the lifespan of your new site will be even shorter.


What about “the right thing to do?”

There’s no right thing to do here.

I said it multiple times in the past and I’ll say it again; I’m not here to teach the right thing to do. I’m here to list the possibilities and leave it up to you to decide whether it’s a path worth taking in your specific situation.

I’m not judging. If you are okay with the methods described here, it’s your call. If not, that’s cool too.

Looking for some online business advice for normal people
and more resources just like this one? Jump in.

What to Do if You Get Banned From Google AdWords |

Hey You! You’ve Lost Control in Your Business. Here’s Why, and What to Do About It


So you’ve been working on your online business, testing different things, playing with new methods…overall, just trying to make things go a little better.

Inevitably, however, comes the day when you will start having doubts.


Don’t deny it.


It happens to everyone.


Pat Flynn’s recent hit – Let Go – is basically about the path from panic to profits and purpose (his own words).


Corbett Barr – the creator of Fizzle (and the killer of Think Traffic) – has his own two cents to share about overcome self-doubt too.


Almost every big name out there faces this. If it didn’t hit you yet, it will. Sorry for being the bearer of bad news.

I did go through this too, by the way. A number of times. Probably a lot more times I’m comfortable admitting.


The thing with doubts is that they are not always that relevant to the reality we’re in. Sometimes, we’re simply worried about things that don’t make sense.

Other times, we’re worried because we don’t feel like we’re in control. We’re worried that we’re only a victim of circumstances and everything we do is kind of reactive or even accidental in nature.

not all worries are real
For example, why are you trying to utilize a certain promotional method in your business at the moment? Is it because it’s part of your overall yearly plan of action or something? Or did you just see it somewhere on the internet and decided to give it a shot? If it’s the former, then cool, you rock! If it’s the latter, then welcome to the party, you’re just like the rest of us…


The goal: re-gaining control


Re-gaining control is by far the most important thing on my list for 2014, and I think it should play a role just as strong on yours.

Please don’t get me wrong. I’ve been doing okay, but I feel that taking this to the mysterious next level won’t happen if I’m not in control of my projects and my actions entirely.

So here’s my plan and the approach I’m taking to make it happen. A big part of this is mindset-related, so proceed with caution if you’re more about the direct go-do advice.



Taming time


Working in the computer era is very confusing and very difficult, even though we don’t have to deal with hard physical labor all day. But maybe that’s exactly the problem…


Here’s the deal. If you’re a construction worker then your work and relaxation environments are very separate and distinguishable. Basically, if you’re at a construction site, you’re at work. If you’re sitting in your chair at home, you’re relaxing.

I know this sounds drop-dead basic so far, but bear with me.

Now, when you’re working on a computer, or even worse, the internet is your main work tool then you’re pretty screwed. That’s because distinguishing work from relaxation is virtually impossible.

For example, picture the following two scenarios:

  1. Work. You’re sitting at your desk, looking at your screen, browsing through the admin panel of and typing a message.
  2. Relaxation. You’re sitting at your desk, looking at your screen, browsing though someone’s profile at and typing a message.

These are essentially the same environments. I mean, the difference for your conscious brain is obvious, but for your primal brain, it’s not obvious at all. This small change – the specific website you’re on, makes it really confusing for your brain to determine if you’re at work or trying to relax.

For ages, we’ve only been doing physical work, and our brains got used to that concept. That’s why physical workers have no problems at all relaxing after a day’s worth of hard work. They can switch in a matter of seconds due to the environment change. We cannot.


This whole probably a bit boring story brings me to one conclusion. And it’s this:

If we want to tame our work time entirely, which is the first step to re-gaining control, we need to start using our main work tool (our PC or Mac) for work only.

This means no relaxation time by your computer. No YouTube, no Facebook, no video games, etc.

And I don’t only mean the obvious, which is avoiding distraction during your work time. I actually mean not using them at all for relaxation purposes.

Once this habit is set for good, our brains will learn, adapt, and eventually let us be in control when we’re working.

So, the big question is what to do when you want to relax with some internet entertainment by your side? Considering my strict rules regarding your work-PC, the only solution I can see is using an entirely different device for relaxation.

For example, if you want to relax, you can take your iPad, or your spouse’s tablet and sit in this nice chair by the window, instead of remaining at your desk.



Planning long term


The other building block to re-gain control in your online business is getting into the habit of long term planning.

We all know the basics of constructing a plan. What you do is pick a goal, write an outline on how you’re going to achieve it, and then start executing it. But short term planning doesn’t protect you from falling victim to those one-off techniques and methods that you’ll stumble upon on the web almost every day.


It’s just that even despite having a good plan, you are likely to find yourself in a situation where you’re chasing after the new cool method that someone has described on a blog somewhere. So the solution I advise for this is practicing the art of long term planning.
Here’s what you do:

  • Focus on handling the tasks that you’ve planned for first, before going after anything new and exciting.
  • Whenever you do come across something interesting, ask yourself if it has the potential to make the execution of your main plan better or faster. If not, then don’t even bother testing the thing out.
  • In general, focus 80% of your time on executing your core plan and handling the tasks specified in it, and only 20% of your time testing new things.

Being on the top of the mountain and knowing every new technique out there is very trendy these days, but try looking at it from an old-school perspective… Let’s take Nike as our example. Do you think that the overall man-hours spent in that huge company is on new technique and idea development, or on simple sneakers-assembly? Since we do have Nike sneakers in the stores all over the world, I guess it’s the latter.

So there you have it. These are my two main methods for re-gaining control. And I really do intend to implement them as soon as possible.

The benefits can be huge. I’m sure of it. No one has ever gotten to the next level by just going through the motions and dealing with their business on a day-to-day reactive basis. The real success is about being in control of your business and your career as a whole.

If you like the stuff, just enter your name and email below to sign up to my newsletter,
where you’ll get more resources just like this one.

Hey You! You’ve Lost Control in Your Business. Here’s Why, and What to Do About It |

My New WordPress Book Available

Over the last couple of months I’ve been working on my new book. I haven’t talked much about it until today, purely because it’s a project that’s not wholly related to online business.

The title of the book is “WordPress 3.7 Complete,” and it’s been released with Packt Publishing just a couple of days ago (available on Amazon and in all major bookstores).

In short, it teaches how to build a site on WordPress and get it online in minutes (without losing your shirt along the way). Suitable for both beginners to site building, as well as folks with some experience under their belts already.


Now, the reason I’m mentioning the book today is because I do believe that you can still benefit from it a lot if you’re using or planning to use WordPress as the platform running your online business sites (something I’ve been advising for years).

More details about the book

The book goes step-by-step through things such as:

  • how to install WordPress in minutes,
  • how to create content that’s optimized for the web and then publish it,
  • picking the best plugins that your site really needs,
  • picking the ideal theme,
  • how to build your own plugins and themes,
  • how podcasting with WordPress works,
  • how to launch non-blog websites with WordPress.

I really did my best to make it as comprehensive as possible, with tons of illustrations and examples.

Available in all major bookstores, and on Amazon (both print and Kindle).


Moving on to the good stuff…

The Holiday Giveaway

UPDATE: Sorry, this giveaway isn’t available any more. But I can still offer you one chapter – chapter 2 – on basically the same rules as described below.

I am not one of those people who would pitch you on a product just for the sake of it, so instead, I will give you a big part of the book free of charge. This way you can get familiar with the message of the book, get some value right upfront and then maybe decide to buy the complete version if you think it’s worth your dollar.

In short, here’s the deal:

I am willing to give away 1/3 of the whole book – 4 full chapters out of 12 – for free.

The only thing I’m asking in return is for you to kindly submit a customer review on the book’s Amazon page (link). The review can be as short or as long as you wish. Amazon doesn’t have any regulations about this as far as I know.

And I’m going to be right up front with you on this one. Amazon reviews help to spread the word out. They help a lot. The more reviews there are, the more Amazon will do to promote my book to people browsing through various related categories. But above all, I do appreciate your honest opinion about the parts of the book you’ll read. If you don’t think that it’s worth 5 stars, or 4 stars, that’s completely okay. As long as you’re honest when writing your short review.

The chapters that are part of the giveaway:

  • Chapter 2, Getting Started, explains how to install WordPress on a remote server, change the basic default settings of your blog, write posts, and comment on those posts. It also shows how to work with sites hosted on, which is one of the branches of the WordPress world.
  • Chapter 5, Plugins and Widgets, discusses everything there is to know about finding the best plugins for WordPress and then using them effectively. Plugins are an integral part of every WordPress site’s lifespan, so it’s more than hard to imagine a successful site that isn’t using any of them.
  • Chapter 6, Choosing and Installing Themes, describes how to manage the basic look of your WordPress website. You also learn where to find themes, why they are useful, and how to implement new themes on your WordPress website.
  • Chapter 12, Creating a Non-Blog Website Part Two – Community Websites and Custom Content Elements, explores the endless possibilities of WordPress when it comes to using it to launch various types of websites. The chapter presents the second batch of our non-blog websites and explains in detail how to build them on top of a standard WordPress installation.

How to Participate

Just go to the contact page on this site and shoot me a message saying something like “Hey, I want the book now!” … or you can be more descriptive if that’s your thing. I will send you the chapters via email.

Oh, and please tweet about this if you think some of your followers could benefit from this giveaway too. Many thanks.

My New WordPress Book Available |

35 Great Resources on Becoming Productive as an Online Business Owner


Productivity was always my topic. I enjoyed the fact that you could take a man who once wasn’t able to get crap done in a day – me – and turn him into someone who’s pretty organized and knows exactly what is there to do, when it needs to be done, why it needs to be done, and how to do it.

Studying productivity has done a lot for me. Without it, I would achieve nothing. Fact.

So today, I wanted to publish a post that would be a way of saying thanks to all the great publishers around the web who share their productivity advice on a regular basis. Here, you’ll find 35 great resources that are sure to make you more productive and thus more effective as an online business owner.

(Okay, I did include some links of my own here too.)

There are 7 chapters:

  • Chapter 1 – Getting Started
  • Chapter 2 – Work Environment
  • Chapter 3 – Creating Habits
  • Chapter 4 – Time Management
  • Chapter 5 – Projects and To-Do Lists
  • Chapter 6 – Productivity Methodologies and Systems
  • Chapter 7 – Tools

Chapter 1 – Getting Started

This chapter is all about starting your journey to being productive as an online business owner. It will give you insights on how to start from scratch, what you need to know, what factors to consider, and what you should expect as your final result.

  1. Productivity Improvement for Online Entrepreneurs – The All-You-Need-to-Know Resource
  2. 9 Wonderful Ways to Get Started in the World of Personal Productivity
  3. How to Get Started with (and Stick with) a New Productivity Tool
  4. The 1-Step Plan for Super-Productivity


Chapter 2 – Work Environment

This chapter talks about how you can setup your work environment towards productivity. The setup of your workplace is an important factor in achieving maximum productivity. Know how you should set up your computer, workspace, desk, getting the right furniture and everything else that can help you become more productive with your work environment.

  1. Top 10 Ways to Create A More Focused and Productive Work Environment
  2. Set Up Your Work Space to Increase Productivity
  3. Setting Up a Home Office that Fuels Productivity
  4. 12 Ways to Improve Productivity at the Workplace
  5. Creating a Workspace that Promotes Your Productivity
  6. How to Improve Productivity When Working from Home


Chapter 3 – Creating Habits

To become productive, first, you need to create some habits and introduce them into your life. Here’s where I’d start.

  1. Productivity Secrets for Savvy Small Business Owners
  2. Living in an i-world: a new way to think about work-life conflict
  3. Ten Steps to Achieving Work Life Balance-Small Business Edition
  4. How to Destroy Your Productivity by Answering Emails


Chapter 4 – Time Management

This chapter teaches you how to manage your time properly. Good time management helps you achieve work-life balance, which in turn will make you a more productive and successful business owner. Learn how to dedicate time for work, family, social life, hobbies, relaxation and other areas of your life. Time management takes practice though.

  1. 10 Time Management Tips that Work
  2. 13 Time Management Tips You Ought to Know
  3. The Top 10 Life Benefits of Time Management
  4. Top 15 Time Management Tools and Apps
  5. Time Management Tools and Techniques


Chapter 5 – Projects and To-Do Lists

This chapter talks about how you can organize, monitor and keep track of your projects and to-do lists. As a business owner, things to do will keep stacking and you might lose sight of what you need to accomplish first. It is necessary that you know how to manage projects properly to make sure everything gets done in time.

  1. Effective Project Management in the Small Business Organization
  2. 3 Project Management Tools All Small Businesses Need
  3. Project Management for Small Businesses-An Introduction
  4. The 10 Benefits of Project Management
  5. Project Management Methodology Explained
  6. How to Handle the Top 5 Challenges in Managing Your Projects
  7. Productivity Made Simple: How to Keep Your Projects from Killing You


Chapter 6 – Productivity Methodologies and Systems

This chapter will talk about how you can use productivity methodologies and systems to make you a more productive business owner. Know what you should focus on every day and know the best methodologies to use.

  1. Five Best Productivity Methods
  2. How to be Productive? The Simplest Possible Productivity System
  3. Get Out of Your Head and Get Things Done- How to Create A Basic Productivity System
  4. Do I Really Need to Learn a Productivity Method?
  5. Productivity Made Simple: The Key to GTD – Your Daily Graph of Activity


Chapter 7 – Tools

Everyone needs some tools. Here are the ones you can look into first.

  1. Getting These 6 Apps … All it Takes to Improve Your Productivity
  2. Best Productivity Tools for People-On-the-Go
  3. 5 Online Tools to Improve Small Business Productivity
  4. 8 Best Apps to Make Your Small Business More Productive


I hope this list will inspire you to take action and make some improvements in the way you’re going about your day.

35 Great Resources on Becoming Productive as an Online Business Owner |

9 Minutes of Inspiration That Will Change Your Life

Big title, right? How can I possibly deliver on such a statement?Well today, I bring you Rocky. Or Sylvester Stallone if you prefer to use his real name.

Sly is one of THE action film heroes. He seems to have been around since forever. My entire childhood was filled with his movies. I saw all the Rocky movies, all the Rambo movies, and now I’m enjoying the new Expendables movies probably more than I should.


But Sly’s career, like everyone else’s career, had to start somewhere, right? By the time I was old enough to be able to watch movies and have fun doing so, Sly was already a huge star, so I couldn’t experience his story firsthand as it unfolded.Little did I know that Sly is the person with the most inspiring success story in the history of ever.

In short, if you’re a person chasing your dreams…be it online business, music, writing, or any other personal development or professional development project, Sly’s story is something you can relate to – something that will fuel you for months if not years to come.

More than that, it will also keep you going in the time of doubt, regret, and even questioning your purpose in this world.

Here’s my version of the story as told by Tony Robbins during one of his somethings (the original video is around 9 minutes long, hence the title of this post):

Sly and his story

His whole life, Sly knew what he wanted to do. Since he was very very young he wanted to be in the movie business, period.

Not just TV, movies.

His goal was to inspire people and show then what they’re capable of and how to overcome unbelievable obstacles because in his own life, he felt like he did just that.

When he was born, he was pulled out by the forceps, that’s why he looked the way he did, why he talked the way he did.

I knew why I wanted to do that and I wasn’t gonna settle for anything else. [...] I was trying to get jobs, it didn’t work out really well. They looked at me and said ‘Hey, you’re stupid looking, do something else. There’s no place for you in that stuff, you’re never gonna be a star in the movies. You’re insane, no one’s gonna want someone who looks dopey and talks out the side of their mouth.’

He got “no”
…after “no”
…after “no”
…after “no”


I was thrown out more than fifteen hundred times of agents offices in New York.

There aren’t fifteen hundred agent offices in New York.

I know, but I’ve been there, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 times.


One time he visited an office and stayed there until successful. He would not leave. He stayed overnight. The guy came back the next morning and Sly was still sitting there.

The guy said “Fine, come in here” and he sat down and gave Sly his first movie.


Well, what character are you playing?

I was in it for about 20 seconds, I was a thug that somebody beat up.


He did like three movies like that. Never got anything. Kept going out.

Rejection, rejection, rejection.

He finally realized it wasn’t working. So he changed his approach.


I was starving by the way. I couldn’t pay to even have heat in my apartment. My wife was screaming at me every day to get a job.

Why didn’t you?

Cause I knew that if I got a job, I’d get seduced back and I’d lose my hunger. I knew that the only way I could do this if it was the only choice, as if I’ve burned all other bridges, cause if I got a normal job I’d be caught up in that rhythm and I’d feel okay with my life, so my dream would just gradually disappear. I wanted to keep that hunger, that hunger that I thought was my only advantage.

My wife didn’t understand that at all. We’d have these vicious fights. It was freezing, I was broke, we had no money. So I finally went to the public library one day cause it was warm. I didn’t want to read anything. So I went in, New York Public Library. I was hanging out there and I sat down in this chair and somebody left a book there. I looked at this book and there were poems, Edgar Allan Poe.

I started reading it and I got totally into Edgar Allan Poe so I know everything about him.


He goes on for another 20 minutes telling about Edgar Allan Poe, he knows everything…how he died, what it was about, what really happened, and so on.


What did Poe do for you?

Poe got me out of myself. He got me to think about how I can touch other people, not worry about myself so much… Maybe decide I become a writer.

So I tried to write a bunch of screenplays, nothing worked, nothing worked.

I was totally broke. I didn’t even have 50 bucks.

Finally, I sold a script. It was called Paradise Alley. It was a movie I made many years later but I sold it and I sold it for a hundred bucks. But a hundred bucks is a ton of money, and I was so thrilled. I thought I’m on my way, but it never led me to anything.

I kept going and going and going and so finally, we were so broke… I hocked my wife’s jewelry. That was basically the end of our relationship. She hated my guts so much.

But the story doesn’t end there as Sly continues…


The one thing I loved most in the world was my dog. I loved my dog because he gave me unconditional love, unlike my wife.

So, what happened was, we’re so broke that to survive, I couldn’t even feed my dog.

So I went to a liquor store, it was the lowest day of my life, I stood outside the liquor store trying to sell my dog to strangers. I was trying to sell my dog for 50 bucks.

Finally, this one guy negotiated with me and bought my dog from me, my best friend on Earth for 25 dollars. I walked away from there and I cried.

“It was the worst thing that ever happened in my life.”

Two weeks later, I’m watching a fight between Muhammad Ali and Wepner, this white guy that’s getting bludgeoned, but keeps on coming.

I got an idea.

I…as soon as the fight ended…I started writing. I wrote for 20 straight hours, I did not sleep. I wrote the entire movie in 20 hours straight. Right then, saw the fight, wrote the movie, the whole thing, done. I was shaking at the end, I was so excited, so I really knew, I knew what I wanted, I knew why I wanted it.

So I went out and started to sell it to agents, they all would read it and say ‘You know, this is predictable, this is stupid.’ So I wrote down all the things they said, and I read them the night of the Oscars when we won.


The greatest revenge is massive success.


I kept going, trying to sell it, trying to sell it, I’m going broke, I’m starving. Finally, I meet these guys, they read it, they believed in the script and loved it. They offered me 125,000 dollars for my script.

Oh my god! You must been out of your mind.

I was. I said just one thing though,
“Guys, you got the deal based on one thing.”
“What’s that?” They said
“I gotta star in it.” I told them
And they went “bffft.” They said “What are you talking about? You’re a writer.”
“No, I’m an actor.” I said
“No no no, you’re a writer.” They said
“No no no, I’m an actor, that’s my story and I’m Rocky. I gotta play it, you know, I gotta be the head person, I gotta be the starring role.”
“There’s no way we’re going o pay 125,000 dollars, take some no-name, stick you in that, throw our money away. We need a star.” They said


They wanted to have Ryan O’Neal play Rocky.

“No way, Ryan doesn’t know Rocky, I’m Rocky. We do this whole thing, right.” They said “Well take it or leave it.” I left the room. I said “If that’s what you believe, you don’t get my script.”


Here’s a guy with no money, none, totally broke, offered a hundred twenty-five thousand dollars, more money he’s seen in his lifetime and he walked away.

And he said they called him a few weeks later, even brought him back and offered him a quarter of a million dollars not to star in his own movie. He turned them down, 250,000 dollars. They came back and their final offer was 325,000 dollars. He said “Not without me.”

They finally compromised and they gave him 35,000 dollars and points of the movie. Cause they said “If this is gonna happen, then you’re going to take the risk with us and the bottom line is we don’t think it will work, but at least we won’t spend as much money on you.”


What did you do with 35,000? It’s not a quarter of a million, but that’s a lot of money when you don’t have 25 bucks.

I went to that liquor store for three straight days and hoped the man with my dog frequented the store cause I wanna buy back my dog.

What happened?

Third day I was there, this guy walks by and I see him and I can’t believe it, there’s my dog. And I looked at him and said “Sir, remember me?” The guy was looking at dog and said “Yeah yeah, I love the dog.” And I said “Look, I was so broke, I was starving, he’s my best friend, I’m sure you love him too but I gotta have him back, please. I beg of you, I’ll pay you a hundred dollars for the dog, I know you gave me 25 but I’ll give you a hundred.”

The man said “Absolutely not, no way, it’s my dog now you can’t buy him back.” I kept pushing. He went 500 dollars for the dog. “-No.” I said “1000 for the dog,” the guy said “No amount of money on Earth is ever gonna get this dog for you.”

What did you do?

I knew my outcome, I take massive action and got my dog! I just kept changing my approach until I got him.

What did it cost you?



“Fifteen thousand dollars and a part in Rocky.”


And you know the dog in Rocky, Butkus? That’s Sly’s real dog. So he puts his dog in the movie, and he puts the guy in the movie.

The production of the movie was a million dollars.


It ended up grossing 200 million dollars when it was launched.


What happens next we all somewhat know. Sly rises to huge international stardom…he becomes the man we know today.

We can do whatever we want, guys.

Looking for some online business advice for normal people
and more resources just like this one? Jump in.

9 Minutes of Inspiration That Will Change Your Life |

How to Learn SEO Online If You’re a Beginner (and an Online Business Owner)?

At first, the topic of how to learn SEO online seems like something that’s been fairly well-covered on the web.

I mean, there are sites like, Search Engine Journal and so on. But as it turns out, they are more about the in-the-trenches practices and advice for people who are already deep into SEO.

But what if you’re just starting out? There surely has to be something for the beginner on a site like Moz, right? Well, not really.

Here’s why. Granted, Moz has their beginner’s guide to SEO (link), but that thing is 10 friggin’ chapters. Again, 10 chapters. In total, that’s probably in the 30,000+ word range. And 30,000 words is a mid-sized book.

What’s wrong with it? Let me quote the classic:

Ain’t nobody got time fo’ dat!

How to Learn SEO Online

So…Moz isn’t really a good place for a beginner to learn SEO online. In fact, there are very few places where a beginner can actually get some useful advice; advice that they can implement right away without having to go through a whole book worth of content.

And I know I speak the truth because I still consider myself somewhat a beginner. I too have difficulties picking the right tactics and staying confident that what I’m doing will actually work, especially with things changing so fast.

So, long story short, I’ve been doing a lot of researching on this, and by the looks of things, I can only recommend three ways of obtaining good SEO advice for a beginner (that is if you’re a person who wants to grow your business’ online visibility by ranking it high on Google).

1. Relevant and updated gathering posts

Every once in a while, a blogger goes the extra mile, contacts a number of top players in the SEO market and asks them about their most current advice that could help a true beginner succeed.

This time, it’s Ayodeji of Effective Inbound Marketing who’s done this. He took the time to interview 19 SEO experts and published the results in one large gathering post.

Posts like that are great places to go for relevant information. The experts featured are people practicing SEO every day. So whenever they get asked about what they’d do if they were just starting out, they always share the most current and updated advice.

Furthermore, I actually encourage you to look for similar “how to learn SEO online” posts in the future. If not Ayodeji then someone else will surely repeat this group interview thing in a couple of months or so.

2. Link building strategies at Point Blank SEO

Point Blank SEO is one of the coolest SEO blogs in the last few years. The advice is clear, understandable, and actionable.

For instance, link building is known to be the core of SEO. In plain English, if you want to do SEO actively, you’re going to be link building a lot.

So a while ago, Jon – the founder of Point Blank SEO, published this link building strategies page.

What’s great about it is that it features quite a lot of tactics, but each one comes with a short description, so depending on how much time and dedication you have for this, you can pick something that suits you in one way or the other.

3. Fizzle and their website traffic course

Fizzle is a training site created by Corbett Barr. It provides quality, real-talk business training with no BS. It’s a paid program ($35 a month), but there’s also a $1 trial.

One of the courses available (and the library is quite big) is about website traffic. Ultimately, the reason why we’re doing SEO is to get traffic. Good search engine rankings on their own are pointless if they don’t bring traffic, right? And it just so happens that Corbett knows a thing or two about traffic. After all, he’s the guy behind Think Traffic.

The website traffic course at Fizzle is video-based and consists of 16 lessons. Everything is laid out nicely and easy to follow, just what a beginner needs.

Feel free to take advantage of the $1 one-month trial and check it out.

Action and learning

I guess that’s it for the places to go, but I’d like to take one more moment to encourage you to do some sniffing around of your own. Good SEO advice is only as strong as it is up-to-date. So, unfortunately, you need to be on a constant lookout if you want to build and retain good search engine visibility.

Oh yes, one more thing. For some additional info on how to learn SEO online and apply it to your online business, make sure to also check out these two posts: the SEO glossary – to get to know the terminology, and my guest post on ProBlogger talking about the essential SEO settings for sites running on WordPress.

If you like the stuff, just enter your name and email below to sign up to my newsletter,
where you’ll get more resources just like this one.

How to Learn SEO Online If You’re a Beginner (and an Online Business Owner)? |

[Printable] Split Testing and Statistical Significance 1-Pager

ntestIf you’ve had the chance to read The The 4-Hour Chef by Tim Ferriss then you know that he’s kind of hooked on the idea of one-pagers.

In essence, a one-pager is a very condensed resource about a given topic. It’s meant to list only the essential, and only the bits that will give you the most results while at the same time requiring the least of your input/effort.

I’ve liked the idea of one-pagers right away the minute I saw them. That’s probably because I like structured information. I like structure in general. Okay, I’m a Structure Nazi (like a Grammar Nazi only less mainstream).

Seeing that one-pagers are a great tool to convey somewhat complex ideas in a relatively easy to grasp manner, I’ve decided to use them on this blog.

My first target, as you can see in the headline – split testing and statistical significance.

Split testing and statistical significance 1-pager


Check statistical significance

Checking statistical significance will let you know if the results you’re getting from your split test are by any chance accidental.

For that, you can use my statistical significance calculator >>.

If your results are significant, you can name the winner and the loser of your test.

loser winner

Next step: scrap the loser, create another version of your test subject and run it against your winner in a new test. In other words, start over.

Don’t over-interpret


The main thing to keep in mind when split testing is not to over-interpret your results. Just because there is a winner and there is a loser, doesn’t meant that you will be able to tell exactly why the test has turned out the way it did. The reasons can be many.

It’s a lot safer to just take the results as they are, and not build theories trying to explain them. Most of the time they turn out to be false anyway. Your time is much better spent creating a new version and running the test again.

Your downloadable copy.

What’s your relationship with split testing? Do you even lift split test?

[Printable] Split Testing and Statistical Significance 1-Pager |

How a Hosting Company Can Kill Your Google Rankings Without You Even Knowing // HostGator Problems

A couple of months ago, I published not one, but two posts about my adventures with hosting companies and hackers. Well, mainly hackers.

One of those posts was a quick publication here on newInternetOrder. I described the situation that happened to me and the dreary results it had on my Google rankings: Once Upon a Time … There’s Some Malware on Your Site.

The other post was a more in-depth tutorial on how to save your WordPress site from malware and hacker attacks. Published on ThemeFuse: Having an Adventure Time with Malware in WordPress … How to Handle It.

Both worth a read, by the way. This is still very relevant information for anyone who seeks security for their site. If you don’t have the time to check them out now, there’s a short summary of the story at the bottom of this post.*

The thing I didn’t know back then was that it wasn’t the end of my struggles with hosting companies, that the new set of HostGator problems was just around the corner…

HostGator and infected https; i.e. why you should avoid HostGator

Just like that, out of the blue, about two weeks ago I got an automated email telling me that I should update my vBulletin forum.

The only strange part is that I don’t use vBulletin for anything. Moreover, I don’t actually own any forum at all…

So instead of just reporting this as spam, I decided to investigate the situation some more. The mail said that there was a forum under:

I followed the link, and lo and behold, there’s a forum… on my domain, except I didn’t put it there. Here’s what it looked like:


Scratch that, not a forum, a spam forum.

It was full of words like: insurance coverage, louis vuitton, open spine surgery (what?), gucci outlet, facial cleanser, chanel sunglasses, ralph lauren polo, and many more.

The actual forum had more than 500 pages of spam content. All on my domain. All with followed links to spam sites.

How do I know how big it was? Because 525 of those pages were indexed on Google (they still are; I do hope they’ll vanish soon):


Guess what linking to spam sites does to your rankings? It kills them. Although I didn’t notice a sudden drop, I was losing rankings steadily since August. Something had to be done.

By the way, there are thousands of domains infected with this forum. If you do a quick search on Google for “louis vuitton Bug Eyed Bastards” you’ll get over 65,000 results:


  • Here’s one:,
  • here’s one:,
  • here’s one:, literally tens of thousands of those forums.

All with the same content. All hosted on HostGator:


HostGator and their inability to act

To fix this as quickly as I could, I went to HostGator and contacted their support team.

I explained what was going on and demanded the forum to be removed from my domain.

What they said was:

“This is only visible under HTTPS** so there’s no problem for your site.” (paraphrasing; I don’t have the actual log)

To which I said that the forum is visible on Google under my domain and it’s certainly hurting me. Their reply was even better as they said:

“Your account doesn’t have HTTPS enabled so we can’t do anything about it.”

To which I disconnected, got an account elsewhere and canceled my HostGator plan, effective immediately, and put an end to my HostGator problems.

So my episode with HostGator is over. I will surely never return to a company that doesn’t give a damn about their customers.

How to check if you’re affected by this problem

Do this:

  • Go to your Google Webmaster Tools and check if there was any unusual spike in indexed pages lately.
  • Do a search on Google for “”
  • Do another search for “louis vuitton” or “Bug Eyed Bastards”

If the above return positive results (positive meaning bad) then you have HostGator problems too. Just switch to another hosting company. Sorry, but HostGator proved that they can do nothing about this issue, so I don’t see any other solution.

For the sake of your site:

Avoid HostGator at all times!

It’s not only me who reports disturbing news like this and more HostGator problems. Check out this post by Yoast.

Finally, where do you go if your site’s affected?

Well, your guess is as good as mine, but I’m on IX Web Hosting now. Mainly because they gave me a dedicated IP for no extra cost (which is great for SEO). We’ll see how things play out in the future.


* Some hackers or automated software took advantage of the server’s vulnerabilities and infected my site with malicious code. My web host at that time – WP Web Host – did nothing to remove this problem and spent most of their time telling me that there was no problem at all. I can’t remember exactly if they managed to remove the bug or not, but I decided to move my site to another host which was the quickest solution.

** HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure) is a communications protocol for secure communication over a computer network. – as told by Wikipedia.

How a Hosting Company Can Kill Your Google Rankings Without You Even Knowing // HostGator Problems |