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

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?

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

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.

7 Writing and Marketing Skills to Improve Your Guest Blogging Efforts

If you are a guest blogger or if you have guest bloggers create posts for your sites, you will want to read this post. It’s important to know how to improve the quality of your posts and maximize the impact you have on your target audience. This is true even if you are posting on other sites.

When you write a guest post for another site, the site or blog owner trusts you to represent their blog in a positive way that will improve their traffic and ROI. Remember guest blogging helps you, too because it serves as a backlink to your site. So you should treat the content that you write for others’ sites just as you would your content for your site.

How can you improve the quality of your blog posts and guest blogging efforts?

Check out these seven tips for writers and marketers that will help you to take your guest blogging to the next level.

1. SEO Content Writing

SEO content writing involves the skillful use of keywords as well as using backlinks and other techniques to increase targeted traffic. SEO is to search engines as excellent quality is to reader engagement. In other words, search engine optimization is the basic sauce you need as a writer or marketer to get your message in front of the people who will be interested in what you have to say.

In addition to having a solid understanding of SEO and writing content that ranks in Google, it should also be a required skill to have a solid foundation of social media as well. As effective and valuable as SEO and organic search traffic is, social media is still one of the most active areas of traffic today. With this in mind, impress your clients and sites that you contribute content to by staying up to date on the latest social media trends, while also growing out your own profiles and social followings in the process. And of course, always be sure to share your guest posts as often on social media and be sure to tag the site you are promoting as well.

2. High-Quality Content

Google still states that producing high-quality content is the most important factor in rankings within their search engine. You do need to include some SEO for natural results. But focusing on your content guarantees that you will rank and that people will stay on your page longer. The goal of effective online marketing and guest blogging is to increase the traffic of the site you are writing for, as well as to keep people on the blog once they get there.

Writing exciting and engaging content includes some various factors including connecting with the audience on a personal level, addressing their problem and offering solutions, and creating value for the reader. This is all a part of creating high-quality content. With practice, you can learn to hit on all of these critical aspects in your guest posts so you will get the results you need.

This is something we are seeing across many freelance writing platforms that not only specialize in creating content for websites, blogs, and brands but also in specialized writing services as well. Once such example is in the real estate and business marketing industry, where realtors and home owners, professionals, and business experts are looking to outsource their time and expertise from others who can simply put their thoughts and work into written publications. Take a look at any real estate blog and you will find that they are trading time for money in the form of content — which they then will hope to rank in the search results and see a positive ROI over time.

3. Creating Value

Creating value for your posts is perhaps the most important part of blogging. This is because you need to create the kind of content that will make people want to return for more once they read your content. To do this, try to create a personal connection to readers. Study previous posts of the blog on which you are writing and learn what their audience wants. You can do this by viewing comments that were left by readers on former posts or ask the blog owner to tell you more about their audience.

When looking at yourself as a freelance writer or even as simply a guest blogger, you need to be looking at the big picture. The act of creating quality content, value, and getting exposure on big media sites is actually an exclusive service and expertise in itself. At the same time, it’s actually become one of the best ways to turn a side hustle into a real business. If you understand the value and demand of an audience, while still providing a service, there is no reason you couldn’t flip that skill and dedication into a full-service content marketing and brand business.

Knowing the audience, you are writing for is important because you need to know who you are writing for. You are not just writing for the site or blog owner; you are writing for their audience. Recognizing this fact and understanding who you are talking to will go a long way toward improving your posts on other people’s sites.

4. Solve a problem.

The “problem/solution” method in advertising is still as effective as it always has been. Even though the methods and technologies have changed, the technique of showing how your post can help people solve a problem is very effective in creating high-quality posts, whether it is for your site or someone else’s site.

To utilize this technique, only describe a problem that reader might be having such as finding the right car dealership, and then present a list of tips that may help them to locate the best dealer for their needs. This method does not require using sales-based language. In fact, this is discouraged because people come to the blog to learn information rather than to be presented with a sales pitch.

5. Entertain and Inform: Create Shareable Content

If you can develop a skill to entertain your readers, you will be on the right path to providing high-quality, valuable content to your audience, whether you are writing for your blog or someone else’s. Some of the factors in creating compelling copy include the following:

  • Discussing trending or popular topics
  • Creating humorous posts
  • Using emotive techniques that appeal to emotions
  • Posing a question for readers to comment on

All of these techniques will help you to make your posts more entertaining. Informational text can be entertaining at the same time by merely including exciting facts that correlate to the information that you are presenting in the post. People mainly read a blog post to get the information they want about a specific topic. They probably already go to the blog regularly to read the latest post on the site you are posting on. So, when you are presenting a guest post, all you have to do is to continue the high-quality informational posts that the site owner already provides while making it entertaining by citing side references or through creative wording or other techniques.

In addition to this, you should be good at posting and maintaining social media posts and reactions. If you can master this skill, along with strong writing skills, you may be able to offer bloggers more for their money than just excellent writing.

6. Define yourself as a “go-to” source for certain kinds of information.

Another way to look at this is by thinking of yourself as an influencer. If you are an expert on a particular topic, you can create a name for yourself while also adding value and credibility to the site on which you are writing. Influencers can make a big impact on their industries by presenting helpful information for others in their industries. Big names like Neil Patel, Seth Godin, and many others all started by creating their content. But they also often serve as a guest poster on other sites to share their knowledge and skills with other audiences.

7. Creating Writing Portfolios

This tip may seem simple, but it is a good one if you want to guest blog regularly. Most online publishers (including site owners), want to see what you can do with your posts. They are primarily looking for aspects of your blogging that will help them promote their brand or purpose. You may not know who looks at your portfolios every time, but it’s a good idea to have a variety of posts that you have done that blog owners can look through.

By presenting your work in this fashion, you may be able to capture the attention of potential bloggers who are looking for a certain style or writing. You could also post a short resume or cover letter that explains what you can do for bloggers that will help promote their brand.

Guest Blogging Still Works… Just Make Sure to Use These Tips!

This is not a comprehensive list of skills that you need to be the perfect guest blogger, but they should help you to get started when going after blogs to write for. Remember to check to see what their policies are regarding pay vs. shareability. Many blog owners don’t have the budget to pay other bloggers. They may, instead, share your link with their readers in exchange for the post or other perks.

The main thing is to read, read, and re-read the blog you want to write for. Once you have an idea of their audience’s likes, dislikes, and pain points, you’ll be able to provide consistent or intermittent content that will resonate with their target audience. This means they may ask you to do it again, which will be beneficial to your sites, as well.

11 Expert Tips on How to Successfully Grow and Scale Your Business

Business growth is always exciting. Seeing your revenue, client base, workforce and market share expand is proof that your hard work and tireless efforts are paying off. Best of all, this is something that you can control, as long as you are putting in the necessary time, work, and effort.

While you may be eager to move your startup onward and upward, you shouldn’t forget about the potential negative impacts of scaling up. Expanding too quickly can mean biting off more than you can chew, and it’s easy for a business to collapse on itself if it cannot handle rapid growth.

Here’s what you need to keep in mind as you scale up if you want to avoid toppling your business, according to 11 members of Young Entrepreneur Council.

1. Do What You’re Best at and Outsource the Rest

As you scale your business, your highest priority is to identify what you do best in the company and then find someone who is even better than you to do that task. This will free up your time to focus on growing your company and not just working for it. For example, my strength is ranking websites so I hired someone I trust to implement my system and it’s saving me 80 hours per month.

Bryan Kesler, CPA Exam Guide

2. Invest in Talent Management Early

Too many startups hire for the present when they should be hiring people with the skills for 18 months into the future. Design roles for capable people to grow into. While a jack-of-all-trades talent seems valuable at the earliest stages, hiring experienced functional leaders is important during a startup’s growth phase. Lastly, turnover is inevitable so be prepared for this necessary reality.

Eddie Lou, Shiftgig

3. Implement Top-Notch Project Management Systems

As you scale and hire people, there will be more to manage and more minutiae will be created to account for the increase in projects and personnel. Having a project management system that can account for tracking projects at the macro level, as well as the minutiae of each project, is essential as you grow. Find a project management solution that is flexible, customizable and scalable.

Marcela De Vivo, Mulligan Funding

4. Make Sure Your Technology Can Grow With You

Make sure that your technology has the capability to scale with your business. For example, many e-commerce businesses find themselves needing to migrate from their current platform to a more robust solution in order to handle higher user and order volume. This is a complex process that can stunt a company’s current growth rate. To avoid this, select a platform built for scalability.

Duran Inci, Optimum7

5. Constantly Monitor Cash Flow

As you grow your business, you will be acquiring new obligations and spending more money. Make sure to constantly monitor your cash flow and P&L. New expenses are not directly proportional to the contracts you are getting. Contracts have different arrangements and payment schedules. I have seen a lot of companies grow really fast and end up failing for this reason.

Felipe Cornejo, Devsu LLC

6. Invest in Continuous Education

When I first launched AFS, we were a small company with an idea. As we expanded to a national player, we maintained the way we did things as a small company, and we didn’t adapt well. Once we instituted a continuous training and education program, we built teams that could adapt to growth and I found myself better equipped for the new challenges we faced as a larger organization.

Rahim Charania, American Fueling Systems

7. Build Your Internal Processes to Handle Scaling

Scaling a business is not necessarily about getting more sales or hiring more employees. If your internal processes aren’t built to handle more business, then you could be wasting money overstaffing due to repetitive tasks that can bottleneck the workflow — an error that could cost you in potential sales and revenue.

Codie Sanchez, Www.CodieSanchez.com

8. Have An Exit Strategy

When times are good, it can be deliriously satisfying to expand your business exponentially. However, it’s important to have a plan for when the money stops flowing in. Markets are unpredictable and can turn sour at any time. A bit of foresight and careful planning can ensure that your business survives a recession.

Bryce Welker, CPA Exam Guy

9. Improve Your Customer Service

Too many complaints can bring your business to a crashing halt. You can’t stop every complaint, but you can reduce them greatly by beefing up your customer service. Train staff to resolve complaints. Stay engaged on your social media pages where customers love to take out their frustrations. Reply and make them feel like they are a priority. Just replying can make a huge difference to customers.

Blair Thomas, eMerchantBroker

10. Prioritize Employee Career Development

To sustain high growth, a company needs to retain and attract the right people. One necessary tactic to employee retention and attraction is designing career growth within a company. Employees need to see themselves progressing as fast as your company — and there needs to be buy-in from both employer and employee on what that career development looks like so you can both grow together.

Brett Farmiloe, Markitors Website Development

11. Take a Slow and Steady Approach to Growth

It can be easy to get caught up in growing quickly, but I’ve seen a ton of businesses do that and then have to downsize immediately. It puts people out and isn’t a great way to build a solid reputation for your company. It’s important to take a step back, move slowly and really think about the next steps you’re taking to grow your business so you don’t get ahead of yourself.

John Hall, Influence & Co.

Grow Your Business, By Growing Your Personal Brand

Of the many different ways to grow your online business and brand, don’t forget about the importance of growing your personal brand in the process. This is especially true if you are the face of the brand. Through the power of social media, it’s extremely easy and effective to not only reach new audiences but to also rank higher in Google for personal names and brand names in the process. Be sure to try out this method, along with each of the recommended tips above for growing your brand or online business in 2018.

If you enjoyed this expert roundup, I recommend you also take a look at our previous ones on expert SEO tips and best tips for making money online.

12 Design Tips to Convert More Customers on Your Homepage

Your homepage is easily the most important element of your brand’s website. It’s the first thing visitors see when they click on your URL, and you don’t have very long to make an impression: Users typically leave a webpage within 10 to 20 seconds unless they see something worth sticking around for.

A well-designed homepage that quickly and clearly presents your brand’s most important information, value proposition and call to action can encourage higher conversion rates. We asked 12 members of Young Entrepreneurs Council to share some smart design elements that will turn online prospects into paying customers.

1. A Question and Answer Section

Most people are lazy. Ninety-nine percent of your customers won’t email, chat or call to ask you their deal-breaking question. If they have a question in their head that’s unanswered by your page, they’ll simply go elsewhere. Which questions should you answer? To make a list of questions, look through your past conversations with customers and use AnswerThePublic.com with your brand name.

Kevin Tao, NeuEve

2. Multifunction Live Chat

An interesting live chat module holds the key to conversions. Live chats are inexpensive to maintain and are excellent data mining sources. The utility of the live chat goes beyond converting paying customers as it assists in tracking feedback to improve upon existing products and create new products or services. You gain clients with customer service.

Matthew Capala, Alphametic

3. An Exit Intent Pop-Up

Nothing is more frustrating than watching thousands of readers come to your website and not take a single action on it. With exit-intent technology, you’re able to capture a reader’s attention right before they leave your site. As soon as the mouse starts to glide over to the back arrow, a pop-up will appear asking the visitor for their email address.

Syed Balkhi, OptinMonster

4. A Large Call to Action

Each page of your site should have a clear, large call-to-action button. This may seem obvious, but often business owners get bogged down adding so much language or information that they lose sight of the end goal, which is for a customer to click and make a purchase.

Rachel Beider, Massage Greenpoint, Massage Williamsburg

5. A/B Test Versions

We’ve learned some of our greatest insights about our homepage conversion by A/B testing particular elements on our homepage, such as the image, header copy and even the text in the call-to-action button. These tests have been instrumental in helping us to test our hypotheses and make changes using a data-driven approach.

Mark Krassner, Expectful

6. Good Testimonials and Case Studies

Customers want to feel like they’re making the right decision when buying something from you. Make your testimonials look amazing and invest in building the right case studies. If a customer can’t find someone who feels good about their experience with you, they won’t feel good about their own.

Francois de Lame, Policygenius Inc.

7. Striking Images

A lot of websites are beginning to follow Apple’s lead: striking imagery and minimalist design. With easy pathways to navigate toward important product pages and a clear CTA, you don’t need all of the flashy design and interactive elements of a good site. Don’t rely on stock photos; use that new iPhone camera to take powerful images related to your business for the homepage.

Kristopher Jones, LSEO.com

8. A Promotion Button

Put a promotion button on the homepage that takes them to a great deal and allows them to immediately close the deal and pay for it. The faster you get it in front of them and the easier you make it, the more you will convert.

John Rampton, Calendar

9. A Free Downloadable Form

By offering a free downloadable form, you are prompting visitors to enter their contact information in exchange for helpful information that’s related to your line of work. This is a great way to grow your mailing list.

Derek Broman, Discount Enterprises LLC

10. A Simplistic Layout That Draws the User’s Eye

The best way to convert more online prospects into paying customers is to remove the noise. Make sure your homepage clearly defines where the user’s eye should go and what the call to action is. Keep it simple and make sure you are focusing on the main goal when designing and not getting lost in the little things.

Jayna Cooke, EVENTup

11. A Featured Video

Adding a featured video on the homepage of your website can encourage visitors to stay longer. You’ll see your bounce rates decrease, an increase in conversions, and it will also make your website more trustworthy and distinctive. Highlighting your product or service benefits is key. It’s a great way to communicate a message and turn it into a concise, coherent format for users.

Solomon Thimothy, OneIMS

12. Your Phone Number

It sounds simple, and yet many businesses don’t do it. The benefit of adding this number is twofold. First, it gives your customers a fast way to contact you, which is great for closing time-sensitive deals. The other benefit is in building trust. Knowing there is a number they can call if something doesn’t go as expected removes a barrier for many people.

Baruch Labunski, Rank Secure

Create an Amazing Home Page to Instantly Gain the Attention of Your Audience

The home page of your site is going to be extremely important and not something you should just go live with an hope to develop over time. In short, this is your chance to make a great first impression to your audience and customers around the world — so don’t blow it! If you are using WordPress to power your site, then you will likely find it quite easy to customize the look and feel of your site. If you still find there are some customizations that need to be made, simply hire a designer and it can make the world of a different for your site and brand.

If you enjoyed this expert roundup, I highly recommend you check out another one which asks 83 online marketing experts the question “How Do I Start a Successful Blog?“. If you don’t already have a website or blog of your own, follow my guide to get started with one tod

The Five Best Free Web Hosting Providers Revealed

In recent years, web hosting has become a commodity in the same way that access to the internet has become a human right. In the earliest days of the internet, if you wanted to launch a website then you had to purchase or rent a server and have the technical expertise that’s required to actually manage it.

But the relentless march of technology has helped to democratise web hosting and related fields, which is why you can sign up for a Dropbox account and pick up free cloud storage space within a couple of minutes. The business model that Dropbox uses is similar to the business models of many free web hosting providers.

It’s also similar to how many smartphone games make money. They rely on a freemium model in which a certain amount of access is given for free but which also allows people to pay for more. In smartphone games, this typically means some form of in-game currency that allows paying players to get a boost on their competition. For free web hosting providers, it usually means offering up a decent amount of resources for free and then giving people the option to upgrade once their websites take off and they need more resources.

Still, not all free hosting providers are equal, with some offering more space than others and some bundling in extra features like website builders and free email addresses. That’s why we’ve pulled this list together. Let’s get into our list of the five best free web hosting providers.

Wix.com

Wix is probably most well-known for its easy-to-use drag-and-drop website building tool, which is why it’s one of the providers of choice for small businesses and simple portfolio sites for freelancers and creatives. The only problem with it is that it’s more restricted when it comes to installing a content management system (CMS) such as WordPress or customising it with additional features such as eCommerce functionality.

Still, Wix is a decent enough choice if you can work within its constraints, and it also offers up to 500 MB of storage and bandwidth. They’ll even throw in a free Wix.com subdomain. And, like most free hosting providers, you can also upgrade to paid plans for more resources and functionality.

Weebly.com

Weebly is pretty much just Wix but with better customer support and some stunning templates that can give your free website a professional look and feel. If you go for one of their free plans, you’ll have 500 MB of storage and a Weebly.com subdomain, but unlike Wix you’ll get unlimited bandwidth and so your site won’t go down if it suddenly becomes super popular.

On the downside, Weebly’s free hosting plans mean that they’ll add their branding to your website’s footer, but at least they don’t serve up intrusive ads which could scare your visitors away altogether. You can even go in and edit the code for their free templates if you’re a more advanced user who wants something a little more bespoke.

AwardSpace

AwardSpace is one of the more established free hosting providers with over ten years of experience when it comes to powering free websites, and they follow a similar model to others by powering their free hosting using paid addons.

With AwardSpace, you’ll be given 1 GB of storage and 5 GB of bandwidth, as well as a free email account and the ability to set up three subdomains. On the downside, they don’t offer a free website builder like Wix and Weebly, but they do offer up Joomla and WordPress installers so that you can get a website up and running with as little fuss as possible.

5GBFree.com

The clue is in the name here. 5GBFree will give you 5 GB of free storage, as well as 20 GB of bandwidth and one-click installers for various ecommerce tools such as Joomla, PHPShop and ZenCart. It’s one of the few free hosting providers that offers this ecommerce support, which means you can get your store up and running for free and then upgrade to a more powerful host once the store is able to pay for it.

5GBFree also spends a lot of time and resources on securing their setup, and they even use a world-class quality data centre. On the downside, their customer service isn’t great, but they do have a product forum that can connect you with other customers who might be able to help.

000webhost.com

000webhost.com is one of the most popular free web hosting providers on the market, and there’s a reason for that. They have literally millions of happy users and they’ve been in the business of offering free hosting since 2007. And unlike most other free hosting providers, they have virtually no limits when it comes to storage space and bandwidth.

This host is also different to others because they’ll provide not just one but five free email accounts, and they also give users access to heavy-duty analytics tools, auto-installers, website building tools and more. You can even scoop up a free SSL certificate. You’d be hard pressed to find another free host with as powerful an offering as this.

Conclusion

By now, you should have a good idea of what the landscape is like for free web hosting providers and you might even have an idea of which one you want to go for. Before you go ahead and sign up for one, though, be sure to check some user reviews to get a feel for what people think of them.

You’ll also want to put some thought into the types of features that you’ll need and what resource levels you’re looking for. The last thing you want to do is to find a free host, sign up to it and find yourself migrating to another one a couple of weeks afterwards because you made the wrong call.

The good news is that there’s plenty of choice when it comes to free web hosting providers and this list only covers the tip of the iceberg. If you have specialist needs (if you want a host in a particular geographical area, for example) then you’re sure to find a free host to suit your needs if you spend enough time searching.

Web hosting doesn’t have to cost a fortune. In fact, it doesn’t have to cost you a penny. So why not save your money for something else?

Ten Expert Tips for Creating a Viral Article in 2018

Creating an article that goes viral is often the dream of business owners and content marketers everywhere. With just a single piece of content, a viral article is often able to generate more traffic than months or even years of publishing other content.

However, the internet is a fickle beast, and there’s simply no predicting what content will achieve virality. With that said, there are a few things you can do to drastically improve the odds of your content going viral.

If you would like to have your next article shared on social media platforms everywhere, consider following these tips.

Tip #1: Invoke an Emotional Response

People are much more likely to share an article that invokes some sort of emotional response as opposed to one that only presents them with the facts. Think about the articles you see frequently shared. Chances are a large majority of them are either humorous, worrying, or touching in some way. To illustrate this point, consider the fact that the most shared article on the New Yorker’s website in 2015 was one titled “Scientists: Earth Endangered by New Strain of Fact-Resistant Humans”. It might not be breaking news, but it is humorous, and humorous gets shared.

Tip #2: Lists are More Likely to go Viral

No matter the topic, people love lists. Perhaps it’s the fact that the list format breaks up an article into manageable chunks, or perhaps it taps into our love for structure, organization, and rankings. Whatever the reason, you’ll stand a lot better chance of creating a viral article if you structure it as a list and give it a title that lets people know it’s a list.

One of the more popular articles on this blog, is this one focused on 20 list building tips. People just tend to live articles that are written in an easy to follow list style.

Tip #3: Strive for Originality

With so many content creators continuously churning out new content, it can be difficult to come up with something that is truly original. Nevertheless, if you hope to create an article that will go viral, you need to strive for something that people haven’t already seen a hundred times. One way to do this is to try and stay on top of recent trends and news. If you can be one of the first people covering a new topic or at least approaching it from a new angle, it’ll increase the odds that people find your content interesting enough to share.

At the same time, no matter how original your content might be — you still need to tap into an existing audience. One of the best ways to accomplish this is through the use of #hashtags on social media. To see some of the top hashtags trending right now, be sure to check out this resource.

Tip #4: Create Well-Written Content

No matter what topic you are covering, your content must be well-written in order for people to deem it worthy of sharing. Your prose doesn’t have to sing like Shakespeare’s, but it does need to be engaging and enjoyable to read. If you’re not comfortable in your own ability to write in a way that is a pleasure to read, you may wish to hire a talented freelance writer to craft your article for you.

If this is an option you would like to explore further, you can head over to freelancemyway.com to find a talented freelance writer for hire. Some of the most popular and most-read blogs and content sites in the world today are run by teams, yet most of the content is actually outsourced to different writers around the world.

Tip #5: Don’t Shy Away from Controversy

Controversy scares many content creators. However, keep in mind that there is some truth to the old adage that says “there’s no such thing as bad publicity”. The truth is that people love controversial topics. Just be careful not to fly too close to the flame; covering a controversial topic is one thing, but angering your audience for the mere purpose of creating controversy isn’t likely to achieve the results you were hoping for.

Tip #6: Spice Up Your Content With Visuals

Just because you are creating an article doesn’t mean that written words are the only medium you have to work with – studies show that articles which incorporate visual content such as images, infographics, and imbedded video are more likely to go viral than articles that are comprised of nothing but text.

Everyone knows visuals are preferred heavily over text these days. Just take a look at the massive drop in desktop and search usage. Now it’s all about video and grabbing the interest of your audience as soon as possible. If you want to spice of your content and improve the chances of going viral, be sure to include images and video wherever possible.

Tip #7: Consider Influencer Marketing

Many times, what causes an article to go viral isn’t how interesting the article is but how interesting the person who shares it is. A single share from an influencer who has a multitude of followers is often the shot of rocket fuel that boosts an article into virality. Of course, getting influencers to share your article is often easier said than done unless you have the right connections. However, many influencers are now selling their article-sharing services.

If you can afford the price tag and have crafted an article that is worth investing in, you may want to consider paying an influencer in your field to share it on their social media profiles. For anyone that doesn’t have a budget for this type of advertising, be sure to consider your options with expert roundups. These take a decent amount of time, but definitely are still one of the best ways to create content that gets massive shares and attention.

Tip #8: Publish Your Content on Tuesday

There isn’t much underlying logic as to why an article that is published on Tuesday is more likely to go viral, but studies show that more content is shared on Tuesday than any other day of the week. In fact, according to one study, articles published on Tuesday received over twice as many shares as articles published on Saturday or Sunday.

While other days of the week such as Monday and Thursday were closer in terms of shares, articles published on any other day besides Tuesday still see considerably fewer total shares.

Tip #9: Craft Engaging Headlines

Your headlines are the bait that lures readers in. If that bait isn’t enticing, they’ll likely pass by your article without so much as a glance. In fact, many people will share an article based only on its headline without even taking the time to fully read the article for themselves. When creating your headlines, your goals should be to inspire curiosity, promise value, and clearly communicate the content of the article itself.

If you can make people feel as if they are missing out on something by not clicking on your article, they’ll be a lot more likely to give it a look. Also, be sure to take advantage of current events and already trending topics. For a list of even more ideas, but sure to check out this infographic on creating engaging titles.

Tip #10: Create Opinionated Content

Think about the reason why people post things on their social media accounts. Most of the time, their goal is to communicate something about themselves to their friends and followers. That could be an update about what they’ve been doing, their feelings about a specific topic, or anything in-between. This concept not only applies to the posts that people write themselves, but also the content that they share. Sharing an opinionated article allows people to demonstrate how they feel about a certain topic. For example, a person will be more likely to share an opinion piece about net neutrality to show where they stand on the issue than they are to share an article that simply defines and describes what net neutrality is.

If you can craft content that gives people the opportunity to use that content as a platform to demonstrate how they believe and feel, it’ll be more likely to be shared.

How to Improve Your Content Creation and Marketing Efforts

There is no exact science to creating a viral article. Sometimes, the most random articles are shared across the internet while those that were meticulously crafted to encourage shares disappear into obscurity. With that said, if you follow a few simple tips, you’ll be a lot more likely to achieve a viral article and all of the value that it brings with it. The next time you sit down to craft a new piece of content for you blog, keep these tips in mind and your article may just be the internet’s next big thing.

Is Wix the World’s Best Drag and Drop Site Builder?

Lets take a look at the well-known Wix website builder. You may have seen the ad for Wix either on TV or online, advertising how easy it is to build a website quickly and easily on Wix’s platform. In this post, we’ll take a deep dive into just what makes Wix so great, and look at some of the outstanding features so you can decide for yourself whether it is the best platform for your needs.

Why Drag-and-Drop?

You may wonder why having a drag-and-drop format is the best way to build a website. The best way to think of this is to consider the alternative. If you do not have a drag-and-drop platform, you have to create the content another way. Rather than dragging content to the area on your editor that you want it on, you must designate an area within the template another way or use raw code.

While using raw code is tempting, due to its complete sense of creative design freedom, it becomes more complicated to create a site this way because you have to know how to manipulate the code to do what you want it to. There are also more programming languages than there used to be. So this means that you will have to spend some time learning this before you can create your site from scratch.

Wix makes it easy to customize your website using their drag-and-drop feature, and it does not require that you know any coding language to do it.

Drag-and-drop is the best way to manipulate and edit your pages that takes the least time to do it.

Wix’s Best Features

Wix has some great features that you can check out while on their site. Some of the best ones are listed below. But be sure to check out Wix’s features yourself so you can see what they offer.

  • Contact Form
  • Google Maps
  • SEO Tools
  • Stock images
  • Custom Domain Name
  • Easy drag-and-drop interface

You will want to make use of the contact form and other tools as they can help you to create a better website and help you to market your brand to the world.

How to Build a Page on Wix

If you plan to use Wix using their convenient drag-and-drop editor, here is a quick step-by-step checklist to follow to create a site using the Wix editor.

1. Choose a template

The first thing to do after signing up for the free 14-day trial is to choose a template that you can use for your site. Wix has hundreds of different looks crossing over into all of the major industries. So take your time and choose the one that will work best for you.

2. Customize your template

Once you have chosen a model, you should work on customizing it to meet your needs. Think about the purpose of your site and what you want to achieve with your website.

3. Tweak your look

It’s important to remember that, no matter how good a template is, you will want to tweak it to make it yours. The way to customize your website is to consider the way the template works with your brand and experiment by rearranging items until it suits your needs. Templates allow you to have a premade look for your website while still being able to change some of the details to fit your concept. Check this out on their site and see what options are available.

4. Fine-tune your navigation

Navigation is essential to the success of a website. This goes to the issue of UX (user experience), so you want to make sure your navigation is the best for your customers. Making things easily accessible is the primary goal, but you will also want your navigation to help lead the customer through your sales funnel. Using a minimalist design with continuous scrolling or another similar style is one way to accomplish this.

5. Focus on content organization

One of the most important aspects of your website is to focus on your content. But this means more than just having strong and interesting content. You also want to have content that is well-organized. This is easier to do with Wix’s organizational tools that are built right into the editor. The easy drag-and-drop interface makes it easy to arrange, rearrange, and make changes quickly.

6. Decide on your “call to action.”

Your “call to action” is one of the most important things to include on your website. This is where you are leading your customer, so you want to make sure that you help guide them to where you want them to go in your sales funnel. If you have created the other parts of the customer journey correctly, it should be easy to make your call to action the final step of your sales funnel. By using Wix’s easily customizable website builder, you should be able to lead your customers through your sales funnel efficiently.

7. Create a footer

Don’t forget your footer as you are editing your page on Wix. This is a tagline or a statement about your brand that leaves a final impression on your visitors. It could include your logo or your company slogan if you like.

8. Make it search-engine friendly

Making sure your site is ready for the searches is another important aspect of website building. Wix makes this easy because of the onboard SEO tool and other options.

9. Add media and add-ons

Using multimedia will increase the impact of your site many times over. People respond to audio, video, and infographics much better than with text alone. Wix has built a platform that is media-friendly and allows you plenty of space to grow with your brand.

10. Make it mobile-friendly

Google (and your visitors) want your site to be mobile-friendly. Make sure you optimize your site to be mobile-friendly for mobile customers. They will soon be the majority of your viewers.

Keeping visitors engaged

Once you have your site up and running, don’t forget to come back and maintain it by making subtle changes where needed and keeping your visitors engaged. Do this by adding features once in a while, running a content, or just offering fresh content. By always keeping your site up-to-date, you’ll be able to capture your target audience and keep their interest for the future, as well. Wix makes this super easy to do!

Did we answer the question?

In trying to evaluate whether Wix is the world’s best drag-and-drop site builder, you may want to take it for a test drive to see what it can do for you. They have a free Wix trial that you can use to try it out before buying so that you can try the features for yourself before deciding. Just create an account after browsing the many beautiful professional designs and get started on your site today.

Millions of people would agree that it is the world’s best online web creator because of its ease of use and professional templates that make it look like you hire professional designers to do the job.

The only way to find out if to try it yourself. Once you have used Wix’s super easy editor, you may decide too that it is the best one in the world or at least the best one for your needs. If you get stuck or don’t know what to do, there’s plenty of free help via their 24/7 customer support page.

Check out Wix today and see why there’s no need to learn code or spend countless hours building a website. Many people are doing it in less than a day with Wix’s easy drag-and-drop interface. You can, too!

By the way, it’s also fun!

29 FinCon Financial Bloggers and Entrepreneurs You Need to Follow

Attending conferences and events in your area is one of the best ways to get ahead. Heck, even if they aren’t in your area, they are well worth the trip or flight to get there! With so many different events taking place at different locations and times across the world, this is now easier than ever. That’s exactly what is going to be taking place this week at FinCon 17 in Dallas Texas.

FinCon is the world’s largest Financial Content Expo – helping hundreds reach millions with a positive money message. The event takes place this week (October 25th-28th, 2017) at the Sheraton Dallas Hotel. This year I will be speaking at FinCon on the subject of being an authority brand expert within your space — specifically on how I went from being an affiliate marketer to a well-respected and authority brand in a highly competitive space.

The great news is that this business model is replicable no matter what niche you are in, and I want to personally show you how it’s done. If you can make it to FinCon this year, I would love to see you in my session and connect with you at the event!

Even if you can’t make it to the event, there are still plenty of opportunities for you to benefit from home. With social media and email making it easy to connect with virtually anyone, now is the best time to start following some of the top names at FinCon17 through Twitter, while also building some new networking relationships in the process.

29 Must Follow Speakers and Experts at FinCon 17

In addition to my session, there are over 100 other professionals and experts speaking at FinCon as well. While there will be well over 1,000+ attendees at the event, there are still plenty of opportunities to learn from these experts before, after and during FinCon through the use of social media. To make the process of connecting with these featured experts easier for everyone, I’ve listed 29 of the top FinCon keynote and breakout session speakers below, along with their Twitter link for easy following.

#FinCon17 Keynote Speakers

Quintessential blogger, author, podcaster, Darren Rowse will be in Dallas this Fall to deliver an inspirational and educational keynote address to the FinCon community.

That’s right! THE ProBlogger will be at FinCon!

Darren is the co-author of ProBlogger: Secrets for Blogging Your Way to a Six-Figure Income, a practical guide to creating and marketing a profitable blog. He is also the founder of Problogger.com and Digital-Photography-School.com which are read by close to 5 million visitors per month.

With over 8,000 articles, tips, tutorials, podcast episodes and case studies, Darren’s ProBlogger site has become a pivotal resource site for all things blogging.

We’re honored to have Darren involved in the event and we can’t wait to hear what he has to share with us.

David Bach has helped millions of people around the world take action to live and finish rich.

He is one of the most prolific and bestselling financial authors of our time with 9 consecutive New York Times bestsellers, with more than seven million books in print, translated into over nineteen languages. His runaway bestseller The Automatic Millionaire (completely revised and updated- 2017) spent thirty-one weeks on the New York Times bestseller and was simultaneously #1 on the New York Times, USA Today, Business Week and The Wall Street Journal lists.

He is also the author of the New York Times bestsellers Smart Women Finish RichSmart Couples Finish RichStart Late, Finish RichFight for Your Money; Go Green, Live Rich, Start Over Finish Rich; and The Automatic Homeowner and Debt Free For Life.

Bach regularly appears as a financial expert in the media on television, radio and in print. He has been a regular contributor to NBC’s Today Show, having appeared over one hundred times and has appeared a half dozen times on The Oprah Winfrey Show.

He has been featured in over three thousand media appearances including columns and articles on New York Times, Wall Street Journal, CNBC, Huffington Post, Business Insider, AOL, Yahoo Finance, Smart Money Magazine, and Redbook and more.

The founder and chairman of FinishRich Media, a company dedicated to revolutionizing the way people learn about money. Bach is the creator of The FinishRich Seminars that over one million people have attended. Prior to founding FinishRich Media, he was a Senior Vice President of Morgan Stanley and a partner of The Bach Group, which during his tenure managed more than half a billion dollars for individual investors.

Today Bach is the Co-Founder of AE Wealth Management and the Director of Investor Education. AE Wealth Management is one of the fastest growing RIA’s in the country having grown to over $2 billion in assets under management, with 215 offices & 345 advisors in less than two years. Bach lives with his family in New York City.

We’re excited to make our final #FinCon17 Keynote Speaker announcement! Nicole Walters, founder of The Monetized Life, will be delivering our closing keynote on Saturday, October 28, 2017 at the Sheraton Dallas.

By age 28, Nicole Walters had executive stints with companies like T.Rowe Price and Wells Fargo Mortgage Backed Securities under her belt- and was a highly-paid executive at a Fortune 500 company, managing multibillion dollar accounts. But something wasn’t right. “My job was feeding my family, but not my soul,” she says.

Nicole quit her corporate job to focus open her own private business and product development consulting firm, The Monetized Life. As her audience ramped up, so did her revenue—she made $11,000 in the first three weeks of working with small business clients full time.

Now, when she’s not hanging out with her husband and their three foster kids, she shares her secrets to earning passive income with other entrepreneurs through her wildly popular online course, 1K1Day.

“I teach people how to add commas to their bank accounts,” says Nicole. “They learn that they don’t have to trade time for money.”

#FinCon17 Breakout Session Speakers

Bobbi Rebell is the author of the best-selling self-help/personal finance book “ “How to Be a Financial Grownup: Proven Advice from High Achievers on How to Live Your Dreams and Have Financial Freedom,”. It combines unique personal financial stories from inspirational leaders with targeted specific actionable advice to help readers take charge of their money. Role Models include Tony Robbins, Kevin O’Leary, Cynthia Rowley, Jim Cramer, Drew Barrymore and Sallie Krawcheck. “Financial Grownup” has been featured in AARP Magazine, Well + Good, Oprah.com, The NYPost, Cosmopolitan Magazine, Redbook, Refinery 29, the Tony Robbins blog, Business Insider, Yahoo Finance, HerMoney with Jean Chatzky, and countless other media outlets. Her documentary, “The Financial Grownup Project” is currently in production. She is also an award-winning TV anchor and personal finance columnist most recently at Thomson Reuters, the largest news organization in the world. Her business videos have been seen on hundreds of broadcast and online channels around the world, and her Reuters column on personal finance was syndicated to newspapers and websites worldwide. She was also previously a reporter at PBS (Nightly Business Report) and held various producer positions at CNN and CNBC. She is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and has a Certificate in Financial Planning from New York University. She lives in NYC with her husband, 3 kids and her morkie Waffles.

The co-founders of popular women’s finance site The Financial Diet, Chelsea and Lauren are a writer and designer, respectively. They live in New York City.

Chris’s passion is sharing ideas and creating products for people who are looking for a better way to handle their money. He loves showing everyday-normal people how to go from living paycheck-to-paycheck, to getting completely out of debt and creating hope for their future. Chris created a Powerful Budgeting Tool that has helped over 10,000 families create their own personal budget and manage their money the right way. He helps families with one-on-one financial coaching to create a budget, get on a proven plan to pay off their debt, and create a path not just for them, but for their future and their children’s future.

Erin Lowry is a millennial personal finance expert and the founder of BrokeMillennial.com. She’s also the author of “BROKE MILLENNIAL: Stop Scraping By and Get Your Financial Life Together.” Lowry and her work have been featured on CBS Sunday Morning, CNBC, Fox & Friends, USA Today, Wall Street Journal, Cosmopolitan and NBC News. Lowry lives in New York City with her spunky rescue dog Mosby.

James M. Dahle, MD is a practicing emergency physician who got sick of feeling ripped off by financial professionals and decided to do something about it. He underwent a lengthy self-education process in which he became an expert about personal finance and investing as it applies to those in the upper tax brackets. Jim then applied those principles in his own life and became a millionaire just seven years out of residency training. He realized that no one was teaching these critical financial principles to otherwise intelligent professionals during their training and so founded The White Coat Investor website to help them get a “fair shake” on Wall Street. His first book, begun immediately after attending FinCon in 2013, has remained a best seller on Amazon for over three years. He now criss-crosses the country helping physicians, dentists, and others stop doing dumb stuff with their money.

Jason Vitug is bestselling author of You Only Live Once, keynote speaker, and founder of financial media and education startup, Phroogal. Jason successfully raised $78,501 through crowdfunding supported by 541 donors. In 2013, he founded Phroogal as a personal finance blog and has evolved into a community of over 65,000 people. In 2015, Jason created the Plutus Awards winning project, The Road to Financial Wellness, a grassroots and social campaign to break the social taboo about money and empower a generation through financial knowledge. Jason continues to engage with local organizations, nonprofits and government agencies to promote financial wellness.

An accidental personal-finance expert, J.D. has been blogging for since before “blog” was even a word — over twenty years! He’s the founder of Get Rich Slowly and Money Boss, and the author of Your Money: The Missing Manual.

Jesus & family lover, financial planner, Iraqi Combat Veteran, Author of Soldier of Finance, Forbes, CNBC, Business Insider contributor, In-N-Out Burger addict, Crossfitter

Joe Saul-Sehy is the creator and co-host of the Stacking Benjamins podcast. Formerly a media spokesperson for a Fortune 100 financial company, he’s worked extensively in television, radio, print media, and now podcasting.

Joshua J Sheats, MSFS is the world’s leading authority on integrating lifestyle goals and money goals without conflict. He teaches normal people how to seamlessly connect the science of financial planning with the joy of goal achievement. Joshua is dedicated to helping normal people achieve financial freedom by merging the creative (and crazy) ideas from the world of personal finance with the academic integrity of formal financial planning. He simplifies the complex topics of money and makes the boring financial mumbo-jumbo less boring. Joshua is an expert financial planner with a lifelong focus on advanced education.

Liz is a NerdWallet Columnist and Certified Financial Planner® whose goal is to help you get smarter about money so you can get on with your life. She’s the author of five books including the best-selling “Your Credit Score” and has appeared on a bunch of TV shows, including CNBC’s Power Lunch, Mornings with Maria on Fox Business, NBC Nightly News, the Today Show—and Dr. Phil, where she advised a would-be ghost hunter to get real about his finances. She lives with her husband, daughter and co-dependent golden retriever in Los Angeles.

Born in Toledo Ohio, and a current resident of San Diego (via Philly, Boulder, Denver, and Brussels), Michael O’Neal’s report cards always said “Talks too much”. This feedback would eventually come in handy, as he is now the host of the popular business and entertainment podcast, The Solopreneur Hour. The show focuses on people that have found themselves “Profitably Unemployable”, and what they’ve done to become successful. A 5 year journey, starting with the loss of his parents and just $14 remaining in his bank account has taken him on a circuitous path to success. Professional drummer, car racer, competitive racquetball player, BMX’er, and former expert mountain bike racer with a penchant for stand up comedy, Michael likes to get out in San Diego and live the solopreneur life of time, location, and financial freedom.

Michelle is the founder of Making Sense of Cents and enjoys helping her readers earn more, save more, and most importantly – live more. She travels full-time with her husband and two dogs.

Natalie Sisson is on a mission to help entrepreneurs create freedom in business and simplicity in life. A self-proclaimed Freedomist, she shows you how to work less, earn more and be free. Natalie shares tips, strategies and effective hacks via her blog, videos and podcasts on how to use technology, tools, outsourcing and automation to free up more of your time so you can focus on living your ideal lifestyle and embracing every moment, while your business runs seamlessly (and even without you)!

Nathan is the founder and CEO of ConvertKit. An email marketing company for professional bloggers. He loves soccer, woodworking, and designing software.

Nick Loper helps people earn money outside of their day job. He’s an author, online entrepreneur, and host of the “Best Business Podcast”-nominated Side Hustle Show, which features new part-time business ideas each week. As Chief Side Hustler at SideHustleNation.com, he loves deconstructing the tactics and strategies behind building extra income streams.

Pat Flynn is an American entrepreneur, blogger, and podcaster known for his website Smart Passive Income, where he conducts income experiments and shares the results. The Smart Passive Income podcast is consistently ranked in the top 10 podcasts in iTunes’s Business category Pat is on the board of the non-profit Pencils of Promise and is an advisor to tech startups LeadPages and ConvertKit.

Philip Olson spent several years after college as a ‘starving artist’ – waiting tables, parking cars, making lattes while trying to act and direct. Eventually he became a theater instructor, where he fell in love with teaching and coaching his students.Eventually, he left the professional artistic world and was inspired to make a difference in a notoriously un-caring industry. In 2015 he went on to pass the Certified Financial Planner™ Board Exam. After that his wife Julia (also an artist) left the mortgage industry and started their own planning firm, The Art of Finance. They adore combining their artistic and financial powers in order to make finance approachable and empowering to creative people.

I write the Your Money column for The New York Times and am the author of “The Opposite of Spoiled,” a book about how, when and why to talk to kids about money and what to say when you do. Current obsession: How families can figure out what to pay for college, which is just the latest six-figure twist on an age old question: How Much is Enough?

Stefanie O’Connell is a millennial money author, speaker and blogger at stefanieoconnell.com. Her work has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Forbes and SUCCESS magazine.

Steve & Annette Economides are NY Times Best Selling Authors, parents of five grown children and Family Finance Experts. They are passionate about living the frugal debt-free lifestyle and sharing the fun, laughter and freedom they’ve experienced. This has led them to write three books: “America’s Cheapest Family gets You Right on the Money;” “Cut Your Grocery Bill in Half;” and “The MoneySmart Family System – Teaching Financial Independence to Children of Every Age.” They also are publishers of MoneySmartFamily.com and the MoneySmart Free Media e-course.

Tabitha Philen hosts over 10,000 bloggers in her thriving Facebook community, Inspired Bloggers Network. Founded in 2012, Inspired Bloggers is dedicated to providing bloggers with education and encouragement in a no-pressure environment. Tabitha devotes herself to mentoring and empowering bloggers with her visionary ideas and entrepreneurial spirit through LIVE video and interactive courses at Inspired Bloggers University. Considered a well-rounded expert on blogging for profit and social media, Tabitha shares comprehensive tutorials through live video weekly using Facebook Live.

Talaat and Tai McNeely “America’s #1 Money Couple”, are Financial Educators that are on a mission to get individuals and couples on the same page financially, and to experience the joys of financial freedom. They are co-authors of Money Talks: The Ultimate Couple’s Guide To Communicating About Money. They are also the hosts of the top rated podcast, “The His and Her Money Show”. Talaat and Tai McNeely (His and Her Money) have been featured in numerous publications such as T.D. Jakes Show, FoxNews.com, Black Entreprise, MSN.com, Essence, and Business Insider.

Winnie Sun is the Managing Director and Founding Partner of Sun Group Wealth Partners, a trusted award- winning financial consulting firm providing financial planning services to small business owners, senior executives, celebrities, tech elite, and established families throughout the West Coast.

Last… but not least — Philip Taylor, PT Money (FinCon Founder)

philip-taylorPhilip Taylor, aka “PT”, is a CPA, husband and father of three. He created PT Money back in 2007 to share his thoughts on money and to meet others passionate about managing their finances. He got rid of debt, learned to live lean, saved a bunch of money, and eventually was able to leave his unsatisfying corporate career and pursue his entrepreneurial ventures full-time. Philip’s advice: fix your finances so that they aren’t a burden in your life, and then build the life you want: whether it’s traveling more, early retirement, staying at home with your kids, or building a business like he did. Philip is also the founder of FinCon, the annual conference for the financial media community.

See you at FinCon17!

Be sure to follow everyone on the list above, and don’t forget to connect with me at FinCon17 and to attend my “Six Figure Mastery: How to Become an Authority in Any Niche Market” session on Thursday 10/26 at 09:30 AM to 10:15 AM in room Dallas A2.

Also stay active with all FinCon trending events and social updates by following #FinCon17 on Twitter and Facebook.

I have Ulcerative Colitis. This is My Story.

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.