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Creating Profitable Niche Sites with Spencer Haws

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Niche marketing has turned into it’s own little industry and is making a ton of money for people who really focus in on it. I like to talk about creating niche sites on the blog a lot because it’s a great way for people who are just starting out online and a way for them to potentially find success without having to put up a lot of money. While a big budget is what you need to create and drive ad campaigns, with niche sites it’s different in that you spend your efforts on finding quality niche markets with high profits and low competition, which can result in some nice earnings.

Spencer Haws has become very well known for his success in the niche marketing space and also for launching his awesome Long Tail Pro software. Being an avid user of the software and often reading his site, I thought he would make for a perfect fit in this week’s affiliate marketer interview.

1.) Can you tell us a little about yourself and how you first got started in the world of online marketing?

Spencer Haws BioWell, I’m a happily married man, father of 3, and an entrepreneur!  I currently own a portfolio of niche websites that was my first big success in online marketing.  I now also own the software Long Tail Pro, which has been very successful for me as well.

I got started creating websites around 2005.  I thought I was going to become the next big financial blogger, but as it turned out, I knew nothing about blogging or how to get traffic to my site.  The site fizzled, but I began to explore the world of SEO and affiliate marketing for the next few years.  Most of the time I just spent an hour or 2 late at night after work and after the kids were in bed.  But in 2008, I FINALLY figured out how search engines work.  The light bulb really went on for me when I truly understood how keyword research worked and the importance of finding low competition keywords.

This discovery and skill set of researching low competition in Google led me to building a lots of small niche websites that ranked quickly in Google and gave me the income I needed to quit my job in 2011 and pursue online publishing full-time.

2.) What is it about niche sites that drew your interest and what was your first successful niche site?

I love the thrill of the hunt with niche sites!  I sometimes feel like a gold miner looking for some rich pay dirt.  Researching keywords and analyzing how difficult it might be to rank in Google really has become enjoyable to me.  I can often find a keyword and know with almost 100% certainly that I can rank in the top 10 of Google.  Finding the right keyword is like finding a gold nugget lying on the ground. (However, this skill took a long time to develop).

My first successful site was about worm farms!  Yep, worm farms.  This first site (along with a second one I built at about the same time), changed my perspective.  This was my first time to target a simple keyword that I knew I could rank for.  The site starting making me about $20 to $30 a month whether I ever looked at it or not (passive).  So, while it wasn’t a big monetary success, it was a HUGE motivational success.  I discovered that these simple sites could be profitable for me, and set me on my journey to building many more.

3.) How many niche sites would you say you’ve created since you’ve started, and how many actually survive and make money long term?

I’ve created close to 300 niche sites.  I have around 150 sites that remain.  And some of those I may be letting go as well.  I went through a period where I built WAY too many sites, too quickly.  I got overly excited and actually set a goal to create 100 sites in one month and accomplished it.  However, because of my rush to just built sites (I had outsourced help doing a lot of the work), the quality was lacking.  Most of those sites from that month have died.

Niche Pursuits Blog

4.) The recent Google updates have really hurt a lot of exact match domains and niche sites. What have you done to continue to make money in this space and not get hurt by Google?

I was not immune to the Google updates.  Many of the small sites that I built were not the quality that they should have been and were indeed hit by Penguin (I wasn’t as affected by Panda or the EMD update). Many of my bigger sites were not hit.  This changed my mindset.  Instead of focusing on number of sites, I’ve started focusing on quality of sites built.  Rather than trying to crank out 20 sites in a month, I might focus on 1 site in a month.  So, while I still currently have 150+ sites, this number is actually going down as I allow some of the sites only making a few dollars a month to expire and focus on building sites that can make a much higher profit margin.  I found that focusing on quality content and quality link building helps sites to stay more Google friendly.

5.) I’m happy to say that Long Tail Pro is one of my absolute favorite pieces of software out there. I love keyword research and the stats and info it provides for me is just awesome. How did you decide to develop the software and how long did it take before going live with it?

Long Tail Pro Keyword CompetitionI wasn’t satisfied with the other keyword research tools on the market.  So, wanted to fix my own problem AND seeing that there was a market opportunity, I decided to hire someone to develop Long Tail Pro for me.  The initial version of Long Tail Pro took about 2 months to develop.  However, I actually went back and hired a new person (better quality) to redevelop the software – which is the version you see today.  This newer version took almost six months to develop and is constantly updated every single month.

6.) You recently launched your own step by step case study for building a niche site. How has building a step by step process and having everyone follow along help you with the building process?

Having others following along publicly as I build a niche site has made me very cautious!  I think this is a good thing. For each step of the process, I have to think twice about setting a good example and making sure I am doing things and sharing processes that will be the most valuable to others.

7.) Can you give my blog readers an interesting and somewhat easy and profitable niche / long tail keyword to rank for and how you might map out the content/ranking process?

I try not to make a habit of giving away my keywords!  And I’m not going to reveal anything new here, but the keyword I’ve picked for my public project is “best survival knife“.  Essentially, what I did for this keyword and what I do for all potential keywords/sites is decide how I can make my primary content better than other sites that are already ranking in Google.  For this particular keyword I noticed that the sites ranking were just listing their top 10 favorite knives and essentially saying they were the best.  Well, I felt like it would be more valuable to the end user to let them see all their choices of survival knives in one spot…then allow them to decide.  I accomplished this by gathering all the data on 50 survival knives and creating an original chart that users could use to compare and contrast.

This is just one example of how you can make your content better than others.  Once you do this, the link building process becomes easier.  Others are more willing to link to you if they see value.

8.) Lots of people are wanting to get started with their own business online and hopefully make some money in the process. What would you recommend for someone who only had $100 to get started with?

How to Start a Business with $100My advice for someone just getting started out would be to try to learn by doing.  I read all the blogs and forums but didn’t really learn anything until I got my feet wet.  So, go out and do some keyword research, buy a domain and get a site up and running.  The $100 might be spent on a unique theme, a custom logo, or original content – but overall, just get started and you’ll learn much more than if you were to just buy a course or ebook.

9.) Do you have anything else exciting in the works that you would like to share, and what’s the best way for someone to get in contact with you?

I don’t have anything to announce just yet.  But I will say that in addition to the public niche site project that I’m doing on my blog, I also expect to do another public project.  Something that is not building niche websites, but completely different.  In fact, I’m going to let my blog readers suggest and vote on a public project (i.e. Niche Pursuit) for me to work on.

The best way for people to stay in touch with me is on my blog at: NichePursuits.com
On Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/pages/NichePursuitscom/209882025692724
Or Twitter at: https://twitter.com/@nichepursuits

A special thanks to Spencer for taking the time to answer our affiliate marketing questions. If you’d like to get in touch with John, be sure to do so through is social networking contacts above.

Don’t forget to also check out our previous weekly interviews.

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Thwart the Thieves: How to Protect Your Company Data from Hackers

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Running an online business where you are dealing with customer data and private information can be scary. It doesn’t matter if you are a sole affiliate marketer or a huge 500+ person company, a data hack or leak can happen at any time. Even scarier than the initial leak itself, is that if hackers find a way to access private company data, they may be able to bring down your business. If you’re worried about this potential threat, you might want to learn how you can protect yourself.

Luckily, there are specific tactics you can put into place to shield your company data from hackers.

Keep reading and you’ll learn what it takes to keep your data safe. When you’re done, you’ll understand how you can lower the odds of a hacker stealing precious company data.

Let’s begin!

Enable 2-Factor Authentication

2-Factor authentication means that a password is not the only thing a person needs to access a certain ‘account.’

This is helpful because if someone accidentally exposes their password, their data is still going to be safe.

Most of the time, 2-factor authentication means you need an authentication code whenever you want to login to a specific account. Or, you’ll need to login to an app, that is constantly generating new authentication codes.

When you sign up to something like this, you’re also given some ‘backup codes.’ These codes are ‘hard-copy’ codes you can use should you lose your phone. You can write down these codes on a piece of paper and put that paper somewhere safe. You’ll then have a way to login to your account even if you don’t have your phone nearby.

There’s also the option of using a ‘key.’

This method is growing in popularity because it’s a lot more secure than using a message sent to your phone. With this option, you buy a special USB key. You then need to insert the key into your computer before you can log in to your account.

If you want to keep things as secure as possible, security keys can be the best option. Just make sure you buy your keys from a reputable source.

Be sure to enable 2-factor authentication for all your digital business systems.

Teach Employees How to Keep Data Safe

Data breaches often happen due to human error. If you can train your staff on potential scenarios that might lead to a data breach, you can reduce the odds of an issue related to human error.

One thing you need to teach employees is the importance of verifying URLs before they enter information.

For instance, there are a lot of hackers that will use a method which involves creating a duplicate web page. When people reach this duplicate webpage, they’ll think it’s the original version. Following this, they’ll enter in their login information. The hacker will then have this login information and they can then use it to access your data.

It’s worth noting that using methods like 2-factor authentication can help reduce the odds of this becoming an issue. After all, even if someone has access to the password, they’ll still need the authentication code/security key to gain access to your systems.

Another thing you should teach employees is to be wary of how they carry/transport data.

You should also let them know that they’re not allowed to store data on their USB sticks. USB sticks are convenient, but they’re also an easy way to lose company data.

The alternative is to store everything on a cloud server. This will help prevent a scenario, wherein an employee accidentally leaves their USB lying around and someone then steals You should also tell employees that they should always make sure there is a password on their computer.

Make Use of Business Specific Cloud Services

If you’re using a cloud service, use one that’s designed specifically for business. Such a service can often provide a lot more security, than a normal cloud offering.

You’ll find certain options provide you with a lot of insight into who has access to certain files and folders. Using the administrator login, you can control who has access.

This is especially helpful if someone loses their laptop.

You can just log in to the dashboard and make it so that the computer in question no longer has access to the files. If someone steals the laptop, they’ll be unable to access the data and exploit it. If you’d like to know how access rights work, check out this post for more info.

Such services also provide you with logs.

This can be helpful if you’re trying to spot unusual data access patterns. If you notice a login from an unusual location, it could be the sign of someone trying to hack your system. You can shut down this login as soon as you’re aware of it.

Hire People to Check Your Systems

There’s also the option of hiring people known as ‘white hat’ hackers. Such individuals will look for ways to hack your systems and gain access to your data. These people can let you know what vulnerabilities exist in your system and how you should fix such issues.

According to HeimdalSecurity, the following cyber attacks and threats are the biggest risks to data companies of all sizes:

  • Getting their info compromised in massive data leaks
  • Smartphones shipping with malware and malicious apps
  • Ransomware attacks on cloud services
  • Cryptojacking that affects their hardware
  • Financial losses and data compromise due to cryptocurrency trading
  • Scams with advanced social engineering tactics
  • IoT devices like smart locks or smart assistants being hacked

This preemptive approach gives you the chance to address issues before they’re exploited in a way that can damage your business. Good white hat hackers can be expensive. But you need to compare this cost to what you might expect you lose if someone hacks your company data.

Do You Know How to Protect Company Data?

There’s really no way to escape the fact that your company will have sensitive data stored on electronic devices. This can be a problem because people who are looking to exploit your data can hack these devices.

In this post, we’ve reviewed how you can protect your company data from hackers. You need to focus on training your employees so that the odds of human error are low. You also want to make use of things like 2-factor authentication.

If you want to keep your data really secure, consider hiring some white hat hackers. They’ll be able to take a look at your setup and can provide qualified advice on how you can make things better.

No matter what type of business or brand you are running online, it’s extremely important to protect your own, and your customer data. This is also true for any bloggers and affiliate marketers that might want to further protect their ad campaigns, company marketing plans, and business models.

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Best Strategies to Get More Likes on Your Instagram Photos

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Instagram has faced significant growth in terms of popularity in recent years. With so many ways to promote a business, it’s no surprise that it gained so much love and attention by hundreds of millions of users around the world.

For businesses and brands on the social platform, interacting with your customers is much easier, and you can also attract them through stories and make them think you’re a fun business. However, it’s not as simple as just creating an Instagram profile and going live with whatever random photos you like. There is a wide range of top strategies and working methods to choose from, when it comes to Instagram growth, reach, and success.

One of the biggest concerns for businesses and brands on Instagram is how to get more likes on your most recent photos and image upload. At the same time, it’s also important to have a social media and outreach strategy in place, and knowing how to get more followers on Instagram.

To help with all of this, here are some ideas and strategies to boost that like count.

Post Consistently

It’s no surprise that people like consistency and habits. If they don’t know when you’re going to post, they will get tired of waiting and distance themselves. Therefore, decide on how much you’re going to post weekly, or even daily. For instance, you could post 3 pictures each week, and keep it like that. However, don’t post less than once a week because people will forget about you.

Use Hashtags

This goes two ways: you can use local hashtags as well as popular ones. Local hashtags can help you find customers that are near you. You can look for popular accounts and see what hashtags they are using to get followers.

On the other hand, popular hashtags are helpful when looking to attract a larger group of followers. They help your photos get more attention and thus more likes.

Post Good Quality Pictures

Although you don’t need to have the most professional looking photos ever, you can’t have anything that’s blurry and makes it hard to see what’s there. It’s essential to make sure that you have good lighting and everything is focused.

Post Videos

Some people find videos more engaging compared to pictures and are more likely to be interested in them. Posting videos of an upcoming new product or just product information can be more exciting compared to a picture.

Tip: Ensure your video doesn’t rely on audio. Usually, people watch videos when browsing their feed, and the audio is muted.

Post at High Traffic Times

This one requires a bit of time, as you need to find out more about your audience. If your followers are in other time zones, you should post more content during the right times, so they will see your pictures or videos.

Interact with Your Audience

It’s important to have a good relationship with your clients so they will love your page even more. Moreover, other people will notice that and become potential customers when they see you value your audience.

Instagram Bot

An Instagram bot could increase your followers. It comes with auto likes, follows and posts and earns you organic followers.

However, as with all bots, you will want to be careful with how fast you follow and unfollow other users. Triggering any spam or automated alerts to Instagram could quickly have you finding your account was closed as a result of it.

Use Stories

Instagram stories are really fun and they let you post content that will be available for 24 hours. You can post more goofy content, and your clients will appreciate your sense of humor and the fact that you are relatable.

In conclusion, gaining Instagram likes is not so hard if you know how to do it. You only need some time to apply everything in this guide, and you’re on your way to increase your audience.

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Meet the Entrepreneurs and Experts of Affiliate Summit West 17

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Thousands of internet marketers, entrepreneurs, content creators and brands will ascend upon Las Vegas this weekend for Affiliate Summit West 2017. Not only has Affiliate Summit become one of the largest affiliate and internet marketing conferences in the world today, it’s also one I’ve been closely associated with ever since the beginning. From it’s first conference in a small room in New York City with just a couple hundred people to now having more than 5,000+ attendees and conferences twice per year, it’s always been great to attend as both an attendee and speaker.

At the same time, it would be a huge mistake to discount Affiliate Summit as just another networking of marketing conference. The relationships, businesses and life experiences that are a result of the event is second to none — which I why I always recommend everyone to attend, no matter their current level of expertise.

By the way… if you are attending, don’t miss the awesome “How to Become a Millionaire Blogger” panel with myself, John Chow, John Rampton, and Syed Balkhi. It’s almost always standing room only, and rated as one of the highest attended and most valued sessions of Affiliate Summit.

Affiliate_Summit_West_2017_Agenda2_-_Affiliate_Summit

Over the years I’ve literally met thousands of people through the conference and built many powerful relationships and business opportunities as well. With each new year, new speakers, entrepreneurs, and bloggers will take the next step in becoming financially independent, starting a side business or simply changing the world in some way or another.

To help you not only get inspired for this year’s Affiliate Summit West conference but also get inspired with just a glimpse of the talent at this event, I wanted to highlight some of my previous podcast guests, who will also be speaking at #ASW17. Enjoy, and I hope to see you there!

Inspiring Stories and Marketing Tips from Affiliate Summit Speakers

Below you will find a list of speakers currently on the agenda for ASW 17. However, through my podcast I’ve interviewed more than 80 different industry experts… many of which who will be also attending the event in one way or another. Be sure to check out the full list of interviews here.

Shawn Collins and the Affiliate Summit Empire

Shawn Collins of Affiliate Summit

Shawn Collins the co-founder of Affiliate Summit, which has become the largest affiliate marketing conference in the world today.

I’ve been good friends with Shawn for a while now and we’ve both been able to experience the affiliate marketing industry completely transition and develop over the past 15+ years. We were both in attendance at the Affiliate Force cruise, which was one of the first attempts at an affiliate marketing conference, but knew it could be done better. At that point Shawn and Missy decided they could do it better and the rest is history!

John Chow, the Master of Blog Monetization

John Chow is one of the most well-known and successful bloggers in the world. If you’ve ever Google’d “how to make money online” or “how to make money blogging”, you’ve probably come across his name and site several times.

The amazing thing about John Chow was that he was never supposed to make money with his blog in the first place. What was originally just going to be a blog on his personal life and what he ate for lunch, soon became a “money making case study”. As John learned new and exciting ways to monetize his blog content and audience, the money just kept rolling in.

Jump forward several years later and his blog is now generating over six-figures per month, and most of it recurring and automated through his amazing sales funnel system — all of which John talks about in this episode.

Rachel Honoway, From Intern to CEO

Rachel Honoway is the CEO of For Me To Coupon. However it’s not her current position that we are focusing on, instead it’s the great journey that’s led her to where she is today.

The start of Rachel’s journey in the world of online marketing is nearly 20 years in the making. Rachel’s first job was at an internet marketing company called Kowabunga, where she first came in as an intern. As the company continued to grow in size, so did Rachel’s daily tasks and her job title. The company was soon acquired and Rachel was then managing more of the company than ever before. Once leaving Kowabunga, Rachel had a wide range of opportunities over the years before ending up at For Me To Coupon, where she is the CEO today — which is all discussed in this latest episode.

Syed Balkhi, the Wizard of WordPress

Syed Balkhi is not only a master at WordPress, but he is also an awesome entrepreneur.

Since an early age Syed has always had a passion for business and building success. This could be seen from the early years of his life when he was just a kid in Pakistan and selling greeting cards. Then later in life while in high school, Syed started developing sites of his own while quickly discovering what the internet had to offer.

Today Syed runs some of the most powerful and heavily trafficked sites in the world… and yes, they are all powered with WordPress!

Stephan Spencer and the Science of SEO

Stephan Spencer is an SEO expert. He’s also the author of Google Power Search and co-author of The Art of SEO… so it’s safe to say he knows his stuff when it comes to SEO and ranking sites in the search results.

How sites rank in the search results can go all the way back to before 2000, which is when Stephan and his NetConcepts company started getting heavy into SEO services. The thing about SEO is that it’s always changing, so to be one of the best SEO experts in the industry, Stephan is continually at the forefront of the industry and connecting with some of the most successful experts, businesses, and brands in the world.

Geno Prussakov Shares his Affiliate Management Tips

Geno Prussakov is an affiliate marketing expert, author, and international speaker.

In the world of the internet, being an expert is key. Geno has mastered the art of affiliate marketing and affiliate program management and through this expertise has been able to grow his personal brand and business at the same time. As the author of many best-selling books on affiliate marketing, and also haven spoke at 50+ different conferences on such topics, Geno is the voice many people turn to when looking for answers to their affiliate marketing questions.

Having trained thousands of marketing professionals through his various books and online blog, Geno also went on to create Affiliate Management Days, which is a conference solely focused on the art of successful affiliate program management.

Oliver Roup Wants to Make Every Link Intelligent and Valuable

Oliver Roup is the founder and CEO of VigLink, a company that helps content creators make money through the use of affiliate marketing, while not having to deal with all the complexities of individual tracking, manually creating links and joining multiple programs.

Before getting active in the online marketing space, Oliver had accumulated quite an exciting resume of previous work with Space X, Microsoft, Paul Allen and many others. However, what might be Oliver’s most exciting experience to date was taking his business at Viglink from an idea to the flourishing business it is today.

For Oliver, this isn’t something that would happen overnight. Instead, it was a long journey of meeting with investors and VCs, trying to convince them that his idea was worth their time and investment. After many failed attempts, Oliver finally found an investor that was interested and things started to move fast!

Years later and over $20 million dollars in funding to date, the company continues to grow and scale in size while also helping sites of all sizes make money with their content while also connecting them with some of the largest brands and advertisers in the world.

Russell Brunson and How to Create Killer Sales Funnels

Russell Brunson is an entrepreneur and the founder of DotComSecrets and ClickFunnels.

While finishing up his last year in College, Russell wanted to figure out a way to make enough money so he could continue with his passion for wrestling and to take care of himself and his girlfriend. After dabbling in the online marketing space and going through various failed projects, Russell discovered that one of the most successful ways to make money online was through the use of ebooks, guides and selling information. While messing around with some friends, Russell wanted to create a potato gun and went to the internet to find out how to create one. Once he found that there was nothing out there, he quickly threw one together and made a little course of his own on how to do the same.

Jump forward several years and today you will find Russell Brunson with all of his attention focused on ClickFunnels, a WYSIWYG editor and seamless way to create high converting landing pages and sales funnels. Not only has ClickFunnels become a huge success, it’s also taught Russell how to grow and scale a company, while also learning how to remove distractions and only focusing on what matters most.

John Rampton and Living the Dream in Silicon Valley

John Rampton is an online entrepreneur who has become a master at pay per click marketing, but even more importantly — making connections and networking with the right people.

I first met John Rampton several years back when he came up to me and asked for an interview while at Affiliate Summit. Since then we just seemed to click and started working on various projects together. In addition to being the Managing Editor of Search Engine Journal, John’s writing can also be found on Forbes, HuffingtonPost, Entrepreneur and many other top media outlets and news sources.

One of the major reasons for John’s success in the world of online marketing can be attributed to his outgoing attitude, willingness to help others and talking with just about everyone he meets. Each of these are all required skills for making it in the world of business and forming new partnerships. With all of this in mind, it only made sense for him to leave his home state of Utah and make the big move to Silicon Valley, CA — the central economic focal point for everything internet!

Thomas Smale and How to Buy and Sell Websites

Thomas Smale is the co-founder of FE International, a company that was founded in 2010 that focuses on website brokering for mid-market online businesses.

Back in 2009-2010 Thomas wanted to get involved in the world of online marketing, but with little technical experience, his options were limited. It was then that he fell upon the concept of buying and selling websites for himself. With only a few hundred dollars at a time, Thomas began buying and flipping websites and getting quite good at it in the process. As his reputation and experience in this space started to grow, so did requests from other individuals asking for his support in selling their own websites — thus, a new business venture begins!

Today Thomas is the co-founder of FE International, which has offices in two different countries and 11 team members — all with the focus on website brokering and mastering the art of buying and selling websites.

See you at Affiliate Summit West!

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