How To Systematize a Successful Guest Posting Campaign

The highest quality of link that is easily obtainable is through guest posting.  By following this straightforward plan I have been able to guest post on some very popular personal finance sites and launch my authority site and earn some website income (shown below).

This post is going to be a step by step tutorial showing exactly how I use outsourced team members to help with my guest posting campaign…

guest-postingUpdate – 2016

What if you want to guest post BUT… don’t have the time and want to just get a service to do all the hard work for you?

  • Fellow geek when it comes to systematizing processes Doug Cunnington from has created a great service!

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How to add a Feedburner email form to your blog

One of the more popular articles in my Start a Money Making Blog series is the article on how to set-up Feedburner.  The article teaches you how to set-up set-up Feedburner for RSS and email.  While the article does teach you how to add a link for email sign-up, it doesn’t go into the details on how to add a Feedburner email sign-up form to your blog.  Adding an actual sign-up form to your blog, rather than a link is one less step for your visitors and can result in a significant increase in email subscribers.  This article will show you how to add a Feedburner email subscriber form to your blog’s sidebar.

Feedburner vs. AWeber

Before we dive into the details of adding a Feedburner email subscriber form to your blog, let’s talk about a question many of your may be wondering: “Why Feedburner vs. AWeber?”.  For those that may not know, AWeber is the defacto standard for email marketing.  AWeber excels at building email lists and sending out emails to those lists, including your daily posts.  AWeber is absolutely the platform you will want to migrate too at some point.  The problem?  AWeber is $29.00/month.  Well worth it, if only if you have $29.00 per month to spend.

I tend to be on the frugal side, and I always strive to have my blog pay for it’s own services.  I’ll be migrating to AWeber very soon, but Feedburner has served me well for almost 2 years.  While basic, it gets the job done.

How to add a Feedburner email form to your blog

I’m going to assume you’ve previously followed the steps in my how to set-up Feedburner article.  If so, you already have email set-up and working.  Of course, you’ve subscribed to your own feed to confirm it is working right?  If not, go ahead and do that right now…I’ll wait.

Oh, you’re back, good!  Now let’s get that Feedburner email form added to our blog’s sidebar.  Here’s how:

  1. Access Feedburner and login if necessary.
  2. Select your feed and you’ll find yourself on the “Analyze” tab.
  3. Click on the “Publicize” tab at the top, then click on the “Email subscriptions” link in the left hand menu.
  4. On the “Email subscriptions” menu, you should see a an area that looks like this (minus the green arrow of course):

  1. What we want is all of that messy looking code in the box pointed to by my green arrow.  Go ahead and select the code and copy it.  Make sure you select and copy all of it.  You’ve got all of it if the first few characters are <form and the last few characters are </form>
  2. Now head over to your blogs administration console and navigate to Appearance>>Widgets.
  3. You want your subscribe option to be at or near the top of your blog’s sidebar so people see it.  Drag a new text widget over to your sidebar.  I would suggest putting it just below the widget we added in the first Feedburner article.
  4. Put something like: “Subscribe via Email” or “Get new articles via email” in the title section.  Be creative here, but make it clear what your readers will get.
  5. In the blank area below the title, paste in the code you copied from Feedburner in step #5.
  6. Press Save.
  7. While we’re here, go into the the Subscribe widget we added in the initial Feedburner article, and remove the link for the email subscription.  Remember, we just added the form instead, so the link is no longer needed.  Again, press save once the mail link is removed.
  8. Now, check out your blog.  The sidebar should look something like this:

While certainly very basic, your visitors will now be able to subscribe to your blog via email using the form.  These types of forms convert far better than the previous link we had.  If you know a little HTML or CSS, I highly recommend styling it a bit so it blends into your site a little better.  Also, one of the first things I do is remove the “Delivered by Feedburner” at the bottom.  You can do this by editing  the widget we just added, and removing the following code from the code you copy and pasted from Feedburner:

<p>Delivered by 
<a href=""target="_blank">FeedBurner</a></p>

I highly recommend you test out your form to be sure it’s working at this point. If so, we’re done. If it’s not working, just walk back through the steps to be sure you did everything completely. Pay particular attention to the step where you copied the Feedburner code and make sure you got all of it.

The Future of Feedburner

There has been a great deal of speculation by bloggers recently about the future of Feedburner. Feedburner recently had an issue where it showed zero subscribers for almost a week, and Google recently make the Feedburner APIs no longer available.

Is Feedburner dead or dying?  Honestly, I have no idea.  Google hasn’t announced any plans for it’s demise, but on the flip side they really haven’t done much to it lately either.  I intend to continue using it for as long as I can.  When it’s no longer available, I’ll consider other options like FeedBlitz.

Given Feedburner’s questionable future though, I am mitigating my risk a little.  I take a weekly backup of the email addresses for my subscribers.  I’ll not only use this as the starting point for AWeber when I make the switch, but it also provides me a little protection in the event Feedburner just goes belly up one day.

To make a backup of your Feedburner email subscribers, do the following:

  1. Login to Feedburner and select your feed.
  2. Click on the “Publicize” tab, followed by clicking on the “Email subscriptions” link.
  3. At the bottom, click on the “View Subscriber Details”.  This will show all of your current email subscribers and their status.
  4. To backup your subscribers, click on the Export to CSV link.  This will download a CSV file to your computer containing the email information for each of your suscribers.  This CSV file can be imported into Excel or Google Docs for viewing.

What are your thoughts on Feedburner?  Think it will hang around for a while or is it on the way out?  Have you made any changes to your blog as a result of the uncertainty?

Photo by: GabrielaP93

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Treat your blog like a business, because it is

One of the big mistakes I see new bloggers making is they fail to treat their blog like a business.  If you’ve started a money making blog, than you should be running your blog as if it were an online business.  Why?  Because it is.  Many new bloggers start a blog on the promise of earning money.  They make the mistake of thinking they can start a blog, publish a few articles and suddently begin earning hundreds of dollars a month.  Unfortunately, this mindset is far from the truth.  Growing a blog to the point where you can earn hundreds or even thousands of dollars a month takes a tremendous amount of hard work and, as I’ll discuss in detail, a business focused mindset.  To be successful, you must treat your blog like a business.

Treating your blog as a business

Treating your blog as a business involves:

Remember, you are the owner and CEO of your blog and in order to make it successful you must do all of these things and do them well.  How often and how well you do each of these is directly proportional to how quickly your blog will grow.

I put “providing high quality and varied content” first for a reason:

You can do everything else perfectly, but without high quality and varied content, your blog won’t grow. – @larryecm – Click to Tweet

Just like any normal business, if you don’t provide a service or product that your customers will consume, nobody will visit your business.  On the other hand, and also just like a real business, you can have the best content on the web for your niche but if you fail to do the other items above nobody will know about your content or if they do, their experience when they arrive at your site may not be good.  Doing all of the above, with a primary focus on providing great content is the optimal combination.

A few examples

Here are just a few examples of some common mistakes I see new bloggers that fail to think of their blog as a business seem to make:

  • Posting great on-topic content for the first week or two, then sharing a story about their visit to the park with their kids that has nothing to do with their blog. Don’t get me wrong, sharing a personal story on your blog can be great, BUT only if it’s tied into the topic of your blog.  Even worse?  I’ve seen a few bloggers post these huge rants about their friends or neighbors that was completely off-topic.  Doing this a few times won’t kill you, but do it too much and you’ll lose readers, quickly.
  • Failing to realize that all of that income you’re getting is taxable.  Embarrassingly, this particular example was me.  The first year my blog earned income, I was so excited.  The more I earned, the more I optimized my income and added additional income streams.  I literally made close to $3000.00 my first year.  What I failed to consider was that the income was taxable and I would have to report it on my taxes.  Reporting income was no problem, I had W-2s, but I wanted to reduce that taxable income, so I spent almost a week pulling together numbers for all of my expenses for deductions.  The next year, I tracked it to the utmost detail to make it much easier.
  • Over the past 5 years, I’ve seen many blogs come and go.  I’m not sure exactly why, but if I were to guess it’s one of two things: Lack of vision and planning, and misunderstanding how much work blogging really entails.  The internet is a constantly moving and changing place, and those that lack vision and planning for their blogs will be caught off guard and ultimately fail.  This has been particularly evident with the recent Google Panda search engine changes.  Many of us saw significant decreases in search engine traffic  For those of use that had a plan, and multiple streams of income, we fussed, fumed, complained and moved on.  Those that didn’t have a plan, quit.

Of course these are just a few small examples of the many I’ve seen and unfortunately personally experienced.  Regardless of how much you plan, and how much experience you have, you’ll develop your own list over time as you blog and strive to earn an income.

I’ll be publishing more detailed articles on each of the items related to treating your blog as a business over the next few weeks, so keep an eye out.

Photo by: tinou bao

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Authority Site Monetization Strategy Rev0

For my authority site I am willing to try any monetization strategy as long as it is aligned with my goal of helping recent graduates deal with their student loans.

Over the next few months I will be doing several tests to see what kind of monetization strategy will be “best”. For me, my strategy must…

  • Be reasonably helpful to the visitor of my website
  • Maximize lifetime value of a visitor

Here is what my site is going to start with… (more…)

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Month 1 Update – Cost To Start an Authority Website

I have great news I can now share with everyone…my wife and I are expecting our first child on March 24, 2013. The news that I will be a father shortly is extremely exciting and has given me a  lot of passion to really make my online business more successful and provide for my family! Luckily for everyone reading this I hope that means to provide more value and transparency on my success than I ever have before. (more…)

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