How Can They Hack You? Let Me Count The Ways

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Website Security Is Fluid

It’s definitely not just installing a plugin and then forgetting about it. It’s a constant battle to outwit those who would like to gain access to vulnerable information. There are different areas of your site that can be vulnerable if not secured.

Today, we’re going talk about those different areas and why and how you need to keep them locked uptight.

Insecure Webhosting –

WordPress sites are hosted on a web server. Some hosts do no properly secure their hosting platforms. This makes all websites hosted on their server vulnerable to hacking attempts.

Using those bargain web hosting companies who don’t have the assets to protect your property can really hurt you in the long run!

screenshot of hostgator web hosting pricing

Using Weak Passwords

You have different passwords for different parts of your site and all of them need to be kept secure. Below is a list of passwords that need to be checked and possibly changed.

  • Your WordPress Admin
  • Web Hosting Control Panel
  • FTP Accounts
  • MySQL Database used for your site.
  • Email Accounts are used for WordPress admin or hosting accounts.

WordPress login page

 

Unprotected Access To WordPress Admin (WP-ADMIN DIRECTORY)

This gives a user access to perform different actions on your site. It is the most commonly attached area of a WP site.

12 tips to secure your wp-admin section

Incorrect File Permissions

Are a set of rules used by your web server. These rules s help your server control access to files on your site. Incorrect rules can give a hacker access to write and change those rules. Here’s a great article on WP BEGINNER on how to change these!

changing your file permissions in WordPress

Not Updating WordPress

Each new version fixes bugs and security vulnerabilities. If you don’t update you leave those vulnerabilities.

screenshot of a wordpress update screen

Not Updating Plugins & Themes

Same as updating WordPress. Not updating plugins and themes is dangerous can leave your site weak.

screenshot of a wp plugin update page

Using Plain FTP Instead Of SFTP/SSH

You should always choose SFTP access instead of FTP it is much more secure.

The key difference between FTP vs SFTP is that SFTP uses a secure channel to transfer files while FTP doesn’t. With SFTP, your connection is always secured and the data that moves between your FTP client and your web server is encrypted.

Using “Admin” As A WordPress Username

Never use “ADMIN” you should always use something unique. Enough said!

Nulled Themes & Plugins

Never use plugins and themes from unreliable sources. Malicious code can be put into either that can give a hacker access.

HERE’S WHY:

  • You Don’t Know What Else Is in the Code
  • Developers Need Money To Continue Improving Their Products
  • You Won’t Get Any Support From The Developer
  • You Won’t Get Any Automatic Updates

Not Securing WordPress Configuration WP_Config .PHP File

Wp_config contains your database login credentials. To keep that from happening add this piece of code.

The WordPress wp-config. php file contains very sensitive information about your WordPress installation, such as the WordPress security keys and the WordPress database connection details. You certainly do not want the content of this file to fall in the wrong hands, so WordPress wp-config. Here is a great article on how to secure these important files.

Not Changing WP Table Prefix

Change the wp_ prefix. Here’s a link that will take you to a blog post that will explain how to do this if interested.

The most important part of my job is to make sure your website stays safe, secure and user friendly and I take that very personally. If you’d like to have one person to go to with all of your website issues then let’s talk! Schedule a free consultation today!

LET’S TALK!

 

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Why Your Bargain Web Hosting Could Cost You More Than You Think

“We’ve all heard the old saying,

Time is money“,

well, it’s true and if you have “bargain” web hosting it could be costing you a fortune!

 

I’m sure you’ve seen those ads on Facebook, while you’re shopping, even when you’re trying to relax with a mindless game. $2.95 hosting! Save money!

Yes, it’s true you can get hosting from some companies for “VERY LOW PRICES“, but there’s another saying that I’m reminded of.

You get what you pay for”. Cheap isn’t always good especially when it comes to running your business or blog. 

 

First, it’s NEVER just $2.95 a month.

 

 Here is what you’re paying for an SSL Certificate if you have GoDaddy!

Can you say, “Ouch!”

An SSL is a necessary investment and if you can get it for free? Hello?!?

You’re Probably Asking, “Who Cares!”

 

This is one of the most important decisions that you will make for your business. Web Hosting is the necessary foundation and just like with everything else some foundations are stronger than others.

A 1-second delay in page load time can lead to:

  • a 7% loss in conversions
  • 11% fewer pageviews
  • 16% decrease in customer satisfaction.

 

graphic showing losses in dollars amount

When deciding on web hosting you need to take 3 main factors into account.

 

  • SPEED

  • SECURITY

  • SUPPORT

SPEED

As I said above even a fraction of a second adds up to $$ and as a small business owner, we need to get as much bang for our bucks as possible.

 

Like my husband always says, “the proof is in the pudding”.

Below are 6 of my web hosting clients who have agreed to let me share these stats with you.

As you can also see, every single one of them passed the tests with flying colors and it’s because of the foundation that the sites are hosted on.

HOW DO THEY DO THAT?


 

  • PROVIDING A CDN
  • UTILIZES FLYCACHE
  • INSTANT REFRESH

SAFETY

EVERY PLAN COMES WITH A FREE SSL CERTIFICATE

 

Every plan comes with a FREE SSL which was mentioned above (definitely worth mentioning again).
 

EACH PLAN COMES WITH MALWARE PROTECTION & MALWARE REMOVAL IF NEEDED!

SUPPORT

 

Last but certainly not last in this list of pros!

TRUE LIVE 24/7 SUPPORT

 

THEY DON’T “WALK YOU THROUGH” DIFFICULT SITUATIONS.

 

YOU ASK, THEY PERFORM…
THAT’S REALLY IT!

 

  • AUTOHEALING TECHNOLOGY

  • DAILY BACKUPS

  • ONE BUTTON RESTORE

 

 

We offer three plan sizes

We Have Just What You Need...

Website Maintenance

Website Maintenance is like an insurance policy for your business. Keeping your site maintained is an important responsibility. We take care of it so you don't have to.

What it includes:

  • Website backups w/ offsite storage
  • WordPress Update 2 x
  • Theme updates 2 x
  • Plugin updates 2 x
  • Database Optimization  2x
  • Malware Scan 2 x
  • Speed test 1 x
  • Site Performance Report 1x
  • "Eyes On" site checks
  • Discounted hourly rate
  • MailChimp support
  • Google Analytics support
  • 25% Discount on any services.
$199.99 Annually




Premium Website Management

With Premium Website Management you get the best of both worlds plus even more. This is for the girl who has everything and no time for anything.

 What it includes:

  • Premium hosting
  • CDN
  • Server-side daily backups
  • Offsite backups 2x monthly
  • WordPress core updates
  • Free SSL certificates
  • Uptime monitoring
  • One-button emergency restore
  • Malware protection
  • Staging site for development
  • Theme & plugin updates 2 x
  • Spam removal 2 x
  • Database optimization 2 x
  • "Eyes-On" site check 2 x
  • Speed check 1 x
  • Access to Genesis Framework
  • Access to StudioPress themes
  • Website performance Report 1 x
  • Integration Monitoring (MailChimp, Paypal, or Google Analytics.
  • Unlimited Tech Support

Save By Paying Annually. Get two months FREE!




Website Hosting

By partnering with Flywheel we offer a feature-rich plan that will keep your website secure & running its best. Unlike other hosts, you don't pay extra for the necessities needed to run an online business.

What it includes:

  • Onsite daily backups
  • Free SSL Certificate
  • CDN
  • Uptime Monitoring
  • One Button emergency restore
  • Malware Protection/removal
  • Staging Site For Development

 


 

Save By Paying Annually



BACK TO SCHOOL SALE TEXT

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The Ultimate Resource Guide & Planner To Improve Or Create Your SEO Strategy Plan

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SEO is never a one-and-done idea, more it’s a type of philosophy that you must adapt to be successful in your endeavors. Everything you do, every sentence you write, every graphic you create and every content marketing plan you follow should ALL start with SEO.

  1. What exactly is SEO?
  2. What does SEO optimization mean for you?
  3. Why is SEO so important?
  4. Being SEO Flexible.
  5. How To Create Your Own SEO Strategy.
  6. How To See If You’re Strategy Is Working.
  7. Your Own SEO Planner.

1. What Is SEO? 

Search Engine Optimization is the science of making your content rank high in the search engines of today. 

The official definition is this: 

According to this piece of MOZ SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, which is the practice of increasing the quantity and quality of traffic to your website through organic search engine results.

What goes into SEO?

To understand the true meaning of SEO, let’s break that definition down and look at the parts:

Quality of traffic. You can attract all the visitors in the world, but if they’re coming to your site because Google tells them you’re a resource for Apple computers when really you’re a farmer selling apples, that is not quality traffic. Instead, you want to attract visitors who are genuinely interested in the products that you offer.

Quantity of traffic. Once you have the right people clicking through from those search engine results pages (SERPs), more traffic is better.

Organic results. Ads make up a significant portion of many SERPs. Organic traffic is any traffic that you don’t have to pay for.

2. What Does SEO Optimization Mean For You?

It’s a strategy or plan that you create that will continue to build on SEO as you go along, by using: 

  • Title
  • keywords
  • headlines
  • image titles
  • image descriptions
  • categories
  • tags
  • Cornerstone Content
  • social media posts

to consistently rank higher in search engines. This strategy works best when created at the very beginning, but can be improved along any step in the process.

3. Why Is SEO So Important?

SEO is important because it keeps the search results fair. It reduces the ability to manipulate these results as much as possible so that the sites appearing for each search are there because they deserve to be there. Hard work and a website that appeals to visitors correlate with high search engine rankings, so if your site meets these criteria, you’ll have a better chance of showing up in the results.

Users trust search engines and achieving a top spot in search engine rankings signals to searchers that your site is a credible source. The higher you rank in results pages, the more clicks and traffic your site will generate. SEO also improves user experience, making it more likely for customers to become repeat buyers. According to this piece on WEBFX.

4. Being SEO Flexible

What does being SEO flexible mean? It means that you take several key factors into consideration when making your SEO plan. Such as:

  • Current Events
  • Special Dates
  • Longtail keywords
  • Pivoting when things aren’t working.

No one ever sits down and creates the “perfect SEO plan” because honestly, it doesn’t exist. Being SEO optimized is an ongoing strategy and taking in these other key factors will only improve your rankings.

Taking into account the keywords you have chosen for your brand messaging you should also find ways to create with these four ideas in mind. 

EXAMPLE:

Ellen is a food blogger and she uses these 4 keywords as her foundation.

  • Baking
  • Desserts
  • Organic
  • Gluten-free

 

Now using the previous considerations she might use these sentences or keywords.

 

  1. How To Keep Your Holiday Desserts Gluten-Free
  2. How to Bake The Ultimate Organic Holiday Meal.
  3. Baking Thanksgiving Desserts For The Dietary Challenged.
  4. Your Christmas Baking Taking To The Next Level With These Organic Recipes.
  5. Ten Things That You Could Be Doing To Completely Ruin Your Easter Baked Goods.

 

5. How To Create Your Own SEO Strategy.

Now comes the easy part, because I’ve actually done the hard work for you. I created the FREE SEO PLANNER STRATEGY PLANNER and it’s a step by step guide to build a strong SEO foundation and to scale that plan as you grow.

 

On-Page SEO Tips

  1. Make sure that your URLs are clean: 
    1. Think ahead
    2. Be consistent
    3. Use keywords
    4. Avoid any special characters. As they show up as “%20” which is unattractive.
    5. Length should be 50-60 characters
  2. Make sure your title is attractive:
    1. Start with keywords.
    2. Mind the length.
    3. Make it sell.
  3. Meta Descriptions:
    1. 150-160 characters.
    2. Don’t overstuff with keywords.
  4. Schema Markup: Structured data can do wonders for your SEO strategy.
    1. Use a Schema Markup Plugin
    2. You can also use Google’s, Markup Helper.
    3. How to check- use Rich Result Test.
  5. Optimized headings (h1-h6)
    1. H1 headings- Technically each of your pages has 2 titles.
      1. The title tag is displayed in search snippets. 
      2. H1 tag benefit: Unlike title tag no character limitation. Use more keywords.
    2. H2 headings- Split page into high-level section mini titles within your content.
    3. H3-H6 headings- Used to mark further subsections within the content. Don’t overload keywords.

 

A.Keyword Saturation:

  • Use keywords earlier in the copy. You should be using keywords within the first 100 words. 
  • Go beyond “exact matches” add more related keywords.

 

B.Content Length:

  • Content length changes from year to year and is currently around 2,000-word posts do best.
  • Want to make your content more compelling? Check out this piece from MostlyBlogging.com

 

C. Visual Aids:

  • Fill in your “alt” tags.
  • Compress your files.
  • Use descriptive filenames.

 

D. Above The Fold Content:

The top part of the page visual when it’s first loaded.

  • Remove distractions.
  • Optimize For Core Web Values 
    • How fast it loads
    • How stable it is while loading.
    • How soon it becomes interactive

 

E. Mobile Friendliness:

You should check your site on all mobile search engines and make changes based on your results.

 

F. Internal Links:

  • Should flow from one link to another.
  • Pass authority from popular pages to less popular ones.
  • Move users down a funnel.
  • You need to always consider this: Whenever you create a piece of content you should always consider where the reader should go next.

 

G. Outgoing Links:

  • Link to larger, more established sites.
  • Each piece of content should have relevant links.

 

H. The Comment Section:

Make sure that your comments are set up as “no follow”. If you use popular comment plugins they take care of this for you. 

 

6. How To See If You’re Strategy Is Working:

If you see that your backlinks are on the rise, your SEO efforts are working properly. If you see that the number of organic keywords on your website are also increasing, it’s safe to assume that you are targeting the correct keywords for your industry and using them successfully in your content. WebFX

 

7. Your Own SEO Planner:

 I’ve created your very own SEO Planner to help you keep your brand message on point. Sign up for my weekly newsletter (Sunday morning’s) to get a copy for your very own, plus you’ll get full access to the Resource Library, deep discounts, and amazing tips to help you succeed in your online business or blog.

 

You might also like these other resources:

What You Don’t Know About SEO Could Hurt You

Simple SEO Practices You Can Establish To Be Search Engine Attractive

How To Improve SEO & Increase Pageviews In 2020

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Google Analytics Pt 3: The Final Wrap-Up

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As we’ve learned over these last three weeks there is so much information inside your Google Analytics account. We learned how to connect it to your website in Part 1 and in Part 2 we learned how to read those statistics and how to find what you need quickly. Today, we’re talking about Google Analytics integrations that will take your stats to the next level

GA is a robust tool that can help you not only read those statistics, but it gives you a snapshot of the health of your business. From your website to MailChimp or other email service providers and even Youtube!

Mailchimp (which is what I use on a daily basis and you should too!) is the most important integration to me and that’s because it gives me the answers I need quickly and I don’t have to go to other places to find it. I can access the information right from my MailChimp reports page! To set this up follow these instructions:

 

 

screenshot of Google/Mailchimp integration
screenshot MailChimp/Google Analytics integration
screenshot of MailChimp / Google Analytics integration
screenshot of MailChimp/Google anlytics integration
screenshot of MailChimp/Google Analytics integrations

Google together with MailChimp can help you optimize your campaigns by giving your readers what they are most interested in.

Google Analytics & Youtube

You can also combine your Google Analytics account with your Youtube Channel. I found this great step-by-step video by ExtremeWebDesign.com

 

Google Analytics & Social Media

It’s very easy to track the amount of traffic that comes from different social media platforms. There is no integration, no coding!

This information is already there! Just sign in to your GA account and follow these intructions:

social media stats on Google Analytics
social media stats inside Google Analytics

As you can see you can easily keep track of your statistics and therefore improve your content creation, campaign optimization, social media ads or posts, etc.

Knowledge = Power!

Starting next week I’m going to be starting a new series on MailChimp! I hope you’ll join me. Don’t want to miss out? Sign up below↓.

Get Ready For The Holidays With These Customizable Pinterest & Instagram templates!

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Google Analytics Part 2: Understanding The Translation

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Last week, I started this Google Analytics series by showing you how to connect it to your website. Once you do that it will take time to record the statistics. Google Analytics doesn’t go backward! You won’t be able to check statistics from the past, but in just a few days or weeks will give you a snapshot of how you’re website. The longer that you have it connected the clearer that snapshot will be.

I completely understand that for some just looking at the GA dashboard is stressful. It’s almost like a foreign language until you start to understand the amount of information that you can find about your website, your sales, your readers, or whatever you’d like to track. Today, I’m going to show you how to find that information quickly and explain things that you might not understand.

The Main Dashboard

The first thing you need to do is to go HERE & learn the terms that you’re going to have to know to make any sense of data. Some of the information that is in GA are things that you really don’t need. Unless you’re running a larger eCommerce site. This is for bloggers and small businesses who need valuable information about

  1. How many people come to the website?
  2. What they do when they get there?
  3. What they are interested in?
  4. What is working & what needs improvement?

This will allow you to create content that your readers want. For a small business, it could help you decide when and what to put on sale. Who to target you’re marketing toward and understand what it is they need and most importantly how you can help then achieve it.

screenshot of Google Analytics dashboard

My screenshot is a little blurry, but you can see there is a lot here. Let’s go over where to find the important facts.

Google Analytics screenshot

AUDIENCE>>OVERVIEW:
  • How many people come to your website?
  • How long they stay there?
  • How many are new visitors and how many are returning visitors?
DEMOGRAPHICS>>OVERVIEW

Marketing has to be different depending on the audience.

INTERESTS>>OVERVIEW

You wouldn’t sell to a man the same way you sell to the women (just ask the creators of the tampon tax)! Unlike that example, there are reasons why you need to know your audience ages. Something that interests me at 50 would bore my daughter to death who is 28. My husband plays softball…me…not so much.

Learning how to read the language of analytics can help you drill down the best marketing approach for your individual readers. Next week, I’ll show you how to integrate GA and get even more information!

Do you still have questions? Comment down below!

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The Tools I Can’t Live Without Pt. 2

Entrepreneur working at a desk

*The tools and products below are used by me on a daily basis. However, I AM NOT AN AFFILIATE and I am not paid by these companies.

One question that I get asked quite often is, “What tools do you regularly use to do what you do”. I spend 90% of my time online and finding tools that are easy to use, easy to set up, and affordable could be a whole career in itself. If you’re not familiar with me I run three websites, three FB groups, spending time on social media platforms, plus I manage over 58 websites (not including my own).

If you missed part 1 you can find it HERE. Today we’re going to talk about a few more of the important tools that I use to run my business. There are so many tools out there and I have to admit I’ve been guilty of shiny object syndrome and I’ve gone down enough rabbit holes in my time, but I have found that less really is better when it comes to running your business.

There are things you need to do:

  1. Email service provider (newsletter vs rss feed)
  2. Keeping track of your statistics
  3. Creating content
  4. Organizational

These are just a few, but they are the ones we’re going to cover today.

Email Service Providers

I’ve worked with a lot of email service providers and I’ve even recommended a few, BUT I always come back to MailChimp. I hands down recommend this to everyone whether they are a blogger or have an eCommerce site. You cannot find better value then the paid version of MC and if you have under 2,000 you can use totally FREE!

Below are a comparison of the top three email service providers CONSTANT CONTACT, CONVERTKIT & MAILCHIMP:

pricing charts for MailChimp

You can see here that for $9.99 you can have up to 50,000 contacts with a MailChimp Essentials account. Under 2,000 is completely free.

Pricing Chart For ConvertKit.

ConvertKit charges $29 for 1,000 subscribers.

 

 

Pricing chart for Constant Contact

As you can see Constant Contact wants a whopping $45 a month!

I use MailChimp, I recommend MailChimp and if you look right over there →→→ ( in the sidebar) you will see the MailChimp logo. I’ve recently partnered with MailChimp and after weeks of testing, I am now an official MailChimp expert. I AM NOT AN AFFILIATE I DO NOT MAKE MONEY FROM YOU SIGNING UP. I just really love the service.

Have questions about what MailChimp can do for you? Just email me at Rena (at) theblogging911.com.

Tracking Your Statistics

You know I love me some statistics! So much so that I became a Certified Google Analyst. Also over there →→→ BUT that doesn’t mean that it’s the only tool I use. Sometimes you need comparing views especially when you’re trying to see if what you’re doing is working.

So of course, I turn to Google because let’s face it, they are the internet Gods. But I also like using JetPack’s statistics. You can get a lot of information by comparing the two. Jetpack has a free and a paid version and it does offer a lot of features but you can get the same information for free.

Google Analytics is free and very easy to set up these days and if you use the MonsterInsights plugin it gets even easier. I totally recommend all three of these products.

IMPORTANT TIP: Make sure to filter out your own IP so that you aren’t counted in those statistics. I made a video showing exactly how to do that in this blog post.

Creating Content

Creating content is nonstop so anything you can find that will help you accomplish creating compelling content that people are actually wanting to read can be difficult some days. I usually write all of my content right in the WordPress post editor but when I’m working on ideas I like to open up a Google Doc. They are easy to use and easy to share. I do have Microsoft Word, but Google Docs is just easier sometimes and this especially true if you’re using Gmail.

I like to get inspiration from several places. It may be a newsletter I’ve read, a webinar I’ve watched or a podcast I’ve listened to. My favorite place to go for a little inspiration is Pinterest first. I am a visual learner and Pinterest is the eye candy of visual learners. I love to learn and I try to learn something new every single day even if it’s just about myself.

I also get a lot of inspiration from your questions, but lately, my most favorite way to create content is in my newsletter. I share a blog post every week, but I also like to have conversations with all of you. I love hearing your replies so please keep them coming! Also, if you have something that you’d like me to cover let me know.

Organizational

I have to be totally for real here. I struggle with organization every single day of my life. I am not an organized person and I work hard, but don’t always accomplish my goals. My mind doesn’t work the way it used to and some of my struggles are memory issues, spatial judgment, and organization. That being said as a business owner I require a certain amount and the way I’ve found to deal with this is to try not to overcomplicate it. I have bought courses on time-blocking, organizational concepts, and automation and on and on. All a waste of money in hindsight.

No one thing works for me so I use a multitude of services to achieve the mediocre amount of organization I can actually stick with and here it goes.

Dropbox

I save all of my clients’ assets to a shared folder in Dropbox. This is also where I store all website backup copies. I also store most of my assets there as well, but historically I have used Google Drive for client files and One drive for mine, but recently decided to keep it all in one place. I spent a REALLY LONG weekend setting it all up, but I love it now.

Trello

I am very new to the Trello game and I cannot believe what I have been missing! I am still working out my system there because I did what I always did and ran around like a sugar addict in a candy store creating more and more boards, but I have created ONE BOARD that contains EVERYTHING I need in my daily business. Client info, passwords, subscriptions, and even a list of the many, many courses I’ve bought over the years.

Canva

Is also a great place to store graphics and pdfs etc. You can create folders to keep it all in order. This way when I’m making a graphic I have what I need to create it in the client folder. I love Canva so much (I have the business account) that I totally did away with Photoshop & Illustrator. I can do everything I need to do with Canva and $12.95 is a lot better than $53 monthly!

Pinterest

Is another place to store things. I create a secret board with every new design to pin inspiration, ideas, and branding pieces. I always have a few secret boards going for research purposes.

What tools do you depend on to do what you do?

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Two Google Analytics Filters Everyone Entrepreneur Should Know About

Every blogger knows just how difficult it is to build a successful blog. There are so many things that you have to learn about that most people don’t even consider. Things like:

  • Creating graphics
  • Understanding email marketing
  • Social media
  • Branding

and that list goes on and on and on. You know the old joke:

How many hats does an entrepreneur where? ANSWER: All of them!

One thing that isn’t often talked about but is definitely a necessity is analytics. If you do affiliate marketing, sponsored posts or make money off of your site in any way you need to know the stats behind it.

Things like pageviews, unique visitors, bounce rates. Terms like this usually invoke either 1. Your eyes glaze over and you skim the rest of the article or 2. Confusion about what it all means.

Today, I’m going to show you two Google Analytic filters that every blogger should be using as well.

Filters are a way of weeding out the events that you don’t want in your final counts. The first of which is the IP filter. What does this mean? You need to be filtering out your own IP address so that you are not counted along with your other stats. Why you ask? Because without this particular filter you won’t get an accurate picture of how your site is doing.

So, together we’re going to set up an IP filter. It’s really simple so don’t panic!

The next filter we’re going to set up is to keep your analytics from being hijacked. In the video below I show you exactly how to set up both filters.

How can someone hijack your analytics? Well, there’s a little known way of finding out anyone’s GA code. It’s very simple.

  1. Go to your website.
  2. Right-click your mouse.
  3. Choose “Page Source”.
  4. Hit CTRL + F for the find command and type in GA.
  5. Scroll down and you’ll see your own GA code.

There isn’t a way to hide them from this view so the only thing you can do is to add a filter that will keep your GA code safe from hijacking.

Go into your GA account, click on ADMIN>>Filters. Add a new filter and then choose “CREATE NEW FILTER” and give it a name that you will remember.

Scroll down and hit “CUSTOM” and then check the “Include” button. In the dropdown choose HOSTNAME and in the box below type in YOURDOMAINNAME.COM & click save! It’s that easy.

Need a little more help? Try this video I made to show you how to quickly filter out your IP address and including only your own hostname.

Have questions? Let me know in the comments below!

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Step-by-Step Sales Funnel Planning

 

Feeling overwhelmed at the thought of setting up your sales funnel? You’re not alone. Many online business owners fail to properly plan out their funnel, and it shows.

They have an opt-in incentive that doesn’t appeal to their audience.

Their follow-up emails don’t flow naturally from the opt-in.

Messages are unbalanced—either too many sales pitches or not enough. Even worse, the offers don’t match the market.

Making these mistakes is common, so if you recognize yourself here, don’t feel bad. The good news? There’s an easy fix.

Step 1: Survey your market

All too often we think we know what our readers and potential buyers want, but in reality, we’re simply guessing. We make the mistake of believing that we are our market, but that usually is not the case.

The only way to know for sure what your market truly wants and needs is to ask them. Set up a simple survey (even a Google form will work) and ask your blog readers, social media followers, and email list to give their opinion.

Do this right, and you’ll know exactly what you should be offering your audience, plus, you’ll know that language to use on your opt-in page.

Step 2: Create your opt-in

Now that you know what your market needs, it’s time to create your opt-in incentive. Keep in mind that readers today seem to prefer simple, easy-to-digest offers rather than 200-page eBooks or 7-part video series. This makes your job a bit easier, too.

Some popular choices for opt-in incentives include:

  • Checklists
  • Worksheets
  • Resource guides
  • Video training
  • Webinars
  • Audio downloads

 

Step 3: Map out your autoresponder

Every good opt-in incentive should be followed up with a series of emails that build on the material. If you’ve offered a resource guide, for example, then your follow-up emails might include usage tips for each of the resources, or case studies that show how others have benefited from using the tools.

Step 4: Make an offer

Arguably the most important part of your funnel, your offer must be the logical next step for readers to take. They’ve worked through your opt-in incentive, read and acted on your emails, and they’re hungry for more. Time to make your offer.

Just like the other pieces of your funnel, your coaching offer needs to be the answer to your readers’ most burning questions. If you consider your opt-in and follow-up series to be the “lite” version, then your coaching offer is the premium package. Bigger, beefier, and the perfect next step.

Before you post your first opt-in code, take some time to map out your funnel according to these steps, and you’ll not only fill your funnel faster, but you’ll close more sales along the way.

 

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Top Tools For Building Your Sales Funnel

Ready to start building out your sales funnels? There are just a few things you need before you can get started. Here are some of the most popular options when it comes to putting together both free and paid funnels: 

Lead Pages—when it comes to building opt-in pages, LeadPages.net is one of the most powerful tools you have at your disposal. They’ve tracked and tested a variety of page styles to determine which ones convert best, and they make it easy for you to build similar pages for your funnel.

It does come with a monthly fee, though, so before investing, you’ll want to be sure you can recoup your investment.

Instabuilder—similar to LeadPages, but without the monthly investment. Instabuilder is a plugin for WordPress that allows you to create your own funnels. It includes several funnel templates and a drag-and-drop page builder that makes it easy to get just the look you want.

AWeber—Probably the easiest email manager on the market today, AWeber is the choice for many small business owners, not only because it’s simple to use, but because it’s also economical. Starting at less than $20 per month for up to 500 subscribers, AWeber offers both autoresponders and broadcast emails, list automation, and segmenting, so you can send emails exactly when—and to whom—you want.

AW Pro Tools—an add-on to AWeber, AW Pro Tools gives you added control over your list management by automatically removing unsubscribes, moving subscribers from one list to another based on the link they click, and other useful automations. 

PayPal—The simplest of all payment processors, PayPal allows you to take payments online for a very reasonable fee. It will also act as a simple shopping cart.

Ontraport—Another email manager, Ontraport offers shopping cart functionality as well, so you can create powerful funnels that are fully integrated with your sales process. The benefit here is that you don’t have to try to synch your cart with your email system, since it’s completely self-contained. 

Infusionsoft—Probably the top tool for any business model, Infusionsoft is an all-in-one solution for customer management, funnel setup, mailing list, and even membership sites. It’s priced at the high end, but if you can (and will) use all its power, then Infusionsoft is well worth the investment.

You can see that you have a lot of options when it comes to building out your sales funnels, but what are the must-have items? At the most basic level, you must have:

A way to create web pages. A simple WordPress website will fill this need, with a little bit of work. LeadPages or Instabuilder are nice to have, but not essential, especially if you’re just getting started.

A way to capture email addresses. AWeber is definitely the top choice here, but others include MailChimp, Constant Contact, and iContact.

A shopping cart. PayPal is as easy as it gets when it comes to shopping carts, but other options include 1 Shopping Cart, Woo Commerce, Infusionsoft, and aMember.

 

I recommend you start small. Build the funnel framework as simply as you can, using tools that don’t cost a fortune. Once you have a few funnels up and running, you will be able to see where they can use improvement, and how the tools available to you can help make your funnels convert better and work more efficiently.

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What The Heck Is A Sales Funnel Anyway?

 

For an online business owner, a sales funnel is probably the most important marketing tool you have. And yet many entrepreneurs – both new and established – have no clear understanding of what a funnel is or how it works.

As you can imagine, failing to fully understand this critical part of your business means fewer sales, lower profits, and ultimately, an unstable business.

A Simple Sales Funnel

At its most basic, a sales funnel consists of free content, which typically requires nothing of your readers. Many sales funnels begin with blog posts, YouTube videos, Facebook content, and other information readers can access at no cost. This is the “top” of your funnel.

Next, you’ll have an attractive offer that requires a very small “payment” of sorts – typically an email address. You’ve seen this type of offer on websites all over the internet, and probably even signed up for some. This is the free ebook or guide, video series, checklist, workbook, or other valuable content that is available in exchange for “opting in” to an email list.

Once on your mailing list, you’ll then present your readers with a series of low-cost offers. Perhaps you have a low-priced ebook or a trial membership.

Customers who purchase your low-priced product move further down the funnel, and are presented with more, higher priced products. As they continue to buy, they move closer and closer to your top-end offers, which make up the bottom of your funnel.

How Your Funnel Works

If you imagine your funnel as looking like, well, a funnel, it’s easy to see that your free content—at the top—is consumed by the largest number of readers. Below that, your extreme low-cost item (available only for the cost of an email address) attracts a smaller subset of the true freebie seekers. Next, your low-priced products bring in yet a smaller group.

Finally, as you near the tip of the funnel, only the most loyal of fans and customers will purchase your highest priced offers.

Your job, as the business owner, is to ensure that your funnel leads buyers naturally from the top, free offers all the way to the bottom. The more buyers you can keep in your funnel, the more money you will make.

Most new—and even established—business owners can easily envision the top of the funnel, but if you truly want your business to grow, you must master the entire process, and that starts with understanding what a funnel really is and how it works.

Over the next few weeks, I’ll be covering sales funnel in depth. Want to keep up? Sign up for my email list and you’ll get it first!

Do you use a sales funnel? Do you recognize one when you see it?

 

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Are You Ready to Give Up on Email Marketing? Read This First

Are you so frustrated with the results of your email marketing campaign that you’re ready to throw in the towel? Don’t worry about it – we’ve all been there. Email marketing seems like a simple way to boost sales.

And it can be, provided that you can get your subscriber to open the email in the first place. After all, it doesn’t matter how great your marketing message is if no one ever reads it, does it?

In the busy world that we live in, you need to time the email perfectly so that they get it when they have time to open it. Is there any point in sending it through late on Friday afternoon when everyone’s getting ready to go home, for example?

Security awareness training is another thing that you’ll have to consider when crafting your email. Many companies have software that allows them to remove any suspicious messages and spam before they get delivered to their servers.

There are a good few more, but these will be dealt with in the EveryCloud infographic that we’ve published below. You’ll learn:

·         Why email marketing is still the best thing since sliced bread

·         How people use emails and whether or not they view them on their mobile phones

·         What might make people consider your email spam

·         When the best spending times are

·         And a whole lot of other interesting facts

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