Products Chris recommends
There are some terrific products and services out there if you want to have a profitable website. Here are some that I recommend.
Getting people onto your email list
There are lots of services which will allow you to put a box on your site to collect people’s email addresses so you can send them free reports, free ebooks, and regular newsletters. Some people use Constant Contact; others use MailChimp or 1shoppingcart. But the best I’ve come across is AWeber. I’ve created this page about AWeber to tell you more and give you my free AWeber tips book as I found some aspects of setting it up confusing.
Adding tests, quizzes and/or contact forms to your site
If you look at the middle of the NavBar at the top of this page you’ll see a heading called Tests. This link will take you to a page containing several short tests/quizzes which visitors to this site fill in. You’ll also find a Contacts Page for me on this site where you can ask me questions, make a comment etc. The software that does this is called InstantFormPro which is marketed by a respected marketer called Joel Comm. Go to this page I created to find out more. (I make a commission if you decide to buy it, and if you email me to tell me, I’ll give you $100 worth of my products and/or services.)
Hosting your site(s)
There are thousands of companies out there who will do this for you. The top 2, as far as I’m aware, are Hostgator and Bluehost. I contacted Hostgator first. I asked their customer service team one question. They gave me completely inaccurate information. I emailed the company and explained what happened. I didn’t get a reply. This company wasn’t for me. I signed up with Blue Host. They’ve been terrific. I have phoned them a couple of times with questions and got very helpful support. Sign up with Bluehost here. (I make a commission if you stay with Blue Host more than 90 days. If you email me to tell me, I’ll give you $100 worth of my products and/or services.)
Buying domain names
I think the most popular service out there, or one of the most popular, is Go Daddy. I bought a few domain names from them. A year later, when it was time to renew the domains, I found their process more long-winded than necessary: they have you go through extra steps as they try hard to upsell you to other services. Here’s what I do now: I buy my latest domain names at Bluehost. The price is the same. And it’s a few minutes quicker to set up the website if the domain name is bought from the same company that does my hosting. If you want to keep things simple, buy your domain names at Bluehost.
Setting up a shopping cart
After doing some research, I settled on using e-junkie to sell my ebooks and mp3s. I found set up to be much easier and straight forward than setting up 1ShoppingCart when I first set that up. Emails telling me when money comes through are nice and clear.
What would be a smart domain name to buy? What should you call your next ebook or report? What should you write an article about? I use a product called Market Samurai to help me. If you go that link, you can download a fully working version for no cost which will run for 12 days. Market Samurai runs on both Apple Macs and PCs. What I appreciate is that I pay one price, and all future updates are free. (I get a commission if you buy from that link. Email me your receipt and I’ll give you $100 worth of my products and services.)
Adding videos to your site
I have some YouTube videos on my sites, but in general I find it more elegant to host my own videos in a simple player. For this I use JW Player from Long Tail Video: it’s the most popular open source video player for the web. You can install it for free, but if you have a commercial site, you’re supposed to pay! I got the paid version and paid a little extra for the Google Analytics Pro plugin which means that I can tell how many people have watched each of my videos, and whether they got to the end of a video, or stopped it after 52.5 seconds!
Update: I now use Easy Video Suite on this site which I find to be very reliable: it stores my videos in my Amazon S3 account which was very easy to set up.
Building a website
There’s a lot of things you need to get right for a site to make you money or get you on the first page of Google for certain keywords. Some types of site rank higher than others. Some types are hard for you to add pages to or modify unless you are familiar with html. Programs like RapidWeaver for Mac, SiteBuildIt, Weebly, iWeb, etc don’t cut it for various reasons.
I have built a number of sites for people, talking with them first to ensure they get a site which does what they want. I use a small team of trusted colleagues to do some of the work. I can email you screenshots from some ranking software which shows you where one of my sites is in the number one position at Google and Bing for several keywords. Many more are further down page one. And I can tell you the simple things I did to achieve this. If you want to know more, get in touch.
Narrowing down what your prospects and customers want
You can find out in detail what people want by asking them questions which take them to a specific page or email list signup page. There’s a WordPress plugin which does this called Survey Funnel. Check out the video which is great! If you have any questions about any of the products/services above, drop me a line.