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.
Are you trying to find ways to increase your organic traffic and Google Rankings? Have you ever tried to do this with Infographics? If not- you should definitely give it a try! We use this strategy a lot on our own websites and it works!
Infographics are a really great way to build solid links for any of your websites. Infographics take a slightly different approach to SEO and are solely focused on amazing content and really nice graphics and design. We like to try and make infographics as useful as possible so that other websites will want to link to your site in return.
Like most projects, the initial planning and research phase for infographics creation is going to be the most important part of the process. The first thing you’re going to want to do is get to know your website and the niche it’s in. Figure out exactly what TOPICS are related to your niche, and what kind of information is going to be VALUABLE to your audience.
Make a LIST- This is is going to include a focus topics but also topics that are loosely associated with your niche. This is going to ensure that you can come up with different infographic ideas that might draw from different/closely related audiences.
Go through your list and do some internet research to figure out what people like, link to, and share. The best methods to do this are the following:
1- Check out Pinterest:
Pinterest is going to be an amazing resource since they are so visually inclined. Search your Topic+ infographic and see what comes up. Then check how many shares it gets and look at who is sharing and linking to them
2- Google Images search is always a good option and you’ll be able to figure out pretty easily who is linking and sharing these as well
3- Another great resource is Buzzsumo– which is an amazing online tool that will help you figure out what content is getting a lot of traction by topic or website. You can sort by all sorts of metrics including social shares which is of huge value
Get creative! Your titles are the biggest piece of marketing that you’re going to do so this is going to need to be eye-catching to the reader. Some examples
The general rule of thumb for article titles are that they shouldn’t be longer than 150 words. They should be attention grabbers and pose some sort of question o r fun fact or statement.
If you don’t have a writer already, use this SOP that we use internally to hire a writer
Please see the Step by Step guide on how to hire and assess writers via Upwork
Step 1. Log in to your upwork account
Step 2. Go to the Jobs tab and click on “post a job”
Step 3: Select “part time”
Step 4: Then- describe the job with the requirements for how to write your infographic – The infographic title should suffice.
Step 5: Select “ Pay a fixed price” and make your budget $10. You should be able to get a really good quality infographic for $10.
Step 6: Generally with our screening questions, we ask them to fix a sentence that is grammatically incorrect so that you can just skip over their profile and application if they answer badly.
Step 7: Click “ post job”. Don’t worry about cover letter
Yay! You’ve posted your job!
Step 1: Wait 12 hours and check your job posting, you should have a few freelancers on the list at this point when you check your job posting
Step 2: Click “Review proposals” and you will get to a list of those who have applied
Step 3: Things we look for
Step 4: If you find one you like and meets the metrics, click “ hire freelancer”
Once you get the Copy created for your infographic, you’re going to want to think about the DESIGN work for it. Now this is probably the part that is the most fun because you get to work with some pretty creative people. This is the Job posting we put on upwork for this.
We’re looking for an infographic designer to make great looking charts, graphs, and other infographics to go along with informative blog articles.
Ideal applicant must be:
– experienced and skilled in graphic design (please provide examples)
– experienced with Canva or another infographic creation program
– experienced with Photoshop
– available to work 15-20 hours per week
$10-$15 per infographic.
Applicant must be willing to perform a test assignment.
Now all you have to do is provide them with the COPY and let their creative side take over. I’ve always been happy with the different iterations I’ve received and designers are usually really great and taking your feedback.
What I usually like to do it make sure that I have a blog post or article that can support my infographic. Here is a list of tips about publishing:
1- Posting an infographic should happen at the beginning of the week ( on a Monday or Tuesday) A typical infographic life cycle is about 1 business week
2- If you’re doing an outreach effort with a vendor, make sure that you coordinate with them properly
3- To get more traction to your infographic, it can be worth buying paid traffic from sites like Reddit or StumbleUpon etc.. to get more social shares and links
4- Make sure that each infographic has Social Share Icons to make it easy for people to share. It will also help you measure what platforms are working best for you. For WordPress- use ShareBar which is a plugin that will give you advanced sharing options.
If you have any other tips with regards to the use of Infographics- feel free to share in the comments!
In January of 2017, I took over a site that was on a decline. Most of the time people run away from sites that have a downwards trend because they believe the site is a goner. More times than none, the site is just lacking quality, consistent links as well as good content. This article will go in detail on the “Dead Cat Strategy” and how you could turn your site around.
I was like most other people when it came to buying sites that looked like these. I was very hesitant and in most cases refused to buy, or put too low of a price tag for the seller to sell. This site fell into my lap and so I decided to do some digging and find a system the could help turn the site around. What usually happens when sites start to do a decline is owners build it up, set up the monetization and then leave it for a while, only to go back and look to see it plummeting in the rankings.
When I bought the site, I wanted to do small tests to see if there was any possibility of turning the site around before I put more of an investment into it. At the time of buying it, the site was only ranking for 461 keywords and according to SEMRush, only had 3 as its traffic. So, I went through the rankings and picked out the landing pages for some keywords that the site was already ranking well for (10-40 ranking).FREE Upgrade Content Template
I then asked my team to go to those landing pages and check out the content and run it through MarketMuse. Through MarketMuse I ran each article to see how they compared to other articles going after the same keyword. I found a lot of the content was very thin, and needed more words added to it. Once I did this within a few weeks I was able to see a few good bumps in the rankings. If you haven’t read my guide on how to do content upgrades, you can view that tutorial here.
After we saw the rankings increasing, I knew this site wasn’t a goner and just needed a bit hand holding to get it back on track. My team then did a bunch of keyword research and competitor analysis to find other keywords that my team could go after. Once this was completed, we put a good solid 10 additional articles on the site and have been rolling out 4-5 articles per month since then.
In conjunction to the articles being published on the site, I also had my team creating Done For You PBN sites as well as getting Use My PBN links pointed to keywords that were seeing a good increase in the rankings. After a few months (June 2017), we were seeing some great increase in both rankings and traffic.
After seeing the great results for this site, I bumped up the article creation to twice a week so 8 articles per month. I also continued to get the PBN links pointed to the articles but on top of that, I also did some genuine outreach and got a few good backlinks from other quality sites. Over the next 6 months, we continued with the links and the articles and almost tripled in traffic.
Overall, the site that I thought was doomed, has turned out to be a great test. Within 1 year, the site went from having traffic of 3 to over 20,000 as well as only ranking for 461 keywords to well over 6,000 keywords, a lot, which are in the top 1-3 position.
Now when I come across sites that are for sale that have a downwards trend I look at it more as an opportunity as in more times than none, the sites just been left alone for too long. There are still going to be the sites that are banned, deindexed or have spammy backlinks so make sure you check all of those before you buy but if everything looks clean, it may make a great investment.
Note – buying a site on a decline often stays on a decline so definitely a risk that needs to be sufficiently priced in if you are looking to buy. Sometimes I call this my “dead cat” strategy… if you can buy a site for cheap enough… kick it and see if it moves and if it moves give it some TLC… if it doesn’t move you can put it in the dumpster.
Businesses today need to have a strong digital footprint alongside their bricks and mortar presence. Today’s savvy and upcoming entrepreneurs know that they need to do more with less and not sacrifice their reach or influence on their customers. It’s so important to connect with their audience in a highly personalized way, but also stay on budget doing it. A smart and focused email marketing plan can do just this – connect you with your prospects and customers in a highly targeted way that will be successful in delivering a high ROI and increase revenues that can be invested back into the business. Currently, Email has the largest reach, more than another other digital communication application and is the best way to monetize a digital marketing strategy.
Reported by The Radicati Group, a research firm who recently released statistics on email, “More than 34% of the people worldwide use email.” That’s an estimated 2.5 billion people worldwide, with projections estimating it to increase to 2.8 billion email users by 2020. Out of all those emails, around 196 billion emails the majority, a massive 109 billion, are business emails. Those numbers are mind-boggling and blatantly stress that Email is the main channel where businesses can grow their reach and potential the fastest. To make it simple and clear; Email Marketing is a powerful strategy to inform and connect with the masses. Almost everyone has email and based on that premise we can help you use an Email Marketing strategy to effectively reach your target audience, clients, and customers- and win over new ones.
Email is the main currency of the digital world, and any person who us active online is highly likely to have an active email address. That’s exactly why when you decide to reach out to your market, there’s no better channel with a greater reach than email. Just look at the numbers since there are three times more email accounts than Twitter and Facebook profiles combined.
Almost 90% of email will find its way to the intended recipient’s inbox, when you look at social media marketing the number is only 2% for Facebook users to notice your posts in their News Feed. Facebook has an algorithm that restricts the number of times your posts can appear in the News Feed, and they naturally do to drive traffic instead to competitor brands that has paid for advertising spots. That means the cards are stacked against you to find organic leads.
The whole point is to get your message read and noticed, if you break these stats down into real numbers the difference is striking. Your post on Facebook, if shared with 10,000 users, an estimated 200 of them would ever get it in their News Feed. On the other hand, using an effective email campaign sent to 10,000 subscribers mean almost 9,000 of them would get it directly in their inbox. That’s almost 50 times more looks than using Facebook.
The Email inbox is a person’s front door to their virtual world, and if campaigns are sent to the right subscribers, with the right message, targeted to the people who appreciate the information and service they would be getting, means your business will grow because Email drives conversions. This can be in the form of leads, sales, memberships, or a metric that specific to your business strategy. The ultimate goal for us is to help you turn potential customers into paying customers.
Have you stalled on starting your own email marketing because you just don’t really know how to do it? Check out our simplified guide below and feel free to reach out if you want to talk strategy!
Do an initial audit of what you already have in place for email marketing on your website. You will either need to create or update sleek opt-in forms and overlays to your site, where visitors can sign up. Hack: you can incentivize this by offering giveaways or free guides or resources, etc., based on your business. It’s an important function to upgrade whether with a slider or header or pop up, so you can grow your list and expand your reach.
Consolidate, import and clean your list by using software that allows you to analyze how active your list is and remove the emails that are either dead, defunct, incorrect to streamline your email list. We use Xverify for this! Make sure you’re signed up to reputable Email Service Provider. A few reputable ESP’s that we recommend are Klaviyo , Mailchimp and ActiveCampaign and can help you get set up quickly. We would recommend segmenting your list so you can get the maximum out of the subscriber list you already have.
Create core templates that you would use for your emails, and create them based on the type of email you’d want to send, whether that’s a newsletter, announcement, marketing offer or event invitation. You will need to figure out which templates would work best for your business and then create them matching the exact style and feel of your site and branding. You’ll generally be able to do this right from your ESP- OR you can use 3rd party tools like we do, such as Litmus.
Structure and create your first campaign. You can do this based on a special offer or announcement or welcoming email to your subscribers. Whatever strategy you use, it will need to be relevant to those on your list. Hack: Sometimes it’s best to create two different campaigns to two differently segmented lists to better target that audience. You really need to ensure that your campaigns are on brand and build trust with your list, to encourage interaction and business, making it easier to convert.
Imagine the customer journey being fully automated 24/7 so you don’t have to worry about it? Similar to the campaign emails which are custom and made to suit each campaign, you would need to set up your automated emails for welcoming new subscribers, or for managing the purchasing flow (Cart abandonment emails, browse abandonment, transactional emails, reminder emails etc.,). Automation has several series such as; Welcome series for prospects, Post-purchase and Win-Back which all work to help keep your list interactive. You can read more about the different types of automated emails you can use here.
Time to measure your results. For this, you need to understand the basic metrics that allow you to see how your flows and campaigns are working, how successful they are and how much revenue this channel is bringing your business. Based on these numbers you’ll be equipped to make adjustments on future campaigns and further segment your list, based on behavior, to fully maximize conversion on your interactions. Hack: Things you’ll really need to pay attention to is number of unique opens, number of bounces, number of emails not opened, overall open rate, CTR or Click-Through Rate, the unsubscribe rate, spam complaints, and social media shares. All this information will help you better understand your list and it’s activity and will let you plan and execute better for the next campaign.
Create a monthly calendar of campaigns in advance and carefully strategize and plan your emails, based on frequency and receptivity of your list, and also around holidays or events that are relevant to your business. This monthly email marketing campaign calendar should be ready 2 weeks in advance so that you can eventually start predicting the possible revenue you will make from your various channels.
You’re done! Aside from having to think about different strategies, the heavy lifting is done. Strategy can be the hardest part, so if you’re stuck on that- give our email marketing expert a call and see how we can help.
As you might have already heard, Content Refined is launching its very own Email Marketing Service and is looking for some additional Beta Testing clients at this time to help test our systems before we make this a public offering ( ideally 3-7 new beta clients). We’ll help you get set up, so whether that’s starting from scratch or consolidating what you already have, we’ll make sure you have the basics like a reputable email service provider, a solid opt-in and opt-out process and see if your current set up is CAN-SPAM compliant. We will look at your current metrics and establish your goals and document what you want and can expect from this channel at reporting intervals of 3, 6, 9, and 12 months.
Email has no competitors when it comes to driving conversions, especially for e-commerce. Think of any successful business or your own inbox. How many emails do you get weekly from your favorite store or service, and how many times do you take advantage of a deal offered exclusively online? It’s exactly why email is the most effective marketing channel to drive ROI. From our experience, Email marketing can bring an average 3,700% return on investment for e-commerce businesses. That means for every dollar you spend on email marketing, the average return on your investment can be $38. What other channel offers that? Email marketing is the most cost-effective channel for businesses to market their goods and services, outperforming other channels so greatly when it comes to ROI because it gives you the ability to deliver highly personalized and relevant messages and timely incentives.
Since email is the preferred communication channel for the majority of online consumers, it’s the best medium to target instead of social networks which are just that, a more personal form of communication that most use to stay in touch with family and friends. When it comes to business, email is the number one channel for communicating your offerings and since it will probably be around a long time, it’s imperative that you start building an email list, that will become a stable long-term investment and resource that will pay off for decades to come.
When it comes to conversions, there isn’t a more powerful channel than email. Even functioning at its most average a campaign would have a click-through rate of around 3% (of total recipients), so imagine what we could do with a targeted campaign and segmented list made especially for you? Take the time to get a free quote from us and let us show you what you can do for your business with a streamlined and effective email marketing strategy. Increasing revenues from email doesn’t have to be complicated anymore.
So don’t wait any other and monetize your subscriber list, and take advantage of a revenue channel that’s at your digital front door. Find out why email marketing is a crucial part of your small business digital marketing strategy, and let us help you get started. Learn more about our Email Marketing Service here!
Well it has been a weird few weeks here!
I am going to share some personal painful stories here…
Two businesses (not adbank) have both had issues of employee theft which is a first for my business! We are not talking hundreds of dollars but over 6 figures!
I won’t get into the exact details but one is solved and one is in the process of being solved.
The key anytime we have a major f-up in our business is to dig in and understand why it was allowed to occur, if the risk of it occurring again is worth putting in stronger systems.
This article will cover the 2 scenarios the systems that were in place and why they failed plus the 5 keys everyone should do if they have any team members with access to hurting your business financially.
One of the ways I like to think about the risk mitigation systems inside my business is the Hazards – Losses path through multiple layers of swiss cheese. No system can be completely bulletproof but the idea is if all layers are in place and working the probability of all holes lining up is very low.
An employee wired himself funds, oversight was not in place fast enough.
There were 3 layers of mitigation
In the end we were not pushing the pace fast enough on the 2 financial oversight systems resulting in a window for theft to occur.
Although this was the far larger of the 2 thefts it is one where no major systems upgrades are needed as there was some acceptance of risk due to prioritization and low probability of someone repeating with the systems that were too slow to get in place now in place.
Although the dollar amount is smaller than failure/theft #1 this one has me much more upset.
This was a known risk we had put many barriers against but the systems all failed in the same way to allow this to occur.
Note – All funds have not been recovered, the length we will go to will be unreasonable 🙂
I hope you haven’t experienced any issues like these. My hope is sharing these unfortunate events and what I have learned will be helpful in preventing future problems for you or if problems do occur arming you with what you need to resolve quickly.
Please share any other suggestions on how to help protect your business!
Over the last few weeks I have gotten quite a few emails asking me how my other businesses are going due to the fact that my attention has been focused on my adbank.network project. If you haven’t had the chance to check it out my “long overdue update”- you can that here! Well, I thought that this would be a really great opportunity to shed some light on how we’ve managed to keep some of the other businesses going strong without a whole lot of involvement on my end. This blog post is going to be about the success of Content Refined which has scaled consistently over the last year and a half and is a solid business on its own.
Madeleine Taylor, the Co-Founder with me at Content Refined shared some useful hacks at a conference a few weeks ago, so in this blog post I want to go over those hacks with you and share some of the valuable lessons my team and I have learned about growing service businesses online.
The 4 hacks that we’re going to talk about are the following:
1- The Importance of building your teams properly and managing them effectively
2- The Importance of recruiting the RIGHT management team to run your business
3- The importance of proceduralizing your business to optimize output
4- The importance of collecting and creating data to prove the value of your product to your audience
If you do these 4 things consistently and effectively, your business will be Solid and Scalable
Back in November 2016, when we launched Content Refined, we started with 3 beta clients. One manager- which was Madeleine, one writer, and one VA. Our criteria for hiring our freelancers was:
1- Are they the cheapest rate I can find?
2- Do they have good reviews?
3- Have they done it before?
Our very first hire was a writer that we found on upwork for 10$ per article. We had our first client- they were a beta client . The very first article the writer wrote for us- she absolutely knocked it out of the park and we thought- wow this is going to be super easy! Client #2 – we used the same writer. This time it’s a train wreck. Madeleine had to rewrite the entire article herself. Actually, she had to submit 3 times before it was suitable for the client. At this point we’re wondering if this is just a one time fluke or if we had a real problem on our hands. Client # 3- This time we get the copy back and we’re a lot closer to what we had received for client #1. We were super stoked. Problem solved. UNTIL it was checked it for plagiarism and it scored almost 80% exact copy from another online article.
So what’s are our overall takeaways?
#1 Freelance contractors are all over the map. – Some are good, some are bad and some are criminal
#2 Doing this by trial and error is an error!!!
#3 We better put some systems in place or Content Refined isn’t going to last very long
And so that’s what we did and here’s what we came up with:
We created a system where we hired about 5 writers at a time, tested them out over several weeks and then fired the bottom of the talent pool. Now we kept doing this over and over again and put systems in place where we were culling the good from the bad at all times. So what was the result? The bottom 10% would ALWAYS get sifted out and that was our very first SOP. How to cull the talent so that we got consistency and quality from our freelancers. This is still an SOP we use with every hire! On a monthly basis, we let go of the bottom 10% of our performing freelancers. This is how you build and manage effective teams out of contractors who possess skills that are not unique to THEM. Don’t waste your time on flaky contractors- they are the worker bees of your company and they are replaceable. Building systems that will save you MANAGEMENT time is crucial to the success of your business or else you’re going to constantly get bogged down with managing people who are always going to have some sort of BS excuse as to why their stuff wasn’t submitted on time.
Takeaways from Hack #1:
So- At this point, we’ve got a nice system in place and we’re scaling up- but here comes our big problem #2- Madeleine’s time has now been extended to a point where the customer service is suffering. In other words- she’s pulling some really long hours and still not getting everything done. So what do we need to do? We need to hire our first Project Manager to help with clients. Unlike hiring a bunch of freelancers, this is the first permanent employee of Content Refined. Now you might be thinking that it was probably time to create SOP #2- but no, we didn’t. Instead of creating an SOP, we created an interview methodology for the things that we wanted to learn about our potential candidate so that we would feel comfortable working with them. Unlike the freelancer -who essentially works for the client, this hire works for us. They’re representing our brand and making big decisions on our behalf. The idea behind the methodology is that if you don’t get to know someone on a human level, especially when you’re working with remote teams, you’re not going to be able to make informed decisions about WHO you’re hiring. So my recommendation is to take this very seriously when it comes to permanent staff and get to know your candidates really well. If you do this and empower the right people, you’re going to build impactful teams within your organization. So this is how we proceed with Management hires. These hires are treated differently than freelancers and we take a really long time getting to know the character of people since we need to place so much trust in them. The benefit of making this hire early is that you’re going to be able to increase production capacity which will allow you to scale your business.
Takeaways from Hack #2:
So, now we had a nice operational fulfillment side of the business with a team in place and so this is when we ran into problem #3. How does Madeleine shift her responsibilities and start working ON the business rather than IN the business? She felt like we were at a major turning point in the business and we needed to take a step back and really take a look at where this organization was going to go- so at this point, we sat down and created an org chart of the business with the idea that many of the roles would be delegated to Madeleine, and other roles on the org chart would be filled later down the line. This gave us a solid framework and an idea of what staff we needed to hire next. The good thing is, we had a business and had real revenue but needed to see and understand where this business was going to be 6 months- 1 year – 5 years down the line. By the way at this point we were at 7 months since launch and we were at about 25k in Monthly Recurring revenue.
Now we’ve got our org chart and Madeleine’s name is splattered all over it which is normal for entrepreneurial businesses so don’t freak out if this is your reality too. But In addition to that, throughout the entire the build of the business we’d been writing SOP’s like crazy. In fact at this point in time we had created 42 SOP’s. We are of the opinion that there is absolutely no way we could have been successful if we had not done that. Every time a new situation arises in your business- you need to write an SOP about it. If you don’t do that- then every time you do something you’ll be creating a new procedure and you will stunt the scalability of your business. With that being said, these SOP’s are organic living documents and need to be reviewed and updated all the time. If your SOP’s aren’t getting better over time, then your business isn’t either and that’s a problem. So with this in mind, we plugged all of the SOP’s that we’d created into our org chart, to expose fundamental structural gaps in my company. SOP’s- just like the plans that you would use to build a home- are the glue that are going to hold your company together.
The simple task of getting to plugging in SOP’s and missing SOP’s for the business allowed us to take the business to the next Level!
Takeaways from hack #3:
Okay so now we have the business set up- we’ve got several teams in place, our org chart, our procedures- but our business CANNOT scale unless we ’re getting new clients in the door and keeping them around! So think about it for your business. For Content Refined, the 3 most important things our clients want to see are:
#1- Quality Content
#2- Increased traffic to their website
#3 Return on Investment
So what did we do with this information? We started putting processes in place that would give our clients what they wanted so that they would have no reason to leave. We even took it one step further with this and we started collecting and creating data to prove the value of our content marketing service to our clients. We created a SCIENCE around content marketing so that we could point to some TANGIBLE data and say
Now in order to make this work we actually had to be legitimate! So we did a lot of work and used the DATA with the help of a whole bunch of different off the shelf tools to create data analytics. If your IDEAL CLIENT requires data analytics- then you need to be prepared to provide those. So if you’re wondering what I’m talking about and want the details, take a look at the posts we wrote last summer about these studies:
So these case studies were designed to prove that we had a formula around our content creation process that would rank your content with certainty. We compiled a year’s worth of content marketing data from our clients’ projects and analyzed it against several keyword research tools and content optimization tools. We then had that data analysis reviewed by a contractor that has a Master of Science in Statistics from Texas A&M University. The results showed which tools are most effective in determining the probability of ranking, and what measures you can take to improve the quality of your content.
1- Competitive Keywords Matter!
2- Content Quality Matters!
3- Word Count
4- Show some success stories.
It doesn’t matter what business you have- get creative and find ways to show your ideal client that you’ve SOLVED their problem!!
Takeaways for hack #4:
So since we’ve built out our businesses this way, I have been able to step away and focus on other projects such as adbank.network, without it impacting our bottom line in a negative way! If you have any questions feel free to leave a comment!