quality content

Creating Effective Quality Content

When it comes to marketing today, there’s a certain idea all digital marketers have to follow. We have to add value before we get the sale.

What does that mean?

Well, for most, it means that we have to educate our potential clients or customers about what it is that we do or make.

In fact, it can take up to 6 to 8 touches before a prospect becomes a buyer.

Typically, those touches take the form of “content”.

Content can take the form of videos, audio, or even text – like this blog. And it’s usually in the form of an educational format.

In this post, we’re going to look at a few places that we can find ideas for good content in 2018 and beyond.

 

Natural Content vs SEO Driven Content

When we’re thinking about creating content that attracts potential customers, we might be tempted to do a number of things. Most of these fall into three types.

Natural Content Creation

The first type is one where the focus is mainly on what our own individual customers or clients want. As a creative entrepreneur, this is something that seems a bit more natural.

The goal of creating this content is usually to retain and educate the clients, audience, or customers you already have.

 

SEO Driven Content Creation

The second type of content is content that is created specifically for what Google (or other search engines) suggest people are searching for.

Knowing this information allows us to create content specifically based on these search terms or “keywords”.

The end goal of this type of content creation to bring in more people into your sphere of influence.

If you’re not familiar with the term SEO, it simply is the acronym for Search Engine Optimization. The idea behind it is that If a particular site has good SEO, the site will rank hire in Google’s search results.

The goal is to appear on the first page of results.

At one point, it was much simpler to understand what would rank a website higher than another in Google. So much so, that if you understood the fairly rudimentary rules, you could start your own solopreneur business or small agency offering it as a service.

In fact, I remember back in 2010, there were several people in my social circle that worked for a couple of startup SEO companies here in Indianapolis.

Today, while SEO still exists and is still useful, it’s getting harder and harder to predict how Google ranks websites. They’re constantly changing what variables make our sites rank higher.

Some of those variables even include traffic on the site, authority of the site, and how quickly the site loads for individuals browsing the site.

 

Hybrid Content Creation

Ideally, since the SEO world has become so hard to predict, the best thing we should do is create content that not only has keywords in it, but also is made to educate your currently existing audience.

The main way to do this is to simply to find out what your audience is asking about, find out what keywords in Google are related to those questions, and then build content based on the results you find.

Doing good SEO work on your site is not the scope of this particular post. However, I have two recommendations for you if you have a WordPress based site.

 

  1. Make sure you have the Yoast SEO Plugin. I personally recommend the premium version because it has some kick butt features (including multiple keywords) and you only have to pay for it once. 
  2. Secondly, when you’re searching for keywords, you can use a free tool within Google Adwords called the Keyword Finder. When you’re searching, there are two columns that everyone should consider. The average monthly volume, and the competition.


Ideally, you want an Average Monthly Volume of 1k – 10k (number of searches a month). If you try anything higher than that, there’s a much higher chance your site won’t be seen in the front of the results. If you use anything less than that, you might be targeting a smaller group of people.

Once you find a keyword that hits that 1k – 10k search sweet spot, then you’ll want to check it’s competition. Ideally, you want a keyword that has low competition. However, from time to time you might have to use a keyword that is marked as a medium. I rarely use those that have high competition.

Here’s a visual of what I’m talking about:

quality content

How to Find Your Audience’s Questions

If you choose to go the natural or hybrid route, you’re creating your content with your audience in mind.

If that’s the case, there are a few places where you can get topic ideas from your audience – directly and indirectly.

  1. Ask them! You can send out a survey to your followers (whether it’s through Messenger, email, or whatever you prefer).
  2. Check out what’s being asked and discussed in Facebook groups or other online forums that are related to your topic. If you think you can go into further detail than what’s covered in the post, go for it. 
  3. See what other thought leaders in your industry are talking about. What are your favorite blogs, podcasts, speakers, and/or authors discussing? They probably have already done the research to find a good topic to discuss. Feel free to add your voice to the conversation!

 

Action Steps

When we’re having to create content on a regular basis for our audiences, we might draw a blank when we’re looking. Once you have an idea of what kind of content type you’re going to be creating (whether it’s natural, SEO focused, or a hybrid of the two), then you just need a spark of inspiration. If anything, this gives you a good excuse to check in with leaders of your industry!

 

how to get rid of malware

How to Get Rid of Malware on Your WordPress Website

A website can make or break people’s perspective of whether or not you’re credible. When someone is legit, not only do they have a website but it’s one that is functional and findable. When you have that going for you, you can win their attention.

But what do you do if Google isn’t playing nice? What if you think you have Google Analytics and Webmaster Tools working for you but in reality, they’re not?

In today’s post, I’m going to not only share with you how I was able to fix my standing with Google search results, but also help you hopefully prevent future hacks.

 

My Introduction to Malware (the Hard Way)

So, here’s the deal. The New Inceptions site has been around since 2010. And for a long time, while I wanted to follow in the footsteps of the people I was learning from, for one reason or another, I wasn’t able to fully commit.

I’d write a post here or there – but never really had the time to actually put time into it.

And many times, what isn’t a habit, simply gets ignored.

Well, that’s what happened to the site. I wasn’t using it and because I wasn’t, the WordPress install files (including themes and plugins) all fell behind in updates.

The problem is that many of these updates are for security. And, truth is, if you fall behind, you’re leaving yourself prone to attack.

I didn’t know that at the time – and that’s when someone decided to upload malware on my site.

The way I found out was that I simply tried to hop on one time and I was given this warning instead of my site:

how to get rid of malware

Needless to say, I started to panic a bit.

Well after a few days of trying to figure the thing out, I basically decided that I was going to have to dump my site and start over.


And so I did.

 

But apparently, even after doing that, I hadn’t gotten rid of the problem.

 

I’d find out shortly after I relaunched New Inceptions in 2015, that I still hadn’t figured it out. But my solution at the time seemed to fix the problem…

 

2016 – A Chance of Intermittent Head Scratchers

So, there I am, moving along in 2016 with the AoL podcast and my regular scheduled blog posts.

 

I was about a year in and I was realizing I still hadn’t really gained much new traffic. Part of that, I figured, was simply because I didn’t know what I was doing with SEO. So I started following some advice that I was picking up from Bryan Harris and Brian Dean about how to structure posts so that they attract more people AND start ranking for SEO organically.

 

In the end, none of it seemed to work. I was still getting all this traffic from Indonesia and other asian countries – but not much from the US.

 

So weird. But my host couldn’t tell me why, nor could anyone in Google.

 

So I kept plugging away believing that like anything in life, success comes with time.

2017 – A New Host

Skip ahead to a few weeks ago – Houston got hit by Hurricane Harvey. As a result, Hostgator had all kinds of issues. From what I can gather, their primary server farm for the US is/was based there as well as their North American support staff.

 

Well, New Inceptions, along with my clients websites, were having all kinds of reliability problems.

 

So I decided that we’d have to move to another host. And luckily, Jake at America Multi-Sport had already tested another host for our Viking Trail Run series.

 

He was having good success with it (wasn’t slow, didn’t limit bandwidth, etc.) and I soon realized that I was going to move my account as well as client accounts over to the new host.

 

It was around this time that I had chosen to simply google NI and the result that I got simply blew me away:

how to get rid of malware

What in the world?!?

 

So I had the folks who were migrating NI to the new host could check for malware.

Unfortunately – they didn’t find any.

For about 3 weeks, I was left in this state as I couldn’t get ahold of anyone at Google that could help.

And during this time Google thinks my site is Japanese.

Wonderful.

 

The “Current” Solution

So, recently, I’ve been networking with different leaders of various groups using Arne’s FB Growth Course, I ran across one group called Blogging for Entrepreneurs hosted by Tori Reid.

Well, I posted the above image and asked if anyone might have ideas in how to fix it.

The response that got me going in the right direction: “Check your plugins to see if any of them haven’t been updated in awhile.”

That made me go back into my WordPress Dashboard and check out what hasn’t been updated for 6 months or more. I got rid of all of those that fit the criteria.

That didn’t do it.

But as soon as I did trash my last plugin, I get a notice from Wordfence saying that I might have some bad files in my installation of WordPress.

So I get over to see what it’s talking about…

AND THERE WAS STILL MALWARE!

Not only was this malware red flagged but it apparently it was installed from 2010 and 2011 – exactly when I first started having problems!

I couldn’t press the delete button quick enough! Lol.

After which, I update my Yoast SEO sitemap (an XML file you upload) on Google Webmaster Tools – and later that day, my the result looked like this:

how to get rid of malware

Hey, it’s not Japanese anymore!!

 

Final Result

As time has gone on since implementing this fix, my results have started to look better and better.

 

Today, I ended up with this as my results for NI:

how to get rid of malware

I think it might be finally fixed!

 

Action Steps

Alright – so guys, I hope you learned a couple of things in this one. First, don’t give up on problems you might not have the solution for right now. Just know that eventually it’ll work itself out.

Secondly, if you have WordPress installed – GET WORDFENCE for your site. Not only did it see these malware files, but it’s also limited tons of people from getting in and causing more mischief – including banning their IPs!!

Have any recent successes yourself with something you’ve been struggling with for awhile? Let me know. I’d love to hear about your win!!

work and travel

Jobs Without Borders: How TravelGig.co is Making it Easier to Work and Travel with John Asbury (AoL 097)


Many people aren’t necessarily ready to take the entrepreneurial plunge. For them security of a regular payday is much more valuable than living terms their own way.

There’s nothing wrong with that – it’s just not for me nor most of the guests on this show. I personally know that I suck being told what to do and, especially, how to do it.

However, that doesn’t mean that they can’t do some of the things us lifestyle entrepreneurs do.

In fact, today’s guest has started a business to help those that want to work while traveling have an easier time doing just that.

John Asbury is the founder of a recently new online company called Travelgig which is all about helping expats and world travelers find work similar to how Airbnb finds them places to live.

When John isn’t hard at work, you can find him enjoying life and traveling too – just check his Instagram account!

Recently Veronica and I had the opportunity to catch up with him and find out more about this great resource of a site and John himself.

Specifically we talk about how it got started, what went into making the original version, his background as a freelancer, and how someone can flip the creative switch for themselves.

Thanks for listening, and enjoy the show!

SPECIFICALLY, YOU’LL FIND OUT MORE ABOUT:

  • What’s John’s working background and what’s Travelgig all about? 9:24
  • How did John get into freelancing? 12:31
  • Where did he begin his entrepreneurial career? 16:17
  • What was the spark for him to start making his own lifestyle? 18:55
  • What fears did he have associated with his early days of traveling? 21:06
  • How does he feel that traveling has helped him vs living a more conventional life? 23:19
  • What inspired John to start TravelGig? 25:38
  • What has been the process in creating it? 30:30
  • What does John’s team look like at this point? 33:36
  • What kind of WordPress plugins is he taking advantage of for TravelGig to do what it does? 37:30
  • What are three or four steps that someone can employ to start being a creator today? 40:24
  • How do people break free of an addiction for another more purpose driven one? 43:26
  • What’s the future look like for TravelGig? 46:46
  • Three favorite books? 51:17
  • Hardest Thing to Say No To? 53:51
  • What’s a service that doesn’t exist that he’d gladly pay for? 56:07
  • Secret to achieving personal freedom? 57:34
  • … and MUCH more!

Right click here and save-as to download this episode to your computer.

ITEMS and PEOPLE MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:

SHOW NOTE EXTRAS:

15 Things You Probably Didn’t Know about Elon Musk:

Elon Musk at ISS Conference 2017 (Short version):

How to Get a Working Holiday Visa:

Over 30 years old? Try one of these ideas!

10 Jobs that Pay You to Travel:

 work and travel


Thanks for Listening!

Thanks so much for joining us again this week. Have some feedback you’d like to share? Leave a note in the comment section below!

If you enjoyed this episode, please share it using the social media buttons you see at the top of the post.

Also, please leave an honest review for The AoL Podcast on iTunes! Ratings and reviews are extremely helpful and greatly appreciated! They do matter in the rankings of the show, and we read each and every one of them.

If you have any questions feel free to email them over via the email mentioned in the show or by our contact form.

And finally, don’t forget to subscribe to the show on iTunesStitcherSoundcloud, and/or Google Play Music. It’s absolutely free to do so.

A huge thank-you to you guys for joining us!

Cheers!

successful site

Getting Started on the Web (Part 3): 6 Characteristics of a Successful Site

Back in early summer, I wrote a couple of introductory pieces discussing the process of getting a website up.

In part 1, we looked at some of the different types of ways that you could easily get something up. We also discussed that it’s going to take some time to get your website up and a little bit of ingenuity and technical prowess.

In part 2, we dug a bit deeper into the process. We looked at hosting types as well as a free way to get a professional website up once you had your domain paid for. We also dug a bit deeper into discovering what WordPress is and more of its in’s and out’s.

 

What’s Vital to Your Site’s Success:

In this third part of the series, we’ll be looking more into the vital functions that your site has to provide people who access it if you’re looking to do business through it. This information holds true whether your site reflects simply you as an expert or thought leader all the way up to a new tech startup.

One thing to note about this list: start with the top and work your way down. You don’t have to do it all at once, but it will pay off to eventually have all 6 components in your site.

Let’s get started.

 

Provides Valuable Content

In a world where there’s so much information on the web, you have to let people know what you’re about. Having free content through the form of a blog, through a podcast series, or through videos are the three main ways people deliver that content.

A huge benefit to you for providing free regular content is recognition by Google. It will rank you higher than a site that is static and isn’t adding material.

 

Blogging:

The blog is the easiest of the three to provide. For one, it’s built into your site if you’re using WordPress. Secondly, you really don’t have to do much to get it going other than knowing how to write. Preferably,  in a way that reaches your audience on a base level – much I do here with you.

If it’s the first time you’ve ever written in length on a regular basis and you’re simply not used to it, try and copy the writing style of your favorite blogs.

For example, if you have very detailed writing and want to use a lot of step by step instructions in your writing, then check out videofruit.com and emulate how Bryan Harris writes his posts.

If you’re more casual than that, then another one of favorites, of course, was and continues to be the SPI Blog.

 

Podcasting and Videos:

Getting a podcasting or video feed started on your site is similar to getting a blog started. However, unlike the blog, you’re going to have to create your content through other means than simply typing it up and posting it.

If you want to know how to get a podcast going, I’ve posted a basic tutorial of how to do that starting here.

Unfortunately, I haven’t started in the video world yet – so I can’t help you on the basis of that yet!

Looks Great on Mobile:

Half of all traffic on the web today is done through mobile devices – if not more. That means, if you’re site looks like junk on a phone or tablet, then those users aren’t going to be too thrilled about coming back.

Also, make your content easy to get to. If you’re using awkward dropdown navbars or other outdated means of getting to content quickly in just a couple of clicks or presses, then you’re not doing yourself any favors.

 

Simple for You to Manage:

Back in part one of this series I mentioned that you’ll need to have some sort of technical know how to have a website and post to it regularly. When using WordPress, especially, you’ll need to know when it’s time to update plugins, how to write a new post, and upload pictures and other media to those posts.

Learning how to do this takes a bit of time. But if you’re one of the types of people who forgets technical details as soon as you learn them, you might need another option. Perhaps using Squarespace or Kajabi would be more your style.

Remember you normally have to pay for simplicity though!

 

Allows for People to Subscribe to a Newsletter or other Notification System:

People like being reminded about things, because let’s face it, we all get busy. Newsletters are beneficial to all of us. It’s really how I keep track of what people are doing.

That said, you’ll be doing the same thing. You’re going to need some sort of freemium (or opt-in) that will allow people to submit their email (or phone number) to you. In return, you’ll get some sort of product or service that gives an example of how you can help them.

 

Easy for People to Share and Follow:

Social media is what people are focused on these days for their news around the world. Like you and me, they probably want to share what they find online in a given day.

Your site needs to make that process easy-peasy. Make sure that you have social media buttons scattered throughout your site. This will allow people to share content with a few clicks.

If you use a sidebar on your site, have one of your social media feeds in it. It can be a feed of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter – you name it! Just have it over there for social proof.

 

Accept Online Payments:

If you have products for sale, you’ll want to be able to sell them through your site. Being able to accept online payments is important in having a successful site to most online entrepreneurs.

However, you might notice that some sites don’t have have options to pay online. More than likely they’re utilizing a process called affiliate marketing where the transaction happens behind the scenes.

Most podcast centric sites work through this process – unless there’s a membership involved with the site like Fizzle.

 

Action Steps:

If you’ve started a website using the previous two segments of this series, great job! You’ve taken important steps to get recognized as the creator you are.

Your next step, is to implement these 6 characteristics into your site. It’s a new year, so there’s really no better time! Get it done as soon as possible.

Again, don’t think you have to do it all at once. If you haven’t started adding content regularly to your site, start doing that first. Then work your way down to the bottom.

DIY Business Site

Getting Started on the Web (Part 2): Basics of Setting Up WordPress for your DIY Business Site

In the last post, we looked at some of the options that are out there in building your own business site.

Just as a recap, there are those that are fairly simple to use but still require you to know how to actually use the editors in them when you’re in.

Wix, Squarespace, and Kajabi are some of the most common “easy to use” site makers out there. However, all of them come at a price that is above what you’d pay for simple hosting and a WordPress install.

Kajabi, being the most expensive, comes with all the bells and whistles that you’d have to add on elsewhere.

Wix is free to start from, but you have to add parts that cost a premium to do certain things. (Collecting emails for an example.)

Squarespace, I haven’t personally used, but it’s almost three times as much as I pay at Hostgator for my plan. And knowing that I could easily throw up a theme (additional software that makes a WordPress install look nice) that I only have to buy once, then it just didn’t make sense to me to use.

The Basics of Hosting:

When it comes to installing a WordPress based site, there’s a few things you need to do before actually installing it.

Find and subscribe to a Host:
First and foremost, our first step is to figure out who you want to be your host. I use Hostgator, Pat Flynn is well known for using BlueHost, and others use other providers.

The plan I get with Hostgator is the Baby Plan. It has most of the stuff we need. (Be sure to go through my affiliate link so you can save on your subscription if you go with Hostgator.)

Essentially a host does a couple of things that we’re interested in:

Holds your site’s contents (including WordPress and your creative content).
The actual local address of your site. (You point your domain name here.)
Where to find any email addresses associated with your domain name.

Once you get access to your new host, you should have some sort of dashboard in the back to utilize your new subscription with. For now, most things in there won’t be of too much interest to us. However, I wanted to get you a video that shows a little bit more about what Hostgator uses as their dashboard. It’s called cPanel.

Setup Your Domain:

Your domain is the name of your site. For example, my site’s domain is newinceptions.com. I registered it originally at GoDaddy. They’re known for cheap domain registration – but not necessarily hosting (even though they provide it).
GoDaddy isn’t the only domain register I’d suggest. While GoDaddy has good first year registration prices, NameCheap is another place you can get cheap domains and they’ll continue to be relatively inexpensive after your first year.

Also, another thing they give for free is the ability to block the name and location of the person who registers the site. This is something that you have to pay additional for on GoDaddy and other domain registries. This is a big selling point if you want to keep your privacy.

Once you register with whomever you choose (there’s others out there too!), you’ll have to give your register the nameserver’s addresses. Usually there are two in your cpanel (if you go with Hostgator, it will be on your bottom left near the bottom – they’ll look something like nsXXXX.hostgator.com and nsYYYY.hostgator.com.)

Here’s a video that will get you started in this section.

Setting Up Your Professional Email:

It’s simple to say why this is important. What’s the point of having a website if you’re email is [email protected] or something similar? Wouldn’t it be better to be [email protected]

Most hosts will allow you to host your own domain based email on your share of the server. What they fail to tell you is that whenever you are checking emails, you’re usually using up what’s called a “Process”. With my service from Hostgator, there are 25 processes that I can use. Each open email account will use up to 4 of these processes. Why? It’s a little detailed.

However, there are other providers out there that you can get your email hosted with. All you have to do is prove you own your site and then tell the host that you want to get your email from that secondary email host. There’s different ways of doing that, so I won’t drop into that too much here.

However, there’s two big players in this department: Google and Zoho.

Google everyone knows and trusts (to an extent anyway!). When you get your professional email with them, then you can use it to login into other Google applications such as Google Docs, and Google Calendar.

However, there’s a price to pay for Google. I believe it’s like 5 or 10 bucks each month. Plus additional fee for other emails you get.

At one point Google was free. When they started charging, Zoho got in the act to host business emails. They host up to 10 for your domain for free. Each email address can save 5 gigs of data on their account. (As a hack, I tend to backup all my emails on a secondary Gmail account.)

Both work similarly. So, unless you only want to have one address for everything, then I’d go with Zoho for your business email and use Google for your personal email, apps, calendar and possibly a backup account.

Here’s one video that should help you figure this process out.

WordPress Ins and Outs:

Initial Setup:

Each host will be different when it comes to setting up WordPress. Some you can install with a few clicks. Others will be a little more manual.

Hostgator again comes through here in that it makes it relatively easy to setup. There’s a Quick install feature that takes about 5 clicks and 6 fill in the blanks to finish. (The linked video is a bit old – but should do the trick.) It will send you an email when it’s done installing and you’ll be ready for the next step.

Inside WordPress (the Backend):

Once you have WordPress installed, you’ll want to familiarize yourself with the Dashboard. You can typically reach the dashboard by going to yoursite.com/wp-admin. You’ll have to supply a login and a password. This should be in the email you get once the install is done.

You’ll notice several tabs. Two that I want to bring to mind right now are Appearance and Plugins.

The Appearance tab is where you’ll find your themes. There are free ones available through this tab, and others that you’ll have to buy at sites like Themeforest. Mine is called Enfold. There are plenty of other choices. You just need to search around and see what fits your site’s needs. For example, another one I use is Gameplan for the America Multi-Sport site.

My biggest recommendation with themes is to make sure it’s responsive (most new ones are) and that it is built around an editor. Enfold has it’s own native one, while Gameplan uses a 3rd party solution. Having a theme built around an editor will make it easier for you to work on your future site.

Also, when you have a premium theme installed, more than likely it will also add another tab. Make sure you click on that tab and explore everything that’s in there. There will be plenty of options and things for you to go through and modify.

(Note: If you go with Enfold, you can actually import a demonstration site and modify it to how you like it. Otherwise, you’ll have to start with scratch. But this is no different at this point from if you had used Squarespace, Wix, or Kajabi.)

Here’s a video that shows more of the backend of WordPress with Enfold being enabled as the theme.

The Plugins tab is next on the list. When you are done installing your basic theme, you’ll want to start turning some things on that will protect and optimize your site. This is where you’ll do that. A few plugins that I always use on all of my sites is Akizmet, a firewall plugin (like Wordfence), and a cache “optimizer” (like WP Super Cache). Also, be sure to install a backup plugin like UpdraftPlus so if you’re ever hacked or lose access to your site, you can install it elsewhere.

You can continue to add free and premium plugins to your heart’s content to do different jobs in your site and outside of your site. Some will only be on the backend (like I’ve mentioned already), others will be on the front end. Those plugins might show contact forms, social media buttons, or image rotators. (The end user will see these plugins working – but hopefully won’t realize it.)

The next two tabs that I want to call attention to are Pages and Posts.

The pages tab will take you to all the pages that your site has. One of those pages is the Homepage – the page you see when you first access your site. Other pages then can be linked off of this page to discuss everything you want to. Typical ones you might find in the online business world include “About”, “Contact”, “Resources”, and “Blog”.

Speaking of blogs, the post tab comes into play here. Each post is sort of like a page, but they’re not part of the main skeleton of your site. If you think of posts as limbs and branches of a tree, then your leaves are the posts. Posts can consist of all kinds of media. They can be text based, photo based, or even be where you find someone’s podcast. Right now you’re looking at a post as you read this. (Is that an example of being meta?)

 

Outside WordPress (the Frontend):

Ok. So now that we have ourselves somewhat familiar with the inside, let’s look at what everyone else is going to be looking at.

This is where it’s important to get an idea of what it is that you want to create. So from here, I’d suggest finding three sites that look like something that you’d want to have. That way you know what to design.

If you’re using Enfold (or another theme) and already created a demo site – then really all you should be doing is tailoring smaller details with your native editor. (This is what I’d recommend doing, by the way. :))

However, if you didn’t use a demo site to start with, then you’ll be starting from scratch. Again, look at other sites that you like. Start with with your homepage and start playing with your editor and start creating some pages!. In Enfold, it’s called Avaya Layout Builder.

Here’s a video in how you can use it.

Note: Before I forget, you might notice that there’s a section on the right that is static. On my site, for example, I have a Facebook section, some social media buttons, and a place to subscribe to the Newsletter. These are called Widgets. You can find these as a sub selection of the Appearance Tab. For more information on Widgets – feel free to check out this video.

A trick that I do is have two tabs open. One side views the frontend of the page you’re working on, and the other is looking at the backend. Work on the backend, hit preview. Opens up another tab. Do you like what you did? Hit Update. Then check your work again on the original frontend page to make sure that the change actually took hold.

Here’s a video to show you what widgets and sidebars are all about.

Once done with that, check out this video on how widgets work in Enfold. 

Wrap Up and Action Steps:

I know that this is a ton of info to throw at you. But really, it’s barely touching the surface. I just wanted to put something up that might get some of you going on your websites.

I do hope to get a course up that will go more in depth into this in the future. But for a quick start, I thought I’d go ahead and get you all started at least in the right direction if a lack of a site has been keeping you back.

If you get stuck, remember what I said in the first one. Make YouTube your friend! If you have a question, search for it on Google or, better yet, find it on YouTube. Tons of tutorials there.

If you can’t find or don’t understand the answer you find, you know how to get ahold of me!

Getting Started on the Web

Getting Started on the Web: Choosing the Right Website Building Platform for Your New Business

When starting an online brand or business you might be wondering one simple question that has a complex answer, “Where do I get started?”

There’s several parts to the answer of this question, but one of them is to start building your presence online in the shape of a website.

Back in the early days of website development and really even today, you had to have some tech prowess to do it on your own. However, I’d say that using digital devices in general takes a little bit of tech “can-do” attitude.

I think what it really breaks down into is this. What level are your own tech abilities? How much are you willing to pay to make up the difference between what you can make on your own vs what you visually see your site doing? The bigger and more functional the website, the more likely you’re going to have to hire some outside help.

Basic Techie Skills Needed:

I think the first thing to consider when you’re wanting to start your own online business is to ask yourself “how techie” am I? Because really, you’re going to be putting content onto something that REALLY is still based off of techie work. The internet is built on nerd power. Period.

Whether you have those techie skills yourself, or you have to hire them out is going to be a big question in what hats you’re going to be wearing in the early formation of your business.

So let’s look at some of the traits I think that you need possess in order to build a website:

Can See the Big Picture:

Have you seen a site that you really want to emulate? Perhaps you’ve seen a few that have different parts that you’d like to include into your own?

Unlike where you might have last worked, it’s up to you to think how you’re going to from nothing to something.

What’s that path look like? Have you created a roadmap for yourself? I’m strictly speaking about your site here.

You have to think with the end in mind. So, know what that ending looks for you.

Got it? Good.

Moving on…

Online Searching Skills:

Now that you have the target in front of you, you’ll have to figure out how to get there. In the world of the modern day entrepreneur, no one is going to tell you exactly what you need next as you’re getting your business off ground. That’s going to be up to you.

Personally, I didn’t have much of a reason to have website creation skills when I was in school. In fact, everything that I have ever learned about doing website stuff, I didn’t know at one time. Most of what I know now about website development I’ve learned as I’ve needed it since I graduated from college in late 2009.

How did I learn all this is such short of time? Well, for one, I had to utilize the skill set that I had going through school. Using Google and YouTube to find answers I had questions for. I also followed Pat Flynn as he built SPI to what it is today. I remember when he was still working on the site when he was holed up into the side of his apartment.

Figure out the Details:

Pat and people like him (including more recently the squad over at Fizzle) have helped me shape my roadmap. However, it’s up to me to figure out how I’m going to get from Point A to Point B. Can I walk? Can I take a car? Or do I need a plane?

As you build your roadmap back from the final target, you’ll need to figure out the mode of transportation that works best for you:

Highly detailed work – Mostly everyone can walk. But it’s going to be slowest option. Details that are at this level are usually reserved for those that are highly analytical and want control over every little piece of their project.

Detailed Work – Why walk when you can drive? This is about as fast as you can go on your own. However, just because you can drive doesn’t necessarily mean you should all the time.

Hire Someone Else – Most people can’t fly a plane – but you need a result faster than you could do it! In this case, you can call in a specialist to do the heavy lifting for you. But it’s going to cost you.

 

What type of “transportation” you’re going to use will be based off the next two traits…

Fortitude:

This trait is essential when working out the details on your own. You must realize that going into a project you’ve never done before will result in something that isn’t perfect. There’s a good chance you’re probably going to break something as you learn how to use it. The thing with software and most hardware, these days, is that you can always reset things if you start going in the wrong direction.

Also, as you learn from past attempts in doing something, you get a larger and larger picture of what it is that you need to do to make something do what you want it to do.

From something as complex as coding all the way up to something as simple as dropping in graphics to your site, all of these things need some amount of “I’ll try again if I screw this up” thinking.

 

Patience:

I think one the of biggest traits that goes hand in hand with fortitude is patience. Not only with the process, but with yourself. If you’ve never been a technical person, you have to give yourself the time to become one… at least to the level that your site is going to need you to be.

 

Take Consistent Action:

As your site starts to take form, you’ll need to keep working on it until it’s done. For me, it took me about a month or so to get New Inceptions exactly where I wanted it to before I started writing.

Likewise, if you’ve never touched the backend of a website, then you’re not going to know what you’re looking at. It’s going to take some time to figure out what you need to know versus what’s just extra. If you’re familiar with Cpanel, most of the things that are in there I haven’t touched. However, there are a few things that I’ve used plenty of times and know what they do.

Your ability to how much you can work on the site initially (and when things come up) along with the other traits listed above are the factors that you need to consider when choosing an actual solution to what you’re going to build your site’s foundation on.

Remember when choosing one of these solutions, you’re essentially going to have on one side a ton of flexibility to other side, a simple solution that you can simply just plug things into and call it a day.

 

Let’s look at some of those solutions real quick.

Website Development Solutions

HTML 5 Website Development:

“From scratch” sites (using HTML 5 , CSS, and PHP). This is definitely highly detailed work. To get a finished result, this is going to take a ton of all of the above traits. You’ll have to learn how to code or learn how to use a program like Dreamweaver (or something else) to do precisely what you have in mind. While this might give you all kinds of flexibility and is the backbone of today’s internet, it’s probably not going to be useful for you – unless your business is making websites for other people. Then you might want to get familiar with some of this.

Wix.com: If you want to use more of a drag and drop approach to building your website, I’d check out Wix. While I wasn’t a big fan of it back in 2008 when it was still using Flash, they’ve moved over to using HTML 5 as their base platform.

I will mention that Wix is a freemium solution, but you’ll have to pay for many of the features that you’d get free in CMS Solutions – such as WordPress.

Here’s the Wix Wikipedia page for more info.

 

Content Management System (CMS) Solutions:

WordPress: Ok, so you’re totally happy with giving up some flexibility so you don’t have to start from scratch. Cool. There’s plenty of solutions that will still give you tons of flexibility. Most of the time what you’ll find out there is in the realm of content management systems. Here’s a list of all the solutions that are out there.

Out of all of these, WordPress is by far and away the most used one out there. This is the option I chose. There are several reasons why:

  • Opensource
  • Flexible
  • Inexpensive
  • There’s information all over the net in how to use it.

That said, you’ll probably have to have a high level of all the previously mentioned traits to be successful at using WordPress. I will say that you’re interested in going down this path, it’ll take a bit of detailed work to get things done. In fact, it might take a month’s worth of time to design, create and master your site. If you have that kind of time, I highly recommend it. If you don’t, you’re in a rush, and have some money to spend, then I’d go to another solution.

 

Squarespace and Kajabi

Squarespace and Kajabi are also popular CMS solutions. However, I haven’t had the opportunity to play with them too much.

Both are much more expensive than WordPress in the long run (especially for business) and they might not have as much flexibility as you like. That said, if you want to get rolling quickly or are already making some kind of income doing what you’re planning to use them for, they might be good solutions for you to “just get on the web”.

For more info on Squarespace, you can check out this Wikipedia entry.

And here’s the entry for Kajabi.

 

Action Steps:

For you to figure out what you want for your website, you’re going to have to have a true conversation with yourself. If money is an issue, I’d go with WordPress and learn what you need to to get a basic site up.

If time is an issue and you want something up, but you don’t have the resources for something custom, I’d go with Kajabi, Wix, or Squarespace. (If you’re in the information industry, I’d go with Kajabi.)

If you’re wanting the cream of the crop, want something custom, or simply don’t have the time to build your own site, then you’re going to hire someone. If you don’t know a developer personally, the best place to do that is over at Upwork.com

If you already have a website up and going, let me know how you made the process in choosing the platform you’re using and some of the pros and cons of using it!

 

backup a wordpress site

UpdraftPlus: A Simple Tool to Backup A WordPress Site

One of the things that people struggle with all the time when it comes to hosting their own site is backups. How do you backup a WordPress site? Why do you need to? The simple answer is that for one reason or another, data can be lost or corrupted – even on big hosts.

In New Inceptions’ lifetime (which officially has been since 2010), I’ve had malware installed on the same server as mine before. That malware can affect everything and everyone on the storage space of the server.

I was reminded of this in the past week.

You might have noticed that I didn’t have a blog post last week. However, I did write one. It was 2000 words of awesomeness about the things I’ve been learning and relearning about email marketing.

Obviously, it wasn’t posted – and here’s why: after I made the post, I saved it as a draft. Well, something didn’t go right on my particular install at the time. So just as my screen was coming up from “saving”, I scrolled through to see if there wasn’t anything else that might need changed. As I did this, I realized that two-thirds of my post had disappeared!

Needless to say, I was somewhat furious.

I’ll probably eventually redo the post as I get more results from what I’ve been learning. However, in the meantime I’m just going to tell you that it’s going to become a primary focus of mine in the foreseeable future. Up to my first 10k Subscribers – at least!

Long Story Short

I don’t know if this has anything to do with with it, but the install of one of my clients had been hacked into last weekend. No traffic was getting to their site and that meant no revenue for me. Bad times!

In the meantime, I didn’t realize that this was going on. And the next thing I knew, malware started causing issues on my site as well. I didn’t have any idea that this was possible. I always thought that if it was a different install of WordPress, then we wouldn’t have that issue. Not so.

The particular issue that this malware was causing me was CRAZY amounts of traffic – at least for my site. This ended up being bot traffic, and to make matters worse, it was causing my site to call for a ton of Cron jobs. These particular kind of jobs eat at the number of how many “processes” that your host provides you. Hostgator usually limits each shared host customer to 25. Not bad – mainly because you can typically keep it under 10 if your site is humming along without any problems.

Well, as soon as I realized how many processes these jobs were taking up and in how slow my site was acting, I figured that it had been corrupted and I needed to take it offline. I did and thought to myself “well, looks like I’ll have to build the website back up from scratch”. Why? Because that’s what I had to do the last time my site got hacked. In fact, that was when I thought it was a great time to buy Enfold as my theme.

If you’ve never had that feeling, it’s a bad feeling to have. Hopefully what I’m about to say next will prevent you from having to feel that too many times yourself!

One Last Shot

It’s funny, but my engineering training always shows up one way or another. Especially when I have problems with technical things. Where many people might start panicking, my brain just flips to a logical step by step troubleshooting mode.

In this particular instance, when I realized I was going to have to shut down the site, I dropped in a maintenance plugin – actually one that collected emails to let people know when it was back up.

As soon as I activated that plugin, I noticed that the Cron Jobs were dropping and I was able to actually navigate around my site. (Even if this wasn’t the case I know that I can manually cancel processes by going into Cpanel and manually stopping each one. (This is why it’s good to have a large monitor or in my case, multiple monitors. You can do multiple things at once. In grad school it was research on one monitor and write on the other. In this case it was stop one process in Cpanel, and then move to another page. Stop a couple more and move to another page.)

Not too long ago, I had to move my site from its previous installation to where it is now on Hostgator. You’d think this would be somewhat easy. Just like people copy videos on YouTube or Facebook – download from one account and upload on another.

It’s not that simple when transferring a WordPress install.

What you have to do is actually download another plugin that will download all the pieces of WordPress. This includes the files that you upload, but it also takes in account the database (that keeps track of your posts and any links you have on them), the theme, AND the plugins.

Well, I knew I didn’t want to backup all that information. I wanted something that could save just the files I wanted. My old plugin put everything into one archive folder. That simply wasn’t going to do.

I wanted something that could separate the files apart. Because more than likely the affected files were going to be in the theme OR in the plugins.

I eventually found a solution that was going to give me this option.

My Solution for Malware

UpdraftPlus was the backup software that allowed me to separate all these files into compartments. Here’s how the restore went down.

  1. Installed UpdraftPlus.
  2. Create New Backups.
  3. Download the parts that I want. In my case it was the Database and Uploads parts. (FYI: Uploads houses the information for Enfold – so technically I’m keeping my theme settings!)
  4. Write down list of plugins being used.
  5. Create a new install of WordPress.
  6. Re-install UpdraftPlus.
  7. Restore (upload) the Database and Uploads which I just downloaded.
  8. Reinstall the theme and each plugin that was on my list.

And there you go.

This process took me a matter of 2+ hours with a site that part of the time was fighting me. However, I’d rather put in that time compared to having to redo the site again.

Action Steps

So that you’re prepared when your site gets hacked, install UpdraftPlus in your site right now. It’s free for what I used it for. You can have it save your backups on a number of remote servers – I’m pretty sure Dropbox and Google Drive are part of that selection. Not sure what the premium version does.

Also, make sure you install the plugin from McAfee so that your site is being scanned on a regular basis for malware. Even though it didn’t show up this particular time with McAfee, the last time I was hacked, McAfee saw it. Having the plugin installed alerts McAfee right away instead of them having to randomly access your site.