Website Income

Category Archives for Money Site Creation

How Much of Your Money Do Ad Networks Take?

If you have a content based site and are earning from ads you have likely wondered how much of the cut are the advertiser networks you are working with taking?

In that search you likely had the same problem as we had… resulting in confusion about exactly how much the middle-man (ad-tech-tax) was!

To get to an approximate answer on how much the middle man takes you need to dive deep into the industry and understand.


How Do Ad Tech Companies and Ad Networks Make Money:

Networks gеnеrаtе revenue frоm thе ad іnvеntоrу they buу аnd ѕеll. These percent they take and margins they make vаrу оn a mасrо lеvеl frоm nеtwоrk to nеtwоrk, аnd оn a micro lеvеl frоm impression tо іmрrеѕѕіоn.

In an efficient market if they charge tоо muсh, advertisers wоn’t buy; if thеу сhаrgе tоо lіttlе, рublіѕhеrѕ wоn’t lеvеrаgе thе ad nеtwоrk (more on if it is an efficient market later).

Fоr аdvеrtіѕеrѕ, it’s іmроrtаnt tо keep іn mіnd whеthеr thе network іѕ passing оn this “margin” to thеm in thе fоrm оf ROI оr not. Do the саmраіgnѕ they run on thе network meet thеіr gоаlѕ? Whаt kіnd of dаtа аnd tесhnоlоgу dоеѕ thе network рrоvіdе to hеlр drіvе реrfоrmаnсе? More tіmеѕ than nоt, buуіng dіrесtlу frоm аll the рublіѕhеrѕ thаt the nеtwоrk works with wоuld nоt drіvе performance on par with thе nеtwоrk buу and would сrеаtе massive ореrаtіоnаl соѕtѕ thаt аrе еntіrеlу eliminated bу wоrkіng through thе nеtwоrk. Thіѕ is the value thаt the network раѕѕеѕ оn to аn аdvеrtіѕеr.


Is the Digital Advertising Ecosystem an Efficient Marketplace?

For a marketplace to be efficient there is a key central concept… is all information public?

Although not perfectly applicable to this marketplace knowing that an efficient marketplace requires transparency the digital advertising ecosystem definitely fails!

Have a look at the image below showing the complexity of the digital advertising system!


How Muсh Dо Outbrain, Tаbооlа and Adѕеnѕе Pау Publіѕhеrѕ?

Aссоrdіng tо a Fіnаnсіаl Tіmеѕ іntеrvіеw wіth Outbrain’s managing dіrесtоr іn Europe, thе nеtwоrk ѕhаrеѕ “about half” of any rеvеnuе gеnеrаtеd bу раrtnеr sites. Thе соѕt per click раіd іѕ said tо range frоm $0.15 to $0.30 whіlе click rаtеѕ аrе іn the nеіghbоrhооd of 0.50% tо 0.75%.

Uѕіng thоѕе (big) ranges, wе саn соmе up with ѕоmе revenue еѕtіmаtеѕ:

  • $0.15 CPC x 0.50% CTR x 50% rеvеnuе ѕhаrе = $0.37 реr thоuѕаnd pageviews tо publishers
  • $0.30 CPC x $0.75% CTR x 50% revenue ѕhаrе = $1.12 per thоuѕаnd раgеvіеwѕ to рublіѕhеrѕ

In оthеr wоrdѕ, mоѕt publishers will ѕее RPMѕ between $0.37 and $1.12 wіth Outbrаіn. Thаt trаnѕlаtеѕ іntо $370 tо $1,120 реr million pageviews, mеаnіng that уоu’ll need tо hаvе a рrеttу substantial audience in оrdеr to gеnеrаtе mеаnіngful revenue from these widgets.

Pеrfоrmаnсе dаtа оn Tаbооlа іѕ muсh harder to dіg uр; thе соmраnу dоеѕn’t ѕhаrе thе revenue splits іt offers, and dеtаіlѕ оn performance are sparse. But wе have a few dаtа роіntѕ:

  • Sеrvеѕ uр 1.5 bіllіоn rесоmmеndаtіоnѕ dаіlу, оr about 45 bіllіоn mоnthlу
  • Drіvеѕ 24 million unique vіѕіtѕ fоr аdvеrtіѕеrѕ
  • Rесеntlу crossed thе $100 mіllіоn revenue run rаtе

Thаt wоuld trаnѕlаtе into revenue реr сlісk (unіԛuе visits ѕеnt) оf about $0.35, which іѕ rоughlу іn lіnе with Outbrаіn (реrhарѕ a bіt hіghеr).  It also іmрlіеѕ a сlісk rate оf about 0.05% реr rесоmmеndаtіоn, which trаnѕlаtеѕ іntо 0.20% to 0.30% реr раgе (since the Tаbооlа wіdgеt оftеn іnсludеѕ multірlе rесоmmеndаtіоnѕ). Thаt gets us tо аbоut $1.00 in grоѕѕ RPM (і.е., $1.00 in tоtаl rеvеnuе gеnеrаtеd per thоuѕаnd раgеvіеwѕ) before tаkіng іntо account Tаbооlа’ѕ сut.

Hоw did Gооglе AdSense dеtеrmіnе the аmоunt уоu receive реr сlісk? Google also runѕ AdWоrdѕ, whісh is kіnd оf a mіrrоrеd ѕеrvісе tо AdSense. On AdWоrdѕ аdvеrtіѕеrѕ runnіng ѕhорѕ, ѕеrvісеѕ, or оthеr mаrkеtеrѕ сrеаtе ads аnd tell Gооglе tо рublіѕh thеm оn еіthеr the Gооglе search engine or іn the dіѕрlау nеtwоrk, ѕо аll wеbѕіtеѕ belonging tо the AdSense nеtwоrk. 68 реrсеnt оf thе amount an аdvеrtіѕеr рауѕ per сlісk on thеіr аdѕ on уоur ѕіtе is уоur іnсоmе. Thе rest іѕ Gооglе’ѕ commission fее.

This ѕtіll іѕn’t аll you nееd tо knоw аbоut hоw muсh AdSеnѕе pays уоu. Thе соѕtѕ per click are саlсulаtеd іn an auction. Evеrу аd thаt іѕ somehow in thе рооl tо роtеntіаllу bе dіѕрlауеd оn your wеbѕіtе takes part in іt. In thіѕ auction, іt іѕn’t juѕt thе hіghеѕt bidder thаt wins, but thе wіnnеr is аlѕо dеtеrmіnеd by his “quality”. Wіthоut gоіng deeper at this mоmеnt juѕt rеmеmbеr thаt Gооglе wіll ultіmаtеlу run some smart аlgоrіthmѕ thаt try tо gеt thе highest іnсоmе реr thоuѕаnd іmрrеѕѕіоnѕ (rеturn реr mille = RPM) fоr уоu (and them).


Will the Ad Delivery Ecosystem Become More Transparent?

Blосkсhаіn technology іѕ grеаt news for рublіѕhеrѕ and аdvеrtіѕеrѕ, bаd nеwѕ fоr middlemen.

Disrupting dіѕрlау аd nеtwоrkѕ.

Thе most ѕuссеѕѕful оf these сеntrаl authorities аrе Outbrаіn, Tаbооlа, Facebook аnd Google. Google mаkеѕ wеll over four bіllіоn dоllаrѕ a year frоm it’s Gооglе Dіѕрlау Nеtwоrk. This іѕ whеrе Google асtѕ аѕ a middle man bеtwееn website оwnеrѕ whо have traffic and advertisers whо wаnt clicks to their site.

If thеу trusted еасh оthеr and had the technology/market, the аdvеrtіѕеr аnd thе publisher wоuldn’t nееd Google аѕ аn іntеrmеdіаrу taking an often unknown ѕhаrе оf the revenue.

Why are ad networks needed?

  1. Trust Agent – Ad networks act as essentialy an escrow agent ensuring that advetisers wont stiff publishers.
  2. Market Maker & Ad Tech – Ad networks provide a central location with a large number of advertisers and publishers using standardized agreements and ad delivery technology to facilitate the advertiser-publisher connection.
  3. Help Fight Fraud – Over 50% of traffic online is bot traffic and a large amount of that traffic is used by fraudulant publishers to attempt to drive up traffic/clicks/revenue for their site. So one key function of ad networks is to attempt to fight click fraud.

In a perfect world… If еvеrу uѕеr is a genuine uѕеr wіth 100% ассurасу, the website owner is only сhаrgіng thе аdvеrtіѕеr for gеnuіnе clicks, the advertiser would always pay the publisher when they are supposed to, a central marketplace existed and ad tech to deliver the ad was simple to implement then there would be no need for a сеntrаl аuthоrіtу/middle mаn, ѕаvіng thеm both mоnеу.

Sо now уоu can ѕtаrt to see thе mаѕѕіvе implications blockchain hаѕ fоr thе wоrld оf digital marketing. Blockchain based ad networks cutting out the middle man represents the ѕаmе kind of thrеаt tо bіg tесh gіаntѕ аѕ bіtсоіn/cryptocurrency dоеѕ tо bіg bаnkѕ.

Find out more about how this technology will benefit advertisers and publishers – checkout the site and deck at

Lеt’ѕ bе сlеаr though, thіѕ is good nеwѕ fоr аdvеrtіѕеrѕ and ѕіtе оwnеrѕ. Thеу gеt tо kеер mоrе оf the rеvеnuе for thеmѕеlvеѕ!

5 Best Places to Hire Writers

Over the last few months, I have received numerous emails asking about writers and where to find them. Writers can often be a headache for people to outsource and can sometimes eat up a lot of time. Our team likes to hire and fire fast and not spend much time on a writer if they don’t produce something great the first time.

Hiring a writer is more than just paying for a service; it’s an investment in both your company and yourself. It ensures your company is properly represented and saving yourself hours of time that can be better spent focusing on any of the countless other tasks that come with running an online business.

There are also many different writers out there, too. There are writers who specialize in different fields, such as SEO, copywriting, dissertation ghostwriters, essay writers, writers to maximize business plans, content writers, white paper writers, resume writers… the list is almost endless and all of which can be found on freelance sites.

First, if you are looking for a writer for hire, you need to think about exactly what you want.

Before you can actually go about hiring a writer, you’ll need to decide whether you want to hire one as a part of your staff, work with a freelancer or an agency. All options have their own benefits and drawbacks.

Working with a freelance writer is a more streamlined process and oftentimes more cost-effective. Interviewing can be tedious and time-consuming. Instead of meeting with multiple people, you can place an ad online and make a decision based on the submissions of writing samples you receive (risky but fast).

Whereas hired writers are either salaried or hourly, freelancers are usually paid per project. If you find a writer who you’d like to work with more consistently, you can offer to pay a retainer fee to reserve a determined amount of time for your projects.

Compared to the possibly-costly process of firing an employee, ending a relationship with a freelancer is much easier. All you have to do is send an email letting them know you’re no longer interested in working together (sometimes you can get someone who sends a million emails asking why they were fired and for another chance – as I have experienced!)

Hiring a writer as part of your staff isn’t without its perks. Even with email, Skype, and other modern technologies, nothing compares to communicating face-to-face. Sometimes, explaining exactly what you want is easier in person.

Working with a content management team such as Content Refined, offers the ability to be hands off and hire a skilled team who just produces quality content. Plus, many content management teams also offer scheduling and marketing services.

Most content management teams have a team of writers so you can rest assured knowing there will always be someone available to take on your project. If you’re dissatisfied with the quality or style of the assignment, you can simply ask for a different writer’s spin on it.

Like with freelancers, payment is usually per assignment and based on the services provided. However, you’ll likely end up paying more when working with content management teams, which makes sense since a team is bound to have more expenses than an individual. However, with additional services like promoting content across various social media platforms, your money will be put to good use.

Now that we’ve gone over why hiring a professional writer is essential, let’s take a look at the 5 best places to hire writers.

#1 Upwork

“To connect businesses with great talent to work without limits.”

This is the biggest and best platform that we hire a lot of our team from.

Upwork is a website that connects freelancers with those who are looking to hire them. This does not only have to be article writing it can be a wide range of different tasks from hiring a VA to getting someone to build you a website.

Those looking to hire freelancers submit a job post in which they describe the details of the project, as well as any required skills, certifications, or other preferences. Freelancers who are interested bid on the job, submitting their rate along with examples of previous works.
Payment is either hourly or a fixed, flat rate for the entire project. For more complex projects, the total payment can be divided into parts that are released once a pre-established amount of work is completed.
By utilizing their licensed escrow service (a financial arrangement where a third-party holds and regulates the payment of the funds required for two parties involved in a given transaction), Upwork protects both freelancers by ensuring they get paid for their work and employers by ensuring the work meets the established requirements.
Due to payment being based on individual budgets and bids, it’s hard to quantify an average rate. However, for entry-level writers, most postings look to pay about $5 for a 500-word article or $10 for 1000 words.
With the wealth of freelancers available, the best part of Upwork is you’ll always find someone willing to write for you. While this is good for would-be employers, it can make things difficult for freelancers—forcing skilled individuals to compete with those who are willing to work for less.


#2 Facebook

With over 1 billion users active on a daily basis, Facebook is undoubtedly one of the best ways to find a professional writer. Unlike Upwork—which only provides you with the information submitted by the freelancer—Facebook gives you far more insight into who you’re dealing with as a person.

Experienced freelancers may even have reviews on their wall and clients on their friend’s list. We have only recently started to use Facebook for hiring, but the outcome has been fantastic so far. They are a bit more pricy then the other places listed here but can sometimes be worth it.

By utilizing its search function, you can easily connect with thousands of people—both individually and in groups. For example, this group features over 13,000 members who are all skilled copywriters.

Because business dealings managed via Facebook are usually done in private, it’s hard to discern how payments are usually handled, we usually use Paypal for our transactions with them.

The greatest pro of finding writers on Facebook is its massive user base. The biggest downside is its publicity and the risk of scorned clients or freelancers posting negativity on your wall.

#3 Fiverr

Fiverr (Not recommended) is almost the antithesis of Upwork. Instead of posting jobs, those looking to hire a freelancer, select a category, then a sub-category of work and choose the freelancer they feel best fits their needs from the listings. We find that the pool isn’t as large as Upwork but there are still some good quality writers if you give it enough time.

Rather than applying to different jobs, freelancers on Fiverr post a listing that specifies what type of work they’re willing to do, their skills, and their rate. Each listing comes with three options: basic, standard, and premium—each with its own rate and services offered.

The going rate for 1000 words seems to be anywhere between $10 and $25, depending on the seller.

The biggest advantage of using Fiverr is being able to compare and contrasts the many different sellers to be able to find the one that’s ideal for you.

The biggest downside to using Fiverr is the inability to post jobs with specific requirements and I find the pool isn’t as big as other platforms.

#4 is a website that allows you to outsource work that you have to skilled individuals in the Philippines. I haven’t used this one but I have heard some great things about it.

When looking for someone to hire, you can either post a job and wait until someone applies or search through the site’s resume database using keywords.

Once you’ve found someone you’re interested in working with, you’re ready for the next step: Ironing out the details like payment (which is handled via PayPal) and expectations.

The greatest part of using is its TimeProof tool: Software that records any activity, takes screenshots of the freelancer’s screen, and then sends them off to the employer automatically.

As with all outsourcing, you run the risk of working with someone who isn’t too familiar with your language, which may end up leading to issues. In my opinion, this is the biggest disadvantage.

Before working on, it’s important to remember to read up on the conversion between your nation’s currency and the Filipino peso.

#5 Guru seems similar to Fiverr in how employers sift through freelancer listings and profiles in order to find someone that can provide what they need. Like Upwork, the website manages payment by serving as a middleman. Unlike Upwork, where the website’s team ultimately decides if the work has been fulfilled satisfactorily, Guru claims that the employer ultimately decides whether the provided work is worthy of payment.

Leaving the terms of payment up to the employer is simultaneously Guru’s biggest pro (for the employer) and con (for the freelancer).

Out of the 5 websites listed above, I’d have to say Upwork is the best for finding writers. Even though Facebook has a massive user base, the straightforward and streamlined bidding process for Upwork makes it easy to find someone to work with.

If you have any questions or know of any other places, I would love to hear about it! Please mention any other writing resources below and what it’s advantages/disadvantages are (self promotional posts are allowed within reason 🙂 )

New Ranking Data to Help Your Site Rank

As always, I wanted to show you what we have been working on and what it means to you ranking websites.

So hope you enjoy data… lots of scatter plots below. To all the true data/stats experts I definitely accept that I am not a statistician and these result may not pass the statistically significant test but some of the results have very clear/actionable learnings if you want to rank your site higher!

After reviewing Content Analyzers and Keyword Difficulty tools in two previous posts I wanted to open the door to other variables that could have a positive or negative effect on ranking for a given keyword.

We have collected a bunch of data again on the posts we analyzed before based on suggestions from you… so thanks!

The topics I will cover is information that is provided from various sites that I thought would be interesting to see how they may have influenced the ranking process. Included will be:

  • Other Content Score – CognitiveSEO Content Score vs MarketMuse
  • Competitors Domain Authority
  • Own Domain Authority
  • Trust Flow
  • Headline Scoring Tools

All of these variables come into play after you have researched and selected a Keyword. So let’s see how much they say they really have.

Content Analyzer Score

A couple months ago I shared the data on Marketmuse (you can find that here) and how predictable it is on getting your content to rank by taking into consideration your competitors, the length of the article, and the words used in the article.  

Over the last little while, we wanted to test other tools to help us with ranking for our keywords so we have taken a look at a few other Content Analyzers, one being CognitiveSEO.

We have talked about Cognitive SEO a few weeks ago in terms of keyword difficulty and it was one of the tools that showed great predictability. If you missed that post, you can check it out here.

The result from this process was that CognitiveSEO in terms of the absolute score performed better than MarketMuse over the same data set (47% vs 38%). However, based on how much the correlation has moved based on the size of the data set I am hesitant to say option 1 is better than option 2.

BUT… the big takeaway is that with both tools there is a strong benefit to using a tool that helps you ensure you are covering the topics that their “content brains” (my name for them) suggest you use.

For a more robust tool set that allows you to more easily improve your article use MarketMuse but if you are just after a score then CognitiveSEO is a great option. The price of CognitiveSEO is also much easier to stomach for a portfolio builder vs agency.

Domain Authority – Competitors

This variable can be accessed from almost all keyword difficulty sites. For this analysis we used SECockpit and took the domain authority for the top 10 sites ranking for the keyword and the max domain authority.

Top 10 Competitors Average Domain Authority

The statistical correlation of a low average domain authority as a supplemental predictor to rank was a solid 24%. This is another big opportunity to add to your competitive advantages when it comes to ranking. Overall maintaining an average competitor domain authority under 60 out 100 seems to be the target.

Max Competitor Domain Authority

For the max competitor domain authority score most keywords have a max DA within 85 to 100 range. It seems consistent that at least one of the ranking sites has a high score and the statistical relationship represented was a weak 9%. This variable does not hold much weight  in my books as it is very inconsistent.

Website/Domain Characteristics

For these variables we took the domain’s authority and trust flow. This analysis disregards anything to do with the keyword or the article content therefore its results can be read into as much or as little as you want in terms of how it predicts ranking.

Opensite Explorer Domain Authority

Opensite Explorer by Moz provides a commonly used domain authority which is a rating on a scale of 1 out of 100 to show how authoritative your site is, and we used it to see how the authority for a website that an article is published on helps.

With a little under 10% correlation the result is not strong enough to conclude anything significant.

Majestic Trust Flow

Majestic trust flow provides a rating of legitimacy based on the quality of backlinks and we used this score to see if a higher trust flow would provide some boost in ranking ability.

With a weak statistical relevance of 15% the trust flow seems to hold some weight in the ranking process. This means that backlinks will help specific articles but they also seem to help the bottom line for all article in a tiny percentage.

Article Title Score

I recently came across the free CoSchedule headline analyzer tool early in the spring and was quite excited by its potential. However as I used it more often and conducted some research around it I became less enthused.

The tool is designed around click-through-rate and should still have an effect on ranking but with only a 10% correlation significance as a predictor of ranking this tool underwhelms currently based on its potential. I have found that using this tool has not helped my team in any way on creating more catchy titles so we have since stopped using it.


Over the last few weeks I have rolled out a lot of informative articles about the analytical space around ranking. I have learned a lot and hope you have enjoyed the same with me. While there will never be an exact answer or solution to getting to the top of Google, I hope that you can see here that it takes a lot of effort and commitment to various factors but with the right approach and strategy you can try and get a step ahead of the field and be successful.


I am always interested in new tools or ones I have missed that may be useful to any part of the ranking process so feel free to share your tool that you feel gives you that competitive advantage and we can introduce it to our research team for further analysis in the future!

How to Make a Website That Makes You Money

In 2017 my team and I will each start and build a website that will make enough money to cover the cost of our mortgage and will show you everything we do here so you can join us! This page will grow into a MONSTER free course on how to make a website that makes you money! We will provide you with everything you need to build a website! Whether you are looking at how to start a blog or how to build a website for your business this detailed tutorial and support community will help! Want to Participate in a FREE Community to Build or Grow a Website That Makes you Money in 2017?

  • Step 1 – Signup Here
  • Step 2 – Join the Facebook Group HERE
  • Step 3 – See module #1 below and follow the Step by Step Video

If you think there are others that would benefit from participating in this challenge, PLEASE SHARE!   In this free training on how to make a website you will…

  1. Have access to videos/tutorials where you can build a website in 15 minutes (but that is just the start)
  2. See NO affiliate link to HostGator, BlueHost or other CRAPPY hosts that just pay a huge commission!
    1. NOTE – Other training that recommends Bluehost or HostGator is almost always only doing this because of how much $ the affiliate commission is and NOT because it is the best hosting solution for you!
  3. Get advanced training on all the aspects you need to be successful!
  4. Month by Month PLAN to achieve results!


Sections of Training

  • Module 1 – How to Select and Validate a Topic in 4 Steps
  • Module 2 – How to Make a Website (in under 5 minutes – seriously set a 5 minute timer for part 1 of this section!)
  • Module 3 – How to Grow Your Website (Easy Option and Advanced Option – Still Coming!)


Module 1 – How to Select and Validate a Topic in 4 Steps

“Do what you love BUT follow the money” Business Brilliant

Objective – Identify the topic and “blue-ocean” for your website topic Step 1Write Down a List of Problems/Passions/Knowledge Areas/Fears you have. If you are struggling to identify some of these aspects, look at your Internet History and your Amazon Shopping history. Pick 1-2 that jump out at you and continue working through the next modules until you have validated your idea. Expect this process to take a couple of iterations!

  • Personal Example –My case study “idea” (which still needs to be validated) is wanting to build a website around one of my staff’s passions… Nails and cool nail designs

Step 2 –Identify Similar Sites – In this step, find a list of sites that are along the lines of what you want to create.

 Step 3Define Your Blue Ocean – This step helps you define your unique “angle” where you combine 2-3 sites that show what your website will be about. In the book, “Made To Stick,” the authors talk about how pitching Hollywood movie ideas is done. For example, “think jaws in space” was for the movie, Aliens.

  • My Case Study Example – The site will be a combination of a beauty blogger, amazon associate site and consumer reports site specifically focused on the topic of nails.  

  Identifying the potential gap in the market was the central theme of the book Blue Ocean Strategy, in it the authors discussed case studies where entrepreneurs identified the under-served intersection of 2 existing markets. This strategy was described in the offline world but is just as applicable online. Step 4 (Optional) – Validate your idea with keyword research – At this point we don’t want you to spend TOO much time doing keyword research. It is more important to have a topic and blue ocean strategy then it is to have identified the “perfect” keyword but we do need to verify that people are also interested in the topic. If your goal is to build a website for profit then doing some basic keyword research will verify that there is a market.

  • Step 1 – use Ferzy (great free trial and easy to use!) to identify some potential keywords. We are looking to see keywords related to our topic with over 500 and ideally over 1,000 searches with SEO difficulty (a measure of how hard it will be to rank in Google) for

  • Step 2 – Identify some competitors and use SEMRush to verify that they are generating over 5,000 monthly visitors and the estimated cost of traffic which is just a measure of how valuable the traffic is is over $1,000. We don’t want to build a site in a space where no one has been able to be succesful and so seeing that both the keywords get some decent traffic AND there are succesful other sites in the space is a great sign we have a niche worth pursuing.

  Now that you have an idea of what your focus area is going to be it is time to identify a domain!  

Module 2 – How to make a website:

Over the last few years, I have been making websites, starting blogs from scratch and running them. I have come across different problems (Joomla, HTML, Shopify) and have had to find solutions on my own and systematize the process to maximize the chances of blogging success. I have decided to write this post to give beginners a fast, easy-to-follow guide to starting a website or blog, without having to learn HTML or waste your time reading long, boring tutorials. This step-by-step guide with videos will allow you how to setup a good site and get off on the right foot as well as avoid making expensive mistakes. Today, I am going to be taking you from start to end on creating a website which will work for your business and grow your online presence. The goal of this post is to not only help you grow your business but to do it the right way. I have had lots of experience and I’ve seen many people make mistakes when starting their blogs. I am here to help you so that does not happen. Take the time and read this post thoroughly. By the end, I hope you are confident in your ability to create a successful site. I am going to walk you through the entire process, one step at a time, so you get it right the first time. This is super easy for anyone to do. The process:

  1. Pick out and register your website address
  2. Getting started with WordPress
  3. Get your website online to be viewed by visitors on the internet

WordPress is used by millions of people all over the world including some of the biggest companies such as Forbes, Sony, Mashable, and many famous celebrities. You can easily grow your website using WordPress and in time, gain thousands of visitors. Why use WordPress?

  1. Highly Customizable
  2. Designed for everyone, not just developers
  3. Hundreds of themes and plugins to make your website the best
  4. It’s FREE for everyone to use.
  5. Safe and Secure

Before we get started with WordPress, we will have to pick out and register a website address (domain name).

Step 1: Pick out and register your website address

Choosing a domain name can be difficult, there is a lot to keep in mind;

1. Easy to Remember, type and pronounce

Don’t pick a domain that has lots of different symbols. You want something that people will remember; something that is brandable.

2. Trustworthy

Domain extensions like “.com”, “.org” or “.net” are the most popular, with “.com” being the one most people think of first. Try to avoid crazy or questionable extensions.

3. Unique and Descriptive

Choose brandable over generic. You want a name that reflects who you are and what you care about.

For finding a domain name – I recommend a very cool free tool from Shopify and their NameGenerator.

Here you can go to the site, enter a query that suits your business and it will generate ideas for you to use as a website domain.

What is Web Hosting and Why Do You Need it?

Web Hosting is the service that keeps your site available for all to see. It displays and stores all the files, images and content that your site has. You need a web host in order to use your own domain name and allow your visitors to access the site or blog. There are hundreds of different web hosting providers. They all offer you a similar service (domain + hosting) with a similar price, but after many years of experimenting and creating hundreds of sites, I definitely recommend using SiteGround as your web hosting provider. Once you have a set domain name for your site in mind, head to SiteGround to officially get started.

NOTE – I Highly recommend not using BlueHost or HostGator… these 2 hosts are most commonly recommended but the reason they are so prominently recommended is because of their affiliate commissions! They offer up to $200 affiliate commissions so be wary of those recommendations!

SiteGround support is great, price/value is the best and it is the EASIEST to get a site setup with! You can have a domain bought, account created and WordPress installed in under 5 minutes. Trust me… set a timer here for 5 min and go through the next steps!

The first thing you will have to do is choose a blog hosting plan. There is three to choose from…

  • StartUp
  • GrowBig
  • GoGeek

The StartUp plan is the best choice for one site, especially if you are new to website building however the other available options are good to if you want to have more then one site.

After choosing a plan, click “Get Started”. If you found a domain that interests you on NameGenerator then you can insert it and click “Register a New Domain”.

If you already have a domain and you are just looking to create a website you can click “I already have a Domain” and proceed. Once you have chosen your plan and found a name you like that’s available, you’ll need to register it by putting in your contact and billing information.

At Checkout, I recommend adding the Domain Privacy service so you know you are protected and all of your information is not posted to a public database.

The other Extra Services are not necessary.

Complete your registration and go to your email to verify your account and get started with the link.  You will also get an email that shares your login information, including an Admin URL. Software Installation will automatically create a WordPress site for you and have it installed. All of  your details are here, and your website is set. Login to your ‘Admin URL’ and get started. If you forget this URL, it’s simply (where “yourblog” is your domain name).

  • This is the easiest way to go. You are now done and WordPress is installed in no time at all! No need to worry about a download and having to find it in your files.

Did you do it? Were you able to setup your site in under 5 minutes?  

Step 2: Getting Started with WordPress

Congratulations! You have now set up your website and it is live on the internet. You have set up your site all on your own. As you can see, it was easy and straightforward to create a website from scratch.   You will first reach your WordPress dashboard in your web browser where you will have a toolbar on the left with lots of different options such as posts, pages, comments, appearance, plugins and settings. All of these will be useful and I will tell you how they work.

Step 3: General Site Set up

Here is a video walkthrough we had created to help you see over our shoulder as we setup a brand new website… Before you start adding content to your new site, you will want to create the infrastructure for your site in “General Settings”. In General Settings you will need to:

  1. Site Title: Enter the Title you want your site to be called (usually similar to the domain name).
  2. Tagline: Enter the tagline you want for your site (note this is usually not the same as it was in this case)
  3. Site Address (URL): 99% of the time keep this the same as WordPress Address URL
  4. Email Address: Contact email address; used for admin purposes
  5. Choose Site Language

Be sure to SAVE CHANGES before leaving General Settings to move onto the next step of building your site.  

Configuring your URL Structure

No one wants an ugly URL but sometimes WordPress will have a default that sets it so when you create a new Page or Post, the URL will include the date as well as the name of the post ( A much better way is to use: See the difference? One is filled with irrelevant date information and the other one is short, clean and neat. In order to change your links to a more cleaner look, click on the Settings > Permalinks and use the following settings:  

Step 4: Choosing a theme and logo for your blog

After installing WordPress, it comes with a default theme. From the dashboard, hover over the home icon at the top-left of the page and click view website. This is what your WordPress website looks like straight out of the box. We are going to transform this in the next steps.


Now you have to install your website theme. Your theme is the design of your website. I recommend using  ThriveThemes (or you can use the WordPress free themes) and getting the entire Thrive Membership. It has great themes and easy-to-use plugins to make your blog awesome. It is a very useful tool and can be the only paid tool you get for your site. Many of the tools that come with the membership will be invaluable to help grow your site/business! Again you can use a free theme but if you have the budget I strongly recommend getting setup with a ThriveThemes membership to access their awesome tool kit!

Here you will also find the Themes templates you can download and try different ones depending on the style you are aiming for. You may also use a free WordPress theme for your personal website. I recommend the Thrive templates because they work very well and look nice on all types of sites.

After downloading a theme you can add a “New Theme” on WordPress (Appearance > Themes) and choose the file to upload from your downloads. Click “Activate”, and it is ready to go.

I used the Thrive Theme “Luxe”. Now I am going to activate my theme and start making changes to Customize it. Simply click Appearance > Customize for these next steps.

Here you can change your font, the size, the colors of your site, the tag and many other things I will introduce. You can also change the background of your site to a color or pattern.

For an example, I will pick a pattern. Colors > Background pattern. “Save & Publish”.


You will need a custom logo created for your website. I recommend using Fiverr to get a good logo created for as cheap as $5. On Fiverr there are many prices and people to choose from that will accommodate to what you are looking for. I bought my logo off of Fiverr and they also provided me with 4 different logo options to choose from for my site.

To add your logo to your site, go to your Thrive Dashboard. Here, in “General Settings”, you can upload your logo and choose its position. Be sure to “Save All Changes” at the bottom before viewing your site.


In my Thrive settings here, I chose the “Side Of Menu” as my logo position but the “Top Of Menu” is a great location too. This is what my header looked like after uploading the picture and saving all changes.

Now I want to make it bigger. To do this, I am going to go back to Appearance > Customize > Header, and change the logo width to make it bigger. “Save & Publish”.

The theme is all setup and you have a logo. Now you are ready to start adding content and making it your own.

Step 5: Site Set up – Customizing & Adding Content

In this section, I will show you…

  • How to create a Page and Post
  • How to create a Menu for your site
  • How to write a post inside WordPress
  • How to add images, links and format text
  • Some quick tips and tricks for writing great content

Creating Pages (Pages > Add New)

In this video walkthrough and section we will show you how to create a new page!

  1. Title Area: This is where you write the title of your post.
  2. Content Area: This is where the body text of your post goes. Here, you can type or paste your content.
  3. Standard Editing Tools: Here are options like bold, italic, lists, paragraphs, and headlines.
  4. Publishing Tools: You can save your draft or publish your content live by using the Publishing tools on the far right menu of the page. You can even schedule the page to be published later – or make the page private so only certain people can see it.
  5. Featured Image: You can select an image to be the header of your content on your page or post.

First of all, we need to set up our Front Page so it is a static page.   To do this go to “Pages” and “Add New”.

You can name this page anything you want; something like ‘Home’ is fine. And click “Publish”.

Now go to Appearance > Customize > Static Front Page. Here we’re setting up our front page’s static to the front page we just created. Under “Front Page”, select ‘Home’ or whatever you named your page previously then click on “Save & Publish”.

These are the Pages I have created for my site.

You can start with creating a title for your Page and then add content when you are ready. With these pages we want to make a menu to be seen at the top of the site. Appearance > Menus. 

Name it anything you would like and then click “Create Menu”. Then you will chose the pages you want to be seen in the menu. For mine, I clicked “Select All”, to have Home, About, and Blog.


Now your menu will appear at the top of your site like this.

This menu consists of different Pages. There are also Posts you can create that will be in a Page. So for my Blog page I can create different Posts to be published on that page. 

Creating a Post (Posts > Add New)

Creating a post is the same process as creating a page. It is just the location of your content that is different. Your Posts are seen on a Page which you can choose and will see as you scroll down. A Page is on its own, visible in the menu bar (if you wish), and a post is the content that can be added to a page.

Once published, your new post can be found in the “All Posts” section of the “Posts” tab, so you can edit it at any time.

To add them to your Blog Page, go to Settings > Reading and select Blog for “Post Page”. Save Changes. Now, each time a new “Post” is created and published, it will appear on the Blog page.


Many people choose to write their own articles for their sites or personal blogs. Because I have so much on the go and many sites I am working on, I get my articles written for me. If you are also interested in doing this, I recommend using UpWork. On UpWork you will be able to post a job and find many qualified and talented writers from all over the world who will write for you while staying on a budget. I have been using UpWork for over 10 years and have come across lots of talent that has really helped my sites and grow my business.

Adding Headings

Headings help you structure your content and make it easier for people to read. Headings are best to add for titles and for each of your main points. To add a heading, scroll up to “Paragraph” drop-down menu. Select the heading you’d like to use. Note that the “Heading 1” is usually reserved for the post’s title and the others are all different sizes you can choose from for the body of your content.

Adding Images

To add an image to a post as a header, click “Set a Featured Image” on the right side of your screen, select or upload your image, and update post.    

Before: Plain and Boring.

After: Something to look at.

  You can also add an image to your post. Click the “Add Media” button under the Title of the post. Tip: Before you click “Add Media”, be sure you’ve left your cursor inside of your blog post where you want the image to show up. Otherwise, you’ll have to move it later on.

Next, click the “Upload Files” tab on the screen that pops up, then click “Select Files”.

Once you’ve found the file, double click it and WordPress will upload it automatically.

When the upload is finished, make sure the image you want is selected, then click the “Insert into post” button to add the image to the post you’re writing.


Adding a Link

To add a link to another website, highlight the word or phrase you want to link and click on the link icon in the toolbar.

You can paste the URL you want to link or search for it. In this case I will simply link to Google. I will type it in the box and the word will be linked so when it is clicked the person will be brought to that page.

Adding Widgets

If you are interested in adding a sidebar menu to your new site, go to Appearance > Widgets. Here you will have many options to choose from depending on what you would like your viewers to see. There are “Available Widgets” that can be dragged over and put in “Main Sidebar” (or you can create Footers if you wish). On my site, I decided to put Search and Recent Posts for now. I will also be adding a photo of myself (Image) and a summarized biography (Text).   Your site is looking great by now and hopefully, you’re feeling good up to this point. We have covered the basics and you can stop here if you are happy with your site. I will go a bit more into detail now in terms of what else can be added to your site to make it the best one out there. ADVANCED

Add Plugins

To add plugins simply click “Plugins” and “Add New” and Search. The Plugins I always add are

Analytics In order to use the Analytics plugin effectively, you will first have to sign your site up for analytics, and once you have the tracking ID, download this plugin and insert the tracking ID.

Install Now > Ok > Activate

Add a Contact Form

To add a contact form to your site you will need to add a new plugin. For this, search Contact Form 7. All contact form plugins are similar so it really does not matter what one you use however I am most familiar with this one.

“Install Now” and “Activate”.

You will now notice a Contact section in your sidebar.

Click it and open the contact form.

Here you are going to copy the shortcode and paste it into the page you want the Contact Form to appear on your site. “Update” changes.

Paste into Page text where you want it to appear. (Contact Page)

Thrive Architect Plugin

Thrive Architect (formely known as Thrive Content Builder) is a great tool to help build a site and make it look good. After you download it from your Thrive Member Dashboard simply go to Plugins > Add New > Upload File and select it from your computer files.

“Activate Plugin”

Now, when you view your site, there will be another option to edit the page in the top bar called “Edit with Thrive Content Builder”. When you click this, you will stay on the page but be able to edit it from there.

Add a Favicon

Adding a favicon is simple. Before you do it on WordPress, find an image you want to use (Clipart looks best) and save it so it is easily accessible.

Now in Appearance > Customize, you are going to go to the “Site Identity” section.


Under “Site Icon” you are going to “Select Image” and upload and crop the image of your choice. It will show you what your Favicon will look like. When you are happy with it, click “Save & Publish”.

This is how mine turned out:    And there you have it! Your site is done and it looks amazing. You can add more content and change your settings any time you want. Play around with what you have just learned and make your new website exactly how you want it.  


  • Content Creation
    • How to build a content plan
    • How to create GREAT content systematically
  • Monetization Strategies
  • Ongoing Promotion Strategies
    • Weekly printable checklist/tracking sheet

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Definitive – Best Keyword Research Tool to Determine Keyword Competitiveness

My last post reviewed how effective MarketMuse was at predicting the overall success of content in Google. This post will now dig deeper into many other keyword research tools to try and show which keyword planner and tools can help provide us with more of a competitive edge when it comes to mastering high-quality content and improving our rank in search engines.

One of the most important factors to consider when choosing the best keyword research tool to determine keyword competitiveness is keyword relevance. The more specific you are with your keyword choices, the better it will be. You want to use keywords to attract a more specific audience, rather than a large and more generalized audience.

A good keyword research tool will be able to help determine keyword relevance and it will also help you gain that advantage over your competitors, so you can build a more profitable and relevant marketing campaign.

Keyword research is one of the primary factors when it comes to SEO (search engine optimization), PPC (pay per click), and any type of content marketing campaign and strategy. Therefore, you want to be able to find the best, so you can provide the best high-quality and the most searched content that you can for your audience. Having the right content can lead your company to more leads and more customers.

A Bit of Info Relating to Keywords and Their Importance

Long-tail Keywords: These are three or four-word keyword phrases that are specific to whatever it is you are selling. With longtail search engine optimization, you are using a technique that targets highly specific niche search terms.

Keyword Suggestion Tools: These tools will provide you with better data that leads to better results. Remember, keywords are the building blocks of your SEO campaign and using keyword suggestion tools like WordStream keyword tool and Free Keyword Tool can help find relevant, accurate, and actionable data for paid and organic searches.

Keyword Difficulty: Otherwise known as keyword competition, this is a metric that is used when doing keyword research as you will see in the results below. The higher the value is, the harder you will find that it will be to compete with others using that keyword. This keyword data should be analyzed next to monthly search volumes and SERP analysis.

Analysis Summary – What Keyword Tools Competition Score Correlated with a Higher Google Rank

The list below was generated to give you a more in-depth view at what keyword tools competition scores correlated with a higher-ranking position on the Google search engine. They are ranked from the best, to the mediocre, to the worst.



The results surprised me with both Ahrefs and SEMRush underperforming my expectations and LongTailPro overperforming my expectations. I expected SECockpit to do terrible because I never find the competition score that it provides to be a very reliable analysis of the keyword I am inputting.

Additionally, the accuracy of this keyword tool analysis essentially means that the top 3-KWFinder, LongTailPro, and CognitiveSEO were tied. The margin of error would be larger than the difference between the results.

Based on this analysis, I recommend using one of the top 3 tools as listed above when identifying keywords to create content. It is also now what we do at so we can achieve the absolute best results possible.

The rest of this post will provide you with the ability to choose the right keyword tool available to give you to offer you a competitive advantage in targeting keywords. Doing so will result in successfully ranking articles on search engines.

There are so many different websites and companies that have or are starting to develop keyword difficulty or SEO difficulty tools. But once you input a phrase and determine the existing competition and window of opportunity, what weight should the number or percentage that they provide actually hold?

Previously in “Rank in Google with Certainty,” I only analyzed Ferzy, SEMRush, and SECockpit on a very basic level. For this article, I expanded that research to include Ahrefs, LongTailPro, and CognitiveSEO while also including search volume influence (based on feedback from you in my last article).

I have also analyzed competition domain authority, trust flow, headline click-through-rate, and more; but look for that to be shared in another post!

Now for the Fun Stuff (if You are a Data Geek!)

Using some articles from my various money site portfolio and all of ‘Content Refined’ created content, I have been able to compile enough data points to provide some statistical insight into predicting the performance of ranking an article around a certain keyword.

I have broken down the six different keyword tools into two tiers and you will find that the results within the tiers are statistically indifferent.

So here are the results…

Worst Performing Group (Worst Ability to Predict)

  • SECockpit

Best Keyword Research Tool

SECockpit keyword difficulty tool uses a percentage system. The percentage systems that show scoring below 30% and as close to 10% while maintaining a reasonable search volume, is a typical metric we use when determining if the keyword tool is effectively predicting. However, with only a moderate correlation of 17%, SECockpit has shown the very least predictive tendency of the tested tools.

  • Ahrefs

Best Keyword Research Tool

Ahrefs provides an absolute number score out of 100 to determine the difficulty you would encounter to rank for a searched keyword. While it only held a statistical correlation relevance of 23%, I do like that it provides a suggested required number of backlinks to go with the score.

I was actually surprised by this result. The guys at AuthorityHacker, who always do great work, had found AHrefs tool to be the best when it came to Keyword Difficulty, but we found it to not perform very well.

  • SEMRush

Best Keyword Research Tool

With SEMRush, you get a percentage score out of 100 with being below 70-75% as a target. Still only holding a moderate 25% correlation, SEMRush is the best of the tools found in our 2nd tier.

Best Performing Group (Best Ability to Predict How an Article Will Rank)

  • Ferzy

Best Keyword Research Tool

Ferzy is a newer tool on the market and will provide an absolute score out of 100 with varying levels of ratings categories. At a 35% statistical correlation, it offers to be one of the strongest predictors of keyword difficulty and ability to rank of the tools tested.

  • CognitiveSEO

Best Keyword Research Tool

CognitiveSEO is new to me and they recently came out with a new keyword difficulty and content analyzing tool. Both of these tools seem to work great and at a 37% correlation rate, it compares and competes well with some of the more well-known tools.

The content analyzing tool offers MarketMuse some competition and it comes at a more reasonable price. However, the difference in effectiveness is still to be determined…(more to come on this in the future).

  • LongTailPro

Best Keyword Research Tool

Behold the LongTailPro, the final keyword research tool we analyzed. Coming in with a statistical correlation at just under 40%, it is the most predictive keyword tool, however, it is not by much.

I was surprised by these results because LongTailPro has been around for a long time and I would have thought one of the newer tools would have come out with a better predictor.

  • KWFinder

Mangool’s KWFinder had not been used by me or the team until it became the most popular and most suggested and asked-about tool in the comments. Based on the recommendations I have received, I have gone back and completed the analysis to wrap up assessing the various keyword difficulty tools.

KWFinder’s tool assesses the keywords on a scale out of 100 while also giving the user a very user-friendly dashboard that provides additional search volume and SERP charts.

Best Keyword Research Tool

In my short time using KWFinder, I am very impressed with the value. In our statistical analysis, the overall correlation was 43% with keywords that have >1000+ monthly searches having a correlation of 41%. KWFinder has shown the highest correlation so far of any keyword tools researched and this remains true across various search volumes.

The tool instantly becomes an intriguing option for any level of operation with its variable pricing and added SERP Tracking features. More time spent using the tool will provide more insight, but this tool is the absolute leader of all the tools we have so far analyzed.

  • Term Explorer

Based on recommendations, here is the statistical analysis for Term Explorer keyword analyzer difficulty. Term Explorer provides a score out of 10 to its users and this score is what can then determine the level of competition of the keyword in terms of using the keyword to rank. From our brief analysis, it appears a score below 2.00 is a good number to reference for researching and is a number you will want to maintain and stay below.

Best Keyword Research Tool

Overall, the correlation was 28.16% for Term Explorer; a moderate correlation that places the tool somewhere between the 1st and 2nd tiers. Its ranking scale makes it an attractive tool to operate and its ability to maintain projects and track given keywords regularly is also a plus.

Question – What if we Adjust for Search Volume?

When the varying search volumes for a keyword were separated, the results varied by little. The three successful tools we reviewed before held their ground in being the most successful predictors.


In conclusion, the results shown offer that there is a significant competitive advantage available if you are using the right keyword suggestion tool to find relevant keywords. Ensuring that you follow a keyword data strategy of 500-1000+ monthly searches and a low recommended score from the varying scoring systems from tier 1 tools, you can start your content creation process on the right foot and provide it with a stronger chance of ranking well in the end!

But remember, when looking to rank your content, there are so many factors involved that this one step of the process can only provide so much insight and competitive advantage.

While it is necessary to find good keywords, the rest of the process must be completed at the same level of effort and quality to maintain the opportunity to rank. So, combining a keyword difficulty tool with a content analyzer tool, backlink analyzer tool, and so on, is essential to maximize opportunities.

Look forward to an upcoming post where I will wrap up this round of statistical analysis by exploring additional tools and factors that help you rank such as domain authority, trust flow, and headline score. Finding out that there may be an auxiliary tool for helping rank could make all the difference.

Hope you are enjoying these more statistically driven posts!

If you have any questions or ways we could expand on this analysis, please let me know!

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