Following a blog review by Ken Hammond, who is one of the top trainers with GVO, and also a highly sought after copywriter known as the “Marketing Maverick” , I’ve made a few changes to this blog.
The video shows the “Before” version and what you see now is the result of some of his recommendations, so…
It wasn’t so bad in the “hot” seat, but here’s what I had to do and why.
1. The header on the theme I originally used included a lot of images. Most marketers recommend you have a very small header so people don’t have to scroll to read the content.
2. It was recommended the welcome video on the sidebar of my site be set to auto-play and whilst I haven’t done that I did set the one on this post to begin as soon as you landed on the page.
Personally, I hate it when videos start to speak as soon as you land on a page, but I hate it even more if there are no controls and you can’t pause or stop it.
Anyway, I’m guessing you might feel the same too, so IF you want to listen to my brief message over to the right I’m sure you’re clever enough to hit the start arrow, aren’t you?
3. I had a blue dotted line around my opt-in box to make it stand out more, but that took up valuable advertising space so I’ve removed it.
4. I changed the “Submit” button in my opt-in form to “Instant Access”.
5. The invitation for you to sign-up for my reports has been amended.
6. I removed the meta details because only I need to log in and out of this site and I can do that through my WP-panel.
7. I added a link to my interviews
So, what do you think Ken…
…is the seat cooler now?
P.S. Blogs are always works in progress and the nice thing about them is they are “easy” to update and change, so the theme you see today may not be the one you’ll possibly see in the future.
Recently I was listening to a GVOAcademy webinar.
It was the first of a six weekly blog training course hosted by Mark Call and Ken Hammond – both excellent marketers and motivators I might add.
Anyway, they were convinced only a very small proportion of the people on the call would actually take action on the information provided, so to try and light a few fires and get people motivated, they issued a challenge.
It was to get a blog up and running and profitable within 6 weeks.
If you achieve that, you get a Certificate signed by the GVO leaders!
Wow, you might say – big deal, but actually it is.
For some, it may be the first form of recognition they’ve ever had, and for others it could just be the incentive they need to stop listening and take action.
Now, I’ve had a blog up for some time at JeansMenopausalMoment (and NO – it isn’t about the menopause), but to enter into the spirit of things, and because I had this domain name lying around, I decided to take up the challenge and see what I could do.
If you like, you can follow my progress and see if I get one of those certificates!
This SHOULD have been a six week blog training course, and the idea was to do a little bit each week and post about it. However, I had so many other projects going on at the same time, I’m playing catch up and posting about ALL six weeks tasks in one go.
I know, that’s not how it should be, BUT in some ways it’s good because you can follow along without having to wait if you want to, OR, you can just download my rebrandable e-book at the side, which has the whole process in it.
It will hopefully inspire you to take action to set up a WordPress blog with the potential to make money.
This blog, however, will follow the weekly instructions given to me by GVOAcademy trainers, Mark Call and Ken Hammond, (albeit all in one go!)
Another benefit of doing it this way is the instructions will be in order. As you probably know the term blog is a derivative of the words “web” and “log”, and refers to an online journal, which displays dynamic content.
As the newer posts appear, the older ones get pushed back.
Depending on when you land on a particular site, you may have to trawl back through the archives to find what you’re looking for, which is a bit of a pain.
However, you won’t have to do this here, so are you ready?
If so, let’s begin…
However, most people don’t.
The GVO trainers are hoping by the end of this 6 week course, anyone following their tips will have the ability to decide what method of marketing suits them best, but the blog platform of choice is WordPress.
However, you need to have a hosted WordPress blog, NOT the free type, because it gives you more control over your own destiny, and it shows you are serious about building your business NOW rather than later.
WordPress is very flexible, can be used for business and personal use, and it’s
*easy to install and use
*fully customizable and brandable
Also, there’s no need to learn code, which is a relief.
Basically, if you can copy and paste, YOU can create a WordPress blog, including adding photos, videos and opt-in forms.
It’s really important to choose a strong domain name for your blog, especially if you want to be found by the search engines, and depending on why you want to have a site, you’ll need to make it keyword rich.
You want to make it
*short but catchy
*easy to remember
*unique but niche specific
You want to avoid
*anything hard to pronounce
*anything visually confusing
Good Tip: If you heard it on the radio without seeing it in print, would you be able to remember it?
If you want to brand yourself – get your name if you can and always try to get a DOT COM (.com) extension because people automatically type that into the browser bar.
If your name is taken add evergreen words before or after, i.e. JeanShawonline.com (which incidentally I own!)
Other options would be – “best”, “reviews”, “whois” “iam” “the”
Good Tip: If your childrens names are available, BUY them now!
Another option would be to get a DOT TV (.TV) because the way the internet is progressing more people will be holding their own webinars, so that is a sensible extension.
If you want to create a blog for business purposes you want to use the keywords people are likely to type to find your product or service in your domain name.
Go to the Google Adwords External Keywords tool and type in a broad term for your site and see what options it offers you. There are plenty of videos on YouTube explaining how to do this. Just go to http://www.youtube.com and in the search box, type – how to use the google adwords keyword tool
You want to see some sort of advertiser interest, i.e. between 1,000 and 9,000 searches
Once you find something you like, go to http://Google.com and just type the phrase in quotes, i.e. “yourkeywordphrase”in the browser bar to see what competition you have. The lower the figure, the stronger the keyword, but anything less than 150,000 is good.
You see as a member of GVO, I get unlimited hosting as well as numerous other things and although I can easily buy domain names cheaper elsewhere, I’d have to change the two DNS servers in order to get them hosted.
It’s a really easy thing to do, but I’m lazy, so I went for the easy option. Again you can “Google” or “You Tube” it if you have no idea what I’m talking about.
However, buying a domain from, and hosting with, the same company isn’t often recommended because if you ever want to transfer your domains, the hosting companies can get a bit funny about it. Also, as I said, it does tend to be a bit more expensive.
There are, of course many free blog facilities available, but hosted accounts are always recommended. That’s because you have control and no-one can pull the rug out from you if they decide they don’t like your content.
Anyway, to buy your domain name, just go to the domain supplier, enter the name and select the extension you want.
If it’s not available you’ll be offered alternatives.
Select the domain name of your choice and continue to the checkout section, but be aware you will be offered additional extras on the way. Most of these aren’t really necessary, but you’ll need to decide for yourself.
NameCheap provide a free Who Is Guard which is worth having as it hides your contact information from spammers.
It’s best to buy your domain for as long as possible if you can afford it because it shows the search engines you mean business and are here for the long term. Also time passes so quickly, it’s very easy to lose track, and finally, it’s cheaper.
[NOTE: You want to create a notebook or something to keep track of all your domain and login details as well as your expiry dates, etc., because you’ll need to refer to them constantly. Keep them somewhere SAFE!]
I am with GVO though as that is a bit of everything…correction…a LOT of everything! It has hosting, marketing tools, training, support…everything, but not all hosting companies are quite so good.
When you check them out, think long term and be aware of the restrictions on
* C-panel interface
* personal service.
Whichever company you choose, make sure they have C-panel access.
It makes life so much easier!
Once you decide who you are going to use, create an account with them and find out what their DNS server settings are.
(DNS stands for Domain Name Servers and it tells people how to find your site on the internet. You can think of it as your Domain name being your personal name and your DNS settings being your phone number. Just like you wouldn’t change your name, but you might change your phone number ; you can’t change your domain name, but you can transfer your domain name to a different hosts and change your DNS settings).
Then, go back to where you got your domain name from and point the two DNS servers to the ones provided by your hosting company.
After you’ve pointed your domain name to your web host your next step is to go back to your hosting company and add your domain name so it knows you want to host your domain there.
You’ll be able to set up your account with the correct parameters and will be given some login information to access the c-panel for that domain name.
Keep them SAFE and remember them!
It may take up to 48 hours before your IP address propagates but you can log into the C-panel straight away using the details.
One of the ways to create a professional image is to set up e-mail addresses for the domain name.
Go to the Mail section in your C-panel, select e-mails and then create the e-mail(or e-mails) you want to use.
You can also forward them to one specific e-mail address so you don’t have to keep checking lots of individual e-mail addresses by using the Catchall – Forward facility.
Installing a WordPress Blog using Fantastico
One of the best bits about having C-panel is the way it makes it so easy to install WordPress.
Most people make their domain name a one page site with a lead capture page on it. When people add their name and e-mail into an opt-in form they are redirected to the blog posts, which is a way to build your list.
In your C-panel, click on Fantastico
Click on WordPress
Decide where you want it to install, i.e. on the root directory (justthedomain name) or if you want to create a directory (i.e. justthedomainname/blog)
Fill in your username and a strong password for your Admin section. Make it as difficult as possible so you won’t be targeted by hackers.
Choose an admin nickname which will show up everytime you create a post.
Description – give a short description and a short hook (teaser) about what your blog is about.
Review the information, then click install, BUT make sure you take a screen shot of your final information, bookmark your blog address and send a confirmation e-mail to yourself.
You need that information so be organised!
You can install multiple blogs on the same domain and some people install a “test” blog as well as their own one so they can test out themes and plugins.
Don’t even consider you “can’t” do it because there’s no such thing as “can’t”. That just means you don’t want to or don’t know how to.
Accessing Your Blog And Changing Themes
Okay, blog installed, the next step is to change the WordPress theme although I have to say the it’s much better now than it used to be.
This can be a really time consuming task actually because there are so many to choose from, and it’s all down to preference and what you actually want to achieve with your blog.
To access your blog you need to type the domain name followed by /wp-admin. Then you enter the user name and password you chose when installing it via Fantastico.
If you go to the Appearance tab on the left hand side of your dashboard, you’ll get a drop down menu.
You’ll be able to see which themes are already installed, and be able to install more themes directly from your dashboard. There are numerous ones to choose from and it’s often a good idea to select a few, and try them out BEFORE you add too much content to your site, although it’s very easy to change themes.
When you first log in, you’ll only have the standard WordPress Theme which is currently Twenty Ten. If you want to change it, you’ll want to consider something attractive and relevant to your topic.
It needs to be
* well designed,
* plug-in and widget friendly,
* easy to customise
* displays across all browsers.
If you look at the top you’ll see two terms – Manage Themes and Install Themes, and if you look along the bottom of the page you’ll also find a small hyperlink which says Install Themes.
If you click on either of the Install Themes options you’ll be taken to a page where you can enter a search term and decide on the specific parameters you require.
You’ll be provided with a selection of themes, which you can preview and then, if you like any, you can install them to your Dashboard by clicking the install tab.
You then have the opportunity to preview the theme again. That way you can see if the layout looks good with your information on it.
If you’re happy with the result, click activate.
If you later decide the theme isn’t working for you, just replace it with another one.
In order to log in to your blog you simply need to type/wp-admin after your domain name so if you remember that you won’t need the Log-in details on your home page.
Now you have your own website, you need to develop it so it will:
* Provide FREE information relevant to your visitors WANTS or NEEDS.
*Get picked up by the search engines based on keywords relevant to your products, services, or business.
*Prompt visitors to enter their name and email address to capture the leads that come to your website;
* Make it easy for your website visitors to get the FREE, VALUABLE information they’re searching for to get them to KNOW, LIKE, and TRUST YOU!
Before that happens though, you need to learn how to customize it and you do this with plugins and widgets.
I’m not going to go into the details on how to do it here because I’ve included it in my free WhyIt’sImportantToBrandYOU e-book, which you can get on this site.
It’s important you ALWAYS ensure you have the latest WordPress version installed otherwise you make it easy for hackers to hijack your site.
You’ll also want to do as much as you can to prevent spam on your site and one of the plugins you want to enable, which comes with WordPress blogs is Akismet.
You need a key to operate it but the instructions are very clear. Like everything else though, make a note of your key number and keep it safe because you can use it more than once.
Whilst you don’t want spam comments on your site, you do want to encourage visitors to leave their comments so make sure you enable comments on your posts in the Discussion section of your dashboard.
One thing that’s really nice to see in the comment section is a gravatar for every person who makes a comment, and you can have your image appear by creating your own gravatar at www.gravatar.com Simply upload an image and link it to an e-mail address so everytime you use that e-mail address in a comment your image will appear.
Okay, we’ve reached the half-way mark, and this week’s class covered lots of “P’s” – pages, posts, pinging and plugins, as well as the importance of having legal documentation on your site.
We live in an age where everyone seems to be claim orientatied so you need to safeguard your interests by ensuring you comply with the FTC internet marketing rules. One little honest mistake can get you in serious trouble with the authorities.
Again, you can find the information in my book so I won’t write about it here, BUT just be aware you NEED to put some disclaimers on your site especially if you ever intend to promote affiliate products.
Look at the AFFILIATE DISCLOSURE under my Opt-In form on the right hand side of this blog to see what I mean.
Another thing the class covered this week is the mindset you need to have when you create a site.
You can’t wait for everything to be perfect otherwise you’ll never do anything, and that’s especially true if you worry about your spelling, although you should try to make your site as professional as possible.
Create your pages and posts in the Visual mode, publish them and if necessary, edit them later, but don’t forget to SAVE your changes. As long as you provide quality content, people will make allowances for any typographical errors.
They’ll just want to follow your journey.
Try to make your posts more interesting by uploading some images and placing them strategically. If you use your main keywords in your post titles and make sure you ping them to all the different blog sites you’ve got listed in the Writing section.
Another thing you can do with your blog is utilise the Widgets, which appear in the sidebars.
These can be great places to promote products and you just drag and drop them where you want them to go. You’ll find them under the Appearance section of your Dashboard, and if you want to see what your site looks like when you move them around, it’s a good tip to open another browser with your blog in it.
That way you can work on your blog in one browser and check it out in the other. Just keep refreshing everytime you make a change.
Another thing pointed out in this session is when you publish your entries you can choose when you want them to be made public.
It’s not necessary to publish them immediately, which is particularly useful if you are going on holiday or know you will be away from your computer for a few days.
Some people even create a whole year’s worth of entries and drip feed them automatically, which means they can really “set and forget” their blog, but still keep the search engines happy.
You do this in the Publishing section by selecting the Edit option next to the Publish immediately entry. Here you can select the date of your choice.
They also showed their own sites and explained why they’d set them up in the way they had.
This is a summary of their general observations –
*It’s important to brand YOU therefore you should have your photo on the site somewhere – preferably in the heading.
* You should have a sub-title under the heading to let people know what your site is about.
* The Opt-in box should be ABOVE the fold and should give a brief but enticing description as to why people should hand over their name and/or e-mail address. There should be an image there too so people can see what they’re getting in exchange.
* If you plan to sell anything you must have an Affiliate Disclosure notice in clear view as well as a link to the required Legal documentation.
* You need to make it easy for people to contact you and find you in other ways, i.e. Twitter, Facebook, RSS Feeds
* In order to gain the Know, Like and Trust factor, you should have a personal video on your site so people can identify with YOU.
* When leaving comments you shouldn’t pimp your stuff, BUT on your own site you should be percieved to be the “expert”.
* If you monetize your site make sure you take responsibility for what you offer/promote. Don’t recommend anything you haven’t personally bought, used or honestly believe will help your readers, and never just promote something because you can make a profit from it.
The final week and the clock’s ticking. This was a re-cap of all that had gone before, three more blog critiques AND the rules as to what had to be on the blog in order to qualify for the coveted GVO Blog building achievement certificate!
As this challenge had been for the benefit of the GVO members, obviously the rules involved using the tools provided as part of the GVO Titanium package.
You had to produce a WordPress blog using GVO’s hosting displaying
* a mimum of three legal forms (i.e. Privacy, Terms of Service, Affiliatd Disclaimer)
* an Opt-in form above the fold
* a header including the name of your blog and tag line
* a video hosted with GVO hosting
* some form of monetization (preferable but not essential for the certificate).
As well as the points raised in Week 5, it was established you should -
*Always brand yourself when you offer something as an inducement for someone to “opt-in” to your “list”. (Don’t tell people you are giving them material someone else produced).
* Make sure your spelling and grammar is good. Whilst it shouldn’t stop you from getting your work “out there”, it doesn’t look very professional to have mis-spellings and may put a lot of people off reading your content.
* Make sure you have your copyright details up to date on your site.
* Always try to make it clear who YOU are and why people should follow YOU.
* Have a graphic or video above the opt-in form so people identify YOU with what they’re getting.
* Consider only having one post per page, OR have a summary of each post if you want more to make it easier on the eye.
* If you have a pop-up on your site, make sure you have it as an Exit pop-up so people see your message when they leave rather than when they first arrive as it can be distracting.
Now all I have to do is follow through on the weekly instructions, submit this site when it’s completed and hope for the best.
Wish me Luck