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I will show you everything but my password! This site is dedicated to providing you USEFUL posts on how to build profitable authority sites. I share the systems I have setup to produce great content and properly use expired domains and private blog networks to rank quality sites.

The 3 Most Common Website Purchase Mistakes I Make

Over the past 10 years I have purchased hundreds of sites. Often these are smaller sites sometimes with some problems that people are looking to sell quickly. For years I have ranked #1 for sell your website fast and have seen lots of interesting deals come across my plate. 

Some of the deals have turned out to be amazing while others have been complete failures.

When I recently did an analysis on all the purchases that failed I could group them into 3 categories. 

These are now my 3 keys when purchasing sites…

ONE – Simple + Believable Traffic and Monetization Data

This one has always been hard. Often a site that can’t be sold somewhere else will come to me and will have some odd way of monetizing. It could be a unique affiliate arrangement, hard to track earnings, traffic tracked with something other than GoogleAnalytics, weird Google Analytics setup etc. 

This rule is also a catch-all for any time that the numbers are confusing or don’t check out. 

When a site has a clean monetization method that I am familiar with (adsense & amazon are ideal) and traffic sources that can be verified (organic traffic with Google analytics) it makes the purchase much simpler/faster. 

Case Study: Custom Affiliate Arrangement Cancelled In The First Week

I purchased a site in the tech space that had tutorials that were about 2 years old. A couple of those tutorials were ranking very well and the site was generating about $25/day from one relationship for lead generation. It was also making some earnings from adsense but the revenue per user from the lead generation arrangement was 10x better than adsense. 

Lots of things checked out…

  • the site had been around for a couple years
  • traffic was growing steadily
  • the quality of the content was the best for what it was ranking for

But… 1 week after I purchased it I received an email from the business contact for the lead generation company and was informed they no longer saw value in the relationship and were terminating it. I don’t believe any funny business occurred with collusion between the seller and the lead generation company but it certainly hurt! I was able to refocus the site on adsense and bring up the earnings to about 25% of what they were when I purchased the site. 

Overall it was an unfortunate event and one of a few where I purchased a site with a monetization strategy I was not very familiar with and the site struggled.   

TWO – Not Declining and with Decent History

Lots of sites that are declining have sellers that are eager to sell. In terms of the multiple paid to purchase the website they can often look like incredible deals.

So many sites come to me that are declining I have even created a strategy for trying to revive them… Dead Cat Strategy – How to turn around a declining site.

However, what I have often seen is that the inertia of a declining site takes more energy to turn around than it is worth. If the deal is too good to pass up then great but many times I have been lured in from the “cheap” multiple to buy a declining site and been overconfident in the time/energy I will dedicate to turning it around. 

Case Study: First Larger Purchase

Early on around 2010 I put in a lot of effort and the most money I had to date to purchase a site. The site was declining but I had grown a site in that niche already and had unique affiliate arrangements which gained me more per commission than the seller was receiving. I thought despite the fact it was declining I would be able to turn it around and instantly give it a lift with improved monetization. 

The result was that despite way too much effort to turn it around the site continued to slide. The lift in earnings I was able to achieve was great but all of that lift was quickly eaten up by the continued decline.

I certainly overpaid but the bigger failure in this case was sticking with the site for too long. This and others like it helped me evolve my dead cat strategy… 

  • buy cheap
  • give it a kick (quick SEO audit and add more content/links)
  • if it jumps nurse it back to health and if it stays on the decline let it go

THREE – Current Operator Not Doing Unique Activities

This one is my favourite because it often brings me in contact with some “crazy” entrepreneurs! 

I have had a couple experiences where I purchased a site where the deal came to me because they had been turned away from brokers due to being volatile/rude/crazy! Some of these purchases have been great but I often learn the same lesson over and over. 

That lesson is that if the founder is still heavily involved in the business they are often doing something that is generating value you can’t simply plug in an SOP to handle. 

Case Study: Welcome to Crazy Town!

There was an ecommerce site generating 20k/month in revenue and everything about the deal was great!

  • Great price to buy the site as she was too crazy for brokers who she previously spoke with to handle or put her on a call with a buyer
  • Lots of organic traffic verified with significant content marketing growth opportunities
  • Healthy margins for dropshipping and long history with the wholesaler (10years)
  • Sites conversion rates could do with an easy improvement with images/redesign

There was one big variable… the founder. She was working tons of hours with it as her full time job and most of the activities I thought were completely inefficient. She was spending her day doing what seemed like inefficient tasks such as directory submission, social bookmarking, misc conferences, calling every customer (valuable but inefficient), TONS and TONS of “research” and only a little content creation.

But what I didn’t fully appreciate was how much that relentless energy and obsessive focus put into the business yielded sales. 

We improved a lot of things easily… improved the rankings, improved the site and the conversion rate for organic traffic, email automation, abandoned cart and other site tweaks. All these changes improved the metric we were trying to but overall… sales dropped by 40%!! 

How…To a significant extent I didn’t realize how much she was acting as a sales person talking to everyone she could about the site/product wherever she went… grocery store, post office etc. 

For me who likes to see all activities in the business fit neatly into an SOP I need to be on the lookout for the founder doing things that don’t scale and can’t be efficiently replaced.

Overall the purchase of this business was still a great one as even though revenue declined it was operated more efficiently and profits went up but… I had hoped for much more.

What Are Your Hard Earned Website Purchase Due Diligence Rules?

If you have been busy purchasing sites have you discovered any “rules” you follow? If so please share in the comments.

July 2019 Income Report Roundup

When I started my online entrepreneurship journey I took a lot of inspiration from others that were sharing everything they did online. Seeing that people like me were making REAL money and that the opportunity to replace my day job was possible. 

It has been 3 years since I left my day job and without me creating my own income reports I am not sure if this would have been possible – https://authoritywebsiteincome.com/quit-my-job/

The more transparent and useful the income report the more I appreciated and was motivated by it. 

Over the years I have tried to be as transparent as possible sharing along the way my goals, business successes/failures and the ultimate results(profits). 

After years of sharing monthly income posts I decided that it made sense to stop these… a decision I actually regret as I wish I had found a way to keep sharing some of what I was doing. My reason was as my online world and “real” worlds became more tangled.  

Looking at many of the people that originally had an income round up they have also stopped. Namely the most famous in the space Pat Flynn no longer does income round ups at SmartPassiveIncome. 

Today I am going to start a monthly series looking at some of the most inspiring active income reports and what you can learn from them. 

I have tried to add ones here that do a great job of providing inspiration to you no matter what stage of the business you are at. 

I will cover…

  1. List of inspiring income report posts and how they earned their profits
  2. Recognize motivating people showing not just telling people the results they are achieving
  3. Learn from others – What the key learning is from the people

Income Report Roundup

Last Month Profit – $16,736.00

Name – Ron Stefanski

Website – onehourprofessor.com

Business Model – Authority Affiliate Site   

Income Report – http://www.onehourprofessor.com/july-2019-monthly-income-report/

Key Lesson(s):

  • It is important to track the leading indicators. Ron made over $16k but was most excited about $2.10 from a new website. It is important to not lose track of the little things/leading indicators as a business grows
  • July 4th and a surgery didn’t impact the business too much

Last Month Profit – $6,652

Name – Lidiya

Website – letsreachsuccess.com

Business Model – Blogging

Income Report – https://letsreachsuccess.com/blog-income-how-i-made-6652-blogging/

Key Lesson(s):

  • Prolific Content Creation! Upgraded 2 blogs posts and published 34 new blog posts published including interviews and only 4 guest posts. 
  • Sponsorships account for 80% of revenue. This is a revenue source that many people have not fully explored but can account for a significant revenue source for a site. 

Last Month Profit – $1,392.11 (Niche Site Project 4 Only)

Name – Spencer Haws

Website – NichePursuits.com

Business Model – Authority Affiliate Site

Income Report – https://www.nichepursuits.com/get-ready-niche-site-project-4/

Key Lesson(s):

  • Conflicting Revenue Sources – EZoic ads is performing very well but potentially hurting Amazon earnings and potentially causing larger issues with user experience (site speed, number of ads etc). Running a site can still require both management by the numbers and looking at the site thinking about your users experience.
  • Think about the long term – Spencer has invested $18k up to this point to build the site mostly with content and after 11 months has had his first profitable month. Despite being in the “hole” $15k the value creation in terms of the ability to sell the site has clearly increased his businesses value. 

Last Month Profit – $10,145.10

Name – Johnny FD

Website – johnnyfd.com

Business Model – Mixed – Dropshipping & Investing

Income Report – https://www.johnnyfd.com/2019/08/july-2019-travel-expenses-and-income.html

Key Lesson(s):

  • Optimizing PnL for Life – More than anyone I have come across Johnny really focuses on both the revenue and expenses for not just his business but life in general. Financial freedom is clearly a goal of his and wants to demonstrate how he can live a very exciting life with a remarkably low monthly expense. If your priority is financial freedom and optimizing life he is great to follow!

Last Month Profit – $37,450 

Name – Jon Dykstra

Website – fatstacksblog.com

Business Model – Authority Website (display ads)

Income Report – https://fatstacksblog.com/income-report-july-2019/

Key Lesson(s):

  • Invest in Content – Jon spent over $20k on Content in July which is consistent with some of his other months. 
  • Multiple Monetization – More than anyone I know Jon is a wizard at testing and managing/tweaking multiple display ad options. He does not just throw up adsense and accept the earnings he gets. Very impressive 

Honourable Mentions:

Although they don’t do exactly income reports there are a few reports that are worth mentioning and when they publish new reports I will be sure to include.

A couple examples of ones I will be sure to cover are…

EmpireFlippers – Quarterly Report

AuthorityHacker – Case Study w Real Numbers

  • Sold 18 month old Authority Site for mid 6 figures
  • https://www.authorityhacker.com/how-to-sell-your-business/
  • Key Lesson – Setup for success from the start. They didn’t dabble in seeing if it would work but full committed from the start to invest in the team/content and link building process that resulted in the growth they experienced.  

Am I missing any I should include? Please contact me I am missing anything.

Best way to setup a cookieless domain for WordPress site (2019 update)

Previously we have published an article about the process of setting up an cookie free domain or cookieless domain, where we have mentioned about creating a static version of your website.

If you have read the article already you must known about what is cookies and how it is useful for storing user informations into the browsers.

However, in the other hand cookies can hinder your webpage performance by not delivering static content to the visitors web browsers.

One example of cookieless domain decreasing page performance: detected by gtmetrix

Fix cookieless domain warning

When a browser makes request for static files on your page such as an image, CSS file etc there is no need for it to add cookies with it, which results in sending additional traffic to the server. And additional traffic means more waiting time for the response by the server.

You can try these steps if you think your server response time is not good.

So the advantage of setup a cookieless domain is that you can separate the content that doesn’t require cookies from the content that requires it.

Using cookieless domain will deduct unnecessary network traffic and eventually increase the server response time + the page performance.

How to setup a cookieless domain for WordPress site

There are couple of ways to set up a cookieless domain. You can read all the procedures in this page. However, in this article, I will mention how to set it up manually for WordPress website.

Before starting the process one thing you need to remember that if you set cookies on the top level domain ( yourdomain.com) all the subdomains will also include the cookies in them. Because, as it sets on the primary domain its childs are going to have the DNA for sure.

So in this case, you are recommended to use a separate domain to deliver static content. It’s a better idea if you register a new domain and configure the web server to serve static resources from the new address. You will completely prevent any cookies to be set in the new domain.

Instead, you can also set two different domains. One which includes cookies and one which doesn’t set cookies. In such a case, will set cookies on a www subdomain (www.yourdomain.com) and separately host your static files from another subdomain like (static.yourdomain.com). This static domain will no longer send cookies with your static files of a page.

Read the following procedures to setup a cookieless domain in WordPress.

1. Create a subdomain

Go to your cpanel and create a subdomain like static.yourdomain.com. From this subdomain you will serve or host all the static files.

Go to subdomains > make sure you are on the page ” create subdomain” > place “static” on the subdomain box > let domain box stay in default name > click on create.

Setup-a-cookieless-domain
setup the subdomain

2. Point subdomain to wp-content

Now point the newly created subdomain to the “/wp-content” directory of WordPress installation folder.

To do it again go to your subdomains and edit the settings by clicking on the edit icon next to your new static domain.

It will take you to the document root settings where you need to update the root address from “public_html/static” to “public_html/wp-content”.

Update document root

3. Update your wp-config file

Go to the file manager using cpanel or ftp client and edit the wp-config file. Make sure the following code is available or added inside the file.

<?php
define(“WP_CONTENT_URL“,“https://static.yourwebsite.com“);
define(“COOKIE_DOMAIN“,“www.yourwebsite.com“);
?>
  • Remember to correct your domain names accordingly.

4. Direct url to new subdomain

Before taking this step make sure you backup your database in awar to any kind of misconfiguration. Better to practice with demo site before applying in live the version. I do not take any responsibility for further loss of data or website down.

Now you need to run sql query on database table. Go to phpmyadmin > select your wp database > go to SQL tab and paste the following code in the command box.

UPDATE wp_posts SET post_content = REPLACE(post_content,’www.yourwebsite.com/wp-content/’,’static.yourwebsite.com/’)

This will make sure all the post urls are directed to the new subdomain.

  • Again make sure that you have corrected the domain details inside the code.

Once you setup everything your cookie domain and static domain are ready for action. And the static domain will start delivering static resources without sending unnecessary cookies traffic.

I hope this guide will help you to establish your static site without any additional problems. Make sure you comment down below in case you need any more information.

How To Setup Cookie-Free Domains Properly [Updated In 2019]

We all do a website speed test to know our website loading speed and performance score. There are popular tools available like GTmetrix, Pingdom, Page-insight, Bitcatcha, etc. These tools scan our website and point out which things are good and where changes are required.

Here is an example of a report provided by GTmetrix:

gtmetrix-speedtest-report-use-cookie-free-domains

As you can see, besides the image problem and loading time most of the test was passed by that specific page. To fix the image problem you can apply this trick.

Now if we go to the ‘Yslow‘ tab next to ‘page-speed‘, you may see a warning that says to use cookie-free domains. Check this image below.

use-cookie-free-domains-warning

 

If you are getting this problem for the first time then you should know what is a cookie-free domain? Why should you use cookie-free domains? In case you already know about a cookie-free domain then skip to know “How to setup or use cookie-free domains on your WordPress site! “

Additional reading: Best Pay Per Month Web Hosting In 2019 For WordPress Website

What are cookies?

An HTTP cookie is a small piece of data sent from a specific webpage or website. These tiny data are stored on the user’s computer by the user’s web browser when he is browsing.

 

What is a cookie-free domain?

A cookie-free domain is a very simple concept. It’s actually a domain which does not send a command to visitor’s browser to store cookies from the website. Our website has some static contents such as image, javascript and CSS files. These contents don’t change so often.

That’s why they don’t need to accompanied by cookies, as there is no user interaction with these resources. So by configuring a domain that doesn’t set cookies, we can decrease the size of the total request made by visitor’s browser to our server, while trying to download page resources.

The concept behind this strategy is to reduce server latency by reducing the number of requests which can impact a little on your website performance.

You can watch the video to understand it visually.

Additional Resources: How To Make Money Online Through Affiliate Marketing Program In 2019

How to setup or use cookie-free domains

As you have understood why you should use a cookieless domain, it’s time to know how do we set up one. Setting up a cookie-free domain seems like a hard task but believe me it’s not. All you have to understand the process and do it perfectly.

There are a couple of ways to configure a cookie-free domain. Such as using a separate domain name, set up a CDN and reconfiguring WordPress site. So we will discuss these methods one by and so on.

Here, I will mention the tested methods which worked well for my blog.

 

1. Configure a cookie-free domain separately

In this technique, you will create a completely separate domain name for your website. This separate domain is going to host all the static contents without any cookie command to the browsers. So, first of all, you have to register a domain name.

If you already have then skip to the next step but if you don’t have yet buy a new one. You can also create a sub-domain in case don’t want to buy a new one. If you prefer to use sub-domain, use a static prefix so people can understand by looking at the name. For example: “www.static.rankwp.in

*Remember: If you use your root domain without www version, like rankwordpress.in then using the subdomain as the cookieless domain will not work.

Again, if you are using Adsense advertisements then cookieless domain warning will always occur because your sub-domain is a part of your root domain and Adsense set cookies for every sub-domain under one verified domain name.

Read this tutorial: set up a cookie-free domain for both WordPress and non-WordPress website.

Steps:

After creating the cookieless domain, Use your .htaccess file to configure your web server to serve static contents without cookies. Here you have to put that .htacess file into the root folder of your domain. Here’s how to find and edit the .htaccess file Once you find the .htaccess file paste the following code there.

 # Use Mod_deflate to compress static files SetOutputFilter DEFLATE # Speed up caching FileETag MTime Size # Expires ExpiresActive On ExpiresDefault "access plus 366 days" # Future Expires Headers Header set Expires "Sat, 27 Dec 2018 23:59:59 GMT"

Once you’ve set up the cookieless domain now you need to upload all of your static content to the new static sub-domain (or domain). These contents include CSS, ICOs, Javascript, text and image files. This way you can create a cookieless domain from where static content of your original website will be served.

2. Use a CDN provider to ignore cookies

Using a CDN provider is another good way to solve the cookie-free domain problem. Most of the CDN has the ability to ignore cookies and strip cookies which helps to completely prevent the browsers from receiving the Cookie response header. Since it’s hard to guess which CDN to use.

Just because every CDN has different features and functions so not every CDN is suitable for you to solve the warning to use cookie-free domains. If you are currently using Cloudflare CDN then you need to disable it to disappear the warning to use cookie-free domains.

The reason is that you can’t disable cookies served through CloudFlare CDN. Moreover, they also include their security cookie in your website header. But if you use CloudFlare with a caching plugin, you can change it to another CDN provider to solve the problem.

KeyCDN is the nicest alternative I have ever used with my websites. You can deploy keyCDN to your WordPress site by using a plugin. Just follow the steps below.

  • Go to their website KeyCDN and create an account there. They charge about 0.04$/GB traffic data and you will get one month for a free trial for a new account. Test their service and if you feel better then go for a premium account. ( You don’t have to submit your credit details. )
  • Install the CDN enabler plugin from the WordPress repository.
  • Create a new Pull-Zone inside the keyCDN dashboard and save it.
create-pull-zone-for-cookie-free-domains
create-pull-zone-in-keycdn
  • Copy the CDN URL and paste inside your WordPress plugin.
copy-pull-zone-URL-cookie-free-domain
copy-pull-zone-URL
paste-url-inside-CDN-enabler
paste-URL-inside-CDN-enabler
  • Once your setup is done, clear your website cache and wait a little time to take the effect.

On completion of your set up, you should see the improvement in your website test results on gtmetrix.

3. Re-configure your WordPress site

In this method, you will set up your subdomain’s DNS record as a CNAME pointing to your root domain with the wp-config file. To do that point your subdomain (any) to your /wp-content directory simply by editing your wp-config.php file. Add the following codes into your wp-config file.

define("WP_CONTENT_URL", "https://static.domain.com"); define("COOKIE_DOMAIN", "domain.com");

* don’t forget to replace your domain URL and domain name inside the code. Example: https://static.google.com

4. Use Cookie-Free Domains – WordPress Plugin

One more alternate method is to use a WP plugin called WP2static. You can easily install the plugin from the WordPress repository.

wp2static-plugin

 

 

wp2static-plugin

After installing the plugin activate it. Now go to the WP dashboard and select wp2static from the left bar menu. Configure the settings inside the “Deploy static website” tab. See the image below.

use-cookie-free-domains-wp2static-configuration
wp2static-configuration

Once the export process is done, visit the URL that you have set during the configuration. (https://yourdomain.com/static). Now check that URL in GTmetix. The warning to use cookie-free domains won’t be displayed inside the report.

Final Word

Using these cool tricks you can get around of that annoying cookieless domain warning on gtmetrix or Pingdom. In the comment box please share is this article helpful for you or not. Also, do share with your friends if these tricks work well with you.

 

Your email signature sucks and how to fix it

People seem to obsess over them, making theirs unique, eco friendly, oversized, undersized, made of metal, made of plants, yoga mats etc 

via GIPHY

But… it doesn’t seem like the same focus has been placed on email signatures. For many of us who send a lot of email (50+/day) and hand out 1 business card rarely any focus on business cards vs your email signature is misplaced.  

Today I am going to share a little test we ran at adbank with our email signatures that had some interesting results and how you can efficiently benefit from upgrading your email signature as well. 

The Idea:

We wanted to have an email signature that communicated the unique value proposition of BLADE and made people pause so they took the 2 seconds needed to understand it. 

The value proposition of blade is install our ad blocker and replacer and receive free crypto while you browse like you normally would!

It takes 60 seconds to do and once done you are setup forever with the ability to use referral links and share with others. 

Checkout BLADE here

Execution:

Tyler the adbank UX/UI designer came up with the following design and instructions…

Step 1 – Concept – What simple single GIF animation communicates your unique value proposition for your business?

Step 2 – Creative

Working with an in house designer is handy but UpWork or Fiverr could also be options for getting what you needed done. 

Here was the creation Tyler came up with on round 1…

(enter normal email signature stuff underneath)

Step 3 – Implementation

Implementation is not as straightforward as you would think. Here are the step by instructions for getting everything setup…

EMAIL SIGNATURE INSTRUCTIONS:

Step 1: Download your signature from the google drive folder

Step 2: Go to your own GSuite accounts google drive and create a new folder titled “email signature”. NOTE: this needs to be its own folder at the top level of your drive. 

Step 3: Upload your email signature to your new “email signature” folder.

Step 4: Turn on link sharing and then “sharing settings”

Step 5: in the sharings settings, click advanced in the bottom right corner.

Step 6: In the advanced sharing settings, under the “who has access” title, click the blue “change” button.

Step 7: Turn the settings radio button to “on – public on the web” and press “save”. 

Step 8: Now go to your email and click the settings icon and select settings from the menu.

Step 9: Scroll down to the email signature text box and click the image icon. NOTE: make sure the checkbox that says “insert this signature before quoted text” is checked.

Step 10: In the image selector, navigate to the google drive tab

Step 11: Navigate to your signature gif and select it by pressing “select”.

Step 12: Scroll to the bottom of the settings page and click “save”

Step 13: Your email signature should now automatically be embedded every time you compose an email!

Results:

We didn’t have all the tracking we could have had setup (should have used link tracking) but the anecdotal evidence is overwhelming. In the first week several people shared with me…

  • “Saw your signature and finally signed up”
  • “That was the coolest email signature I have ever seen”
  • “I thought what you guys were doing was complicated but that email signature explained a lot of it” 

As a result we are going to be implementing a similar approach across other businesses and setup better tracking to see what works and what doesn’t work.

If you have ever had a clever strategy with your email signature I would be interested in hearing about it!