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I have Ulcerative Colitis. This is My Story.

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I have Ulcerative Colitis (also commonly referred to, or confused with Crohn’s). There is a big difference between the two, but they are commonly discussed in the same conversations. Today I will be sharing my personal and private story with you and the rest of the world, and how it’s affected both my personal and business life.

Before doing so, I must first say thank you to everyone close to me that has made living with this condition possible. Especially my wife Reena, my immediate family and the IBD team at Mount Sinai. Outside of them, not many people even knew I had the condition.

In addition to thanking those who have helped me along the way, I hope by sharing my story, I can help others find some information, resources or hope for their UC/Crohn’s (IBD) issues as well, as this is a silent disease that isn’t seen on the outside and not commonly openly discussed by those who live with it. This can be attributed to the shame and stigma that may come along with having an IBD diagnosis.

Before we jump into my own experience with Colitis, I recommend you watch the short video (yet detailed) video below that explains what it is, how it affects the body and the current options for remission and surgery in the world today.

My Story and the Stigma of Ulcerative Colitis

For the most part, UC is a horrible auto-immune disease and one that people usually do not talk about. You’ve likely also seen commercials for UC medications on television, pushing drugs like Humira and Entyvio. I’ve had the pleasure of being on both; Humira worked for a while, but I had no positive effects from Entyvio after 9 months at all. Even while being on these medications, I was still taking probiotics and various amounts of prescribed Prednisone daily, between 20-40mg. Yes, I’ve also tried the holistic route and clean organic eating, with little to no success. I’ve tried them all… and will go into detail on all of that in this post today.

I’ve personally been diagnosed with UC for over 17 years now, and there is no cure (except surgery to remove the lower portion of the colon) — there is only the hope to go into remission. While there is ‘no cure’, there are several medications on the market to try and control the disease. The option is also there to get an intensive surgery to remove the lower portion of the colon and rectum (thus, removing all of the inflammation being caused by colitis), but this is usually the last resort and not one that I (or my doctors) feel I am at yet. This is not also simple surgery with a quick recovery, you will need multiple surgeries which takes place over a 9-to-12 month time period.

It’s also a tricky disease, as it’s one not really seen on the outside of the body, but is continually attacking the colon and digestion system of anyone who has it. In my own scenario, I’ve constantly been bleeding and getting sicker and sicker for the past 12+ months and my body feels as though it is attacking itself, leaving me constantly in pain. With little improvement in sight and lots of recommended remedies/medications continually failing, it’s been quite a strenuous and debilitating process.

Living with UC is a complete nightmare in itself, as it’s not just a matter of constant internal bleeding, it’s also an extremely weakened immune system while also taking a ton of medications in the process. For myself, it’s been somewhat tolerable, as I have the luxury of working from home, but I can’t imagine what it would be like for anyone with a 9-5 job or not having easy access to a bathroom at any given time. If this wasn’t the case, I would likely have already done the colectomy surgery to remove a portion of the colon.

Not only is UC something that controls how you live, eat and think, it actually controls every single aspect of your life. You need to prepare and know where you are going, how long you will be there, what type of bathroom access you might have and what type of food will be available. Even when in remission, a flare up can happen at any time — without any cause or reason (though it’s often associated with stress and eating habits).

One of the most common and upsetting things for people with UC or Crohns is how other people see (or don’t see it). Without having or understanding the disease, it’s easy to think it’s simply an ‘eating’ or ‘life choices’ issue, but it’s actually not. Yes, everyone has ‘stomach issues’, but UC and Crohn’s are a completely different story, and it’s tough to relate to anyone that has it if you haven’t experienced it firsthand.

This could break into a whole new story on its own, but I won’t go into it at this time.

On a Mission to Find Remission

It was well over a decade ago that I first started experiencing the symptoms of UC. I remember being on an Affiliate Marketing cruise and shockingly seeing blood in the toilet after going to the bathroom. Of course, when seeing something like this, you hope it quickly goes away and that’s that. However, that wasn’t the case, and it was only the beginning.

From here we would visit a wide range of doctors over the years. Some would put me on 12-18 pills of Asacol per day, while other holistic doctors would try their own remedies and infuse me with vitamins and medicines (which would only seem to provide temporary 24-48 hour solutions). For the most part, none of these would work. Then I came across an over the counter medicine called Digestive Advantage, which worked really well for a while, but was then discontinued. Even if it was still around, it would have only been a temporary solution.

This process went on for a while and it just seemed like I was dealing with the problems of UC, while occasionally going into remission and hoping for the best.

A few years ago I met with a new local GI (gastroenterologist) and they recommended putting me on a biological treatment, Humira, a self-injection I would have to take each month. This actually worked quite well for roughly 2-3 years, then ultimately my body became immune to it as well.  One of the risks of these biological treatments is that your body can build up antibodies at any time, which makes the medication stop working. After that, we recently tried Entyvio, which had to be taken through an hour-long infusion every 2, 4 or 8 weeks depending on how well it was working with one’s body. In my case, I was on Entyvio for roughly 9 months and never experienced any relief, thus leading me to feel sicker as each month went by.

It’s also important to mention here that it’s not just a matter of being in pain and constantly bleeding, the main concern is the increased risk of cancer as a result of the untreated inflammation brought on by Colitis.

Just a couple weeks ago I had a new issue arise. It was a severe case of hemorrhoids (or so I thought). It got so bad that I had to go to the local hospital and my GI doctor — both leaving me with little guidance on what the real underlying problem was. I was getting extremely bad fevers, horrible pains in my stomach and the effects of UC were still getting worse on top of all of this.

Since no one local had an answer, it was time to call my contact at Mount Sinai. After doing so, Dr. Ungaro (my doctor), contacted me immediately and said to come into the ER at Mount Sinai and have everything looked at by the IBD team.

The connection to Dr. Ungaro and the Mount Sinai team would prove to be of utmost importance. In addition to being an expert in IBD, everyone at Mount Sinai always went out of their way to answer any questions I had, and always spent more than enough time to make sure I was always confident in what they had to say.

Connections are Everything

Before jumping into the next phase of my progression and trying to find remission from UC, we must first cover how I ended up at Mount Sinai (the best IBD center in the world) and the importance of always having connections and making the right decisions to go with only the best when it comes to your health.

Just like in business, if you want to work with the best, you need to learn from the best. The same holds true for your health and getting to the right health physicians. Of course, there are always going to be great local doctors, but there are also going to be hotspots for the best doctors in the world. A good way to think of this is that your local doctor probably sees hundreds of cases that might be similar to yours, however, when you go to one of the best centers in the world, they likely see thousands or even millions of relatable cases. When it comes to IBD or anything relating to the digestive system, Mount Sinai in New York City is the place to be.

In addition to the outstanding expertise of Dr.Ungaro, Jean-Frederic Colombel, MD, director of the IBD Center and a world-renowned doctor with over 20 years of experience in IBD, would also be looking over my case and meeting with me while in the hospital.

How I gained a connection to a doctor at Mount Sinai was quite unique. My wife works as a drug and alcohol counselor and the psychiatrist she works with has a son-in-law in the IBD space, who knew a doctor at Mount Sinai. Roughly two months ago when I was having a really bad flare up, we had a call with him and he generously contacted the MS IBD team and set up an appointment. This is when I first met with Dr. Ungaro and the IBD team.

Among the many experts and doctors on the Mount Sinai IBD team, I also had the pleasure of meeting with Dr. Greenstein, who was very active in my case and time at the hospital as well. You can read an article on his expertise and studies in a recent NY Daily News article. (more on my visit to Mount Sinai to follow…)

Long story short, we were able to get a phone call and meeting together and that was the start of an extremely important connection and process.

My Latest Visit to Mount Sinai

With my current flare up already in a pretty bad state and several misdiagnoses on the hemorrhoids issue, it was time to visit Mount Sinai Emergency Room in New York. Timely enough, I also had a breakout of shingles that morning (which is another fun auto-immune disease that attacks the body when it’s usually in a weakened state).

We arrived around noon to MS and the first several hours were pretty rough, as this was just the general ER area. The one surprising thing was that an IBD doctor was sent over after we were admitted, as she was notified by Dr. Ungaro that morning that I would be coming. This type of super dedication and teamwork is key for the IBD team at Mount Sinai, which is why they are the best in the world at it. Several doctors would be examining over me in the ER, then I would later get a CT-SCAN.

It wasn’t until later that night I was moved to another room (private room because of the shingles diagnosis as well) and was told I would need to take prep for a colonoscopy tomorrow (if you’ve had one, you already know the horrible drink process to clean out your system). That night I ended up having a 102 fever, which I believe was as a result of the prep process on my body and also the medicine from the CT-Scan I also had to take.

The following morning, the colonoscopy took place and afterward I was in another isolation room with Reena and my Father while we waited for a room to open up. Dr. Ungaro happened to stop by and was able to discuss the results of the colonoscopy. He said the average inflammation of a person is around a 5, and mine was around 190. I knew my colitis was pretty bad and something I dealt with on a daily basis, but it was definitely good that I was in the best hospital in the world to take care of the current situation.

With the CT-Scan and colonoscopy now done, along with several discussions and diagnosis from the IBD team (literally 8+ of the world’s best doctors and surgeons), it was recommended to put me on Remicade (another alternative to Humira/Entyvio, but with a good history of success). However, they still had to take care of the shingles first and do some other testing in the process. I was then moved to my own isolation room, where the process would soon take place and Remicade would be given through an infusion over the next two days.

Quick side note… all of the nurses at Mount Sinai have also been amazing. Having stayed at the hospital for several days, you never know how quickly things can change with a new nurse switching every 12 hours. A good/bad nurse makes all the difference in the world, and I was fortunate enough to have some of the most amazing and attentive nurses while I was there. Special thanks to Elizabeth, Ora, Susan, Alex, Corie, Heidi, Arjay, Paula and Ralston to name a few — all on the IBD floor.

As I’m writing this now, I was just released from the hospital less than 24 hours ago. This was after being told my inflammation levels are down to around 40 (after being near 200), and I’m personally feeling a lot better in the process. The Remicade is now in my system and appears to be going well. I will be working closely with the IBD team at Mount Sinai to stay on top of the issue at all times. It’s definitely great to be back home again, while also knowing their team is there should things worsen again.

Life, Entrepreneurship, Colitis, and Family

So what… I have colitis. What does that mean? At the end of the day, it means I have a condition that I need to take care of and monitor it closely. This isn’t a sob story or a way to try and gain attention… instead, it’s an outlet to share my story with the rest of the world. At the same time, I’ve been given a powerful outlet through this blog and can reach thousands of people in the process. By sharing my own story, I hope to inspire others with Colitis and Crohn’s to let them know they are not alone and to not stay silent if they have these same struggles.

AND… when it does come to getting help, make sure to get as many diagnoses as possible and try to work with the best doctors in the world to find a solution. Never settle with a single diagnosis, as not all doctors are the same, nor is their experience or the knowledge of the teams working around them.

On the entrepreneurship side, as I mentioned earlier, I never would have been able to live with UC if I had a real 9-5 job or worked outside of the home. I’ve been fortunate enough to work from the comfort of my own home, which truly means so much more than just being your own boss or having different financial opportunities. Life simply wouldn’t be the same, nor how I would be dealing with the disease over the past several years.

At the end of the day, your health and family are really all that matters in the life. I know a lot of bloggers and marketers will show off their expensive cars and lifestyles, but that is something I’ve never really cared about — even less after everything we’ve been through after Superstorm Sandy. Family and friends are everything and they have all been here for me through this crazy process.

Having now shared my story with the world, feel free to contact me with any questions or comments you might have. I’ve always used this blog as a platform for not just my business, but also my life and it’s happenings. You never know who is ready, and hopefully, this provides some light not just for those with UC/Crohn’s, but for any horrible health conditions and problems that might be out there.

I’m definitely not cured of UC and it’s a long journey ahead. However, I’m extremely excited and happy to be in the place where I’m at right now while feeling better each day. In addition, being confident that I’m in the best hands and working with the most experienced and empathetic team of doctors in the world.

Thank you, everyone.

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Expert Roundup Posts: 19 Examples in Different Niche Markets

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Expert roundups are getting a lot of attention lately. If you haven’t participated in one, I’m sure you’ve at least seen them being passed around through social media or even found on your favorite site. The main reason why expert roundups are such a hot content creation method these days is that not only are you creating new content and value for your audience, your site is also getting a ton of social media shares, expert exposure, and authority in the process.

This is also one of the main reasons why I decided to launch my Rise of the Entrepreneur podcast, with the focus on interviewing experts within our industry.

Here’s a typical 5-step formula for how to create and find success with an expert roundup.

  1. Choose a hot topic or question relevant to your niche
  2. Email/outreach experts the question within your space
  3. Once you get enough answers, publish them all to your site
  4. Send outreach again to your experts and ask them to share your post
  5. Repeat the process and continue to promote previous roundups on your site

The formula works extremely well and it one of the best ways to get expert names within your niche on your site. Since the experts who contribute content back to your site are getting free exposure and a link back to their site, it’s no problem for them to spend a few minutes answering your question and getting back to you.

If you are currently in need of an expert round-up for your own brand or blog, contact me and let’s make it happen! We’ll put together an action plan and outreach strategy that works best for your niche and target audience.

Examples of Expert Roundups in Different Markets

What’s even more exciting about this type of content creation, is that it works in really any niche market. Sports, business, entertainment, finance… they all have hot topics and talking points that can easily be covered.

Let’s take a look at several examples of different successful expert roundups in various industries today.

21 Branding Experts Love Using Infographics

The actual value in expert roundups is always a big question. Sure, you will likely get a lot of engagement, backlinks and social shares to your article, but how are you generating new business or money from it? In this infographic roundup, the question asked was how to use infographics within your outreach and marketing. This is perfect for the site, as they are an infographic design service. No matter what type of roundup you are creating, always try to have a monetization play in effect as well.

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80 Blogging Experts Share their Tips on How to Start a Blog

Expert round ups are all about creating content for your existing audience, while also helping you reach new audiences and further establish yourself as an authority. Below you will find a perfect example of this in motion, through my how to start a blog expert round up. As with most expert round ups, the concept was simple… as a bunch of site owners one question that they could provide a great answer for. The end result was over 80 different ways to find success with blogging — all from proven experts who already put their recommended tip into action.

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22 Nutrition Experts Want to Keep You Healthy

The health and weight loss space is flourishing with content that is read, shared and viewed millions of times daily. In short, there is a never ending need for creating new content in this space. An excellent way to accomplish this, while bringing a new feeling into this mix, is through expert roundups. In this nutrition expert roundup post, Nutrition Fox was able to share numerous tips with their audiences, while creating an effective new way to increase backlinks, views and social activity in the process.

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75 Relationship Experts Share their Advice

When you think about expert roundups, you probably don’t think about some of the best niche markets and industries that they could be used in. This relationship roundup is a perfect example. What makes it even more exciting is that over 75 different experts were able to contribute to it!

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How 27 PR Experts Handle A Media Crisis

Something like reputation management and PR is huge for any existing personal brand, business or organization on the internet today. We all know that once something goes online, not only is it there forever… it also has the potential to go viral and cause problems quick! So what would some of the smartest minds in PR do to protect themselves? You will just have to check out this expert roundup to find out.

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12 Foodie Expert Share their #1 Tip for Health Eating

No matter what type of blogger or expert you might be, healthy eating is something everyone can relate with. While most bloggers are focusing on creating roundups that are extremely niche focused, bringing together a collection of food bloggers to contribute to a great generic topic like healthy eating is a perfect way to reach new audiences around the world. Wondering what these food bloggers recommend for cooking fast and easy healthy meals? You’ll just have to check out each of their answers in the foodie roundup.

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30 Expert Opinions on Why Men Cheat in Relationships

If you want to have one of the most read and well-respected relationship sites on the internet, you are going to need to have some expert advice for your audience as well. That is exactly what you will find at Marriage.com. Not only does their site have thousands of articles on relationship, love, and dating, they also have expert roundups as well. One of the more popular ones on the site focuses on why men cheat and highlights the opinion of thirty different relationships experts and their own unique reasoning.

Gardening Experts Trying to Save Your Garden

If you have a question about your home garden or even how to grow one… where do you go? For most people, it’s probably the local Home Dept or Lowes. Instead of trekking out to the store, why not search online and see what you can find. An excellent way to provide a useful resource to your audience while also answering commonly asked questions is through gardening roundups like the one featured below. Not only is this roundup niche specific, it’s also evergreen content — as it will be useful year after year whenever gardening is in season.

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25 Experts Discuss the Future of SEO

In the world of online marketing and branding, expert roundups seem to take place on a daily basis. A few of the most common reasons for this is that so many people in our industry are willing to help each other out with information, while there also being a wide range of sites and resources always looking to create valuable content through such roundups. A perfect example of this can be seen at RankWatch, where they compiled answers from 25 different marketing experts to help us all better understand how to rank in Google and what the future of SEO might hold.

16 Cycling Bloggers Want You To Go Biking

When it comes to creating content for a niche focus blog, it’s all about knowing what your audience is looking for. For example… if you had a biking blog, how much could you possibly write about on biking? I’m sure there is plenty if you are in expert in this space. Another option is to simply interview other biking experts within your industry as well. Here’s a perfect example of a roundup in the cycling space.

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10 SEO Experts Want to Expand Your Site Reach

Yes, I’ve even featured a few expert roundups of my own on a few of my sites. Some people like to go with super long roundups and will try to get as many people as they can to contribute. On this one, I simply went with 10 and it worked out extremely well. All it took was a few minutes to send out emails to a few SEO experts, send them a question and then compile all of the answers into a nice looking roundup post.

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90 SEO Experts Discuss Effective Link Building

When being in a competitive niche industry like SEO or online marketing, associating big name experts with your site can be a huge deal. Tim Soulo did a great job with in this in his ahrefs roundup which featured 90 different SEO experts within the industry. Not only did this result in massive shares and branding for the site, it was also hitting their target audience as well — people wanting to do more with their SEO.

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Beauty Experts Discuss Personal Looks

If you search around Google long enough, you will probably find expert roundups on just about anything. I was able to come across this one on a lesser known beauty blog, but it was still enough to grab my attention. The goal of this site is to review hair straightening products. Through the use of this personal looks roundup, I’m sure they were about to creep their way higher in the search results and move passed a lot of their competition.

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48 Experts Share their Preferred eCommerce Platform

In the world of online marketing and business, it’s always important to choose the right hosting, advertising, and ecommerce platforms. With so many different solutions to choose from, what better way to get an idea of what’s working best, than through the use of asking experts what they are using. That is exactly what you will find in this ecommerce software round up. This round up was yet another one, completed by Minuca Elena.

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16 Experts Look into the Future of Virtual Reality

When you have access to a lot of experts (which is something we all have), sometimes you just need to get creative. Don’t feel that you need to always ask the same SEO or marketing questions. Some of the best roundups or conversations happen when you step away and get more personal. A great example of this is seen in the virtual reality roundup with experts in the mobile application space. Let’s check back on this post in a few years and see how many of them were on the right track!

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17 Marketing Experts Share Their Favorite Logo

When you see a logo design from the likes of McDonalds, Starbucks or Disney… how does it make you feel? Some of the most famous logo designs in the world today don’t even have names associated with them, yet people know who/what they are. Some people will a lot of money just to have a brand name logo on something, versus getting a generic version. Logos make people feel differently about brands around the world and this logo design expert roundup is a perfect example of why and how. Not only is this roundup focused on the thought process of different marketers and why logos make us think the way they do, it’s also a great promotion tactic for the site to push their logo design services.

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50+ Internet Security Tips from the Experts

The more focused your expert roundup is to the core of your business, the more likely you are to find success. Internet security probably isn’t one of the most exciting topics to read or write about, but when you bring in a lot of expert opinions, it instantly becomes more interesting. This is also a great example of how to create content that helps with backlinking and social activity.

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28 Parenting Bloggers Share their Buying Mistakes

Mommy and parenting bloggers are some of the most powerful people on the internet. While most of them won’t have a massive reach or following, the following that they do have is usually quite loyal. The same holds true for many of the shopping and coupon bloggers out there as well. When they aren’t saving money or dishing the dirt on the latest parenting tips, you might just find some of them on parenting expert roundups like this one.

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25+ Industry Veterans Reflect Back on Affiliate Summit

To bring this “expert” expert roundup series to a close, I wanted to bring us back to one of my best and most favorite roundups on the internet — which also happens to be right on this very blog. This round up is from Affiliate Summit attendees (mainly industry veterans), who were all asked what their favorite / most memorable story or event was over the past 15 years of Affiliate Summit events. This round up was perfect for many reasons, but mainly because they were all genuine stories that related not only with other Affiliate Summit attendees but also the person telling the story.

As mentioned in one of the earlier roundup examples… don’t feel obligated to always just ask a single question. Feel free to make it more open ended to bring more conversation and engagement to the table.

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Creating Your Own Expert Roundups

Now that you’ve seen what’s possible with expert roundups, it’s time to start creating one of your own. The most time-consuming part of this whole process is the outreach process, as you will need to individually email each of the experts you would like to include within your roundup. What takes even longer is the process of actually finding the contact information for each person. To help with this process, I highly recommend using a solution like Outreach Ninja (14 day free trial).

Once the outreach process has taken place, then it’s a waiting game to see who is getting back to you. Again, a tool like Outreach Ninja can help with this, as you can build contact lists and see how is getting back to you — which is useful for future roundups. After going live with your roundup, be sure to then contact everyone who contributed, to let them know it’s live. Tell them you will be promoting it through social media and you’d appreciate if they could do the same.

Follow the example expert roundups above and the quick action guide above to start creating similar high-quality posts for your own site!

Don’t forget — If you are currently in need of an expert round-up for your own brand or blog, contact me and let’s make it happen! We’ll put together an action plan and outreach strategy that works best for your niche and target audience.

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How to Build a Website in Three Simple Steps with SITE123 Site Builder

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When I first started creating websites back in the mid-90s, it was quite a task! Not only was everything in HTML, it was also a process of individually uploading images, pages, making sure they were all connected together, using FTP software and everything in between. I actually used this same process to create all of my sites up until 2007, then I started using WordPress — which also lead to a massive uprising of drag-and-drop site builders that quickly eliminated the need to ever touch a line of code or have any required design or site skills.

This is exactly what you will find at SITE123, one of the top sites on the internet for creating a website within minutes, and also never needing to worry about technical design skills or hiring a designer to work on site. SITE123 has made this process extremely easy and straightforward by allowing users to sign up, select a ready-made style or layout from their directory, then add content and go live with their site.

It’s really that simple, and today we are going to look at why and how SITE123 became one of the top go-to sources for creating a site online.

SITE123 Makes Website Building Easy

As you can imagine, the website hosting and creation space are extremely competitive. However, SITE123 has established themselves as one of the key players in this space, while also providing their users with everything they need to get started with a personal or professional website of their own. In fact, there are now more than 1.25 million websites running on their site builder platform right now.

If you’ve ever wanted to start a website of your own, but haven’t made the leap yet, there were probably a few common reasons why. More often than anything else, people are scared of the idea of going live with a site and needing to learn something new. Another common reason is the associated costs of having a website. The last reason might have been that you just didn’t know what you would do with a website in the first place.

SITE123 makes this decision process quite simple, while also giving you solutions to these many questions in the process. As mentioned, SITE123 makes the process of creating a website dead-simple, and there are no design skills required. The platform also allows users to get started with a website of their own for free, which provides 500MB of storage, 1GB of bandwidth and also a subdomain. As for the reasoning of why you might want to start a website… I could give you a million! However, consider your options with starting an online diary, a blog, a new business, something you are interested in, or maybe just throwing together a few ideas and going live with a site, then seeing where it goes.

No matter why you create a website, SITE123 makes the process easy.

The Most Simple Site Builder Ever?

Over the years, I’ve tried a lot of different platforms and built many websites using drag-and-drop platforms or even complete CMSs like WordPress. If you are completely new to site building and don’t want to mess around with any of these advanced CMS platforms of designers, you will love how simple SITE123 is.

After creating a free account on their site, I was able to create the start of my new site (below) in less than two minutes. Simple click on any area of the site design on the right side of the page, then you can fill in the details and customize it through the options on the left side menu.

In the screen above you can see the “Homepage” customization options, but also take notice of the many other sections as well — such as the inner pages, design, settings, domain, and more. Click on any of these areas, and a whole new tab section will appear for you to make all of the customizations and changes to your site.

You can actually watch the short 2-minute video below to see how quick and easy it is to run through the site design wizard and completely customize the look and feel of your site in just minutes.

Of the many features built into SITE123, I love how the site is instantly being made and updated as you created it. This will make the content creation and design process so much easier for anyone who is completely new to the concept of site ownership.

SITE123 Offers a Wide Range of Site Templates

Earlier I touched upon some of the most common reasons why someone might not have a website of their own yet. We also covered how easy it is, but we can also see the many different ideas, focuses, and markets you could create a site for as well.

When you first sign up for a SITE123 account, one of the first questions is what type of website are you interested in building? Based on your selection, the site builder will then select a theme that you can start working off of.

No matter which of the categories or templates you choose, each user is given access to a wide range of features that are built right into the platform. These features include, but aren’t limited to:

  • free hosting
  • free SSL/HTTPS encryption
  • unlimited web pages
  • email accounts
  • 24/7 website support
  • access to their large image, icon and video library

Depending on the focus of your site and the style you go for, users will also find different features and design structures within each theme. A perfect example of this would be if you selected “photography”, you would then find the theme is more visual focused and allows for the uploading and displaying of images and photos throughout the site.

To truly understand and experience the many features and site designs on the platform, it’s best to sign up for a free account and start playing around with the site builder tool.

How to Start a Blog with SITE123

As mentioned earlier, there are many drag-and-drop site designers on the marketplace today, but many of them are just for building static sites. What makes SITE123 stand out from the crowd is that they have blogging capabilities built right into their platform. This makes the concept of blogging even easier, and especially for anyone who might want to avoid learning how to use WordPress altogether.

Keeping with the simplistic navigation and setup as most of the features on SITE123, setting up your own blog through their platform is quite simple as well. All you need to do is select the “Add New Post” button, and start adding your content. The option is also there to edit/delete content as needed.

Just like all website and design templates on SITE123, blogs are fully responsive and viewable on all devices as well.

When working on an individual post (shown below), the option is also there to schedule for your content to go live at any given time. You can also see the text/formatting options on the right side of the page as well. All extremely simple to use, and pretty much no technical learning or design skills required.

If you are familiar at all with the concept of blogging, this will all seem quite simple. If not, SITE123 makes the process easy enough. All it takes is a click of a button to insert images and videos, add links to your text, adding tags, titles and descriptions are also a breeze as well.

Again, the best way to learn and experience this firsthand is to simply create an account and see what you can start making on your own.

What is the real cost of SITE123?

SITE123 is a business — which means they need to make money. However, they’ve done an extremely good job at catering to all markets with this, while also making their technology and site builder free for anyone who wants to go live with a site of their own.

If you would like to go live with a free site, all you need to do is sign up and that’s what you will get. This includes a subdomain, and limitations of 500 MB of storage and 1 GB of monthly bandwidth. For anyone just wanted to get started with a personal site of their own and wanting to learn the process, this is more than perfect.

However, if you want to go more professional and start a business or branded website, it’s definitely recommended to go with one of their premium plans — which start out at just $9.80 per month. You can see a break down of each payment and membership plans below.

Some of the most immediate benefits of going with an upgraded plan on SITE123 is getting a free domain name, having the branded floating tag removed, and also the ability to set up e-commerce features on your site and getting much higher levels of storage and bandwidth.

Now that you’ve seen how easy it is to create a site with SITE123, why not create an account and get started with one of your own?

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Blogging

Blog Post Ideas: How to Turn Your Ideas into Engaging Blog Posts?

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Blogging and creating content on the internet is all about ideas and getting creative with what you have to offer. However, what most bloggers and content marketers don’t realize is that you aren’t supposed to come up with new and innovative ideas for content or making money online, but instead, new and innovative ways to portray that message.

This is something I often cover in detail in many of my articles and online courses. The concept of making money online and getting the attention is no different than any other business in the world today. At the end of the day, people are using the internet for three different reasons.

  1. To find information
  2. To be entertained
  3. To buy something

Instead of trying to come up with that completely new and original million dollar idea, just spend the necessary time and focus on a legitimate business model and demand from your audience, while also catering to their needs in the process. Once you have all of this in place, you can then start refocusing your efforts on how to create better and more creative content based on these needs.

To help with this process, today we are going to share some valuable insights that will help you turn your idea in a series of blog posts, while also highlighting a few examples of what’s currently working for other bloggers, brands, and content creators.

How to Know Your Idea is Suitable for a Series?

Being a writer, you have no shortage of ideas. But when it comes to establishing your own niche, there are various things you should consider before penning down your series. This includes everything from your basic knowledge on a specific topic, how far out you would like to schedule your content, and also the monetization and optimization of your content. It would also be a huge benefit if you understand SEO and know how to look up the necessary keywords to see how much of a demand there currently is for your proposed topic.

Below you will find some of the important points that suggest your idea has the potential of a great blog series.

– Different People with the Same Issue: For instance, a physician who blogs about obesity and its health hazards can create a series of articles consisting of several diet and workout tips or plans to help people lose weight. These posts can encourage readers to adopt a healthier lifestyle.

– Come up with a List: If you write for your living, then you have a sense for how to delve deep into your ideas and develop them for an audience.

– Overflow: When you start writing, you a flow but soon you find the post turns out to be something that is focused on more than one topic, like a collection of relative ideas.

– Your Audience Wants More: This is a clear giveaway! You have received several queries related to your posts, and your readers want you to explore a specific topic, expanding your grasp and library.

– A Theory: If you want to teach your readers about something deep and complex by exploring a theory or idea, then creating a series of blog posts will be a great idea.

Hubspot also pointed out “According to our own analysis at HubSpot, headlines between 8–12 words in length got the most Twitter shares on average. As for Facebook, headlines with either 12 or 14 words received the most Likes.“. This is something every blogger and content creator should focus on before and after completing their articles. Not only will the overall content length of your article be important, but so will the headline and words you choose for your article title as well.

Creating Your Own Series

It’s not enough to simply create content for your site, you also need to make sure it stands out from the crowd and has it’s own style as well. The more time and effort you put into your site content and the user experience, the better ROI and longterm growth you will likely see. With all of this in mind, let’s take a look at a few valuable tips that will help you establish a well high engaging series of blog posts that will win you a loyal audience.

An Introduction

You need to an introduction to your series. This can be a dedicated blog post or a paragraph. Make sure you convey your message with it. This is something ConvertKit does extremely well. Not only are they one of the top email marketing and delivery platforms on the internet today, they also know how to create valuable content for their audience. In the example below, you can see how to create a killer introduction for one of their content marketing series. By starting out your article strong, with the necessary text, call to actions, and resources, you can immediately impact the user engagement factor from the start.

Review Your Work

Proofread your post, and search for natural breaking points. Look for areas where you stopped talking about one point and started talking about another. If you aren’t interested in proofreading yourself or would like to hire someone with a better English history, this can easily be done through freelance sites like Fiverr or FreelanceMyWay.

The Format

You need to come up with a format for each post. Try a formal layout but be quick and stay to your point. In case you are going to a traditional format, then compose your introduction and conclusion.

Make it Easy to Digest

Keep things simple, and write short paragraphs. Divide your content between sub-headings to help the reader navigate. Make your content digestible for the audience. To see an example of how to effectively do this in a ‘review style’ article, be sure to check out how the content is laid out on Frank’s review site and start implementing these same methods to improve your own engagement rate.

Be Independent

Write as people read every piece as a standalone post. Consider they won’t read related posts or may read them in a different way than you intended. So make sure every point makes sense on its own.

Interlink Your Content

Help people navigate through your content by putting links to your previous posts. You can also list them at the bottom of newer posts. Let your audience know what ideas you have already discussed.

How to Create the Best Content Possible, from Your Best Ideas

As you can see, there are plenty of factors to consider when creating content for your site or training series. The most important thing to remember is that your title is going to get the most attention, and article length is going to play a big role in the SEO process. At the same time, quality is always going to be important.

Once you’ve laid out all of your content and made sure you have some great titles with call to actions and trigger keywords, it’s then time to make sure your content is format in the best way possible. Separate your text with visuals, resources, reference links and anything else that might be of value to your audience.

Last but not least, ALWAYS put in the necessary time and research to effectively promote your content. There are more than a billion active sites online today — which means you are going to need to promote the heck out of your content in order to compete.

Follow all of these steps and you should have no problem finding success with your latest blog post ideas and content series.

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Hi, I’m Zac Johnson

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