Where are you in life right now?… where is your business? Are you getting the exposure and connections that you need to make your business succeed? If not, then this will be a very exciting week for you, as I will be launching my “Seven Days of Blogging“, which will be my personal quick start guide for creating a blog that really matters and creates massive value for not only your business, but also your audience.
I’ve said it before and I’ll continue to say it till I die… starting my blog in 2007 was one of the best things I’ve done for my personal brand and business! However, before we get into the specifics of why you need to have a blog and how easy they are to setup… let me first reflect back on my start and how all of this led up to where I am at today.
1995- From High School Student to Affiliate Marketer to Entrepreneur to AUTHORITY BRAND!
I first started making money online back in the mid 90s. Back in the day I was a teenager and chatting with other site owners in the AOL Web Diner. I had a couple free web sites of my own that were hosted on the AOL member pages and other sites like Tripod and Geocities. These were just fun sites, but it was a great way to learn about the internet and just a glimpse of what potential lied ahead.
Getting back to how I first made money online… The first dollar I made online was literally “a dollar”! – In the AOL Web Diner I would hang out with other people that had web sites of their own and wanted to have a 468×60 banner for their site so they could advertise it on the now defunct “LinkExchange”. I would design the banner in my favorite image editor software PaintShopPro, send them the banner and they would (hopefully) send me $1 in the mail. This was way before Paypal or any online payment system existed. This went on for a while and it was fun… but it would never get me anywhere in terms of growth and scalability.
The learning process was amazing and thinking back on these times it was quite exciting and so much fun. Here are just a few of the methods I used for discovering different ways to make money online, and my own little timeline for falling into what eventually would be my start in online / affiliate marketing.
- Creating 468×60 banners for $1 each on the AOL Web Diner chat room
- AllAdvantage (a banner network that would pay you to use the internet) which I did receive a bunch of checks for.
- Promoting a PacificCoast pillow company at .01 per click (but never got a check, as their minimum payout was $100!)
- Pushing web hosting services (AdGrafix) through AOL Chat Rooms (worked pretty well and paid monthly on hosting plans)
- Eventually coming across the Amazon.com associates program (over $100,000 in referred sales while a sophomore in high school)
- Discovering affiliate networks WebSponsors.com and OnResponse (my intro into affiliate marketing)
Long story short… while I was in high school I had the opportunity to experience the birth of internet marketing and what it would eventually turn into today. Even though I was able to generate over $100,000 in sales for Amazon.com as one of their associate partners, there was a lot more room for growth and money to made in affiliate marketing. Instead of having to earn a commission every time someone bought something through Amazon, I could earn a commission on new credit card signups, free magazine trials and sweepstakes.
This process went on for a while and I would go on to create PPC ad campaigns and build out my own lead gen sites where I would collect data and pass them along to the end advertiser, then start my own affiliate programs on Commission Junction and have affiliate partners of my own.
2000 – My First Encounter with Super Marketers and Big Name Brands
Everything mentioned above was just the beginning of my journey into the world rubbing shoulders with the big names and brands on the internet. After running successful ad campaigns, site and my own affiliate programs through Commission Junction, it was time for me to attend my first internet marketing event in 2000, which was called CJU (Commission Junction University).
I live in NJ and the event was in Santa Barabara, CA and I was still in high school at the time. My dad and I flew across the country and got to meet with some amazing people, many of which I am still good friends with today. Not only was this the first time I really got to experience one on one contact with the people running big internet companies, but it was the start of my personal branding as well – I was definitely the youngest kid there and many people were interested in talking with me and sharing their advice and experience with me. I always appreciated the time and effort that others spent with me and that’s something I’ve always portrayed through my blog and when I meet new people are different events I attend today.
Speaking with the likes of Jeremy Schoemaker, Darren Rowse, Brian Clark, John Chow and more…
Attending CJU was the kickstart I needed to not only get even more dedicated to what I was doing, but it also gave me my first set of “real” contacts that I got to meet with in person and not just through email. After CJU in 2000, I spoke at my first conference, which was called AffiliateForce and it was located on a cruise ship that would sail out from Miami, FL and around the Bahamas. It was an amazing event, which led to even more contacts and helped expand my knowledge, personal contacts and business a million times over.
2007 – Time to Start a Blog!
It wasn’t til 2007 that I finally decided to start a blog of my own. It only made sense for me to launch the blog under my personal name of ZacJohnson.com, which I had secured a few years earlier. While I was so what well known at events such as CJU, Affiliate Force and Affiliate Summit, I never took the plunge to make a name for myself on the internet and actually be a so-called “guru” or “coach” in this space.
Many different designs over the years… but always the same message and goal.
Through the use of my blog I’ve been able to publish over 1,000 articles that cover everything from how I first got started with my business, creating tutorials and guides to help people get started, review different ad networks and services I’m using and even just to write about whatever might be going on in my life at any moment.
Since the launch of the blog I’ve been able to build out my own personal brand and reach more people than I’d ever imagine. As a result of the blog I’ve been able to appear on ABC News and Fox News, speak at different conferences around the world, win amazing top blogger contests and prize, meet big name celebrities, write a book, partner with multi-million dollar companies and much more! The coolest thing is never knowing who is reading your blog in the future and what that next opportunity may lead to!
Seven Days of Blogging: My Personal Guide to Blogging
Over the course of the next seven days we will be covering everything you need to know about launching a blog for your business, brand or just so you can have your own little place on the internet. I’ve already experienced the sheer power and opportunities that lie within having a blog of your own, and now it’s time for you to experience the same. If you already have a blog, you will still benefit from the series. Best of all, it’s completely free!
- Day 1: Preparing for Your Blog Launch
- Day 2: How to Setup Your Blog in 5 Minutes
- Day 3: Discover the Simplicity of WordPress
- Day 4: Finding the Right Voice for Your Blog
- Day 5: How to Write Your First Blog Posts and Creating Pages
- Day 6: How to Get More Traffic to Your Blog
- Day 7: Making Real Money with Your Blog
If you would like to get started right now, you can sign up with my recommended host and secure your domain name and blogging account right away. The cost is only $4.95 a month for hosting. Once you are signed up with your account, shoot me an email through the contact form and I will setup your blog for you at no cost and I’ll also set you up with a $79 premium wordpress theme at no cost!
In the next section of my “Seven Days of Blogging: My Personal Guide to Blogging” I will be covering what you need to do to prepare for the launch of your blog. This includes picking a domain name, a web host and knowing what you want to blog about.
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Quick and Effective Tips to Maximize Speed of your Website or Blog
Few things are worse than when you click over to a new website or blog, and then it’s loading slow as anything. With everyone having an extremely short attention span, and so many options for other websites and entertainment online, a fast loading website is a must for every blogger, brand, or business on the internet.
There are also many benefits associated with a fast loading site, beyond just user experience. Google is now penalizing sites that take too long to load, and boosting up other sites that a mobile-optimized and running super fast.
Depending on how technical your design or WordPress skills might be, the process of speeding up your site and maximizing it’s optimization might vary. To help with this process, I’ve listed a few of the best working methods below.
Optimize your Homepage to Load Quickly
With the homepage being one of the most vital parts of your website or blog, you should be doing everything possible to make sure it loads quickly. Different things can be done to speed up your homepage such as lowering the number of posts on the main page, minimizing applications and widgets from third-party sites, and also optimizing your images so they are either loading as a smaller sized file or through a CDN service. It’s also a good idea to use an SEO friendly theme or template, as these are more often cleaner with their coding and already optimized right out of the box.
Use an Effective Caching Plugin
If you are using a CMS like WordPress or blogger, then using an effective cashing plugin can contribute nicely in the process of making sure your site is loading as fast as possible. Since caching is an apparatus for a temporary storage of web pages to diminish bandwidth and to improve page loading performance as well, it saves the server’s time to make web pages load faster. Caching plugins are easy to install and use. All you need to do is perform some research online to see which plugin is best for your site, then click a few buttons to have it installed right within WordPress. Once this is done, it’s usually just a matter of copying the account number of your CDN and letting the hosting provider and WordPress plugin do its work.
Use CDN (content delivery network)
We’ve already referenced content delivery networks or CDNs, a few times now. The way these solutions work is that they host a version of your site on their server, and then loads the content from another server that is closest to that individual’s location. More and more site owners and bloggers are using CDNs not only to improve page load speed but to provide users with a great experience to make them stay longer on the website. Also mentioned earlier, this can help with how well a site ranks in Google, while also moving your site above the competition. Moreover, if one of your server locations is overloaded due to huge traffic and visitors, then users can automatically be switched to a new server location to enjoy fast loading website experience.
Improve Your Hosting Plan
If you have a slow loading website or blog, it’s likely due to your hosting plan. If you are pushing a lot of traffic through your site and making money in the process, you should definitely upgrade from a shared server. Shared hosting is often fine for new site owners and bloggers, but as your site gains more attention, backlinks, and traffic, it will also likely be using more server resource. On a shared server, your site is also sharing the server resources with many other sites — sometimes hundreds, or even thousands! Upgrading your hosting plan to a VPS or dedicated hosting package can greatly improve the performance of your site as well. So, if you are still using a cheap web hosting plan with an average price below $5/mo and receiving massive traffic from search engines, then it would be the right time for you to upgrade your hosting plan with a better one to speed up your website loading speed.
Use Optimized Images
Big images take up a lot of space and resources when it comes to loading data from your site. This is especially true with very high-quality images. While these images are going to play a big role in the beauty and engagement on your site, there are still ways to optimize such large images so they load faster and put less stress on your server. There are many plugins are available that can drastically reduce the file size of an image without reducing the quality. Image optimization will not only help you boost website load time but will also save disk space for more files and media. If you really don’t want to overload your website with plugins, then you can also use online image reducer apps and software to optimize image before uploading to the media library of the site.
Minimize HTTP Redirects Requests
How and where content is being loaded on your site can also affect its overall performance. You may need to use redirect requests to redirect the web browser from one URL to another. There are a variety of reasons as to why you might want to do this, such as to specify a new URL location, to track visits and clicks on the site or to connect different elements of the website with each other. Since redirects might be necessary to enhance overall UX of the website, you should only be using the redirect requests that are most important because excessive redirect requests can have an ultimate impact on the loading speed of your website/blog.
Don’t Leave Your Audience Hanging
When browsing the internet, few things are more annoying than accessing a slow loading website. It’s hard enough to get someone to visit your site, let alone stay for a few seconds. Don’t give them a reason to leave right away because your site isn’t loading as fast as it should be.
Follow each of the simple and effective site speed optimization tips above to make sure your site loads as fast as possible, ranks higher than the competition and also doesn’t disappoint your audience when they hit your site.
7 Examples of How to Rank Higher in Google for Your Name
Your name is important and when someone searches for it online, you want to make sure they find your correct information. This isn’t just about reputation management, it’s also about looking your best and delivering a great first impression.
The key thing to remember here is no matter what someone is searching for online, they are likely going to start with a simple Google search. Since most people share their name with hundreds or even thousands of people in the world, having your content rank for your name might be quite a challenge. This is especially the case if you share a name with a popular celebrity, politician or well-known personality.
The good news is that when it comes to ranking for your name in Google, anything is possible. Implement each of the seven methods below into your content creation and marketing efforts to see your own site and content start ranking higher for your personal name.
Create a Website or Blog with YourName.com
It’s not just about creating a site and putting it out there, it’s also about making sure the site acts as your main hub for everything you do online. This means you should be creating original content for the site, linking to your social media profiles and also referencing back to your site when contributing to other sites or getting quoted/referenced.
Once you have a platform in place, it’s something that will continue grow and develop with your personal brand over time — while also gaining in authority and SEO power as well.
Promote Your Social Profiles
Speaking of social profiles, Google loves to rank sites like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter right at the top of their search results. Depending on the competition around your name, your social profiles might already be ranking at the top of Google, even above your own websites.
You can see an example of what currently ranks in Google should you search for “Taylor Swift” below.
With millions of sites and new content pieces covering Taylor Swift every single day, it’s her social profiles (Twitter, Instagram and YouTube) that continue to dominate the search rankings.
This same method works for all names and not just celebrities. If you want your social profiles to rank higher, just keep sending more links to them using a variation of your name as the anchor text.
Boost Profiles and Authority Sites
As mentioned in the beginning of the article, ranking at the top of Google for your name is important if you want to deliver the best and most accurate information. If you are having trouble ranking your own site or want to focus on ranking other high authority content in addition to your own, this is a perfect option to explore.
For example, let’s take a look at Warren Stephens, who is an entrepreneur and has multiple bios and articles written about him online. His Wikipedia profile ranks first, then a bio on Forbes and another based around “Warren Stephens net-worth” on TheRichest. While Wikipedia and Forbes are both mega-huge outlets, TheRichest is still quite powerful to be ranking number three for his name.
Celebrity networth sites have quickly been gaining more and more attention lately as they continue to ramp up the number of celebrities, entrepreneurs, and well-known personalities they continue to cover. Even if you don’t think your one of the most famous people in the world, your profile could soon quickly be picked up by their platforms and covered in the media.
How long before we see these “networth” sites ranking on the first page for many average individuals, YouTube stars and entrepreneurs?
Guest Blogging and Author Profiles on Other Sites
While you might already have a site of your own that is ranking well for your name, it’s always a good idea to try and rank for multiple positions with other relevant content. If you are an expert in your industry, a great way to secure even more page one rankings for your name is to contribute content to other high-authority sites.
Not only does Neil have his own sites, he is also a contributor to many big media outlets like Entrepreneur.com and HubSpot.com. Doing a quick search for his name in Google will result in not only his main sites and social profiles ranking for his name, but also each of these contributing bios on other sites as well.
Once again, a perfect example of how you can deliver a great first impression (and your best content) when someone searches for your name on Google.
Rank with Other Content Sharing Sites
As covered in a few of the examples above, a great way to quickly rank at the top of Google for your name is to do so with other well-established sites. In this example, we are going to look at Jeff Bullas, who is one of the most well-known bloggers and social media influencers in the world today.
His site at JeffBullas.com already ranks number one for his name, then his social profiles follow afterward. However, when you move further down the list you will see his profiles with SlideShare.net and WordPress.com also make it on the first page of Google.
Even though Slideshare and WordPress.com are two extremely popular sites, not many people consider them when trying to rank for multiple positions for their name. These are definitely two free options everyone should consider when trying to dominate the whole first page of Google for their name.
Do Interviews and Media Outreach
A common theme in this article has been the power of using authority sites and media outlets to quickly rank at the top of Google. One of the best ways to accomplish this is through interviews and getting mentioned or covered by relevant industry sites that rank well.
A quick example of this can be seen if you search for my name in Google. A few years ago I was interviewed for IncomeDiary.com, and that post still ranks extremely well for my name today.
The same holds true for even big name celebrities or entrepreneurs who do interviews or get covered for stories based around their success and fame. If you do a search for “Lori Greiner” of Shark Tank, you will see interview-based stories from BusinessInsider.com, Inc. and Entrepreneur.com all ranking on the first page for her name.
Not sure how to get media coverage on sites like Entrepreneur or Inc? Simple… just look for the author bio section in each article. Share their content, build up a relationship and maybe your story is a perfect fit for their next article.
Don’t Forget About the Power of Video
Video is a fascinating beast in itself, yet one that is often overlooked by content creators that mainly focus on “text” based articles.
Here’s two quick things you need to know about video.
- People love to share and reference videos
- Google loves to rank video since they own YouTube
Now that you know that, you should definitely be using video in your content outreach and SEO practices.
Still not sure how effective video ranking can be? Richard Branson is one of the most well-known and successful entrepreneurs in the world, with billions of searches for his name annually. With all of that competition in play, do you think a video would rank for his name on Google? — The answer is yes, and even more surprising… it’s not even a YouTube video!
Don’t Just Rank #1 — Rank for All Ten!
The ultimate goal for everyone trying to rank in Google for their name shouldn’t be to just grab that elusive number one position, but instead to rank for multiple (if not all) page one locations.
Run through the above seven working methods again and see what type of content you may already have ranking in Google. It’s much easier to improve your rankings with any existing content that you already have ranking on page 2 or 3 pushed to page 1, versus trying to come up with new and original content of your own.
In the world of SEO and ranking at the top of Google, it’s all about getting your content in the right places and building authority links and references around them
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