Split testing is really worth it – who would’ve believed it?

I have always known that you should do split tests. But knowing and actually doing are two different things.

I am trying to learn list building alongside blogging and that is why the subject came up. But at the moment my traffic levels are so low that building the list just from my blog visitors (signup form is in the sidebar by the way) would be too slow. For that reason, I am also driving traffic with solo ads.

It is clear that traffic quality from solo ads is lower compared to organic visitors to my site via search engines and so on. But at the moment solo ads have a clear convenience advantage as I am able to get x amount of clicks for a predetermined price.

This makes it easy to test my squeeze page. I just got started with this and over the weekend did a really simple test of just switching the order of image and form. Variant A had form fields on right and variant B had the form on the left side of the page.

As I am just learning this stuff I had to try to be too advanced at first. I tried creating experiments in Google Analytics but for some reason, it broke my GetResponse form code. And the page didn’t load completely or not at all.

Luckily I realized quite soon that it is possible to do split tests directly in form editor in GetResponse. After that, it was smooth sailing.

I do need to figure out what it was that was wrong in the Google Analytics, though. I have a feeling that it is a good skill to have for the future as well.

Results

What were the results you ask? No less than 44% difference between the forms. Okay, it was only around 300 clicks so statistical validity might be a bit sketchy but that will have to do for now.

split testing

The difference between only using variant A and only using variant B would’ve been almost 40 clicks or over 150% in favor of variant B.

Shoemoney blog has also a good example of how a really small change can make a big difference to the results. Just by making a small change to the add-to-cart button conversions were increased by almost 80%

Humans are strange. But I think this stuff can get addictive.

What are your experiences with split testing? How and what do you test? Please let me know in the comments.

Penny Clicks Academy Review – Niche Marketing in Facebook

niche marketing in facebookI need to be honest and mention that I was about to skip this course as somehow it felt so overly hyped when several affiliate marketers started pushing it prior to launch earlier this week.

Only after I read an endorsement of it by Michael Wilding I made my mind and picked it up.

And paid for my indecisiviness. I think it was going for 24.95$ right at the launch but I ended up paying 31$ for the frontend product and at the time of writing of this review the price is 35$ and going up again in a couple of hours.

I have been planning to read up on advertising on Facebook for a while now and this product got me over the initial hurdles quite handily.

What is included?

A training course consisting of total of 10 videos. Total running time of videos is around 85 minutes.

Videos are very well presented. Audio is crisp and clear and presenters do a really good job in all of the videos.

What is it about?

Niche marketing or niche eCommerce in Facebook.

I think it is important to repeat that this course is not general Facebook advertising course but it presents a pretty specific niche marketing strategy.

A strategy that utilizes cheap clicks to build up a Facebook fan page and then monetizing it.

The only downside in this course is in my opinion that the monetizing part is left a little bit open and everything is not as clear as it is when it comes to the meat of the course – penny clicks.

And I think the monetizing portion is the trickiest one to do right in a strategy like this and it does need the willingness to learn independently to figure everything out.

But it does what it says on the tin, you learn how to get clicks for pennies.

Who it is for?

Anyone who wishes to get started in making money. Or add somethin new to existing income portfolio.

Authors have gone to great lengths to test the material with beginners in mind and it shows. So I am confident that even people with beginner level IT skills are able to follow along.

What does it cost?

As mentioned above, the current price is 35$ and sales page claims that price is going up again in a couple of hours to 37$ which is the final price of the course.

I like that kind of integrity in sales pages, by the way. If you claim to raise the price in x hours. Do it as well and don’t start the counter again upon reload.

I didn’t pick up any of the One Time Offers (OTO) but they are as follows:

  • OTO 1 – DFY Campaign Academy
    • 67$
    • 5 case studies showing actual campaigns done
    • 10 Done For You niches
      • Including sample content and graphics
  • OTO 2 – Social Ad Suite Pro + Social Pixel Suite
    • 67$
    • Facebook ad creator software
      • 1000 assets included
    • Facebook tracking pixel plugin for WordPress
  • OTO 3 – Penny Clicks Mastermind
    • 97$
    • 4-week hands-on course to the course contents

Biggest value from these three I think comes from OTO 2.

Obviously, you can create ad graphics with any suitable graphics editor. But for someone whose core competence is not in graphics that piece of software seems to give an easy to use way to create custom graphics specificly for Facebook ads.

Do remember though that my impression of these OTOs is based on sales material and not in actually trying the software.

Penny Clicks Academy Review – Final thoughts

Refreshingly well produced video course with actionable content. The only big downside in my books is the lack of attention on the monetization aspect.

They do mention in the videos that detailed look is not in the scope of this course. I just wish it were. With current contents, you get something like 80% of the journey covered.

While going through the course I was able to create a campaign to advertise my blogs Facebook page. Not getting the clicks at pennies, but not really doing it as instructed either as my page is not exactly what this course is meant to be used with either.

But, even with those caveats, I highly recommend that you check this out.

Grab the course from here

 

4 Blog Posts Worth Your Time

saturday link dumpWelcome to the first edition of Saturday Link Dump!

Blog post where I will collect links to interesting material I have come across over the previous week.

All of the material is not necessarily from the current week, it just is so that I have come across said material under the current week.

Some things might be even several years old but something in them warrants a link today.

10 overlooked Google tools

Neil Patel over at neilpatel.com has a great list of 10 overlooked Google tools for SEO.

List of the tools below as well as short lift from the Mr. Patels reasoning for inclusion for most of them.

  1. Google Mobile-Friendly Test
    • With the help of the Google Mobile-Friendly Test tool, it only takes a couple seconds to determine if your website is mobile friendly or not.
  2. Google My Business
  3. Google PageSpeed Insights
  4. Google Correlate
    • With this, you can uncover search patterns that “correspond with real-world trends.”
  5. Google Trends
    • In addition to exploring “Featured Insights,” you can also run a search for any topic or keyword that comes to mind.
  6. Google Chrome
    • Google Chrome has a variety of SEO extensions that can help you make better decisions about your online marketing strategy.
  7. Google Alerts
    • Keep a beat on your competition and what they are doing.
  8. Google Voice
    • With this tool at your disposal, you gain access to one number for all of your phones.
  9. Google Sheets
  10. Youtube
    • YouTube videos often rank high in Google’s search results.

Top incluencer Blogs to follow in 2017

Zac Johnson (who I was able to interview earlier this week) posted a good list of influencers to follow next year. Or right away for that matter.

  • Neil Patel
  • Gary Vaynerchuk
  • Jeremy Schoemaker
  • John Lee Dumas
  • Brian Clark
  • Syed Balkhi
  • John Rampton
  • John Chow
  • Sujan Patel

Most of them I already had on my list, but found some additions still. Who would you add to the list?

Imposter Syndrome

Back to Neil Patel, this time at Quicksprout.com. In this post he discusses imposter syndrome and what it could mean for a content marketer.

And not just the causes for it but ways to overcome it as well. A good read.

The imposter syndrome makes us feel like we’re cheating. This feeling can, in turn, cause us to reduce the quality of our work even if we’re not consciously aware of it. I’ve seen the imposter syndrome turn would-be marketing rockstars into timid underachievers.

10 Content marketing mistakes amateurs make

Final link for today is a great article by Jeff Bullas. I was able to pick up something from all of the points in the list.

Well worth to read even if you don’t consider yourself an amateur any more.

And I think I need to read this again in couple of months time. Just to be sure.

  1. Not Automating
  2. Not optimizing for search engines
  3. Not hustling your content
  4. Not working on your headlines
  5. Not experimenting
  6. Poor quality content
  7. Not building and owning your online content distribution
  8. Not thinking like a publisher
  9. Not learning from the innovators
  10. Not paying attention to conversion and analytics

Thats it this week. Tune in again next Saturday! And I would be delighted to hear what was the most important piece of writing you read this week? Please let me know in the comments.

5 Questions To Zac Johnson

zac johnsonI am hoping to start a series of mini interviews with this post. Posts will be titled simply “5 Questions To X” to keep everything nice and compact. For this inaugural post, I was able to get answers from one of the originators in the online business, Zac Johnson, the man behind sites such as ZacJohson.com and Blogging.org.

In your opinion, what is the most important skill to have if one starts as a blogger and / or affiliate marketer in 2017?

Patience and Dedication — First of all, there are over a billion sites on the internet today. While it might be easy to get started with a blog or making money with affiliate marketing, you also need to realize you are against the world at the same time. It’s not easy to find success and it’s definitely going to take a lof of time to stand out from the crowd. If you aren’t fully dedicated to this, you will never make it. For every success story you see and hear of, there are hundreds of failures behind it you never hear of.

What is the Next Big Thing in Online Business in 2017 and why?

Mobile and demographic targeting are going to continue to be the big money makers. Mobile because it’s just simply taking over the world by storm and more people are using it to access the internet than ever before. Data/demographic targeting are just as important, as there is no need to spend money on advertising to ‘general audiences’ anymore. If you know your audience and can track them through email/cookies/retargeting, you can scale to no end.

How important to your business are non-search engine traffic sources such as Twitter or Pinterest?

I love Twitter for engagement and branding. It’s an excellent way to connect with others, put your marketing on autopilot and also scale in your following in the process. Pinterest is also great for a lot of people, but I’ve never done anything with it.

Is money still in the list?

Always, without a list, you are just killing yourself. 70% of new audiences that come to your site are going to leave and never come back. An email list is the best way to keep them for years to come. Popup windows and welcome mats are working best these days. After some tweaking and split testing, there is no reason why you shouldn’t be able to convert 5-10% of your cold audience into email subscribers.

Your biggest plunder over the years?

I’ve been doing this for 20 years now, so I would have to say the one consistency has been affiliate marketing. It’s where I got my start and how I was able to leverage my skills into the “Zac Johnson” brand it’s become today. When I first started making money online there were only a handful of affiliate programs on the internet. Now there are thousands.

Thank you for your time! Do you have some final words to my readers?

If you want to find success online, niche down as much as possible and focus more on your content promotion than anything else. I cover all of this in my guide at blogging.org.

 

I am very grateful to Zac for him to take the time to answer my questions. Feedback, additional questions, and comments are most welcome!

How can you make money with a blog?

In the previous post, I concluded that it is, in fact, possible to earn money with a blog. But how can you make money with a blog? What are the ways to monetize your content? And what is the earning potential of blogging?

We can start by looking at the following infographic from PageTraffic:

Bloggers Who Make More 12 Bloggers Who Make More than $10,000 a Month & How They Do It!

As a disclaimer, only bloggers who publicly disclose their income are listed so there might be others who would make it to the list if their income was public knowledge.

Sources of income are quite varied and we can take a look at for example Pat Flynn who writes a monthly income report, latest one from last October. From the report, we learn the different sources of income for him. Affiliate commissions from Bluehost seem to be the biggest earner but he does have multiple products that bring in streams of income. In addition, he is trying to shift the balance from affiliate income to own products.

Darren Rowse doesn’t publish exact dollar figures but this image shows a similar picture to Pat Flynn’s situation. Various sources of income, a combination of an affiliate as well as advertising income with a biggest single revenue stream coming from affiliate commissions.

How can you make money with a blogThe third and final example is Rosemarie Groner from Busy Budgeter blog. She went from 5k$ per month to more than 20k$ per month from the same kind of page view volume.

I think these examples give a rough answer to the question: how can you make money with a blog? The short answer is that with affiliate commissions, advertising as well as with own products. And the earning potential. Anything from zero to in excess of hundred thousand dollars per month.

Can you really make money online or is it just a big scam?

I believe that it is a non-trivial number of people who wonder if it is possible to make money online. There are big companies like Google and Facebook who are making money online. But when it comes to this blog post it is not that scale of income I am thinking about. Can you really make money online as a marketer, content creator or blogger? To exist online and in the ideal case spend only the minimal number of hours to do the earning.

If you have spent any length of time online, you must’ve seen an advertisement for various pushbutton or autopilot systems. Systems that will literally print money for you. Systems that promise hundreds of thousands or even millions in income per year. All out of the kindness of heart of the author for the lowly price of only 27$. Why would anyone who is able to make that kind of money make the effort to create a product and charge so little for it? These scream scam so loud that everyone should know to stay far away from them already.

Ways to make money online

But are there legitimate ways to make money online? I think so yes. For example the tasks below

  • sell information
    • Selling of instructional videos and / or books
  • sell answers
    • Answer to surveys against compensation
  • sell creations
    • Sell logo designs in Fiverr
  • sell time
    • Do micro tasks in Amazon Mechanical Turk
  • create content
    • Run a blog

What do all those have in common?

There is effort involved in them. They are not on autopilot. You need to actually work to earn money with any of these.

I have only included only one example under each bullet. There are others which would fit under each main level bullet and there probably are additional bullet points that I have omitted as well. But I think you get the point. The effort was the one thing in common to all five but only two of the points have one important feature.

Scalability

Selling information and creating content scale up and thus earning potential is not restricted by how much time you are able to put into them. One could argue that creating content is actually selling information as well. But I wanted to show them separately as earning logic is different in them.

Surveys

Earning potential in the three leftovers is limited by how much time you are able to use. And aside from selling creations the hourly wage most likely won’t be high. For example a while back I wanted to see what kind of money one could make by filling surveys. I purchased a list of survey sites from TakeSurveysForCash. My idea was that my time would be better spent actually filling the surveys instead of trying to find the good survey companies. I might be a little gimped due to not being US based so your mileage may vary depending on where you are from.

Long story short, I quit doing those after around dozen filled surveys because it was just so mind numbingly boring. In total, I spent 2 hours and 9 minutes filling those up and earned 12.50$ for my effort. Earnings were further boosted in couple of the sites with newcomer bonuses so actual hourly earnings were even less. The situation might improve if you stay for a longer time with the same companies to get access to better-paid surveys. I never saw those, though. I would consider again in extreme emergency if all else were to fail.

Mechanical Turk

I think the situation is similar in Mechanical Turk – money can be made with time spent. Sadly I can’t test it at the moment as I just recently found out that my old Mechanical Turk account from a while back was under a review. I hadn’t logged in for several years and was surprised that my application to use the system was declined. I had done couple 0.10c jobs but nothing after those. It was possible to browse what is available, though. And there are certain types of typing tasks which have almost 300$ payouts. These high payout tasks do need a qualification and I can’t comment on how hard it is to earn such a qualification.

Fiverr

I haven’t tried selling services on Fiverr so can’t really comment on that. But a guy who wrote a book which partly covered Fiverr as well seems to make money. Well, I did create a gig as the test about blog commenting service. No one bought that.

Can you really make money online?

So in my opinion answer to the question “Can you really make money online?” is Yes. Yes, you can, but you have to work for it. It doesn’t come without any effort.

All in all, this is a pretty long-winded way to say that my concentration in this blog will revolve around selling information. Both as products as well as from blogging. If you think I can (or can’t) do it. Please tell so in the comments.

A slight course correction to the blog

blogI have come to a conclusion that I want to make a slight course correction to this blog of mine. Initially, I set this up for the sole purpose of writing Internet Marketing product reviews by doing review videos and posting them on Youtube. And hopefully making them rank high enough to draw in traffic and convert a portion of that traffic to affiliate sales and make some money in the process.

In addition to posting reviews, my plan was to fill the blog with PLR articles I bought years ago. Oh, how clueless I was. My naive idea was to gain some sales with minimal effort.

Then I found Wealthy Affiliate and turned this blog into a tool to mainly market Wealthy Affiliate. And at the same time create (or at least try to create) quality content to eventually pull in organic traffic as well.

When one goes through the training in WA a niche is chosen pretty early in the process. I chose to go with ‘make money online’ – niche. And idea was to concentrate on blogging as well as small ways to earn extra money. What those small ways would be I had no idea of.

I have been on this now for a couple of weeks and my head has cleared a bit more.  And I know at least a little bit better what I would like to do with this blog.

I want to

  • Learn more about internet marketing (affiliate marketing, PPC, CPA, email, etc.)
  • Write honestly
  • Learn to be a better writer
  • Learn to earn
  • Document my journey
  • Earn money

I don’t want to

  • Scam people
  • Write dishonest reviews
  • Claim to be something I am not

My problem with original direction was that I was a little bit ashamed, I could say, to put my own name as an author to these posts. Internet Marketing is so filled with over-hyped products that promise instant riches or at least earnings with little to no effort at all. I have bought those products earlier and there are many of those out there which are closer to MLM pyramids than anything that has to do with actual business. And I didn’t want to attach my name to these systems.

I don’t know

I do know that it is possible to make money with blogging and I do know it is possible to make money with affiliate marketing and I do know that it is possible to make money by creating info products and selling them online. What I don’t know is how to do any of those personally. But I want to learn. And I want to tell about my learning process and hopefully, help someone else learn as well.

So, this blog takes a turn towards more like a learning diary of sorts. I will write posts on subjects that interest me and that will include reviews of products. All of the posts I do intend to write with SEO in mind to drive traffic as that is one of the subjects I want to learn more about anyways. Posts and pages will include affiliate links but every time I want to make my opinion of given products worthiness clear to the reader.

Please join me on this journey and please leave a comment if you have questions or comments.

Buy Buttons: The Fast-Track Strategy to Make Extra Money … – Review

extra moneyI just had to cut that title short from the full Buy Buttons: The Fast-Track Strategy to Make Extra Money and Start a Business in Your Spare Time. It is book review time! Book in question is written by Nick Loper whose one claim to fame was to be featured on Fiverr front page and making 920$ in 10 days. Book, which is offered both as Kindle version as well as a hardcopy is basically a directory of different kind ways to sell or share your skills and / or belongings.

What is included?

One book. Either as hardcopy or as Kindle edition. 257 pages.

What is it about?

Directory of ways to make extra money on- or offline. Well, not necessarily restricted to extra money, one could combine several streams and make a full-time income from the listed sources. Book includes topics such as

  • Share Your Car
  • Share Your Opinion
  • Share Your Food
  • Sell Your Artistic Talent
  • Sell Your Expertise
  • Sell Your Smarts
  • Sell Your Pictures

Who it is for?

Anyone who wants to make extra money but doesn’t know where to start. And even if one is well on the way with extra income I would wager that at least some of the content is still new.

What does it cost?

2.99$ for Kindle edition and 14.99$ for a paperback.

Buy Buttons review – Final Thoughts

This is a good reference and inspiration book for anyone interested in making money by utilizing their skills or assets. Book is well written and I didn’t catch any obvious errors. But still it is only a directory, it doesn’t teach you to do any of the stuff presented. I bought the Kindle edition so I can’t comment on the quality of the print in the hardcopy. The value in the Kindle edition is hard to beat.

 

Pre-Made Adsense Ready Websites…Are they worth it? The good and bad.

I had an article with this exact title when I first started this blog. adsense ready websitesBut it was not my own article, it was copied from PLR package and just copy pasted here. When I learned that Google punishes websites for duplicate content (Article was put up before I joined WA) I decided that it is better to take the post down. But now I noticed from Google webmaster tools that I have had visits to the site from people searching for “ad ready websites” and I was getting 404 error messages in the search console. Whatever I did it wasn’t good 🙂

Anyway, now that I have searched I can see that the article does indeed exist on several sites already. But I do want to keep the URL alive and point to something relevant.

This kind of Private Label Rights article packages was popular several years ago when article marketing was all the rage and internet was peppered with article directories where a person could submit an article and in it a link to one’s own site and thus gain validity in Google’s eyes. To be able to do this in massive scale webmasters bought packages of articles they then had the right to use on their own sites.

Or that is my understanding on the subject. When starting this blog I was still ignorant and I was just thinking to simply select relevant articles and schedule them for frequent posting and the traffic would come. Along those articles, I would post the occasional review like the one I did for ATM Arbitrage.

I don’t know if Google punishes me for including the article here, but I will do it none the less. As it was already indexed and there were several hits so the punishment could’ve not been too severe. Well, live and learn.

Well, live and learn. Have you used PLR articles in your blog?

THE CONTENT

There are many types of “Adsense Ready Websites” out there and it may seem hard to figure out which ones are worth it and which ones are not. With prices ranging from $9 for 100 sites upwards of hundreds even thousands of dollars just for one. You might think to yourself, “wow what a good deal I’ll buy the 100 sites for $9”. Not really the wisest choice… As the old saying goes, “You get what you pay for”. Those packs are usually comprised of the same exact content sold to every customer. (Static Content – never changing) Resulting in search engines to completely blow off your website instantly. There are already thousands of the exact same websites you are trying to submit. To avoid this situation you need to find a website that automatically updates their articles (Dynamic Content – constantly changing by itself) and the even better even rarer no duplicate content sites.

THE LOOKS

Some “Adsense Ready Websites” are very dry with plain text and no images in hopes of better ranking but this will actually hurt rankings a bit. There is no chance to name your image one of your target keywords.

Some make the sites look ok and few make them look really good. However, pre-made designs tend to be duplicated a lot. While humans notice this, the search engines do not. All search engines see is the image name and the alt tag. So if two sites have the exact same look but different content the search engines see two completely different websites.

THE CONTROL

Surprisingly the majority of “Adsense Ready Websites” make it difficult to insert your affiliate codes and make changes to the site if you aren’t proficient with HTML. Some may offer software that will change the websites code on your PC so you can upload it to your server. There are a few that all you need to do is enter your domain name and the website is automatically created and hosted. The better of them also provide a web-accessible control panel to manage aspects of your website in real time.

UNREALISTIC EXPECTATIONS

Although some are better than others you can get results with what you are given. While some make it less work and less time there is no magic bullet. Do not purchase an “Adsense Ready Website” and just expect the money to start rolling in. (Unless you get a good expired domain). For starters, Google places new websites in their sandbox for a good 3 months. (Can be avoided completely by getting a good expired domain) No matter how great the website is it ALWAYS takes a bit of marketing elbow grease to get them moving along to big profits.

Is your WordPress website slow? Try this simple fix.

Have you had a nagging feeling that your WordPress website is slow? I started thinking about this because I have been thinking if I should move from my shared Hostgator hosting to the one provided as part of my Wealthy Affiliate Premium membership. Allegedly it is faster if my blog were hosted there instead of possibly lower specced shared virtual server. Due to this, I wanted to run a test to see what were the actual loading times currently for this site.

Brief googling led me to two different services (Pingdom & WebPagetest) that offer a free speed test for websites. Obviously, there are plenty of others as well, but these were recommended in some of the articles and posts I found.

Starting point

I’ll attach couple screenshots below to show the results from both of the services. Shocked might be a little bit too strong of a word, but I was more than mildly surprised at the loading times of several seconds in both of the tests.

 

wordpress website slow wordpress website slow

 

This lead me to wondering if there was something I could right away to improve on things. And this lead to more googling and one simple to test thing I found was a plugin called Jetpack which offers several convenient plugins in one package and as such could have more features than I actually need. And at the same time, it also connects to WordPress servers with every page request which might cause unneeded delayes in loading times. What would be the result if I were to disable it?

After the change

Below you can see the clear improvement in the loading times after disabling Jetpack from my blog.

 

wordpress website slow wordpress website slow

 

Now the question obviously is that am I missing out on something important now? Too early to tell I think. One thing that is missing is automatic publishing to Twitter and Facebook, which doesn’t work anymore as they were part of Jetpack. I think for the time being I will do them manually and maybe later install some plugin specifically for that and check the effect of that in loading speeds.

What do we learn from this? Be mindful on the plugins you have active on your WordPress site less you end up with a slow site. I didn’t find an answer yet to the question if I should move my hosting, though. I guess I need to do a test with identical content on self-hosted as well as Wealthy Affiliate hosted site to see the difference.

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