ASANT Media - Site Starter
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ASANT Media - Site Starter

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An old version of our guide to building your first profitable blog....

An old version of our guide to building your first profitable blog.

Some of the notions are somewhat outdated, but the concepts of this ebook for market research and integration are pretty much consistent.

http://asantmedia.com

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ASANT Media - Site Starter ASANT Media - Site Starter Document Transcript

  • SiteStarter Learn how to make money online Created by ASANT Media http://asantmedia.com
  • Table of Contents Introduction 2 Market Research 3 Domain And Hosting 5 Building Your Site 6 Customize Your Site 8 Content Is King 10 Turning Content Into Cash 12 How To Build An Email List 14 Social Networks 15 Know Your Friends 16 Lights, Camera, Actions 17 Create Your Own Product 18 Words Of Wisdom 19 ASANT Media reserves all rights to Site Starter. Contents of this eBook may not be re-sold, re-written, or distributed without the consent of ASANT Media, LLC. To contact ASANT Media, please visit the site (http://asantmedia.com) for more information. 2009 © ASANT Media, LLC. 
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  • Intro Congratulations on taking your first step towards building your own online business. While steps may seem relatively easy, remember that building your own business of any type can be very time consuming. As long as you are doing something you are interested in, the monetary rewards will come through exponentially and you will have tons of fun. That being said, it is time to get started. The first couple of steps focus on building your sites foundation: You need hosting and a domain name. If at anytime you have questions, comments, or just want to share what you created then feel free to contact me at amey@asantmedia.com. 
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  • Market Research The first thing people want to do, after gaining access to their hosting, is start the creation process; however, wait! You will be doing yourself a big favor. Do homebuilders go straight out to the land and start building? No, they draft countless blue prints, assess what they will need, and how they can most efficiently execute this plan. The same can pretty much be said for any type of business. You need to draft up your business's needs. Get a pen and paper brainstorm the following… 1. At the top of the page jot down the name of the business, site, product, or whatever you want to call it. 2. Directly underneath, create about a 2-sentence description of what your site is about. If somebody wants to quickly know what your business is, will this description fill him or her in? A good one will. 3. Write down different categories/topics that will be covered on your site. You want them to be different from each other, but, overall, make sure they are still relevant to your main topic or niche. 4. In the previous step, more than likely we all get ahead of ourselves by thinking of too many categories. The most efficient organizational system will have around 6 main categories; however, there is nothing wrong with have more or less. In this step, think of 3 articles that can be written for each category. If you can't think of 3, then consider combining that category with another. 5. Finally, think of any service, product, or other extras apart from the "blog" aspect that you may be able to offer. Don't worry yourself with this part too much, this can easily be added on later. Up to this point, you basically have created your initial site layout. You know what your site is about, and, if you created 6 categories, have 18 article ideas ready to be created. Now we need to consider some other factors that will be responsible for us eventually making money. That is the ultimate goal, right? Research For this next part, keep that same notebook or wherever you took notes, and get on the computer. Use your notes to help target the following tasks. 1. We will cover the monetizing more specifically later on. Right now, the goal is to get a feeling for what our options our. Take a second to go over my certified affiliate links - http://asantmedia.com/certified-affiliates. The partners on this list will work for almost any niche, so it is a good start. 
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  • 2. Do a regular Google Search and a Google Blog Search and try to find sites that are related to yours, and see what advertisements they got going on. Visit the advertiser's site and look for a link that say "affiliates" or "partners" (usually located at the bottom). If you can find one, then jot it down. We will come back to it later. 3. Go back to your searches and now just view through various sites. Take note of how their site looks. Do you like it? Is there something you would want on your site too? The point of this step is to start getting a mental visual picture in your head for how your site will look. 4. Back to your notebook, sketch out your mental picture. Depending on your web designing skills, odds are your site won't look exactly like that, but now you have a base. Something you can reference when finding the right look. While the steps will not take long to do, it might be a good idea to sit on these questions for a day, so you can see if anything new pops into your head. Next lesson, we will go over how to find and setup your hosting and domain. So you probably want to make sure you have a good idea about the market you want to enter and your site’s topic. WAIT!!! Make sure you complete any prior tasks. 
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  • Domain and Hosting Hopefully by now you have gotten a good idea of what market you want to enter. Now it is time to get a “store location” or, in this case, web hosting. You are going to want something cheap, reliable, and have the ability to grow with you. For the most part, you won’t need anything more than the basic package that any hosting provides. Just choose one from a list of pre-approved hosting companies that I have already compared for you. Check out the chart here - http://asantmedia.com/web-hosting-comparison. Lot of people fall into the trap of starting out with a free Blogger or Wordpress account, with the hopes of transferring to the paid stuff once their site kicks in. DON’T DO IT! It will not only cost you more in the long run, but it will also stall your growth and prevent you from becoming affiliates with certain partners. You can read my entire trashing of free hosting options here - http://asantmedia.com/free-vs-paid-hosting. Most of these hosting companies give you a free domain name with your hosting purchase, so you can save yourself some money there as well. Make sure to get a solid “.com” that is easy to remember, easy to spell, and easier to market. Now it is time for you to get your hosting and domain setup. Feel free to explore it if you want, but we will move more on setting up your site in the next lesson. WAIT!!! Make sure you complete any prior tasks. 
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  • Building Your Site Today there are so many free and cheap resources related to building your site. I remember when I first started; I was required to do everything from Notepad. Now people with almost no knowledge of design code are building sites. If at any point you get confused or have any questions, simply contact me and I will try to help you out. Content Management System (CMS) A CMS allows us to easily update and manage a site from a front-end system. In other words, we don't need to directly update the actual code to make non-design related changes (i.e. make new articles, manage comments, add plugins). There are many viable free options (Joomla, Drupal); however, for this course, we will be using Wordpress. It is the most popular one and has good support. Regardless of what you use, they are all very easy to install. 1. If your hosting has CPanel, then installing Wordpress is extremely simple. CPanel users can simply login > Find something called 'Fantastico' >> Click on Wordpress >> Install. Yes it is that easy. More detailed instructions - http://bit.ly/mKI6a. 2. Assuming you installed it in the home directory, going to 'yoursite.com' should show a default theme of Wordpress. If you did not install in home directly and don't know how to redirect, then reply to this email or perform a Google search. 3. To get to your Admin Panel go to 'yoursite.com/wp-admin'. Fill in the login box with the data your entered at install. If successful, you should now be in the Admin Panel. Take a second to play around with it. Try making a new post, delete comments, looking at the options. Nobody will be visiting your site, so you have nothing to worry about. Time to Brand and Personalize Hopefully everything has gone as planned to this point, but we are just getting started. Obviously, nobody wants to keep that dull boring default Wordpress theme. You probably won't make very much money with it either, so we need to change it. The beautiful thing about Wordpress is that you don't need to know any coding to change the look of your site. Wordpress calls a site's layout a theme. There is almost an infinite amount of themes available (free and paid), and they can easily be replaced. 1. Download your theme (extract it, if necessary). Using a *FTP program, upload the entire folder into the themes folder (wp-content > themes). 2. Now go to your WP-Admin panel > find the theme button on the left side > choose your theme. 
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  • * FTP is a program that allows you to easily upload files from your computer to your web host. I recommend free FileZilla. CPanel users can look for the 'FTP Accounts' button to learn how to configure their client. We have done quite a bit, so your homework is to find a theme you like. Try out different ones and just play around with them. The following is a list of great resources where you can find amazing free and paid themes: • WooThemes - http://bit.ly/Mkfc0 • 50 Best Wordpress Themes - http://bit.ly/7sSkM • 16 Best Free Recommended Wordpress Themes For Wordpress 2.8 - http://bit.ly/OCWBT • 5 Recommended Theme Sites - http://asantmedia.com/best-wordpress-themes • The Most Advance Wordpress Theme On Earth - http://www.mammothcreatives.com/the-most- advance-wordpress-theme-on-earth Next time we will look at various simple techniques to try and customize your theme. WAIT!!! Make sure you complete any prior tasks. 
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  • Customize Your Site Hopefully you had some time to play around with different themes, and at least found one that is suitable for now. Unless you get a theme customized for you, a couple months out, you will be changing your theme anyways. It is inevitable. Obviously, the less experience you have, the less customization you will want to or are able to do; however, the best way to learn is always by playing around. Reading the code and see what changes what. That is what I did, and now I am a pro. It is time for you to make your first big decision. Are you willing to put in the capital upfront for a premium theme? If you are completely clueless on web design, then I highly recommend paying for a cheap basic theme. Why? Because it will save you a couple of dead months, while you are trying to figure everything out. Time is money. If you had a store, would you expect people to take you seriously if the walls were not painted properly or the place was not adequately decorated? With most paid custom themes, you can manage the actual design from the WP Admin. Once again, here are a bunch of great themes that let you do this - http://bit.ly/ETpSP. Install Wordpress on Your Computer Since nobody is visiting your site, making changes directly has no real negative impact; however, as you start to gain traffic and build up articles, you don't want your theme test to interfere. So why not test it all on your computer before publishing live? It will save you tons of time. Check out this step-by-step guide to installing Wordpress locally on your computer - http://www.mammothcreatives.com/9-steps-to-installing-wordpress-locally. Important Changes While you don't need to go changing everything right away, a key place you want to start is the site’s logo in the header. Depending on your theme it might be some image or just text. Either way find out how to change it. After your URL, your header is the second line of your brand. It is usually the first thing people see. If it is an image you need to change, and you don't know how, then search for graphic forums. You can always find somebody willing to do it for free. So over the next couple of days, I want you to take the time and get settled into your theme. If you feel confident, start writing some of your articles, so you can see how your site looks with content actually on it. Finally, start adding some plugins to your Wordpress build. Adding them 
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  • is the same process as installing a theme except you upload it to the plugin folder. Take a look at the 7 plugins I use on every site - http://asantmedia.com/7-plugins-i-use-on-every-site. In the next email, we will begin to start putting the site together using content. WAIT!!! Make sure you complete any prior tasks. 
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  • Content is King Now that we got all the heavy work out of the way it is time to get the money ball rolling. The easiest way to do that is by creating loads and loads of content. Very simply, the more articles you have the better chance you have of getting somebody to come to your site. Because you are probably not going to have much site traffic for the next two months, it is important that every article be built to capture any visitor that does come across your site. Many people will tell you that you need 5 pillar articles. Meaning 5 articles that build the core of your site, but I believe you need a whole lot more. For the next two months your articles should be focusing on building quality "searchable" content. In other words, these articles should be fact based and/or reviews of related products. Eventually you will be able to create single topic pages that link back to articles on your site. For example, if you are running a weight-lifting site, then soon you can create a page, “8 Upper Body Exercises” where you link to 8 different articles on your site about individual upper body exercises. The search engines love this. The importance of search engine optimized, also known as SEO, can really turn a rinky-dink operation into a powerful authority site. A single semi-popular keyword or phrase can bring in 100-200 or even more people daily alone. Best of all, search traffic is highly target-able, which means they are more likely to click on your ads or related affiliate products. Quickly do a Google search for something you would like your site to show up under, and see what is already there. See what they are doing, and try to do better. We will focus more on SEO a little bit later on, but here are the basics. Search Google for the phrase “stocks to buy in 2009”. I am up at the top, and receive tons of traffic a day from that page alone. I will refer to this for examples. • Your article title should be close to the search term you are going after. My article included 'stocks to buy' • You need to have the All In One SEO plugin installed, and add your title and description to every article. Title was “4 Stocks to Buy in 2009” and description was “I share 4 stocks that are must buys in 2009”. • Link to other articles on your site. Search engine spiders like it when you link within your site, so do it. A good example of this can be seen on one of my stock broker review pages - http://thewildinvestor.com/tradeking-stock-brokerage-review. • Lastly, if you can get other people to link to your site, then that is cherry on the top. 
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  • Those are the basics of SEO. Check out my 7 ways to increase search traffic - http://asantmedia.com/7-effective-ways-to-increase-search-engine-ranking. The best articles are “top 10” lists, the “best ofs”, reviews of related products, etc. Over the next couple of days, get at least 5 solid articles created. Next time we will focus on how to integrate our affiliate links, and make the article useful to readers at the same time. WAIT!!! Make sure you complete any prior tasks. 
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  • Turning Content Into Cash The number one mistake I see many sites commit is to post all the ads and banners they can find. They will put it all over the sidebar or try to embed it into the post. Either way this method is highly inefficient. It may only work if you are getting thousands upon thousands of users a day. Do you realize that the conversion rates for most of these ads are 15% or lower? So if you are just starting and lucky to get 50 people in one day, those are some bad figures; however, traffic is not everything. I know people who have gotten 10,000 visitors and I had 200, yet I converted more frequently and made more money. Often times, it is not how much traffic you get, but how can you optimize your business plan. Take a second to learn how to convert affiliate sales with little traffic - http://asantmedia.com/coverting-affiliate-sales-with-little-traffic. It describes a couple easy steps that many people just do not take the time to do. Here is a little breakdown of the article linked above: • Find a couple of services, companies, or products to promote and keep reviewing them and embedding them into your articles. You really need to make it seem like this affiliate is the best thing since slice bread. Obviously, the more somebody sees something, the higher chance of him or her eventually following through. • Don't over due it. If you are promoting too many products, visitors will start to get the sense of spam. This will be even more magnified if your site design is not up to par. • Properly insert Adsense ads. I have found the best spots are a 350x200 in the sidebar and a 460x68 at the bottom of the post. Check out the optimal ad slot - http://asantmedia.com/stumbling-across-the-optimal-ad-spot. Also take a second to look at my free eBook, Banking off Adsense - http://bit.ly/FTSUi. (you will need a PDF reader). Basically, you want to think of yourself like a store going out of business. Promote your best product and do it constantly, but creatively. You want to make sure that you keep thinking of new and unique ways to highlight you product. Make people feel like they need to use this. By now you should be getting a good grasp of how this whole online money making gig works. I like to think of it like an on-going puzzle. How long will it take for you to put it all together? It is a challenge, but if you stick with it and like the topic, then you will be rewarded. In the next lessons, we will start to look at site promotion. So keep building content, integrating affiliate links, and building the foundation of your site because we are about to share your hard work. P.S. Have a good headshot of yourself ready. 
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  • WAIT!!! Make sure you complete any prior tasks. 
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  • How to Build an Email List It took me almost a year into the “make money online” world until I understood the power of building an email list. I would even go as far to say that a solid email list could make you more money than your actual site. Think about it. Subscribers have to opt-in to your list, so obviously these subscribers want to see what you have to share. In other words, they are highly “convertible traffic”. With email lists, you can create courses, promote your products, and build anticipation for an up- coming product launch. The possibilities are endless, but the end goal is the same… to market whatever you are promoting. YOU NEED A PROFESSIONAL SERVICE. When I first started my list I made the biggest mistake. I started with a free service; however, the more subscribers you get the more you realize you need a better service. Once I converted, I was required to get already opt-in subscribers to opt-in again. I ended up losing 70 of 100 subscribers. The list will get too long to tell you why you need a paid service, but the main reason include: • Autoresponders - Once somebody subscribes you can automatically create a set of follow-up emails to be sent to that subscriber. Automatic income at its best. • Manage multiple lists - You will have multiple courses, products, and list. Most free services don't give you much options or customization. In short, you need a paid service. It will payoff faster than you think. I personally recommend Aweber, and you can learn more about increasing your profits with Aweber here - http://asantmedia.com/increase-profts-with-extra-incentives. Sign up for a newsletter service today (AWEBER). You may think you are saving money by waiting, but each visitor that comes without one setup is potentially a loss of revenue. How to Gain Subscribers Getting subscribers is really not that hard. The easiest way is to offer a free eBook or product and give them the link to it in the welcome email. For example, at my stock market newsletter I offer a free eBook on how to start trading in the stock market - http://thewildinvestor.com/gtesm. So you can see why building an email list is so profitable. If you are fortunate enough to build a good size list, making money is easy as sending out a broadcast about your product. WAIT!!! Make sure you complete any prior tasks. 
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  • Social Networks With loads of social networks and social bookmarking sites, there is no shortage of free marketing mediums. I’m sure many of you are already on them if you have already started your marketing campaign. The problem is that about 95% of people use these social networks wrong. Well, those that are using it for marketing purposes that is. There are too many social networks and bookmarking sites to list them all, but some of the popular ones include: Twitter, Facebook, StumbleUpon, YouTube, Digg, Delicous, and so on. With social networks, you need to be just that, SOCIAL. The best practice involves the 80/20 rule. Meaning that 80% of your social network activity should be helping out and interacting with other people, while the other 20% is allotted to promoting your stuff. Too many times I come across people who just promote their stuff 100%, and it never works. Understanding social networks can be summed up with just a couple steps: maintain your profile, find friends/followers, integrate all other social networks (point one to the other and so on, and then use them over and over again. I have created this video for you that explains how to properly leverage social networks- . Make sure to also have a decent headshot of yourself, so people see you are real person. Block out 30 minutes of just answering people's questions on Twitter, and watch your follower count rise. I would not say using a social network is hard, but it takes some time to figure out how it all works. As long as you stay active, and help people out you will reap the benefits. WAIT!!! Make sure you complete any prior tasks. 
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  • Know Your Friends Whew! By now you should really have much of your site's foundation underway, but we do not want to burn out too quickly. Today I want you to step away from your site. There seems to be a common thinking that making money online is done by a bunch of non- social people. Take a second to look at some of the most popular sites in your niche. All these people got there by networking. You will never truly experience any success online unless you can have some other site owners that got your back. So what I want you to do is take a couple days to get to know the people in your niche. Bounce ideas off each other, introduce yourself, and see if there are any collaborations you guys can do. Just please make sure the first thing you ask them is not, "Want to exchange blogroll links?" It is a waste of time. The benefit of having a solid network is to build a support system, publicize each other's content, and bounce ideas of each other. It can also act as a good source of technical support. One of my blogs had gone down, and I had no idea how to fix it; however, somebody in my network did and it saved me money and time. WAIT!!! Make sure you complete any prior tasks. 
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  • Lights, Camera, Action Do you realize how many people watch videos on the Internet every day? Video is definitely the next frontier in the world of making money online. Through video people get a better sense of your personality and feel more connected to you. Any kind of niche can have some video aspect, whether it is a traditional video or a screencast. A screencast is basically a video of your monitor. I use it all the time to show people how I trade stocks or show reviews of various online services. Your video does not have to be the best of quality. As long as people can tell what is going on, that is all they need. Videos can also open doors to more opportunity. Did you know that there are thousands of people making money off YouTube because they have so many subscribers? There have also been people with popular videos, who now can be seen in commercials and television shows. While you my not get that far, video definitely adds another dimension to your site and brand. Some good free video sites include: YouTube, Vimeo, Blip.tv, and Viddler. When posting videos make sure to leave good tags and other description items. This is how people will find your video if not embedded on your site. WAIT!!! Make sure you complete any prior tasks. 
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  • Create Your Own Product Depending on your experience with your particular niche, you may have a lot of valuable information to share. Wouldn't it be nice if instead of relying solely on affiliate links you could promote your own self-made product? You don't have to worry about the product suddenly disappearing or dropping commission percentage. You can create your own prices, discounts, and promotions. You can also use your product to giveaway as prizes. There are a lot of benefits of creating your own premium product or service. There are several ways to manage the whole payment process; however, if you are just starting out, don't get too fancy just yet. You can always use Paypal's merchant program, but I like ClickBank (http://bit.ly/AOLpe) or E-junkie (http://bit.ly/2Ck5eQ) because they automatically manage affiliates for you. That's right. You can have people sell your product for you. Don't be too stingy with your commissions. I would recommend anything above 40%. It will pay off in the long run. So think about a product you could create (i.e. ebook, service, tutorial packages), then create a landing page for it, and start selling your product. Check out these articles for a little more information on landing pages… 6 Simple Tactics To Drastically Improve Landing Page Conversions http://www.mammothcreatives.com/6-simple-tactics-to-drastically-improve-landing-page- conversions 2 Important Reasons For Using A Squeeze Page http://www.mammothcreatives.com/2-important-reasons-for-using-a-squeeze-page Examples of Effective Sales and Squeeze Pages http://www.mammothcreatives.com/examples-of-effective-sales-and-squeeze-pages 8 Free Landing Page Templates http://www.mammothcreatives.com/creatives.zip So get to thinking. Whatever you do make sure the quality is good. A bad product can have a negative impact on your overall brand. WAIT!!! Make sure you complete any prior tasks. 
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  • Words Of Wisdom While it is true that the basic principles are the same, making money online is 100% creativity. Too many people get into this gig thinking somebody can just tell them step-by-step what to do. If you run into a problem, they quickly run for answers. As you can see this method will get most of you just around $100. Believe it or not, running your own site is just like running a business. You need to put time and effort into it. I am simply giving you the brushes. It is up to you to decide what painting to create. The reason I am saying this is because making money online is an exponential process. Meaning the rewards and benefits will come in large chunks. You may be making a couple dollars a month for the first few months; suddenly you jump a little higher, and higher. The grunt work needs to be put up front. Any money you make is just icing. Most sites don't last longer than 3-6 months because people keep looking for quick money. I can tell you, from personal experience, that things will just click in your head. One day you will be working on something or reading an article, and suddenly a light bulb will go off. The number one key to making money online is to learn how the whole process works. How do you gain traffic? How do you make money? How do you find resources? All this may seem hard and confusing at first, but I guarantee that if you stick with it, keep learning new things, and pushing the limit, then you may be able to create your own course like this one day. So get to work. Also let me know about your site. Maybe I can throw some pointers your way or bounce ideas of each other. 
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