How Safe is Your WordPress Site?

A few days ago when I check in to my email account, I was greeted by a notification that someone attempted to log into my website. Thankfully I had some security, not much but obviously enough to thwart an attack by a hacker. Since then I have heard of others who have had their sites infiltrated and some weren’t so lucky. Hackers can create a lot of damage, ruining all of your hard work or even worse, use your site for other (even illegal) activities without your knowledge.

There are a lot of security plugins out there but which ones do you trust? Read the reviews on wordpress.org or recommendations from your peers is a good place to start. I used Wordfence on my site and it prevented a low level attack but I’ve recently bought Blog Defender 2015. It seems to be a good solution for now with only a small investment to keep my site safe.

There are some things you can do to make sure that you’re not giving hackers “a foot in the door”, so to speak.

The most obvious one is to make sure your using a strong password. So many use passwords that are easy to guess, making it easy to break-in. You can change your password from the wordpress dashboard, go to users and click on the user profile you want to edit. Scroll down to “new password” and type in a nice strong one. Use capitals, special characters and make sure it is between 8 and 16 characters in length. At the bottom of the page, click the “update profile” button and you’re done.

Like the password, the username is an often overlooked security control with many site owners leaving it at the default setting – admin. Whenever you create a new wordpress site, make it a habit to change the username to something other than admin and if you still have that as a username, it’s in you best interest to change it now. From the wordpress dashboard, navigate to users, then add new user. You will need to fill out a new profile with a user name and password making sure you set the “role” to “administrator”. Once you’ve done that, delete the old user profile with the admin name.

Using backups as an insurance, that if something does happen, you can get your site back quickly. Again, there’s a plugin for that, many of them can be scheduled for automatic backups so they can be done at regular intervals, like weekly or monthly, depending on how frequently you post. Every article I write is done in a wordprocessor and exported into wordpress for publication, so I have backups of every post on my computer as well.

Always make sure you have the latest version of wordpress. It will automatically update itself but with all the different plugins and wizzbang themes, sometimes this is not the case. If you log into your wordpress dashboard and there is a new version to be updated, you should do so right away. Just click on “dashboard’ then “updates”, then on that screen click the link and it will update.

You can also check to see just how vulnerable your site is to attacks by clicking here. Just type in your url and you’ll get the results, good and bad. If you are unsure how to fix any security problems, you might want to have a look at Blog Defender.

So there are a few simple ways to improve security straight away. However, I would suggest adding some security software, at least Wordfence,  just as I did. It certainly saved me from getting locked out of my site or worse.

Worth a look:

Wordfence

Watch this video on site security


Extra Traffic From Offline Sources

I’d like to share another great webinar I saw recently, so I’ll summarise below so you can get an overview of what it was about. Marketers today only seem to be interested in sourcing all their traffic online, but they could be missing out on some benefits that offline sourcing can provide.

If you take the time to try some of the methods outlined here, you will be putting a face to your brand, so to speak and this enhances legitimacy creating trust and authority. Which, as you may know, goes a long way when you’re after conversions. This doesn’t mean that you have to go the hard sell, actually no-sell at all. Think of it more as networking and sharing your expertise.

A bit of preparation first. Make sure you have your brand. That could be a logo, slogan or for some, their website name. What ever it is, the general rule is, the simpler, the better. Know your niche and be prepared to talk about it.

Some of the more conventional approaches could be local networking events and industry related conferences. You could be a guest presenter at functions talking about your industry. Just remember to be yourself and don’t sales pitch.

Print marketing is a great way to promote your business. These can include flyers, brochures, business cards, etc. These can be handed out (even at the networking events) or even delivered as a letterbox drop.

Some of the more unconventional methods may be sponsoring local sports groups or even advertising at sporting events. I’ve used this method for my retail business many years ago and it proved to be effective in getting my brand in front of people in a community-spirited way. Any volunteering work, or even if you’re already involved, wear a shirt with your logo or a cap with your brand. You could do the same for any community event, get your name out there.

Promotional material is always a winner, people love it. Pens, calendars, notepads, fridge magnets,novelty items like “stress balls”, etc. Tag lines and slogans printed on them work well on these.

Guerilla marketing can be a lot of fun and get your creativity flowing. Some of the clever ones were using bookmarks advertising your site and leaving them in the appropriate books at your local library. Paying for someones coffee (random person behind in the queue)and leaving your business card. Actually I’ve heard of quite a few stories of this sort of thing happening lately at the McDonalds drive-through, without the card though (missed opportunity there). On the webinar, a story was told of a yoga studio using street chalk to promote themselves by drawing FREE YOGA with arrows on the footpath leading to the studio. Would have got them a lot of business.

Well that’s the summary but the webinar has more examples and tips. Some of these ideas will go further than mere advertising with the possibility of going viral, you know how it is with word-of -mouth.

Three Reasons Why Your Content Marketing Fails

Are you looking for ways to increase the effectiveness of your content marketing efforts? Aren’t we all! In fact, decreasing the amount of content marketing fail in your campaigns could be the most important thing moving forward into the latter half of 2015 – it’s quite clear that content marketing is here to stay, so if you’re not paying attention to it closely, it’s high time you start.

And by paying attention to your content marketing, I mean making it more effective by zooming in on these problem areas.

The Three Most Common Reasons Content Marketing Fails

  1.    Using the wrong scope to hit your targets. We all know that targeted marketing efforts can be very effective when used correctly, but it’s that last part that so many people have problems with. For instance, some marketers just can’t seem to scale their news and blogs down to a readable amount. Instead, they try to tell everything at once, all in one blog – the result is just too much information to swallow and none of it in detail. Go for smaller groups of fish with your net-you might have to make more trips out to sea, but didn’t we get into this game because we like boat rides? For other marketers, the problem is over-promotion, or as I like to call it, not adding anything but yourself. While to be certain, you do add value to the industry (or else you’d be out of business), you aren’t the only bridesmaid at the wedding. Don’t just blab on and on about yourself, but rather sprinkle your self-promotion in wisely and your customers will start to see your value-and your wisdom.
  2.    Not being an attentive…seller. You thought I was going to say lover, didn’t you? Well, it’s the same concept. If you don’t know your audience, you aren’t going to be hitting all the right spots with them and eventually, they are going to leave you for someone else. What you want to do is give them their favorite chocolates, flowers and gifts.
    This means content that is directed towards their interests, that they find appealing and that they will interact with. That’s right, you want something out of this relationship too! If you need engagement (and who doesn’t) you need to know how your audience engages. What do they share and where do they share it? Use some social media listening tools to get to know your audience. Find out everything you can about them and then cater to them. Make it easy for them to engage with social sharing buttons and then, don’t forget to send a thank you note in the morning!
  3.    Just having bad, poor, awful, no good content. Finally, there’s the ugly side of the truth-some content marketing fails because it justplain deserves to fail. Nobody wants to read your regurgitated, boring and sometimes plagiarized copy and articles-they want fresh, innovative content that draws them in and keeps them reading. You’re still reading, right? Right?

Know your weaknesses. If you can’t get some good content out there, hire someone who can do it for you. Spending on some copywriting firm isn’t an option for most independent internet marketers that are trying to keep their costs down and their ROIs up, but there are plenty of freelancers out there that can churn out some original content for fairly cheap. And if you can write, you don’t even have to reinvent the wheel-simply take a new view or perspective on popular or trending topics. Add your own voice and expertise to the matter at hand. Have an opinion and state it!

Quick Start Challenge – What I’ve Learnt So Far

As the QSC winds down for it’s final webinar, I thought I’d reflect on what’s been taught during the last four weeks.

In week one we were introduced to the world of blogging. Dean told his story of how he got started with a blog and how it enabled him to have a full-time online income all within twelve months. So what do you write about when you have yet to establish yourself online? Well, you can share any experience you have on the topic and also write about your journey. This engages readership and shows your triumphs and hardships, which has people identifying with you and that leads them to “know, like and trust” you over time. The first week concluded with a challenge: to get a wordpress website up and running with at least one blog on it. There was a major prize for a lucky winner and a prize for the rest of us who completed it.

Week two was about getting traffic to the website with two free methods discussed. Siphoning traffic off other websites with the blog commenting method was one and forum commenting was the other. The idea is if you are contributing to a discussion with good content, the link to your website, which you have in the signature, will get clicked and traffic will be sent that way. The weeks challenge was to create a video, preferably a talking head type of video. It could be about anything you liked and it had to be uploaded to Youtube with the Quick Start Challenge keywords somewhere in the title to qualify. Another major prize for a lucky person that completed it and prizes for everyone else that finished the task.

The importance of a subscriber list was one of the topics of week three. How the whole process of list building using a landing page together with an offer was illustrated on the whiteboard by Dean. Using autoresponders and the importance of automating parts of your business was also discussed. So given the subject matter of the webinar the task for the week was to get an autoresponder account and get some form of sign up form on your website, in order to get subscribers on the list.

In the final week, the internet lifestyle was talked about with some extra tips and strategies on monetisation. How setting up recurring income streams was talked about at length and how these can impact a business for years to come, virtually on auto-pilot. This was part of the automation example which was a topic that was visited again. Lots of great information was shared but no challenge was given for the week. Must say that I was a little disappointed with that because these challenges worked really well in getting myself motivated into action each week.

So that’s it, in a nutshell. One month, four weeks to get set-up online and it worked! With one more webinar to go – they are calling it a bonus session. Dean’s been doing a pretty big pre-sell on this one, so I have my suspicions as to what this will be about. We’ll be finding out soon enough though.

The 60 Second Sales Hook – a short review

This is a great book that will boost your conversions both on your website and in your email campaigns, GO READ IT!

And I could just leave it at that. However, I’ll give you a bit of an overview, otherwise it would be a bit of a short review.

Kevin Rogers is a comedian, or should I say was a comedian. He travelled the circuits for ten years doing what he loved but made very little from it. Circumstances led him to discover that the simple formula used in creating jokes, would work just as well as, if not better, in the marketing arena. Jumping ahead to now, he is one of the most sought-after copyrighters in the business.

The art of storytelling is what this book is about. Now before you go and tell yourself that your not a writer or any good at storytelling, let me just say that after reading this little book, you don’t need to be a good writer and you are good at storytelling, at least the kind that is taught by the author. I had the same thoughts and after reading the intro suspended my disbelief for a while, and I’m glad I did. A simple and easy to implement formula will have you engaging your readers in next to no time.

As Kevin says: “All marketing is storytelling, and the most effective storytelling sounds like it’s coming straight from someone you know”. Sound familiar? He also goes on to explain the “know, like and trust” ingredients and how to establish that trust in 60 seconds or less.

Everything is well explained with plenty of examples and is geared towards online marketers, so your not left thinking “great idea, but how do I implement it on my website?”. He gives you a template that makes it dead easy to get started. Creating copy for a landing page or email marketing has never been easier, so easy in fact, he shows a great example of one that his dog made. Did I mention he was a comedian?

So a very entertaining book that will have you learning heaps and laughing as you go and a great bonus is that it is free! You can pick it up here.

When you’ve finished the book, it’s only a small one, I’d be interested in hearing your comments below.

Still reading? Look, it’s only a 30 minute read. Do yourself a favour and go and  pick it up, you’ll be glad you did 🙂

Resources:

Ray Edwards website(this guy is a wealth of knowledge when it comes to copywriting. Get on his list as he has great webinars form time to time. Update:18/09/2016)

Three Enormously Bad Landing Page Copy Techniques

Do you have a landing page that is under-performing or not converting at all? If so, consider the fact that many landing pages out there follow three extremely flawed approaches for content creation. If your landing page falls into one of these three categories, it’s likely that any promotions, ads or other monetary boosters you try will fail as well, sinking more of your hard-earned money into a failing endeavor. Similarly, it’s unlikely that changing the design or aesthetics of your landing page will help.

Three Bad Landing Page Copy Strategies
So what are these three horribly horrible approaches to creating landing page copy?

  1. Guessing at What Your Lead Wants to Read. This is how many landing pages are done: simply trying out random messages that might or might not have worked on other landing pages, to see the results. Unfortunately, this takes a lot of time and ultimately, costs you a lot of money in sales. Sure, guessing right the first time can be extremely easy and lucrative, but what are the odds you’ll guess right? Do you really know what you consumer ants to read, or are you too close to the sales aspect of the product to listen to the true consumer needs?
    Remember, guesswork is costly and most of the time,  flat out wrong. If this is how you created your landing page,  it’s time to re-evaluate your under-performing copy.
  2. Looking to the Competition. Okay, so every online marketer looks at what their competition does in order to keep their finger on pulse of the industry, but some of us use the competition as our basis for research. Figuring that the competition has done their marketing homework, we “borrow” from their landing pages and rewrite copy in the same vein as their copy. We figure, “They must know what they’re doing, so I’ll just do the same, we have the same demographic, after all.” But what if they are just guessing? Or what if they are dead wrong? You just anchored yourself to your  competition’s success and furthermore, there’s now nothing to truly differentiate your two landing pages. Why should customers go to you instead?
  3. Cliché Ad Copy. Finally, many marketers will turn to tired, old, boring and used cliché messages that they think sound good, they don’t.
    These messages don’t scream, “Buy me now!” They scream, “Help! I was written by a lazy marketer who might also be extremely corny!” Your message and copy need to mean something. If you aren’t the best-selling product, don’t call yourself that. Empty copy leaves prospects guessing. Be specific in the problems your product solves, it’ll be that much more impressive.

What’s the Right Way to Approach Landing Page Copy?
Now that you know the wrong way to approach writing copy for your landing page, what’s the best way? A little technique called Voice of Customer, or VOC. VOC is a marketing technique that relies on knowing your customer demographic in order to create viable copy that speaks directly to them in a language they prefer. VOC writing relies heavily on your understanding of your prospect’s problems and pain points, in other words, what do they need solved and what problems do they have with the solution you’re presenting. When you know this, you can market the product or service in a manner that speaks directly to the lead, thereby eliminating friction. When you know their wants and needs, you can prioritize them accordingly,
deconstructing each bit of friction with every line of copy on your landing page. This brings greater satisfaction to the lead as they read down the landing page and ultimately, all but guarantees the sale.
Of course ultimately, to make sales you’re going to need the right hook. If you feel you still haven’t developed the perfect HOOK for your product you might be interested in checking out how a dead-broke stand-up comic turned a simple joke formula into a million dollar sales hook (and how you can use it to skyrocket your conversions  even if you don’t have a funny bone in your body!)
Check it out now at:

http://60secondsaleshook.com/

Building Trust On Your Site

 

How does your site look? Does it evoke a sense of trust in your visitors? This is important because trust in your website increases buyer responsiveness and also reduces bounce rates, and the longer each visit is, the more favourable your reputation is with the search engines.

I saw a webinar today about this topic and thought I’d share a few of the points mentioned.

Things that might annoy your readers, when they first get to your site, could be pop-ups or timed ads, especially when they take up the entire screen. Various elements badly placed within the body of the text can disrupt the flow and make it difficult to read the article. Recently I was on a site that had social share buttons hovering over the left side of the text, they should have been off to the side but were actually over the letters, making it a harder to read. I persisted but many probably wouldn’t bother and would leave.

Some conversion elements such as animated banners in the content can be distracting and are best placed elsewhere. Being able to read comfortably is another aspect often overlooked. A good size font with good contrast can make it easier for people to read through the article.

Some of the visual things you might want to include:

  • Good quality author and an “About page”image ( shows you’re a real person)
  • Logo or brand
  • Header image that visually describes the post
  • Favicons – they are the little square images that show up on the tab at the top of the browser. They can add a professional touch and are faviconsometimes overlooked. Simple to make with a favicon generator and then placed in the root directory of your website, is all it takes to display one.
  • Images are great to jazz up the look of the page and can increase interaction but be sure to have them on the right of the text so it can flow around and not disrupt the reading.

The readable elements that will help your site along:

  • How often have you come across an article that was “posted by admin”? It happens but a name makes it more friendly. So changing it to be either your own or a nickname. From your WP dashboard, goto Users > Your Profile, scroll down to the “Nickname field”, then below that is a drop-down list called “Display name publicly as” where you can select the name to be shown on your posts.
  • An about page where you share your story. It doesn’t have to be an epic but a brief intro to who you are, why your interested in your chosen niche and other relevant information that establishes a connection to your readers and highlights any experience you may have.
  • A contact page shows your genuine and legit,it could also contain a form so visitors can get in touch easily.
  • Proof elements such as testimonials from clients, screenshots, audios or videos that can help the reader build trust before buying.

So that’s the brief on the webinar. Obviously it goes much deeper into the points I mentioned. If you would like to see it for yourself, you can click here and it will take you to the Wealthy Affiliate website. If you aren’t already a member, you can join for free and not only see this webinar but many more.

Any thoughts? Let me know down below.

Buying Too Much Stuff ?

As online marketers, we find ourselves in a position where, quite often, WE are the ones that are getting marketed to. Unusual wouldn’t you say? We are here spruiking our services or products and end up buying services or products in order to sell ours. Now this is the nature of any business, you have to spend it to make it but sometimes it gets a bit out of hand and we end up buying things that we don’t really need. We’re all guilty of it and it has a name “shiny object syndrome”. It can be distracting and damaging for some who are struggling to get their business up and running.

This is where programs like the Quick Start Challenge can help. They encourage budding entrepreneurs to focus on one thing for a month, getting a website up and seeing something in the form of results. By setting challenges each week and tasks that have to be done, they are ensuring that there is no time for anything else to distract them. Well maybe the forum, which is a Facebook group, can get a little time consuming at times but at least you’re with other like minded folks and there’s always plenty of support and encouragement.

An alternative would be to have someone to hold you accountable for what you’re working towards. Simply break it down into smaller chunks and have your accountability partner check in at intervals, it could be daily or weekly) to make sure it’s getting done. Don’t underestimate the power in this, it works! It has for me and it can for you.

So focus seems to be key to moving forward and staying on track. Having a clear direction in mind and plan in place, will help you achieve your business goals. You could also unsubscribe from those mailing lists that don’t seem to be providing any real value to help you stay on track.

Anyway I’m starting to waffle on a bit, so just keep in mind the tips above and just being aware, can be a step in the right direction.

Any “out of control” spending you’d like to share. Let me know down below.

QSC – Week 3 Challenge

The challenge for week 3 was fairly straight forward, to start building a list from the website that we’ve all been growing over the last two weeks. To do that I needed some sort of incentive to get visitors to subscribe to my list. Now, I’ve been around this space for a little while now, a bit over a year, and have accumulated quite a bit of material. So I went through what I had, looking for something that might be appropriate. I found some video training that I had bought the rights to fairly recently (and it is quality training too), so I decided to use that. After working out what I was going to be giving away it was time to upload. Rather than use my website space for the files, I preferred to use the Amazon S3 service since I already had an account. It allows for much faster downloads and it doesn’t impact your monthly download allowance from your web host and it costs very little.

So, I had my freebies ready to go. Now I needed an autoresponder account, I chose Aweber. I would’ve preferred Getresponse, but I had already signed up with them a while ago for a free monthly trial and even though I didn’t use it, I wasn’t able to sign up for another free month (I know what you’re thinking but they use your mobile phone number for verification). And I wanted my first month free, so I signed with Aweber. It’s all very easy to setup, they walk you through the process with videos. After I setup my list and created my initial message, which is the delivery method I chose for the subscriber to access their freebies – rather than just downloading from a Thank You page, I was ready for the next step.

In order to capture a potential subscriber, you need to get their attention. In the rules of this challenge, the guys wanted us to put an optin box in the sidebar of the website. You could have used other methods if you really wanted, but it was clear on what they thought was best. Fortunately for me the theme I’m using (from Thrive Themes) is catered to internet marketers and they have that sort of thing built in. Now it will use a form to get the email addresses and sent that to your list. This is a bit of code that you copy from your autoresponder account and paste it into the widget. In my case the theme I use is built around list management, so it was a little different, but fairly simple anyway.

That’s it! All done and ready to collect subscribers. Seems fairly straight forward and it is but for me I had things not going as they should and that was compounded by me leaving this to the last minute, so to speak. It all worked out but the lesson here for me is to take my own advice and do these things earlier. Less stress, more fun and if things don’t go to plan, then there is plenty of time to find a solution.

With only one challenge left, I’m curious to know what that will be. It has followed a progression that makes sense to get to this point but what comes next?

I’ll find out in a couple of days but what do you think it will be? Let me know down below.


It’s All In The List (PART 2)

In part 1 we covered the basics of why we should build a list. Now we will discuss autoresponders and the role they have in our list building efforts.

So, a autoresponder answers emails on cue but today’s autoresponder services go far beyond simple software. They are more geared towards providing communications solutions to businesses that can be automated to take care of the more mundane tasks such as scheduling emails, forwarding emails and even reporting and tracking features. Some of the better ones will provide services geared towards the on-line marketer such as:

  • web page creation, including landing pages and thank you pages.
  • Templates for eye-catching newsletters and emails.
  • Split testing.
  • Database tools to manage your list into sub-lists.
  • Heaps of tutorials and videos so you will be up and running quickly.
  • Specialty services for advanced marketers which varies from service to service.

There are numerous businesses online to take care of your list for you, so I am only going to touch on the most popular. You should do your due diligence in researching to find the right one for your needs.

Aweber

Founded in 1998 by Tom Kulzer, it has grown to become one of the leading email marketing companies. Apart from the regular services that you would expect to get, they also have extra features for advanced marketers called AW Pro Tools. In Aweber’s own words, these tools:

“Send out targeted broadcasts to specific segments of your audience based on what they’ve clicked on in your prior emails – which makes your subscribers feel like you’re having a one-on-one conversation with them. Send out a special tracking link in your emails that lets you move or copy someone to a new list when they click. You can bypass the extra optin and bypass the confirmation link. As far as your subscriber knows, they just clicked a link”

As you would expect, these come at extra cost but when you get to that level of marketing, it would be invaluable.

Getresponse

Also founded in 1998 by Simon Grabowski, and has grown rapidly over the years and is available in 19 languages and serves a growing base of customers, currently 350,000 strong. They have all the standard features, with a friendly and personal approach, they offer extensive training when you sign up but do not have the Pro Tools like Aweber, they are a bit cheaper for the novice marketer to get started with though

Sendlane

This one is the new kid on the block, being established in 2013, it was set up for internet marketers by very three successful internet marketers. It has all the standard features of the others, but boasts ease of use – geared towards the non-technical minded. Making it easy for marketers to get on with marketing and not getting bogged down with the more technical aspects. Like the other two, you can sign up with them for nest to nothing for one month, with a list limit of 2,500 before having to upgrade if you go over your allowance for that month. With the other two requiring you to upgrade your account if you exceed 250 for the free time period, it is pretty generous.

So there is a brief run-down on what I consider to be the top three to have a closer look at, for the new internet marketer.